By Sasso's Ingeniously Simple 3-Point Index, Hillary Edges Out Trump

Friday, July 22, 2016

For my money, John Sasso has produced the best analytical framework for understanding who will become the next President of the United States.

 “Demographics and regional electoral factors do matter in the general election. But deep and emotional judgments about candidates ultimately drive Americans’ choice of a president,” Sasso wrote in a Boston Globe op-ed piece, (“The values battle in the general election,” 5-19-16). 
“The most salient variables,” he continued, “are voter perceptions of three characteristics: a candidate’s personal political strength, voters’ trust in the depth and sincerity of the candidate’s convictions, and, most importantly, whether the voters think that the candidate ‘cares’ about people like them.”

In Sasso’s opinion, “The experience of recent presidential elections suggests that convincing swing voters that you possess these qualities can make all the difference in voters’ final choices of a president.”  He concluded with: “This values battle is one that Clinton will welcome, wage ferociously – and likely win.”  (The Globe editors should have underlined likely.)
A political mastermind, Sasso helped to put two Democrats from Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis (1988) and John Kerry (2004), within reach of the presidency.  We can always profit from heeding him but perhaps no more so than now, as we absorb the effects of Trump’s coronation this week in Cleveland by the GOP and anticipate the responsorial moves Hillary Clinton will make next week at the Democrat convention in Philadelphia.

The more I think about what Sasso wrote  -- and I have re-read “The values battle” several times over again today -- the more I agree with him: Hillary will win in November.
I figure that Trump will win the contest in voters' minds over the first characteristic, personal political strength, while Hillary will win it on the third characteristic, caring about people like them.

The shooting match could then come down to whom the voters trust to have the deepest, most sincere convictions.  The electorate will have a hard time making that call. Ultimately, more will decide that Hillary holds her beliefs more genuinely than Trump.
A majority will make that judgment, I think, based on Hillary’s lifelong political activism and involvement, and compared to Trump’s late-in-life, impulse-is-king plunge into politics at the highest level.

Disclosure: I’ve known John Sasso casually for 17 or 18 years.  I like and admire him because he’s very smart, he's not the least bit self-important, and he seems to have a very good time doing what he does.
Think I’ve gone overboard calling him a mastermind?  

Consider that Sasso has made a good living as a solo practitioner in the fields of government affairs and communications for close to 30 years and that his company, Advanced Strategies, does not even have a web site. 

And if this John Sasso has a LinkedIn profile, I’ll be damned if I can find it.

Baker Wasn't Thinking Politics When He Signed Transgender Bill in Private

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Boston Globe’s State House bureau chief, Frank Phillips, wrote that Charlie Baker’s decision to sign the transgender public accommodations bill on Friday, July 8 -- behind closed doors and with no fanfare -- “was not the most adroit political move.”

Baker’s “socially liberal credentials took a hit with his decision not to have a celebratory signing ceremony for the legislation,” Phillips wrote. 
The closed-door signing was, in Phillips’s words, a “slight that has rippled through the very disappointed LGBT community.”  

Phillips thought Baker “appeared not entirely comfortable with the transgender issue.” 
Further, Phillips speculated that the governor timed the release of a proposal to prevent undocumented immigrants from obtaining Massachusetts drivers’ licenses for Thursday, July 7, in order to shore up his standing with “his party’s right flank” in advance of signing the transgender bill.

I respect Frank Phillips but disagree with him on this.
I think the governor was totally unconcerned with making an adroit political move on public accommodations for the transgendered because the issue will quickly fade from the consciousness of the public and will have zero impact on his re-election bid in 2018.

As for improving his standing with conservative Republicans, that goal belongs in Baker’s “Nice to Do” file, not the “Must Do.”  What are the right-wingers going to do if they’re unhappy with Baker, vote for Dan Wolf?
I think Baker’s still smarting from being booed off the stage at an LGBT networking event in Boston on the night of Wednesday, April 13, for refusing to say if he would, or would not, sign the transgender bill.

He’s also smarting still, I think, from being publicly disinvited on Thursday, April 7, to an April 26 dinner in Washington, D.C. of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce for the same reason.
I’m not saying the booing and the disinviting loom large in Baker’s mind or that he’s nursing a grudge. 

I think Baker just wanted to let the most impatient public advocates for Senate Bill 2407, An Act Relative to Gender Identity and Non-Discrimination, know he didn’t appreciate the way they treated him during the long spell the bill was bottled up in the legislature.
If I can imagine a thought bubble above the governor’s head as he got ready to sign the bill on July 8, it would say something like, “They jammed me for months.  I get to jam them for a minute.”

The governor never complained publicly about any harsh treatment because he understood that the booing, the disinviting, etc.,were legitimate parts of the political process. 
It’s time anyone feeling slighted by the private signing of the bill came to the same understanding of the governor’s action here.  It was his legitimate prerogative to forego a public signing ceremony.

SB 2407 is now the law in Massachusetts.  That’s all that’s going to matter six months, six years, six decades from now.

.

 

In the Line at Social Security, I Wonder, Have We Made It Too Easy to Quit?

Friday, July 8, 2016

One of the smartest, most perceptive persons I have ever had the good fortune to know, a gentleman from Worcester who has had a long and highly successful career in accounting and insurance, once said to me, “I’m willing to insure you for your bad luck, but I’m not so ready to insure you for your bad behavior.”

I thought of my friend’s comment on Wednesday morning of this week as I was standing outside the  Social Security office in the lobby of the Tip O’Neill federal building, 10 Causeway Street, Boston.  My wife and I were in line, waiting to be called for an appointment I had set up to discuss her eligibility for Medicare.  (Yes, damn it, we’re getting to “that age.”)
Against my better instincts, I fell into a conversation with an old gent standing behind me who instantly tried to learn if I was a Trump supporter.  “Which one do you like?” he pressed.  The skeptical look on his face suggested he’d pegged me as a Hillary man.  “Neither,” said I.  That was enough to keep him friendly.

Meanwhile, my wife started kibitzing with a together-looking woman of approximately my wife’s age, who was in line ahead of her.  The woman was with a muscular man on the younger side of middle age who turned out to be her son.  She shared that her son was pursuing a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability, (which in MA has a state component, in addition to a larger federal component), and that she was there to attest to the details of his medical history, including a recent (ostensibly minor) stroke. A six-footer who had his back to me most of the time, the son was standing straight and tall. He used neither a cane nor crutches. 
My wife has always had the effortless ability to elicit from strangers some of their deepest thoughts and fears.  She never pumps people; they just tell her things. In less than five minutes on Wednesday, she learned that the son was 40 years old and had struggled for years with an addiction to narcotics, which had contributed to his health problems and convinced him that he now was incapable of ever holding down a job.

I obviously do not know enough about that man’s situation to say he does not deserve SSI.  I am not a physician and thus have no standing to disagree with any medical professional who would be willing to certify that the man’s drug use had destroyed his health and rendered him incapable of gainful employment. 
That will not discourage me, however, from opining that the possibility alone of obtaining SSI encourages someone like that 40-year-old man to throw himself on the mercy of the federal and state governments rather than test his mettle again in the job market.

We definitely need to have SSI for disabled persons, but we provide that humane support at the unquestionable risk of attracting considerable numbers of persons who are kind of ill and kind of debilitated, and who have lost the drive, the wherewithal, to fend for themselves, and who, in that state of loss, have convinced themselves no further struggle of a moral nature is required of them and that they are within their rights to partake of the resources of the government for the rest of their lives, which, given the ever-improving capabilities of medical science and all of the material comforts America offers its citizens, could easily last for 30 or 40 more years.
I should note that no disabled person will ever live well on SSI alone.  The standard monthly federal benefit for an individual is now $733, while the program’s monthly state benefit for an individual is $114.   Who can go far on $847 a month?

To anyone reading this who says my opinion is too large and heavy to rest on the flimsy scaffolding of a quick, disjointed encounter in a Social Security line, I would answer, Yes, you are correct:  I have no idea whether that man will ever secure SSI.  He may, in fact, have no chance of that; however, I do know personally of at least two individuals who wrecked themselves when young on alcohol and drugs and who are now collecting SSI, so I know this is indeed a viable option today for the booze-scarred, the heroin-wasted and the oxycodone-crazed.  “Success” on this score inspires others -- where one goes smoothly down the SSI route, three will surely follow.

I believe in the Commonwealth with a capital C.  And Franklin Roosevelt, the father of Social Security, is my all-time political hero. I believe we are our brother’s keeper. I also believe that, after we keep him intact during worst part of his life, we should aim to return him to the wild as soon as possible.
Last night, as I rode the Orange Line home, I was thinking about if I should, and how I might, write this post when my eyes drifted to a woman sitting in a wheelchair by one of the car doors.  I hadn’t seen her until the crowd thinned, as it usually does on the Orange Line during evening rush hour, at Wellington Station, Medford.  Like most of the commuters aboard that train, she looked a little tired. Yet fatigue could not obscure her essential grit.  Her chin was set a little high; her lips were just shy of a grimace.  The woman’s clothes were those of a typical middle-aged, white collar, working woman in Boston today.  She looked to be about 40 years of age.   She made my decision for me.

Recreating with Pot Should Be Legal but I Can't Convince Myself to Vote Yes

Friday, July 1, 2016

In the summer of 1968, I was fortunate to land a job as a meat packer at Bolton & Smart, one of the many wholesalers then located in Boston’s Clinton Street Market, on what is now mainly the site of Christopher Columbus Park in the North End.  Bolton & Smart hired me because a friend of mine from Revere, Ronnie Tempesta, a meat cutter there, brought me to the boss one morning and said he wanted me to have the job.  They liked Ronnie because he worked so hard you’d think he owned the company.  Also, Ronnie was born likeable: he got people laughing all the time, which is a major virtue in a group of men working all day in a gigantic refrigerator.  There were many applicants for that meat packing job because it paid a union wage, $2.67 an hour.  The minimum wage at the time was about $1.40, I think.

The end of my first week, I was initiated into a custom cherished by most Bolton & Smart front-line employees: the mid-afternoon Friday drinking break.  We had 15 minutes off, starting at 3:00 o’clock. The company strictly enforced this limit by requiring us to punch the timeclock when we went on break and punch it again when we came back into the plant.
It took a minute to walk to the nearest dive, where the bartender was awaiting our arrival with about a dozen cold, unopened bottles of Budweiser and Schlitz atop the end of the bar facing the door.  (It’s hard today for folks to understand, but in those days, Bud and Schlitz were roughly even competitors in Massachusetts.  Prefiguring my lifelong attraction to the ill-fated, I myself was, at 17, already a Schlitz man.)  We had 13 minutes to drink.  The object, I quickly learned, was to consume at least two beers during that time.  Serious Friday guys aimed for three, a feat I accomplished only once; fittingly, I reached that pinnacle/pit on my last day on the job, in late August.    

I admit to these facts now only to draw attention to a timeless truth, i.e., the stupidity and recklessness of young men, and to make a connection between that truth and the position taken earlier this week by the Construction Industries of Massachusetts (CIM) against a referendum in November proposing to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
“Our members spend their days on worksites across the Commonwealth, and we believe increasing the availability of marijuana will undermine the safety of our workers,” said CIM Executive Director John Pourbaix in a written statement issued on Monday.

One of CIM’s “major concerns” is the “influx of legal edible products that would come with commercial legalization.”  The organization said, “Employees who test positive for marijuana have significantly higher rates of workplace accidents.”
CIM describes itself as “an association representing all aspects of the transportation and public works construction industry in Massachusetts.” Its membership includes general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, equipment dealers, engineers, consultants, insurance and bonding companies, law firms and accounting firms and “many other companies interested in furthering the progress of the (construction) industry.”

There’s a strong case to be made that using marijuana is not much different from using alcohol, and perhaps even less harmful.
Advocates for legalizing recreational pot are essentially telling persons like me, who have no problem with booze but do have a problem with recreational pot, that our opposition is grounded in our personalities, preferences, family histories and social strata, our age-related biases and fears, our unconscious affinity to cultural norms, etc., rather than in any objective evidence that pot may cause significant harm or societal disruption when people are able to buy it and consume it on any street corner, on any day or night. Given my blind spots, I have to concede this case to the advocates. 

The main reason I'm leaning against voting for recreational pot is I don't feel we need more ways for people to get stupid.  Based purely on that instinct, I am willing to deprive Massachusetts pot lovers of their natural human right to get a buzz on with a product that is maybe less harmful than booze -- at least in terms of typical physical effects on the average human. (No one can yet say how recreational pot for the masses will or will not alter our society.)
I'm pretty sure what we Bolton & Smartalecks would have done on a Friday afternoon if recreational marijuana had been legal in 1968. If someone had said to us then, “Bet you can’t eat six weed cookies,” we would have said, “Shut up and get me the milk.”

 

In Cambridge May Be Found One Reticent Pol/GoodSon/Serious Legislator

Thursday, June 30, 2016

I’m trying to decide what I like most about Cambridge rep David Rogers’s maiden speech.  It’s a toss-up among three things:

One, Rogers waited three-and-a-half years to give his maiden speech; two, Rogers spoke lovingly of his recently deceased mother; three, Rogers was advocating for a good bill he’s sponsoring that would increase penalties on anyone convicted of trying to get someone else to commit a felony.
An attorney, Rogers is obviously no show-off or camera hog.  On the contrary, he seems remarkably secure and low-key for someone of his ilk.  Rogers was first elected in the fall of 2012 and re-elected two years later.  Yet he waited til the second year of his second term was almost half over before formally addressing his colleagues from the House rostrum on June 22.  Most politicians get this over with in their rookie years.

Lyndon Johnson famously divided legislators into two categories: show horses and workhorses.  This Rogers has to be a workhorse
Thanks to the State House News Service, we have a pretty good transcript of Rogers’s speech, which went as follows:

“I rise in strong support of this bill (An Act to Properly Punish the Solicitation of Felony Crimes), which I introduced.  Given that this is the first time I’ve addressed my colleagues, I want to offer some thanks.  First, I want to thank my constituents: I never take for granted your support.  Mr. Speaker (Robert DeLeo), I’d like to thank you for your guidance and leadership.  Louis Brandeis said the states are laboratories of our democracy.  If that was true when he first said it, it has never been truer than right now.  With our federal government gridlocked, the states have had to sept into the void and provide leadership.  Under you, Mr. Speaker, that’s exactly what we have done.  We have had tremendous leadership.
“I also want to thank my family.  My campaign in 2012 was largely a family affair.  I also want to acknowledge my mom.  Many of you know I recently lost my mom, and I want to thank you all for offering your kindness during this time.  She grew up on a tiny farm in Iowa; they lost everything in the Great Depression.  My father came back from World War Two and started a family.  I lost my father when I was 12 and my mom stepped up tremendously.  My mom loved this place, Mr. Speaker.  I remember calling you to ask if she could sit next to me when I was sworn in, and before I even put the phone down, work came back that you would set up a chair for her.  My mom loved the stories of this place. 

“When I was running, a guy asked me what I was going to do about Putin.  I thought President Obama had joined me at my event or something.  I told him that I was running for the state legislature, not a federal office.  He said, ‘You aren’t even in office yet and you’re already making excuses.’  So I told him, ‘If I’m elected, I’ll sit down with Vladimir Putin and tell him a thing or two.’  The guy said, ‘Well, you’ve got my vote!’
“I come from Cambridge and 12 of the bills I introduced this session had to do with lightening the foot of our criminal justice system.  I think we’ve gone too far with things like mandatory minimums and mass incarceration.  The district attorney came to me and said a guy went to an undercover cop to have his wife killed.  But, because the cop did not have the intent to kill (since he was a police officer), the guy could only be charged with solicitation and not conspiracy.  This bill fixes a major shortcoming in our system and I’m proud to support it.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.”  

One of the better rituals of the legislature revolves around the importance of a legislator’s maiden speech.  The presiding officer always gives the rep or senator in this situation a special introduction. All members remain quietly and attentively in their seats while the speech is being delivered, which rarely happens otherwise.  And at the end, there’s loud applause and every member quickly lines up to shake the maiden orator’s hand and offer effusive congratulations.  Legislators always remember the time they gave their maiden speeches and can easily recall what they spoke about on those occasions.
Beyond the above (unfamiliar to him) pleasures of the spotlight, Rep. Rogers got to enjoy the thrill of having his maiden speech lead immediately to a unanimous 153-0 vote to enact An Act to Properly Punish the Solicitation of Felony Crimes, now numbered House Bill 4005.  The bill has been sent to the Senate, where it would seem, by virtue of having no apparent, serious opposition in or outside the State House, to have a good chance of passage before the legislature must end all formal sessions on July 31.

