Holiday weekend quartet: McCain’s key message, and lots more

    (image via <a" title="screen-shot-2016-09-02-at-12-01-38-pm" width="640" height="360"/>

    (image via

    Cleaning out the cupboard before heading out for the holiday:

    John McCain, fresh from his win this week in the Arizona Republican primary, has posted a four-minute video touting himself for re-election in November. It’s mostly rhetorical boilerplate and treacly piano music – until suddenly, at the 2:30 mark, he serves us this chewable nugget:

    “If Hillary Clinton is elected, Arizona will need a senator who will act as a check…”

    We’ll hear that line a lot this fall, from Republican incumbents in competitive states coast to coast.

    Republicans like McCain are terrified that their sociopathic standard-bearer will drag them down to defeat. Even McCain, a Senate stalwart since ’87, is concerned that red-state Arizonians (especially a record number of Hispanics) will reject Donald Trump and doom him in the process by voting blue down-ballot. So he’s already launching Plan B, in the hope that moderates and defecting Republicans will split their tickets and save his butt, in the spirit of checks and balances.

    Note, also, that McCain talks for four minutes without once uttering the name of He Who Shall Not Be Mentioned. He figures that silence about Trump is his only political option. He’d probably love to renounce the guy who ridiculed his POW tenure, he undoubtedly knows that Trump armed with the nuclear codes is America’s darkest scenario, and he knows darn well that Trump has the qualifications of the family dog – but, tallying the electoral math, he simply can’t afford to tick off the Trumpkins. He needs every last one of them to vote the straight Republican ticket. So he says nothing.

    How sad that the “maverick” has come to this. But hey, that’s politics. As the late British conservative leader Ian Gilmour once said, “Politicians trim and tack in their quest for power, but they do so in order to get the wind of votes in their sails.”


    What a surprise. At least four Hispanics have quit Trump’s Hispanic advisory council. Although I suppose it’s surprising that Trump even has an Hispanic advisory council.

    Ramiro Pena, a Texas pastor, bailed out yesterday in the wake of Trump’s neo-Nuremberg rant on Wednesday night. As Pena told the national GOP in an email, Trump’s speech was proof that the advisory council “was simply for optics, and I do not have the time or energy for a scam.” Alfonso Aguilar, president of the American Principles Project’s Latino Partnership, said that Trump’s message was “either self-deport or be deported.” Texas businessman Massey Villareal also said bye bye, and Jacob Monty, on his way out the door, denounced the speech as “populist propaganda.”

    Monty, a Texas attorney, added this complaint about Trump: “He used us as props.”

    Wow, really? Ya think? Trump has always played people for saps. What’s amazing is that they always seem shocked when it happens.


    Hey, there’s new evidence of sleazy Foundation doings, a tawdry tale of money and political favors.

    But sorry, this isn’t about “Crooked Hillary.” It’s about Don the Con.

    In 2013, the Donald J. Trump Foundation donated $25,000 to a political group connected to Florida attorney general Pam Bondi. At the time the donation was made, Bondi was deciding whether the state of Florida should investigate Trump University – specifically, allegations that the phony school had defrauded its Florida customers. But after the Trump Foundation made the donation, voila!, Bondi decided not to prosecute.

    That’s been reported before; what’s new is that the Trump Foundation reportedly paid a fine to the IRS earlier this year, because the political donation had violated the tax laws. Nonprofit groups are barred from making such donations, but somehow the Trump Foundation had made what it now calls “an honest mistake.”

    Here’s how the “honest mistake” worked: The Foundation had listed, in its paperwork, a $25,000 donation to a charity in Kansas…that never received any money. And after the IRS got involved, Bondi’s political group tried to return the illegal donation to the Trump Foundation – but the Foundation refused to take it back.

    So ask yourself the obvious: If Hillary Clinton had sponsored a Hillary University, and that phony school was hit with two class action lawsuits alleging consumer fraud, and the Clinton Foundation had illegally donated money to the political campaign of a state attorney general who decided not to investigate the phony school after receiving the illegal donation, and the Clinton Foundation had paid a fine to the IRS while refusing to take back the illegal donation…do you think that the mainstream media, in pursuit of “balance,” would be banging on these episodes 24/7?

    But it’s treated as just another speed bump for Don the Con.


    North Carolina’s Republicans worked oh so hard to craft a state law that would suppress black turnout – a federal appeals court ruled this summer that the law targeted blacks “with almost surgical precision” – but, alas, the GOP’s racist quest was squashed this week by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

    Yet again, the impact of Antonin Scalia’s death is profoundly felt. If he were still alive, it’s fair to assume that he would’ve voted to overturn the appeals court and revive the racist law. But without Scalia, the high court deadlocked at 4-4, ceding the last word to the appeals court judges who lambasted the GOP for concocting “one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history.”

    That 4-4 tie is very bad for Trump, who has virtually no chance in November unless he can somehow snag North Carolina. But how can he possibly win the state if blacks are free to vote in potentially record numbers – without the racist impediments that were crafted with “surgical precision”?

    Ponder his dilemma with a holiday smile.


    Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1, and on Facebook.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal