#NotMyPresident More than Enough to Unify Trump Opposition

not-my-president

“The Women’s Marches were dismissed by critics as an exercise in pop cultural zeitgeist, a flash of positive dissent with an important message, maybe. But certainly not a sustainable movement with a defined platform. Resistance should have more to say than #NotMyPresident, right?

But what if that’s wrong? What if the POTUS and his cast of cartoon villains are so dangerously backward and un-American on so many issues that the mere rejection of them is enough to bring us together? For the love of all that’s holy, I’ve found myself in agreement with the likes of Dick Cheney and George Will in recent days. Genuine fear for the country makes strange bedfellows. Maybe Trump is just the perverse jolt we needed to step away from the monitors, to be present and communal for our personal politics.”

Read the full post at Contemptor.

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Ben Carson and the Alan Keyes Cautionary Tale

Ben Carson

In February of 2013, author and retired Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson gave President Barack Obama a piece of his mind on issues ranging from health care to political correctness, during the National Prayer Breakfast. And a Republican star was born. Earlier this month in a column entitled The Soft Bigotry of Ben Carson, New York Times Op-Ed writer Charles Blow offered this assessment of the confrontation:

“It’s not that others have not criticized the president before or since, but it was the particularity of the racial imagery of Carson’s critique — one smart, accomplished black man undressing another in public — that gave it particular power. It insulated the attack from racial characterization. He said things from the lips of a black conservative that roiled the minds of white ones. And it represented a prominent breaking of ranks, a slicing off of black solidarity from not only Democratic loyalty but also from fidelity with this president.”

The accomplished, soft-spoken Carson currently sits just five points below 2016 Republican front-runner Donald Trump in a recent release from Public Policy Polling. That is a sentence I’d never thought I’d write in my lifetime, but I digress. Carson may be a brilliant physician but as my sister Jennifer recently and astutely observed, he’s also “frankly, one of the smartest dumb dudes alive.”

In a 2016 Republican primary campaign depressingly rife with distortions, inflammatory hate speech and blatant cynicism, Carson has not been the voice of class and reason for which many undecideds hoped. No matter how accomplished his resume or soft his tenor, the good doctor has disqualified himself over and again for the nation’s highest office – even as “progressive” Republicans and conservative media pundits enjoy their latest mainstream alienating love affair.

I’m quite sure the party’s base would love him to go on talking. Because no matter how outrageous the right has grown in its free political ignorance, as Blow highlights, there are still things white candidates (Donald Trump notwithstanding) can’t allow themselves to say. Such as these gems from the Sunday, September 20 edition of NBC’s Meet the Press:

“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

“Congress is a different story, but it depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are, just like it depends on what anybody else is. If there’s somebody who is of any faith but they say things and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed and bring peace and harmony, then I’m with them.”

To quote Bart Simpson, Ay caramba. This was not gotcha journalism (my thoughts on the investigative dereliction of Meet the Pressmoderator Chuck Todd will be happily shared another time). This is an unqualified, racist crackpot speaking with the authority and support (silent or otherwise) of his partymates, trying to convince the rest of us that he is wizened and thoughtful enough to lead a nation of disparate peoples.

23 percent of Muslim Americans identify as black. Most of the remainder are other persons of color. Carson is a person of color, therefore untouchable no matter how hurtful and discriminatory his statements. An ironic carte blanche. See Carson shoot up the polls.

The only qualification Ben Carson seems to possess as a legitimate politician is the ability to talk (or mumble) out of both sides of his mouth. He wants everyone to succeed, peace and harmony for all, but he also wants to exclude an entire group of citizens from the White House against explicit Constitutional decree. Because 9/11 y’all. MD and skin color aside, Carson’s neck is just as red as Mike Huckabee’s.

As a longtime Illinois resident, the Republican and mainstream media’s pathetically forced Carson/Obama symmetry brings to mind the 2004 Senate contest between the future president and political activist, author and former diplomat Alan Keyes. Keyes, an African-American, demonstrated to his party’s caucus that being educated and black was far from enough to counteract Obama’s stride to Washington. The Free Republic reported at the time:

“He’s alienated almost all of the Republican party operatives throughout the state, starting with his wild-eyed rhetoric about Barack Obama’s pro-abortion stance (the ‘slaveholders’ position, similar to a terrorist, etc) and his attack on Dick Cheney’s gay daughter (Keyes called Mary Cheney a ‘selfish hedonist’).”

