Tonight is the first of three debates scheduled between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. As is my custom, I like to comment on these issues.
As regular readers of my blog will note I have commented a lot less on politics of late. The reason is not that I don’t have thoughts or opinions, but rather it is about the culture. Our nation is so divided right now that I don’t think adding to the flame any more gasoline is helpful. Therefore, I have refrained.
So here we go — and we’ll start with the challenger.
Questions for Joe Biden
Mr. Vice President, your record through the years on abortion has changed several times, most recently during the 2020 Democratic Primaries. How would you describe your position on abortion right now?
Famously you had to withdraw from your Presidential Race in 1988 because it was discovered you plagiarized your speeches. What have you learned since then?
You’ve made it clear you would raise taxes. Will these taxes be across the board, or will you exploit the current sentiment among Democratic voters of class envy? Will you seek to institute a wealth tax, and if so, for what income level?
Your opponents label you as a socialist. How do you respond to them?
You’ve criticized the President for nominating a conservative justice for the Supreme Court. Would you pledge right now to nominating a moderate rather than a liberal if you are given the opportunity?
As a part of the Obama campaign, you mocked then candidate Mitt Romney for declaring Russia was the greatest threat to America. In the past four years, you along with other Democrats have suggested Russia is again a huge threat. When were you wrong — then against Romney or have you made too much of Russia now?
Sir, it is one thing to appeal for racial reconciliation and pledge a just and fair administration, but what would you do? In other words, are you in favor of reparations for descendants of slavery in America?
You were instrumental in pushing through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Many point out the weakness and deficiencies in the law. What, if anything, would you do to change or alter it? Are you in favor of a single-payer system?
You have criticized some, or really all, of the President’s comments and statements about COVID-19, but what, substantially, would you have done policy wise that would be different from what the federal government has done? Please be specific.
You and other Democratic candidates criticized President Trump for his immigration policies, particularly child-separation, during the primaries. What is your plan for immigration, and do you support amnesty for illegal aliens currently in the country, and if you could, detail how you explain the fairness of this to those who take the time and follow the law?
Taking Barack Obama off the table, because you worked with him, who is your favorite President in American history and why?
Questions for President Donald J. Trump.
Mr. President, everyone knows before you ran for President you were adamantly pro-abortion. What changed you mind to make you so pro-life, and, sir, have you ever paid for someone to have an abortion?
In the late 1980s you were bankrupt and your business empire was collapsing. You recovered, and apparently turned things around. What did you learn about your failure then, and how might that help you in a second term?
The first thing you did as President was push for a large tax cut which has led to large corporate profits but did not help the average American very much. Would you make any changes to your tax policy in a second term? How would you describe your overall tax policy?
Your opponents label you as a fascist. How do you respond to them?
Do you think it is hypocritical of Congressional Republicans to push through your recent Supreme Court nominee in light of what they did to Merrick Garland and then President Barack Obama? If the answer is no, how would you explain the fairness of this to someone?
Why do you placate dictators and authoritarians so much, especially Vladimir Putin. More specifically, do you stand by your Helsinki press conference where you said you believed Putin over your own intelligence agencies?
One of the perceptions of your administration is that you don’t care for “Blue States” and have even tried to punishment them for leaning Democratic. Is this how you really feel? In the same vain, how would you defend your policies toward Portland and Washington, D. C. where you seem to be instigating more violence and unrest than actually helping anything calm down?
Why is your administration in court right now attempting to take away the pre-existing conditions requirement of the Affordable Care Act? Wouldn’t strengthening or tweaking the original bill be a better course of action, especially considering Republicans have yet, in the twelve years since the ACA was passed, put forth any alternative plan?
What would you do differently if you were given a chance to redo the response your administration had to the COVID-19 pandemic? Do you regret any of the wild statements you’ve made?
One of your signature issues in 2016 was immigration. Do you believe illegal immigration is still a problem? If so, what would you do differently with another four years to solve the problem?
