Posts Tagged ‘Campaign’

GOP’s make believe presidential debates

Friday, November 10th, 2023

By Bob Gaydos

The Republican presidential debaters.

The Republican presidential debaters.

    Let me state at the outset that I have not watched any of the Republican Party “presidential” debates, nor do I anticipate watching any in the near future. I see no reason to subject myself to hours of meaningless posturing.

    I say meaningless because the Republican Party apparently is and will remain hostage to Donald Trump’s MAGA minions until and unless he is removed from the equation by a judge, jury or some higher power. 

      Thus far, no Republican has been capable of challenging him for leadership of the once-proud party, or even saying why he or she would be a better president than Trump. Even with years of evidence to make the case.

       Let me also note here that, while I haven’t watched any of the Republican debates, I have read many and varied accounts of them and am aware of the fact that no one on stage — not even Chris Christie, the most vocal Trump critic — could simply point to Trump’s reckless, self-serving, ineffectual approach to running the country, including promises unkept, and articulate what he or she would do or would have done differently. You know, maybe send in the National Guard right away on Jan. 6. Something concrete.

    The so-called presidential hopefuls appear to be campaigning to be the “best” one remaining should Trump — who leads all of them by a wide margin in polling among Republicans and who has ignored all the debates in favor of court appearances and campaign rallies, which he sometimes confuses — somehow turn out not to be the party’s nominee.

      But even then, with Republicans suffering losses in each election since Trump was elected president, the party presidential candidate would face the issue of how to gain more votes — appeal to a wider base of Americans  — without losing the MAGA base that is all Trump all the time.

        Democrats don’t have the same problem. While Republicans were debating, polls were “revealing” that Trump has a lead over President Biden in a hypothetical 2024 rematch. It happens all the time to incumbents.

     Age is supposedly one of the issues, even though Biden is 80 and Trump 77. I’m betting on Biden’s lifestyle and health care over Trump’s.

     But Biden also has an impressive presidential record of accomplishment to run on (employment is up, roads and bridges are being rebuilt, Medicare can negotiate drug prices, inflation is being wrestled down), a lifelong resume of leadership and — do not ignore this — a demonstrated respect for American democracy, the rule of law and the Constitution.

    Trump has none of that. And none of his so-called challengers seems willing to simply make that case. It’s as if we are supposed to simply trust that under another Trump administration America would not be further divided politically, more threatened by world leaders playing to Trump’s ego and ignorance and even more prone to believe the lies of charlatans.

    Polls notwithstanding,  Biden a year from now will have a strong record to run on while Trump may be in jail or in court or both. Answering to 91 felony counts can be time consuming. Even some of his allies are bailing on him in court cases and in books that also expose their complicity.

     Trump is simply a menace to democracy and doesn’t belong anywhere near the White House again. The facts and his daily statements make that abundantly clear to a majority of Americans. 

   In any campaign for president against Donald Trump, Joe Biden, as he did in 2020, can proudly, unequivocally and truthfully say that he represents America’s best choice to protect and preserve democracy.

     Apparently, other Republican “candidates” for president can’t find the courage to make the same case for themselves.

     Meaningless posturing.


A Quintessential Trump Indictment

Monday, April 3rd, 2023

By Bob Gaydos

Stormy’s tawdry Trump story

Stormy’s tawdry Trump story.

   Perfect. Poetic. The dotard was hoist on his own, uh, petard.

   With all the many sins and crimes alleged about Donald Trump, ranging from attempting to steal an election, stealing classified documents, actually stealing an election, obstruction of justice, attempted extortion of a foreign leader, inciting a riot and attempting a coup, the one that finally gets him fingerprinted involves paying a porn star hush money so she wouldn’t spill the beans about his having sex with her just four months after his third wife, Melania, had given birth to their son, Barron, and seeing the porn star several more times.

    That one. The tawdry one. The basic, dumb Donald Trump one.


   Don’t get me wrong, the other stuff is serious. But Trump appears to be constitutionally oblivious to the magnitude of those other crimes. He has displayed no concept of loyalty, patriotism, honor, duty or responsibility, except as others apply those moral concepts towards him. Honesty is a foreign concept.

    But getting arrested because a porn star tried to shake him down and he had his lawyer pay her off to keep her mouth shut so he could steal an election and get to live in the White House? That’s a made-for-TV movie. That, Trump gets. It’s his entire life in a mini-series. Sex. Betrayal. Borrowed money. Lies. It suits him like a tabloid headline.

   Even the, umm, adult film star, Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford), recognizes the difference between her case and the handful of other investigations involving Trump.

    “It’s vindication,” she said in a recent interview. “But it’s bittersweet. He’s done so much worse that he should have been taken down [for] before.”

     The vindication she claims may refer to her allegation that Trump promised to get her a spot on his hit TV show, “The Apprentice,” because she was “amazing,” and, in true Trump fashion, never delivered. 

      Also to the fact that Trump’s buddy, David Pecker, publisher of The National Enquirer, paid her for her story on Trump and then killed it as a favor to Trump. And that Trump also denies the affair.

