Report From Trump’s Alt-Reich Wednesday, Feb 1 2017 


Two weeks into Donald Trump’s presidency, this much we know: If Trump were to issue an executive order suspending the first 10 amendments to the Constitution . . .

  1. Paul Ryan would issue a statement saying he was “deeply troubled” by the order but would withhold judgment until he had a chance to study it in full.
  2. Mitch McConnell would issue a statement expressing “concern” over the order’s effect on the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.
  3. John McCain and Lindsay Graham would issue a statement expressing “outrage” over the order and their intention to hold hearings on it as soon as they finished hearings on three other executive orders they were outraged about.
  4. Reince Priebus would issue a statement blaming CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post for reporting news of the order.
  5. Kellyanne Conway would issue a statement saying the election is over, Trump won, and the President’s critics ought to “shut up” and “get with the program.”
  6. Charles Krauthammer would write a column deploring the order, blaming it on Barack Obama for having set a precedent by issuing executive orders.
  7. Marco Rubio would make a speech saying while Trump’s order suspending the first 10 amendments was OK, “He’d better not mess with the Bill of Rights.”


Sound bite to remember

Once to every man and nation

Comes the moment to decide

In the strife of truth with falsehood,

For the good or evil side.

–James Russell Lowell

An Open Letter To Barry Goldwater on Why I Am Leaving the Republican Party Tuesday, Mar 8 2016 


Dear Barry,

Since your running for president over half a century ago brought me into the Republican Party, I figure you’re the one to tell why I’m leaving it.

To get straight to the point, do you remember the bullshitting New York real estate hustler who made a reputation opening (and bankrupting) Atlantic City casinos when you were still around? The spoiled rich kid who inherited $200 million from his father, was born on third base and brags he hit a triple? Dumped his first wife to marry a young model, then dumped her to marry a younger model?

That’s right, Donald Trump. In your day we thought he was a Democrat because he gave so much money to Democratic candidates. But lo and behold he now claims he’s a conservative Republican and thinks he should be the party’s 2016 candidate for president.

No foreign policy experience. No domestic policy experience. But what the hell, since cursing Washington and looking down at the rest of the world is all the current party base now seems to want, he’s their man.

Oh, I forgot: No military experience either. Four Favorite Son deferments during the Vietnam War, enough draft-dodging to make Bill Clinton look like Sergeant York. Yet he had the rich kid’s temerity to call John McCain a “loser” for spending five years in a prisoner-of-war camp.

Not that he doesn’t have foreign and domestic policy ideas, e.g., he’d round up and deport 11 million Mexican immigrants because, as he tells his crowds, Mexicans are “rapists”; he’d build a wall across the Rio Grande and “make Mexico pay for it”; he’d bar all Muslims from entering the country, put full-scale surveillance on all mosques, authorize torture and waterboarding (“even if it doesn’t work”) and go after Middle Eastern terrorists by killing their families. (No, Barry, I am not making this up.)

Of course, carrying out policies like that is bound to attract criticism, but Trump has ideas on how to handle that, too. He’d tighten the libel laws to muzzle the press, and for those critics who heckle his speeches he’d encourage their being “roughed up” – the roughing possibly carried out by followers of the neo-Nazi Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, whose support Trump can’t find the full-throated voice to repudiate.

I can imagine what you’re thinking about now: A megalomaniacal nut case like that is going nowhere in a party that claims to be conservative. Sorry to break the news and I hope whatever cloud bank you’re on you’re sitting down, but barring a political miracle before the convention, Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president in 2016.

There’ll be some sideshow skirmishes, of course, since a sizeable number of party leaders will try to block his nomination. They see it as an aberration. Trump’s outrageous posturing, says one such leader, Paul Ryan, doesn’t reflect “who we are.” But the evidence, to my eyes, is otherwise; which is to say that Trumpism isn’t so much the problem as a symptom of the problem.

Remember how, back when you were Mr. Conservative, you’d get together with liberal Democrats in the Senate to work out compromise legislation? Your slogan was, “You can disagree without being disagreeable.” Well for the past decade, Republicans in Congress have considered compromise a dirty word, and those who think otherwise get removed from office by political Luddites who call themselves the Tea Party. You wanted to limit the size of government. The Luddites want to do away with it altogether. They talk about fighting “the Establishment,” but as this year’s primaries show, they now are the Republican Establishment.

