Opinion | Senate Republicans Are Bathed in Shame – By Frank Bruni – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Illustration by Ben Wiseman; Photograph by Drew Angerer/Getty Image

“The impeachment trial of Donald John Trump began on Thursday when John Roberts, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, directed all of the senators to stand and raise their right hands. Ever since I can’t get two questions out of my head.

The first: How in God’s name — and it was in God’s name — can the Republicans who have already decided to acquit President Trump take a solemn oath to administer “impartial justice”? They’re partial to the core, unabashedly so, as their united march toward a foregone conclusion shows. A mind-meld this ironclad isn’t a reflection of facts. It’s a triumph of factionalism.

The majority of the party’s senators have said outright or clearly signaled that they have no intention of finding the president guilty and removing him from office. Yapping lap dogs like Lindsey Graham and obedient manservants like Mitch McConnell have gone further, mocking the whole impeachment process.

So the oath they took: How does that work? Did they cross the fingers on their left hands? Do they reason that American politics has reached a nadir of such fundamental hypocrisy and overweening partisanship that no one regards that pledge as anything but window dressing?”

Opinion | Donald Trump, Manly He-Man – By Frank Bruni – The New York Times

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

“The president wants a parade, but not some girlie, frilly procession that limits itself to high-stepping musicians, high-reaching headdresses, flutes and floats.

He wants muscle. Metal. He wants tanks and soldiers and planes. In his Veterans Day vision, Pennsylvania Avenue bulges with artillery, because in his blinkered view, that’s the measure of a nation’s worth. It’s also the affirmation of his potency.

The president wants us to know that if he’d been outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., when the shooting began, “I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon.” Can there be any doubt? If Donald Trump is known for one thing, it’s fearlessness. Selflessness comes in a close second.

Ronald Reagan starred as a cowboy in Hollywood westerns. George W. Bush strode across the deck of an aircraft carrier in an olive flight suit and an ejection harness to declare — prematurely — that a mission had been accomplished.”

Opinion | We Can’t Afford Trump as Our Commander in Chief – By Frank Bruni – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Damon Winter/The New York Times

“We choose our presidents in happy times and sad, amid bull and bear markets, when we’re trying to conserve what is and when we’re itching to discover what might be.

We should always choose them as if we’re on the brink of war, because it’s impossible to predict when we’ll find ourselves there, in petrified need of a strong, stable leader we can trust.

Donald Trump was chosen in a fit of long-building and largely warranted cynicism, as a gamble and protest. He hadn’t demonstrated any particular strength, only that he could perform a peculiar burlesque of it. He showed zilch in the way of honor, but had a genius for stoking doubts that it still existed in politics at all. His supporters thrilled to a pledge of disruption, not a promise of safe harbor.

And here we are, with an inexperienced, impulsive and perpetually aggrieved commander in chief precisely when we can’t afford one.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Times Comment:
“We choose our presidents in happy times and sad, amid bull and bear markets, when we’re trying to conserve what is and when we’re itching to discover what might be. We should always choose them as if we’re on the brink of war, because it’s impossible to predict when we’ll find ourselves there, in petrified need of a strong, stable leader we can trust.” This is an amazingly excellent op-ed by Frank Bruni. If I could write like he does, I wouldn’t be the doorman at the hotel he stays in when visiting New York. There is an articulate zinger in almost every other paragraph, such as Nixon’s idea, that it is good for our defense to appear to have a reckless madman at the helm.
David is the author of The Tay Son Rebellion, and blogs at InconvenientNews.net

Opinion | ’Twas the Eve of Impeachment – By Frank Bruni – The New York Times

’Twas the Eve of Impeachment

Finding verse in this curse.

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Illustration by The New York Times; photo by Al Drago for The New York Times

’Twas the eve of impeachment, when all through the House
No Republicans wavered, each last one a louse.

The articles were drafted by Democrats with care
In hopes that a conscience would soon bloom there.

We pundits were tossing all steamed in our beds,
While Trump’s certain acquittal danced in our heads.

And I in frustration, feeling all solemn,
Wished I could capture my woe in a column,

When out on the web there arose such a clatter,
I signed in to Twitter to see what was the matter.

And there I beheld him, the master of lies,
Weaving fresh falsehoods, to no one’s surprise.

He savaged the Bidens, he smeared Adam Schiff,
And cycled through villains in a furious jiff,

Could a “leader” be cruder, could his morals be weaker?

So now he’s a dentist, in his all-knowing ways?
I prayed for deliverance one of these days.

When what to my cynical eyes did appear
But a raft of excuses pulled by mangy reindeer,

With a weasel-eyed driver, so meek and so zany,
I knew in a moment he must be Mulvaney.

More shameless than con men, the sycophants came,
And Trump gloated, so bloated, and called them by name:

“Now, Rudy! Now, JaredNow, Lindsey and Mitch!
Please fly this democracy into a ditch!

It is how you will save me. It is how I prevail.
Or else I will join poor Paul in the jail.

That’s the toll of a presidency ended too soon,
So you must sing along to my favorite tune:

‘It’s a witch hunt! A hoax!’ Those are lyrics for me.
That’s the verse, that’s the chorus, for eternity.”

He was dressed in a necktie, from his jowls to his soles.
He had tanned beyond tanning. Imagine the moles.

On such fishy foundations was his confidence laid.

And we couldn’t stop looking — not his fans, not his foes.
That was what he was after: the show of all shows.

Its plot strained belief. Its appeal tested reason.
Still it was soaring toward a second season.

The economy roared. The Democrats whimpered.
Vladimir chortled. Emmanuel simpered.

In the bag that Trump carried, he had goodies galore:
Lower taxes, the Dow, right-wing judges and more.

They weren’t for the many, they favored the few,
But that was obscured by the smoke that he blew.

All was fog, all was mist, all was boast, all was fiction,
As he hid his true airs with bad diet and diction.

He could do as he wanted and never know fear,
For an elf — and a savior! — named Barr hovered near.

And then there was Tucker and of course Hannity
To put an extra-fine gloss on insanity.

What great luck to discover a country so riven
You could smash it and rule it if suitably driven.

You could summon the Russians, you could bully Ukraine,
Just as long as you made “It’s fake news!” your refrain.

I cringed as I watched him and cried for us all,

Our values, our futures hijacked by his gall.

A last bid to preserve them was cause to impeach
But his party’s corruption put him beyond reach.

So then why all his thrashing? His howls of dejection?
It was just a performance for the next election.

It brought more donations. It rallied the base.
You could see, if you looked, a clear smirk on his face.

If you listened, you heard it: a lilt in his voice.
In drama like this, he would always rejoice.

So as history scarred him, he could nonetheless yell,
“Merry TrumpMas to all! I’m the king of this hell.” “

Opinion | Being Gay Hurts Mayor Pete. It Helps, Too. – By Frank Bruni – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg, via Getty Images

“Pete Buttigieg vaulted into the top four of a crowded Democratic presidential field because he has an agile intellect, is fiercely articulate and both espouses and embodies a fresh perspective that many voters of all stripes crave.

He also got there because he’s gay.

He’d be the first to acknowledge that. In fact he did acknowledge it when we spoke last June about the state of L.G.B.T.Q. rights in America. Referring to his sexual orientation and his marriage to another man, he told me, “It’s safe to say that it led to there being more interest and attention early on.” He stood out among the dozens of Democratic aspirants, each desperate to do precisely that.

But there’s a big difference between winning over enough Americans to land in his current position — he placed second, behind Elizabeth Warren, in one survey of Iowa voters last week — and having an appeal broad enough to nab the party’s nomination, let alone the White House. Is being gay an insurmountable obstacle on the path to those prizes?

Anyone who answers with an unequivocal yes or no is just guessing.

The question is now being asked more urgently than before, as the primary contests draw closer and many Democrats simultaneously assess the risks of the two front-runners, Warren and Joe Biden, and survey the field anew, wondering if anyone in the tier of candidates just below them might be a better opponent for Donald Trump. Their gazes invariably fall on Buttigieg, but their apprehensions include whether America could really elect a gay president.”

David Lindsay: Thank you Frank Bruni.

Here are the top comments, all of which I recommended:

Dave T.
The California Desert
Times Pick

I don’t know whether being gay is a plus or minus for Pete Buttigieg. It’s a plus for me, a gay man, but well down the list of reasons I will vote for him, including having an agile intellect, being fiercely articulate and espousing and embodying a fresh perspective that many voters of all stripes crave (thanks, Frank.) I’d also add reasons like not pandering, not bellowing and not being 70+ (I am 62.) So I’m voting for Pete Buttigieg in California’s primary and I hope he wins. Even if he doesn’t, I’m still voting for whomever the Democrats nominate to defeat the traitor currently in The White House. I hope everyone else will also vote blue, no matter who, because we are teetering on a precipice.

