View By Date
Printable Version of This Page

December 9, 2016      4:59 PM

Smith: Bent Knees Stay Bent

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith argues that the imperial Donald Trump wants Americans to bend our knees to him. We should remain upright

 It’s not easy watching adult Americans sacrifice their pride and self-esteem so they can be ushered like serfs across the fake-gold lobby of Trump Tower for audience with a president-elect.

If we hold to the nation’s mythos, it’s a rather un-American impulse. True Grit’s Rooster Cogburn wouldn’t do it. For many, though, it seems there are unconquerable desires to be close to power or to have power embrace their interests.  

Some, of course, go there for apparently selfless reasons, hoping their fealty persuades Donald Trump to let a little light shine into his otherwise closed-tight-as-gold-vault mind. Still, it rattles democratic souls to know how most of the televised lobby crawls will end once the penthouse threshold is crossed: “Oh please oh please, I beg of thee, can I at least be undersecretary of something oh Majestic One?”

The very concept of a “presidential tower” rankles. Marry it to Trump’s ego, which is satisfied by nothing less than absolute glorification, and it’s just too much. It makes it worse to know that Trump understands exactly what he’s doing by forcing others to climb to his presence in his phony Olympus.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Glenn W. Smith

December 2, 2016      1:37 PM

Smith: Trump Treasury Secretary Nominee Took His Voter’s Home

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith asks what should be done as Donald Trump (and stateside backers) prepare to take America to the cleaners

The Associated Press reported that Donald Trump’s nominee for Treasury Secretary, Stephen Mnuchin, foreclosed on the home of a Trump voter. Needless to say, the voter, a Los Angeles-area voter named Teena Colebrook, feels betrayed.

Odds are the Associated Press story will disappear into the memory hole rather quickly. But, then again, maybe Mnuchin’s very name is a mnemonic, a device for remembering. We should hope so, because we should remember this story.

It’s a remarkable moment in our political history, and it should be seen as such by all, no matter their party affiliation, ideology and political knowledge level. It’s remarkable enough that someone like Trump can be elected. Sure, he took a significant beating in the popular vote, but the rules of the game hand him the White House through the Electoral College. So there’s that.

But even more remarkable is Trump’s immediate moves.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Glenn W. Smith

November 30, 2016      4:15 PM

Pauken: Preparing for a turbulent four years

From the Right: Former Republican Party of Texas Chairman Tom Pauken argues that Trump’s detractors are the reason the next four years will be rough

During the campaign for the presidency, the major media was relentless in its attacks on Donald Trump. Reading the Washington Post daily, I couldn’t believe the news coverage. It was one anti-Trump story after story. The reporters didn’t even bother to disguise what clearly were opinion pieces passing for news. “Racist”, “sexist”, “anti-Semite” were just some of the charges leveled against Trump during the campaign.

Yet, in spite of massive media opposition to him and “nevertrump” Republicans who did all they could to defeat him, Trump overcame the odds and pulled a stunning upset to win the presidency.

In an effort to bring the country together, Trump gave a conciliatory victory speech. He even said the Clintons had suffered enough and he wouldn’t pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton.

That obviously wasn’t good enough for the elites who had invested so much in Clinton’s election.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Tom Pauken

November 18, 2016      6:52 PM

Smith: Ending Medicare and Other Nightmares

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith argues that Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and their Texas GOP followers are about to lose a political safety net of their own

So, this guy had a friend named Milton Friedman. Not Milton Friedman the crazy right-wing economist, just a nice fellow who happened to have the same name. Call him Nice Milton Friedman.

Nice Milton gets a call one day from a lay leader of a very wealthy church. “Thanks for taking my call,” Church leader says to Nice Milton. “My church just ended its fiscal year with a huge surplus. Do you have any recommendations for what we should do with the surplus?”

“Have you thought about giving it to the poor?” Nice Milton asks.

There’s a long pause. Finally, Church Leader, a suspicious tone creeping into his voice, asks, “Are you the Real Milton Friedman?”

“Are you the Real Church,” Nice Milton asks nicely.

True story. It comes to mind as the dark spectacle of a Donald Trump administration looms.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Glenn W. Smith

November 11, 2016      12:00 PM

Smith: Our Democracy is Meant to Deny the Demagogues

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith argues Donald Trump is the type the U.S. Constitution is supposed to save America from.

Democracy is a form of government meant for humble people who are well aware that they make mistakes. That’s why we are called upon to regularly revisit our decisions at the voting booth. If we were infallible, we wouldn’t have to do that.

The U.S. Constitution was designed to limit the power of demagogues, ideologues and megalomaniacs. The Framers looked with suspicion upon those who deny their own fallibility. They warned us to keep them away from power.

