Donald Trump Is Our Great White Father

“Look at my African-American!”

Donald Trump wants the Black vote.   Okay, that’s not true.  He doesn’t want the Black vote, but he has to say he wants the Black vote despite doing nothing to get it.

“What do you have to lose? You’re living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. Fifty-eight percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose? I will produce. I will produce the inner cities and I will produce for the African Americans. And the Democrats will not produce. All they’ve done is taken advantage of your vote. … If you keep voting for the same people, you’ll get exactly the same result.”

This is like a bear telling you its better if you let him eat you instead of being devoured by piranhas because it’ll go quicker.   Trump next made a bold prediction what happens if he wins and runs for reelection in 2020.

I guarantee you that I will get over 95 percent of the African-American vote. I promise you. Because I will produce.”

Let’s unpack that last part first. Donald Trump will NEVER get over 95 percent of the Black vote. Right now, he’s struggling to get to five percent. Hillary Clinton is killing Trump so bad with Black voters that he’s drawing historically low numbers. How low can Trump go? Lower than the percentage of votes Barry Goldwater and George Wallace got from Blacks.

Ouch.

Secondly, Donald Trump is not going to Black voters seeking their support. His “what the hell have you got to lose?” remarks were made in Dimondale, Michigan, a city that is less than 1 percent Black. Trump has declined invitations to speak to the NAACP convention in Cincinnati and the joint convention of the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists in Washington.

Having a great relationship with The Blacks. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Having a great relationship with The Blacks.
(Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Trump didn’t even send his national director of African-America outreach, Omarosa Manigault to pinch hit for him.     Actually there is no African-American outreach by Trump and there never was.  It’s an outreach to White Americans in hopes of convincing them they aren’t voting for an insane racist (hint: they are) .

This is obvious to Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, who told The Wall Street Journal he has passed along requests from historically black colleges for Mr. Trump to speak….“You don’t go to a white community to talk about black folks. Hello, it doesn’t make sense.”

Actually, it makes a lot of sense if the audience you’re trying to reach with your open invitation isn’t the one you’re really interested in.

This is obvious to Jamelle Boulle of Slate.

Trump needs to do something, and nonwhite voters are already too far gone for the real estate mogul to make up lost ground. (Trump is on pace to lose black voters by the largest margin in modern American history, surpassing even Barry Goldwater’s catastrophic performance in the 1964 presidential election.) Enter Kellyanne Conway, part of the latest round of political operatives to hitch their fate to Trump’s aspirations. Last week, Conway—who backed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the Republican primaries—supplanted Paul Manafort as manager for the Trump campaign. And in short order, she has worked to tame the worst of Trump’s behavior.

The goal is straightforward: If Trump seems more normal and less erratic, then he could begin to win those white college-educated voters who are critical to victory in states like Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. For Team Trump, it’s a simple equation. If those voters are turned off by his racist rhetoric, then he could address their fears by loudly reaching out to black voters. It’s an old strategy, meant to assure a critical set of Republican-leaning voters that they aren’t backing a bigot.

Conway herself gave away the game in a Sunday interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “I live in a white community. I’m white. I was very moved by his comment,” said Conway, when asked about the all-white venue for Trump’s comments and the extent to which they sustain the idea that most black Americans live in poverty. Likewise, on Monday, Republican National Committee spokesperson Sean Spicer pointed to Trump’s belated adherence to anti-discrimination laws as evidence of black outreach, something that wouldn’t win a single black voter to Trump’s side, but might assuage some white ones.

The Great White Father of the unwashed Black masses is continuing his soul serenade as he speaks to overwhelmingly White audiences about the Negro Problem.

Poverty. Rejection. Horrible education. No housing. No homes. No ownership. Crime at levels nobody has seen. You can go to war zones in countries that we’re fighting and it’s safer than living in some of our inner cities. They’re run by the Democrats.”

Look, it is a disaster the way African Americans are living. We’ll get rid of the crime. You’ll be able to walk down the street without getting shot. Right now, you walk down the street, you get shot.”

He’s absolutely right. When I took the trash out, I had to duck and cover to avoid a couple of drug dealers shooting it out in the alley and on my way to work, I sped past a drive-by and a gang rape.

Trump paints a dire picture of what life is like for Black people, and he’s showing off his Art of the Unreal to enthusiastic audiences of Whites who eat up all this doom and gloom of violence, dysfunction, addition, poverty, unemployment and rampant crime. That’s not how most Black people live, but when the only Black folks you know are Omarosa, that’s the way Trump sees how they live.

Some Black Votes Don’t Matter.

What that means is obvious to New York Times columnist, Charles Blow.

“Donald Trump is a bigot, there’s no other way to get around it. Anybody who accepts that, supports it. Anybody supports it is promoting it and that makes you a part of the bigotry itself. You have to decide whether or not you want to be part of the bigotry that is Donald Trump. You have to decide whether you want to be part of the sexism and misogyny that is Donald Trump.”

And there you have it. Donald Trump isn’t appealing to Black voters. He doesn’t even talk to them and he knows he’s not getting their votes. When they aren’t being constantly shot at, Black voters know Trump’s history and they aren’t going to be suckered in by his sweet words that Daddy will make it all right.

Trump’s latest “pivot” (or is it “flailing?”), that all Black Americans are living in a dystopian war zone only HE can save them from is an insult to every sentient, conscious Black American and should be considered an insult by every sentient, conscious White American.

Trump is treading a familiar road. It’s a road where all the criminals are Black like George H.W. Bush’s Willie Horton and everyone on welfare and food stamps are Black like Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queens” and Blacks are a problem to be solved instead of citizens to be involved.

Playing upon stereotypes and racial fear and resentment is an old tactic, but a very successful one. Lee Atwater would smile with pride.

trumpwhite

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Snap Judgments from the 2nd GOP Debate (a.k.a. “Fear the Walking and Talking Dead”).

Now with 100% more Carly!

Now with 100% more Carly!

WINNERS WINNERS CHICKEN DINNER!

Marco Rubio:  (energetic and laid down some pretty good smackdowns on The Donald. Now what will he do with the spotlight?)
Carly Fiorina: (even better smackdowns of The Donald, but she’s running for a Cabinet position or another Senate bid)
Rand Paul: (probably too late to help much, but he joined in on The Donald Dogpile with enthusiasm.  Lindsay Graham and Piyush Jindal give you two thumbs up!)

I’M A LOSER, BABY SO WHY DON’T YOU KILL ME?

Ben Carson: (Hey! Doc! You’re right next to the front runner and you’re in second place in Iowa.   Kick his ass!  You think if she were in your place Carly wouldn’t? )
Jeb Bush: (Because he stayed awake better than the first debate, but he couldn’t have been much worse).

MEH.

John Kasich: (if you want to move up in the podium positioning Johnny-Boy, you gotta say something worth remembering besides you wouldn’t defund Planned Parenthood)
Donald Trump: (Ever see a team get a big lead on an over-matched opponent and keep running up the score?  That was Trump.  Punching on Paul’s poll numbers and looks is dumb).

WHY TRY HARDER?  OR TRY AT ALL?

Chris Christie: (STOP LYING ABOUT MY RECORD!    Aw shit.  That was me lying about my record!)
Scott Walker:  (Like cheese?  Like beer?  Visit Wisconsin.  We’ve got lots of both.  Why am I here again?  Oh yeah. To stop Kasich from taking my spot here)

DEAD RAT STUCK IN A PIPE.

Ted Cruz:  (So you were happy when George Bush selected John Roberts for the Supreme Court but now you’re mad he did?  First rule of politics, Ted: Never apologize and never explain Look how well that’s been working for The Donald, the shark to your pilot fish).
Mike Huckabee: (Is there a church somewhere with a need to hire a Bible-thumping, fire n’ brimstone preacher because this guy knows nothing about the U.S. Constitution).

