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Kennedy: In politics both national and local, may cooler heads prevail

It's been a really busy week or so on the political front, both nationally and more locally.

In the region, Kweisi Mfume has won the Democratic special primary and therefore becomes the presumptive replacement for the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, who once replaced him, in the 7th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. His Republican opponent, Kimberly Klacik — who, by the way, was the one who sicced Trump on Cummings and the somewhat gerrymandered district and its problems — will in all likelihood be trounced in the special election in April.

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I expect both to be the nominees after the April primary, taking place on the same day as the special election, for the full term in the House.

In Iowa, where the method for choosing their favorite in the race to become the presidential candidate is so convoluted that even longtime participants in the ritual become confused as to its workings, the final results were not totaled for days, with recounts being called for by many in the Democratic hierarchy. As I write this, the Democratic winner has still not been identified. Trump sailed through the Republican side, as expected, without meaningful opposition.

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The impeachment “trial” (in name only) finally wrapped up with the vote to allow the president to remain in office for the remainder of his term. Only one Republican Senator, Mitt Romney of Utah, broke ranks and voted to convict on the charge of abuse of power. The rest, for whatever reasons, fell in line and voted to acquit. Do the 52 others fear the retribution of Trump so much that they would fail to even consider the possibility that he has failed to live up to his oath of office? One would think that some of the 30 who won’t be up for re-election until 2024 might have stood up to the bully.

The State of the Union speech, which I only caught snippets of, seemed to be more of the same bragging about his so-called accomplishments, many of which were begun during prior administrations. His “I, I, I, me, me, me" rhetoric leaves me cold and shivering. It sounds like he is parroting Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the other despots and dictators that he curries favor with.

I was really turned off by his pandering to the far right wing by bestowing the Presidential Medal of Freedom to one of his biggest sycophants, Rush Limbaugh, simply because he revealed a cancer diagnosis. He also played to the audience’s sympathies by belatedly promoting a retired, 100-year-old member of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II to the rank of brigadier general and by reuniting a family with their husband/father who had been deployed in harm’s way.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, by contrast, delivered the State of the State address and touted the many bipartisan pieces of legislation that had been passed last year and calling for the continuation of that spirit of cooperation in the current session. Even when discussing the crime problem in Baltimore City, he remained positive and upbeat.

Our county commissioners, in a stark reversal, have decided not to pursue the repeal of the English-only ordinance. By his own admission, Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, hadn’t read the ordinance when he called for public hearings on the matter. That was a minor slip-up, but it does beg the question of how many other ordinances any one, or all, of the commissioners have little or no knowledge about. I wouldn’t expect a commissioner to know everything about all of the ordinances, but before bringing up one for review, amendment or repeal, I would expect the one bringing up the subject to have read and understood it.

Finally, as the national election cycle is now underway for the next 10 months, I hope that the Democratic Party can come to a consensus on a more “middle-of-the-road” candidate. I’m afraid that if either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren get the nomination, we’ll be stuck with Donald Trump for four more years.

One thing I have some discomforting feelings about if that comes to pass is that Trump could — in an attempt to become a dictator, like those whom he fawns over — he will initiate the repeal of the 22nd Amendment, which restricts presidents to two terms. He has expressed a desire for a third term on several occasions.

May cooler heads prevail.

Bill Kennedy writes every other week from Taneytown. You may contact him at wlkennedyiii@verizon.net.

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