Not long ago, former President Jimmy Carter said that 80 years old is too old to carry out the duties of President of the United States. He should know since he was the President – and knows the duties – and he is now 94 years old – so he knows what really old age is like. He is right.
Pondering Carter’s opinion – and realizing that I am just a couple of putts away from 80, myself – I have abandoned all ambitions and plans to run for President of the United States. As onetime Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen responded when asked about plans to run for President despite his age – “That ship has long ago left the dock.”
The pollsters tell us that Former Vice President Biden has the edge with older voters. As an older voter, I am surprised. All the folks with whom I communicate who are 80 or older talk about all the creeping limitations of body and mind – and that is even the most vigorous of them. They tire easily. They get forgetful and confused a bit. They already have a host of medical issues that sap their vitality.
Even the most vigorous septuagenarians and octogenarians recognize that they are in the danger zone of life – that time when “anything can happen.” We seniors are a day away from a catastrophic health event. Though not catastrophic, we saw how a small heart attack took Senator Bernie Sanders off the campaign trail for a week or so.
Joe Biden and Sanders have both already surpassed the life expectancy of an average American male (76 years). The fact that both have had serious health problems in the past puts them at even a higher risk. The odds suggest that Biden and Sanders will have significant health issues sometime in the next four years. You can bet on it.
If we just consider geriatrics, President Trump has the age advantage. He is a kid compared to them. At 74, he would complete a second term before he hit 80. In fact, he would leave office after 8 years at the same age Biden or Sanders would be inaugurated for their first term – making them the oldest presidents every elected.
President Reagan was 78 when he completed two terms – and there were reports that he was already suffering from age-related health issues in his final months in office.
I know it is politically incorrect to question a person’s ability purely because of age, but as Biden, himself, often says, “Come on man, get real.” The presidency is an extremely demanding job. There are enormous pressures. Long days and short nights. It requires great stamina – not something found in very old people.
In brief appearances, Biden looks great – full of energy. But he also has a lot of time off from the campaign trail. He can afford to do that during a campaign, but not as President.
Biden is showing his age, as they say. Many of his gaffes are common in older folks. He forgets or confuses names and places. He loses his train of thought in what some call a “senior moment.”
Sanders does not seem to mind showing his age. That is not true of Biden – who uses makeup to cover up lines and “age spots” during television appearances.
I would never suggest that age be the ONLY criteria for determining a vote, but it should be taken into consideration. After all, President Franklin Roosevelt was elected to a fourth term when those close to him knew that he was terminally ill – and would not live out the first year much less the entire four-year term.
It is increasingly likely that Biden will be the Democratic nominee for President. Most supporters will vote for him despite his age. They should not, however, think that age and health will not be an important issue sooner than they might think.
So, there ‘tis.
A local Texas school district has approved a measure that will allow teachers to conceal carry in the classroom.
Nearly two years after the deadly Santa Fe High School shooting, a Texas school district is set to begin allowing some teachers to be permitted to carry guns on school premises for safety purposes.
Last week, the Santa Fe Independent School District announced plans to implement the Guardian Plan, which will allow local school boards to authorize employees to conceal carry on campus at all times.
The plan comes as an expansion of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s 2013 school marshal program. However, School Board President Rusty Norman said he prefers the Guardian Plan because it allows employees to carry the firearms themselves rather than in a lock-box under the alternative proposed by Abbott.
Norman made the following comments regarding the initiative, “There will be no one forced to participate in this program. Number one, it will be strictly voluntary. Number two, there will be some guidelines like they will already have to be established within the state of Texas and licensed to carry a concealed hand gun. There will be background checks above and beyond what they already had and then the additional training that we will require to do that.”
According to reports, the district plans to finance the program with its general funding and will pay for participant’s training. Approved applicants will be required to complete a minimum of 40 hours of training and meet the same marksmanship standards as an on-campus officer. Additionally, applicants will undergo the same psychological testing as police officers.
Norman said that while he understands many schools will not take such measures, the move is designed to be a last line of defense and provide a sense of safety to teachers.
As it becomes more likely that Joe Biden will win the Democratic Presidential nomination, Republican lawmakers are gearing up to investigate his son Hunter.
In 2016, then-Vice President Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in aid money to Ukraine unless its leaders fired a prosecutor who was investigating energy company Burisma Holdings.
At the time, Biden’s son Hunter served on Burisma’s Board of Directors for $50,000 per month despite having no experience in the industry.
Critics say the situation represents a serious conflict of interest comparable to the allegations about Trump colluding with Russia.
This week, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) convinced Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) to support his colleague’s efforts to subpoena individuals close to the matter.
Without Romney, Republicans would be unable to issue subpoenas if all Democratic senators opposed.
“Senator Romney has expressed his concerns to Chairman Johnson, who has confirmed that any interview of the witness would occur in a closed setting without a hearing or public spectacle,” said a spokesperson. “He will therefore vote to let the chairman proceed to obtain the documents that have been offered.”
Johnson’s requests for interviews and documents related to the matter have been ignored, forcing him to consider subpoenas.
Among those expected to receive subpoenas is Andrii Telizhenko, a former employee of political consultancy firm Blue Star Strategies. Blue Star, representing Ukraine, is thought to have sought access to Joe Biden through his son in order to influence the US State Department.
Trump’s desire for this investigation is what led to his impeachment last year. Romney was the only Republican to vote in favor of convicting Trump on the first article of impeachment.
Among the mainstay narratives of the Democratic Party is that money corrupts politics — and that the division between the rich and poor is a national crisis. Those claims have always been a bit hyperbolic, but now they are downright hypocritical. Thanks go to former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for exposing it.
If, as expected, Bloomberg keeps his pledge to use hundreds of millions of dollars to elect former Vice President Joe Biden, Democrat House and Senate candidates and an untold number of Democrats to state and local office, he will be living proof that all that left-wing talk about money corrupting politics was empty political talking points.
By dangling dollars in front of the Democratic Party — like carrion in front of vultures — Bloomberg exposes the whore-ish underbelly of left-wing politics. Their governing principle is to do whatever is necessary to win.
While his socialist policies are as bad and crazy as can be, at least Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has the courage of his misguided convictions. He has stated that he does not want Bloomberg’s money and would not take it if he were the nominee – as unlikely as that may seem today. And that goes for all those other billionaire fat cats.
Conversely, Biden, Democrat National Chairman Tom Perez and every other Democrat and progressive fundraising organization are on their knees kissing Bloomberg’s ring (one would hope) with hands outstretched.
In their lust of his wallet, the entire Democratic Party has tossed aside their longstanding objection to the influence of big money in politics. They are reminiscent of what one-time southern Democrat senator said when asked how much he needed for his campaign. He replied. “All I can get.”
Our ridiculous federal election laws prevent guys like Bloomberg from donating big bucks directly to federal campaigns – President, Senate and House. But they can do two things – use their cadre of friends to bundle lots of $2700 donations. But even better, they can set up what are known as “independent expenditure committees” and fund them with as much of their money as they like. No limit.
This loophole enables a guy like Bloomberg to advertise nice things ABOUT a candidate as long has he does not talk TO or conspire WITH the candidate. Only a Congress would come up with nutty laws like that.
Ever since they passed the federal election laws of the 1970s, I have been a constant critic. It makes no sense to restrict what a candidate can accept in donations and still allow the creation of these loophole committees that pour billions of dollars into the process. We should allow unlimited direct contributions, have larger contributions publicly reported and let we the people decide what we think about the contributors and the candidate taking the money.
Since campaign money is used to “get out the message,” I like to think that every candidate will have the resources to tell his or her story to the voters –and not be defeated by a LACK of money. Money spent on campaigns is good for democracy – hell, it is essential. Let the candidates take in the money and get rid of all these external committees over which the candidate has no control over the message.
On the final analysis, it is NOT the fact that Bloomberg is willing to spend so much money to support candidates – let him – but let all the candidates who do not have such a bank-roller compete by raising sufficient money. Besides, all that money spent on campaigns is good for the economy. Think of all the people and businesses they hire or retain.
So, I am not pointing at the money, but at the gross hypocrisy of the left-wing Democratic Party that talks against big contributions while eagerly soliciting them.
So, there ‘tis.
In the wake of Joe Biden’s startling comeback on Super Tuesday, Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has given up his bid for the Democratic nomination. As quickly as the former New York mayor dropped out of the race, he threw his support behind Biden, officially endorsing the former Vice President.
Bloomberg dropping out marks the end of an unprecedented, high-spending, self-funded campaign that rejected conventional campaign tactics.
His announcement comes as early results in Super Tuesday states show that he failed to become the choice of centrists as dropout candidates and Democratic leaders coalesced around the former vice president in the days before the Tuesday contests.
“I’m a believer in using data to inform decisions. After yesterday’s results, the delegate math has become virtually impossible — and a viable path to the nomination no longer exists,” Bloomberg said in a statement Wednesday.
He endorsed centrist ally Biden in an apparent bid to stop socialist Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders from winning the Democratic presidential nomination.
“I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden,” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg, 78, made his late entry into the Democratic presidential field in November, reportedly deciding to run after Biden faltered in the polls. His expensive, unconventional campaign met with criticism from his rivals and party insiders.
Rival candidates scolded Bloomberg for his massive personal spending. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren accused Bloomberg of trying to buy the presidency.
Bloomberg skipped competing in the first four nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada and instead directed resources across Super Tuesday states that were expensive for his competitors to reach. The tactic angered party officials in the early states, who argued candidates should demonstrate traditional grassroots strength.
Rising left-wing factions in the Democratic Party proved to be a challenge for Bloomberg. In the weeks before he launched his campaign, Bloomberg apologized for supporting stop-and-frisk policing tactics that he pushed while he was the mayor of New York City, and his campaign team apologized for his past comments disparaging women.
Democratic presidential debates exposed a stiff candidate unprepared to rebut harsh attacks on his record and alleged treatment of women, particularly from Warren.
President Trump, who has been relentless in mocking Bloomberg over everything from his height to his debate performances, delivered his barbed observations on the race once more after Bloomberg dropped out.
“Mini Mike Bloomberg just ‘quit’ the race for President. I could have told him long ago that he didn’t have what it takes, and he would have saved himself a billion dollars, the real cost. Now he will pour money into Sleepy Joe’s campaign, hoping to save face. It won’t work!” he tweeted.
Much as been written that the first two Democrat primaries did not reflect America. Basically, the voters were too white – not enough diversity. The Nevada primary was said to be more diverse – more representative of the nation. Still, its 8 percent black population is lower than the national average of 14 percent.
A number of television pundits suggested that South Carolina would be the best representative of diversity. Apparently, they were not doing the math. In the South Carolina Democrat primary, approximately 66 percent of the registered voters are black – and they were 61 percent of the vote. That is almost five times above the national average.
It can be argued that South Carolina was the best indicator of support in the black community, but it cannot be extrapolated over the American population – not even the demographics of the general Democrat voters in America. None of the Super Tuesday primaries will match the black vote of South Carolina. Only Alabama and Georgia come close.
Winning the South Carolina primary was a political lifesaver for former Vice President Joe Biden, but it may not be predictive of his chances in the 14 states (plus American Samoa) that go to the polls on Super Tuesday – and beyond that.
Biden did well among African American voters in the Palmetto State, but he was fortunate to have had the black candidates – New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and California Senator Kamala Harris – drop out earlier. The black voters of South Carolina did not have a brother or sister on the ballot to draw their support. They had to pick from the field of white candidates.
Of course, that will be the case in the future. But Biden’s popularity among black South Carolinians may not, itself, be an indicator of how he does in future primaries in which there are a significant number of black voters.
Southern black voters tend to be a bit more moderate and less racially bound than their northern counterparts. Some see it as the recognized difference between Afro-centric blacks and those commonly referred to as “Island Blacks” – who identify more with the Caribbean than Central Africa. This significant cultural difference is often overlooked or ignored by political analysts who see the black community as one giant monolithic cultural group.
The Afro-centric community is more likely to lean to the expansive welfare policies of the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party. If that is true, it will be seen more in the California, Massachusetts and Minnesota primaries on Super Tuesday – and subsequently in states like Illinois, Michigan and New York. And it may result in less support for Biden than he received from the black community in South Carolina.
On the other hand, Sanders’ still has a problem of attracting a significant number of black Democrat voters in upcoming primaries to maintain an insurmountable lead in the presidential race. That makes the prospect of a brokered convention a lot more likely.
So, there ‘tis.
Article By Larry Horist
Consider it another promise kept. President Trump has commuted the 14-year prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Trump, who seems to be focusing on correcting what he sees as miscarriages of justice lately, has long said that Blagojevich got a raw deal, and has been talking for months about commuting his sentence.
“Yes, we commuted the sentence of Rod Blagojevich. He served eight years in jail, a long time. He seems like a very nice person, don’t know him,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday.
A statement released by the White House revealed that Trump also pardoned former New York City Police Department Commissioner Bernie Kerik and financier Michael Milken. Kerik spent four years in prison from 2010 to 2013 after being found guilty of tax fraud and lying to government officials. Milken spent two years in prison from 1991 to 1993 and was fined $600 million on securities fraud charges.
Earlier in the day, it was announced that Trump granted a pardon to Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers.
