Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Primary Perspective: Kirk Dumps Trump & Christie Stands By His Man

Well I just got back from casting my primary vote not too long ago and it was fairly busy in the lobby and library of my local polling site for District 54 in the Gershon Senior Citizens Building.

It took a few minutes of me waiting in the "A - K" line while a man in front of me had to straighten out a small issue with a name or address change that required him to step out of the line and fill out some additional paperwork before he could step into the booth and cast his vote.

But aside from that it was a pretty smooth election day experience for me, I was in and out in about seven minutes and I was determined to cast my vote regardless of the decision by the Associated Press last night to announce that Hillary has won enough delegates to secure the Democratic nomination.

You may recall my having mentioned the little old guy named Bernie who monitors the two voting booths at the Gershon on the blog last fall on November 15th.

He was seated in his wheelchair in his usual spot between the voting machines today too keeping an eye on things, although he seemed a little grouchier than usual.

I asked him about the day's attendance and Bernie said it was pretty solid for a primary voting day; he felt it was because voters are angry.

I certainly couldn't disagree with Bernie on that one and I nodded in agreement as he took my green receipt as he lamented about the state of the nation.

Fox News commentator Rudy Giuliani 
"It's a shame what's happened to this country." Bernie grumbled as he looked up at me from his chair.

"I wanted to vote for Rudy Giuliani but he screwed up." he confessed as he looked off.

With that I shook my head in silent sympathetic agreement and slipped between the curtains to cast my vote. 

I pegged Bernie as a Fox News watcher long ago, and while we always exchange pleasantries at the booth, I try to avoid topics like one's personal politics at the poll site, so when he mentioned liking Rudy Giuliani as a presidential candidate, it told me two things about Bernie.

One, he's pretty conservative, and that's cool with me - I couldn't tell Bernie that I lived in New York City during the Giuliani mayoral regime, and I happen to think he worsened racial and cultural divisions in the city during his tenure (particularly with the way he ran the NYPD) and he morphed into a total right-wing nut job after his short-lived presidential hopes fizzled.    

Remember Rudy's "Obama doesn't love America." comment? Which he made at an event to raise funds for the equally right-wing nut job Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's presidential campaign back in February, 2015.

Secondly, Bernie's grumbling about Giuliani also told me that he's one of many Republicans who are sickened by Donald Trump's stubborn refusal to back away from his criticism of federal judge Gonzalo Curiel because of his Mexican heritage.

My sense is that Bernie, like many conservative voters,is coming to grips with the unfortunate reality that the GOP is backing Trump as the 2016 candidate.

Bernie is a veteran in his 80's and he's smart enough to know that nothing good is going to come of that for the Republican party.

Watching Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan publicly lecture Trump today like a couple of school principals berating some dimwitted bully harassing kids in the halls in an effort to disassociate the party from Trump's views, I could only shake my head.

The two of them are as responsible for Trump being the nominee as anyone else in the GOP, as their stubborn agreement to use their Congressional leadership positions to oppose any of President Obama's initiatives not only led to the gridlock that angered so many voters, it also set the tone for the unprecedented contempt with which conservatives treated Obama throughout his tenure.

Contempt which served as a green light for the open expression of racism and xenophobia within conservative American circles.  

Republican Illinois Senator Mark Kirk
Now they're watching this disaster unfold, and neither of them has the courage to stand up and say enough is enough.

Republican Illinois Senator Mark Kirk did.

The former veteran, who'd previously broken with his party over their refusal to even consider Judge Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, stood up and did what I think a lot of  moderate Republicans want to do.

He publicly revoked his support for Donald Trump. In a detailed statement he said in part:

"It is absolutely essential that we are guided by a commander-in-chief  with a responsible and proper temperament, discretion and judgement...After much consideration I have concluded that Donald Trump has not demonstrated the temperament necessary to assume the greatest office in the world."

It's refreshing to see a Republican with some principles (and some cojones) finally stand up and say it, but it's sad that a more prominent member of the party leadership didn't say it first.

Singer Tammy Wynette
We certainly didn't get that kind of politcal and moral courage from our own governor here in New Jersey.

Much like the famous American country singer Tammy Wynette, earlier today, Chris Christie announced that he's gonna "Stand By (His) Man".

Despite a laundry list of offensive public statements by Trump, and virtually the entire Republican leadership denouncing his statements about judge Gonzalo Curiel as racist, Christie told baffled reporters,

"I've said this before, that I know Donald Trump, I've known him for 14 years, and Donald Trump is not a racist."

See no evil, hear no evil I guess, whatever lets you sleep at night and wake up and look at your face in the mirror in the morning.

Christie's denial of Trump's true character is a sad reflection of just how far to the right he's moved politically and morally in order to make himself more palatable to conservatives and pander to the extremists who control the Republican party.

As the media has been quick to observe today, Christie was the one back in 2011 who hit back at conservatives who criticized his decision to appoint Muslim judge Sohail Mohammed, an immigrant from India who became a U.S. citizen, as a State Superior Court Judge in Passaic County.

Christie publicly denounced delusional Republican fear-mongers who expressed "concerns" that Mohammed was a terrorist who would advocate for Sharia Law on the bench.

Apparently the chance for a cabinet position in a 2016 Republican presidency 'Trumps' Christie's own distaste for irrational conservative bigotry.

The righteous indignation Christie once expressed over politician's questioning a qualified judge because of his ethnicity?

That's all in the past.

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