Thursday, November 8, 2018

Acosta Not the Hill Press Should Die On

Acosta Not the Hill Press Should Die On
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
November 8, 2018

As a working newspaper reporter, I was, and am still, an American first and a member of the Fourth Estate second. I am of the belief that news reporters should do just that - report the news and not inject themselves into the news. When a source says something is off the record, it stays off the record. Issues of national security should be protected and not reported, especially where troop movements and people’s lives are at stake.

Being a member of the White House Press Corps is a privilege, not a right. In modern times, never has a president been so disrespected as President Donald Trump is right now. A president is not required to meet with the press, field press questions, or even acknowledge the media. It is, however, the right thing to do.

Certainly previous presidents have had challenging relationships with the media. Ronald Reagan and Sam Donaldson would verbally spar from time to time. 

Richard Nixon told the media after losing the California governor’s race in 1962 “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore…” 

And Harry Truman wrote a scathing letter to Paul Hume, taking issue with Hume’s poor review of Truman’s daughter Margaret’s singing. In the 1950 letter, Truman wrote, “Some day [sic] I hope to meet you. When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!”

Jim Acosta, Chief White House correspondent for CNN, on more than one occasion has been brazenly disrespectful to President Trump and more than just a little truculent in his behavior. After asking several questions during Trump’s press briefing on Wednesday, November 7, following the midterm election, Acosta was told to surrender the microphone in order for the next reporter to ask his or her question. In refusing to do so, the intern attempted to take the mic and Acosta again refused to yield. Later that day, Acosta’s White House press credentials were stripped and his hard pass revoked for an indefinite period.

Acosta is a pedantic, miserable, self-aggrandizing, blowhole. He frequently attempts to insert himself into his reporting with his impolite manner and is often scolded either by Trump or White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and rightfully so.

There are times when the press briefings sound like the Wild West because of the lack of decorum and respect, either to Trump or to Sanders. Pulling Acosta’s credentials should be a message to the press corps that disrespectful behavior is not going to be tolerated. To be fair, I am not suggesting the press behave like the fawning obsequious weasels they were during the Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy administrations. There is most definitely a happy medium.

For the press community and the White House Correspondents’ Association to react apoplectically to the Acosta suspension is, while not surprising, more than just a little over the top. CNN’s response was particularly melodramatic. “This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better. Jim Acosta has our full support.”

“Threat to our democracy?” The White House press room will not go dark due to Acosta’s absence. Not only is he not the only member of the White House press corps, he is not even the only reporter at CNN. Jim Acosta is not the hill on which the press should go to die. CNN, as an active member of the  White House press pool will not leave Acosta’s seat unfilled in some memorial cloak of martyrdom. Instead, while they will moan and groan, they will also insert another reporter to no doubt do a better job as both a reporter and a human being.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Predictions 2018 - Pure and Simple

Predictions 2018 - Pure and Simple
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
November 5, 2018

Predictions - that’s it; not who I am rooting for; not why someone will win - just predictions. Now, if you have not already done so, go vote! NOW! (Or at the very least, after reviewing the following.) I intend to vote substance over style - not a straight ticket.

Governor Races:

Alabama: Governor Kay Ivey (R) over Walter Maddox (D)

Alaska: (open seat) Mike Dunleavy (R) over Mark Begich (D)

Arizona: Governor Doug Ducey (R) over David Garcia (D) and Angel Torres (G)

Arkansas: Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) over Jared Henderson (D)

California: (open seat) Gavin Newsom (D) over John Cox (R) 

Colorado: (open seat) Jared Polis (D) over Walker Stapleton (R) 

Connecticut: (open seat) Bob Stefanowski (R) over Ned Lamont (D)

Florida: (open seat) Ron DeSantis (R) over Andrew Gillum (D)

Georgia (open seat) Brian Kemp (R) over Stacey Abrams (D)

Hawaii: Governor David Ige (D) over Andria Tupola (R) 

Idaho: (open seat) Brad Little (R) over Paulette Jordan (D) 

Illinois: J.B. Pritzker (D) over Governor Bruce Rauner (R) 

Iowa: Governor Kim Reynolds (R) over Fred Hubbell (D)

Kansas: (open seat) Kris Kobach (R) over Laura Kelly (D) and Greg Orman (I)

Maine (open seat) Janet Mills (D) over Shawn Moody (R) 

Maryland: Governor Larry Hogan (R) over Ben Jealous (D)

Massachusetts: Governor Charlie Baker (R) over Jay Gonzalez (D)

Michigan: (open seat) Gretchen Whitmer (D) over Bill Schuette (R) 

Minnesota: (open seat) Tim Walz (D) over Jeff Johnson (R) 

Nebraska: Governor Pete Ricketts (R) over Bob Krist (D)

Nevada: (open seat) Adam Laxalt (R) over Steve Sisolak (D) and Jared Lord (L)

New Hampshire: Governor Chris Sununu (R) over Molly Kelly (D)

New Mexico: (open seat) Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) over Steve Pearce (R) 

New York: Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) over Marc Molinaro (R) 

Ohio: (open seat) Richard Cordray (D) over Mike DeWine (R) 

Oklahoma: (open seat) Kevin Stitt (R) over Drew Edmondson (D)

Oregon: Governor Kate Brown (D) over Knute Buehler (R) 

Pennsylvania: Governor Tom Wolf (D) over Scott Wagner (R) 

Rhode Island: Governor Gina Raimondo (D) over Allan Fung (R) 

South Carolina: Governor Henry McMaster (R) over James Smith (D)

South Dakota: (open seat) Kristi Noem (R) over Billie Sutton (D) and Kurt Evans (L)

Tennessee: (open seat) Bill Lee (R) over Karl Dean (D)

Texas: Governor Greg Abbott (R) over Lupe Valdez (D)

Vermont: Governor Phil Scott (R) over Christine Hallquist (D)

Wisconsin: Governor Scott Walker (R) over Tony Evers (D)

Wyoming: (open seat) Mark Gordon (R) over Mary Throne (D)

IF, and that's a big if, my predictions are rock solid, there will be 30 GOP governors and 20 Democrat governors when we wake up Wednesday morning.

Senate Races:

Arizona: (open seat) Martha McSally (R) over Kyrsten Sinema (D) 

California: Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) over Kevin de Leon (D)

Connecticut: Senator Chris Murphy (D) over Mathew Corey (R) 

Delaware: Senator Thomas Carper (D) over Rob Arlett (R) 

Florida: Senator Bill Nelson (D) over Rick Scott (R) 

Hawaii: Senator Mazie Hirono (D) over Ron Curtis (R) 

Indiana: Senator Joe Donnelly (D) over Mike Braun (R) 

Maine: Senator Angus King (I) over Eric Brakey (R) 

Maryland: Senator Ben Cardin (D) over Tony Campbell (R) 

Massachusetts: Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) over Geoff Diehl (R) 

Michigan: Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) over John James (R) 

Minnesota: Senator Amy Klobuchar (D) over Jim Newberger (R) 

Minnesota: (special election) Senator Tina Smith (D) over Karin Housley (R) 

Missouri: Josh Hawley (R) over Senator Claire McCaskill (D)

Mississippi: Senator Roger Wicker (R) over David Baria (D)

Mississippi: (special election) Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) & Mike Espy (D) will go to a run-off, eliminating Chris McDaniel (R) 

Montana: Senator Jon Tester (D) over Matt Rosendale (R) 

Nebraska: Senator Deb Fischer (R) over Jane Raybould (D)

Nevada: Senator Dean Heller (R) over Jacky Rosen (D)

New Jersey: Senator Bob Menendez (D) over Bob Hugin (R) 

New Mexico: Senator Martin Heinrich (D) over Mick RIch (R) and Gary Johnson (L)

New York: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) over Chele Farley (R) 

North Dakota: Kevin Cramer (R) over Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D)

Ohio: Senator Sherrod Brown (D) over Jim Renacci (R) 

Pennsylvania: Senator Bob Casey (D) over Lou Barletta (R) 

Rhode Island: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D) over Bob Flanders (R) 

Tennessee: (open seat) Marsha Blackburn (R) over Phil Bredesen (D)

Texas: Senator Ted Cruz (R) over “Beto” O’ Rourke (D)

Utah: (open seat) Mitt Romney (R) over Jenny Wilson (D)

Vermont: Senator Bernie Sanders (I) over Lawrence Zupan (R) 

Virginia: Senator Tim Kaine (D) over Corey Stewart (R) 

Washington: Senator Maria Cantwell (D) over Susan Hutchison (R) 

West Virginia: Senator Joe Manchin (D) over Patrick Morrisey (R) 

Wisconsin: Senator Tammy Baldwin (D) over Leah Vukmir (R) 

Wyoming: Senator John Barrasso (R) over Gary Trauner (D) and Joseph Porambo (L)

IF, and that's a big if, my predictions are spot on, there will be 53 Republicans in the Senate and 46 Democrats with one seat up for grabs in a run-off come Wednesday morning.

Select House Races:

CA-10: Rep. Jeff Denham (R) over Josh Harder (D)

CA-22: Rep. Devin Nunes (R) over Andrew Janz (D)

CA-39: (open seat) Young Kim (R) over Gil Cisneros (D)

CA-45: Rep. Mimi Walters (R) over Katie Porter (D)

CA-48: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) over Harley Rouda (D)

CA-50: Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) over Ammar Campa-Najjar (D)

CO-6: Jason Crow (D) over Rep. Mike Coffman (R) 

FL-18: Rep. Brian Mast (R) over Lauren Baer (D)

FL-25: Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R) over Mary Barzee Flores (D)

FL-26: Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R) over Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D)

FL-27: (open seat) Maria Salazar (R) over Donna Shalala (D)

GA-6: Rep. Karen Handel (R) over Lucy McBath (D)

IL-6: Rep. Peter Roskam (R) over Sean Casten (D)

IA-1: Abby Finkenauer (D) over Rep. Rod Blum (R) 

IA-4: Rep. Steve King (R) over J.D. Scholten (D)

KY-6: Rep. Andy Barr (R) over Amy McGrath (D)

ME-2: Jared Golden (D) over Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R)

MD-1: Rep. Andy Harris (R) over Jesse Colvin (D)

MI-11: (open seat) Lena Epstein (R) over Haley Stevens (D)

NV-3: (open seat) Susie Lee (D) over Danny Tarkanian (R) 

NV-4: (open seat) Cresent Hardy (R) over Steven Horsford (D)

NJ-3: Rep. Tom MacArthur (R) over Andrew Kim (D)

NJ-7: Rep. Leonard Lance (R) over Tom Malinowski (D)

NJ-11: (open seat) Mikie Sherrill (D) over Jay Webber (R) 

NM-2: (open seat) Yvette Herrell (R) over Xochitl Torres Small (D)

NY-1: Rep. Lee Zeldin (R) over Perry Gershon (D)

NY-22: Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) over Anthony Brindisi (D)

NY-27: Nate McMurray (D) over Rep. Chris Collins (R) 

OH-1: Rep. Steve Chabot (R) over Aftab Pureval (D)

OH-12: Rep. Troy Balderson (R) over Danny O’ Connor (D)

PA-1: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R) over Scott Wallace (D)

PA-16: Rep. Mike Kelly (R) over Ronald Di Nicola (D)

PA-17: Conor Lamb (D) over Rep. Keith Rothfus (R) 

TX-23: Rep. Will Hurd (R) over Gina Ortiz Jones (D)

TX-32: Rep. Pete Sessions (R) over Colin Allred (D)

UT-4: Rep. Mia Love (R) over Ben McAdams (D)

VA-7: Rep. Dave Brat (R) over Abigail Spanberger (D)

VA-10: Jennifer Wexton (D) over Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) 

WA-3: Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R) over Carolyn Long (D)

WA-5: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) over Lisa Brown (D)

WA-8 (open seat) Kim Schrier (D) over Dino Rossi (R) 

WV-3 (open seat) Carol Miller (R) over Richard Ojeda (D)

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.