WON SIMPLY BY NOT BEING THERE

Ronald Reagan:  Because he’s dead and didn’t have to watch these losers stumbling around on stage claiming to be St. Ronnie’s secret love child.

Say, why are we on our second Repubs debate before the Dems even have their first?  Isn’t it about time Hillary and Bernie and Marty all got together to spread the boredom around?  Since they both come from states without pro football teams, Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb have nothing better to do this weekend.  Uncle Joe might even show up.  He’s always fun!

“My reason for not watching the GOP debate? Well, I’m dead, so there’s that…”

 

Fox News Slimes Mandela: “A Great Man…But A Communist.”

A Black man with a clenched fist scares the hell out of the Fox News nation.

The universe has a uncanny knack for adding perspective whenever popularity gets confused with significance.   Paul Walker was popular.  Nelson Mandela was significant.

Fox News should not be counted in the ranks of admirers of the revolutionary lion turned honored statesman.

Cynics say there’s little difference in cable news, but sometimes the differences are obvious and stark. While CNN and MSNBC honored Nelson Mandela by turning over their evening programming to covering his life and times, Fox News stayed on message by largely relegating Mandela’s passage to the news crawl and pounding away with their anti-Obamacare propaganda.

The media gossip site, Mediaite went deep into CNN, MSNBC and Fox’s coverage (or lack of) of Mandela’s passage and the clear loser lagging behind the field was the “news” network led by hardcore right-wingers Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes.

Hardly a surprise considering everything Mandela stood for are the very things Fox News is against.

I flipped the television from Rachel Maddow interviewing Ron Dellums to Megan Kelly chatting with amiably with a medal-winning soldier.  While Lawrence O’Donnell was discussing how Mandela dismantled apartheid, turn over to Sean Hannity and there’s the ugly mug of RNC chairman Reince Preibus banging on the Affordable Care Act yet again.

Wherever Mandela is now, odds are he’s not watching Fox News.

In fairness, Bill O’Reilly did mention Mandela’s passing.  Mostly to remind Fox viewers the father of the modern-day South Africa was “a communist.”

“He was a communist, this man. He was a communist, all right? But he was a great man! What he did for his people was stunning!… He was a great man! But he was a communist!”

O’Reilly’s guest, Rick Santorum, was a bit more gracious than his obnoxious host, but even while he praised Mandela,  the failed presidential candidate compared Mandela’s fight against apartheid to the right-wing’s war against Obamacare.

With his success writing historical/fantasy novels like Killing Lincoln, it might be hoped O’Reilly would know while it is true Mandela’s African National Congress  was supported by the Soviet Union,  the United States was a supportive ally of South Africa’s Afrikaner government even as it ruthlessly crushed Black protest against the evil of apartheid.   Ronald Reagan called the racist regime, ” “a country that has stood by us in every war we’ve ever fought, a country that, strategically, is essential to the free world in its production of minerals.”

Reagan was more concerned about propping up a gang of White supremacists brutally putting their foot of the necks of millions of Black people than their freedom and sided with a bigoted minority over the oppressed majority.  Mandela opposed hypocrites like Reagan who demanded the Soviets  “tear down this wall” so East Germans could be free while telling Black Africans they should suck it up and suffer.   Liberation movements are best loved by American conservatives when their interests coincide with their own.

O’Reilly is a clown in the Fox News media circus.

If Nelson Mandela was a Communist,  Ronald Reagan was a bigot.  Bill O’Reilly is just a clown looking for a circus.

When President Obama leads the U.S. delegation to the memorial service for his African counterpart,  depending on their health, he may likely be joined by former presidents Carter, Clinton and both Bushes.   Not too shabby for a former “communist,” but don’t hold your breath waiting for O’Reilly to acknowledge that or for his employers to offer anything more than tepid praise for a man they clearly despised.

The approach of Fox to covering Mandela seems to be offer tepid praise while openly hoping he’s really dead this time.

Fox News.  It’s graceless.  It’s classless.  It’s tasteless.  But mostly it’s just racist.

Peggy vs. the Prez: Charm Turns to Contempt.

“Obama? Oh yeah. He sucks.”

While President Obama’s DNC speech wasn’t as rousing as those delivered by Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama according to one of his former fans turned into one of his biggest critics, it was duller than watching paint dry.

“Barack Obama is deeply overexposed and often boring. He never seems to be saying what he’s thinking. His speech Thursday was weirdly anticlimactic. There’s too much buildup, the crowd was tired, it all felt flat. He was somber, and his message was essentially banal: We’ve done better than you think. Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?


There were many straw men. There were phrases like “the shadow of a shuttered steel mill,” which he considers writerly. But they sound empty and practiced now, like something you’ve heard in a commercial or an advertising campaign. It was stale and empty. He’s out of juice.”

That’s harsh, but what’s harsher is how Peggy Noonan  evolved from loving Obama to spitting on the ground he walks on.

There’s no reason to believe Noonan, a  former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan and currently a Wall Street Journal hack for Rupert Murdoch.  Noonan is disgusted by Obama now, but back in the day she was singing his praises

The case for Barack Obama, in broad strokes:  He has within him the possibility to change the direction and tone of American foreign policy, which need changing; his rise will serve as a practical rebuke to the past five years, which need rebuking; his victory would provide a fresh start in a nation in which a fresh start would come as a national relief. He climbed steep stairs, born off the continent with no father to guide, a dreamy, abandoning mother, mixed race, no connections. He rose with guts and gifts. He is steady, calm, and, in terms of the execution of his political ascent, still the primary and almost only area in which his executive abilities can be discerned, he shows good judgment in terms of whom to hire and consult, what steps to take and moves to make.

We witnessed from him this year something unique in American politics: He took down a political machine without raising his voice.

A great moment: When the press was hitting hard on the pregnancy of Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter, he did not respond with a politically shrewd “I have no comment,” or “We shouldn’t judge.” Instead he said, “My mother had me when she was 18,” which shamed the press and others into silence. He showed grace when he didn’t have to.

Peg and the Prez in happier times.


Fast-forward three years later and
she’s hating on him something fierce and charm has turned to contempt.

“I never loved Barack Obama. That said, among my crowd who did ‘love’ him, I can’t think of anyone who still does.” Why is Mr. Obama different from Messrs. Clinton and Bush? “Clinton radiated personality. As angry as folks got with him about Nafta or Monica, there was always a sense of genuine, generous caring.” With Bush, “if folks were upset with him, he still had this goofy kind of personality that folks could relate to. You might think he was totally misguided but he seemed genuinely so. . . . Maybe the most important word that described Clinton and Bush but not Obama is ‘genuine.’” He “doesn’t exude any feeling that what he says and does is genuine.”

and then there’s this:

The president, if he is seriously trying to avert a debt crisis, should stay in his office, meet with members, and work the phones, all with a new humility, which would be well received. It is odd how he patronizes those with more experience and depth in national affairs.

He should keep his face off TV. He should encourage, cajole, work things through, be serious, get a responsible deal, and then re-emerge with joy and the look of a winner as he jointly announces it to the nation. Then his people should leak that he got what he wanted, the best possible deal, and the left has no idea the ruin he averted and the thanks they owe him.

For now, for his sake and the sake of an ultimate plan, he should choose Strategic Silence. Really, recent presidents forget to shut up. They lose sight of how grating they are.

When Noonan isn’t calling Obama “boring” and “a loser”, she’s suggesting he should simply “shut up.”   Is Miss Peggy is exhibiting some lingering regrets over her 2009 dinner with Obama at George Will’s house with fellow conservative attendees Bill Kristol, Rich Lowry, Charles Krauthammer, and Larry Kudrow?

Where is the love?  Did Obama take his shoes off at the dinner table, belch and fart or steal the silverware?

Why Noonan went from the world’s oldest Obama girl to ripping him without mercy is a mystery.   Did she wake up from a Hope and Change high to realize, “Crap, I forgot I’m supposed to be ripping this guy a new hole two or three times a week.”    If Obama thought he could charm his conservative critics, he’s learned it’s not happenng.

