TRR Blog

  • Ten Troubling Things About Trump (And yes, I have been asked if there are only ten):

    2. The Slogan: "Make America Great Again."

    This means, of course, that America is (1) Not great;  (2) It was, and (3) that Trump can return America to its former glory? Does anyone think this is accurate or truthful?

    Every period of history has had its share of negative and positive events. The 1920's had the great economic crash of 1929; and the 1930's The Great Depression where 1 out of 4 Americans were unemployed; the 1940's found the USA at war where it began as 18th in the world as a military power; the 1950's had its economic upswing while Jim Crow laws existed with a lack of opportunity for blacks and women were back in the kitchen; the 1960's had the immoral war in Vietnam and Civil Rights Riots...and each decade forward  (or backward) shows the same good and bad.

    America is great because it keeps evolving, and keeps trying to get things right for all. I am all in favor of a slogan that says, "Keep America Great", which would mean, for all of us, to keep trying to care more about the whole country and less about our specific segment.

    But Trump is a master brander, and I think this slogan is no mistake. He has made completely derogatory comments about Women, unless they are teetering next to him on stage, and then switches to paternalistic pandering by saying “I love women. I’m going to be great for women.” No wonder his negatives from women are over 70%.

    Trump attacks Hispanics, their race and character, and Islam, by wanting to ban those who practice that faith.

    Trump displays a lack of Tolerance and an Exclusivity his supporters seem to applaud.

    I may be wrong, but it seems the brand Trump is selling is: Make America White Again.


  • Ten Troubling Things About Trump

    1. Doubling Down on Dumb:

    Trump speaks like a guy in a diner: bloviating his thoughts and opinions with heretofore unseen and unbridled arrogance. Some will say it's just Trump's marketing of himself--which is more than a bit concerning-which, for some, renders his behavior into the "No Harm No Foul" category. And yes, we have all been subjected to the insufferable egoist with a questionable comb over "marking his territory" with his beliefs and opinions.

    And if that were all it is, one could say, that it's his style:
    like it or not.

    But this is not just some guy making a dumb statement and then correcting it or "walking it back." This is a guy who makes it, makes it again and, more troubling, doubles down on it.

    Trump's statement that the federal judge presiding over the Trump University lawsuits cannot be objective because his parents were born in Mexico? Excuse me?

    Trump says the Judge won't be fair to him. Why, you ask? Because Trump says Mexico will pay for the wall.
    What does that have to do with the Trump University cases?
    Why, nothing at all.

    Has Trump "walked back" his comments about the Judge? No, not at all. He doubled down. Trump called the judge in an "absolute conflict of interest."

    The real reason that Trump is throwing a tantrum is because the judge, although issuing favorable rulings for Trump, and agreeing to set the case for trial in November-after the general elections-has not done Trump's bidding by dismissing the case.

    So, Trump will stupidly make a racist comment, that a federal judge cannot be fair to Trump because of the judge's heritage.
    It is dumb, because there is no evidence to support Trump's statement. For all we know, the judge agrees with Mexico paying for the wall. We don't know and neither does Trump. But that's not the real reason Trump is doubling down.

    His statements are petulant, racist and stupid. Trump has to know better; Trump doesn't care. Trump probably doesn't even believe what he's saying about the Judge. For all of his troubling traits, Trump is not a stupid man.

    Trump is a salesman, and as is done in real estate, he is pre-selling. Here's the pitch: If Trump loses these cases, well, he already told us, it's not his fault. It's the Judge's fault. The Judge wasn't fair. A great salesman can sell anything to some people.

    Trump Branding: When in Trump's Interest, We Double Down on Dumb.

  • Moderates and Centrists Needed. Now More Than Ever.

    Yesterday, I participated in a call in with the Republican Congressmen from Florida, District 1, Jeff Miller. Let me say, by way of caveat that I was not able to stay until the end. Several things concerned me during the call, and although there was a mechanism to ask questions or comment, time did not allow me to do so.


    First, the call seemed more to soothe constituents about the government shutdown and how it was not the fault of the Republican Party than to answer questions. Secondly, there really seems to be a lot of disinformation about the Affordable Care Act, ACA, also known as Obama Care. It is my opinion that our politicians should put honesty and truthfulness over partisan politics.


    An elderly gentleman called in from Crestview, and was very concerned about the fact that ObamaCare was covering illegal aliens, and that "our tax dollars was going to pay for that." Congressman Miller did not address this statement directly, and certainly left the impression that this gentleman's concerns were valid and was part of the reason for the GOP fight over this legislation.


    I am not a supported of the AFA, and if you have read my book, "The Reluctant Republican" you know that it is one of the reasons I ran for Congress in Florida District 2. There are many problems with it that must be fixed for this to become an effective law. But it is intellectually dishonest to suggest, as Senators Cruz and Rand did last week, things in the bill that are inaccurate.

    In fact, Obamacare explicitly denies insurance coverage to illegal immigrants in Section 1312 (f)(3):

    Access limited to lawful residents. If an individual is not, or is not reasonably expected to be for the entire period for which enrollment is sought, a citizen or national of the United States or an alien lawfully present in the United States, the individual shall not be treated as a qualified individual and may not be covered under a qualified health plan in the individual market that is offered through an Exchange.

    Congressman Miller could have told the caller he was incorrect in his understanding, but he did not.

    Secondly, Congressman Miller never addressed-while I was on the phone-the futility of the Republican position to defund ObamaCare. The GOP does not hold a majority in the Senate, with 52 Democrats and 46 Republicans.

    Even if the Senate could pass such a bill, President Obama would veto it, thereby sending it back to Congress under Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution, which says, in pertain parts...

    "...the President...approves...but if not, shall return that house in which it shall have originated. to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration, two=thirds of that house shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections [of President] to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of that house, it shall become a law."

     Republicans have a majority of 232 Members to 200 Democratic Members in the House. So to override a Presidential veto, one would have to have the votes of a super majority, of two-thirds of each house. In the House of Representatives, that would mean approximately 287 votes, or convincing 55 Democrats to vote against their President. In the Senate, such a vote would require 67 votes, or 18 Senators to vote with Republicans.

    Let's see, assuming the accuracy of these numbers, that would make a total of 73 members of Congress needed to overturn a Presidential veto. And despite the hard cold facts of this unlikely event, in a telephone poll taken yesterday on this call, 66% thought it was a good idea to shut down the government to "try to reign in government spending."  Only 34% thought a government shutdown a bad strategy.

    I honestly don't think most voters have all the facts needed to make the necessary decisions about these issues. Many don't have-or take-the time to look up information, or fact check to see what is true. And as a result, many rely on their politicians to tell them the truth. But most politicians today are more concerned about being re-elected than telling voters the truth. 

    It's the reason moderates and centrists are needed now, more than ever. It is possible to not like a law, and be truthful about what it contains. It is possible to not want to fund bad legislation, and also realize the mathematical futility in attempting to do so. In other words, despite political parties or personal beliefs, there can be honesty and truthfulness in the dialogue. And if that happens, we might get a little closer to the center, which is usually where the truth lies.




  • New Review: Another Good One!

    What happens when an attractive, articulate, intelligent Southern gal decides to run for Congress in a Florida Republican primary against four male Tea Party candidates?  Barbara Olschner, an idealistic, conservative trial attorney and former tennis pro, tells what it’s like to discover she wasn’t either ideologically pure or doctrinally sound –and, besides, she was way too highly-educated for the GOP voters of the Florida Panhandle.

                The author shares an up-close-and-personal look into the Tea Party phenomenon which dominates Republican primaries in many states, often with dire results for the party and the nation.  In a style  that is sharp, clear and highly-readable, Olschner describes the daily struggles with opponents who eschew complex issues, preferring stock answers and scripted replies.

                Nancy Reagan once urged teenagers to “Just Say No” to drugs.  For the Tea Party this maxim is the lens through which all issues are viewed: there is no compromise, no middle ground; it is “our way or the highway.” Schooled in the law as a problem-solver, the author offered the voters a voice of reason and rational discourse,  the exhausting race revealed all too clearly that such matters were not welcomed. When her conscience demanded an honest answer, not doctrinaire talking points, she is variously vilified as a RINO (Republican In Name Only), a liberal, or a high-brow lawyer (read ‘elitist’) who was “too smart to go to Congress.”  Yet she battled gamely to an exhausting finish: last in a field of five.

                Henry Clay, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, justly earned the title of “The Great Compromiser.”  Clay and his greatest admirer, Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican president, couldn’t win a GOP primary dominated  by today’s  Tea Party.  Unless, of course, the Republican Party eventually recognizes that primary wins are Pyrrhic victories when the party is trampled in a presidential election.  Just being ‘more conservative’ just won’t ‘cut it’ any longer.

                ‘The Reluctant Republican’ is a must read not only for Republicans but conservatives who agree with President Dwight Eisenhower that the middle of the road is the  best place to be since dangers lie in the rough shoulders, whether right or left.

  • Maybe The GOP Should Spend Some Of It's Ten Million Dollars On Getting These Guys To Shut Up!

    June 27, 2013


    The GOP is spending $10,000,000 on its “Outreach” program, trying to reach out to the groups that did not support them in the last Presidential election. You know, the women, the blacks, the Hispanics, and those under 30 years old. OK, pretty much everyone except white men over 30.


    Although it is clear that the GOP needs to do substantive work on its image, I personally think outreach within the Party is needed first. There is a monumental schism in the GOP between the far right whackos and wingnuts and those that are best described as moderates or centrists. As Abraham Lincoln pointed out in his unsuccessful campaign for the Senate, “A house divided against itself cannot stand...I will become all one thing or the other.”


    As I discovered when I ran for Congress in the Florida panhandle in 2010, you'd better "Go right or go home." As a moderate, pragmatic Republican, I did not think it was feasible or warranted to "bus back the Mexicans," "blow up the Mosque at Ground Zero," or "impeach President Obama." To the majority of voters in my district, I quickly became a traitor to the Party by not aligning myself with the far right's radical views that defied logic, reason, or Constitutional authority. The book I authored as a result of that experience is entitled, "The Reluctant Republican: My Fight for the Moderate Majority," published by The University Press of Florida, March 2013.


    Fast forward three years, and what has really changed in the party? Nothing. The far right continues to beat its drum on issues that attract its own base and repels everyone else.


    This month the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) released its survey on under-29-year-old registered voters, and it is clear these young people do not think like the right wing base of the GOP. In fact, they view the GOP as largely racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, elitist, and insensitive. Here is one of the findings:


    4. End the attacks on women’s reproductive health.

    “[T]he issue of protecting life has been conflated with issues around the definition of rape, funding for Planned Parenthood, and even contraception. In the words of one female participant in our Hispanic voter focus group in Orlando, “I think Romney wanted to cut Planned Parenthood. And he supports policies where it would make it harder for a woman to get an abortion should she choose, even if it were medically necessary. That goes hand in hand with redefining rape.”


    Michael Burgess this week joins an ignominious line of Republican legislators with unbelievably offensive comments about abortion. His statements to support the recent bill to limit abortions to the first 20 weeks after conception, because sonograms show “male fetus with their hands between their legs” meaning to Rep. Burgess they are “experiencing pleasure.”


    This Republican litany on abortion by former and current members of Congress is nothing short of appalling, Todd Akin, thought that rape should not be an exception to abortion because “legitimate rape cause a woman’s body to shut that whole thing down.” Richard Murdock, finding it “God’s intent “ that rape occurs. Joe Walsh discounts “the health of the mother” exception, because of improvements in medical science. Phil Gingrey, Representative from Georgia, stating that, well, women lie about being raped. He found “nothing horrible” about Akin’s statement about “legitimate rape.” 


    This pattern of attacking women’s integrity, the science of biology and reproduction, to discount the exception of “rape, incest or health of the other” is an attack on women.  I am all in favor of different viewpoints on issues, and find that a freedom under the First Amendment. Those that are against abortion for any reason have the right to their opinion.  They don’t have the right to make up facts, evidence, support bizarre theories, and attack the integrity of others in order to try and make their views credible.


    Let me be blunt: a bunch of gentrified white men espousing on women's reproduction, issuing offensively stupid and patronizing statements that can only be described as idiotic does not play well with many in this country, including women, who, by the way, are the majority of voters in this country. And, it needs to stop.


    My first suggestion is for Reince Preibus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee to send the following memo:


             To: All Male Members of Congress

             Re: Anti-abortion Issue


    SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP NOW!        

    You are killing our chances to win in 2016!


             Regarding abortion, please only say one of the following:

    1. “I am anti abortion, no exceptions.”
    2. “I am anti-abortion, some exceptions.”
    3. “I am pro choice.” (Probably not many of these.)


    No explanations, no discussions on anything scientific, and please let’s not mention that the male of our species masturbate in the womb.


    Your Chairman



    My sincere suggestion-not that I don’t think the above is a good idea- is that the GOP spends some of its allocated $10,000,000 to tutor its members in Congress on issues of science, logic and reasoning, or, in the alternative, some sort of aversion therapy for stupidity.


    I can see only one downside to this suggestion:

    It will take a heck of a lot more than $10,000,000.