President Obama Archives - Page 4 of 24 - SaintPetersBlog

Medea Benjamin on her new book examining the U.S.-Saudi Arabia alliance

Although Medea Benjamin has been an activist for nearly four decades, most of the country didn’t come to know her until shortly before the Iraq war, when she infiltrated her way into congressional hearing rooms to shout down people like Donald Rumsfeld to protest the upcoming war.

She’s best known as the co-founder of the anti-war activist group Code Pink, which has a history of infiltrating and briefly disrupting events, including the Senate hearing of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the confirmation for CIA Director John Brennan, and most recently, Donald Trump during his speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Benjamin is bipartisan in her targets. She also heckled President Obama three times during a speech he was giving on military policy in 2013, prompting the president to say, “the voice of that woman is worth paying attention to.”

She’s also the author of a new book, “Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.- Saudi Connection,” and is making several appearances in the Tampa Bay area this weekend to promote it. This reporter (who has known and covered Benjamin since we both lived in San Francisco in the mid 1990s) interviewed her on Thursday afternoon.

MP: Why Saudi Arabia?

MB: Well I realized that neither I, nor my progressive friends, knew anything about Saudi Arabia except that it was a mysterious kingdom that the U.S. was allied with. And the more I looked into it, the more I realized that we’re never going to stop these endless wars in the Middle East, or for that matter, get off the oil consumption, if we don’t confront this issue with Saudi Arabia. And the more I looked into it, the more appalled I became at how repressive this regime is, not only externally because we’ve been to Bahrain and saw how they crushed the Democratic uprising there. We’ve been to Yemen and seen how they’ve been involved in how they’ve created this catastrophe in Yemen, but also learned about how much they repress their own people, and the millions of migrant workers who have really built the desert up into what it is today.

MP: We’ve had a strong relationship with them for decades, transcending presidents and political parties. Should it be such a strong relationship?

MB: It shouldn’t be at all. It’s appalling that it is and it’s appalling that it’s gone on for such a long time, through both Democratic and Republican administrations, and it’s appalling that progressive folks who have been involved in an anti-war movement have not taken on this issue of Saudi Arabia, so it’s appalling on all kinds of levels. And I think especially now when the Saudis are involved in an internal conflict with Yemen, and the U.S. is providing the weapons and the logistical support for it, it’s really a time to say that enough is enough. And just this last week, after the administration announced that it was planning to sell another $1.5 billion worth of weapons, the Saudis go ahead and bomb Doctors Without Borders hospitals, a potato chip factory, a school, a residential neighborhood and how long can we not just allow this to happen but know that the blood is on our hands as Americans because we’re so intimately involved in all of this.

MP: You’re like the Zelig of activists because you’re always there in the mix. What’s it like to be this activist that’s always getting in the faces of the powerful for so many years?

MB:It’s been really fascinating being in Washington D.C., because the first time I went to a hearing I was still living in San Francisco, they (the Bush administration) were going to have Donald Rumsfeld testify about why we were going to go to war in Iraq. And I remember thinking that I thought I had to sneak in as a journalist, in a pants suit and a little pad of paper, carrying a copy of  the Washington Post, because I didn’t even know that these were public hearings, and I got there really early to stand in line and nobody from the public showed up. Nobody was really going to these meetings, and it just amazed me because they were open to us and we weren’t taking advantage of the opportunity to confront these people. So I kind of got hooked on this, going to these hearings. We shut down several hearings. We shut down the hearing with General Petraeus. We shut down the hearing with CIA Director John Brennan and all you need is about 20 people to get into a hearing making a ruckus and they can’t even continue, so it’s been a great education to come from the Bay Area, where we don’t have that reverence for power, especially power that doesn’t deserve that reverence, and are willing to get arrested, willing to confront members of Congress, presidents, secretaries of state, defense ministers, weapons manufacturers, lobbyists for the NRA, any of these people, and then to bring our friends and colleagues in from around the country to join us. It’s created a different culture in Washington (where she’s lived since 2008).