Scott Brown's Trump-Dream Erupts from a Spring of Intrinsic Ambition

Friday, June 17, 2016

This past Sunday night, June 12, before all of the dead had been identified on the premises of Pulse, the gay nightclub in Orlando, Donald Trump sent out a Tweet that said:

“Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.”
Ignore for a minute what that says about Trump’s selfishness and narcissism, which impel him to seek immediate political gain from a mass murder, and consider what it says about his impulse toward snap decisions on incomplete evidence.  Might this be a warning sign regarding the character of a potential commander-in-chief?

While the slaughter was unfolding, the gunman had proclaimed his allegiance to the Islamic State. Within 36 hours, it was revealed that he had patronized the club on at least several occasions, suggesting that inner conflicts and turmoil contributed as much to the rampage as distorted religious convictions may have.
Now consider the former junior United States senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown, an early endorser of Trump.

On Monday, June 13, while in the company of Trump in New Hampshire, Brown told NBC News that he felt “comfortable” with the direction the campaign was taking.  “I’m pleased in the direction of the campaign. They’re focusing on things that people care about – the economy, and, obviously, terrorism,” he said.
There’s a man I know in Wakefield, Massachusetts, where Brown grew up.  This man is a contemporary and lifelong friend of Brown; he and Brown are close friends.  I very much respect this person and his judgment. When he tells me Brown is a good person and a great guy, which he does, I believe him. Wholeheartedly.

One of the knocks on Brown has always been that he’s more show than substance.  He was a professional male model in his younger days and remains exceptionally handsome and buff at age 56.  He’s frequently photographed alongside his glamorous and similarly youthful wife, Gail Huff, after doing something strenuous and dashing, like competing in a triathalon.
Brown had a so-so career in the Massachusetts House and Senate.  Then he unexpectedly caught fire in the 2010 Senate campaign against Martha Coakley; was a media superstar for about a year; then flamed out against Elizabeth Warren when trying for re-election.  Many political pros dismissed his campaign against Warren as clunky and uninspired.

I have never accepted the notion that Brown is a lightweight.
Someone lacking in intelligence could not have done what Brown did in pulling himself through -- and up from -- a very hard and difficult childhood in Wakefield, as detailed in his 2011 memoir, “Against All Odds.”  Many kids who endure similar hardships never make it out of high school.

A dullard could not have earned degrees from Tufts University (with honors) and the law school at Boston College, as Brown did, in 1981 and 1985, respectively.  While at Tufts, he further demonstrated quickness of mind on the inter-collegiate basketball circuit.
So Brown most certainly grasps how offensive Trump is when he scapegoats immigrants, casts suspicion on all Muslims, treats women as bimbos, makes fun of the handicapped, encourages people at his rallies to punch out protesters, etc.  Here we have a smart, savvy, mature man, a moderate Republican who has always worked hard at being likeable, as most every politician has, a man who’s willing to overlook a lot of unsavory stuff about Trump even though he knows some of that stuff is rubbing off on him now and will likely stick to him for years.

One must conclude that Brown really, truly is hoping to become Trump’s choice for vice president.  Speculation to that effect has been rife for months.  Brown might well see the Trump express as his last ticket to political power and glory.  This small-town kid has always had within him biggest-town ambition. 
Ambition. It’s the explanation behind all other explanations in everyone who seeks high office. 

Brown’s thinking of the vice presidency, meaning he’s thinking of his chances of becoming president. [FACT: 14 vice presidents have become president, 8 on the occasion of the death of the sitting president.]
Remember, they called him Downtown Scotty Brown in high school and college because he had a marvelous way with a long shot.

In conclusion, consider the words of President Obama on the afternoon of June 14:

“This is a country founded on basic freedoms, including freedom of religion.  We don’t have religious tests here.  Our founders, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights are clear about that.  And, if we ever abandon those values, we would not only make it a lot easier to radicalize people here and around the world but we would have betrayed the very things we were trying to protect: the pluralism and the openness, our rule of law, our civil liberties.  The very things that make this country great.  The very things that make us exceptional.  And then the terrorists would have won.  And we cannot let that happen.  I will not let that happen.”

Romney Wants to Be Above Battle in Utah but Battle Keeps Reaching for Him

Friday, June 10, 2016

I don’t think Trump is qualified to be president. I don’t think it is possible for Trump to win the general election, his impressive string of Republican primary victories notwithstanding.  I’ve felt that way for a long time.

I began reconsidering that assumption this morning when I read a Washington Post article on how former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney had convened his annual “ideas festival” last night in that one-percenters heaven, Park City, Utah.  The official name of the Mitt-fest is “Experts and Enthusiasts Summit,” or E2 for short.  (Please tell me you’re surprised I was not invited.)
The E2 Summit is “not intended to be a political forum,” according to the Post, “but rather is a Romney-designed version of the Aspen Ideas Festival.”  (Aspen, why don’t you ever call me?)

The Post article said:
“The E2 summit is the first of what will be many events in which Republican elites begin to talk and think about a post-Trump era, in the event he loses to presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.  Many of the roughly 300 people assembling at the five-star Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley for three days of colloquiums and seminars will be thinking about who might lead their party after November…

“The event comes amid chatter in some Republican circles about ways to establish party rules that could somehow deny Trump the nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next month.  Those conversations underscore the continuing discomfort with Trump, yet have produced nothing concrete, either in terms of a clear strategy or a consensus alternative candidate.”
If Romney thinks Trump’s a goner, I’m scared.  Very scared. 

Mitt is an exceptional human being in so many respects but the trait for politicking is totally absent from his DNA.  On political matters, he has the opposite of “touch.”  Recall, please, how he went public March 3 with a scathing attack on Trump as a “fake” and how Trump promptly went up in the polls.

Juicily, the E2 Summit has led to speculation that folks in Romney’s camp are hoping to deny the nomination to Trump or to draw Romney into some new third party kind of try for the presidency this November.
“Romney has steadfastly refused to run again, though the reunion here of his friends and allies is expected to produce some encouragement from well-wishers for him to reconsider, as it has the previous two years here,” said the Post.

A Republican strategist, Rick Wilson, was quoted as saying, “We’re at the point now where Mitt is the last dog in this fight who can run a credible third-party effort.  There will be tremendous pressure on him.”
Republicans would be wise to devise a means of stealing the nomination from Trump and bestowing it on Romney next month.  Sure, there’d be a lot of screaming from the Republican rank and file, roughly 62% of whom voted for Trump in the primaries, but it would die down in a matter of weeks.  The Trumpophiles would then realize they’d rather have Romney in the White House than Hillary and Bill again.

With Romney as the standard bearer, the G.O.P. would win even if Romney lost because it would have been spared the damage to down-ticket Republican congressional candidates and the irreparable harm to its standing among minority voters and immigrants that would have resulted from a Trump candidacy.
On balance, there’s an excellent chance Mitt “Spotless” Romney could match up well in this race against Hillary “Server-in-Home” Clinton.

For a gleeful take on how Republican bigwigs could maneuver Trump out of the nomination, see an article published yesterday in the online version of The New Yorker, “How to Feel the G.O.P.’s Pain Over Donald Trump,” by John Cassidy:
http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/how-to-feel-the-g-o-p-s-pain-over-donald-trump

For Cassidy’s benefit, Hugh Hewitt, a conservative radio talk show host, offered a couple of possible methods (to screw Trump). “One was to make the first two ballots advisory,” Cassidy writes, “which would allow delegates who are committed to Trump to switch preferences on the third ballot.  Another was to require a supermajority of votes on the first ballot, which could conceivably prevent Trump from scoring a decisive victory.”
Further, Cassidy writes, “Once you grasp the idea that the G.O.P. conventioneers can make up their own rules, the possibilities seem endless.”

It is these possibilities that will likely keep Mitt tossing in his five-star bed this weekend.
Speaking of upright Republicans, I can’t understand why Geoff Diehl, a G.O.P. state rep from Whitman and a Trump supporter, has entered the fray as Trump fends off charges – from Republican U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan of all people – that he, Trump, was racist in his comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel.  Then again, I can’t understand why Diehl, a very decent guy and a gentleman in every sense of the word, decided to support Trump, an obnoxious blowhard and natural-born bully, in the first place.

In an article today on the State House News Service, (“Diehl Stands by Trump Following His Comments on Judge”), Diehl was quoted as saying:
“I don’t understand why we talk about Mexico as a race.  Mexico is a country.  This is a nation.  We’re trying to have a secure border along the Mexican border, right?  He’s talking about the potential bias of the judge who’s worked clearly with LaRaza (a Latino lawyers association in California), who has efforts to try to get people into America.”