Michael Bennet

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.

The Future Of The Democratic Party: Younger Liberals In The US Senate

When one sees that Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, California Senator Barbara Boxer, and Nevada Senator Harry Reid are retiring in 2016, and know that other older Senate Democrats have limited time left in the Senate, it makes it clear that it is time to examine who among the “younger” generation of liberal Senate Democrats may be perceived as the future of the Democrats beyond Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and even Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Even if Hillary Clinton becomes President, where is the hope for liberal Democrats in the future, as there are very few Democratic governors. The “youth” movement in the Democratic Party is therefore in the hands of the following younger liberal Senate Democrats:

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy (41)
Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz (42)
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (45)
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (48)
Colorado Senator Michael Bennet (50)
Delaware Senator Christopher Coons (51)
Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin (53)
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (54)
Michigan Senator Gary Peters (56)
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (57)
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley (58)
Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (59)

These are the present Democratic hopes for the future, to make an impact on the level of Mikulski, Boxer, Reid, along with Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, California Senator Diane Feinstein, Florida Senator Bill Nelson, Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, Washington Senator Patty Murray, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, Minnesota Senator Al Franken, and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, as well as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Of course, more liberal Senate Democrats yet unknown could be elected in 2016, including Kamala Harris in California and Patrick Murphy in Florida, and hopefully, the Democrats will take back control of the United States Senate, and some new Democratic governors might be elected, assuming a coattail effect of the candidacy of the Democratic nominee in the Electoral College, still highly likely!

“Gang Of Six” Becomes “Gang Of Eight” On Immigration Reform

As a new immigration reform plan is unveiled by Senators, the “Gang of Six” described yesterday in a blog entry has now become a “Gang of Eight”.

Joining the group, which had included John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, Charles Schumer of New York, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, and Dick Durbin of Florida are Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona and Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado.

President Obama is to speak about this issue in Nevada on Tuesday, and it seems as if, finally, there may be a move toward real action on an issue that has been highly divisive, including a failure to get a McCain-Ted Kennedy bill through Congress in 2007 under President George W. Bush, who had pushed for it, but failed to see it succeed. Let us hope for quick action!

The Jewish Members Of The 113th Congress

In the 113th Congress, due to meet on January 3, there will be a total of 34 people of Jewish heritage serving over the two years of that Congress.

There will be 12 Senators and 22 House members, with the only Republican being House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia.

The 12 Senators include newly appointed Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, just appointed and sworn in yesterday for a two year term, before Schatz has to run for the remaining two years of the term of former Senator Daniel Inouye.

The other eleven Jewish Senators include:

Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California
Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut
Michael Bennet of Colorado
Ben Cardin of Maryland
Carl Levin of Michigan
Al Franken of Minnesota
Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey
Charles Schumer of New York
Ron Wyden of Oregon
Bernie Sanders of Vermont

Among the House members are:

Henry Waxman of California
Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alan Grayson and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida
Jan Schakowsky of Illinois
Sander Levin of Michigan
Eliot Engel, Steve Israel, Nita Lowey and Jerrold Nadler of New York

Jewish members of the two houses of Congress come from:

California
Connecticut
Colorado
Florida
Illinois
Kentucky
Maryland
Michigan
Minnesota
New Jersey
New York
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
Tennessee
Virginia
Vermont

The Abuse Of The Filibuster By The Senate Minority: Time For Reform!

As the political year ends, the record shows that the use of the filibuster tactic by the Republican minority in the US Senate has reached an all time high.

It used to be that the filibuster was utilized by Southern Democrats opposed to the passage of civil rights legislation.

Now it is used as a weapon to stop ALL action in the Senate, with simply the threat of a filibuster preventing progress on legislation, or presidential nominees for the federal courts and other offices.

The number of motions for cloture has doubled in the past few years, and has nearly quadrupled since the 1970s and 1980s, and was used in the single digits until the 1970s.

It used to be that mounting a filibuster meant a group of Senators taking turns in speaking on the floor for hours and hours, while now just the threat stops action.

Is this proper use of the filibuster, just to say a group will mount a filibuster, and all action is paralyzed as a result?

Of course, the answer is no, so the Democratic majority and Senate President and Vice President Joe Biden will have one chance to change the rules of the Senate, on opening day of the 112th Senate on January 5, 2011.

The move to reform the filibuster is being led by junior Democrats, including Senators Tom Udall of New Mexico, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, and Mark Warner of Virginia. But senior Democrats, including Tom Harkin of Iowa and Carl Levin of Michigan also back the idea of reforms.

The problem is to realize that the Democrats could be in the minority in the Senate in 2013, and the desire to retain influence if they are the minority, so tinkering with the Senate rules on the filibuster, as well as other tactics, such as the ability of one Senator to use the “hold” tactic on action, must be carefully considered, so as not to reverberate on the Democrats in the future times when, inevitably, they will NOT be the majority!

Importance Of Latino Vote For Democrats!

The Democratic Party suffered major losses in the Midterm Elections of 2010, but it could have been far worse had it not been for solid Latino support in many states!

A couple of seats in the House of Representatives were saved because of Latino votes in Arizona, and the Senate seats of Harry Reid in Nevada, Michael Bennet in Colorado, and Barbara Boxer in California were retained due significantly to the Latino vote in those states for the Democrats!

Additionally, the Latino vote also helped Governor Pat Quinn to win in Illinois, and Jerry Brown to win the Governorship of California!

The only place that the Latino vote seemed to help Republicans was in Florida, where Marco Rubio won the Senate seat, but the difference is that Latinos in Florida are more heavily Cuban American, a voting bloc which tends to be strongly Republican. With Marco Rubio himself being a Cuban American, and replacing an elected Cuban American, Mel Martinez, who held the seat until he resigned in 2009, Florida is therefore a special case!

It is clear that the Latino vote can have a dramatic effect on the fortunes of  the Democratic Party in the 2012 elections, and be a decisive factor in the re-election campaign of President Barack Obama!