John Thune

Eric Cantor Not Only Congressional Leader Defeated For Re-election

The defeat of Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader in his Congressional primary in Virginia by David Brat, was stunning and shocking, but not the first time that a Congressional leader was defeated for renomination or reelection.

Other prominent cases include:

Senator Richard Lugar, former Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, of Indiana in 2012 by Richard Mourdock

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota in 2004 by John Thune

House Speaker Tom Foley of Washington State in 1994 by George Nethercutt

Former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois in 1994 by Michael Flanagan

Congressman Emanuel Celler, House Judiciary Committee Chairman of New York, in 1972 by Elizabeth Holtzman

Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas of Illinois in 1950 by Everett Dirksen

Senator Robert La Follette, Jr of Wisconsin in 1946 by Joseph McCarthy

Notice that ONLY Cantor, Lugar and La Follette, Jr. were Republican officeholders defeated, while the others listed were all Democrats.

So it is newsworthy and highly unusual for Congressional leaders and prominent members to lose reelection!

Advancements On Gay Rights, But Plenty Of Struggle Ahead

The vote of the US Senate yesterday to agree to overcome a potential filibuster, and allow a final vote on ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) is a great move forward on civil rights.

The proposed law, discussed for many years, would ban employers from firing, refusing to hire, or discriminating against workers or job applicants based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The procedural vote was 61-30 with 54 Democrats (all but Claire McCaskill, who was not present), and 7 Republicans (Susan Collins, Kelly Ayotte, Dean Heller, Mark Kirk,. Rob Portman, Orrin Hatch, and Pat Toomey) in favor.

So the bill will pass the Senate in the next few days, but disturbing is that 30 Republicans had the nerve to vote for continued discrimination, and 8 Republicans were not recorded as voting.

It will be interesting to see if any of these 38 Republicans will vote for the final bill, particularly such Senators as John McCain and Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and John Thune, who at times have shown some moderation as compared to most in the Senate Republican caucus.

At the same time, Illinois moved today toward final acceptance of gay marriage, making that state the 15th to have gay marriage, going into effect by the summer of 2014.

At the same time, other states seem to be moving in the same direction, including Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, although at different measurements of progress.

Regarding the ENDA legislation, IF Speaker John Boehner allowed an open vote, the legislation would become law, with most Democrats and enough Republicans to make it the law of the land , but Boehner has indicated that he will not allow a vote, which, if it is pursued all the way, would stop any chance to do what is morally right to do, stop job discrimination, So pressure must be brought to convince him to change his mind, and allow a vote even without a majority of his caucus.

Potential Republican Presidential Candidates And Foreign Policy, As Compared To Hillary Clinton And Joe Biden

The Republican Party is offering potential Presidential candidates who have no clue on world affairs, or have dangerous views on foreign policy, and/or have no experience to speak of in diplomatic situations.

The following potential candidates have NO credentials at all in this important area in a world that is changing rapidly:

Rand Paul
Ted Cruz
Marco Rubio
Paul Ryan
Rick Santorum
Rick Perry
Chris Christie
Jeb Bush
Bobby Jindal
Scott Walker
John Thune

it is true that Rand Paul and Marco Rubio sit on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and that Jeb Bush’s brother and father were President of the United States, and foreign policy has been discussed within that family.

But compare that to Hillary Clinton, who was Secretary of State for four years, and learned about foreign policy under her husband, President Bill Clinton, in the 1990s.

And Vice President Joe Biden had 36 years in the Senate, including time as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and now is in his second term as Vice President, intimately involved in foreign policy issues.

So NONE of the GOP potential Presidential candidates have any real, valuable experience, except in speaking out on issues they know nothing about!

Foreign policy will be a most important issue in 2016, so who could the GOP run who could compete with either Hillary or Joe, and give them a real challenge?

The only person who fits this profile is former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China, and earlier Ambassador to Singapore, Jon Huntsman, who is a moderate mainstream conservative. He is very talented, brilliant, multilingual including Chinese, and knows and understands world affairs!

But would the Republican Party have the brains and intelligence to choose Huntsman as their Presidential nominee?

The answer is ZERO, and because of that, the GOP does not offer experienced, qualified candidates for the Presidency on foreign affairs, such as Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, and John McCain in the past!

The Beginnings Of The Republican Field For The Presidency In 2016 Start To Emerge: More Circus Like Than 2012!

Anyone who is clear headed knows that the GOP Presidential field of 2012 was a circus, with such horrible, embarrassing candidates as Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, and Newt Gingrich, all having the effect of making Mitt Romney the LEAST horrible candidate for the White House!