MP: How would you describe America in terms of its social progress in 2016?

MB: We’ve certainly made gains in terms of a lot of social issues, rights for people in the in LGBTQ community, or women’s rights, I’m not denying that there’s been great progress in certain areas, but when it comes to our foreign policy, we have not evolved very much.

If you look at Obama’s foreign policy, it’s very similar to the one of the Bush administration. Nobody has come in and said, ‘Oh my goodness, we have 800 (military) bases around the world, what do we need them for? Let’s start closing them down.’ Or, ‘Oh my goodness, why are we giving taxpayer dollars to these repressive regimes like Egypt or Honduras, let’s just stop doing them.’ So it’s been very much the status quo that benefits the weapons manufacturers, and the military contractors. So I think we have to make a major shift in the way that we interact with the world.

MP: In 2012 you wrote “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control,” which was of the first books to look at the rise of robot warfare. Do you think enough Americans know and/or care what we’re doing overseas with our drone warfare program?

KB: When Code Pink started working on the issue, almost nobody knew about it because the government refused to even talk about it publicly. These were covert operations by the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command, and even when groups like the ACLU would take the government to court over the killing of innocent people, the government refused on national security grounds to even discuss the program, so at least that has changed over the years and reinforced our own government to tell us more about what they’re doing. I think unfortunately though, the media rarely gives us news of U.S. drone strikes or lets the the families of innocent victims get a chance to speak in mainstream media, and so people really haven’t developed empathy with the populations that have become the victims of our drone strikes. Because, it’s not just the missiles hit and kill a particular person, the threat of living under these drones that has been a sort of collective punishment for entire swaths of populations in places like Yemen and Pakistan, so not enough people know about it, and not enough people are upset enough about it to do something.

MP: What do you think of how the mainstream media is doing in covering news and politics?

MB:I think the media’s horrendous. I have to look toward alternative media or to overseas media to get any news that I feel has enough substance to it. The U.S. media keeps regurgitating the same issues, over and over and over, like, what did Donald Trump say today? I think it gets very boring and so narrow, so I think the media does us a tremendous disservice. Yet, despite that, it’s amazing how much Bernie Sanders was able to inspire people and build a movement when the media — at least in the beginning — pretty much ignored him, and it’s amazing that despite the lack of media to our issues, we are able to build movements. The Black Lives Matter movement has not only spread across the entire U.S., but it’s become international; and the environmental movement is a strong and ever-growing international movement. So I think that these movements that we create from the grassroots grow up pretty much despite the problems we have of a media that covers the wrong issues in the wrong way.

Medea Benjamin will be making five different appearances in the Tampa Bay area this weekend. You can find her schedule here. On Sunday, she will be speak at Unitarian Universalists in St. Petersburg (100 Mirror Lake Dr. N.) at 1 p.m., and at Inkwood Books in Tampa (216 S. Armenia Ave.) at 3:30 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mitch Perry Report for 8.10.16 — Aleppo needs water

I’m sure that after you got yourself up this morning, you might have reached for a cup of coffee, juice or water.

It’s something that we don’t have to think too hard about, usually.

Now let’s go across the globe — to Aleppo, Syria.

The United Nations on Tuesday called for a “humanitarian pause” in the fighting in Aleppo to allow for immediate access to repair the electricity and water networks. They report that between 250,000-275,000 people have been trapped in east Aleppo for more than a month following the closure of a local road, the last road into that specific area.

“Since 6 August, Khanasser road, the main access route into west Aleppo has also been cut, bringing the total number of civilians living in de facto fear of besiegement to over two million,” their statement said yesterday.

Yes, I’m referring to the civil war in Syria, now deep into its fifth year, and a war that rages on without any immediate hope in the future. But as the fighting continues, there’s literally 2 million people in Aleppo who can’t get access to fresh drinking water.