Proof of that? The runner-up to Trump in the race for the nomination is Texas Senator Ted Cruz, whose claim to fame is a penchant for shutting down the government not only by refusing to expand the debt limit but, if necessary, to defund Planned Parenthood. (That’s right, the same Planned Parenthood your wife, Peggy, belonged to.)

Again, sorry to ruin your day, but leaving the party you brought me into is no easy matter; though I have a feeling if you were still around it’d be easier because you’d be leading the exit.

–As ever, Vic


Sound bite to remember

“Sometimes party loyalty asks too much.”

–John F. Kennedy, on refusing to appoint someone to a judgeship he considered unqualified

The Mitt and Johnny Show Tuesday, May 29 2012 

Attending a Memorial Day tribute with Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Mr. Romney declared that “the world is not safe” and criticized President Obama without mentioning him by name for proposing cuts in military spending.

                          — From the New York Times report on Mitt Romney’s Memorial Day speech in San Diego

 With unerring inaccuracy, Mitt Romney sets out to honor those fallen in battle and ends up making a speech better suited for Armed Forces Day. More military spending – money even the Pentagon says it doesn’t want – but let’s understand the man’s dilemma: With John McCain by his side, you can’t very well come off sounding like a tree-hugging peacenik.

McCain, who can’t throw a dart at a map without hitting some country he thinks American troops should be invading, had his own inspired Memorial Day moment when, according to the Times, he “joked about the Marines and received laughter from the audience.”

Memorial Day tribute? Rename it: Patriotism in the age of sound bites is no longer the last refuge of scoundrels. It’s the first refuge of political clowns.

Putdown to Remember (circa 1950)

REPORTER: Mr. Lewis, somebody asked President Truman to make you U.S. ambassador to Russia, and he said he wouldn’t appoint you dogcatcher.

U.M.W. CHIEF JOHN L. LEWIS: Of course he wouldn’t because if he did he’d have more brains in the Dog Department than he has in the State Department.

Of memorials and rallies Sunday, Jan 16 2011 

“President Obama gave a terrific speech Wednesday night.”

John McCain in the Washington Post, 1/16/11

Remember that bridge to the 21st century Bill Clinton used to talk about? It turns out to be easier for some to cross than for others. For those born, raised, and brainlocked into the 20th century, last week’s “terrific speech” from Tucson is a prime example of how far we’ve fallen behind.

Not as a partisan carp but simply as an observation: I can’t recall any prior presidential address at a memorial service that brought on sustained cheering and standing ovations. I’d tuned in for what I presumed would be – as the President had previously called for – a moment of “prayer or reflection” and instead found myself watching the equivalent of a celebrative political rally.

That, however – or so I’m advised by editorialists and commentators – is the way it’s done nowadays.

It seems that L.P. Hartley had it only half-right. “The past is a foreign country,” he wrote. “They do things differently there.” Add to that, from this observer’s perspective, that for some of us it’s the present that’s a foreign country. They do things differently here. Or should I say, terrifically?

McCAIN DEFEATS OBAMA! Wednesday, Nov 17 2010 

It turns out that Tea Party members are not alone in their depressing view of the direction the country is headed. According to one over-caffeinated Left-wing hysteric — there are a few of those around — Michael Bloomberg will run for president in 2012 and take enough votes away from Barack Obama to elect Sarah Palin president.

I find several glitches in that scenario, not the least of which that we have yet to see a birth certificate proving that Sarah Palin was born on this planet.  That aside, I have already dreamed my worst-case Palin narrative, a hallucinated alternative history reversing the result of the 2008 election.

Think of it: President McCain in the Oval Office, mulling whether he can spare troops from the 200,000 boots-on-the-ground in Afghanistan to add to the 50,000 on-the-ground in Yemen, without reducing the number available for the pending invasion of Iran; while one heartbeat away Vice President Palin, just returned from her most recent book tour, preps her family for the first installment of the new Fox reality show, “Mama Grizzly Goes to Washington.”