But already, in July 2013, we can see the likely Republican field for the Presidency in 2016 emerging, and if anything, it is more circus like than 2012!

It begins with the two “Ricks”, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry, both true embarrassments to themselves and to others, but both believing that God is behind them, and that they will emerge as the next President of the United States, despite the reality that they both represent regressive, mean spirited, and reactionary views out of tune with the changing American electorate!

Then, there are the following potential candidates, all of whom have major flaws and shortcomings that insure they will have a rough time becoming the nominee of the Republican Party for President:

Ted Cruz
Rand Paul
John Thune
Paul Ryan
Scott Walker
Bob McDonnell
John Kasich
Bobby Jindal

Then, there are the potential candidates who would have some appeal to the mainstream, but likely will self destruct due to their catering to the Tea Party Movement, or their refusal to do just that, including:

Marco Rubio
Jeb Bush
Chris Christie
Jon Huntsman

Also, do not dismiss the concept of a Senator Liz Cheney, daughter of the former Vice President, running for President if she wins the Wyoming Senate seat coming up in 2014!

But in the end, the Republican battle for the Presidency is a lost cause, as it is clear that Hillary Clinton, or any other Democrat, will have the Electoral College edge for the Presidency, along with the popular vote edge in a nation moving away on a long term basis from the Right Wing message that the Republican Party seems bent on perpetuating, at its own destruction!

Age Vs Youth: Will The Republicans And Democrats Be Switching On Their Presidential Nominees In 2016?

When one analyzes the two major political parties in the past forty years, it has been a general reality that the Republican Party has run Presidential candidates who tend to be much older than the Democratic Party nominees for President.

Witness Richard Nixon, nine years older than George McGovern in 1972; Gerald Ford eleven years older than Jimmy Carter in 1976; Ronald Reagan thirteen years older than Jimmy Carter in 1980; Reagan seventeen years older than Walter Mondale in 1984; George H. W. Bush eight years older than Michael Dukakis in 1988; Bush twenty two years older than Bill Clinton in 1992; Bob Dole twenty three years older than Clinton in 1996; John McCain twenty five years older than Barack Obama in 2008; and Mitt Romney fourteen years older than Obama in 2012. Only in 2000 and 2004 did we see George W. Bush older than Al Gore by only two years and in 2004 actually younger than John Kerry by three years.

This phenomenon is maybe just a coincidence, but it has often been said that the Democrats go for youth and the Republicans for experience in their Presidential nominees.

Well, if that is the case, it is about to be switched dramatically in 2016 if one assumes that either Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden are the likely front runners for the Democratic Presidential nomination, as Hillary will be 69 in 2016, and Joe will be 74 in 2016. Clinton would be the second oldest first time nominee, behind Ronald Reagan, and Biden would be the oldest first time nominee.

The Republicans are certain to nominate a candidate decades younger, such as Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, or Ted Cruz, all born in the early 1970s, being therefore mid 40s in 2016. If you consider Chris Christie, Scott Walker, or John Thune, they were born in the 1960s, so would be in the mid 50s. Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann all were born in the 1950s, so would be in their late 50s or in the 60s. There is no candidate born in the 1940s seriously mentioned, unless one expects Newt Gingrich to try again for the Presidency, being just a year younger than Joe Biden and four years older than Hillary Clinton.

The Democrats have alternative possible candidates in Martin O’Malley and Amy Klobuchar born in the early 1960s, so either would be mid 50s in 2016, but Andrew Cuomo and Mark Warner, born in the mid 1950s would be nearing or at the age of 60 when running in 2016, and Elizabeth Warren, born in 1949, would be 67 in 2016, only about two years younger than Hillary Clinton.

So we are seeing a likely switch from an older to younger Republican nominee, and a younger to an older Democratic nominee, and the difference in years could be massive, as it was in the past forty years in most Presidential elections.

A final thought: In the nine elections between 1972 and 2012 when the GOP nominee was always older than the Democratic nominee, the Republicans won the election four times, and the Democrats five times, so basically, trying to determine whether age or youth are an advantage is clearly a pure guessing game!

Forget It: Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Bob McDonnell, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee! The White House Is NOT Your Future!

Many Republican officeholders are hinting that they may seek the Presidency, but for a whole bunch of them, the best advice is to simply FORGET IT! There is no chance in the world that any of the following will be the next President of the United States:

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey
Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin
Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia
Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana
Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania
Governor John Kasich of Ohio
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky
Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin
Governor Rick Perry of Texas
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

In reality, any Republican nominee will have a great deal of trouble being elected President in 2016.

However, the following have some chance to be the nominee and to compete for the Presidency:

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida
Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman
Senator John Thune of South Dakota

Good luck, Gentleman, but the Democrats have a tremendous demographic edge for the long term future in the Presidency!

Speculation Seriously Begins On 2016 Presidential Competition

Eight weeks away from the Presidential Election of 2012, but with the obvious trend toward Barack Obama emerging, political pundits are starting to speculate on who might compete for the Democratic and Republican Presidential nominations in 2016, when if Barack Obama is reelected in 2012, we will be certain to have a new President.

The field of potential nominees is long in both parties. Among those being discussed are the following:

Democrats

Vice President Joe Biden from Delaware
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from New York
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill
Virginia Senator Mark Warner
Newark New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker
Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren

Republicans

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush
Florida Senator Marco Rubio
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul
Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum
Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham
South Dakota Senator John Thune

So there are, theoretically, 12 Democrats and 14 Republicans who can be seen now as possible competitors for the Presidential nominations, but of course, some of these conceivable candidacies are based on election results yet to occur, including whether Senators Claire McCaskill, Scott Brown, and Lindsay Graham are reelected, the first two this year, and Graham in 2014; whether Cory Booker runs for New Jersey Governor and defeats Chris Christie, with the result eliminating one of those two candidacies; whether Elizabeth Warren can defeat Scott Brown, which would eliminate one or the other of those two candidacies; and whether the “old timers”—Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Jeb Bush—decide to run or stay out of the race, leaving the battle for the nominations to the “new generation” of leadership that is emerging in both political parties.

As of now, there is plenty of diversity in the potential race, with the following statistics:

7 women in the race–Hillary Clinton, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, Claire McCaskill, Elizabeth Warren for the Democrats, and Nikki Haley and Kelly Ayotte for the Republicans.
2 African Americans in the race—Deval Patrick and Cory Booker for the Democrats.
1 Hispanic-Latino in the race—Marco Rubio for the Republicans.
2 Asian Americans in the race (both of India heritage)—Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley for the Republicans.

On the Democratic side, there are three potential candidates from New York—Hillary Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, Kirsten Gillibrand; one from New Jersey (Cory Booker); one from Delaware (Joe Biden); one from Maryland (Martin O’Malley); two from Massachusetts (Deval Patrick and Elizabeth Warren)–a total of eight of the 12 potential candidates from the Northeast, with one from the South (Mark Warner of Virginia); two from the Midwest (Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Claire McCaskill of Missouri); and one from the West (Brian Schweitzer of Montana).

On the Republican side, there are four potential candidates from the Northeast—Chris Christie of New Jersey, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania; seven from the South and border states—Bob McDonnell of Virginia, Nikki Haley and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio of Florida, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and Rand Paul of Kentucky; and three from the Midwest—Paul Ryan and Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Thune of South Dakota.

Additionally, there are many Catholics running, startling when one considers that this nation has only had one Catholic President (John F. Kennedy), and one Catholic Vice President (Joe Biden).

Also, the Democrats have four Governors, one Mayor, and seven former or sitting or potential Senators on their list; while the Republicans have six Governors or former Governors, seven Senators, and one Congressman on their list.

Speculation starting already makes the 2016 Presidential race seem ever closer even though it will not begin in earnest until mid to late 2014, and particularly so after the midterm elections of 2014!

The Vice Presidential Selection: More Important Than Many People Realize!

The office of the Vice Presidency has often been ridiculed, and some have argued for its abolition by a constitutional amendment, but that is a wrong headed idea.

The Vice Presidency has become an important office since the 1950s, when Richard Nixon transformed the office, both by his own ambitions, and the willingness of President Dwight D. Eisenhower to allow the office to expand.

While Lyndon B. Johnson under John F. Kennedy and Hubert H. Humphrey under Johnson were not used effectively by their Presidents, and while Spiro Agnew under Richard Nixon and Dan Quayle under George H. W. Bush could be seen as disasters in office, still the office has grown in stature and accomplishments otherwise.

So Gerald Ford, in his brief Vice Presidency under Richard Nixon, Nelson Rockefeller under Gerald Ford, Walter Mondale under Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush under Ronald Reagan, Al Gore under Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney under George W. Bush, and Joe Biden under Barack Obama have had a great impact on the office, and made it an office of real power and influence!

When one realizes that Ford and the first Bush ended up in the White House, as did Nixon and Lyndon Johnson; and that Humphrey, Mondale, and Gore were Presidential nominees; and that Rockefeller and Biden both sought the Presidential nomination, one realizes that choosing a Vice Presidential nominee is not to be regarded as insignificant to the nation!

But can we afford another Agnew, Quayle, Geraldine Ferraro, or Sarah Palin to be a possible heartbeat away from the Presidency?

The answer clearly is NO, so Mitt Romney, by taking his time to choose a running mate, hopefully is carefully considering who could really contribute to the office, and help Romney if the two of them end up in the White House!

If one decides to forget everything but experience and competence, and ability to add to Romney’s candidacy, then the choice must be one of the following: Condoleezza Rice, Rob Portman, or Tim Pawlenty.

Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Bob McDonnell, John Thune, and Kelly Ayotte all have issues and problems if they are chosen, and one could argue that some of them could not match the list of Vice Presidents who have served, as not being on their competency level.

But if one had to predict what now seems likely, don’t be surprised that Mitt Romney selects Paul Ryan, which would be an unmitigated disaster, as the controversy surrounding him and his economic plans would reverberate against Mitt Romney.

The gut feeling is that Ryan is on the top of the list, followed by Kelly Ayotte, who is simply not qualified to be President, and would not be much better than Sarah Palin was in the 2008 election cycle.

So bet on Ryan or Ayotte, but if Romney does the best for the nation, it would be Rice, Portman, or Pawlenty!

Mitt Romney’s Vetting Process For Vice President: Different Than For Himself!

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the Republican Presidential nominee, is deep into the process of vetting potential Vice Presidential running mates.

Among those thought to be in the competition are:

Tim Pawlenty
Rob Portman
Paul Ryan
Bobby Jindal
Marco Rubio
Condoleezza Rice
Bob McDonnell
Kelly Ayotte
Chris Christie
John Thune

What is being expected of any, and all, of the above candidates?

A complete vetting, including many years of tax returns!

Hey, wait a minute here! Mitt Romney wants these people, or at least those on the short list, to give information about their finances?

If that is so, which it is, WHY is it that Mitt Romney refuses to give the American people an accounting of his finances, as well?

Why is it that potential Vice Presidential candidates must do this, and Romney will not do so?

Does Mitt Romney think he is a “privileged character”, who does not have to meet the same standards as those who might be his Number Two, and ALL presidential nominees or contenders from his father George Romney on through both Bushes, Bob Dole, John McCain, and all others?

That is the answer: Mitt Romney THINKS he is a “privileged character”, who is “entitled” to play by his own rules, and to remain secretive about his finances!

Why would he be so vehement about this, if there is nothing to be concerned about in his finances?

BECAUSE, obviously, there is a lot to hide!

But one thought crosses one’s mind: Mitt Romney handed over 23 years of financial information to John McCain in 2008, as he was on the short list to be McCain’s running mate!

So the McCain campaign has these records, and if Mitt Romney refuses to release them, they should be released against his will!

Of course, one would say that would be illegal, which, technically it would be!

And certainly, Senator McCain, being a loyal Republican, is not about to do such a thing to his fellow Republican!

But what about the thought that to refuse to reveal information that EVERY other candidate in the past 40 years has done SHOULD be seen as disqualifying someone to be President, and should actually be illegal itself!

In conclusion: Mitt Romney is trying to hide something, probably a lot, as if that were not so, why not release the financial information?

So as Vice President Joe Biden said the other day; Mitt Romney wants Latino and Hispanic immigrants to be forced to “show their papers”, but he is not willing to show his own papers!

It is a great laugh line, but also totally TRUE!

The Vice Presidency Competition: Only Tim Pawlenty Or Rob Portman Makes Sense!

More speculation about the race to be Vice Presidential nominee with Mitt Romney has been churning lately, with one clear conclusion: Only former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty or Ohio Senator Rob Portman make any sense!

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan is simply too toxic with his plan to privatize Medicare and Social Security, although Mitt Romney has endorsed the plan. It would harm Romney in a major way in the upcoming campaign.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is simply too controversial and outspoken, not a good match for the reserved Mitt Romney. His image as a “Bully” Governor would be harmful.

New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, the only woman mentioned, has too little experience to be a heartbeat away, and might bring about comparisons to Sarah Palin, although obviously Ayotte is much smarter and more intelligent than Sarah.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal would bring little to Romney’s candidacy, and there are doubts about either being qualified to be a heartbeat away from the White House.

Marco Rubio would be too controversial, too much of a lightning rod, and would not draw Hispanic or Latino support of Mexican Americans or Puerto Rican Americans, or others, other than Cuban Americans.

The only possible alternative to Pawlenty or Portman might be Senator John Thune of South Dakota, but it is clear that Pawlenty and Portman are both qualified, non controversial, and most important, from the heartland Midwest, which Romney must win to become President. Only Thune is from the same area, unless you include Ryan, who again is extremely toxic, and would be unwise for Romney to select!