It’s a cold (for the South) but sunny morning in the Raleigh metropolitan area as I write this article. I wish I could say the news and outlook in American politics were nearly as sunny. Let’s explore.
I’ll begin with a Democratic problem. Last night the news broke that Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam posed in a racist photograph in a 1984 yearbook while he was in medical school. Based on politics I think he should resign. In stark contrast to the Republicans, of late, the Democrats have displayed a zero tolerance policy when it comes to personal indiscretions. Al Franken was forced to resign his Senate seat while Donald Trump remains in the Oval Office and Brett Kavanaugh ascended to the Supreme Court.
Virginia is a purple state that Democrats pretty much have to win in order to win the presidency in 2020. They can’t afford to have an avoidable cloud hanging over them. The superordinate goal of defeating Donald Trump is much more important than the few remaining years of Northam’s political career. (Virginia term limits its Governors to one term and Northam doesn’t appear to have a political future beyond that.)
Democrat Justin Fairfax is Virginia’s Lt. Governor and would succeed Northam if he resigns. Virginia elects its Lt. Governor in a separate election not as part of a ticket. That means Fairfax has proven he can win statewide. If he were to take Northam’s place he can serve out that term and run for one of his own. Fairfax happens to be African-American. African-Americans are the Democrats’ largest voting bloc and their votes are essential for Democratic victories in many states very much including Virginia. Politically I see no downside to Northam resigning and a lot of upside.
Admiral Ronny Jackson was President Trump’s physician and his nominee to run the VA until that nomination got derailed. Currently there is an investigation into many of the charges that derailed the nomination. Yet, the Trump White House has recommended him for promotion to two star rank. It is one thing to make even a stupid mistake; it is quite another to not learn from it. Draining the swamp?
Blackwater founder, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ brother, large Trump donor and Russiagate person of interest (or is it subject of investigation) Eric Prince’s company is building a facility in Xinjiang China that appears to be a training center for Muslim oppression forces. It appears that Prince’s company changes its name more often than Trump changes his tighty whities. America first?
The situation in Venezuela is both complicated and concerning. Trump is a master of distraction. He would not be the first American president to start a war in order to distract from his other political problems (can you say Grenada?).
On the jobs front I was astonished at the January jobs number of 304,000. A few things about that though. The furloughed people were considered employed. They weren’t getting paid but they had a job. Low paying, no benefits, part-time jobs count the same as full time jobs with high salaries and benefits. If you are trying to pay the bills all jobs are not equal. I guess I’m a simple man but a job that doesn’t provide a paycheck or provides an inadequate one isn’t much of a job to me.
Thursday Foxconn – historically the “emphasis” has been on the second syllable – announced that it was again backing down on their commitment for a huge manufacturing facility in Wisconsin. I remember the big ground breaking ceremony with Trump, then Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. It is looking like another deal where Trump and Walker got taken again. But hey, what do they care? It’s the taxpayers’ money not theirs. Bottom line: those jobs Bubba’s northern cousins were banking on will not materialize.
Trump is either a complete idiot or he thinks the entire American population is. Friday he took lying to another level (and not for the first time). Earlier in the week America watched the intelligence chiefs testify in open session before the Senate Intelligence Committee and dispute Trump’s stances on several issues. (By the way they never mentioned the crisis on the southern border nor advocated how essential a wall is.) Friday Trump stated that they were misquoted, taken out of context and said the whole thing was “Fake news”. Now what are you to believe; your own eyes and ears or Trump?
Friday in another isolationist, Putin placating move, the Trump administration announced that America was pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). The INF was signed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan and was part of his Republican myth. It severely limited an entire class of nuclear weapons and made Europe a much safer place. The immediate Russian reaction was to jump start its building program of said weapons which will make Europe (including allies like Germany and France along with former Soviet satellite states like Poland, Lithuania and the Ukraine) less safe. While it does legitimately appear that Russia was in violation of the treaty, scrapping it can’t possibly take us to a better place, but it will allow Russia to take the wraps off its efforts and precede full steam ahead. I can’t see where this one ends up well for us and our allies.
I could go on but that is enough darkness on a sunny day for me.
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