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Trump seems surprised at the limits of his powers

  Of all the stupid things President Trump has said during his nine-plus months on the job, few can rival the points he made yesterday in a talk-show interview with host Larry O’Connor on a Washington radio station. The Donald confessed, in effect, that he’s been surprised to learn that the powers of the presidency do not include a license to use the federal criminal-justice system against his political enemies. Here’s what he said: The saddest thing is because I’m the president of the United States. I’m not...

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Is “values” still a political buzzword?

  Political fads and fashions come and go in American life, and sometimes we barely notice when they’re gone  . It recently occurred to me, for example, that we don’t hear as much these days about “values” as we did about a decade ago. Yes, there’s still an annual gathering of right-wing extremists called the Values Voter Summit, or some such thing, but the V-word somehow has lost whatever impact it once had. The oratory in last year’s primary and general election campaigns may have touched upon...

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Does Trump really believe his phony boasts?

  Donald Trump has been president for more than nine months now, and to hear him tell it, he’s the best one America has ever had. By now, you’re probably familiar with Trump’s incessant boasting that he’s a man of unlimited talents, boundless intellect, unprecedented popularity and more political moxie than all his presidential predecessors put together. The truly scary aspect of all this is that The Donald seems to actually believe every word of it — even when the best available evidence contradicts him....

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Is Gen. Kelly dumber than Donald Trump?

  John Kelly, the retired four-star Marine general whose main job at the White House presumably is to keep Donald Trump from playing with nuclear buttons and from getting fresh with female staffers, suddenly has shown that his grasp of American history is roughly as weak as that of his boss. In an interview on Fox News the other night, Kelly said the principal cause of the Civil War was an inability of the two sides to reach a “compromise.” (You can pause here for a moment to bring your laughter under control. Or perhaps...

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Trump is toast!

  You regular readers of this blog — or at least the more intelligent among you — may have noticed that I showed uncommon prescience in two of my posts last week. The first of these came on Monday when I called for Robert Mueller, the special counsel in the federal investigation of Russian meddling in last year’s American elections, to speed-up the process a bit if only to give hope to the majority of Americans who disapprove of Donald Trump as president. The second came on Friday when I publicly shared my sense —...

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Will Mueller soon lower the boom?

  In a post here earlier this week, I pleaded with Special Counsel Robert Mueller to move more quickly in his investigation of possible wrongdoing by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in its relationships with the Russian government. My principal point was that the nation’s foul mood will improve the sooner they see Mueller and the rest of his posse moving in for the proverbial kill. I have more recently discerned a somewhat vague sense among certain pundits that the Trump team seems increasingly worried that Mueller &...

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Will JFK conspiracy theories rise anew?

  At this writing, I’m eagerly waiting with all the conspiratorial kooks for today’s scheduled release of scads of previously secret documents pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. This is going to be fun. No, I don’t expect that this laying-bare of huge mountains of mostly bureaucratic gobbledygook is going to significantly alter the judgments long embraced among people on all sides of the controversy. Folks on my side — the sensible people, we could call them — think the...

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Remember John B. Anderson?

  The political fuss stirred recently by Republican U.S. Sens. Bob Corker and Jeff Flake with their stated distaste for Donald Trump’s style might remind some people of the time more than 40 years ago when another prominent GOP lawmaker spoke out against another Republican president, Richard Nixon. That man was U.S. Rep. John B. Anderson, a Rockford native and the third-ranking Republican in the U.S. House. But his break with the GOP became far more complete and profound than anything Corker or Flake has even hinted at. These two...

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Is Bob Corker a hero?

  Like me, you’ve probably heard or read little or nothing about Bob Corker until just recently. And now, suddenly, he’s become a national figure. Corker has been a Republican U.S. senator from Tennessee for the past 10 years, but he’s also announced that he will not seek a third term in next year’s election. Oh, and he’s denounced Donald Trump in no uncertain terms, declaring, in effect, that the man is an inveterate liar and a pathological nutcase who is unfit for the presidency. That sounds about right to...

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Mr. Mueller, please hurry

  Two things about the headline above: 1. On the outside chance that some readers are not familiar with his name, I should note that Robert Mueller is the so-called special counsel, the head guy, in the federal investigation of possible Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election. 2. My eagerness — “please hurry” — does not mean that I want Mueller to be anything less than thorough and fair in his probe. It’s just that widespread public disgust with the Trump administration is taking an...

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Dubya redeems himself

  Though never a fan of George W. Bush, I hereby join the chorus of praise of the former president for his landmark speech yesterday in which he lambasted Donald Trump without ever mentioning him by name. Dubya’s remarks amounted to a worthy summation of true Americanism and a warning against the bully-boy brand of politics practiced by Trump. He condemned the excessive nationalism touted by the current occupant of the White House, arguing that it alienates America from many of its democratic friends around the world. Bush also...

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Are you a patriotic American?

    A few years ago, Gallup or one of  the  other major polling operations surveyed a cross-section of the American populace on the issue of patriotism. The most curious of the results, as I recall, was that Republicans were considerably more likely than Democrats or political independents to say that they were “extremely patriotic.” That struck me  as so typically Republican. Extremism seems to be the long suit among today’s GOPers. But the main problem with that poll was that patriotism is a nebulous concept. We...

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