Angus King

17 Democratic Senators Have Learned Nothing From Great Recession, And Are To Be Condemned For Joining Republicans To Cut Back Banking Reforms

In 2008-2009, we saw the collapse of the American economy, with the biggest banks and Wall Street firms guilty of causing it.

None of those banks or Wall Street firms paid a price for their illegal, unethical activities, which destroyed the economy in a manner unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Under Barack Obama, the Dodd-Frank Law was passed to insure accountability of banks and Wall Street, so that what happened a decade ago would never happen again.

But now, under a Republican Congress, the action to destroy the Dodd_Frank Law is occurring, and has been assisted by 17 Democratic Senators, and only with at least 10 of them, could such action to eliminate Dodd-Frank have moved forward.

It is shocking to see 17 of the 49 Democrats and Independents in the Senate become turncoats who effectively joined in this evil act, and all 17 need to be called out and denounced.

The problem is too many politicians gain campaign contributions from the big banks and Wall Street, so it compromises their ability to represent their states in a proper manner.

The problem is that if these Democrats are repudiated, it would only aid Republicans in possibly gaining their seats, so the issue is that it is preferable to have Democrats who will support the party on many issues, even if not on this issue.

Liberals and progressives will argue that they should be “primaried”, but the reality is that would only help promote more Republican senators, so we are in an area that could be described as “between the devil and the deep blue sea”!

But we must at least list these 17 Senators, so we are all aware of their “treason”:

Michael Bennet of Colorado
Tom Carper of Delaware
Chris Coons of Delaware
Joe Donnelly of Indiana
Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire
Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota
Doug Jones of Alabama
Tim Kaine of Virginia
Angus King of Maine (Independent)
Joe Manchin of West Virginia
Claire McCaskill of Missouri
Bill Nelson of Florida
Gary Peters of Michigan
Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire
Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
Jon Tester of Montana
Mark Warner of Virginia

Ten of these 17 Senators face an election in 2018—Carper, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Kaine, King, Manchin, McCaskill, Nelson, Stabenow, and Tester.

Of these 10, only Carper, Kaine and King are in states that went to the Democrats. The other seven were Republican states, and makes the task of keeping their seats ever more difficult.

Of the 17 Senators, only 8 of them, those from Colorado, Delaware (2), New Hampshire (2), Virginia (2), and Maine came from states carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

So, sadly, we do not have the privilege and ability to call for the defeat of the ten who are running this year, but even true of the seven who are not running, as they are still better than Republicans to hold the seats.

Otherwise, the Democrats will lose all chance of ever gaining a majority, if they stick to an extreme progressive view of who is acceptable as a Democratic member of the US Senate.

However, one point should be made clear, that none of this list above should ever be considered seriously for President, with the reality that only the two Virginia Senators, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, are even talked about at all as potential nominees.

Tim Kaine may have run for Vice President with Hillary Clinton in 2016, but his support of repeal of the Dodd Frank Law should disqualify him and Warner for future Presidential consideration.

115th Congress Begins Tomorrow: Joe Biden Could Have A Surprise (We Can Hope)!

Tuesday, January 3, is the opening of the 115th Congress, but Joe Biden is still Vice President for 17 days more, and could have a surprise up his sleeve, which is perfectly constitutional.

What is this potential surprise?

Joe Biden, in league with Democrats in the US Senate, can call for an immediate vote on the languishing Supreme Court appointment of Merrick Garland, made ten months ago, to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February of last year.

It is unheard of to deny the Supreme Court a full number of members for an entire year, but this is what the Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did, and it borders on unconstitutionality, for which the Republicans have suffered no consequences.

Joe Biden, after 36 years in the US Senate, and eight as Vice President under Barack Obama, has continued to keep good relationships across the aisle, and was praised profusely recently by Republicans, as well as Democrats, in a near eulogy about his great Senate and public service.

But that does not mean that Joe Biden is, as nice and gracious and cordial and warm as he is, not willing to be a gutter fighter over principles he believes in, and he was vehement at the unfairness of not giving Merrick Garland a Senate hearing at the least, on his unquestioned qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice.

Garland was “railroaded” in Biden’s mind, victimized for no good reason, and Joe feels Garland should not be pushed by the wayside, in his own heart and mind.

So the rumors were around, and then hushed, that Joe Biden might call for a vote of the 66 returning Senators who do not need to be sworn in by him after 12 noon tomorrow.

If he decides to call a vote, the balance of those 66 Senators is 34 Democrats, 2 Independents (Bernie Sanders and Angus King), and 30 Republicans, so on a straight party line vote, Garland would be confirmed 36-30, and Mitch McConnell and the Republicans could do NOTHING about it legally, as it is constitutional to call a vote, and there is no constitutional requirement to have hearings. Many Justices never had hearings, which only became customary and drawn out in the 1980s, when Joe Biden led the fight with Ted Kennedy against Robert Bork, and later in the 1990s and since, when Joe Biden led the fight against Clarence Thomas on the Court.