I thought Cornel West had set Usain Bolt-like speed records in going from admiration to detestation of the president without stopping at self-enlightenment, but Noonan is overcompensating for the heresy of her earlier “Barack is so dreamy” crush by eviscerating him without mercy.

Strange how Noonan once admired Obama for showing decency to Sarah Palin but  joined her in hating him.   It’s true that no good deed goes unpunshed.

When Ronnie met Peggy.

Obama’s Jobs Plan: Save His Own First.

Obama stands tall on jobs, but will the Republicans go along?

My better half and I watched and while she liked it better than I (light on details, but heavy on the message, “you should pass this bill”), it was easily Obama’s best speech since his remarks after the Tucson shooting spree.

I give it a “B.”  It’s got a good beat (“pass this bill” dammit!) and you could dance to it.  As my buddy Denise Clay said all Obama needed to do after putting the Republicans on notice would be to drop the mic on the floor and walk out.

At the very least it is a reminder Obama is very good when he sets aside his natural aloofness and shows a bit of passion. He should do it more often. It humanizes him.

I’ve already notified my Congressional representatives to step up and heed the president’s call. I know they won’t because doing anything to help Obama’s odds of remaining in the White House is not in their long-term game plans, but it’s worth making the effort.

It was a good speech, but what he says is secondary to what he does to get his proposal through a Congress whose idea of a jobs program is for Obama to lose his.

As regards the Republicans, they had yet another debate at the Ronald Reagan Library.   It was a fitting setting and yet another reminder not one of these lightweights could scrape a cow pie off of Reagan’s boots.

Winner: Rick Perry I guess. He didn’t shoot anyone, though he acted as if he was ready to bitch slap Ron Paul at one point.

It is creepy how much applause Perry got for saying executing 234 people doesn’t trouble him. I’m sure they were all bad people who had it coming  (sarcasm fully intended), but what is it about these obnoxious Bible-thumpers that makes them SO eager to kill people?

Loser: Ronald Reagan. Looking down on these eight dopes in designer colostomy bags bumbling about for who is best qualified to take the country back to the Dark Ages, the Great Communicator has to be wondering WTF is up with the Republican Party if these bottom-feeders are the best the GOP can barf up.

Eight reasons to vote for Obama.

Eventually, someone will emerge, President Obama will have an real opponent and we’ll be off and running.

In 2012, the issue won’t be Tony Rezko, Bill Ayers, Rev. Wright, or any of that crap leftover from 2008. It will be on the president’s job performance and how Americans feel about their own job and economic situation. If they think Obama has better ideas than his Republican challenger, he’ll win. If they don’t, he’ll lose.

Obama knows that. His supporters may often wonder what he believes in and what he will fight for, but even his most committed opponents can’t deny one thing about him: Obama is one HELL of a campaigner.

He took on two better known and more experienced candidates in Hillary Clinton and John McCain and beat ’em both. Does anyone really think Rick Perry and Mitt Romney are in that weight class?

All of the top-tier Republican candidates has major liabilities. Romney is running as the preemptive favorite, but he isn’t well-liked by the base or GOP insiders, the Tea Party doesn’t trust him and the differences between Obamacare and Romneycare aren’t big enough for him to put much distance between his plan and the president’s.

Perry has great hair, the kind of politics that play well in a primary, but won’t translate well to pivoting back to the center in a general election. His economic policies are murky and his record on social issues are the kind that give liberals screaming nightmares. That may not matter if he can sell his “Texas created 40 percent of the nation’s new jobs” line to enough Independents. I have sincere doubts though once Perry starts taking fire for his record as the nation’s longest serving governor his hair is going to stay so unmussed.

Perry’s fatal flaw is he’s another Texas governor and the last one of those America tried pretty much trashed the joint before he finally cleared out.

Bachmann can’t turn off the crazy long enough to beat Romney or Perry in a primary.  If she doesn’t win Iowa she’s over and out. Plus, she’s a lightweight. For all her bluster, she hasn’t accomplished dick in the House. For all his uselessness, Tim Pawlenty did make that case rather clear.

