When I wrote my 2016 book “The Death of Civility and Common Sense: How America Has Become Dangerously Polarized” I had no idea how bad things would become.
At that time Donald Trump was only a candidate for the Republican nomination. Most people thought he had little chance of becoming the Republican nominee, much less our President. Moreover, most of our presidents have grown into the job after they became elected. This is a tradition that began with the election of our first president, George Washington. It has continued until modern times, when Ronald Reagan became president. He certainly grew into the job and left office as one of our most popular presidents ever.
The midterm elections were a serious setback for Trump and the Republican Party. As this is written Democrats have gained 33 seats in the House and could gain between 35 and 40 when all of the vote counting is complete. Republicans held on to their slim majority in the Senate, but this could change when more Republicans than Democrats are up for re-election in 2020.
Most alarming is how unhinged Trump has acted since his mid-term setback. He has attacked the news media, particularly CNN, more than ever. In a recent White House press conference. He had a young intern try to wrest the microphone from CNN reporter Jim Acosta. Then he revoked Acosta’s press credentials.
The freedom of the press in guaranteed in the First Amendment, which says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press —-“.
When one reads Bob Woodward’s book “Fear: Trump in the White House”, one is more alarmed than ever. Already, Trump has fired several people. He fired Attorney General Sessions and replaced him with a crony who does not need Senate confirmation. It appears he will soon push out General John Kelly, the White House Chief of Staff, who has brought some order to the chaos there.
Things will get worse before they get better, but we will get through it. We will again be in the words of President Ronald Reagan the “The Shining City on the Hill”.
It been one year since Harvey Weinstein was outed as a serial sexual predator who attacked several young women. Within days his Hollywood empire crumbled.
Within a month after Weinstein’s fall Matt Lauer, host of NBC’s Today show was accused of sexual harassment by 8 women. He was promptly fired and his career ended.
The most recent fall from grace was Les Moonves the rich and powerful Chairman of CBS. After allegations of sexual harassment and assault by several women Moonves was forced to step down on September 9, 2018.
As this is written there are mass demonstrations in Washington DC and around the nation on the confirmation process of Judge Kavanaugh. This will be discussed in a subsequent blog.
My old friend Chuck Grassley became 83 today. There is only one other Senator, Diane Feinstein, who is this old.
What is most impressive about Grassley is how healthy he is. He runs one and a half miles every day from home to work. During the course of the day he does 30 push-ups. This is something that I could not do when I was a young man going through basic training in the Army.
Anyone who has read my two flat Belly books of my latest book “Run/Walk for your Life : Take TA 65 to Reverse Your Age” knows that I am a fitness addict. You can appreciate how impressed I am with this.
Grassley has a good chance of topping Strom Thurman’s record of staying in the Senate until he was 100.
Michael R. McLeod
This is the tenth anniversary of the beginning of The Great Recession. It began in 2008 with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, a global financial services firm. Five years ago I watched a movie “On the Brink” that featured Hank Paulson, the Secretary of Treasury at the time.
This financial collapse was blamed on the derivatives market. This caused me a great deal of concern, because as the chief counsel of the Senate Agriculture Committee I drafted the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act of 1974. I did so with the collaboration and advice of Richard Sandor, who was then the chief economist of the Chicago Board of Trade.
Sandor was so distressed that he wrote a well documented book titled “Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovation” This Book Has been translated into several languages. Sandor has been to China several times to counsel the authorities there on how to avoid such a collapse. His book is available on Kindle as well as print form.
This collapse had a lot to do with the defeat of John McCain by Barack Obama in 2008. McCain admitted that he did not understand the economy very well. I was working hard to get McCain elected, and I pleaded with his staff to get him to announce that he would appoint Mitt Romney to be his Secretary of Treasury and Economic Czar. Romney is a self-made multimillionaire who certainly understands the economy.
My advice was ignored and the rest is history.
Once again, Bob Woodward , associate editor of the Washington Post, has done a masterful job of reporting on an America President. His first book was “All The President’s Men”. It tells how, as young police reporters he and Carl Bernstein reported on a break-in of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate office building in Washington, DC.
This scandal would come to be know as Watergate. A long series of hearings in a room next to my offices in the Senate Agriuculture Committee would be know as the Watergate Hearings. The hearing room of my offices was used as a holding room for witnesses who had been subpoenaed, as well as their attorneys. I got to see them often. One witness was John Dean, the guy who blew the whistle on Richard Nixon. He was represented by Bob McCandless, who was an Oklahoma friend of JD Williams and mine.
John Dean was again in the news because he testified last week in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings on Judge Kavanaugh for a position on the Supreme Court. He warned that the confirmation of Kavanaugh would lead to the “most presidential-powers friendly” Supreme Court of the modern age.
Over the years Bob Woodward has covered every American President. He gets people to talk on “deep background”, which means he will not quote them. He has as much or more credibility than any reporter I know. His book is bad news for Donald Trump and his minions.
Michael R. McLeod