They warned us about Donald Trump.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Glenn W. Smith

November 4, 2016      1:04 PM

Smith: The 2016 Election: The Future’s Not Ours to See, But Let’s Try Anyway

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith argues that Trump may carry Texas, but his extremism highlights the woes of the GOP; Democratic forces are gathering in the cities and along the border.

“The future’s not ours to see, whatever will be will be,” Doris Day sings in a 1956 Alfred Hitchcock film, The Man Who Knew Too Much. Wise words for these Hitchcockian times when even Psycho’s Norman Bates would be a normalized, popular political candidate if he led to good cable news ratings. And Bates would produce ratings.

Doris Day, America’s original sweetheart, tried to warn us, but the temptation is just too great. What will the 2016 election outcomes mean for Texas’ future?

Glad you asked.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Glenn W. Smith

November 2, 2016      4:59 PM

Sills: It Is a Rigged Election, But Not in the Way You Think

In a guest column, Ed Sills with the Texas AFL-CIO argues our state’s mail ballot law (and that of many other states, along with some qualification-based early voting in places like South Carolina) is “rigged.”

My boss and a consistent vein in polling have succeeded in the extraordinarily unpleasant task of forcing me into agreement with Donald Trump on an important point. Yes, the 2016 election is “rigged.”

I came to this conclusion after chatting with Texas AFL-CIO President John Patrick a couple weeks ago.

John walked into the office one morning and proudly declared to the rest of us that he had voted for Hillary Clinton.

This was well before the start of early voting, and I wondered what was going on.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Ed Sills

November 1, 2016      3:48 PM

Pauken: Is the US turning into a Banana Republic?

Former RPT Chairman Tom Pauken argues that despite Trump's faults, he's the best chance to save our Constitutional Republic before it is gone for good

As we head into the final week of the presidential election, Hillary Clinton remains the favorite to win the presidency.

Yet, almost daily, new disclosures are revealed about the Clinton leaked emails on her private sector server when she was Secretary of State and about abuses associated with the Clinton Foundation.

The latest on that front is a story in the Daily Caller about donations to the Foundation. King Mohammed VI, the ruler of Morocco, reportedly steered "up to $18 million in donations" to the Clinton Foundation in return for various favors.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Tom Pauken

November 1, 2016      12:00 PM

Smith: Our Democracy is Meant to Deny the Demagogues

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith argues Donald Trump is the type the U.S. Constitution is supposed to save America from.

Democracy is a form of government meant for humble people who are well aware that they make mistakes. That’s why we are called upon to regularly revisit our decisions at the voting booth. If we were infallible, we wouldn’t have to do that.

The U.S. Constitution was designed to limit the power of demagogues, ideologues and megalomaniacs. The Framers looked with suspicion upon those who deny their own fallibility. They warned us to keep them away from power.

They warned us about Donald Trump.

 The Framers also knew about the human longing for certainty. They knew that our yearning made us vulnerable to preeners and posers who seduce us with their pretentions to absolute certainty and uncontainable strength. They put obstacles in the way of those convinced of their own inerrancy, the checks and balances of three independent branches of government, for instance.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Glenn W. Smith

October 28, 2016      4:46 PM

Smith: Ted Cruz’s Little Indians

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith argues that Cruz and Company’s threats to block all Democratic nominees to the Court is an attack on American Democracy.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz said recently that Congress should consider shrinking the size of the U.S. Supreme Court, a suggestion obviously tied to the possible election of Democrat Hillary Clinton as president and the probability of new vacancies on the nine-member court.  

Cruz’s comments followed those of U.S. Senator John McCain. McCain suggested a permanent confirmation blockade of Democratic nominees. McCain is another Republican aghast that heretical American voters might be, once again, wrongly denying his Party’s divine right to the White House.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Glenn W. Smith

October 26, 2016      5:42 PM

Pauken: Trump getting a bum rap on war issue

Former RPT Chairman argues “If Hillary Clinton wins, the War party factions of the Democratic and Republican Party win as well. If Donald Trump wins, neoconservative and neoliberal interventionists lose.”

My wife and I were visiting Dublin earlier this month and became acquainted with some of the Irish cabbies (as a side note the cab drivers that took us to various places in Dublin were self-employed, owned their own cabs, and provide quite a refreshing contrast to many of the typical experiences of riding in a cab in the U.S. these days).

One Irish cabbie, who wanted to talk about the U.S. presidential election, said that he had  heard that Donald Trump was likely to get us into a war and would be a dangerous man to have his finger on the nuclear trigger.

Indeed, the major media in the U.S. and the Clinton campaign have been very effective in promoting this message of the danger of Trump being in control of American foreign policy. Ironically, there is a far greater chance of the continuation of our endless wars in the Middle East, along with the possibility of getting into a major war with Russia, if Hillary Clinton is elected President.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Tom Pauken

October 21, 2016      4:54 PM

Smith: “I Love America” – Steinbeck, Trump and American Cheaters

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith argues that Trump and his endorsers come right out of the darkest corners of the American imagination.

In John Steinbeck’s The Winter of Our Discontent, the son of the tortured protagonist Ethan Allen Hawley wins a national essay contest for his piece, “I Love America.” Sadly, it turns out the son, Allen, plagiarized the entire paper. The award is withdrawn.

When confronted by his father, Allen has this to say: “The stinking sneak,” he says of the man who brought the bad news. “Who cares? Everybody does it. It’s the way the cooky crumbles…Don’t you read the papers? Everybody right up to the top—just read the papers. You get to feeling holy, just read the papers. I bet you took some in your time, because they all do.”

The son is right about his father. Years before while working as a clerk in a grocery store, father Ethan turned in the owner to federal immigration authorities so he could take over the store. Steinbeck’s novel is a sad, ugly tale set in the era of the television quiz show scandals and the McCarthy witch-hunts.

It all sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Add a dripping dollop of misogyny to “stinking sneak” and it comes out “what a nasty woman.”

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Glenn W. Smith

October 14, 2016      4:43 PM

O'Donnell: White House not really the top prize

QR’s resident curmudgeon argues the Democratic chess masters have again outflanked the GOP’s blitzmeisters in the race for the White House

Okay. Call the dogs. Drown the fire. The dance is over. Donald Trump is now living proof that adolescence at any age is difficult but over several decades it more resembles deep psychosis. Only a dramatic turn of events can head off history’s notations on the administration of Clinton 45.

We’ve watched a male, non-attorney, non-politician well-documented Munchenhausen liar vying against a female, attorney, politician, and well-documented Machiavellian liar. That’s entertainment but the real historic presidential race is already in the books. Barack Obama’s re-election made clear that the electorate is now largely some shade of brown, female, under 40, hopeful but not confident, and fed up with the old, white establishment.

Democrat strategists saw it coming decades ago and planned accordingly. Republicans spent their energy and money on shortsighted, second-rate dramaturges like Karl Rove who urged the GOP’s flailing in endless obstructionism while their Center collapsed.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Edd O'Donnell

October 12, 2016      12:32 PM

Smith: In the Locker Room with Trump – Where Abbott, Patrick and Other State Leaders are Hiding

QR’s Liberal Columnist Glenn W. Smith argues GOP leaders huddling up with Trump are failing the people of Texas

Donald Trump and his Texas Republican devotees – Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Land Commissioner George P. Bush and others – are giving locker rooms a bad name.

All four Texans and a practice squad of lesser GOP officials remain wedded to Trump, refusing to ask for an annulment despite Trump’s demonstrated hate for women, Latinos, veterans, African-Americans, and the United States Constitution.

Even Trump’s bragging about the sexual assault of women is not enough to break up the all-male huddle. “It’s locker-room talk,” Trump says.

Today, you could visit any male locker room in any Texas high school and find many candidates for president more qualified than Trump. I know, the minimum age to be president is 35. Does anyone any longer believe that Trump, despite his 70 calendar years, meets that threshold?

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Glenn W. Smith

October 11, 2016      4:51 PM

Pauken: Patrick and Straus need to work together to end Robin Hood

Former RPT Chairman Tom Pauken, one of the original opponents of the current school finance system, says the two presiding officers could “show that Republicans can unify behind a common sense plan that eliminates the Robin Hood tax scheme once and for all.”

More than two decades ago, Gov. Ann Richards persuaded the Texas Legislature to pass a Constitutional Amendment designed to "equalize" educational funding in our public schools by transferring property taxes from so-called property-rich school districts to property-poor districts. It became known as the "Robin Hood" plan because it supposedly took funding from the rich school districts and redistributed it to the poorer districts.

In an effort to defeat that proposal at the ballot box, I led a campaign called Texans Against Robin Hood Taxes. One of the major themes of our campaign was that there were better ways to get necessary funding to property-poor districts than double taxing taxpayers in other school districts.

We defeated Robin Hood by a two-to-one margin that November. But Gov. Richards got the Texas legislature to impose a similar plan legislatively even though the Texas Constitution specifically prohibits a statewide property tax – which is what the Robin Hood school finance scheme is.

The rest of the story, subscribers only

By Tom Pauken