The rest of the field barely deserves serious consideration though the Ron Paul Pack keeps hope alive, but his issues are gaining more traction than the candidate. Jon Hunstman makes nice-sounding noises of moderation, but he’s going nowhere except back to Utah.   Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Herman Cain are just different examples of the same kind right-wing tool.

This is why the GOP establishment keeps sucking up to Paul Ryan or Chris Christie hoping they’ll ride to their rescue. They see the flaws of their current field far better than I.

Obama is beatable. But it won’t be easily done and not at all by most of his current challengers. This thing is more his to lose than it is for the other guys to win.  To be the man you first have to beat the man and Obama is not going to make it easy for any challenger to take the belt.

Rick vs. Ron: Not discussing where to go to dinner.

Whitewashing Reagan’s Racist Past.

"So you boys wanna break for some fried chicken or something? You guys like fried chicken, right?"

I usually don’t cover the same topic in consecutive posts, but this latest example in whitewashing Ronald Reagan’s troublesome racial past was so far out there I couldn’t let it go without a  comment.

Check this out from Michael Reagan, one of dear dead Dutch’s brats writing  at Townhall.com:

Who was the first black president?

Two decades before the election of Barack Obama, novelist Toni Morrison dubbed Bill Clinton “our first black President.” She even said that Clinton was “blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children’s lifetime.”

Well, I could make an even stronger case for my father, Ronald Reagan, as “our first black president” — but I won’t make that claim. I don’t want to diminish the justifiable pride African-Americans take in having a president who is genetically and culturally black. Our first black president is Barack Obama.

But the past two years have made one thing clear: Ronald Reagan was a far better friend to black Americans than Barack Obama has been. Just compare the Reagan and Obama records. Under Obama, black unemployment rose from 12.6 percent in January 2009 to 16.0 percent today. This means that black unemployment has increased by more than one-fourth since Obama took office.

On this anniversary of Dr. King’s birthday, less than a month before the hundredth birthday of Ronald Reagan, it’s fitting to note that Ronald Reagan did more to improve the lives of African-Americans than any other president since Abraham Lincoln. Unfortunately, we have to acknowledge that America’s first black president has made life worse for us all — and especially for black Americans.

History does not judge presidents by the color of their skin, but by the content of their policies.

This is more than just another brain-dead commentary.  It’s a bald-faced lie and  even reposting it makes me feel like I’m validating it, but to let rank stupidity go unaddressed allows a lie to live and thrive when it’s picked up on repeated again and again.

Michael Reagan’s selective memory recall conveniently ignores President Obama inherited from the son of Reagan’s vice-president an economy in shambles and massive unemployment and housing foreclosures.

Sonny boy Mike also ignores how his daddy chose Philadelphia, Mississippi, where three Civil Rights workers were pursued and murdered by racists, to give the first major speech of his successful bid to unseat Jimmy Carter and professed his support of “state rights,” a phrase that has meant backing segregation.

Reagan personally was probably not a racist, but he surely did not mind providing aid and comfort to those who were such as the South Africa government and the sinister  system of White supremacy known as apartheid.   Reagan was real likable to the likes of P.W. Botha and the other bigots in Pretoria. For Nelson Mandela and the millions of Black South Africans suffering under the boot heel of the White minority? Probably not so much.

Reagan went so far as to veto The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 which banned all new U.S. trade and investment in South Africa and imposed sanctions against the regime. His veto was overridden by the Senate 78 to 21 and the House by 313 to 83. Congress handed Reagan a history-making rebuke as it marked the first time in the 20th century a foreign policy veto had been overridden.

Reagan could be on the wrong side of history and do it with a big ol’ smile and convince his followers it was all sunshine and rainbows.

It takes a special politician to pull off that kind of trick.   It takes the greatest Jedi mind trick of all time to rewrite history to make  Ronald Reagan a better friend to the Black community than Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  Michael Reagan attempt to do so should me rightly ridiculed as the  whitewashing of his daddy’s nod-and-winking embrace of racism and discrimination.