This should be unacceptable in 2016. There’s obviously a reason why this war rages on — President Obama has said President Bashar al-Assad must go as a precondition for any settlement talks. But that was before the Islamic State began conquering large swathes of land in Syria. Then there was Russia’s intervention a year ago, supposedly to go after the terrorists. However, it’s hard to tell if they’re there just to go after the group’s who want to bring down Assad.

It’s a total mess, and has been for years. And there’s been little discussion of Syria on the campaign trail.

So the world doesn’t really pay too much attention to it. But today, 2 million people are in need of water in Aleppo.

In other news …

Eric Lynn has a poll out showing him leading Ben Diamond in the HD 68 race by 12 percentage points. But wait, Diamond has his own poll that shows him leading Lynn by 9 points.

The Kevin Beckner campaign accuses Pat Frank of failing women and minorities in the hiring and paying of salaries at the clerk’s office — but Frank fires back, and says Beckner has never hired a person of color in his office.

A Latina activist blasts the Florida Democratic Party for failing to hold to their promise and hire a bilingual communications official.

A sampling of conversations with Hillary Clinton supporters in St. Petersburg shows they fell confident she’ll be able to work with Republicans in Congress is elected in the fall.

The Hillsborough County PTC meets this morning, the first time since Chairman Victor Crist was cleared of an ethics complaint.

Mark Bircher says if David Jolly can’t “get there” in backing Donald Trump for president, Pinellas GOP should back him, and not Jolly, in the name of party unity.

Daniel Webster has another ad up in the CD 11 contest.

The Debbie Wasserman Schultz campaign doesn’t think much of Tim Canova’s complaint with the FEC that she was conspiring against him by using DNC resources.

Mark Bircher says if David Jolly can’t support Donald Trump, Pinellas GOP should back his candidacy in CD 13 primary

All the talk about the David Jolly vs. Charlie Crist battle in Florida’s 13th Congressional District contest ignores the fact that Jolly does have an opponent in the Republican primary later this month.

He’s retired Marine General Mark Bircher, and he says that in the name of party unity, the Pinellas County Republican establishment should rally around his candidacy later this month, unless his opponent sees the light and gets behind Donald Trump‘s candidacy for president.

“We cannot accept divided loyalties when so much is at stake,” Bircher says in a statement. “If Rep. Jolly refuses to endorse Mr. Trump, the Pinellas Republican Party Leadership should throw its full support to the 13th Congressional District House candidate who supports the nominee. If the Party will not support Party unity, then the voters must do so on the ballot.”

Bircher is running for the Republican nomination for Congress for the second time in two-and-a-half years. He finished third behind Jolly and state legislator Kathleen Peters in the special Republican primary election in January of 2014, just a few months after the late C.W. Bill Young died after more than 42 years in office.

“Mr. Trump was not my first choice during the primary, but he is my first choice now,” Bircher says regarding who he will vote for president in November. “Any candidate for Federal office who directly or indirectly supports Mrs. Clinton in her quest to preserve the Obama legacy and and continue to “fundamentally transform” America is unacceptable.  We can rely upon Gov. Crist to promote the Clinton/Obama agenda in the general election; we do not need our Republican candidate to reinforce that effort in our own party primary. The Republic has withstood eight years of deliberately destructive policy; the outcome may be in doubt under four more years of the same.”

Bircher is running an uphill battle to topple Jolly, who originally announced last year that he would not run for reelection to the congressional seat, and instead would attempt to become a U.S. Senator, succeeding Marco Rubio.

However, Rubio changed the political trajectories of several Republicans who were running for Senate when he reentered the race in June. In Jolly’s case, he had just enough time to qualify to run for reelection to his congressional seat.

Jolly has not definitely said that he will not vote for Trump. Instead, he has said that “he is not there yet” in recent months when asked if he could support the Donald in November.

Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee Chair Nick DiCeglie responded in an email.

“In order for local parties to endorse in the primary a two thirds vote is required. Our last meeting prior to the August 30th Primary took place last night (8/8) and there are no additional meetings prior to the Primary Election for such a vote to take place. The Republican Party of Pinellas County is looking forward to focusing our efforts to defeat Charlie Crist in November.”