So the point is that Joe Biden knows now to play “hard ball”, and he just could surprise us tomorrow, which would lead to condemnation by the right wing and Republicans, but who really cares?

The GOP does not worry about being nasty and playing “hard ball”! In fact, they specialize and revel in it, so let them stew in their own juice!

Let us hope that Joe makes news and distinction for one of his last actions as Vice President and Presiding Officer of the US Senate.

Let him become the center of attention, and maybe, just maybe, if he stays in good health, he can break a new barrier in four years, becoming the oldest President of the United States at age 78, making Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan look like youngsters by comparison.

Certainly, Joe Biden, the common man with no fortune, running against the wealthiest and most arrogant man to ever hold the Presidency, Donald Trump, would look very tempting as an alternative in 2020, since so many think he could have won the difference in the vote in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, had he run, and son Beau Biden had not tragically passed away in 2015.

And there are strong hints that Delaware Senator Tom Carper, with a long distinguished career with six years as State Treasurer, ten years as Congressman, eight years as Governor, and 18 years as US Senator by the end of 2018, may wish to retire, so imagine this!

Joe Biden could run for and win back a Senate seat and add to his 36 years in the Senate, and be a sitting Senator if he decides to run for President again, and if not, he can still serve his nation in the US Senate, and add to his distinguished record of public service!

Long Term Political Projections For 2016 And Beyond!

As 2016 arrives tomorrow, some long term projections for the upcoming year politically.

Next December, we can see how accurate these projections are:

Donald Trump will NOT be the Republican Presidential nominee, and he will lose both the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary.  He will be a sore loser there, and will announce a third party movement, but will win NO states in November, but take away votes from the Republican nominee, similar to Ross Perot in 1992.

The Republican nominee for President will be Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who will select Ohio Governor John Kasich as his Vice Presidential running mate.

Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic Presidential nomination, and will select Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown as her running mate for Vice President to blunt the effect of Ohio Governor John Kasich as the Republican Vice Presidential nominee.  And remember Ohio is the crucial state historically in the Electoral College, as NO Republican has won the White House without Ohio!

Hillary Clinton will become the 45th President of the United States , and Sherrod Brown will become the 48th Vice President of the United States, winning by a substantial margin in the Electoral College, keeping the 242 electoral votes of 18 states (Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii) and the District of Columbia, PLUS the following “swing states”—Ohio (18); Virginia (13)–thus insuring an Electoral College majority of 273 when 270 are required;  but also, in addition, the following:  Colorado (9); Iowa (6); Nevada (6); New Mexico (5); New Hampshire (4)–a total of 25 states and 303 electoral votes.

The only loss for the Democrats will be Florida, which will go to Rubio, a home state favorite, and taking away 29 electoral votes, from the 332 of Barack Obama in 2012 to the 303 of Hillary Clinton.  So Hillary Clinton will win 25 states, instead of the 26 that Obama won in 2012. The final electoral vote will be 303-235.

Hillary Clinton will name Vice President Joe Biden her Secretary of State.

Hillary Clinton will gain the opportunity to select FOUR Supreme Court nominees in her four year term, as follows:  Ruth Bader Ginsburg,  Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer–but of course, this cannot be proved to be correct until that next four year term is completed!

The US Senate will go back to the Democrats, gaining the seats up in Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire, Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Missouri, going from 44 seats plus two Independents (Maine, Angus King; and Vermont, Bernie Sanders) to 51 plus 2, effectively 53 seats to 47 for the Republicans, from the present 54 seats for the GOP.  Senator Chuck Schumer of New York will be the Senate Majority Leader as a result.  The President Pro Tempore position will go back to Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, the longest serving Senator with 42 years and another elected term beginning in 2017.

The US House of Representatives will go from 247 Republicans to 188 Democrats, to a gain of 17 seats, and a new total of 205 Democrats and 230 Republicans.  Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin will remain Speaker of the House of Representatives.

So the line of succession will be President Hillary Clinton; Vice President Sherrod Brown; Speaker of the House Paul Ryan; Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy, followed by the cabinet officers, beginning with Joe Biden.

We shall see in a year how accurate my prognostications are!  Happy New Year 2016!

Imagine The Possibility: FOUR Independents In US Senate In 2015-2016, All Allied With The Democratic Party Caucus!

An amazing development is now seen as possible, if not likely, at this point, 26 days before the Midterm Elections of 2014!

We already have two Independent Senators, both of whom ally with the Democratic Party caucus: Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Angus King of Maine.