Ronnie: "Mommy, is there a strange Negro in the room?" Nancy: "Yes, there is. Ignore him and maybe he will go away."

Reassessing (and Romanticizing) Ronald Reagan

Reagan didn't take himself too seriously. That was the problem sometimes.

 

In the movie Chinatown, the sinister Noah Cross explains, “Politicians, ugly buildings and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.”   Perhaps that is why as the 100th birthday of Ronald Reagan is observed on February 6,   Reagan is being remembered, reassessed and romanticized.   Conservatives get misty-eyed reminiscing over the good old days when “Dutch” Reagan was large and in charge.  Liberals recall him with a bit less sentiment, but like attending the funeral for someone you didn’t like, are reserving their criticism for another time.

Even if you couldn’t stand the guy (and more often than not I couldn’t) , you had to hand it to him for his uncanny ability to turn a phrase, interject humor and show the kind of strength so many others have tried to emulate and failed dismally to pull off. An example was Reagan singing the praises of Dr. Martin Luther King:

Twenty four years ago, when President Ronald Reagan signed the legislation making Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday, he praised the civil rights leader for “awakening something strong and true, a sense that true justice must be color-blind.” In a 1986 message to the Congress of Racial Equality marking the observance of the holiday, Reagan was even more effusive in his praise, describing King as a “truly prophetic voice that reached out over the chasms of hostility, prejudice, ignorance and fear to touch the conscience of America.”

But even what Reagan gave gracefully with one hand he took back grudgingly with the other:

Yet, throughout congressional consideration of the legislation, President Reagan opposed the idea of a national holiday for King. Indeed, Reagan associated himself with the views of North Carolina’s Sen. Jesse Helms, the legislation’s most obdurate congressional opponent. During the Senate debate, Helms called for the opening of the FBI files on King, which he claimed would show that King was a communist or at least a communist sympathizer. When asked in an October 1983 news conference about Helms’ allegations, Reagan responded, “We will know in about 35 years, won’t we?” (referring to the time for the opening of the FBI files).

Reagan went on to say, “I don’t fault Sen. Helms’ sincerity with regard to wanting the records opened up. I think that he is motivated by a feeling that if we are going to have a national holiday named for any American, when it’s only been named for one American in all our history up until this time, that he feels we should know everything there is to know about an individual.”

That was Reagan all over: capable of soaring and inspirational rhetoric, yet far more coldly calculating than advertised.

I don’t get how Reagan has been raised to near-deity standards in some conservative quarters. However, if you look at his Republican presidential predecessors (Ford, Nixon, Eisenhower) and successors (Bush and Bush Jr.), he does stand pretty tall in comparison to those guys.

If anything Reagan came along after the maddening mediocrity of back-to-back Chief Executives (Ford and Carter) and even if all his deeds matched up with the high-minded rhetoric, Reagan made a lot of Americans feel good about themselves and the country. He was probably not just the Great Communicator, but the Great Cheerleader as well as he seemed to personify both confidence and a bit of old school swagger as well.

Reagan’s kindly uncle veneer masked a lot of ugly policies and deeds by his Administration which was one of the most corrupt Washington has ever seen. Reagan may not have had a bigoted bone in his body. He simply didn’t seem to give race much thought His inept handling of the Bob Jones University case was one example of The Gipper fueling the suspicion he was a nice old man who wasn’t interested in messy details.

No president can be all things to all people and Reagan is certainly no exception. I wouldn’t go so far as to chisel his face on Mt. Rushmore as some of his admirers suggested with complete sincerity, but I wouldn’t say Reagan was evil, vindictive, dumb or senile as some of his detractors have.

The sunny optimism of Reagan has been replaced by the doom-and-gloom conservatism of today where everything is going wrong, getting worse and sucking hard.  The ideological inflexibility of the Tea Party would not have much patience with Reagan’s “aw gee whiz and shucks” affability,   preferring the “eat glass and pound sand” vitriol of a Palin, Limbaugh and Beck.

