Nancy Pelosi

Democratic Division And Post Election Accusations A Bad Sign For The Future: We Need New And Younger Leadership

In the midst of the Donald Trump Presidency disaster in the making, the opposition Democrats are, seemingly, working very hard to destroy any chance for the party to recover from the 2016 election, and move on to hoped for gaining of the US House of Representatives in the midterm elections of 2018, and long range possibility of gaining the US Senate majority as well.

Division and post election accusations between the Hillary Clinton camp and the Bernie Sanders camp over the Democratic National Committee handling of the campaign only helps Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

Donna Brazile, who headed the DNC in the last months of the 2016 campaign, is publishing a book this week, which with its accusations that the Clinton campaign helped to fix her nomination, and discussion that Brazile considered replacing Clinton with Joe Biden in September, after she had a bout with pneumonia, only causes more disarray.

The Democrats have no real leader now, as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are not inspiring at all, and Pelosi in particular needs to step aside, and allow younger Democrats to move up to power.

As this blogger has said before, while he admires Joe Biden, there is a need for a new generation of leadership running for the Presidency in the future, as well as moving up in House of Representatives leadership.

So we need to stop shoring up Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer and James Clyburn in the House, and we need to look to others to run for President than Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and even Elizabeth Warren, all over 70 as the House leaders are also.

People in their 40s, 50 and early 60s are the future, just as when we had John F. Kennedy at age 43 in 1960, Jimmy Carter at age 52 in 1976, Bill Clinton at age 46 in 1992, and Barack Obama at age 47 in 2008!

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!

Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, And Jim Clyburn Need To Leave House Democratic Leadership: Fresh Blood Needed For 2018 Midterm Elections

As we enter the beginning of the 2018 midterm election battle, after the four special elections resulted in the Republicans keeping their seats, although by greatly reduced margins, the question arises whether it is time for a complete change in Democratic Congressional leadership in the House of Representatives.

The Democrats in the House chose to keep their long time leadership in January, at the beginning of the 115th Congress, so it would be unprecedented to change the leadership before the 116th Congress meets in January 2019.

But the question arises, are Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Jim Clyburn, who have been the top three leaders for more than a decade, and are in their late 70s, the way to the future of the Democratic Party?

The age issue arises too, as by 2020, all three Democratic leaders will have reached the age of 80!

Nancy Pelosi was a great Speaker of the House from 2007-2010, but it has been eight years since then by next year, and it is unprecedented in history for a Speaker who has lost his power and position to stay on as leader, and for now a total of eight years since losing the majority.

The only exception is Sam Rayburn who twice lost the Speakership in 1947-48 and 1953-54, but then came back to power after two years out of power each time.

Fresh blood is needed to help promote the change that is desperately needed, or else the Democrats will remain in the minority for a long time.

Rob Quist And Jon Ossoff Could Be Signs Of Democratic Advancement Against Donald Trump

The odds are growing that Democrat Rob Quist will win over Republican Greg Gianforte for the At Large House of Representatives seat in Montana this week, and that Democrat Jon Ossoff will win over Republican Karen Handel for the Georgia 6th Congressional seat race next month, flipping two House seats to the Democratic Party.

This is, to a great extent, due to the growing lack of popularity of President Donald Trump, and if the flip of two seats occurs, it could be a sign of a coming Democratic wave for the House elections in the fall of 2018, and would make Nancy Pelosi the House Speaker in 2019-2020, after having been Speaker from 2007-2010.

The odds of winning the Senate, however, are very long, and highly unlikely. as 25 Democrats must defend their seats, with only 8 Republicans facing reelection.

But a House of Representatives with a Democratic majority could move toward impeachment of the President, even though conviction in the Senate by two thirds is highly speculative, as right now it would require 19 Republicans along with the 48 Democrats, to be accomplished.

But if Donald Trump is still in office in 2019, such an impeachment trial might convince Trump to resign the Presidency, as Richard Nixon did in 1974.

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.

Democrats Only Gain 6 House Seats, 2 Senate Seats In 2016 Elections: Can They Recover In 2018?

The Democratic Party, which looked on the edge of becoming the dominant party in America, at least on the Presidential level, now is faced with the possibility of a long term status as the party that can win the coast lines and the majority of the popular vote for President, but still lose the Electoral College again and again, with twice in the past generation, 2000 and now 2016.

By all estimates, in the long run, whatever that means, the demographic changes in America will insure that the Democrats will eventually have a tremendous advantage, but for now, the situation is gloomy, as the Democrats only gained 6 House seats and 2 Senate seats, and the loss of Russ Feingold in Wisconsin and Evan Bayh in Indiana, when both were heavily favored, was startling.

So the job is to recruit a future generation of leadership on the state level as well as the national level, and unfortunately, the Democrats on the national level have just shot themselves in the foot, by electing once again the same old team (all in their mid 70s) of Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and James Clyburn to leadership of their party in the House of Representatives.

And picking an African American and first Muslim in Congress, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, as the Democratic National Chairman, which now seems inevitable with Howard Dean withdrawing from the race, is not exactly the greatest choice either.

So can the Democrats recover in 2018? They likely would gain some seats in the House of Representatives, but not control, and the Senate will be almost impossible not to lose seats, as 25 of 33 seats up for election are Democratic seats, so the future is gloomy, as the situation now seems.

Democrats’ Dilemma: Weaknesses In State Legislatures, Governorships, US House Of Representatives, And US Senate–A Party In Trouble!

The record shows that 900 Legislative seats were lost by the Democratic Party in the past 8 years under Barack Obama. The Democrats are at a low point, with control of only 15 Governorships and 13 state legislatures in both houses, and they face the crisis to defend 25 of 33 Senate races in 2018, and somehow gain at least three more to become the majority, all of which seems highly unlikely. Also, the Democrats only gained six seats in the House of Representatives, so would need 24 seats to gain control in 2018.

Before the surprising results of the Presidential Election of 2016, it looked as if the Democrats had a bright future nationally, but now it seems just the opposite, unless and until, somehow, rural and working class whites are drawn once again to the Democratic Party.

So the question arises if it is time for a change in House leadership from veterans that have been there for many years and are all over 70, including Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and James Clyburn, to younger leadership from states that are important battlegrounds.

Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio, who is 43, is trying to replace Nancy Pelosi as Minority Leader in the House, and after 14 years of Pelosi leadership, and six years out of the majority and counting, it seems wise to make the change, but it seems unlikely to happen.

Democratic Party Historical Accomplishments

The Democratic Party has been criticized for the fact that in its 188 year history, it was the party that promoted slavery, segregation, and lynching, being dominated for a long time by its ugly Southern membership.

This cannot be denied, but it is the Democratic Party which has also, in the last century of history, had many historical accomplishments.

Among these are:

First Catholic nominee for President–Alfred E. Smith 1928
First Catholic President elected–John F. Kennedy 1960
First Catholic Vice President elected–Joe Biden 2008
First Jewish nominee for Vice President–Joseph Lieberman 2000
First Jewish Presidential candidate as serious contender–Bernie Sanders 2016
First African American President–Barack Obama 2008
First Woman nominated for Vice President–Geraldine Ferraro 1984
First African American Presidential Contender–Shirley Chisholm 1972
First Woman nominee for President–Hillary Clinton 2016
First woman Secretary of State—Madeleine Albright under Bill Clinton
First Southerner elected President since 1848–Jimmy Carter 1976
Youngest elected President–John F. Kennedy 1960
President who gave us Social Security–Franklin D. Roosevelt 1935
President who gave us Medicare and Medicaid–Lyndon B. Johnson 1965-1966
One Term President who advanced Environmental Causes the most in history–Jimmy Carter 1977-1981
President who gave us ObamaCare–Barack Obama 2010
President who advanced Civil Rights—John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson 1960s
President to appoint first Jewish Supreme Court Justice—Woodrow Wilson 1916 (Louis Brandeis)
President to appoint first woman Jewish Supreme Court Justice—Bill Clinton 1993 (Ruth Bader Ginsburg)
President to appoint first African American Supreme Court Justice–Lyndon B. Johnson 1967 (Thurgood Marshall)
President to appoint first Hispanic-Latino Supreme Court Justice—Barack Obama 2009 (Sonia Sotomayor)
President who promoted Containment Foreign Policy with the Soviet Union—Harry Truman
President who promoted concept of international cooperation—Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt
First Woman Speaker Of The House of Representatives–Nancy Pelosi 2007
Most accomplished Congresses, Democratic controlled—-63rd and 64th (1913-1917) under Woodrow Wilson; 73rd and 74th (1933-1937) under Franklin D. Roosevelt; 89th Congress (1965-1967) under Lyndon B. Johnson; 111th Congress (2009-2011) under Barack Obama
Great Supreme Court Justices appointed by Democratic Presidents—Louis Brandeis 1916 by Woodrow Wilson; Hugo Black 1937 by Franklin D. Roosevelt; Felix Frankfurter 1939 by Franklin D. Roosevelt; William O. Douglas 1939 by Franklin D. Roosevelt; Thurgood Marshall 1967 by Lyndon B. Johnson; Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1993 by Bill Clinton; Stephen Breyer 1994 by Bill Clinton

21 Significant Speakers Of The House In American History

With the election of Paul Ryan as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives this week, it makes one focus on  the 54 House Speakers in American history, and recognition of the fact that twenty one of them were quite significant figures in the American past.

Probably the most prominent of all was one of the earliest Speakers, Henry Clay of Kentucky, who became Speaker as a freshman in 1811, and served three different times as House Speaker, from 1811-1814, 1815-1820, and 1823-1825. a total of more than six and a half years, as Congress did not meet back then for many months in any years, but sixth longest serving.  Clay is considered the most famous Congressional figure in American history in both houses of Congress, and was an unsuccessful Presidential nominee three times, in 1824, 1832, and 1844.  He was a giant figure in American political history and American politics.

John Bell was Speaker in 1834-1835, and was also a Presidential candidate of the Constitutional Union party in the Presidential Election of 1860, trying to prevent the Civil War by running as an alternative to the three other candidates that year—Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, and John C. Breckinridge.  He won three states and 39 electoral votes, carrying Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee in the Electoral College.

James K. Polk became the only Speaker so far to become President of the United States, in the Presidential Election of 1844, after having served as House Speaker from 1835-1839.  He is considered the most successful one term President, deciding due to ill health to refuse to run f0r reelection in 1848, but gaining the whole American Southwest in war with Mexico, and arranging the peaceful acquisition of the Pacific Northwest by treaty with Great Britain.  His retirement from the Presidency was the shortest in American history, only 105 days.

Robert M. T. Hunter was the youngest Speaker of the House at the age of 30, serving from 1839-1841, and later as Confederate Secretary of State in 1861-1862 during the Civil War.

Howell Cobb served as Speaker from 1849-1851, being 34 when elected, and served as one of the founders of the Confederate States of America in 1861.

Schuyler Colfax served as Speaker from 1863-1869, and as Vice President in the first term of President Ulysses S. Grant from 1869-1873, being the first of two Speakers to serve in the Vice Presidency, the other being John Nance Garner under Franklin D. Roosevelt.

James G. Blaine served as Speaker from 1869-1875, 10th longest serving with a little over five years, and later was the Republican nominee for President in the Presidential Election of 1884.  He also served as Secretary of State under James A. Garfield, Chester Alan Arthur, and Benjamin Harrison, and was present at the site of the Garfield assassination in 1881.

Thomas B. Reed served as Speaker from 1889-1891 and 1895-1899, and was nicknamed “Czar Reed”, because he wielded great power in the Speakership, which added to the stature and influence of the Speakers after him.

Joseph Cannon served as House Speaker from 1903-1911, added the most power to the Speakership, more than Reed, but then saw a “revolution” of progressive Republicans led by George Norris of Nebraska, which stripped him and future Speakers of the absolute power that Reed and Cannon had waged, and was pushed out of the Speakership when the opposition Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections of 1910.  He was eighth longest serving Speaker, nearly six years, and had a House office building named after him despite his fall from power in 1910.

His successor, Champ Clark, served as House Speaker from 1911-1919, fifth longest serving at seven  years, and nearly won the 1912 Democratic Presidential nomination, but lost to Woodrow Wilson.

Nicholas Longworth served as Speaker from 1925-1931, punished progressive Republicans and restored much of the power of the Speaker under Joseph Cannon, and was married to Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter, Alice.  Later, a House office building would be named after him.

John Nance Garner served 15 months as House Speaker from 1931-1933, and then became Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and served two terms in that office. He became famous for his statement that the Vice Presidency was not worth  “a bucket of warm piss!”  He opposed much of the New Deal, and tried to win the nomination against his boss when FDR sought a third term in 1940.  On his 95th birthday, President John F. Kennedy wished him “Happy Birthday” just hours before his assassination on November 22, 1963. Garner died at age 98 in 1967, the longest lived Vice President or President, and just 15 days before his 99th birthday!

Sam Rayburn was the most prominent, and longest serving Speaker of the House in American history, serving a total of 17 years in three rounds as Speaker, from 1941=1947, 1949-1953, and from 1955 to near the end of 1961, when he died in office.  A House Office Building is named after him, and only he and Henry Clay served three separate terms as Speaker.  He was one of the most prominent members in the entire history of the House of Representatives, engendering great respect and admiration, and served under Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy.

John W. McCormack was the third longest serving House Speaker, a total of nine years from 1962-1971, and served as House Majority Leader all of the years that Sam Rayburn was Speaker.  He presided over the New Frontier and Great Society legislative package under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Carl Albert served as Speaker from 1971-1977, seventh longest serving in the office, and a heartbeat away when Spiro Agnew resigned as Vice President in 1973, until Gerald Ford was confirmed as Vice President under the 25th Amendment in 1973, and again when Ford became President in 1974 until Nelson Rockefeller was confirmed as Vice President at the end of that year.

Thomas “Tip” O’Neill was the second longest serving House Speaker, a total of ten years from 1977-1987, serving under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.  He served the longest consecutive years as Speaker, and was an unabashed liberal, but negotiated a Social Security compromise agreement with Ronald Reagan in 1983, which became the mark of bipartisanship.

Thomas Foley served six years as Speaker from 1989-1995, and became the first Speaker since 1862 to be defeated for his House seat in 1994, retiring him from the House of Representatives, but he served as Ambassador to Japan for President Bill Clinton from 1997-2001.  He was ninth longest serving Speaker.

Newt Gingrich served as Speaker for four years from 1995-1999, having been the leader of the “Republican Revolution”, where the GOP took back control of the House of Representatives after 40 years in “the wilderness”.  Highly controversial and combative, Gingrich led the fight against President Bill Clinton, and moved for his impeachment in 1998, but then was forced out by an internal rebellion in his own party at the end of 1998.  He sought the Presidency in 2012, but fell short of the nomination, and remains an outspoken active commentator on politics.

Dennis Hastert became the longest serving Republican Speaker in American history, serving eight years from 1999-2007, fourth longest serving, seen as non controversial after Gingrich, and being Speaker under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.  He became involved in a sex and financial scandal dating back to before he was in Congress, and faces prison time as this article is being written, having pleaded guilty.