Blagojevich has served roughly eight years in prison after being convicted on corruption charges. He is expected to be set free from the Englewood Federal Correctional Institution in Colorado on Tuesday.
For many months now, the president signaled he might commute the former Democratic governor’s prison sentence. Trump said in August that he was “strongly” considering the move and that Blagojevich’s case was being reviewed.
The president appeared to back away from the idea about a week later after hearing strong opposition from a group of Illinois Republican legislators.
“It’s important that we take a strong stand against pay-to-play politics, especially in Illinois, where four of our last eight governors have gone to federal prison for public corruption,” Illinois Reps. Darin LaHood, John Shimkus, Adam Kinzinger, Rodney Davis, and Mike Bost said in a joint statement.
LaHood and Bost made the lawmakers’ case to Trump over the phone, and Trump appeared to be receptive to their argument, telling them, “I wish I had the perspective before.”
But, Trump has long thought that Blagojevich’s sentence was too harsh. In 2012, Trump called Blagojevich’s sentence “outrageous.”
Blagojevich, 63, was convicted on corruption charges in 2011 for attempting to extort campaign donations from a children’s hospital and for attempting to sell former President Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat. Blagojevich called Obama’s vacated Senate seat “f—ing golden” on a phone call recorded by the FBI.
His wife, Patricia Blagojevich, lobbied for her husband’s early release and made appearances on Fox News in 2018 to make her case in the hope that the president was watching. Patricia Blagojevich began her media circuit after the former governor lost his last appeal to the Supreme Court.
Trump and the former governor know each other from Trump’s NBC reality television show The Celebrity Apprentice. Blagojevich appeared on the ninth season of the show in 2010. Trump fired him from the show but said the former governor had “a hell of a lot of guts” for the fight he was then putting up in court against the corruption charges.
As a lifelong political analyst, I have had to deal with polls – all kinds of polls. I have even had to construct them for clients. Those years of experience have taught me that polls are merely events to give reporters something to report or to deceive the public. Yep! Deceive, not inform.
Polls only give an approximation of fact at best – or merely the APPEARANCE of facts that do not exist. They gain credibility because all those reporters and columnists report polling results as fact – as if the information is accurate. For example, they may say, “Today’s Gallup Poll shows that 49 percent of voters now approve of President Trump.”
That sounds convincing. But what about the Quinnipiac Poll of the same day that says, “Trumps popularity has declined to 42 percent.” That seven-point difference represents millions of voters. So, who is correct? Is either correct? We really do not know. Still, the polls are given maximum exposure and credibility in the media.
Then there is that “margin of error.” One might assume that the results of any elections should fall within that range – but they often do not. So what value is the “margin of error” when the “error” falls outside the “margin.”
To show just how inaccurate these polls can be, you should recall that, in the New Hampshire primary, the networks reported that 48 percent of the voters did not make up their mind until 24 hours before they voted. Almost half the voters were undecided before then.
Weeeeell … what about all those polls taken in the previous weeks in which 80-plus percent of the voters told their preference long before election day. By most polls, the “undecideds” leading into the primary were somewhere between 10 and 20 percent. Obviously those two reports could not have both been even remotely true.
You must also consider who is doing the polling. Polling firms, such as Gallup and Quinnipiac, are considered to be the most objective – but even then, it may depend on who pays for the poll. Biases get built in.
Campaigns often take two polls – a public-consumption poll to indicated that they are doing well and a private poll to see where they actually stand. On the surface, both polls look very legitimate, but subtle variations in the questions will influence public opinion.
Polls also have a very short shelf-life. They will mostly approximate an outcome on the eve of an election – and even then, they can be egregiously wrong. No political advisor or analyst would believe that polling done long before an election has any bearing on the ultimate results.
Polls that show President Trump behind his Democrat opponents mean nothing … yes, nothing … in predicting the outcome of the November election. Keep in mind that President Obama had polling numbers worse than Trump’s at around this time before his re-election.
One of the greatest examples of meaningless polling is the so-called national popularity poll. It is irrelevant to the outcome of a presidential election because it counts a lot of folks who will not be voting. Even worse. It does not take into consideration our Electoral College system. One only need recall that Hillary Clinton was consistently more popular than Trump in the 2016 election.
In many ways, polls are the opiate of politics. We are hooked on them even though they offer no real benefit other than to provide a desired alternate reality.
So. There ‘tis.
With a horrendous showing in both Iowa and New Hampshire, is it all but over for former VP Joe Biden?
