fresh voices from the front lines of change







Having failed to stop Donald Trump, and facing the really possibility of a contested convention, or even a Trump nomination, Republicans are looking for someone to blame. So, who are they blaming?

Barack Obama, of course.

Never mind that Republicans decided from Day One not to work with Democrats or with Obama. The plan to obstruct any and everything possible started on the night of Obama’s inauguration, at a meeting between top GOP leaders, where Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) urged Republicans to challenge Democrats “on every single bill.” “If you act like you’re the minority, you’re going to stay in the minority,” McCarthy was reported to say. “We’ve gotta challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign.” In 2010 speech to the Heritage Foundation, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell plainly stated that is goal was to block Obama’s “fellow Democrats” in any way possible, with the goal of making Obama a one-term president.

Never mind that President Obama was so willing to accept Republican ideas on health care that he included many of them in the Affordable Care Act — including some supported by conservative organizations like the Heritage Foundation as recently as 2007, one year before Obama’s election victory.

Let’s be clear, the only thing President Obama could have done to satisfy Republicans would have been to immediately resign from office and hand the keys to the Oval Office over to John McCain and/or Mitt Romney.

Failing that, he could have at least had the decency to allow them to blame him for the GOP’s Trump problem. Fortunately, he was asked about it at a recent press conference, and Obama would have none of it.


QUESTION: Some of your critics have pointed to the incredible polarized political climate as under your administration as contributing to the rise of someone as provocative as Donald Trump. Do you feel any responsibility for that, or for the protectionist rhetoric from some Democratic candidates. Do you have a timeline for when you may make a presidential endorsement?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: PRESIDENT OBAMA: … I have been blamed by Republicans for a lot of things, but being blamed for their primaries and who they’re selecting for their party is novel. (Laughter.)

Look, I’ve said – I said it at the State of the Union that one of my regrets is the degree to which polarization and the nasty tone of our politics has accelerated rather than waned over the course of the last seven and a half years. And I do all kinds of soul-searching in terms of are there things I can do better to make sure that we’re unifying the country. But I also have to say, Margaret, that, objectively, it’s fair to say that the Republican political elites and many of the information outlets – social media, news outlets, talk radio, television stations – have been feeding the Republican base for the last seven years a notion that everything I do is to be opposed; that cooperation or compromise somehow is a betrayal; that maximalist, absolutist positions on issues are politically advantageous; that there is a “them” out there and an “us,” and “them” are the folks who are causing whatever problems you’re experiencing.

And the tone of that politics – which I certainly have not contributed to – I don’t think that I was the one to prompt questions about my birth certificate, for example. I don’t remember saying, hey, why don’t you ask me about that. (Laughter.) Or why don’t you question whether I’m American, or whether I’m loyal, or whether I have America’s best interests at heart – those aren’t things that were prompted by any actions of mine.

And so what you’re seeing within the Republican Party is, to some degree, all those efforts over a course of time creating an environment where somebody like a Donald Trump can thrive. He’s just doing more of what has been done for the last seven and a half years.

Besides, if President Obama was so all-powerful that he could somehow make the GOP destroy itself, it stands to reason that he’d have probably used to get more of his agenda passed instead of having them morph into the Blame Obama Party. At the very least, he’d have a Supreme Court nominee confirmed by now.

There Will Be Blood … At Trump Rallies

Is it time to start taking bets on how it will be before Trump supporters kill someone — a reporter or a non-white protester? The violence at Donald Trump’s rallies is such a regular occurrence that it might as well be scripted into the events. Now, it’s escalating.

Earlier this week, Trump supporter John McGraw at a rally in North Carolina was caught on video sucker punching an African-American protestor identified as Rakeem Jones in the face. The footage shows a white man in a cowboy hat walk down to the aisle where protesters were leaving the event, and sucker punching Jones.


Jone’s friend Ronnie Rouse explained what happened.


McGraw followed up the attack with a threat on Jones’ life.

“Yes, he deserved it. The next time we see him, we might have to kill him. We don’t know who he is. He might be with a terrorist organization.”

McGraw, 78, was charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct.


Asked about the violence at his rallies during Thursday night’s debate, Trump justified it by claiming that the protesters at his rallies “are bad dudes and have done bad things,” and saying of his supporters, “They have anger that’s unbelievable.”


In the past, Trump has suggested that protesters “deserved to be roughed up,” encouraged supporters to get rid of protesters, and promised to pay their legal bills.


Most recently, Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields was just doing her job, covering a Donald Trump press event in Florida, when she tried to ask Trump a question, when Trump campaign manager Coery Lewandowski “forcibly grabbed” Fields by the arm “moving her out of the way and nearly bringing her down to the ground,” according to a report in Politico. The assault was witnessed by Fields’ boyfriend Daily Caller reporter Jamie Weinstein, and Washington Post reporter Ben Terris. In November, Lewandowski threatened CNN reporter Noah Gray for leaving the press pen to report on protesters at a Trump rally.

Weinstein tweeted his account of the incident.

Terris published his account in the Washington Post.

As security parted the masses to give him passage out of the chandelier-lit ballroom, Michelle Fields, a young reporter for Trump-friendly Breitbart News, pressed forward to ask the Republican front-runner a question. I watched as a man with short-cropped hair and a suit grabbed her arm and yanked her out of the way. He was Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s 41-year-old campaign manager.

Fields stumbled. Finger-shaped bruises formed on her arm.

“I’m just a little spooked,” she said, a tear streaming down her face. “No one has grabbed me like that before.”

> She took my arm and squeezed it hard. “I don’t even want to do it as hard as he did,” she said, “because it would hurt.”

Politico posted audio and transcript of the incident.

Fields posted pictures of the bruises that appeared on her arm after Lewandowski’s assault.

The Trump campaign’s response? After Thursday night’s GOP debate, Trump told reporters that Fields made the entire thing up.


Lewandowski turned to Twitter to assassinate Fields’ character.

None of other Republican candidates on stage Thursday night went after Trump on the violence at his rallies. In fact, they echoed his comments.

Here’s the best of the rest of the worst in wingnuttery this week.

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