When I assess the Reagan Presidency he’s no hero to me, but neither was he totally a villain.  My expectations of President Reagan was I expected nothing from him and he delivered on it.   Reagan did his share of dirt, but  his approach was to slip the knife in with a smile.   Nixon was a thug who breaks into your house at night and strangles puppies while you sleep.  Bush41 was a wimp and his blundering idiot son a total screw-up of everything he touched.

The praises of Ronald Reagan will be sung this weekend and his legacy pondered.   Reagan’s most ardent supporters consider him one of the nation’s greatest presidents, but that’s in part because many of those who believe he damned near walked on water conveniently overlook Reagan’s many shortcomings and outright failures as president.

Sarah Palin: Graceless Under Pressure

Sarah Palin finally made a public statement over the Arizona shootings and the criticism directed at her over her part in creating an atmosphere of incivility and outright hostility in the American political discourse.

It wasn’t her finest moment. She included an obscure anti-Semitic referral to “blood libel” in her meandering, nearly eight minutes in length video.

Vigorous and spirited public debates during elections are among our most cherished traditions. And after the election, we shake hands and get back to work, and often both sides find common ground back in D.C. and elsewhere. If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.

Poor Palin. Even when she tries to get right, she’s STILL wrong. She focused more on defending herself than conveying true sympathy for Rep. Giffords and the other victims. Graceless under pressure.

Writing in the Huffington Post Rabbi Brent Hirschfield explained the meaning behind a “blood libel” and why Jews took offense to Palin’s usage of the phrase.  First let’s be clear about what a blood libel is. In the briefest terms, it is the charge that Jews use the blood of non-Jews, typically that of children, for ritual purposes, especially the making of Passover matzah.

The charge, which originated among medieval Catholics, has also been used by Protestants and more recently by Muslims too, to provoke rage at Jews — rage which on many occasions resulted in violence against Jews, and even their murders. That’s what makes Palin’s use of the term so interesting — for the analogy to work, she must be the Jew!

Palin channeled the Great Communicator when she said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker.”

That’s groovy and hip and a sentiment I think most would agree with. Where she gets in trouble with me is in the following line: ” It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”

Where is Palin’s taking responsibility for the gun sights trained on the districts of Democratic representatives including that of Gabrielle Giffords? Where was Palin’s concession that perhaps “Don’t Retreat–instead RELOAD” might not have been the best way to get her point across?

There was none of that. Just her usual lashing out against her enemies in the press.  When she should rise above the fray once again she gets dragged down by her inability to never overlook a slight. How sadly predictable. How typically Palinesque.

Palin uses loaded words and images and then tries to act surprised when they go off. No, she didn’t pull the trigger in Arizona and I wasn’t expecting her to issue any half-assed apologies, but she could have expressed a little less of the “why is everybody picking on ME?” whining and a lot more of the “let’s set aside our differences and come together as Americans to help the victims and start the healing.”

She could have done that, but she decided to stick to her guns. As usual, it’s all about Sarah. Graceless under pressure.

Somewhere in those eight minutes she and her speechwriters should have referenced an even greater communicator than Reagan and that’s Martin Luther King, Jr. who said, “Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”

This was a missed opportunity by the ex-governor. She could have used this moment to grow in stature and look as though she had it within her to lead a nation instead of a conservative movement. She chose instead to toss aside the opportunity for statesmanship and lashed out bitterly while throwing red meat to the her base.

In the always churning and swirling political waves, prominent figures both ride the wave and are swept under. But Palin’s arrogance, sense of entitlement and narcissism was on full display in her video message. She wants to be president and she’s shown she can be plenty tough and unyielding in her principles. What she has always shown in her reflexive swagger is a complete lack of humility.

Barack Obama has a swagger. George W. Bush had a swagger and a smirk to go along with it. You have to if you’re going to take the incoming flak from your opponents, but it seems playing defense and issuing smackdowns is all Sarah Palin is about.

These are not qualities I want from someone who would be making critical decisions that weigh on all Americans.

Palin fires back at her detractors