Nancy Pelosi became the first woman Speaker, serving four years from 2007-2011, and remains Minority Leader today, and her two Congresses under George W. Bush and Barack Obama accomplished more legislation, particularly under Obama, than any Congress since the 1960s.

John Boehner served almost five years as Speaker from 2011 until this past week, facing highly contentious opponents in his own party, the Tea Party Movement, now known as the Freedom or Liberty Caucus, a group of about 40 Republicans, who made his life miserable, and finally, he resigned, and has handed over authority to Paul Ryan, who was Vice Presidential running mate of Mitt Romney in the Presidential Election of 2012, and had been Chair of the House Budget Committee and House Ways and Means Committee, before becoming Speaker this week.

 

The Destruction Of The Speakership Of The House Of Representatives Under Republican Control Since 1994

The Speaker of the House of Representatives is two heartbeats away from the Presidency, and is the top constitutional officer in the legislative branch of government.

The Speaker is chosen by the majority party in the chamber, and he has responsibilities which include introducing the President of the United States at a State of the Union address, and all other special speakers to a joint session of Congress, including foreign government leaders.  The Speaker has been second in line of succession to the Presidency since the Presidential Succession Act of 1947.

The Speakership has had its major figures historically, including those for whom House Office Buildings are named: Joseph Cannon, Nicholas Longworth, Sam Rayburn, and Thomas “Tip” O’Neill.  It also has had a President, James K. Polk, and two Vice Presidents, Schuyler Colfax and John Nance Garner, as Speakers.  It also had three Presidential nominees, John Bell, James G. Blaine and Henry Clay.

Henry Clay was the greatest single figure in the whole history of Congress, who ran for President three times, including against Polk in 1844.  It also has had Thomas B. Reed, who promoted the growth of the office to its all time greatest authority, continuing under Joseph Cannon.

It also had John McCormack, who played a major role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and much of the Great Society programs of Lyndon B. Johnson.  Had there been no 25th Amendment passed in 1967, Carl Albert would have succeeded Richard Nixon when he resigned in 1974.  Were it not for Nancy Pelosi, the first woman to be Speaker, there would have been no ObamaCare legislation passed in 2010.

It was a rebellion of progressives in the Republican Party in 1910 , in combination with the minority Democrats, that created a “revolution” in House rules, stripping the Speaker of the absolute control of events that existed under Thomas B. Reed and Joseph Cannon, but still the office has played a major role in American history.

Since the Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives in 1994, after 40 years of being in the minority, and keeping control except for 2007-2011, the Speakership has become an office of disaster and controversy.

First, Newt Gingrich became very confrontational with Bill Clinton, and caused crisis after crisis, until he was forced to resign, with his private scandalous love life being discovered as Bill Clinton faced impeachment for his own scandalous love life.  Bob Livingston was supposed to succeed Gingrich, but his own private scandalous love life prevented that, so Dennis Hastert, a back bencher, became Speaker, lasted longer than any Republican in the position, and avoided most controversy, until now in retirement we have learned of his abuse of male students while a teacher and wrestling coach in high school in the years before he engaged in politics.

John Boehner came into the Speakership under Barack Obama, and faced a Tea Party rebellion, which prevented ability to negotiate, and finally, he lost the confidence of his party, and decided to resign, but his planned successor, Kevin McCarthy, self destructed in the past two weeks, and decided yesterday that he would not run for Speaker, uncertain of support of the Tea Party element.  So now Boehner is back temporarily, and there is a major crisis among House Republicans as to who would be acceptable as an alternative, with Paul Ryan, head of the House Ways and Means Committee and 2012 Vice Presidential nominee, being pressured to take the job, but not wanting to take it.

The Speakership is in crisis, and the Republican Party has done great damage to the position in the past 21 years, and besmirched the historical reputation of the position and of the House of Representatives, and the only way to retrieve it is the hope that, somehow, the Democrats can regain control in 2016, but considered highly unlikely!