A third one seems likely now, with Independent Greg Orman seen as likely to defeat long serving Kansas Republican Senator Pat Roberts, which would mark the first non Republican Senator elected in that state since 1932. It is believed that Orman would then ally with the Democrats.

That is itself is a surprise, but with no Democrat in the race, Orman is seen as ten points ahead of Roberts.

Suddenly, a fourth Independent Senator seems possible, in another state considered Republican territory, South Dakota, another Great Plains state!

There we have a three way race, of former Republican Governor Mike Rounds; Democrat Rick Weiland; and former Republican Senator Larry Pressler, who served 18 years in the Senate from 1979-1997, after two terms in the House of Representatives from 1975-1979, and who also was, briefly, a GOP Presidential candidate in 1980.

Right now, the race is very close, with Rounds in a slight lead, but Pressler not much behind, and Weiland a few points behind Pressler in public opinion polls.

In a three way race, anything is possible, and it seems possible and plausible that Pressler could come back, 18 years after leaving the Senate, to his old seat, an amazing development.

Pressler, while a Republican in his past, endorsed and campaigned for Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012, so were he to win the Senate seat, it is seen as likely that he would caucus with the Democrats, and has criticized his party as one that has moved away from his beliefs toward the extreme Right!

So imagine a scenario where four Independents would all ally with the Democrats and insure their continued hold on the US Senate, something never having happened in the history of that legislative body!

The Intriguing Greg Orman, Independent Candidate For US Senate In Kansas

The most intriguing Senate race in 2014 suddenly becomes that of Kansas, a “red state”, which has not elected a Democrat since the Great Depression!

The Democratic nominee has dropped out, leaving Senator Pat Roberts with only an independent candidate, Greg Orman, a very appealing candidate, who has voted both Democratic and Republican in the past, including for Barack Obama in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012, and wants to make Washington DC work.

Orman is frustrated with inability of Congress to work, and he pledges that he will join the Senate caucus of the party that he believes is more attuned to change after the midterm elections, and that makes it likely he would become the third Independent Senator, along with Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine.

Orman has a real chance to win the seat now, and this would almost certainly guarantee that the Senate would remain Democratic, as Roberts’  seat seemed safe before now.

So this will be the most watched race of all, more than Mitch McConnell in Kentucky!

Women Will Decide Senate Control In 2014!

Women will decide Senate control in 2014, both in candidacies, and in voting!

With the GOP attack on women at work, women and reproductive freedom, women and the issue of rape, and the proper role of women in the family, it is hard to imagine that women will not rise up against the Republican Party, trying to take away its freedom in so many areas.

The religious control over the Republican Party is a danger to all women, even those stupid enough to vote Republican because the men in their lives tell them to vote Republican for Jesus Christ!

IF Michelle Nunn in Georgia, and Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky can win their Senate bids, the Republican Party will not win control of the Senate!

And there is too much expectation that Shelley Moore Capito will defeat Natalie Tennant in West Virginia, when both Senators and the Governor have been Democrats, and Tennant winning a massive victory for Secretary of State in her last campaign, so there is a good chance that the Democrats may keep that seat, denying the GOP a switched seat!

And also, to assume that Susan Collins will keep her seat in Maine over Shanna Bellows, is to assume a lot, since Mainers are individualistic, and the Democrats have an edge in that state in voter registration! It is also an independent state to the extreme, and already has Angus King as an Independent in the Senate. When Collins refused to back a minimum wage increase, her reputation as a moderate, and the so called “best” Republican Senator from the viewpoint of a Democrat, suffered, and it would be better if Shanna Bellows, who has worked for the American Civil Liberties Union, were to win that seat!

So women will decide, both on the ballot, and in voting, what happens to the US Senate in 2015-2016!

The US Senate Changes At Accelerated Pace, But With Little Hope Of BiPartisanship!

The US Senate, often called the greatest deliberative body in the world, is rapidly changing, as we will see at least 15 new members being sworn in on January 3 or shortly thereafter,

This is due to the retirement of eleven Senators; the primary defeat of one; the upcoming resignation of two; and the death of one.

Eleven of these 15 Senators will be Democrats, including Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Angus King of Maine, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and the appointed replacements for John Kerry in Massachusetts who is resigning to become Secretary of State, and for Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who died in office a week ago.

Four new Senators will be Republicans, including Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Tim Scott of South Carolina, by appointment after the resignation of Jim DeMint to become the head of the Heritage Foundation.

At the same time, the longest serving Senators head the committees, and their average age is higher than it has ever been, and we now know, at the least, that the oldest Senator now, Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, who will be 90 when he comes up for reelection in 2014, is not yet ready to say he will retire, even in the face of a potential challenge in the Democratic primary from Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

So the Senate, seen as a barrier to progress by many, is becoming more divided, by age, ideology, and party, making the likelihood of “crossing the aisle” far less likely in the near future! Bipartisanship is NOT thriving!

Five Republican Senate Seats In Danger Of Being Won By Democrats In 2012

The usual political line is that the Democrats are in danger of losing control of the Senate, with 23 Democratic or Independent seats up for election in 2012, as compared to only 10 Republican seats.

But actually, five of the ten GOP Senate seats are in play, with Republicans on the defensive!

This includes:

Maine—where retiring Senator Olympia Snowe seems likely to be replaced by Independent Angus King, former Governor of the state, thought to be likely to caucus with the Democrats if he wins, based on greater agreement with Democratic principles.

Massachusetts—where Senator Scott Brown, who replaced Ted Kennedy in 2010, is behind in many polls to consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, in a state so strongly Democratic that Brown’s victory in 2010 was seen as an outlier.

Indiana—where retiring Senator Richard Lugar may be replaced by Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly , because the GOP nominee, Richard Mourdock, has been labeled a Tea Party extremist, unwilling to work across the aisle with Democrats.

Nevada—where appointed Senator Dean Heller is having a rough race against long term Democratic Congresswoman Shelley Berkley.

Arizona—where Senator Jon Kyl is retiring, but the Republican nominee, Jeff Flake, is facing a surprisingly tough battle against Democrat Richard Carmona. former Surgeon General of the United States. Carmona has a distinguished law enforcement and medical career, and is seen as having a really good chance to replace Kyl, and being Hispanic (Puerto Rican) in Arizona is certainly a positive, as well as his biography.

If one had to put betting money on these five races, it would be a good bet that Maine, Massachusetts, and Arizona will go Democratic in Senate races, with Indiana and Nevada tougher races.

That would mean a three seat gain for the Democrats, making it much tougher for Republicans to become a majority, as then they would need at least six to seven Democratic held seats out of 12 seats seen as in play, with 11 others of the total 23 seats seen as NOT in play!

An analysis of Democratic seats in contention will follow in the coming days!

Maine, The Independent State Politically! Angus King Likely Replacing Olympia Snowe

Maine, a state which has had independent minded Senators and Governors, is about to have an Independent as the likely successor to independent minded Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, who has announced her retirement after a long career, due to frustration over the total stalemate and deadlock in the US Senate.

Former Governor Angus King, who had served as a legislative aide to Senator William Hathaway in the 1970s, has only run for office as an Independent, and was one of two Independent Governors in the late 1990s and early 2000s, along with Governor Jesse Ventura of Minnesota.

In the 1970s, Maine had Independent Governor James Longley, making them an extremely unusual state, in having had two Independents serve in that office in modern times.

King was Governor from 1995-2003, and now will be his own man, while if he wins, probably caucusing with the Democrats, as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman do now. Major Democrats have decided not to challenge him, as his public opinion ratings are high, and the Republicans are almost certain to lose that seat that Snowe is vacating.

Three way races are not uncommon in Maine, as even the Governor’s race in 2010 was three way, leading to Tea Party favorite Paul LePage being elected Governor over a second place Independent and a third place Democrat.

Maine has had distinguished US Senators who have been independent minded if not actually running as Independents, including Margaret Chase Smith, Edmund Muskie, George Mitchell, William Cohen, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins.

So the likelihood of at least two Independents in the next Senate, King and Sanders, is extremely certain, with Lieberman retiring from the Senate.

Independent Candidacies A Long Shot This Election Year, As Always!

This year, there are at least four and possibly five Independent candidacies that might affect election results!

The most likely to succeed is Independent Senate candidate Charlie Crist, Governor of Florida, who broke with the GOP and is running against Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek!

A second strong possibility is Independent Lincoln Chafee, former Republican Senator from Rhode Island, running for Governor!

Additionally, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is running a write in campaign for her seat after losing the primary to Tea Party backed Joe Miller!

Congressman Mike Castle of Delaware is considering a similar write in campaign against the person who defeated him in the GOP primary, Christine O’Donnell!

Finally, former GOP Congressman Tom Tancredo is mounting an independent bid for Governor in Colorado!

The most recent prominent Independents in office have been Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut!

Further back, Jesse Ventura was Independent Governor of Minnesota; Senator Lowell Weicker was Independent Governor of Connecticut; and Angus King was Independent Governor of Maine!

These cases of Independents running for, and some winning, office are fascinating, but the odds this year, as always, are daunting!

IF both Charlie Crist and Lincoln Chafee win, it will be considered a major coup for the movement toward independent candidacies, but it is also very possible NO Independent will win, as the two party system is well entrenched!