     The squashed story and the payoff to Daniels by then Trump lawyer Michael Cohen were intended to keep the story from hurting Trump’s campaign for president in 2016, and are the basis for the case against Trump by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. A campaign finance violation.

   Cohen served a term in the Federal Correctional Facility in Otisville after pleading guilty for his part in the payoff. He’s a key witness against Trump in this case.

    The other grand jury investigations into more serious allegations against Trump, ironically, seem to have more direct lines to proving his guilt than Bragg’s, which is considered to be a difficult case to prove in court.

    But Bragg’s is the first and that makes it important as well as historic. It may well motivate other prosecutors who now don’t need to worry about being the first to bring charges against a former president.

    And it may help Americans pitted against each other get used to seeing the man who promoted and profited from the rift for what he has always been: A cheating, lying, self-serving, hypocrite who always looks for someone else to pay for his crimes.

      Daniels, who could be considered an expert witness, says that at their first sexual encounter in his hotel room in Nevada, she felt compelled to say to Trump, “Please, don’t offer to pay me.”

      She knew tawdry when she saw it.

 Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at


This ‘Campaign’ is No Laughing Matter

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

By Bob Gaydos

“You want to go see ‘The Campaign’?”

The caller was my 18-year-old, about-to-leave-for-college son, Zack. So I immediately said yes. These impromptu calls have become too infrequent lately. Zack, of course, loves anything Will Ferrell does. I think he’s a talented actor who constantly takes the easy path to the cheapest joke, the filthier the better, playing dumb to reach the lowest common denominator in his audience — teenaged boys. A classic underachiever. But I thought, what the heck, it’s timely. Maybe he’ll score some political points and I’ll get a few laughs.

Both things happened, but I came away from the movie with a strange sense of sadness. Ferrell did not disappoint. The jokes were crude, sexual and occasionally hilarious. But some of the best ones had been promoted for weeks on TV. (Why do they feel a need to do that?) Mostly, though, on leaving the theater, I realized that I had stopped laughing at some point because the heavy-handed attempt at satire was simply too close to the truth and this movie wasn’t going to change things one iota.

For one thing, teenaged boys don’t vote. For another, the country really is full of the kind fickle, dumb voters portrayed in the movie — people who swear their political allegiance based on phony image, phony religion phony patriotism, phony family values — and switch it just as easily based on phony claims spread with the money of very real filthy rich people who feel they are a country unto themselves, free to do as they please to whomever they please, so long as they can afford it.

And so Ferrell gives us the Motch Brothers, in the bloated persons of Dan Akroyd and John Lithgow. They decide to grab control of a North Carolina congressional district by bankrolling the ineffectual, clueless Zach Galifianakis to run against the incumbent, the philandering, dumb Ferrell. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, slim as it is. Suffice to say, the movie stereotypes of the real-life Koch brothers are ruthless to the core, using their wealth to try to buy a congressional district, and not caring which candidate can deliver that prize. Where’s the humor there? Like the dumb voters stereotyped, that’s the plain truth.

The movie candidates do and say stupid stuff until the end, which is all Hollywood happy, but not convincing. But the real-life candidates in this country do and say dumb stuff all the time, with no Hollywood ending. (Will the would-be senator from Missouri please shut his mouth and go home?) In Texas and Arizona they routinely get elected. The movie presents cardboard characters who could probably run and win somewhere real in America. That’s why the stereotypes, while comically exaggerated, also seem so familiar. We know these buffoons, these liars, these phonies. We vote for them (well, I don’t). We send them back to office because they tell us some cock and bull story and we never bother to call them on it. And if someone does pull their covers, we ignore it. It’s like a whole country addicted to BS. It makes us feel so good, if we hold our noses.

I guess I should have realized that Will Ferrell isn’t sophisticated enough to deliver the kind of satire needed to get people off the political BS crack pipe and I shouldn’t expect him to. And I have little faith in today’s traditional news media. I think more and more that the Internet and social media – also hugely popular with teenaged boys — represent the best hope for getting Americans, at least enough Americans, to recognize what is going on with our political system and make them want to change it.

Yes, there are a lot of liars and buffoons on the Internet, too, but they are being called out and drowned out regularly by voices of logic and reason and compassion. Young voices and old voices and middle aged voices. People who are sick and tired of the BS in American politics, much too sick and tired to think it’s funny anymore. (Did you hear what that idiot in Tennessee said about spreading AIDS?) Maybe Woody Allen could make it a laughing matter: Pass the popcorn. Woody really nailed these guys. But he only makes one movie a year and I can’t wait.

Yes, I realize I’ve been talking about myself here. I never used crack, but I’ve ingested enough political BS to last several lifetimes. Sorry, Will Ferrell, you’ll probably make millions trading on people‘s ignorance (much like the Motch brothers), but politics in America long ago ceased to be a laughing matter. It’s more like a cruel joke.

PS: But hey, Zack, don’t hesitate to call if you want to catch another movie. My treat.