He also notes that the Pinellas County Republicans held a straw poll on Sunday with over 220 members and activists casting ballots, and Jolly defeated Bircher, capturing 79 percent of the vote.

The Jolly campaign said the issue was between Bircher and the party, and declined to comment.

 

Vern Buchanan tells President Obama to stop accepting Syrian refugees

Taking his cue from a warning by FBI Director James Comey of “a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before,” Sarasota area GOP Congressman Vern Buchanan is calling on the White House to put an immediate halt in accepting Syrian refugees into the U.S.

“Terrorists are leaving Syria disguised as refugees and carrying out attacks in the West,” Buchanan wrote in a letter addressed to President Obama on Thursday. “The prudent course of action is to halt all admissions of Syrians into the U.S. until the safety of Americans can be guaranteed.”

In response to the emerging migrant crisis in Europe and the Middle East last summer, Obama ordered his administration last September to dramatically “scale up” the number of Syrian refugees welcomed into the United States by the end of the fiscal year, setting a target of 10,000.

The U.S. admitted more than 2,300 Syrian refugees in June, sending the fiscal year total soaring past the 5,000 mark, the Washington Times reported in late June. According to data from the State Department Refugee Processing Center, a total of 7,751 Syrian refugees have been admitted into the U.S. since the beginning of last October, and nearly 5,000 in the last two months alone.

In his letter, Buchanan is seizing on Comey’s comments before Congress last week that the defeat of ISIS soldiers in Syria and Iraq will likely result in dispersing terrorists elsewhere, including America. “At some point there is going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before.” Comey added, “Not all of the Islamic State killers are going to die on the battlefield.”

Homeland Security head Jeh Johnson testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 30 that Washington had “added security checks to the process where they are warranted” and overcome early hurdles, but Buchanan clearly was not placated by that statement.

Read his letter below:

August 4, 2016

The Honorable Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I urge you to immediately stop accepting Syrian refugees as a matter of national security. The chilling prediction by FBI Director James Comey of “a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before” warrants an immediate freeze on Syrian refugees.

Director Comey warned the nation last week that the defeat of ISIS soldiers in Syria and Iraq will likely result in their dispersal elsewhere, including America.

The FBI director’s warning that the collapse of the caliphate will mean increased attacks in Western Europe and the United States mirrors an alarming consensus among intelligence officials.

We are seeing a clear pattern in which a number of recent attacks have been carried out by ISIS terrorists with ties to Syria, including: the July 24 bombing of a music festival in Germany; the July 26 killing of a French priest; and the July 24 murder of a German woman with a machete. Syrian refugees played a part, either as attackers or accomplices, in all three attacks.

In the context of this clear threat, your goal of admitting 10,000 Syrians as a part of a so-called “surge operation” is extremely troubling, particularly given that White House press secretary Josh Earnest recently admitted that the screening process “typically takes 12 to 18 months….the reason for that process is that the safety and security of the U.S. homeland comes first.”

I urge you to work with world leaders to create a safe zone for refugees inside Syria or in a neighboring country. According to data from the Center for Immigration Studies, the U.S. could support the resettlement of 12 refugees in the Middle East for the cost of caring for one refugee in the U.S.

Terrorists are leaving Syria disguised as refugees and carrying out attacks in the West. The prudent course of action is to halt all admissions of Syrians into the U.S. until the safety of Americans can be guaranteed.

Sincerely,

Vern Buchanan

Member of Congress

Touting support for TPP, Bob Buckhorn to attend White House State Dinner tonight with Singapore’s Prime Minister

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, taking a summer respite from his daily duties in the Bay area, will be attending Tuesday night’s White House State Dinner in honor of Singapore’s Prime Minister & Mrs. Lee Hsien Loong. 

“Joining the President and First Lady in welcoming Prime Minister & Mrs. Lee Hsien Loong is both an honor and a privilege,” said Buckhorn, who will be joined by his wife, Dr. Cathy Lynch Buckhorn, for the festivities.

