Drumpf Will Self-Dumpf

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The GOP knows it cannot survive as a party with Donald J. Drumpf at the top of the ticket. For the record, Drumpf is Trump’s ancestral name changed to Trump in Europe long before he was born. I use Drumpf in jest because of its silly sound in English and not derisively, although if he takes offense, he should learn to take a dose of his own medicine which he frequently delivers in the form of nicknames to ridicule his opponents. The presumptive and  presumptious GOP nominee seems only to care about his brand and ego. As far as I can tell, he has no core ethical principles.  He appears to say and do only what he believes will be in the best interest of his brand, not the country, and he has shown no restraint in this regard.  Drumpf has repeatedly made racist remarks against Mexicans, even calling a judge of Mexican heritage, who was born in Indiana, unfit to preside in a case brought against Trump University because as Trump put it, “I’m building a wall!” Drumpf has called for a ban on Muslims entering this country, making an exception for the Mayor of London, until “we can figure out what is going on.” As a result of this policy that he now calls a suggestion, he doubts whether Muslim judges could be partial in court cases in which Trump concerns are involved.  What?

Drumpf is the most divisive candidate I can remember in my lifetime.  Exhibit 1: The clashes at rallies recently in California.  Doesn’t it strike you as unusual that the Drumpf campaign would choose locations where the candidate has virtually no support, where  large numbers of students including latino activists would be upset by his presence and come out in full protest? He is a provocateur and knew of the potential for violent clashes and wanted the cameras to spread images of prideful flag holding Mexican-Americans and immigrants that Trump wants the electorate to believe are un-American, illegal and violent.  He relishes chaos and favors the tactic of race-baiting to divide people.

His slogan to Make America Great Again suggests that America is on the decline, which one could argue, but Trump’s particular arguments don’t hold water.  He argues America doesn’t win anymore.  He claims the military and our foreign policy positions are weak citing the Iran deal and the continued existence of ISIS and NATO.  He suggests that our trade deals are bad and have led to outsourcing and the loss of manufacturing jobs to cheap foreign labor.  Some of these impacts have to do with corporate greed.  So Trump would incentivize American companies to return home with more tax breaks – some corporations pay very little at all as it is – and Trump would call for massive tax breaks for the top 1%. America, however, on many measures can be said to be already great or  even greater than before.  We have a stable constitution and system of democracy which give Americans the right to vote (or not); the right to free speech and assembly; the right to freely worship any religion or none at all.  On other quality of life metrics, Americans are living longer thanks to Obamacare which has insured millions of the previously uninsured.  Gas prices are the lowest they’ve been since 2008 and much lower than during the Bush years. Unemployment remains below 5% and for President Obamas’s 8-year tenure, (8.1%) lower than President Reagan’s numbers at (8.2%). In fact, the unemployment rate of 4.9% so far for 2016, is the lowest rate since November of 2007 before the financial meltdown of 2008, and the stock market has become more stable and productive due to regulatory reform. On the foreign policy front, the Taliban, Al Queda, and ISIS have been kept in check of late; chemical weapons have been reduced in the Middle East and Iran is no longer in pursuit of nuclear weapons.  Far from being on the decline, America is still a key world leader and for better or worse, the only real superpower in terms of overall influence.

America, while great on some measures, is not so great on others.  There are serious problems that America must tackle, including income equality, immigration reform, racism, crumbling infrastructure, gun violence, climate change, and spiraling education costs to name a few on the domestic front. And America must do its part to help solve the refugee crisis in Europe, to broker peace in the Middle East and to reduce the threat of global terrorism.

But what Drumpf means by Make America Great Again is that America is becoming more diverse which is a direct threat to white supremacy.  White supporters of Drumpf are freaking out over changing demographics or the “browning” of America which will lead to declining white influence, power, and control. Drumpf has done a masterful job of  stoking these fears and insecurities and now has an army of angry whites who feel wronged by an African American president who Trump has tried to delegitimize by calling into question his citizenship and his academic and presidential accomplishments. Trump entertains all kinds of conspiracy theories and insinuates that Obama is a Muslim at heart because he won’t use the phrase Islamic terrorism, and that he is hell bent on taking down Christianity, a religion that Trump, ironically, appears to know very little about – remember the 2 Corinthians comment?

Finally, it would appear that the GOP leadership has had enough of Drumpf’s schtick.  They no longer support him and don’t want to be associated with his racist rhetoric. The general electorate has become increasingly alarmed about this unhinged candidate whose bizarre behavior is no longer entertaining and has become frightening. And Drumpf himself understands that his poll numbers have dropped significantly but is too stubborn and egotistical to pivot to unite the GOP.  He only cares about his brand, and now the brand is, as Trump would say, “taking a hit.”  As a businessman, Drumpf knows when to cut his losses and I wouldn’t be surprised if he dropped out of the race shortly before or at the GOP convention.  And who will step in to save the day for the GOP?  Will it be Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney? How about Marco Rubio? Will Ted Cruz be back in the mix? God, I hope not! Who would the leadership get behind? Could Jeb Bush reemerge? I had predicted from the beginning the nominees would be Clinton and Bush.  Might I be right after all?

Fiscal Curb Hopping

The F-22 Raptor fifth generation

Let’s go off the fiscal cliff.  Let’s do it.  I, for one, have always wanted to bungee jump or sky dive off a mountain.  It would be a thrill of a lifetime.  And I’ve been saying for years now that cliff diving should be an Olympic Sport and with all the attention given to going off the fiscal cliff, cliff diving may just make a comeback.  By the way, speaking of the movie Skyfall, which I keep wanting to call Free Fall, I reviewed it here, if you are interested in a review that won’t ruin the ending to help you decide whether to plunk down serious coin to see it at your local theatre.  But back to the fiscal cliff, why not take the plunge, not only would it be fun, it would:

Raise taxes by 2% on everyone, sorry billionaires, I know it’s going to hurt you most of all.

Reduce bloated defense spending by 10%.  Sorry Lockheed Martin, we don’t need that 6th generation F-22 Raptor II upgrade.  The 5th generation of birds will do just fine and are still the finest birds by two generations over anything else out there.

Cut medicare by 2%.  Ouch, I know that hurts, but it will only hurt profitable providers, not beneficiaries.

By the way, the sequester would not touch programs like social security, medicaid, food stamps, temporary assistance to needy families, and veteran’s benefits.

But it won’t happen.  We ain’t going off the cliff people.  Actually, some call the cliff a curb.  And we’re not even going off the curb, because as Chris Hayes says, “no one actually cares about the deficit“.  They don’t, GOP and DEMS alike.  The GOP wants to preserve tax cuts for billionaires and spending on a bloated military.  And DEMS whose home districts benefit from military spending, don’t want the automatic spending cuts to defense even though our country is armed to the teeth and as ready to defend and wage war as ever before.

Dang, I always wanted to skydive – to freefall just like in my dreams where I’d wake up before I hit the ground.  I’d even like to put on one of those jet pack suits and fly freely like a bird, although it appears the cliff is little more than a bridge from which one could safely bungee jump.  And if it is simply a curb as some have suggested, well, I’ll just put on my sneaks, stand at the precipice and pretend.

MITT, Welcome to the Grand Old Party of No

Romney appears to be on his way to wrapping up the Republican nomination but not without a spirited fight.  Mitt Romney is a terrifyingly flawed candidate who has steamrolled his competitors with negative SuperPac ads, but has yet to excite the GOP base.  I have some advice for the Romney campaign on how to connect to Tea Party zealots and the Christian right. First, though, he has to understand that the current party is not his father’s Grand Old Party. Rather, what Romney finds himself the spokesman for is the Grand Old Party of NO.

As to advice, I offer 5 ideas and one tip:

First, Romney needs to generate a buzz with talk of running mates.  I have a list of promising candidates sure to have the right dancing in the streets with unbridled enthusiasm. It is such a talented list that I can barely contain my own enthusiasm: Sharon Angle, Kid Rock, Wylie Coyote, Rick Perry, who is a much better hunter than Romney and a much straighter shooter than Cheney, Christine O’Donnell who once dabbled in witchcraft but is not a witch, Ted Nugent, Bozo the Clown, Sheppard “Pie” Smith, Judge Arpaio, Jan Brewer, Curt Schilling, “Feeling Groovy” Grover “the muppet” Norquist, the affable, laughable Foster “Grant” Freiss, Dan Quayle, who may have done some small game varmant hunting himself, the VA Governor, what’s his name?, Glenn Beck, Tucker Carlson and one of my favorites, Muttley, Dick Dasterly’s snickering dog from Hanna-Barbera’s Wacky Races. And indeed the GOP race has turned out to be just that.

Second, Mr. Romney (as he’s called in the NY Times) needs to talk about jobs, beyond just saying that he knows how to create them.  Romney needs to get more specific and argue that all Americans should have the right to live in a right to work state with no union protection and the promise of limited benefits with no minimum wage. Watch the crowd go nuts when he announces a plan to eliminate the minimum wage and privatize social security in his first 100 days.

Third, Mr. Mitt should clearly articulate his energy policy, one that all conservatives could rally behind.  The plan is simple really:  dig, drill and frack every drop of oil on U.S. soil. I can just hear the crowd roar with a chant of their own – USA, USA, USA.  Next, Romney should unveil a plan for the XL pipeline that involves a pipeline in every suburban backyard.  And if that weren’t enough to satisfy the base, here’s the deal sealer: a tax break for those willing to convert their backyard pools into a nuclear waste site.  Pure genius. Country First!

Fourth, he needs to assure the conservative base that he will do all in his power and more to deforest and patriotically denude the nation of its precious natural resources with a deregulating passion never before seen in a candidate. Out with the EPA – who needs clean air and water anyway? Personally, I prefer the flammable variety myself, builds character. The Romney team should focus group these new bold slogans: “Pollute with Impunity”, “Who Gives a Hoot, Pollute”, “Love That Fiery Water”, “Smoky the Bear is a Marxist”, “Pollutants are For Lovers”, and finally, “Acid Rain is Good for the Brain”. And when Romney gets on a role and has the crowd in a rabid frenzy, he might as well announce the end of the FDA, OHSHA, NHTSA, NIH and NPR too.

Finally, he needs to remind the party what it has become:  the Grand Old Party of NO.  And remind them not what they are for, but what they are against:

Women, birth control, sex, reproductive freedom, gays, immigrants, the poor, the middle class, unions, regulations, clean air, clean water, fuel efficient cars, conservation, gun control, consumer protection, taxes, fair elections, minimum wage, higher wages, income equality, the 99%, public education, college, the safety net, heath care reform, compromise, diplomacy, clean energy, science, and the separation of church and state.  Now if this platform of NO doesn’t excite the conservative base, nothing will.

Tip:  Lose the ironed jeans.