He was once the presumptive Democratic nominee, but on Tuesday, Joe Biden fled New Hampshire with his tail between his legs — and headed to South Carolina, where he watched his dismal results come in.
Sensing a humiliating defeat in the Granite State, Biden’s team announced the former vice president was throwing in the towel before the polls had even closed, spending Tuesday evening at a campaign launch party in Columbia, SC, about 1,000 miles away.
It seems the former veep was right to get outta Dodge. Biden ended up placing fifth in New Hampshire, capturing less than 9 percent of the vote and none of the state’s pledged delegates. Despite the disastrous showing, Biden rallied with supporters in South Carolina, insisting the first two states in the primary season are not bellwethers.
“Tonight, though, we just heard from the first two of 50 states. Just two,” Biden said. “It ain’t over, man. We’re just getting started.”
Political experts, however, saw a campaign with little to offer new voters.
“It’s never a good sign when you leave a primary before the results are in,” said University of Southern California political scientist Robert Shrum, who managed Democrats Al Gore’s and John Kerry’s White House campaigns.
Shrum continued, “It’s probably not a good message to people who might be inclined to vote for him, but on the other hand, [Biden’s team is] anticipating a mediocre result.”
For his part, Biden remains confident in his ability to bounce back. He stressed in a tweet and an accompanying video on Wednesday that “nobody told me the road would be easy, but together we can and will win.”
But, with the best of intentions, with his campaign in a nose-dive, Biden is trying to do what’s never been done in modern history.
“In the last 40 years, just one person has gone on to win the presidency after losing both Iowa and New Hampshire — Bill Clinton. And in his case, he came in second place in New Hampshire in 1992,” said veteran New Hampshire-based political scientist Wayne Lesperance, the vice president of academic affairs at New England College.
Biden’s campaign has long pointed to Nevada and South Carolina, with their diverse electorates, as much friendlier ground than the overwhelmingly white states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Minimizing the results in the first two states — and spotlighting Biden’s strong support with African American and Latino voters — senior campaign adviser Symone Sanders stressed that “it would be a mistake for anyone to write Biden and our campaign off before people of color have had their say in this election. You know people of color — black folks, Latino voters — are the base of this party.”
However taking off those aviator shades his is fond of wearing, and looking at the reality of the situation, for Biden, who’s long struggled with fundraising, the poor results in Iowa and especially New Hampshire make hauling in campaign cash now, all the more difficult.
And his inability to come even close to winning in the first two contests in the nominating calendar puts a big dent in Biden’s argument that he’s the most electable candidate to take on President Trump in November.
In what can only be described as a “tit for tat” scenario, a freshman GOP senator has said that if Joe Biden should somehow be elected president in November, he could face immediate impeachment.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) has warned that former Vice President Joe Biden could immediately face calls for impeachment if elected president. The first-term Republican went on the offense in a recent interview with Bloomberg News, saying that Biden’s prior dealings with Ukraine puts a target on his back.
“I think this door of impeachable whatever has been opened,” she said. “Joe Biden should be very careful what he’s asking for because, you know, we can have a situation where if it should ever be President Biden, that immediately, people, right the day after he would be elected would be saying, ‘Well, we’re going to impeach him.’”
Ernst accused Biden of interfering in an investigation into the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. She said then-President Barack Obama tasked Biden with weeding out corruption, but that Biden ignored “Burisma because his son was on the company’s board making over a million dollars a year.”
Ernst’s comments come as President Trump’s own impeachment trial in the Senate is set to conclude this week. Trump has continually said, as has his defense team, that he withheld congressionally approved aid to the war-torn country due to his own concerns about internal corruption – and nothing to do with the Bidens.
In an interview with CNN, Ernst said she will vote to acquit Trump on Wednesday, arguing that what he did does not merit being removed from office.
She added that Trump meant well but went about things in “the wrong manner.”
“I think, generally speaking, going after corruption would be the right thing to do,” she said. “He did it maybe in the wrong manner.”
Ernst has since walked back the comments she made over the weekend about impeaching Biden. Speaking with reporters just off the Senate floor, on Monday, Ernst said her weekend remarks were overblown and that she was trying to argue that Democrats have made impeachment — once a political tool reserved for extreme circumstances — the new normal in today’s partisan warfare.
“That was taken entirely out of context. The point is that the Democrats have lowered the bar so far that … regardless of who it is, if you have a different party in the House than that of an elected president, you can have just random comments thrown out there with folks saying we’re going to impeach,” Ernst said when asked by The Hill about her earlier Biden comments.