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Moon and the senators

Give a big welcome to the two new members of the Idaho RINO club – Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch.

It’s not an exclusive club. Gov. Brad Little, Lt. Gov. Scott Bedke and Senate Pro Tem Chuck Winder are charter members. The depth chart also includes Congressman Mike Simpson, anyone who is involved with Take Back Idaho and a slew of GOP legislators – errrr, RINOs – who are accused of supporting big government and otherwise going against the Republican Party platform.

Crapo and Risch are on the list because they are big spenders who lack knowledge in national and international security. Well … they know about those things, but not to the extent of State Party Chair Dorothy Moon. Her resume includes three terms in the Idaho House of Representatives and a primary election loss in her bid to become secretary of state.

Risch’s background evidentially pales by comparison. He’s just the ranking member, and former chairman, of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. During his time as chairman, he was at the table with then-President Trump in high-level foreign policy discussions. Risch receives generous accolades from both sides of the aisle for his knowledge of foreign policy and understanding of national security.

See? He doesn’t know anything.

As for Crapo, he’s the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, but surrounds himself with those who understand why the U.S. gives aid to places like Ukraine and Israel. As Moon apparently sees it, Crapo should be spending more time with Rand Paul of Kentucky.

“The phones at the state party headquarters have been ringing off the hook after news broke that 22 Republican senators worked feverishly through the night with Democrats to pass a bill to spend nearly $100 billion, most of which goes to fund the seemingly endless war in Ukraine.”

Moon pays heed to Paul’s warning about the aid package serving as an “impeachment trap” if the next president (Trump) decides to pull funding for Ukraine.

Granted, Risch and Trump appear to be on opposite sides of aid to Ukraine, but it’s a stretch to suggest that the Idaho senator would be leading an impeachment parade. Risch, who has endorsed Trump in this year’s presidential race, would never compromise his access to a President Trump.

Moon offers more: “Americans are not interested in funding more foreign wars. Every taxpayer dollar that we send to fund the war in Ukraine prolongs a conflict that has the potential to spin out of control, even leading to a third World War.”

Risch also sees a threat of a world war, but only if Putin is allowed to take over Ukraine and move on to other nations. As Risch has said, the cost of a world war would be many times more than the $100 billion aid package.

The senators are not commenting on Moon’s rant, but they have issued a joint statement outlining the reasons for their votes.

“Our first and primary responsibility as senators is the safety and security of Idaho and the United States of America. It is critically important we help defend Israel … stop the advancement of China, and halt Russia from once again expanding its adversarial empire.

“The United States cannot be the policemen of the world, nor can we engage in every conflict, which is why we must support allies who will stand with us in what is a very dangerous time globally. Although this legislation is not what we would have drafted, it is a strong bill that makes Idaho and America safer.”

In the end, Moon’s side of the argument probably will prevail. House Speaker Mike Johnson has said that Republicans will not accept an aid package that does not include border control. And, with Trump’s blessing, no bipartisan agreement will come until after the presidential election – and only if Trump wins.

As for the state Republican Party, forget about the GOP serving as a cheerleader for Republican incumbents. Under Moon’s leadership, it has turned into a lobbying organization, much like the Idaho Freedom Foundation.

Established leaders such as Crapo, Risch, Simpson and Little don’t have much to worry about. They can dismiss Moon’s lobbying efforts and survive without the backing of the state party.

There’s no good reason why they would want that support.

Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at


Congressional thrashing

For all useful purposes, the national Republican Party has been “done in.” At least temporarily.

With the firing of former exec Ronna McDaniel - Mitt Romney’s niece - and the pending appointment of DJT’s daughter-in-law as her replacement, the “Grand Old Party” has become a “rump” business of the Trump family.

No longer the need for senior execs getting jobs from various Republican sources.  No longer the need for constituent “appointments” by rich and prominent players.  No longer a place for senior Republicans in Congress to “pay off” supporters needing temporary employment.

No, Sir!  The place is now a “family enterprise” of the Trump dynasty.

Given how Judge Engeron dropped the hammer on Donald last week, ol’ DJT himself may need to file an employment application.

Also troubling for the GOP is the bickering and back-biting going on in various state Republican central committees.  Trumpers versus the non-Trumpers.  Loyalists versus - uh - er - “them.”  In’s versus out’s.

Were the spirits of Bob Dole, Jim McClure or the sainted Ronnie Reagan to visit the Party current headquarters in the dead of night, they wouldn’t recognize the place.  Or, the employment roster.

The Party has been “at war” with itself for more than a generation.  With outbreaks occurring all across the country, let’s just say the national Republican Party is “fluid” at the moment.

Maybe worst of all, the current wannabee-leader has just received a sound thrashing by Judge Arthur Edgeron who saw fit to hit him with a $350-million hammer.  And he ended - for at least three years - the Trump family’s to do business in New York State.  They’re all “persona non-grata.”

It’s likely anyone trying to reorganize Republicans at the moment would have better luck herding cats.

Indeed, in several recent elections to fill open seats in Congress, Democrats have been quite successful in improving their lot.  Last week’s seat flip in New York’s Third made the Party almost dead even with Republicans in the U.S. House.  Thus, Speaker Johnson is going to have a lot more headaches between now and January.

The basic trouble with all this GOP mishmash is the People’s business is not being conducted.  The very basic reason for having a Congress in the first place is to “take care of business.”

How long the Republican Party will stumble around aimlessly, like a weekend drunk, is anyone’s guess.  But, the longer it takes for the more serious members of leadership to “steady the ship,” the more damage will be done.

Anyone looking to Speaker Johnson to get things on the right track is ignoring the fact that Johnson is one of the problems.  He’s in way over his head and unlikely to be the steadying hand needed at the helm.  Johnson is the wrong guy at the wrong time.

Trump may be headed for the hoosegow.  Oh, there’ll be many appeals.  But, he’s going to be less of a factor over time.

One can only hope our current President is using the back-channel to stay in touch with Dems and responsible GOP’ers.  And, that those same members respect knowledgeable advice & counsel given from someone with more than 50 years of Congressional experience.


The abortion bet

During his first year as Idaho Attorney General, Raul Labrador has placed most of his chips on the abortion issue in his quest for higher office. He has been aided and abetted, free of charge, by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a powerful extreme-right legal organization in the nation’s capital that is intent on stamping out any perceived form of abortion across the entire country. ADF played a major role in overturning Roe v. Wade.

Labrador began his term as AG with a March 27 opinion declaring that Idaho’s strictest-in-the-nation abortion laws criminalized Idaho doctors for “providing abortion pills” and “either referring a woman across state lines to access abortion services” or to obtain abortion pills. When the opinion was challenged in court, Labrador withdrew it, but refused to disavow it. Strangely enough, Idaho’s laws are so strict that the opinion was probably correct, even though seriously suspect under the U.S. Constitution.

Since that time, Labrador has opposed a federal rule change that would protect the confidentiality of pregnant women’s medical records from snooping state attorneys general. The rule is designed to protect the privacy of women who travel out of state for pregnancy care. Labrador has also strenuously sought to enforce Idaho’s “abortion trafficking” law.

With free help from ADF, Labrador was able to prevent women with dangerous pregnancy conditions from getting stabilizing medical care in Idaho’s hospital emergency rooms. The only exception is where an abortion is “necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman.” Women who need care for a much-wanted, but non-viable, pregnancy have been forced out of state in order to get the care they need. The emergency care issue will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in late April.

The Supreme Court will also consider in April whether to place restrictions on the dispensation of an abortion pill, mifepristone, which prevents pregnancy if taken within 10 days. That case, which originated in federal court in Amarillo, Texas, resulted in a ruling supported and cheered by Labrador and ADF last year. The district judge severely restricted use of the drug, but those restrictions were lessened by a federal circuit court and then lifted by the Supreme Court. The Court will rule on the extent of restrictions, if any, that will apply to dispensation of mifepristone.

Labrador has established quite a track record for cracking down on abortions, even when necessary to protect the life and health of women who are desperate to have a child. But nothing can compare to the move he made in that federal court in Amarillo last November. He and two other state AGs asked the court for permission to file a complaint that seeks to totally ban the use of mifepristone and a follow-up drug, misoprostol, throughout the country. Misoprostol is used to induce a miscarriage.

The lengthy complaint, which was likely drafted by ADF and its allies, is chock full of questionable assertions, including preposterous claims that both drugs are dangerous to patients. In the press coverage I’ve seen about the complaint, the request to ban the use of misoprostol has been overlooked. The requested ban is significant because that drug has been used safely and effectively for decades. Yet, right there at page 102, Labrador and the other two AGs ask the judge to order federal agencies “to withdraw mifepristone and misoprostol as FDA-approved chemical abortion drugs.” That is, to ban the use of both drugs throughout the country.

On January 12 the judge granted the motion to file the complaint, so it will presumably proceed on a separate track from the case to be considered by the Supreme Court in April. AFD was lucky to have the three states front for it because it would not have had standing to get the case into court on its own–it’s good to have pliable, accommodating state attorneys general.

If misoprostol is taken off the market, women like Kristin Colson of Boise will face the heart-breaking situation of a wanted, but non-viable pregnancy, made worse by having no medication available to safely manage the miscarriage. Colson had an anembryonic pregnancy and opted for misoprostol, rather than surgery or waiting weeks for her body to pass the tissue. She was surprised when the pharmacist refused to fill the prescription. She was able to get the prescription filled elsewhere but, if Labrador were to prevail in his Texas lawsuit, there would be no legal source for the drug anywhere in the country.

It is unclear whether Labrador is aware of the impact that his extreme actions have on women who want to have viable pregnancies, but can’t, or whether he is simply blinded by his political ambitions. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how Idaho voters react to his all-in gamble on the abortion issue.


Review: Prequel

Every so often, an old black and white photo of a big, popular event - identified as filling the Madison Square Garden back in the late 1930s - surfaces, and never fails to shock when the caption notes that this American celebration was ... in support of Nazi Germany, only a couple years or so before World War II.

The American cultural and political climate changed so abruptly in and after December 1941, when the United States went to war with that country, that it's now strains the memory that many Americans really did lean, often strongly, in that direction. Some of it may have had to do with ethnic German support for the homeland. (Another book I've been reading recently, Bismarck's War by Rachel Chrastil, points out that during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, American public opinion was strongly on the German side rather than the French.)

But a lot of that support for Adolph Hitler and the Nazi regime was specifically ideological (and racially bigoted as well), and it was not small in size. It was also organized and, as the 30s ended, increasingly well organized. A lot of domestic terror plots were being hatched; many small cells around the country were actively trying to destabilize the United States government and (through destabilizing elections) its whole system of self-government, which increasingly many of the people involved were willing to dispense with.

The fact of all this happening has been reported in many books up to now, but mostly in scattered pieces. The usefulness of bringing many of the threads together is one reason the new book Prequel: An American Fight Against Fascism, by Rachel Maddow, is so useful: It puts the larger movement in a context, alongside telling a bunch of interesting stories about the people involved.

Another reason it's useful is that it puts a less-often seen spotlight on the people who took it on themselves to fight the galloping fascist impulse in America. And I do mean "took it on themselves" because the official arms of the United States government, federal and below, were shockingly sluggish and ineffective in doing what they should have to combat the menace - in part because all too many of the people in those agencies were sympathetic to the fascist cause.

Obviously, a third reason the book is so pertinent - why it bears reading now, right now - is because of the dark turn in American politics and society in a distinctly fascist direction, in support of foreign actors like Putin and Orban, and at a time when far-right groups have been arming into militia groups.

Madow wisely does not refer directly at all to current events, letting the readers draw in the links between then and now - and you can find them on just about every page, sometimes several to a page - pop up in your own mind. Donald Trump doesn't come in for a mention (so far as I could tell) anywhere. But the approaches, strategies, rhetoric and ideas underlying all this feel remarkably fresh.

Which is depressing: Have we learned nothing from the experience of the last century, how corrupt, empty and evil this stuff is? The optimistic takeaway is that it can be fought. It was before. It can be again.


Review: Video Game of the Year

When I read a new non-fiction book, I hope that it will tell me something I didn't know already (not an unusual occurrence). Even better, I hope it will open for a whole new world I hadn't been aware, or barely aware, existed - but which matters.

I hadn't expected the book Video Game of the Year (Abrams Image, 2023), written by Jordan Minor, to do more than the first. But it did: I came away with a whole new perspective on a big part of our American culture in the last half-century.

It may be less strikingly new to you, if you're a video gamer and especially a gamer of longstanding. I'm not, because of no great desire to spend the time and effort needed to become accomplished at the games (or even learn much about them), not because of any animus toward them. My personal involvement with video games started with Pong and ended with either Space Invaders or Pac-Man (all three are profiled in this book), and after that the games, and the environment around them, became too much effort to attract much of my interest.

That doesn't mean they didn't attract lots of other people, of course; over the years I've known quite a few people who play them, to one degree or another. Some of the most popular games have sold immense numbers of copies, into the hundreds of millions, and some of them (Pokemon go is an example) have burst into the general cultural fabric. (Some years ago we often spotted PG players at a residential intersection near our house, deeply engrossed.) But what effect do they games have? Where did they come from? How have their evolved, and where might they be going? I didn't have much of a handle on any of this.

Minor has neatly filled this gap, for me and probably a lot of other people, through the device of naming a game of the year for (almost) every year since Pong arrived in the late 70s. The selections seem carefully chosen to throw light on the development of video games, not least their variety. If like me you're aware of these games only on the periphery - spotting the occasional ad or box in a store or news story that relates to one of them, often in a negative way - there's a lot to miss.

The variety of the games, for example. I'm tended to associate video games in the last couple of decades with hard-core shoot-em-up (or blow-em-away) violence, but while that is a key part of the picture, there's also much more. Some are gentle and artistic. Some are educational; I'd almost forgotten about Sin City, and had never been aware of many of the spinoffs it generated.

And more generally: What are some of the factors that have made some games immensely popular, while others fall flat? Some useful lessons in consumer preference and economic activity emerge from this. Not to mention some useful dissection of what goes into designing a game, an absorbing subject I'd never much considered.

Then there's the sources of the games. I hadn't realized how dominant, for so many years, developers from Japan were in the field; the corporate field seems to have spread more widely in recent years. I hadn't had much appreciation for the differences in, say, Nintendo and other providers, or how Playstation and XBox fit into the mix. The underlying corporate histories are worth knowing too, given how large some of those organizations have become.

Minor is enough of a good enthusiast to refrain from whitewashing the downsides, which gives me some confidence in his overall perspective. A tip of the hat to his easily-absorbed history, which opened a part of the modern world brand new to me. And maybe you too.



National security and Idaho

The national security debate within the Republican Party is writ in Idaho too - smaller scale, but with points intact.

Conditions around the world are in other words coming home to Idaho politics, in a way that hasn’t much been the case for a long time.

A quick recap first. U.S. House Republican leadership to this writing has essentially blockaded aid measures for Ukraine and Israel, whether or not coupled with funding and other measures relating to  border security long proposed by Republicans. Their Senate counterparts have pressed on, working with the chamber’s Democrats. One effort including the border provisions collapsed after House leadership registered opposition, but on February 13 the Senate passed a national security package including help for Ukraine and Israel. It now goes to the House. (There is some talk of the House accepting the bill if a border section is attached; we’ll see. Conditions are fluid at the moment.)

The senators voting in favor included 22 members of the Republican caucus (close to half). Along with Minority Leader Mitche McConnell, they included Idaho’s senators, Mike Crapo and Jim Risch. Risch, as ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been a persistent backer of help for Ukraine.

All of which will likely strike many Americans as good news. But not in the offices of the Idaho Republican Party.

An e-mailed statement from the party shortly after the Senate vote said that, “The priorities in DC are misplaced. Americans are struggling financially, our border is wide open and untold hundreds of thousands are entering our country illegally. Americans are not interested in funding more foreign wars, instead needing relief here at home. Every taxpayer dollar that we send to fund the war in Ukraine prolongs a conflict that has the potential to spin out of control, even leading to a third World War. This bill must be stopped in the House.”

The last part of the statement has it somewhat backward: It is to keep the conflict from spreading - Russia taking on other targets - the aid to Ukraine most specifically is in American interests.

The statement was also interesting in three things it did not mention. First, it didn’t specifically mention aid to Israel, which most Republicans as well as Democrats have strongly backed. Second, it didn’t mention funding and law changes related to the border, which were in the earlier Senate bill that the House essentially blew up.

And third, it didn’t mention directly Idaho’s two senators: It left the criticism of them implicit.

The senators issued their own statement after the vote, saying (along with accurately pointing out non-assistance defense measures in the bill) “It is critically important we help defend Israel, prohibit funding for the antisemitic UN Relief and Works Agency, stop the advancement of China, and halt Russia from once again expanding its adversarial empire. … we must support allies who will stand with us in what is a very dangerous time globally.”

They offered in other words an actual recognition of American interests, both immediate and longer-range, of the kind not visible in the Idaho Republican statement. National analysts pointed out that many of the Republican senators who joined that effort have relatively strong backgrounds in foreign relations, the military or both.

The bill now goes to the House. Representative Russ Fulcher almost certainly will go along with the House leadership position in opposition to it.

And maybe Representative Mike Simpson will too.

But maybe Simpson’s vote shouldn’t be written off too quickly. Risch has been a strong advocate for help for Ukraine and Israel both, and I could imagine that Simpson might pay attention to what he has to say.

The security of the nation and the world may count on conversations like that in the next few days.



Dale found this service both meaningful and convenient.

The militia had discussed the southern border problem for weeks but had finally come to this compromise. The whole militia could have loaded up and gone down to Texas where they would be welcome. But they all had jobs.

Except Fred, the Captain, who was on social security.

And Donnie, with his disability. They were both gung-ho to take the trip south.

Both Justis and Junior seemed to be living off of some settlement, and they didn’t seem eager.

But Dale had to work. So, he’d said he couldn’t go to Texas.

So, they set up this outpost on the southern Idaho border to protect our country from the invasion.

They had their tactical gear and rations. Though Dale’s wife, Betty had pointed out to him the cost of all that gear equaled a car monthly payment, maybe more.

The wind was cold. The sun slanted west. Again, he wasn’t at the barricade, but up on look out. He thought back to when they had been protecting the unborn. That had gotten dramatic. He wasn’t sure of any unborn children saved, but at least they’d made a stand.

But this border thing was a bit harder for him to understand. He really didn’t want foreigners moving into his neighborhood. But Paco and his wife sure seemed to be reasonable folks. Paco did concrete work and she made tamales. They were good neighbors, though their kids were wild. Dale smiled as he thought of their antics.

But he had seen on the videos how there were tens of thousands coming across bringing fentanyl to poison his neighbors. And they were bringing in sex slaves, children to be defiled. He felt a righteous purpose. This righteousness brought him peace. Lord, he needed peace.

He scanned the southern horizon. They had been warned to look for vans, since the unlawful immigrants are often piled together. It was chilly, but he was warm. The low sun and the peace left him time to think.

He thought of his next job. A dairy south of him needed another water line. He could rent the trencher and knew how to make the connections, but working down in that trench was beyond his girth. His last employee was violated and now serving a rider.

The dairy seemed to have lots of Spanish speaking workers. He wondered if any of them were part of this invading horde. He also wondered if any of them knew how to glue PVC.

He shook his head to clear it. Too many thoughts can distract you. But he saw nothing in the distance.

He thought again about the pipes and the trencher and some young skinny guy he could teach down in the ditch.

His radio crackled. “Red Leader to Blue outpost.”

He toggled. “Copy”

“You see the white van from the south?”

Dale looked as far as he could, but the wind brought tears to his eyes. He held his hand up to block it and sure enough, a white van was coming north across Idaho’s border. “Roger. I see it.”

There was a long pause from Red Leader. Then, “We will intercept. Must protect the border.”

Dale dropped below the ridge and got out his binoculars. He could see the militiamen move the barricades out onto the road and shoulder their arms, like in the drills.

The van slowed and stopped. They were interrogated. The road militia stood with arms ready, but after the questioning, the barricades were removed, and the van passed.

Dale asked. “No illegals?”

Red Leader was chipper. “No, just some Mormons fundamentalists coming back from Mexico. They’re OK.”

Dale felt good about his duty.


A case for Haley

I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready for the Republican presidential race to end. So, I say good for Nikki Haley.

Handing it to Donald Trump now is like crowning a World Series champion after the first inning of the first game, or deciding a winner of a basketball game based on the team that gets the first basket. Yeah, Donald Trump has a big lead in almost all the polls. But considering the baggage that surrounds him, Republicans ought to give more serious thought about handing him the nomination -- or making the Idaho presidential caucus looking like a Russian election.

Enough with this talk about “poor” Donald Trump being ambushed by the justice department. His egregious call to the Georgia secretary of state, demanding the vote totals be changed to give him the win, should be enough to declare him unfit for the presidency. His actions across the board on Jan. 6 were worse than anything Richard Nixon ever did.

Yet, it seems, an overwhelming number of Republicans think this guy should return as the leader of the free world. I don’t get it.

I do get why people don’t want President Biden. He’s too old. The recent special counsel’s report, describing the president as an elderly man with a poor memory, is a preview of what we’d get in second Biden term.

But for heaven’s sake, can’t Republicans move beyond Donald Trump?

The immediate alternative is Haley, and her big pitch is to spare us from making a choice between two 80-year-old men (Trump isn’t quite 80, but he’s old). And she talks about uniting the country, which is a unique, and refreshing, concept in this era of trash-and-burn politics. At least some polls show she’d beat Biden by a convincing margin, yet so many Republicans would prefer to have the worst person ever to serve as president.

I don’t get it.

Here’s a sneak peek at what we’ll get with a second Trump presidency:

  • We’ll get four more years of re-living the 2020 election, and talk about how that election was rigged.
  • Four years of re-living the Jan. 6 insurrection of the Capitol, and talk about how those trolls are the “true” American patriots. If you’re in an office pool, you might guess the date in which Trump will pardon those misfits.
  • At least some of those four years will be focused on court proceedings against Trump – criminal and civil. If you’re playing a drinking game, you can take a swig every time he declares court actions as a “witch hunt.”
  • At some time in those four years, Trump will do something to warrant another impeachment or two. Chaos follows him around.
  • We’ll have four more years of Trump jokes in the late-night talk shows – jokes that stopped being funny a long time ago.

The only one standing in the way of all of that, at least at the moment, is Haley – this lady with a warm smile from South Carolina. But don’t be fooled by that down-home appearance. Haley was the star in Republican debates against crusty old men (and one carnival barker), and reduced Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to a pile of sawdust in the final knockout blow.

Yes, she is tough.

And she’s saying the right things about Trump and the race in general. Critics say that Haley isn’t “conservative enough,” but her ideological credentials were not questioned when she served as governor and U.N. ambassador under Trump. She just recognizes the need to find some common ground with the 70 million people who don’t vote Republican in the next election.

Maybe, just maybe, a Haley administration can bring some focus on what’s good for the country – and not as much on what’s good for the power brokers in the White House and Congress.

Haley gives the best chance of having a president who is more interested in building bridges than building empires.

Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at


I forget

Sometimes the “news of the day” hits closer to home than you’d like.

So it is with stories in the daily media about Joseph Robinette Biden, Junior.  President Joseph Robinette Biden, Junior.  Stories about his age (81) and whether he’s “losing it.”

We are seeing such stories in every medium.  Most often, personal anecdotes of those who have access to the President by reason of their work as reporters or members of his staff.

But, no matter the source of the moment, the issue is his age.  And, more pointedly, questions about his fitness to serve in the highest elective office we have.  His mental fitness.

Before we go any further, you should know my age is 87.  Yep.  Six years older than the President.  So, I have some first-hand knowledge and a very personal perspective.  I’ve been where he is and am further “down the path.”

The biggest personal “knock” on the man is he is “forgetful.”  Big damned deal!  I forget things, too.  And, I did at 30, 40,50, and so on.  We all “forget” things, regardless of age.

But, when Biden does it, he’s often being questioned by reporters.  At a time when he’s under pressure.  At a time when cameras are rolling and subjects change with each question.

I’ve been in that White House briefing room.  Many times.  When the broadcast lighting is on  - when the room temperature rises to the 80's and beyond - when there are 40 or 50 people in a room designed for half those numbers.  It ain’t the comfort of your living room.

But, I digress.

This week, I met with a local neurologist.  I’d been medically referred to him because of some headaches and other issues.  We talked a bit about forgetfulness.

His response?

“We forget things when we’re 20-years old - 30, 40, 50.  Ninety.  Yes, it’s more of a factor in our later years.  But, it’s an ordinary part of our lives and, unless you develop other symptoms, you’re O.K..”

My personal experience with aging and memory issues is mine alone.  Just as the same factors are yours and yours alone.

At the moment, despite being 87, I’m O.K..  Oh, I forget things from time to time.  Usually a specific word I need when writing or speaking.  Or, someone’s name.  We all share those experiences.

But, so far, I haven’t left my car keys in the refrigerator.  And, I haven’t had to call home for directions.

Forgetfulness at 30 is, for most folks, different than the same issue at 70 or 80.  As you age, you tend to react to things more slowly.  You tend to need just a bit more time to recall specifics like names or information of a particular nature.  That’s normal, I’m told.

There’s really no need to be concerned about the President’s moments of forgetfulness.  Unless he can’t remember where his office is, he’s O.K. for his age.  If needed, he’s surrounded by staff - people completely aware of all the issues he has to contend with.   He has a very competent - and younger - Vice President.

However, I think there is a legitimate question to be asked about his decision to run for re-election.  At the end of four more years, he’ll be 85.  Even if his health holds out - both physically and mentally - that’s getting to a point where those factors will be pushing the limits.

We are at a time when there needs to be a shift to a younger group of political leaders.  Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer and others in top offices are in their 70's and 80's.

There’s no danger of a lack of continuity.  There are many in the current Congress who could fill the various roles.  Many who could bring new talents and new ideas to leadership.

I’d name a few but I can’t think of their names right now.