Joe Manchin And Bernie Sanders: Polar Opposites Complicating The Ability For Legislation

The Democratic Party is a “wide tent” party, unlike the Republicans, but being a “wide tent” creates its own issues, particularly when we have a 50-50 Senate.

On the Left we have Bernie Sanders, who is really a Socialist more than a Democrat, and does not work well with others.

Any thought that Sanders might have been President would have been a nightmare, as he does not understand Compromise.

But then, on the Right, we have Joe Manchin, who is a Democrat, but more like a Republican, and makes life difficult for Democrats, but the alternative if he joined the Republican Party or was defeated by a Republican in West Virginia, would be worse.

So Joe Biden has to do a balancing act to gain the backing of both Sanders and Manchin, and that is extremely difficult, but important, in order to accomplish the goals of his Presidency!

Unwise For Republicans To Denounce Lisa Murkowski, And Democrats To Denounce Joe Manchin: They Could Switch Parties After Midterm Elections

Now that the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has been accomplished, by the smallest margin since 1881, there is discussion in both political parties about retribution to be paid for the one Republican Senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and the one Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who broke ranks in their parties and voted against the party line.

This is very unwise, and could reverberate after the midterm elections are completed.

What if the US Senate ends up with a 50-50 split, which would give Vice President Mike Pence the ability to organize the Senate for the Republicans?

If Lisa Murkowski is angry in November, she could decide to switch parties, becoming a Democrat, as long as the party promised, with her 16 years of Senate experience, to give her a committee chairmanship. That would make the Senate 51 Democrats and 49 Republicans, backfiring on the Republicans.

Or what if the Senate became 51-49 Democratic, and Joe Manchin decided to switch to the Republican Party, making a 50-50 tie, giving Mike Pence the ability to organize the Senate for the Republicans?

What it comes down to is that no political party should punish its members because they are not always in lockstep with their party.

There is no reason why all Democrats have to be to the left of center, and all Republicans have to be to the right of center.

In the past, there were a lot of people who “crossed the aisle” on a regular basis, and accomplished great goals, as for instance Lyndon B. Johnson gaining support of many Republicans for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 due to his ability to work with Republican Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen.

Another instance was a deal on Social Security reform in 1983 between Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill.

The only way to move ahead is to overcome the confrontational, no holds barred rhetoric, that now has made Congress such an inept institution, and promote willingness of both parties to negotiate and compromise for the good of the nation and its future.

Disgust With Federal Government At All Time High: What Can Be Done About It?

Polls this past week demonstrate how a majority of Americans are totally disgusted with the stalemate and gridlock in the federal government, which has become a norm of American politics.

Sixty percent in a poll would want to replace every member of Congress, and only eleven percent have a positive view of Congress, an all time low.

The Republican Party brand has suffered heavily, although the Democrats are not exactly looked upon as a paragon of virtue either by the American people.

Of course, there is no way that all members of Congress could be defeated due to the fact that the US Senate has only one third of its seats up for election every two years.

Additionally, while the House of Representatives faces election of all of its members every two years, the reality of gerrymandering makes replacement of incumbents highly unlikely, with maybe ten percent of the seats truly competitive, if that much.

And of course, were it possible to defeat all members, it would be unwise, because that would leave us with new members with total lack of experience and expertise, and this is the the problem with the Tea Party Republicans, who mostly come into government without any knowledge or understanding of what is possible in government, and the role of compromise in making a political system work.

All that a new Congress would accomplish is the growing power of unelected staff, which would be the only continuity in American government, and that would not be a good situation.

What can be done is to have higher turnout for midterm elections, with the hope that it might lead to the party of whoever is President having a real mandate to accomplish the goals that any President has been elected on two years earlier. The tradition has been that the party in the White House loses seats, with a lower turnout by party faithful.

Of course, if somehow, gerrymandering could be overcome, and the filibuster in the Senate modified, real progress and continuity and compromise would be more likely, but that is, at this time, a utopian dream, sad to say!

The Absolutely Urgent Need For Compromise In The Tradition Of The Founding Fathers!

With the nation on the brink of financial chaos, due to the failure to have both sides come to an agreement on the Debt Ceiling and budget cuts, America is entering uncharted territory that is arguably the most dangerous since the Great Depression, and possibly the Civil War!

When one looks at our history, one realizes that our brightest and greatest moment was the time of the Founding Fathers, when compromise ruled and we came up with a Constitution that involved sacrifice of the differing sides of the political battle toward the greater good, compromise to save the nation at a dangerous moment!

When we look at the Civil War, it was exactly the opposite of compromise, and the nation suffered through four long years of war, and two thirds of a million soldiers killed, because compromise was no longer possible.

The Great Depression saw tremendous division, but yet a unity among the American people that they had to support the effort that had been started by Franklin D. Roosevelt, rather than create a divided government of the two houses of Congress in the hands of opposing parties, causing paralysis!

It is time that this nation moved toward a short term solution in the image of the Founding Fathers, followed by a long term solution whereby the American people make a choice as to their future, by giving full authority either to the Democratic Party or the Republican Party to take action without a paralyzed Congress in which no compromise is possible!

It is not acceptable to have a continuation of what the American people, by their lack of knowledge or participation have wrought at the present–divided and paralyzed government! The only way government can work is full control by one party for a four year term of a President, followed by an opportunity for a reversal in view by the American people, but in a manner that allows action, instead of stalemate!

The battle for the future can only be decided by full accountability, not by creating a government which can do nothing except hurl accusations back and forth, and therefore prevent any action! This dangerous situation cannot be allowed to continue!

So therefore, what must be done right now, through compromise?

1. Raise the debt ceiling through the next Presidential election in one action.
2. Agree to long term changes in Medicare that allow gradual raising of the age limit to 67 for people under the age of 50 now, but allowing, as with Social Security, a lowered coverage at age 65 for those who do not wish to wait to 67 to gain full benefits.
3. Raise the Social Security full benefits for future retirees, so that those born in 1980 and after must wait for full benefits to age 68, and those born in 1990 and after must wait for benefits to age 69, but in each case having the ability to gain lower benefits, as now, at age 62 or somewhat later if they wish.
4. Have the Social Security tax apply to all income, not just to $106,800, as with Medicare, which has no limits.
5. Agree that some increase in taxes on the top two percent MUST occur, but less than what has been proposed in the past.

It is essential that the lobbying groups, including those for corporations and the wealthy, and for the AARP and other progressive groups, have to be told that compromise is unavoidable, and that sacrifice is necessary, but in a way that affects people, regarding taxation and the social safety net, in a way that is less harsh, but part of being a patriotic American, accepting responsibility of paying more taxes and recognizing that social programs, to be saved, require some changes in age limits and taxation levels!

Once compromise is reached, both parties go to the country, and hopefully, instead of creating a paralyzed government that can accomplish nothing, we go more in the way of parliamentary government, the creation of total responsibility that can be reversed by the electorate in future elections, if the public is more educated and involved and decides major changes are needed!

So we need a combination of the late 1780s and the 1930s, rather than the 1860s, if we are to have progress as a nation to resolve our differences, and have a government that works!

Politics Is The Art Of Compromise? Not According To The Republican Leadership!

One learns in any American Government class that “Politics is the Art of Compromise”!

But, apparently, the Republican Party in Congress and in the states that have Republican Governors, believes just the opposite!

Remember that the Constitution came about through compromises in 1787 in Philadelphia!

Remember that Henry Clay, the greatest member of Congress in American history, promoted compromise as essential for progress!

Bipartisanship has been an important part of much of American history, as for instance, the bipartisanship demonstrated in Congress during the Cold War period, supporting Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower in their reaction to the Soviet threat!

When compromise has not worked, we had the Civil War, which killed 620,000 Americans!

When compromise has not worked, we have seen the stalemate and gridlock that has paralyzed government, and led to inability to take care of the needs of the nation!

Republican Governors have declared war on the concept of compromise, pushing many states in reverse on basic labor rights and human rights!

So the future looks gloomy, as the Republicans have continued to make clear that they will use every method to stop any part of the Obama agenda!

The battle over the 2012 national budget and the national debt is going to be an historic struggle, with no certainty that anything positive will occur! And the future in many states is also gloomy!