Retired Republican Judge chooses country over party

The following are excerpts from an article written by retired North Carolina Judge Robert Orr, in response to an editorial by a regional conservative columnist who tends to rationalize the abhorrent behavior of the US president. His latest editorial concerned how never-Trump Republicans are being used by Democrats. The rebuttal editorial in Monday’s The Charlotte Observer by Judge Orr is called “Memo to J. Peder Zane: We ‘Never Trumpers’ have chosen country over party.” A link is below.

“Across the country Republicans, former Republicans who’ve left the party and conservative leaning voters have simply been sickened by the unethical, disgraceful and harmful conduct of Trump. As Trump now aggressively lies about voting by mail alternatives in the upcoming election, he refuses to acknowledge the fundamental concept of the peaceful transfer of power after an election. It’s overt threats to the underpinnings of our democratic system like that, that result in so many Republicans and former Republicans making the decision to support Joe Biden – not Trump.

Another delusional statement in Zane’s piece contends that Trump’s involvement with Russia and Russian interference in the 2016 election was a “hoax.” I suppose ‘Mr. Conservative’ Zane is one of those who doesn’t believe our intelligence agencies or the recent Senate Foreign Affairs Committee report with (Republican NC Senator) Richard Burr as chair calling out Trump world’s knee-deep involvement with Putin and his cronies.

The rhetorical question Zane ask of Martin and those of us who have worked building the Republican Party over the years is how we could allow ourselves to ‘be used’ by Democrats in opposing Trump? The legions of Republicans in North Carolina and around the country who have rejected the hate-filled Tweets, trampling of constitutional principles and gross incompetence of Donald Trump can give you more answers than space allows.”

I will say Zane is not incorrect that the words of these anti-Trump Republicans, like The Lincoln Project, Republicans for the Rule of Law, Republican Voters against Trump, former Republican intelligence officials against Trump, etc., are being used. They are being used to tell the pro-Trump folks it is not just Democrats and the media that supposedly “hate Trump” using the president and his sycophants’ own words.

As Judge Orr points out, these are big boys and girls and they have decided this president lacks empathy, decency, competency and ethics. They needed no help in coming to that on target conclusion.

https://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/article246173145.html

And, the beat goes on – more Republican defections

I have written several pieces about the groups of and individual Republicans who have come out against Donald Trump in support of Joe Biden. The Lincoln Project, Republicans for the Rule of Law, and Republican Voters against Trump are a key few.

Per a CNN report by Chris Cillizza called “There’s a historic insurrection against Donald Trump happening within the GOP,” the following few paragraphs reveal a few more Republican voices are speaking out. The full article can be linked to below.

“The latest sign came Sunday, when former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge penned an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer making clear his intent to vote for former Vice President Joe Biden over President Donald Trump in November.

‘He lacks the empathy, integrity, intellect and maturity to lead,’ Ridge, who also served as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security in the Bush administration, wrote of Trump.

Ridge joins fellow Bush Cabinet secretaries Christine Todd Whitman (EPA), Ann Veneman (Agriculture), Carlos Gutierrez (Commerce) and Colin Powell (State) as Biden endorsers. Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Illinois, and Chuck Hagel, the former Nebraska Republican senator, both of whom served in the Obama Cabinet, have also backed Biden.

And that’s just Republicans who served in a presidential Cabinet! There are a slew of other prominent GOP elected officials — from former Ohio Gov. John Kasich to former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman to 2016 presidential candidate Carly Fiorina to former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder — who are on record as either planning to vote for Biden or leaning in that direction.

Then there are the staffers. That group includes the former chiefs of staff at the Department of Education and Department of Homeland Security in the Trump administration! More than 70 national security officials from various Republican administrations are backing Biden. As are more than 150 alums of the George W. Bush White House.”

The incumbent and his supporters downplay these Republican voices. The president, of course, labels these critics as “losers” a favorite name calling rebuttal. I read a piece from a Trump supporting pundit who dismissed these folks as being played up by Democrats.

Yet, neither the president or pundit have addressed why these folks are risking backlash from a vindictive person. The same “why” question can be asked of the president’s firing or transferring of the inspectors general who were critical and folks who testified under oath over concerns about the president’s actions

Why indeed?

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/there-s-a-historic-insurrection-against-donald-trump-happening-within-the-gop/ar-BB19vw1b?ocid=msedgdhp

Former Republican Chair is committed to seeing Trump lose

Michael Steele, a long-time Republican and former Chair of the Republican Party, has had enough. Steele is actively working to assure the current president loses in November. Wny? David Smith writes in The Guardian about his interview with Steele, an African-American, in the following piece entitled “‘They capitulated to Trump’: Michael Steele on the fight for the Republican party’s soul.”

Here a few paragraphs from the article, which can be linked to in full below.

“’I asked myself, what are the things that matter to you? It mattered that this president has openly said to us, I’m not going to accept the outcome of this election if I don’t win. It matters to me what he’s done with the Postal Service to prevent Americans from accessing the ballot box. I see this is the time for choosing, and the choice that unfortunately many in my party, particularly in the party leadership, have made is that they choose Trump. They choose winning an election at all costs over the country and I think, as an American, I should be bigger than that.’

‘Out of the gate, he starts, ‘Mexicans are murderers and rapists, I’m gonna build a wall, they’re coming after you’, creating this other narrative about the very people, the very voters that the party had just spent over a million dollars putting on paper that they wanted to attract. What was the party response? Capitulation.

‘I can’t explain it because it damn sure wouldn’t have happened if I were chairman, I can tell you that, and people in this party know that’s true. So the fact of the matter is they need to explain why they allowed Donald Trump to crap all over their plans to build out the party after they lost the 2012 election.’

He goes on: ‘They have to explain why they capitulated on Russia and deficit spending and allowed Donald Trump to put children in cages and they remained silent. They have to explain why a party that stood with the Statue of Liberty in the New York harbor and promoted legal immigration and promoted the ideals of this country suddenly was interested in building a wall. I can’t explain that. That goes against my values.’”

I have watched Steele be interviewed or participate in panel discussions multiple times. While I may not always agree with what he says, I find him to be reasonable and articulate in his views. He shows a willingness to listen. His history, his service and his character support someone who has thought about what he says and believes. So, his stance against the president speaks volumes.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/sep/06/michael-steele-donald-trump-republican-party-interview

Alternate Republican Convention of anti-Trump Republicans goes on

Per a Wednesday, August 26 article in The Charlotte Observer by Jim Morrill called “From Charlotte, anti-Trump Republicans offer their own message in a counter-convention” , the alternate Republican convention convened online. It was scheduled to be in Charlotte, but COVID-19 caused the social media only session from a Charlotte TV studio.

The convention brought together the efforts of The Lincoln Project, Republicans for the Rule of Law, Republican Voters against Trump and other groups. Below are some excerpts from the article. As context, it is important to note what I heard on NPR today. The RNC did NOT vote on a platform at the national convention. One reporter said the platform is whatever Donald Trump comes up with.

‘Today’s Republican Party is the Trump party,’ said Mindy Finn, one of the organizers. ‘And they make it very clear in their rhetoric that you either support Trump wholeheartedly or you’re not one of them.’

From its Charlotte studio, the programming features virtual panel discussions and speeches by more than two dozen people. They include former FBI Director Jim Comey, former Republican national Chairman Michael Steele, former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci and Evan McMullin, a former CIA officer who ran an independent campaign for president in 2016.

Tuesday night’s lineup included former N.C. Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr, a longtime Republican Trump critic, addressing what he called the growing politicization of federal courts. ‘I have no confidence that Donald Trump can move beyond his disregard and disdain for the rule of law and the constitutional underpinnings of our judiciary,’ Orr said.

The Religion News Service ran a story about the convention’s appeal to evangelicals through speakers such as Mark Galli, the former editor-in-chief of Christianity Today. The Washington Post headlined an opinion column, ‘Republicans are putting on two conventions this week. One of them will be sane.’

Organizers say the first night’s livestream reached 23,000 viewers on YouTube and 10,000 on Facebook. Adding all the social media ‘shares,’ they say, makes for a total reach of hundreds of thousands.”

Now, this convention was dwarfed by the national RNC convention viewership, but it is incumbent on its members and people who care about truth, to make sure folks are aware that these voices are active and should be heard.

What has impressed me is the people behind this effort. Several of the groups are running effective ads that speak to the corrupt and deceitful bent of the president. The Republican Voters against Trump is particularly effective as people tell why they can no longer support Trump as they did before. As Joe Biden said in a rebuttal speech to Trump’s, this is happening on your watch.

The entire article is below.

https://www.charlotteobserver.com/article245262280.html

The beat goes on…more GOP names for Biden

In an article by Zack Budryk yesterday called “Jeff Flake, dozens of former GOP congressman joining ‘Republicans for Biden,'” he speaksto the growing list of Republican legislators who have openly stated their support for Joe Biden.

“Former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a frequent critic of President Trump, is endorsing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden along with several other former Republican lawmakers.

The Biden campaign announced the endorsements, first reported by Fox News, Monday morning. The list includes other former members of Congress who had previously announced their support for Biden, including former Sens. John Warner (R-Va.) and Gordon Humphrey (R-N.H.), who is now an independent, and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.).

Other former lawmakers on the list include former Reps. Steve Bartlett (R-Texas), Tom Coleman (R-Mo.), Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), Chris Shays (R-Ct.), Alan Steelman (R-Texas) and Jim Walsh (R-Texas).

‘These former members of Congress cited Trump’s corruption, destruction of democracy, blatant disregard for moral decency, and urgent need to get the country back on course as a reason why they support Biden,’ an official with the Biden campaign told Fox News. ‘These former Members of Congress are supporting Joe Biden because they know what’s at stake in this election and that Trump’s failures as President have superseded partisanship.'”

Reviewing the list, in addition to Senator Jeff Flake former Congressman Bob Inglis’ names jumps out. Inglis was voted out several years ago when the fossil fuel industry funded his opponent in a primary in South Carolina. Why? He traveled to Antarctica with scientists to see the data and tests on what climate change was doing. He came away convinced and openly said so. Not so fast, said the fossil fuel industry.

He then filmed a documentary of what he had found and set out to identify the amount of money backing the hoaxers. He was booed at various conventions when he raised his evidence, but it did not stop him. That takes courage.

The list keeps growing. The question we must ask Trump supporters is why are they doing this? And, dig deeper on the answer. A supporter echoing the president’s name calling or denigration is not an acceptable reason. If they do not respond, ask why there is an alternate convention of Republicans against Trump going on in Charlotte this week?

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/jeff-flake-dozens-of-former-gop-congressman-joining-republicans-for-biden/ar-BB18jibV

Former Republican National Security Leaders condemn Trump, back BIden

Per an article in Reuters yesterday called “Former Republican CIA, FBI heads and national security officials to back Biden,” by Tim Reid:

“Over 70 former Republican national security officials including ex-CIA and FBI chiefs will endorse Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Friday while launching a scathing indictment of President Donald Trump, calling him corrupt and unfit to serve.

The group, called Former Republican National Security Officials for Biden, includes some of the most senior Republican members of the U.S. defense and intelligence establishment to have served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Trump.

The 73-strong group includes retired General Michael Hayden, who served as national security director and head of the CIA; William Webster, the only man to serve as both head of the CIA and FBI; John Negroponte, the first director of National Intelligence; Michael Leiter, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center; and Mike Donley, former Air Force secretary.

Their full-throated condemnation of Trump and backing of Biden will come three days before Trump’s nominating convention opens on Monday and underscores how the Republican president has alienated some members of his own party, especially among intelligence and foreign policy veterans.

‘Trump has demonstrated that he lacks the character and competence to lead this nation and has engaged in corrupt behavior that renders him unfit to serve as president,’ the group plans to declare in a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal on Friday.

‘We have concluded that Donald Trump has failed our country and that Vice President Joe Biden should be elected the next President of the United States,’ it adds.

The group is one of a number of Republican organizations opposing Trump’s re-election in the Nov. 3 election.”

This group joins others like The Lincoln Project, Republicans for the Rule of Law, Republican Voters Against Trump as well as well-known individuals like former GOP Ohio governor John Kasich, former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell, former DHS Chief of Staff Miles Taylor (under Trump) and conservative pundits George Will, David Brooks, Michael Gerson, and others to condemn Trump and support Biden.

These are voices that should mean something. Taylor said we are less secure under Trump, with our allied relationships weaker and enemies stronger. Former Secretary of Defense under Trump General James Mattis said Trump does not even try to unify the country. Condemning mail-in voting as unsafe, while other Republicans endorse it, to destabilize a process while doing nothing to make it better is just yet one more example of Trump’s divisiveness and deceit.

And, it should be noted the Republican led Senate Intelligence Committee just released a report that noted the Russian influence on the 2016 campaign was even more intrusive than concluded in the Mueller report. I would like to hear other Republican Senators answer the concerns of these voices.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-biden-republicans-idUSKBN25G2C5

Note to Tucker Carlson

After reading another vignette from Fox opinion host Tucker Carlson, I posted the following brief note on his website. Recognizing this note will do nothing more than make me feel better, I felt it important to remind him that there are groups of Republicans who do not hold the president in very high regard and do not want him to be reelected.

I am an independent and former GOP voter. I applaud the efforts of Republican Voters against Trump, Republicans for the Rule of Law and The Lincoln Project. With 152,000 American deaths due to COVID-19, the president’s misinformation troubles me still. Plus, he has added fuel to the fire on racial injustice when we need a leader to galvanize Americans. General James Mattis was correct when he said this president does not even try to unite us. And, that is unfortunate and sad. Joe Biden is not perfect, but he will work to unite us, which is what we sorely need at this point. Those are my two cents as a former Republican.

While I did not send the attached post published by Jill regarding an op-ed by Stuart Stevens, yet another Republican who is against Trump’s reelection, I think it supplements the message to Mr. Carlson.

The Voice Of Reason — From A Republican

Some wealthy Republicans who benefit under Trump want him gone

Reuters News published an article called “The wealthy Republicans who want to oust Trump in November’s election” by Tim Reid that might be of interest. Here are a few excerpts, but the entire article can be accessed below:

“Jimmy Tosh, who runs a multi-million dollar hog and grain farm in Tennessee, is a lifelong Republican. He is pro-gun, supports lower taxes and agrees with most of Republican President Donald Trump’s agenda. He is also spending his money to help defeat Trump in November’s election.

‘I agree with 80% of the things he does; I just cannot stand a liar,’ Tosh, 70, said of Trump.

Tosh is one of a growing number of wealthy conservative Americans who say Trump is a threat to democracy and the long-term health of the Republican Party. They are actively supporting his Democratic opponent in the Nov. 3 vote, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Several billionaire and millionaire donors to The Lincoln Project, the most prominent of Republican-backed groups opposing Trump’s re-election, told Reuters that elected Republicans should also be punished for enabling him. Some even support the ouster of vulnerable Republican senators to hand control of the chamber to Democrats.

Their money has fueled an unprecedented campaign from members of a sitting president’s own party to oust him from office. This is a sign that Trump has alienated some Republicans, most recently with his response to the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protests over police brutality against Black Americans.”

What is ironic about Tosh’s statement is he agrees with 80% of what Trump does, but still does not want to vote for him. What Trump has been able to do has helped wealthy people like Tosh through deregulation and a tax law change that favored the wealthy and corporations. Yet, Trump’s deceit, corruptive nature, racist bent and lack of decency are still major stumbling blocks. And, many of his economic changes have actually been detrimental to his fervent base – adding tariffs on trading partners, hindering health care, mishandling COVID-19 and allowing environmental degradation by larger companies, eg.

This voter group helping fund Trump’s opposition should be another alarm bell for Republicans. Trump is becoming an increasingly heavy anchor. It is not just Democrats and the media, who he paints as the enemy. It is not just an isolated Republican who Trump likes to dismiss as “a loser” to mask the message he or she is saying. In essence, Trump is attempting to tell his followers, don’t listen to these losers, rather debate the points they are making.

I encourage Republicans and conservative leaning Independents to pay attention to these groups (The Lincoln Project, Republicans for the Rule of Law and Republican Voters against Trump) and what they are saying. Pay attention to long-time historical conservative pundits like George Will, David Brooks, Michael Gerson, Erick Erickson, etc. who support Trump’s defeat. Pay attention to former staff like General James Mattis and John Bolton who have raised legitimate concerns.

But, most of all pay attention the the array of Inspectors General, whistleblowers, testifiers under oath who have been critical of the job the president is doing who got fired, reassigned or pushed out. Why? What were their concerns? These are important questions. Should a president be able to fire someone without due process from oversight committees in Congress? To me, the answer is a clear no. So, we should band together and push out this president in November.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-republicans-donors/the-wealthy-republicans-who-want-to-oust-trump-in-novembers-election-idUSKCN24P12Q

Letter to editor from a Hispanic American veteran

A letter to the editor of The Charlotte Observer caught my eye this morning. I will repeat it in its entirety sans the name. The letter is under the caption “Tillis’ mask comment was unacceptable.”

“Regarding ‘Tillis says Hispanics adhere less to mask, social distancing,’ (July 18):

I have been a lifelong Republican, still proud of my twin votes for Ronald Reagan. Sen. Thom Tillis’ vote to acquit President Trump and his subsequent silence regarding Trump’s questionable actions since is unworthy of a member of Reagan’s party.

For me, today’s GOP is morally bankrupt. Tillis’ comments about Hispanics and masks are unacceptable. Both my father and I are veterans. He was a Vietnam vet, awarded the Bronze Star. I am a retired U.S. Naval Reserve Commander.

I believe dissent is the highest form of patriotism. I see protestors as seeking a return to civic values of decency, compassion and an ability to compromise or disagree honorably.

For Tillis, it is time to go.”

This letter should speak volumes to all Republicans and conservative leaning Independents. There is no better clarion call for them and other voters. My guess is Trump fanatics will say this person is a RINO (Republican in Name Only), but as he articulates, the real RINOs are the Trump supporters.

An alternate convention will go on – Republicans for a new president

An alternate Republican convention will be convening in Charlotte in a few months called “Republicans for a new president.” It has been organized by Evan McMullin, a former CIA officer who ran as an independent for president in 2016, who garnered enough votes in Utah to concern the president. Per The Charlotte Observer, “Organizers have said they’ll be ‘deliberating and ratifying a new vision for the future of Republican leadership and political renewal in America.'”

The convention is bringing together members of Republican led groups like The Lincoln Project, Republicans for the Rule of Law, Republicans for a new President and Republican Voters against Trump. Republican Shawn Lemmond, the former mayor of Matthews (near Charlotte) and two-time NC house member, said in the Observer, “‘What’s taken over our party is wrong. And, as a Republican, as a Christian, we simply cannot allow this man to be re-elected.'”

It should be noted that 100 former members of George W. Bush’s administration have coalesced around Joe Biden as an acceptable alternative to voting for Trump. Yet, per the Observer article, Trump’s support among Republicans and independents who lean Republican remains high at 78% per a Pew Research Center survey released this week. While high, it is down from a similar survey in March which showed such support at 85%. Our friend Jill has a post on “Some Republicans leaving the Trumptanic,” the link is below.

Lemmond said “‘I think there’s a fairly significant number of Republicans who are just disgusted with what they’re seeing out of Trump and his minions.'” Lemmond “rejects the ‘Trump cult’. He considers it ‘the biggest threat to the country since World War II and the party since Nixon.”

Then, we must layer on the voices of long time conservatives like pundits George Will, David Brooks, Michael Gerson, military leaders like General James Mattis, Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters, Admiral Williams McRaven, civil servants like John Bolton, Robert Reich and Republican campaign managers like Steve Schmidt, Rick Wilson who have each registered significant concerns over this president, his actions, his words and his lack of decency, empathy and competence.

I left the Republican party after twenty-five years as a member around 2008. I am fiscally conservative and socially progressive. We need to help people, but be able to pay for it, e.g. My main reasons for leaving are the head-in-the-sand stance on climate change, the unhealthy embrace with evangelicals and the NRA and, with the aid of Fox News’ talk show hosts, a tendency to make things up to fit the narrative. The division in our country started well before Trump, but he has used it and thrown gasoline on these fires.

I agree with these people that the GOP (and our country) needs to get back to better footing. We are retrenching from our global leadership role enabling an already predicted ascendant China. Our global reputation is well down, as we are not trusted with our untrustworthy president. A Pew survey earlier this year said 64% of Europeans do not trust the US president, trusting Vladimir Putin and Xi Jingpeng more. The global community is aghast at our botched handling of COVID-19 and Europe is now restricting travel from the US. A key requirement to addressing pandemics is tell people the truth, but this president naysayed it as a hoax as late as February 28 and continues to misinform to this day. Then, there is the racist bent of the president that has worsened racial tensions.

Joe Biden is not perfect, but he is decent person with a long history of collaboration. He will endeavor to bring us together rather than look for ways to divide us. And, for those who are falling for Trump’s narrative of rebuilding an economy he created, he inherited an economy that was in its 91st consecutive month of economic growth, with 5% unemployment, with two million plus jobs growth for six consecutive years and a more than doubled stock market under his predecessor. It continued for 38 months on his watch, which is good, but he did not create it. Before the recession, he helped make a pretty good economy a little better for a little while by borrowing from our future, but it fell back to similar growth numbers as before the election.

There are many quotes to choose from, but let me just leave you with what conservative David Brooks said. The president does not have a “sense of decency or empathy.” Joe Biden does. As an example, watch Biden console Meghan McCain before her father’s death on “The View.” That is a great window into Biden’s character and I could not envision Trump doing the same, regardless of who the father is.

Some Republicans Leaving The Trumptanic