Mitch McConnell

The 111th Congress (2009-2010) Vs. The 115th Congress (2017-2018)

The first Congress under Barack Obama–the 111th Congress of 2009-2010–was the most productive Congress since the 89th Congress of 1965-1966 under Lyndon B. Johnson.

Despite all of the attacks on Nancy Pelosi, she can be regarded as a great Speaker of the House from 2007-2010, and once a Democratic President was in office, that 111th Congress reached its peak.

Ever since 2011, when the Republicans took over the House of Representatives, and since 2015, when they took over the US Senate, nothing much has been accomplished, and the number of days per year that either or both houses have been in session, has rapidly declined.

John Boehner and Paul Ryan in the House of Representatives, and Mitch McConnell in the US Senate have performed in a horrible fashion, and have worked at obstructionism during the Obama years, and in a vicious, vengeful way this year under President Donald Trump.

Each Congress since the 111th has been worse than the one before, so the 112th Congress (2011-2012); the 113th Congress (2013-2014); the 114th Congress (2015-2016); and the present 115th Congress (2017-2018) will, as a group, go down as the most disgraceful period of years of Congress in the past hundred years!

Is Donald Trump The Third President Without A Party, As Was The Case With John Tyler And Andrew Johnson?

We have had two Presidents who lacked support of a party, and we may now have a third one in Donald Trump.

Two Presidents were elected Vice President as part of a “fusion” team to help elect the Presidential nominee, and then quickly became President upon the death of the President.

John Tyler, a Democrat, ran on the Whig Party line with William Henry Harrison in 1840, and Harrison died of pneumonia 31 days after the inauguration.

Tyler disagreed with the Whig Party principles, and came into conflict with Whig leadership, including Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky and Congressman John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts.

His entire cabinet resigned after a few months, with the exception of Secretary of State Daniel Webster, and Tyler had great troubles with confirmation hearings, with four cabinet appointments and four nominees for the Supreme Court rejected by the Whig controlled Senate. The Congress refused to pass funding for fixing of the White House, which was in disrepair, and an attempted impeachment was prevented only by the Whigs losing the House of Representatives in 1842.

So John Tyler was a man without a party.

The same can be said of Andrew Johnson, a Democrat, who was the Vice Presidential nominee with Republican Abraham Lincoln in 1864, with Lincoln concerned about reelection, so choosing a loyal Southern Democrat to shore up support among some Northern Democrats.

When Lincoln was assassinated 45 days after his second inauguration, Johnson became President but clashed quickly with Radical Republicans over Reconstruction policy, and when he vetoed significant legislation, and went out and campaigned against them in midterm congressional elections in 1866, an open split was clear, and Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act, which prevented the dismissal of any cabinet officer appointed by the President, without majority backing by the majority of both houses of Congress, an unconstitutional action.

Johnson now faced impeachment on flimsy charges, and was found not guilty, but it weakened his ability to govern, and he was unable to gain the filling of a Supreme Court vacancy, and was truly a President without a party.

Now, Donald Trump has alienated many Republicans, who are willing to investigate his Russian ties and possible collusion in the Presidential Election of 2016. He has denounced the Freedom Caucus membership which prevented his health care legislation from passing, and many US Senators, including John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Ben Sasse, and others, have been strong critics. Additionally, he has hinted at working with Democrats, even though he has also antagonized them repeatedly with his utterances and policies. His public opinion rating is the lowest for any new President, since the beginning of polling 80 years ago.

The possibility of impeachment is there, as even top Republican leadership, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have found it difficult to work with a President who is constantly tweeting and criticizing, in a very divisive way.

So Donald Trump could end up being the third President without a party, recalling that for a long time, he was sounding years ago like a liberal Democrat!

75 Days In Office, Donald Trump Is A True Disaster, A Failure On Many Fronts!

We are three quarters of the way through the first 100 Days of President Donald Trump, and he is a true disaster, a failure on so many fronts.

Trump’s public opinion ratings are the absolute worst since public opinion polling began 80 years ago for a new President.

Some Presidents had lower public opinion ratings than Trump, but it took years in office for Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, and George W. Bush to reach such low levels.

Trump has 35 percent approval against 57 percent disapproval in the latest Quinnipiac Poll, and he is lower than Barack Obama ever was.

Among men, he has 39 percent support against 51 percent disapproval.

White voters are 43 percent in favor against 48 percent negative.

Women voters are 31 percent positive against 63 percent negative.

Independent voters are 32 percent for and 57 percent against.

Non white voters are 16 percent in favor and 77 percent negative.

Democrats are 6 percent positive against 91 percent against.

On the other hand, Republicans, living in a parallel universe, are 79 percent in favor and 14 percent against.

On his personal qualities, Trump is majority negative in every area including:

61-34 that Trump is not honest

55-40 that he does not have good leadership skills

57-39 that does not care about average Americans

66-29 that he is not level headed

61-34 that he does not share their values

52 percent are embarrassed that Trump is their President, compared to 27 percent proud

On health care he gets a negative 28-64 rating, negative 61-29 on the environment, 48-41 negative on the economy, 58-35 negative on foreign policy, 49-42 negative on handling terrorism, and 57-39 negative on handling immigration issues.

Meanwhile, Republicans are negative 70-21 for their leadership in Congress, although Democrats are negative 57-34.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is negative 28-52 compared to Nancy Pelosi a negative 30-47 rating

Mitch McConnell is 14-47 negative while Chuck Schumer is negative 25-38.

The situation will not get better, and likely will get worse, as Trump faces foreign policy challenges, particularly North Korea most immediately.

The Positive Contributions Of The Joe Biden Vice Presidency

Joe Biden, the 47th Vice President of the United States, is leaving public life after 44 years in the federal government, 36 as a US Senator from Delaware, and 8 years as Vice President.

Joe Biden is a true national treasure, who if not for the death of his son, Beau Biden, in May 2015, might have run for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016, and might very well have defeated Hillary Clinton, and then won the election in the crucial states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.

Although Biden will be 78 in 2020, he has the energy, the knowledge, the experience needed to defeat Donald Trump, and he just might return to the Senate in 2018, if Tom Carper follows through on his plans to retire.

So it is not yet time to say Biden’s career is over, although in elective office, it might be, but he will play a public role because it is in his blood to do so, and he will not stay silent when he sees wrongs being done by the Donald Trump Administration.

The alliance of Barack Obama and Joe Biden was the closest one in American history, possibly matched by Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, who in two days will have both survived the amazing total of 36 years since the Presidency and 40 years since their election in 1976!

Obama utilized Biden’s connections on Capitol Hill; and gave Biden an office in the White House, as Carter had done for Mondale; and had weekly lunches with Biden as Carter did with Mondale.

Joe Biden was a true Presidential Advisor, full time participant, and trouble shooter, and was not afraid to disagree with Obama, particularly on foreign policy, his expertise, but was always a loyal part of the team once a decision had been made by the President.

Biden’s warm, sincere personality was lovable, and he was able to work across the aisle on Capitol Hill with Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and other influential Republicans, and the entire Senate honored him recently for his cordial and effective role in the Senate.

Biden took the lead on gay rights and gay marriage; protection of women against violence; immigration reform; environmental advancements; gun control legislation after the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre; and the War on Cancer after his son died of that horrendous disease. Foreign leaders also, totally, respected him.

Joe Biden could be regarded as the greatest Vice President in American history, and his lifelong contributions will mark him in history as a very special political leader!

Thank you for your service to the nation and to Barack Obama, Vice President Biden!

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!

Republican Split Begins, As Several US Senators Indicate They Are Ready To Fight Trump Cabinet Appointments

It is now clear that Donald Trump will NOT work to avoid Republican party splits, but instead will do everything he can to stir division within the party, and within America, as shown with his horrendous Cabinet appointments.

Democrats MUST fight tooth and nail against many of the Cabinet appointments, including the nominees for Attorney General (Jeff Sessions); Health and Human Services (Tom Price); Labor (Andrew Puzder); Education (Betsy DeVos); and Environmental Protection Agency (Scott Pruitt).

But there are Republicans unhappy over issues of foreign policy, including close association between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson: and the proposed nomination of John Bolton to be Deputy Secretary of State, despite his continued belief that the Iraq War was justified, and the opposition of many top Republicans who despise the former United Nations Ambassador by recess appointment under George W. Bush, who could not be confirmed by the US Senate.

Republican Senators, including Marco Rubio, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, Rand Paul, Ben Sasse and Susan Collins, and possibly others, could prevent some of these appointees in committee or on the floor, and in league with Democrats, create more Cabinet turmoil and rejections than any modern President, reminding us of the battles some earlier Presidents, including John Tyler and Andrew Johnson, had with Congress over their choices for the Cabinet and the courts.

Also, even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan are calling for a full investigation of Russian hacking of the Democratic Party campaign in the recent election, and many are alarmed by Donald Trump seemingly cozying up to Putin, and Trump’s denial that he believes the evidence of such hacking as concluded by the Central Intelligence Agency, undermining respect and support of the President Elect for the intelligence agencies. And Trump’s refusal to get intelligence briefings regularly and to show mistrust of the Intelligence community, which is so important for the national security of the nation, is very worrisome and alarms many in his own party, as well as the nation at large.

Need For Moral Courage Of Paul Ryan And Mitch McConnell To Denounce Donald Trump, For Their Historical Reputation

The time has come for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to take responsibility for the disaster that is Donald Trump.

Even though a plurality of voters in Republican primaries and caucuses chose Trump over 16 contenders for the GOP Presidential nomination, it is clear that Donald Trump is a “Train Wreck”, and that the Republican Party will self destruct if they do not back away from Trump.

It is the job of the GOP leaders in both houses to take it upon themselves to take leadership in the mission to force Trump out of the race, and replace him with Vice Presidential nominee, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana.

If Trump became very sick, which he actually is in a mental sense, he would be replaced by his running mate, and if he passed away, that is the same scenario.

Pence may not have run for President, but he was the choice of Trump for VP, so he would become the Presidential nominee, and he, in consultation with the Republican National Committee, would choose the new Vice Presidential nominee.

Ultimately, the Republican Party must think of its long term future, not just this election, but if they do not repudiate Trump now, the party is going to suffer a massive defeat, from which they are highly unlikely to recover!

Right Wing Christian Zealots Back Donald Trump While Establishment Republicans Condemn Trump On Anti Muslim Stand!

The Republican Party is in a quandary as to how to deal with Fascist demagogue Donald Trump, who is still leading the polls and is gaining the backing of a plurality, if not a majority, of registered Republicans, in polls, on the issue of banning all Muslim immigration to the United States.

The fact that Trump is a clear cut racist, nativist, and Islamophobe does not perturb those Republicans being polled, and yet we have seen condemnation by all Republican candidates of Trump’s demagogic proposal, with the exception of Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum.  So we have seen Republican Congressional leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, along with many other leading Republicans, even including former Vice President Dick Cheney, take a stand opposing that displayed in the polls.

What we have seen is despicable characters such as: Michele Bachmann, Ann Coulter, Franklin Graham, Alex Jones, Pam Geller, Bryan Fischer, Pat Robertson, Frank Gaffney, and David Duke endorse Trump on this issue, despite their shady image as advocates of civil liberties and civil rights long term.

So the Republican Party and the conservative movement are at a crossroads, as they are trying to evade the damage being done to their brand by Trump and his ilk, but there is no question that the Trump phenomenon, the promotion of a modern Fascism, will not come to power, despite the ignorance and narrow mindedness of a portion of the American people.

Instead, it looks as if the Republican Party is about to implode, as it desperately attempts to overcome Trump, and we can expect the possibility of a brokered convention next July, which would be the most tumultuous Republican convention since the Gerald Ford-Ronald Reagan battle in 1976, and the even more tumultuous Democratic convention of 1968!

The Tea Party, Or Freedom Caucus, Or Liberty Caucus Of Republicans: A Danger To Political Stability Of The Nation!

There is a group of extremist right wing Republicans in the House of Representatives, coming almost exclusively from “Red States”. with particular emphasis in the South, that is out to destroy any chance of political stability in the nation.  They are supported by many radio talk show hosts, including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage, Mark Levin and Ann Coulter, among others.

They are in the process of causing the disintegration of a major political party, the Republicans of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and even Ronald Reagan in their mad quest to take us back to the Gilded Age of the 19th century, as they pursue destroying the good faith and credit of the United States, and wiping out the reforms of the Progressive Era, the New Deal, and the Great Society.  They want to shut down the government, and refuse to raise the debt limit, radical actions which would undermine our nation’s economic stability.

They promote racism, nativism, misogyny, and Islamophobia, and the worship of unbridled capitalism and the libertarian philosophy of Ayn Rand, mixed with a mean spirited view of Christianity toward the poor and the disabled, sick and elderly in American society.

They want to promote a high moral standard on society, while they do not practice it themselves, but spout extreme religious dogma, and they want to send America into wars overseas even though most of them have never served in the military, and would not allow their sons and daughters to sacrifice their lives in foreign crusades.

They have a hatred toward President Barack Obama bordering on obsessive-compulsive behavior, and many would applaud the demise of our President by violence, as they have no moral compass despite their claims of religiosity.

They find the leadership of their party as insufficiently conservative, attacking Speaker of the House John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnnell, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, and Senator John McCain as examples of insufficient conservatism, considering them RINOS (Republicans In Name Only).

They call themselves the Tea Party Caucus, or the Freedom Caucus. or the Liberty Caucus, but their precise membership is fluid, but includes from three to four dozens members of the House of Representatives, with the greatest number from the major populated states of Texas and Florida, numbers two and three in population nationally.

They are holding the Speakership of the House of Representatives hostage, and the uncertainty about who the next Speaker will be, and what he will do on crucial budget issues, is undermining faith in our government. And the fact that the Speaker, whoever he is, is second in line for the Presidency under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, endangers the Presidency itself, in case of an emergency!

Republican Party History: Key Dates Of 1860, 1912, 1964, 2016—the 52 Year Syndrome!

The Republican has had a long, controversial history since its founding in 1854 as a party opposed to the expansion of slavery, and containing within itself, those opposed to the institution of slavery itself.

After only six years, the Republican Party reached majority control of both houses of Congress and the White House, with Abraham Lincoln.

From then until 52 years later, 1912, the GOP dominated American politics, except in the South, where the Democrats prevailed.

In 1912, the party split between former President Theodore Roosevelt, an extremely popular and path breaking President, the greatest Republican President since Lincoln, and the incumbent President, William Howard Taft, who was supported by conservatives of the time against TR’s Progressive Party challenge, which led to Taft only winning two states and 23 percent of the national popular vote, and putting Democrat Woodrow Wilson in the White House.

While the Republicans recovered in the 1920s, and almost defeated Wilson in 1916 with their nominee, Charles Evans Hughes, the Great Depression decimated the Republican Party, and the Democrats became the majority party, while the Republicans continued to battle between moderates and conservatives, with the moderates winning the nominations for President, until finally, Senator Barry Goldwater defeated the Establishment  forces led by New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1964, 52 years after the earlier collapse.  Goldwater went on to lose the popular vote in a two way race by a larger margin than ever in American history, with Lyndon B. Johnson winning over 61 percent of the national vote.

This massive defeat did not end the civil war in the GOP, with Gerald Ford just barely winning the nomination over Ronald Reagan in 1976, and losing a very close race to Jimmy Carter.  But Reagan then won the White House, and the right wing felt it was in its glory, although Reagan was, actually, very unpredictable in his policies and views, and would today, probably be rejected by the extreme right wing in control of the GOP in 2015.

The right wing was unhappy with George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney as insufficiently conservative, and now there is full scale civil war in the GOP, including revolts against Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  The rise of Donald Trump, Dr. Benjamin Carson, and Carly Fiorina, all non office holders, demonstrates the right wing desire to fight the GOP establishment, but what it means is certain defeat in 2016.

Likely, no matter who is nominated, the Republican Party is, seemingly, at a 52 year mark, again ready to implode upon itself, and give the Democrats long term control of the Presidency, as the situation now appears!