Taking yourself off the table, because of obvious reasons, who is your favorite President in American history and why?
Let me take a moment and quote myself — from December of 2017. That’s right friends, December of 2017:
Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 election will not produce any incriminating evidence against President Trump, and then POTUS will pardon everyone who received indictments, particularly Michael Flynn.
The verdict is still out on the pardons, but some will be coming. You can click here for the link to the original blog post.
WARNING: COMMENTARY BELOW–ANYONE WHO DOESN’T WANT TO READ SOMETHING HE OR SHE COULD POSSIBLY DISAGREE WITH, PLEASE STOP READING NOW
So, let me just put in a few thoughts out there on where I’ve been pretty much all along.
Collusion is hard to prove, and even if he did it, it would be nearly impossible to prove it unless they had something like an email from POTUS to Vlad begging for help.
This is not Trump’s first rodeo. He knows how to stay ‘clean’ so they were never going to catch him. He always has fall guys.
I am so glad they didn’t, because an impeachment process would be horrible for the country, one I don’t know if we could come back from.
There may yet be other indictments and legal proceedings, particularly when the President leaves office, but this was always a hard one.
I am so glad it is over. Please be over (although, no spoilers, but skip to the bottom and watch the President from this morning and you get a feel this might just be the beginning).
Now, having said these things, let’s think about going forward.
I am not a big fan of the President, and I’m still trying to figure out how a habitual womanizer, adulterer, billionaire, casino owning, greedy, arrogant, foul-mouthed New Yorker on his third marriage became the darling of the evangelical right. I can’t tell if this fact (and these are all facts) is a paradox or irony–but back to my point, I am not a big fan of the President, but I don’t believe in removing him with subterfuge. If the Dems want him out, they need to do it the right way, at the ballot box. THEY PUT UP HILLARY CLINTON AGAINST HIM TO BEGIN WITH, and that was a huge mistake.
President Trump owes Robert Mueller an apology. He will never give it, but he owes it. The things he said about Mueller and Tweeted are just horrible and unbelievable from a President about someone just doing the job he was asked to do.
President Trump made this mess to begin with, by being coy about the Russian interference with the election. His schmoozing of Vlad (Helsinki still makes me sick) and insistence that Russia didn’t meddle made him look guilty, even if he wasn’t.
Oversight needs to continue, because I don’t think everything in the Trump Administration is on the up-and-up. But . . . the Dems better be careful. If they think the public has an appetite for two more years of this, they are wrong. There are plenty of things–from immigration, health care, the environment, and trade to debate.
On the flip side, The GOP needs to make certain they don’t swell up too much with satisfactory smugness on this Mueller report. Pretty much everyone in the country knows that Trump is a dirty man who does dirty things, whether they voted for him or not. In fact, many people voted for him for that very reason–they wanted him to do whatever it took to stick it in the eye of the establishment. But, if the GOP begins painting Trump as a virtuous victim (as the President has already begun saying), then they may have a ‘jump-the-shark’ moment when they lose what credibility they have left.
I don’t like at all the tone of revenge and denouncing as ‘illegal’ the investigation. Take a listen for yourself. It sounds to me like Trump is preparing to go to war, and that wouldn’t be good either.
I’m gonna keep this quick because it is Wednesday and I have lots of work to do. Nevertheless, I always like to follow-up the State of the Union address with a blog post, because the two or three people out there who read this might want to know what I was thinking.
President Trump broke protocol by starting his speech before Speaker Pelosi had a chance to formally introduce him. I don’t know I this was intentional–to minimize her screen time, or if it was unintentional. If he meant to do that, it is one more move in the chess game these two are playing. If it wasn’t, then the President showed lack of focus on the big stage.
I adore World War II veterans, but I never figured out exactly why there was so much World War II in the speech.
Meeting with North Korea in Vietnam is curious. I mean, it is a big globe, but to connect the two anti-communist wars in this way is a bold choice. North Korea, in Vietnam: What could go wrong?
The President is right when he talks up the criminal justice reforms he and congress have made. Those were a long time coming. I’d like him to build on that and move the same bipartisanship to infrastructure.
POTUS made no move toward a compromise on southern border. Everyone should prepare for another government shutdown.
Speaker Pelosi was something special to watch. I think I saw her four times ‘shush’ her side of the chamber with her extended hand. More than once she was reading the incredibly large pieces of paper while POTUS was speaking. More than one she ‘forgot’ to sit back down. Again, I wonder if this was intentional or a lapse in focus. Then there was her clap–that odd clap where she pointed her fingers at the President while she clapped.
Vice President Pence has histories biggest man-crush on POTUS. Just look at how he gazes at the Commander-in-Chief.
President Trump threatened “war” on congress if they “investigate” him.
The President exploited the truth–and rightly so–the Democratic Party has zero tolerance for pro-life views. I’ve said it before and it is still true: you can’t be pro-life and be a Democrat. The result is the GOP has many, many voters by default.
I think I heard the President say Hillary Clinton would have started a war with North Korea had she won the election.
Teleprompter Trump is not as fluid as Rally Trump, and there was a bizarro moment when he read two lines that didn’t go together in the same tone. “all children — born and unborn– are made in the holy image of God. The final part of my agenda is to protect America’s National Security.” I lifted the actual line from the transcript, which yes, has National and Security both capitalized. He read both of those lines like they were connected–one idea and you could tell on his face he realized it but couldn’t do anything about it.
There were four awesome moments: Congress singing Happy Birthday to a survivor of the Jewish synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, Buzz Aldrin’s amazing necktie, times when both sides of the aisle chanted USA! USA! USA! and when the women all in white celebrated their huge numbers and historic gains in the House of Representatives. Regardless of political persuasion, these were “American” moments.
The speech was Rated PG-13. At times it was graphic and the language was rather provocative. I wouldn’t have wanted to have an eight year old watching it, that is for sure.
I should be working right now, but I’m taking some time during lunch to share these long shot supreme picks. Solid money has it as one of the four Federalist Society nominees–and of those four I say Amy Barrett has at least a 60% chance of being President Trump’s pick. The reason I say this? She is the one that would cause the biggest fight–and POTUS loves a good tussle.
But this blog is not about the likely choices. This blog post is about what if President Trump goes way off course and does something crazy. It is not outside the realm of possibility. Remember when President Bush nominated Harriet Meyers, then White House Counsel and who had never served as a judge anywhere, to the Supreme Court? Or that time when Franklin Roosevelt wanted to add a lot more judges? Presidents do crazy stuff sometimes, and none more so than President Trump. It’s kind of his brand to go off script. So, here are my long shot predictions.
There is a 7% chance he will nominate Jeff Sessions. This is the genius of the day pick. By nominating Sessions, he can get him out as Attorney General without firing him, then put someone else in as Attorney General who can then fire Robert Mueller.
There is a 4% chance he will pick Andrew Napolitano. You know there is. You just know it. If President Trump could pick without any kind of political considerations at all, this would be his guy.
There is a 3.5% chance he picks Jeanine Pirro.
There is 2% chance the pick is Judge Judy. He would lock up the Florida vote forever with that pick.
There is a .75% chance he picks Ivanka Trump. I know, I know, it is silly to think that, but can’t you see him doing it? TBH, I thought he might pick Ivanka as his Veep. He needs someone on the court he can count on in case this Russia thing goes bad, and who can he count on more than Ivanka?
I’ve got one more long outsider pick. You know who we haven’t heard from in a while? That’s right, Sarah Palin. Back during the primaries, Palin was one of the first people to back Donald Trump, and that gave him a strong boost, especially in the midwest. It might be time for payback . . .and I predict a .5% chance it is Palin. You betcha!
I’m glad President Trump is picking, because if I were picking SCOTUS nominees, my first thought would be is to go Doc Hudson. Or Maybe John De Lancie as Q from Star Trek?