One has to talk a lot of crazy to alienate the Cheney family. 11 years later, Keyes exists as a frightening, if somewhat humorous political footnote. I eagerly await Carson’s similar recession from the public consciousness.

It’s Saturday and I Have Nothing to Say (September 18, 2010)

Like an old dish towel that has just finished scrubbing a grease caked set of pots and pans, I am wrung. It has been a rough, physically and emotionally demanding week on all fronts: professional, familial and marital. On Thursday I declared to a friend that I was ready to retreat from the world to an underground bunker like Dick Cheney after 9/11. I am exhausted by routine, people and their moods and demands, herding cats and the energy it took to assemble the courage to do things that are outside my comfort zone. But I got up every day, I did my part and I fought the good fight.

I don’t want to analyze today. I want to ride my bike, drink a glass of wine and tune out.

The Monday-Friday part of my life ended up much better last evening than I had a right to expect when the period began. For that I am grateful. Sometimes just getting there is all there is.

So I’ll shut up and rest now.

Dick Cheney Reminds Us That Romney Still Has Stateside Messes to Clean (July 31, 2012)

Last week was a big week for Mittens and the damage control is in full swing. Remember back in 2008 when one of the biggest criticisms leveled against then-candidate Obama was that the junior Senator was light on foreign policy experience? The last three and a half years have generated many criticisms from the right but the POTUS’ deft handling of a variety of thorny issues such as last year’s Arab Spring Awakening and his wise choice of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State (not to mention the killing of public enemy #1 Osama bin Laden) has gone a long way toward establishing the President as a reasoned and thoughtful statesmen.

Mitt Romney has been a part of the American political canvas for nearly 30 years and yet to witness him committing unforced errors last week, like his offensive comments directed at London’s level of Olympic preparedness, was to experience a sense of Palinesque deja vu. Is there any weigh station between Mittens brain and his mouth? Wouldn’t you think he and his handlers might develop one after three decades? Even Pavlov’s dog was capable of learning. But after that mess, Romney wasn’t satisfied with just one pile of international dog doo. He also managed to wade into the long-running Israel/Iran conflict in a a manner that made him appear like a trigger-happy ignoramus while paying Palestine’s socialized health care system a backhanded compliment, oblivious to its implications again his “war” on Obamacare.

If it weren’t such an embarrassing week for America, I suspect those of us rooting for an Obama re-election would be engaging in a much-deserved happy dance. And yet today, the Crypt Keeper himself, former Vice-President Dick Cheney, popped out of his cryogenic chamber to remind the voting public that there are still plenty of Stateside imbroglios to which candidate Romney must attend. Truly it’s getting difficult to account for all of the issues to which the former Governor refuses or simply cannot respond with a satisfying answer.

In an interview with writer Jonathan Karl for Yahoo News, the topic of Romney’s cloak and dagger intrigue regarding the release of his tax returns was broached. When Bush and Cheney occupied the Republican ticket in 2000, both candidates saw the wisdom is releasing 10 years worth of returns. Romney as we know, will not budge on releasing above two years worth of information. The Cheneybot’s predictable response?

“If he had two years out, they’d want four. If he had four years out, they’d want six. If he had six years out, they’d want ten,” said Cheney. “It’s a distraction,” he added. “I’d say do what he feels like doing. If this is his decision, fine. Let’s get on with it.”

Dick Cheney was always a great believer in the Jedi Mind Trick. Just tell Americans that the Patriot Act, a revocation of their basic liberties, is necessary for national security and they’ll go along with it, the sheep. 9/11 is a great excuse to foment a war of choice in Iraq! And since the wealthy can be painted a job creators, let’s pass some unaffordable tax cuts while we’re at it. The American people won’t know the half of it. They’re too busy watching American Idol! It’s genius. Bwa ha ha!

Nope, not this time Cheney. The post-2008 electorate, better informed and inspired by a candidate who is not overrun by internal cynicism, won’t have it. For the last time, wanting to understand a man’s personal finances as a litmus test for predicting his handling of the country’s budget is not a distraction.

But thanks for reminding us that Romney can be every bit as disingenuous here as he can overseas.