“Singapore remains one of our closest allies in support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Buckhorn said. “I look forward to working with the government of Singapore and the Obama administration to increase global trade and create American jobs as the recent widening of the Panama Canal opens up significant opportunities to increase trade with the Asian market.”

While the Trans-Pacific Partnership has roiled parts of the Democratic Party, Buckhorn remains an unflagging supporter of the controversial trade deal in his role as chair of the TTP task force with the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The deal is opposed by both major party political candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Clinton only came around in opposition after her chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, made his opposition to the TPP one of the principal parts of his candidacy.

Singapore is one of the 12 signatories to the agreement, which has yet to be approved by Congress. Conventional wisdom has it that the House and Senate will deal with it during a lame-duck session later this year.

The Tampa City Council — all Democrats — also passed a resolution earlier this year urging Congress to reject the deal.

President Obama stressed earlier on Tuesday that he still he plans to move ahead with the deal while he’s in office despite bipartisan opposition on trade.

Right now I’m president, and I’m for it,” Obama said at a midday news conference with the Singaporean Prime Minister. “And I think I’ve got the better argument. I’ve made this argument before. I’ll make it again. We are part of a global economy. We’re not reversing that.”

It’s been a heady couple of weeks for Tampa’s Mayor.

Buckhorn spent last week in Philadelphia taking in the Democratic National Convention, which included attending a lunch of Clinton alumni during the middle of the week. He also gave a strong speech to the Florida Democratic Delegation at a breakfast, reviving talks that he good be gubernatorial timber.

Kathy Castor says DNC message of optimism is in tune with where America is at

Nearly three-quarters of voters believe the nation has gone off on the wrong track, the highest mark of pessimism in three years. That’s according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released two weeks ago that things gone off-course, with 73 percent saying that things gone off-course, and only 18 percent saying the country is headed in the right direction.

Yet at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last week, the message was that, in contrast to the dark vision expressed in Cleveland at the RNC a week earlier,  that things are pretty darn good in America.

“While this nation has been tested by war and recession and all manner of challenge,” President Obama declared in his primetime speech last Wednesday night, “I stand before you again tonight, after almost two terms as your President, to tell you I am even more optimistic about the future of America. How could I not be, after all we’ve achieved together?”

Hillsborough County area Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor says her party’s message is in synch with the mood of the country.

“We have a lot going for us,” Castor said after attending a press conference regarding the restoration of voting rights for ex-felons in Florida.”If you look at how far we’ve come since the Great Recession: unemployment is low, inflation is low, gas prices are low, the housing market has recovered. But that doesn’t mean that everything is going fabulously, yes we have work to do,” she says.

The Tampa Representative says the key is to focus on higher wages for workers in Florida. “The Democrats have a plan to do that, and (Donald) Trump has no plan at all. Everyone has the right to be optimistic in the United States of America. This is the greatest country on Earth. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have challenges that we’ve got to work on and right here in Florida, that means higher wages, support for public education and then fundamentally we’ve got to keep our neighbors safe here at home and abroad.”

Although the public is down on the immediate future, President Obama’s approval ratings are above 50 percent, a key figure to watch going into this fall’s general election.

 

Mitch Perry Report for 7.28.16 — Hillary’s turn

President Barack Obama certainly set the bar high for Hillary Clinton‘s acceptance speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention, but most fair-minded people will know that going in. Even his harshest critics acknowledge that Barack Obama is one of the finest orators our nation has ever had in the White House, and the grading curve should be different from everyone else.

But by this point, it should be obvious about what we’re going to hear tonight — a healthy dose of optimism about this country, and criticism of Donald Trump‘s much darker, and OK, dystopian vision.

I wrote about those themes emerging in Clinton’s speech in Tampa last Friday afternoon.

She also criticized his Cleveland RNC speech where he said that he alone could fix so many of the ills that the nation is undergoing.

“I never heard of an American leader, or at least someone who wants to be an American leader, claiming that’s all we need. That’s not a democracy my friends, as I call recall, we had a revolution to make sure we didn’t have someone who said I can fix it alone!”

I saw on Twitter last night how some conservatives and Republicans feel like they’re message is being hijacked by the Democrats. There’s a reason for that. Out of power, the opposition party has to point out that there are problems in this country, and only they could solve that.

Bernie Sanders said the same thing in his own way.

Mrs. Clinton is the establishment, no doubt. By wanting to maintain another four years of Democratic rule after the past eight years, yes, she is portraying an America “that is already great,” another line we’ve repeatedly heard this week.

There were so many other interesting things that happened in the past 24 hours. The chants of “no more war!” being yelled at Leon Pancetta was interesting.

Of all the speeches from last night, I thought Michael Bloomberg’s was the most interesting.

Robbie Mook wants a few good Floridians to house Hillary Clinton staffers for the campaign.

Although it was purely symbolic, a bid to offer an alternative to Tim Kaine in the vice-presidential roll call last night died by indifference by the Democratic National Committee.

This DNC has been all about humanizing Hillary Clinton. A former staffer of hers, USFSP political science professor Judithanne McLauchlan, says the image portrayed by conservative talk show hosts isn’t the woman she knows.

Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom, Martin O’Malley and Bill deBlasio all got their turns on the big stage at the DNC on Wednesday night.

Some of the state’s most prominent Democratic mayors took their turns before their fellow Democrats yesterday.

Bob Buckhorn fired up the crowd in Philadelphia.

Philip Levine touted the plan to bring a streetcar to Miami Beach in his speech in Philly.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum spoke before the entire DNC yesterday, but spent some time a the Marriott Hotel in the morning.

Senate Majority PAC airs ad highlighting President Obama’s endorsement of Patrick Murphy

After several weeks of GOP flavored super PACS bashing Patrick Murphy have dominated local cable stations in Florida, a super PAC who supports the Jupiter Democrat in his race for Senate has a new ad on the air.

The ad comes courtesy of the Senate Majority PAC, which on Tuesday released a new ad today released that highlights President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s endorsement of Murphy, a two-term Congressman from Florida’s Treasure Coast who is competing for the Senate nomination against Congressman Alan Grayson. The ad notes that Murphy has a fought to strengthen Social Security and Medicare, protect a woman’s right to choose, and against Tea Party obstructionism in Washington.

Critics note that in fact Murphy said on several occasions after being elected to Congress in 2012 that “we’re going to have to look at some structural changes to some programs like Social Security and Medicare.” He has refrained from such comments as a Democratic candidate for Senate.

“Marco Rubio and his allies are not telling the truth about Patrick Murphy and we aren’t going to let their attacks go unanswered,” said Shripal Shah, spokesman for Senate Majority PAC.  “As President Obama and Vice President Biden noted in their endorsement, Patrick Murphy will stand up for Florida’s middle-class; he has fought to protect Social Security and Medicare and a woman’s right to choose, and will stand up against Tea Party obstructionism in Washington. He’s clearly the best choice for Florida.”

Obama and Biden’s endorsement of Murphy earlier this year demonstrated on how much the Democratic Party establishment backs Murphy, the 33-year-old Representative who is centrist in his political leanings and more temperate in tone than the combative Grayson.

Nevertheless, though there hasn’t been any recent polling done, the two  Democrats are considered to be evenly matched up some six weeks before state Democrats will choose their standard bearer for the November election.

Meanwhile, the Marco Rubio campaign is weighing in. The GOP incumbent is the likely candidate who will face either Grayson or Murphy this November.

“It’s no surprise that Harry Reid’s Super PAC would ride to the rescue for their preferred candidate after he was caught lying about his resume and trying to delay needed aid to Floridians for his own publicity, said Rubio campaign spokesman Michael Ahrens.

