Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, October 15, 2016

MVNews this week:  Page B:4



Mountain Views-News Saturday, October 15, 2016 

Words have Meaning......

 Rich Johnson


Anyone else thinking U.S. presidents? Past, present 
and, future? For some reason I can’t get them off my mind. 
For that matter I can’t get them off my computer, television, 
radio, smart phone. I’m even afraid to get out my Etch-a-
Sketch for fear of what I’ll see.

 What do we really know about our 43 Presidents and 
odd and assorted presidential candidates? I know President 
Obama is our 44th president. But he’s our 43rd president. 
How? Well, Grover Cleveland was both our 22nd and 24th 
president. Let’s move on. We know Mr. Trump likes the 
ladies. And Mrs. Clinton likes to clean…hard drives anyway.

 What else?

 Did you know George Bush was a cheerleader in school? He also now likes to 
paint. No, not that kind of painting. Fine art. Most of us know Bill Clinton enjoyed 
playing the saxophone. Tenor sax to be specific. Did you know he also has a passion 
for crossword puzzles? Andrew Jackson, another southern born president’s favorite 
hobby was carousing which included gambling and horse racing. He also liked to duel 
of which he participated in about 100. Thomas Jefferson is reported to have been an 
amateur architect, archeologist, winemaker and chef. Not much written about John 
Quincy Adams other than him once being caught by a female reporter skinny-dipping 
in the Potomac.

 George Washington enjoyed farming as a hobby. Can you guess what Washington 
was most successful at farming? Well, by 1799 his company became the biggest whiskey 
distillery of those times. Teddy Roosevelt was an exercise nut, and an ornithologist, 
aka bird enthusiast. Calvin Coolidge stated hobby was napping. Two hours every day 
after lunch, even while he was president. He argued when he was asleep he couldn’t 
initiate any costly federal programs. Rumor has it he also enjoyed riding mechanical 
horses. Richard Nixon loved to bowl. And we heard he was a great poker player.

 Did you know President Ford was a fashion model in the 1940s? Even graced 
the cover of “Cosmopolitan”. His wife Betty was also a model. James Garfield was 
ambidextrous and it was said he could write in Latin with one hand and Greek with 
the other hand…at the same time. I thought Presidents could only ambidexterity was 
speaking out of both sides of their mouths.

 Herbert Hoover spoke Mandarin Chinese fluently? So did his wife. When they 
wanted a private conversation they spoke Chinese to each other.

 Here’s a biggie. Did you know Martin Van Buren gave us the phrase “OK”? Van 
Buren was from Kinderhook, New York which was also known as Old Kinderhook. 
His support groups came to be known as O.K Clubs and the term OK came to mean 
“all right”.

 William Howard Taft was our most corpulent president once getting his 300+ 
pound body stuck in the White House bathtub. After his presidency not only did he 
lose 150 pounds, he also managed to become the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court 
and swore in Presidents Coolidge and Hoover to the presidency. Maybe President 
Obama should consider mirroring the accomplishments of William Howard Taft (I 
wouldn’t recommend gaining 150 pounds though). We’re also told President Obama 
collects “Spiderman” and “Conan the Barbarian” comic books.

 Well, as the election closes in, gird up that inner resolve and plan on voting anyway. 
Not only for the head office but also, and equally as important, the Senators and 
Congress people. And judges and state measures. I would tell you to vote early and 
vote often. But since this is not Chicago of the last century you can only vote once. 
Make it count.




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Richard Garcia


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Joe Frontino


Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Merri Jill Finstrom

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Renee Quenell

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

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For a guy who’s billed as the next great 
Republican political wizard, he sure 
makes a lot of rookie mistakes. No, 
I’m not talking about Donald Trump. 
I’m talking about Speaker of the House 
Paul Ryan — the Hamlet of Pennsylvania 

Now Ryan is doing the Hokey–Pokey 
over Trump’s just–released video 
“How to Impress Women Like the Stars 
Do.” I say now, because this is only the 
most recent example. Ryan earlier was 
weathervaning over Trump’s Twitter 
war with the Democrat’s angry Arab. 
Before that it was Trump vs. the ethnic–
supremacist judge. Prior to that it 
may have been the disabled reporter. 
Somewhere in there we have Carly Fiorina’s 
face. Unless you have a Democrat 
opposition researcher in the family 
it’s hard to keep track. The only thing 
that’s certain is the joy in the enemy 
camp as Ryan predictably dances to the 
mainstream media’s tune, and the rest 
of the Depend Caucus wrings their tiny 

There’re a number of problems with 
Ryan’s performance of the Politically 
Correct Polka, but let’s begin with the 
fact it makes him look weak. This confirms 
what conservatives have been 
saying for months, but going public 
demonstrates Ryan’s fecklessness to the 
entire nation. 

Politically Ryan’s weakness is an even 
bigger mistake for GOP members of 
the House he’s supposed to be leading. 
Responding to media inquiries regarding 
Trump’s shambolic campaign 
only serves to nationalize House races, 
which incumbent House members 
should certainly avoid. House races 
should stay local. 

Incumbents talk about the pork they’ve 
brought home, not the pork–brain at 
the top of the ticket. 

House members, including the Speaker, 
have no control over presidential 
candidates. Regularly commenting on 
the Improv Impresario at the top of the 
ticket means what happens there also 
reflects on those members. 

It’s the equivalent of the Uber passenger 
in a self–driving car being held responsible 
for the robot’s tickets. 

Nationalizing a House race is what 
challengers do to try and ride the coattails 
of their presidential candidates 
and overcome the incumbent’s name 
ID and record within the district.

Ryan’s continuing comments on the 
Trump race puts pressure on all House 
candidates to answer Trump questions 
from local reporters who take their 
cues from the networks.

This idiocy won’t hurt Ryan — he’s in 
a safe district, otherwise he wouldn’t 
be Speaker — but it damages incumbents 
in marginal districts and it really 
handicaps GOP challengers. Instead 
of signing on for color commentary of 
the Trump race, Ryan should have told 
national reporters from the very beginning 
that he is focused on increasing 
the Republican House majority and he 
doesn’t have time to be an advisor for 
the Trump campaign, too.

The media won’t accept that answer, so 
he’ll be pressed. He repeats those questions 
are a distraction for House members 
concentrating on (insert message 
sound bite). Voters will have a chance 
in November to decide the presidential 
race and they don’t need my help to do 

Then Ryan refuses to answer any more 
questions about Trump.

The media will tire of badgering him 
and move on to reliable RINO weasels 
and backstabbers like John McCain 
and Lindsay Graham. For proof 
this technique works we have only to 
look at Senate Majority Leader Mitch 
McConnell. He finally shut up about 
Trump and the media stopped asking.

Ryan’s silence regarding the Trump 
campaign would allow other House 
members to do likewise. When a local 
news poodle asks them to comment 
on the latest Trump communication 
adventure, all they have to do is say, 
like Speaker Ryan, I’m concentrating 
on my own race where (insert political 
BS). Voters can make their own decision 
regarding Trump and Hillary in 

Then they can shut the heck up.

Ryan’s failure to adhere to this obvious 
and sensible strategy calls into question 
his motives. Is he trying to appeal 
to GOP contributors that might otherwise 
stop giving? If so, he can tell them 
in private what I’ve written here. Does 
Ryan want to cozy up to the next administration? 
There’s probably a better 
chance for good relations with Hillary 
than with Trump. Or does Ryan want 
to be the national GOP leader acceptable 
to the media? He can ask Mitt 
Romney how that worked out.

A wise friend contends Ryan’s diarrhea 
of the mouth isn’t a mistake — it’s a 
fallback plan. Originally, Ryan wanted 
to block Trump’s nomination so the 
party would turn to him as nominee 
without subjecting him to a primary 

Now Ryan just wants to defeat Trump 
regardless of the cost to the nation. 
Gov. Mike Huckabee contents the Republican 
RINO and consultant complex 
isn’t afraid Trump will lose. 

They’re afraid Trump will win.

I’m beginning to think the governor 
and my friend are correct.

Michael Shannon is a commentator and 
public relations consultant, and is the 
author of “A Conservative Christian’s 
Guidebook for Living in Secular Times.” 
He can be reached at mandate.mmpr@


JOHN L. Micek

by Michael Shannon

Republican leaders 
crying over 
the Trumpenstein 
monster destroying 
them on Twitter 
(and any real 
chance their party 
could capture the 
White House) have 
only themselves to 

Last summer, House Speaker Paul Ryan, 
R-Wisc., Senate Majority Leader Mitch 
McConnell, R-Ky., and three-quarters 
of all elected Republicans made a Faustian 
bargain with the orange-haired, 
bile-spewing behemoth who’s now their 
party’s standard-bearer.

They surrendered their principles – and 
their party along with it – in the hope 
that Trump, who won every primary save 
Ohio, would be the candidate to sink 
Hillary Clinton.

To do that, Republicans who loathed 
Trump and feared the havoc he might 
wreak had to convince themselves that a 
New York billionaire with zero impulse 
control, a virtuoso’s mastery of the put-
down and an onion skin-thin ego could 
somehow be transformed into a respectable, 
mainstream candidate.

It was the ultimate exercise in denial and 
delusion. And with Trump’s candidacy 
imploding and Clinton opening a wider 
lead in both national and battleground 
polls, GOP leaders moved this week to 
contain the damage as best they could.

On Monday, in the wake of a competent, 
but far from winning debate performance 
by Trump, Ryan announced that he was 
finally tossing the Republican nominee 

The revelation of a creepy and lewd 2005 
video of Trump bragging about groping 
women was the apparent breaking point 
-- not, of course, all the other vile stuff 
Trump has said (including several exhortations 
of violence against Hillary Clinton) 
since the Speaker threw in with him 
earlier this year.

Ryan said he would no longer campaign 
with or defend Trump (which he wasn’t 
really doing anyway) and he was freeing 
House Republicans to look after their 
own campaigns and move to protect the 
GOP’s majority.

Cynically, Ryan did not – as other Republicans 
did – rescind his endorsement. And 
Republican National Chairman Reince 
Priebus, whose skeletal structure must be 
made from the same miracle substance 
as the stretchy comic book hero Plastic 
Man, reiterated his support as well.

Even still the news provoked a Category 
Five Trumpian Tweetstorm. The seemingly 
apoplectic nominee demolished 
Ryan and other prominent Republicans, 
including U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

It was as if Godzilla was stomping across 
Tokyo, blithely ignorant of the fact that 
he might have to work with the local 
Planning & Zoning Commission later on 
the rebuilding effort.

“Disloyal R’s are far more difficult than 
Crooked Hillary,” he fumed in one 
Tweet. “They come at you from all sides. 
They don’t know how to win - I will teach 

Trump then rejoiced that it was “so nice 
that the shackles have been taken off me 
and I can now fight for America the way 
I want to.”

What shackles? But no matter. Republicans 
now have what some of them privately 
feared the most: a wounded monster, 
limping into the final weeks of the 
campaign, with absolutely nothing left to 

They, of course, have everything to lose.

A Clinton victory will likely result in a 
Democratic takeover of the U.S. Senate, 
easing the White House’s path on at least 
one, but as many as four, U.S. Supreme 
Court appointments in the coming years.

While Ryan may not have to sweat a total 
Democratic takeover of the entire House, 
Democrats could make significant 
enough inroads to give the Wisconsin 
Republican a four-year-long case of agita, 
possibly renewable in 2020.

Ryan and the Republicans now find 
themselves in the same place that their 
GOP forefathers found themselves in 
the 1996 election that saw Republicans 
abandon Bob Dole to focus on holding 
the Hill.

Back then, Republicans waited three 
weeks to toss Dole under the bus. This 
year, it’s about a month, as Jennifer Rubin 
of The Washington Post reported.

While he has a rabid base, Trump’s support 
has held steady at about 42 to 44 percent 
in most national polls. That’s nice, 
but it’s not enough to win.

The worry for Trump - and for Republicans 
- should be that the high-profile 
defections, along with what will likely 
be another bad month of headlines for 
Trump, will depress GOP turnout and 
energize the Clintonistas.

Republicans could well skip the top of 
the ticket and vote on down-ballot candidates, 
making the hard decision that, to 
save themselves, and their Congressional 
majorities, they’ll have to kiss the White 
House good bye.

And even then, they’ll still have to live 
with the wreckage that their creation 
leaves in his wake.

An award-winning political journalist, Micek 
is the Opinion Editor and Political Columnist 
for PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, 
Pa. Follow him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek 
and email him at

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