Sean Hannity, the Rodney Dangerfield of Network Anchors

February 12, 2017

“I get no respect.” – Rodney Dangerfield

Okay, it’s happened again so I’ve got to say something. Sean Hannity quizzed super attorney Jay Sekulow on the Hannity Show Friday night and solved the whole travel ban issue. It was a brilliant exchange. You can see it here.

So Saturday, all day, anchor after anchor and guest after guest all over television, repeated, line by line the issues of the travel ban, each coming to the same conclusions, although far less succinct than the brilliant Jay Sekulow.

They had on the illustrious former Harvard, law professor, Alan Dershowitz, and many other talented attorneys, one by one, guest by guest, they repeated the formula.

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Doug & Myriam Wead and Joshua with Sean Hannity.

So did any of the anchors or experts even mention Friday night? And Hannity? And Sekulow? “As was enunciated last night…” Nooooo.

When he’s wrong, you’ll hear about it. But when he’s right, which is pretty systematically, night after night, Sean Hannity gets no respect.

 

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Happy Birthday Ronald Reagan, what do you think about Trump?

February 6, 2017

People make comparisons between Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan. They were both actors. Both had been divorced. Both men had been Democrats. Both men had some populist appeal. They were exactly the same on many issues, like their position on abortion.

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Ronald Reagan & Doug Wead

But there were also many differences. President Trump and President Reagan lived in different times. The national media was openly hostile to both men. Reagan didn’t fight back. At least openly. He smiled and waved and mirrored back the idea that people liked him even though he was bitterly despised by the corporate media and the journalists who covered him.

In some cases journalists would defiantly state false numbers and there was no recourse, no internet to quickly arbitrate, and no Twitter for him to use to retaliate.

There is no question in my mind that Reagan would have used Twitter to go over the heads of the media and directly to the hearts of the people. He tried to do that with earned media. And amazingly it worked. The American people knew they were being lied to by many in the media and they deeply resented it. Some knew intellectually, they knew the metrics, others didn’t have time to research the issues but they knew instinctively.

In 1984, after they experienced his presidency for themselves, in spite of the false and mean spirited media narrative, Reagan was re-elected overwhelmingly. He carried every state except Minnesota.And almost took that one too.

Donald Trump has some things going for him. There is Fox News and Fox Business Network. which are more objective, but again, that has driven the mainstream media even more to the Left to compensate. There is Facebook and Twitter.

Reagan was a gentleman, kindly and measured. He was strong but never out of control.

Still, while some would argue with me about this, I suspect that Reagan would be chuckling with delight at Donald Trump’s style and at his effectiveness. We now have this amazing political spectacle. Trump is president but a Court of Appeals in California, along with allies in the media, have just assumed responsibility for the next terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

 


Why Donald Trump is the most impactful president-elect since Abraham Lincoln

December 10, 2016

Okay, sit back down. You’re okay. Breathe. Breathe. You’ll be alright.

I said, “impactful,” okay? “Impactful.” It’s not even a Gates approved word, it underlines red in Microsoft Word. Just relax.

First, lets take a little tour and see some other impactful presidents-elect so you will get a sense of context.

Why Ronald Reagan was a great president-elect

Ronald Reagan made a big impact as a president-elect. He grunted and hummed and winked and whispered and the Iranians released the American hostages even while he was taking the oath of office on inauguration day. He had sent the signals. The Iranians had gotten the message. It didn’t take 8 years. It didn’t even take 8 minutes. Jimmy Carter was still president but we all know why they were released.

Richard Nixon made a big impact as a president-elect. He and Kissinger had agents on the ground in Paris at the peace talks with North Vietnam. Even while LBJ was trying to end the war. Lame duck, President Johnson, could only fume.

Lincoln had to keep Kentucky in the union.

Abraham Lincoln was the most impactful president-elect of all. Lame duck, President James Buchanan was having a 19th century version of a Netflix binge, nobody knew what he was up to, so with the nation being torn apart, Lincoln had to send signals from Springfield, Illinois.

He was trying, among other things, to keep Kentucky in the union and so keep his wife, Mary Todd and her family together. Happy wife, happy life? And happy country too?

Donald Trump best president-elect since Lincoln

Everything Donald Trump has done as president-elect has been impactful and strategic.

His trip to Indiana and involvement with the Carrier Company was hugely symbolic. It said, 1.) I keep my promises, 2.) This administration will be about jobs, 3.) I want it done fast.

Now, I know, the media says that the Carrier Company is only one company and a handful of jobs, he can’t go to every factory. Those jobs are a drop in the bucket.

But a president doesn’t have time to meet with the 2.79 million federal workers in his bureaucracy. They pick up on what he wants by listening to his speeches and by following his actions.

Obama was about giving speeches in the Rose Garden. Trump is about leadership on steroids, showing us by example how to get things done. Before this is over companies will be coming to him with deals that will create more jobs.

Likewise the message to Boeing was clear. You gave a million dollars to the Clinton Foundation and had all of your execs give money to Hillary’s presidential campaign. Now you want government money in return. Well, in the future, companies that want to succeed will do so better by producing products that are of good quality, come in under bid and on time and are actually needed. The day of bribe is over, the new day of supply and demand is back.

Finally, the call from Taiwan shows that everything is on the table. We know what we need from China and what they need from us and the arrangement will have to be more fair.

Changing the rules of history

When Trump delayed in naming his first cabinet officer the media pounced, using a new measurement to judge president-elects. Obama had named his first cabinet officer after three weeks, they said.

But then, lovers of history like yours truly, reminded them that Reagan, Ford, Carter, Clinton, George W. Bush, had all taken six weeks. And when Trump surprised everybody and named off cabinet picks, pop, pop, pop, the media moved the goal posts. The rules had changed. President-elects would henceforth be judged by something else, we will find it, just be patient. It will be something that Trump doesn’t do well.

The fact is, whether he is a good president or not remains to be seen, but like it or not, he is indeed an impactful president-elect. Even a great one. He is sending signals that need to be sent. He is a leader.  And whether he got 40 jobs out of Carrier or 4,000 misses the point. It’s 40 more than any other president-elect has ever gotten before.

Donald Trump has come out of the gate fast.

 

 

 

 


Why George H.W. Bush will be ranked as one of America’s greatest presidents.

December 5, 2016

In a hundred years George H.W. Bush will be ranked among America’s greatest presidents. Maybe in the top five, with Washington, Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and, yes, his predecessor, Ronald Reagan.

It will be said that Lincoln saved the union but Reagan and Bush saved mankind.

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George H.W. Bush will be ranked as one of American’s greatest presidents.

Today we worry about what would happen if nuclear weapons fell into the hands of terrorists. In the Reagan – Bush years that had already happened. Both the Soviet and Chinese government’s had nuclear weapons and both sponsored communist regimes that were barbaric.

Pol Pot, who ruled Cambodia practiced the most virulent form of Marxism. He targeted for execution anyone in academia, medicine, the military, government bureaucracies, private business. He marked for execution anyone who wore eye glasses. His thinking was that if they wear eye glasses they can probably read and if they can read we must eliminate them to restart our nation without contamination from the West.

President George H.W. Bush kept one of the escapees from the Cambodian killing fields on his senior White House staff as a reminder of what he was facing down.

Reagan started the process that ended the Cold War but it finally ended on the watch of George H.W. Bush. Reagan called for the Berlin Wall to come down. But it finally happened under the patient, brilliant guidance of George H.W. Bush who not only knew when to act but also understood the value of restraint and who knew when to remain silent.

When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Bush united the world against the action. When he led the Gulf War, the invasion against Iraq, his allies, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait paid for half of the cost.

Within three months, allied forces defeated Saddam Hussein and drove the Iraqi army out of Kuwait. President George H.W. Bush called an end to the hostilities, and allowed Hussein to remain in power in Baghdad. Bush was heavily criticized for his decision. Others advocated eliminating the Saddam Hussein government altogether, while we had the chance. But Bush, Sr. feared that it would destabilize the region and upset the delicate Sunni-Shiite balance of the Middle East.

It’s not very often in history that we get to see what would have happened if a leader made a different decision but in this case we can. Years later, Bush’s son, President George W. Bush would be confronted with the same choice and he would topple Saddam Hussein.

The region was plunged into chaos, hundreds of thousands lost their lives, millions were uprooted, Christian communities dating their history back to the apostle Thomas were exterminated, wars spread across the Middle East, and the United States, who borrowed the money from world banks to fight their war, was plunged into its  second worst economic crisis in history.

Someday, a hundred years from now, when historians catch up to all of these details, there will be marble statues of George H.W. Bush. And when they pass by parents will tell their children, it is not only what  you do that makes you great, sometimes, it is what you don’t do. It is when you stay calm, or stay silent, or as another president, Theodore Roosevelt, once said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

 

 

 

 


How Trump beats a rigged convention?

April 18, 2016

4/18/2016

“That’s not fair!” Donald Trump supporters say. They are complaining about the fact that millions of votes are ignored as the GOP establishment continues to try to rob him of the nomination by stacking the delegate process.

What an irony.

In 2012, former governor and GOP Rules Chairman, John Sununu, said the exact same thing to Andrea Mitchell of NBC news. Ron Paul was successfully winning delegates at State Conventions, in spite of the GOP establishment efforts to stop him. The establishment printed false slates, changed meeting locations and closed down District Conventions when they were losing. It was all captured by cell phone and is available to see firsthand.

Even so, the Ron Paul insurgents arrived at the 2012 RNC in Tampa with more than 500 delegates and alternates.

When Paul won almost all of the Iowa delegation Sununu was furious. “That undermines the votes of a million Iowans who went to the Caucus,” he said, “And that’s not fair.”

Sununu, the poster boy for the GOP establishment, is now trying to run an insurgency against the frontrunner, Donald Trump.  Sununu made it clear from the beginning that the establishment wanted anybody but Trump. But now, the outsiders are the frontrunners and the establishment is using Ron Paul tactics.

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President George H.W. Bush, John Sununu and Doug Wead in the Oval Office in 1990.

THE CREDENTIALS COMMITTEE IS THE KEY

To understand how Donald Trump and Paul Manafort can shut down the Sununu – insider insurgency at the RNC in Cleveland, take a good look at how they, themselves, shut down Ron Paul when the situation was reversed.

In 2012, the GOP establishment used the Credential’s Committee to strip Ron Paul of his duly elected delegates and had them bodily thrown off the floor of the Convention.  The Governor of Maine was so heartbroken for the young people from his State who had worked so hard for a year to get to the RNC that he left with them out of solidarity.  The media mostly ignored it.

Andrea Mitchell of NBC asked John Sununu if the establishment was afraid that their heavy handed tactics would cost them party unity in the general election.

“Well, let’s understand, fundamentally, what the concern of the Party is.” Sununu told Mitchell. “Iowa’s a great example. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum each had about 35% of the vote. That’s 70% of the vote. And the rest was distributed among the rest of the candidates.  Ron Paul’s numbers were close to single digits.”

This was totally false but went unchallenged by Mitchell. In fact, the actual vote was Santorum 24.6%, Romney 24.6%, Paul 21.5%, with the other seven candidates falling behind.

When asked by Mitchell how they could justify removing the duly elected delegates Sununu said, “They go and cram the next part of the [Iowa] Caucus and they come away with all of the Iowa vote. That undermines the votes of a million Iowans who went to the Caucus. And that’s not fair.

“And so they like to abuse the process, in my opinion, when it serves them but when people follow the rules as we did here they get upset with the Rules Committee.

“But the vote we had here that they are concerned about was 78 to 14. They really have nothing to complain about.”

Sununu failed to mention to Andrea Mitchell that Romney security operatives routed the bus carrying the opposition Rules Committee members all around Tampa for hours, keeping them from arriving at the Convention in time to vote on the issue. This included not just Ron Paul delegates but any Rules Committee delegate not approved by the Mitt Romney-John Sununu-Ben Ginsberg team.

Today, ironically, Sununu is encouraging the establishment leaders to play the same Ron Paul game. Ted Cruz and all of the other “Never-Trump” operatives are encouraging the establishment to take delegates at the State Conventions and laughing at Donald Trump supporters who are now saying exactly what the establishment was saying four years ago, “That’s not fair!”

SUNUNU NOW RE-WRITES HISTORY

Meanwhile, Sununu is revising the narrative of what happened in 2012. Now Sununu is telling reporters that the reasons behind Rule 40(b) were to speed up the Convention because of an impending hurricane. When Fox News anchor, Bill Hemmer, recently asked about the rule Sununu could hardly believe his luck. Hemmer didn’t even seem to notice or care for the reasons behind the change.

This revised narrative is important because the establishment wants to justify what was done in 2012 and keep Trump from responding the way they did.

Trump’s solution?

Like Sununu in 2012, he can seize control of the Credentials Committee and throw the establishment delegates off the floor of the Convention.

It is the old story. “Hurt people, hurt people.” The victims of abuse become the abusers themselves.

And like Sununu he will conclude that when they are confronted with the prospect of a Democrat president they will come back into the fold.

Don’t count on it. If Republicans want to win someone must break the cycle of abuse.


Top Presidential Historian says Ted Cruz not eligible to be president

January 14, 2016

Could Ted Cruz, born December 22, 1970 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, be Constitutionally ineligible for the presidency?  If he were alive today, one of America’s most distinguished presidential historians, J.J. Perling, would say yes.  We know that because he made that very judgement about another very distinguished American who was in the pipeline for the White House.  He made it in the book, The Presidents’ Sons: The Prestige of Name in a Democracy, published in 1947 by The Odyssey Press, New York. (p. 30)

Now, before we get started with this extraordinary tale – and it is an extraordinary tale – let me offer a few disclaimers. I served for several months last year as a Senior Adviser to Senator Rand Paul. I have great admiration for Senator Ted Cruz and I am writing this story only as a student of history. It has been my pleasure to personally interview six presidents and first ladies. I have been a personal adviser to two American presidents.  It has been my pleasure to have been in the homes of several of them before, during and after their presidency.  And my wife and I have hosted presidents in our own home on three occasions.  I coauthored a book with a president and have written about all of the presidents and all of their parents and all of their children.  I can tell you that the issue of who is and who is not a “natural born citizen” is not as easily resolved as it may seem.

Yes, we know that Senator John McCain was born in the Panama Canal zone. His father was serving in the U.S. military. And yet he ran for president.  And we know that Ted Cruz,like McCain, was born to a mother who was an American citizen and that McCain’s father was also an American citizen. The father of Ted Cruz was Cuban. But there the comparison ends.  In 2008, with the McCain issue relevant, both Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton co-sponsored a Senate bill to assure McCain’s eligibility. The resolution declared, “John Sidney McCain, III, is a ‘natural born Citizen’ under Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution of the United States.”

Currently, Senator Cruz has no such congressional protection. And worse, he has built a rogue reputation by thumbing his nose at the Senate establishment of his own political party.

Now, here is the tale.  It is just one example from history, the story of another, would be president, who was disqualified over the so called “birther issue.” You can read the story in its full detail in my book All the Presidents’ Children.

He was born on the 4th of July.  He graduated from Harvard University and studied law under Daniel Webster. His name was George Washington Adams.  Both his father and grandfather were presidents of the United States.  Yet, according to the belief of legal experts at the time he could never be president himself.  Why?  He was born in Berlin, Germany while his father served in the American diplomatic corps as the U.S. Minister to Prussia.

Keep in mind, both his mother and father were U.S. citizens.  His father would soon become Ambassador to the Court of St. James.  He would become Secretary of State and not just any Secretary of State, but the one who would craft and conceive of what became known as the Monroe Doctrine, the most enduring foreign policy position in American history.  He would later become the sixth president of the United States and his mother, Louisa Catherine Adams, would become one of our greatest First Ladies.

John Quincy Adams ruled his son’s life from a distance, sending letters ordering every moment of the day.

Louisa, the mother, took great solace in the fact that her firstborn, George, would not have the pressure of presidential expectations.  He couldn’t.  Their correspondence reveals their belief that the Constitution did  not allow him to be president because of his birth in Germany. Nevertheless, the pressure to do something extraordinary with his life took its toll.  At age 28 he jumped or fell from a steamboat en-route to a meeting with his father at the White House in Washington, D.C.  Most historians believe it to have been a suicide.  He was in the midst of a tawdry scandal that involved blackmail and possible shame for the family name.  And his meetings with his father were always tense, calamitous affairs.

A few years later the second son would die young. Louisa would send her husband a sad rebuke, “another child offered on the altar of politics.”

Writes J.J. Perling, “George Washington Adams could never have been an occupant of the Presidential chair: the Constitution of the United States restricted that office to native born citizens, and George Washington Adams had been born in Germany.” (p.30) And that was published in 1947.

Start reading All the Presidents’ Children now on kindle.


Jimmy Carter: He never told a lie

August 20, 2015

Jimmy Carter held a press conference today, announcing details on his growing battle with cancer.

“I will never lie to you,” Jimmy Carter said back in 1976.  And so far, he never has.

The dignity, humility and integrity of Jimmy Carter is best illustrated by what he hasn’t done.

Unlike presidents who followed him he has not made millions off of interviews or speeches.  Or taken speaking engagements from companies who needed influence.  He hasn’t used his Foundation to trade influence for money.  He hasn’t taken bribes in return for influencing policies for friends.

Unlike many of the most recent presidents he hasn’t used the courts to block researchers or writers from accessing his presidential papers.  He has been accessible.  He simply has nothing to hide. I interviewed him the year after he left office.

Unlike the last three Democrat presidents who preceded him, he did not have sex with young subordinates on his own White House staff.

What is striking is that there has not even been a single charge of impropriety.  One can disagree with his political views but one cannot find anything wrong with his character.

Jimmy Carter followed Richard Nixon into the White House.  Nixon, who was caught in a lie over the Watergate Scandal, created what was called the Imperial Presidency.  His new White House Secret Service uniforms looked like Prussian police officers.  By contrast, President Jimmy Carter insisted on carrying his own bags when he got off Air Force One.

Secret Service uniforms at the Nixon White House.

Secret Service uniforms at the Nixon White House.

It is said that Jimmy Carter redefined the post presidency.  Most early presidents were careful to retire and stay out of the limelight.  There were exceptions. Ulysses Grant got involved in tawdry business deals with his sons and probably would have gone to prison if he had not been a former president.

In more recent times, Coolidge, Truman, Eisenhower, all kept the tradition that held, former presidents were seldom seen and never heard.

Carter changed all of that.  Determined to be useful, he volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and helped build houses for the needy. There he was, the former president, on a rooftop, pounding nails in the sun.  The media couldn’t resist.  He showed energy and compassion and his Carter Foundation impacted the world.

Jimmy Carter’s political rise was a Cinderella story.  He was a candidate for president who showed up in Iowa the year before with a 2% recognition factor.  That doesn’t mean that 2% of the state supported him, it means only 2% even knew who he was.  But by the summer of 1975, right where we are now in the presidential cycle, Jimmy Carter stunned the nation by winning the important Iowa presidential summer straw poll.  It thrust him into the nation’s limelight where he has remained ever since.

It is hard to explain the euphoria that accompanied the Carter election as president.  He was a Democrat who publicly identified himself as a “born again” Christian.  Which put border states into play and reshuffled the electoral college numbers as Republican evangelicals crossed over to support him.  It forever changed the strategic map of American politics.

His family was a hoot.

Lillian Carter, the president’s mother, was a huge personality, well ahead of her time.  Outspoken and courageous in her political views, Lillian was a Southerner who spent her life exposing racism.  A world traveler, a nurse, a former Peace Corps volunteer to India, she became a delightful bon vivant of the Carter First Family.

His sister, Ruth Carter Stapleton, was a well dressed, good looking, faith healer.

His brother, Billy Carter, was the personification of the old Southern country boy.  When Carter won the Iowa Caucus reporters descended on his tiny gas station in Plains, Georgia where Billy held court with a beer can in his hand.  “My sister is a faith healer,” Billy said. “My brother thinks he’s going to be president.  I’m the only sane one in the bunch.”

It was an exciting and compelling time of hope.  America was coming out of Watergate and corruption.  There was hope that this president could restore integrity to the White House.  He did that. But the economy sagged, Islamic terrorists seized power in Iran and the Soviet Union threatened the end of the world.  American turned to Ronald Reagan.

The Soviet threat is gone now, but the economy still struggles as American finds its new place in a post industrial era and unfortunately, the corruption is back.  The IRS, the Veterans Administration and other agencies are tainted.  The front runners for both parties include a Republican who openly brags that “I buy politicians and they do what the hell I tell them to” and a Democrat who is trying to survive charges that she offered her power for sale to even foreign buyers.

Jimmy Carter’s press conference today was a reminder that at least once, in recent American history, someone held power without corruption.

Jimmy Carter and Doug Wead, 1979.

Jimmy Carter and Doug Wead, 1979.