17 Replies812 Recommended

 
SC commented October 29

SC
Midwest
Times Pick

If Ireland, a staunchly Catholic and, for decades, a very socially conservative country, could vote for a young gay prime minister, then maybe the US too could vote for a young gay President. Irish voters looked to someone who had great political gifts, intellect, personality and experience. Perhaps Ametican voters will respond to some of these same qualities in Buttigieg.

7 Replies676 Recommended

 
KJ commented October 29

KJ
Tennessee
Times Pick

When I lived in California I worked with and became friends with many gay individuals, and came to realize that a huge percentage of them combined the best of both sexes. Male nurses with physical strength and the tenderness to work with fragile individuals. Female IT experts with the drive and ambition usually associated with males, but who worked cooperatively rather that coveting accolades. And parents who loved their kids no matter what. Buttigieg is special. Intensely intelligent, nonjudgmental, practical, and just plain decent. His personality or may not be influenced by his sexuality, but it’s beyond hypocritical for philandering, sexist, or racist individuals to make it an issue. Our country needs competence and fairness more than a first lady.

6 Replies660 Recommended

 
JB commented October 29

JB
Los Angeles
Times Pick

Notwithstanding Mayor Pete’s obvious intellectual abilities and communication skills, it is a wonder that people find mayor him to be too inexperienced or too young to be president. Compared to the current occupant of the White House, who had no experience in anything other than grift and a host of other illicit activities, Mayor Pete would be a breath of fresh air.

8 Replies638 Recommended

Opinion | Donald Trump Wishes He Were Running Against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – by Frank Bruni – The New York Times

” . . .  It’s no accident that around the same time that Trump fired off his racist tweet, Democratic strategists were, according to a report in Axios, circulating a private poll of potential swing voters — white people with two years of college or less — that showed that 74 percent of them recognized Ocasio-Cortez’s name but only 22 percent had a favorable view of her, while 53 percent recognized Omar but only 9 percent saw her favorably. If Democrats have numbers like that, Republicans almost certainly do, too. And Republicans know how to pick — and pick apart — their enemies.

But Trump is up to something else as well. He means to send liberals into such a fury that they believe that passionately calling him out and urging the opposite of whatever he’s saying and doing are strategy enough. He’s baiting them.

Why are so many Democratic presidential candidates recommending what sounds a lot like open borders, which won’t go down well with many of the voters the party needs? It’s a response in part to Trump’s xenophobia and cruelty when it comes to immigration.

Similarly, the candidates’ gusto for Medicare for all, whose popularity is highly debatable, owes at least something to Trump’s assault on Obamacare and complete disregard for uninsured Americans. Many Democrats are defining themselves as antonyms to Trump. That’s different from merely opposing him, and it might not be the way to go.

Trump gets that. He’s ignorant, not stupid. And he understands that if he causes enough offense and creates enough melodrama, the screaming in the public square will be so loud that many battered and baffled Americans won’t be able to hear the inner voice that’s telling them what they should and at some level do know: that he must go. That the price of giving him eight years in the White House could be the soul of a great nation. That we can’t afford that.”

Opinion | Joe Biden- Closet Republican – By Frank Bruni – The New York Times

He’s the liberal Bob Dole, the looser Mitt Romney, the supposedly safe bet who’s owed a shot.

Frank Bruni

By Frank Bruni

Opinion Columnist

Joe Biden on Saturday at a campaign stop in South Carolina.CreditDemetrius Freeman for The New York Times

“It didn’t come to me right away, but finally I recognized the model for Joe Biden’s unusual campaign, the former president whose pitch Biden’s most closely resembles:

George W. Bush.

I’m referring to Bush’s first presidential bid, in 2000, which is remembered mostly for its surreal climax: the seesawing returns on election night, the Florida recount, the Supreme Court ruling that effectively decided the contest in his favor. To the limited extent that political junkies recall his slogans and stump speeches, the phrase “compassionate conservative” comes quickest to mind.

George W. Bush, here with his father, former President George Bush, in 2000, sold himself as a traditional Republican brand.
CreditRick Wilking/Liaison, via Getty Images

But Bush’s strategy and success arguably hinged less on selling himself as a new kind of Republican than on being seen as a tested, trusted, traditional brand. His surname did much of that work, and he augmented it with a sustained oratorical emphasis on propriety. He pledged to “restore honor and integrity” to the White House in the wake of Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky and subsequent impeachment. He would end the melodrama of the Clinton years and expunge the shame by having the nation essentially pick up where it had left off — with a Bush at the helm.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT |
Draft Two. Frank, I think very highly of you, you are one of the best prose writers at the Times. But I disagree with you on this one. Especially the title. For me, the election is primarilly about climate change, and who can win the electoral college. I agree with David Leonhardt, that Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren are fabulous leaders, but they have to produce poll numbers and results in the red states! Joe has the lead now, in red states, and a lot of progressives are in apparent denial that that is extremely important.The IPCC and the US National Climate Assessment of last October? both found that we only have 10 years to turn our economies around, or we will face a 2-4 degree celsius future. There won’t be anything for progressives to make progressive if that happens. David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs about the environment and the world at InconvenientNews.net.

Opinion | Does John Hickenlooper Have a Secret Weapon? – By Frank Bruni – The New York Times

By Frank Bruni
Opinion Columnist

March 5, 2019

541
Image John Hickenlooper at a campaign event in Manchester, N.H. CreditElise Amendola/Associated Press

“Were they even boots? We couldn’t decide. They occupied some limbo between boots and shoes and were all wrong for the trek that our group of six was taking: seven hours, about 10 miles, over a 12,500-foot-high pass in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.

Just a few hours in, he briefly took them off. Dear God. Blisters, blood: Just looking at his feet hurt. But he waved away our concerns, did some crude bandaging, switched into a pair of ordinary sneakers that he happened to have in his backpack and insisted that we press on. He walked more slowly, sure. But he smiled to the end.

That episode, from August 2015, captured Hickenlooper at his best: upbeat, affable and allergic to drama. For November 2020, could that kind of disposition be the ticket?”

Opinion | Save Us Al Gore – by Frank Bruni – The New York Times

“Time and Donald Trump do interesting things to a man.

They make Al Gore glitter.

It’s almost impossible not to be thinking of Gore this week, with the words “Florida” and “recount” so prominent in the news, and it’s hard not to credit him with virtues absent in Trump and increasingly rare in politics these days.

Grace in defeat, for one. For another: a commitment to democracy greater than a concern for self.

Sure, the review of ballots that Gore’s campaign demanded in 2000, as he and George W. Bush waited tensely to see who would get the Sunshine State’s electoral votes and become president, was a rancorous affair lousy with recriminations.

But after the Supreme Court halted it, Gore didn’t reject that ruling as partisan, rant about rigged systems, rail about conspiracies or run around telling Americans that he was their rightful leader, foiled by dark forces. He felt that the stability of the country hinged on the calmness of his withdrawal. So he told Americans to move on.

Then he did likewise, a decision that seems positively exotic in retrospect.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval
Al Gore is an important leader. Frank Bruni, thank you for another sparkling piece of writing. I owe a debt to Al Gore. His movie, of his slide show and interviews of scientists, An Inconvenient Truth, was what woke me up on Climate Change. It cleared out the confusion caused by articles in the right wing business press, about how equally scientists were divided. We now know that that idea was disinformation, inserted into politics by a few scientists on the payroll of the oil, gas and coal industry.
I hope Al Gore runs again for president. I will work hard for him. I worked for Hillary Clinton, but I do not support any woman candidate in this next election. We need beyond anything, to win, to get the country back on track with a host of problems. Climate Change and overpopulation are probably the greatest threats to our democracy and way of life. Al Gore’s big negative, that he is such an ardent environmentalist, has become a plus, now that the predictions of global warming are coming to pass before our very eyes. Al Gore, please run for the presidency again.

Opinion | The Internet Will Be the Death of Us – by Frank Bruni – NYT

Quote

Nora Ephron once wrote a brilliant essay about the trajectory of her and many other people’s infatuations with email, from the thrill of discovering this speedy new way of keeping in touch to the hell of not being able to turn it off.

I’ve come to feel that way about the whole of the internet.

What a glittering dream of expanded knowledge and enhanced connection it was at the start. What a nightmare of manipulated biases and metastasized hate it has turned into.

Before he allegedly began mailing pipe bombs to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and others, Cesar Sayoc found encouragement online — maybe not in the form of explosives instructions, but in the sense that he could scream his resentments in a theater that did the opposite of repudiating them. It echoed them back. It validated and cultivated them. It took something dark and colored it darker still.

“By the time he was arrested in Florida on Friday,” The T

via Opinion | The Internet Will Be the Death of Us – The New York Times