You can watch the ad here:

Eric Lynn goes up with first TV ad in HD 68 race

Pinellas County House District 68 Democrat Eric Lynn will begin airing a local 30-second television ad that will run through the primary election on August 30.

The ad begins with Lynn taking a stroll with his wife, kids and dog, and then places him in front of the Vinoy Hotel. A photo with President Barack Obama also makes an appearance. Lynn began working for then Senator Obama in 2006, and then went to work in his Defense Dept. after Obama became president in January of 2009. Lynn stepped down from the DOD in 2015.

Lynn is in a fiercely contested primary contest vs. St. Petersburg attorney Ben Diamond. The winner will face Republican J.B. Bensmihen in November.

Lynn certainly has the funds to air an ad all the way through early voting and until Election Day. New fundraising totals show that he has raised over $75,000 in his campaign account, and maintains more than $300,000 in his political committee, the Pinellas County Voters Fund.

Diamond has raised more than $159,000.

Here’s the ad:

Mitch Perry Report for 7.13.16 – Conservatism is still running strong, Jeb Bush insists

Jeb Bush says whatever you want to call Donald Trump, don’t call him a conservative.

“Conservatism is temporarily dead,” the former Florida Governor told Nicole Wallace on an MSNBC special that aired Monday night. “I mean, if you look at it, we have two candidates. Donald Trump is barely a Republican. He’s certainly not a conservative.”

Bush makes the point, however, that while that might not matter much in the presidential sweepstakes, conservatism is still powerful across the country.

“I mean, the– the conservative cause isn’t just about the, you know, a presidential race. It’s about core beliefs that, if implemented properly will lead people to a better life. And so I think outside of the hot presidential campaign, this message still resonates and it’s still important. It certainly resonates around the country.”

As has been well documented, Republicans have won a ton of elections since President Obama won office in 2008, with Democrats in control of the House and Senate. In the states, Republicans have won 900 legislative seats since ’08, and there more governors with an ‘R’ next to their name than a “D.”

Let’s look at Florida for example, where Republicans have dominated in the Legislature for two decades now (I had to laugh at loud when Mr. Conventional Wisdom, Mark Halperin, in trying to explain why Donald Trump is now leading  Hillary Clinton in a new poll out this morning, said that Florida “has been trending red recently.” Say What??)

Bush says he now understands where the GOP primary electorate is at: they’re pissed off, essentially.

“I think the difference is people don’t believe anything anybody says anymore…in politics. I don’t know if they even heard what I said. That’s the point. They– they– they didn’t– they wanted their voice heard. They still do. They’re angry for legitimate reasons. They latched onto the big horse. All of which is logical to me in retrospect. In the midst of it, it wasn’t very logical. I mean,” he said.

Nearly five months after dropping out after finishing a disappointing fourth in South Carolina, Bush now says he’s not sure he could have done anything to change the outcome. “There is some weird solace in that I guess that I don’t have to think about it that much. … Looking back on it, I’m not sure what I could’ve done. Having a conservative record, offering conservative solutions, hopefully giving people a sense that I could’ve done the job wasn’t– wasn’t enough. And it may not have ever been enough– given the circumstances.”

Bush says he can’t vote for Trump, nor Hillary Clinton. What about the Libertarian ticket of former GOP governors Gary Johnson and William Weld? “Well, I don’t know, ” he said. “They don’t get a lot of airtime  yet.”

That ticket is getting in the high single-digits in some polls, though Johnson won’t be invited into the presidential debates until he hits 15% in the polls, which seems doubtful, but who knows?

In other news…

Elected officials, religious figures and law enforcement officers attended a press conference at City Hall in Tampa yesterday to discuss the tensions that exist between the police and the black community. No fewer than three of the public speakers all spoke about getting pulled over by local law enforcement recently.

Manatee County lawyer and activist C.J. Czaia is among the candidates vying to win the House District 70 seat being vacated this fall by Darryl Rouson.

And Brian Willis won an important endorsement in his bid to win the Hillsborough County Commission District 6 seat.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons