Not the Doctor to Fix America’s Housing and Urban Issues

558New Orleans  It is hard to escape the feeling that the only reason that President-elect Trump is preparing to recommend Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is because he is an African-American, and that somehow aligns with Trump’s view of those parts of urban America where he doesn’t have any financial interests in golf courses, hotels, or casinos and are too far to be seen from any of his towers. I can almost see his gears grinding as he comes to the conclusion that urban means crime means black, so let’s tweet!

Carson might argue, as undoubtedly he will, that he’s “good to go” in this job because he lived in public housing in Detroit. If that’s a qualification for running the immensely important HUD operation, then there are several million residents of public or subsidized housing that would arguably be more able to make that case for their own candidacy than than the rich, right neurosurgeon, Ben Carson. Paul Newman was probably Trump’s first choice to run HUD, because after all he starred in a movie called “Hud,” so that probably would have been perfect in Trump-tweet-world, and he probably was disappointed when someone told him that Newman was now dead.

Carson is wrongheaded, but that is not to say that he’s not a smart man, which is why he dillydallied around for weeks after his name first surfaced, probably hoping that he would be offered something different where he wouldn’t have had to buy a clue. Bromides about bootstraps are not really a plan for fair housing or urban development. Retooling Community Development Block Grant money, specifically designed for lower income communities into some kind of pretzel-shaped monstrosity that funds real estate developments and hotels and other stuff that the boss in the White House might embrace, is hardly a fix for anything other than some developer’s profit-and-loss statement.

The only thing that emerged clearly from Carson’s campaign was his interest in increasing his book sales. Even if he cajoles every housing authority in the country into buying a copy, someone needs to tell him that most housing project residents are not going to be running over to make sure one of his volumes is in their libraries. The campaign was recent enough that most of us can recall that in the debates, Dr. Carson was pretty much lost at sea on both domestic and international issues, none of which will make anyone who cares about the desperate needs of urban America sleep better knowing that he is running the show.

The fact that Carson has no experience in running anything doesn’t matter to Trump and almost seems like nitpicking for us to point out since almost none of Trump’s other appointees have much of any experience with the content of their coming portfolios either. I would hate to pick on Carson for that, because it would seem like I was discriminating. Nonetheless, former Philadelphia Mayor Nutter may have said it best in talking to a Times reporter about the likely incoming HUD Secretary:

“I’m proud that I had seven years with President Barack Obama, who actually knew about community development because he was a community organizer,” Mr. Nutter said. “To the Philadelphia city government: Good luck dealing with the Trump administration.”

And, good luck to the rest of us and the country!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Is Senator Ted Cruz Most Hardball Campaigner Since Nixon?

ct-marco-rubio-ted-cruz-20151028

Marco Rubio, left, and Ted Cruz take part in the presidential debates at the Reagan Library on Sept. 16, 2015 in Simi Valley, Calif. (Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)

New Orleans   There are a long list of things that can be said about Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz, many of them darned close to scary, but I have to admit one thing that has become increasingly clear about him: he plays hardball! His strike zone is high and hot towards the head with wickedly sneaky curves. If Marco Rubio has proven himself to be an immature, vacuous, empty suit, Ted Cruz is a take no-prisoners, win-at-all-cost, knife-in-the-back, sucker puncher the likes of which we may not have seen since Richard Nixon with campaign tactics reminiscent of George Bush the First’s dirty trickster, Lee Atwater.

The evidence is overwhelming.

In Iowa there was the well-publicized flyer his campaign put out in the caucuses to his evangelical hordes at the 11th hour saying that Dr. Ben Carson, another wacko, religious zealot had dropped out of the race, helping pave his way to first place in the caucuses there.

In Nevada, on the eve of the their caucuses he had to ask his communications director to walk the plank for him because they were putting out a video that his opponent Rubio was “dismissing the Bible” in some fashion, once again trying to stoke up his hardcore religious base out there in the desert and the Sodom and Gomorrah wilderness. On his “ends justify the means” moral compass, he came in 3rd there because he was caught in such an un-Christian act.

In Florida,which is likely the last stand for Marco Rubio in his winner-take-all home state where Donald Trump is still leading, although Cruz has virtually no chance at winning a single delegate and registering more than a token showing, he’s spending money and time in the run-up, even exploiting his own Cuban and Hispanic heritage for the first time, solely to pull votes away from Rubio and force him out of the race. In a brilliant tactical move he suddenly opened ten offices throughout Florida compared to Rubio’s five to up the ante. Talk about political hardball! No chance to win, helping the frontrunner Trump to potentially take the huge prize of all the delegates in order to try and reduce the players in the race.

This guy specializes in scorched earth tactics. This path to victory is Desolation Row. Remember, friends and neighbors, the original Cruz strategy was to buddy up to Trump in the early stages of the campaign and give him a bye from any harsh treatment. Cruz still has a light glove for Trump, as evidenced once again by his masterful tactics in Florida.

Senator Unpopular who even scares his colleagues in the Senate with his tactics, just to remind you, he tried to shut the entire government down with his quixotic attempt to try and force President Obama to ditch the Affordable Care Act, has shrewdly calculated that the only way he can win the nomination is to appear to be a more reasonable alternative to an even more frightening buffoon. He figures if the choice is Trump or Cruz, the devil or the deep blue sea, he’s got a good shot at being the deep blue sea, whether they like it or not.

This is one dangerous dude! He doesn’t make the Rubio mistakes, he’s a master of throwing the rock and hiding the hand. He’s willing to bring down the country, the Republican Party, and about anything else to have a chance to win. Every race for him is win at all cost, winner take call, the ends justify the means, and every pitch a behind the back of the head beanball.

When we have to hope for Mr. I’ll Negotiate to beat Mr. Crash-and-Burn, we know we’re out of our league and in serious trouble!

***

Please enjoy Mount Moriah’s Baby Blue.  Thanks to KABF.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail