Orrin Hatch

House Speaker Paul Ryan And Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch Are Right: Leave DACA In Place, Do NOT Victimize Young Immigrants!

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch are second and third in line to be President, under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947.

Both are clearly conservative Republicans, and yet both have called on President Donald Trump to leave DACA (Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals) in place for 800,000 young men and women who were given the right to remain in America by President Obama in 2012, despite the illegal status of their presence, when they were brought here by their parents from Mexico and other nations in Latin America.

These children (now young adults) should NOT be forced to face deportation to nations they have never known, and which in most cases, do not know the language or culture, or have relatives they know in those nations that their parents migrated from for opportunity for a better life.

These DACA young people are in many cases, in college or the military, and are not engaged in criminal activity, which would clearly eliminate them from the program if proven in a court of law.

Realistically, beyond the DACA kids, there is no rational way to deport millions upon millions of people who, while they may have come illegally, have not broken the law while in America.

These undocumented immigrants pay taxes, face discrimination by police officers who intimidate them in many cases, and do a multitude of jobs that no one else will take on, including working in agricultural fields, hotels, restaurants, and as maids and engaged in property upkeep and in child care duties, and cannot be replaced.

As always, immigrants work much harder than most Americans, in many cases two to three jobs under great stress, and do not complain in the spoiled way that many Americans engage in.

This is a nation of immigrants, and one can be sure that historically there were many undocumented immigrants who came here, and made contributions to the welfare and success of America, so the answer is NOT deporting anyone who is making a positive contribution, and instead having systematic immigration reform, as Paul Ryan and Orrin Hatch, and other Republicans, including Senators John McCain, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham and others, are advocating.

Mike Pence: A Morally And Ethically Challenged Vice President, Who Signed A Pact With The Devil, And Now Is Suspect As Possible Successor!

Vice President Mike Pence is facing a very difficult situation, as Donald Trump implodes, and as his prospects of staying in office for the next three years and eight months becomes more difficult to accomplish. Mike Pence, by agreeing to run for Vice President, became tied to the fate of Donald Trump, and one could argue that he signed a pact with the devil. He could, ultimately, benefit, by becoming the 46th President of the United States, but let’s not jump to that conclusion quite yet.

In the midst of the Trump crisis of leadership, Mike Pence himself is coming under a moral and ethical cloud, as he has been shown to have lied about when he learned about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russian government leaders, including Vladimir Putin and the Russian Ambassador to the United States.

And actually, there now seems to be evidence that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan also seemed to know of Trump collusion with the Russian government as early as June 2016, and told his House colleagues to stay quiet and remember they are part of a team to work for the party over any such evidence.

So we might be faced with a constitutional crisis worse than imagined as the top three leaders of the government under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947–the President, the Vice President, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives–might all be compromised as having knowledge of or collusion with a foreign government that worked to undermine the American electoral process, and to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in the Presidential Election of 2016.

If that unbelievable scenario turns out to be totally the case, then we would have the unprecedented situation of Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch of Utah, who has been in the US Senate for more than 40 years, and is the longest serving Republican Senator in all of American history, and age 83, becoming President of the United States!

Can this really be happening? Stay tuned!

The Perplexity Over Jon Huntsman Accepting Russian Ambassadorship From Donald Trump

Former Utah Governor and Ambassador to Singapore and China Jon Huntsman surprised many when he accepted the Ambassadorship to Russia offered yesterday by President Donald Trump.

Huntsman was the best Republican Presidential candidate in the 2012 cycle, and even John Kasich, who this blogger thinks was the best Republican Presidential candidate in the 2016 cycle, does not match up to him in background, experience, and solid quality.

Huntsman has solid credentials for diplomacy, including knowledge of several foreign languages, including Mandarin Chinese, and did an excellent job for Barack Obama in that nation as our ambassador from 2009-2011.

While of course we need an excellent ambassador to Russia, why oh why, would Huntsman allow himself to be associated with our despicable President, particularly in the midst of the controversy over his Russian connections, which might force Trump out of office at some point?

Huntsman is 57 this month, and was rumored to be planning to challenge Senator Orrin Hatch, President Pro Tempore, and third in line for the Presidency, for his seat in 2018, when Hatch would be running for his 8th term at age 84. That would have made sense for Huntsman long term.

This blogger’s head is shaking in disbelief!

Longest Serving US Senators In American History, Six Terms And More!

25 United States Senators have served six terms or close to 36 years out of 1, 963 individuals who have served in the upper body of Congress.

17 0f these 25 served as Democrats, with 8 serving as Republicans.

11 come from the South, with 9 being Democrats, and only 2 being Republicans.

Longevity does not, necessarily, mean greatness in history, as many of the 25 are far from standouts in their years in the US Senate.

The most memorable in history would include Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, Carl Levin, Richard Lugar and Claiborne Pell.

Others that would stand out for their long range influence would include Robert Byrd, Strom Thurmond, John Stennis, Richard Russell, Russell Long, and James Eastland, but all are seen as primarily negative forces holding back progress on civil rights.

Others with more positive significance but not seen as “stars” would include Daniel Inouye, Carl Hayden, Patrick Leahy, Orrin Hatch, and Warren Magnuson.

Others that are seen as noteworthy but not likely to be remembered much in the long run of  history would include Ted Stevens, Ernest Hollings, Thad Cochran, and Pete Domenici.

The remaining five are all forgettable Senators, dealing with their states’ constituent needs, but having little impact beyond that including Francis Warren, Kenneth McKellar, Milton Young, Ellison Smith, and Allen Ellender.

Also, three from the list of 25 are from Mississippi (Stennis, Eastland, Cochran); three from South Carolina (Thurmond, Hollings, Smith); and two from Louisiana (Long, Ellender).

Additionally, states with small populations and only one Congressman, have Senators on the list, including Vermont (Leahy); Alaska (Stevens); Wyoming (Warren); Delaware (Biden); and North Dakota (Young).

Only two “larger” populated states have a Senator on the list, including Massachusetts (Kennedy) and Michigan (Levin)

Finally, only 8 Senators have served 40 or more years, in order as follows: Robert Byrd, Daniel Inouye, Strom Thurmond, Ted Kennedy, Carl Hayden, John Stennis, Patrick Leahy (still serving), and Ted Stevens, with only Byrd serving more than 50 years!

Age Limits In Congress Arise As Issue As John McCain Plans For Another Term In Senate In His 80s!

As Senator John McCain of Arizona announced that he will seek another six year term in the US Senate, which would bring him into his mid 80s in that chamber, the question arises of some type of age limits that needs, desperately, somehow, to be applied in the future.

The number of octogenarians who have served in the Senate is, by research, somewhere in the mid 30s, out of a total number of Senators since 1789 numbering, at this point, 1,973 in total!

So one might say that having about 1.6 percent of all US Senators lifetime in their 80s or 90s is not a big deal, but it actually is, as level of health and well being, while fine for some, realistically, is not overall good statistically for people in their 80s, with dementia a particular problem and early death a statistical likelihood. Really, when one has reached the ninth or tenth decade of life, no matter how good in performance one has been, and no matter how much one feels he or she can do and contribute, it is, simply, time to allow someone new and younger to serve a Congressional district or state!

No one is indispensable, and that should include Supreme Court Justices as well, as the likelihood of excellence at such an advanced age is highly unlikely, but often, it is just stubbornness and ego that keeps these government leaders in their positions.

Harry Reid of Nevada and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Barbara Boxer of California realized this, and on the other hand, Diane Feinstein of California did not, Chuck Grassley of Iowa did not, Orrin Hatch of Utah did not, Richard Shelby of Alabama did not, James Inhofe did not,and now John McCain has not. Additionally, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee will reach 80 in the next few years, and yet, it is really time to go, gentlemen!

Do we really want Senators possibly reaching their 90s in office, as Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, Theodore Green of Rhode Island, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, and Carl Hayden of Arizona did, reaching the ages of 100, 93, 92, and 91 in office?

Enough is enough, and age 80 should be the limit with no exceptions, and therefore, one would not be permitted to run for office past age 74 at the time of the election, so that they leave during the year they reach age 80!

in other words, we need a “youth movement” in the United States Senate, as well as in the House of Representatives, so it is time for such luminaries as Michigan Congressman John Conyers and New York Congressman Charles Rangel to stay goodbye at the end of their present term of Congress!

The Ten Senate Republicans Who Supported The Employment NonDiscrimination Act

The Employment NonDiscrimination Act was approved by the US Senate this week by a vote of 64-32, including 54 Democrats and 10 Republicans, who agreed that to allow discrimination against workers based on sexual orientation or gender identity was immoral, unethical, simply wrong in America in 2013.

At the same time, 32 Republican Senators continued to show no concern about such discrimination, and in so doing, condemned themselves in history, as much as those opposed to the Civil Rights laws passed over time to ban discrimination against Americans, based upon race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, and disability.

The House of Representatives majority would back such legislation, but it is clear that Speaker of the House John Boehner, personally opposed to the bill, will not call for a vote, because he knows a large percentage of his own party would vote against it, so it will likely languish until the Democrats can win a majority of the House in future years.

The honor roll of those Republicans who showed a conscience and principle include:

John McCain of Arizona
Susan Collins of Maine
Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire
Jeff Flake of Arizona
Rob Portman of Ohio
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
Mark Kirk of Illinois
Orrin Hatch of Utah
Dean Heller of Nevada

Notice that not even one Senator from the South supported ENDA. One would have thought that, possibly, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, sometimes open minded on some issues, would have done so, but the power of the Tea Party, religious groups that promote prejudice and hate in the name of their brand of Christianity, and the reality of reelection contests for Alexander and Graham in particular, make that impossible.

After all, being reelected is more important than doing the right thing for the long run of history, right?

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.

Ted Cruz Moving Toward Longest Filibuster In American History

Texas Senator Ted Cruz seems now likely to break the record for an individual filibuster, surpassing South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, who set the record at 24 hours and 18 minutes in a filibuster against Civil Rights legislation in 1957.

Cruz will likely enter the record books at just before 3 pm today, but it will be for naught, as the ObamaCare program will be part of our health care system no matter what Cruz says or does!

And in the process, we are discovering how senior Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, and Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, among others, are decrying the damage it does to the Republican brand.

But, at the same itme, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, and Marco Rubio of Florida are joining the Tea Party rebellion in the GOP, which can only rent the party asunder over time.

So Barack Obama is watching the Republican Party fall apart over his signature domestic achievement, and guaranteeing Democratic victory for the Presidency in 2016, and likely control of the Senate continuing, and a good chance to regain the House of Representatives in 2014.

14 Republican Senators And The Future Of The GOP On Immigration Reform

A total of 14 courageous, principled Republican Senators voted for the immigration reform bill which creates a path to citizenship over 13 years; doubles the number of troops at the Mexican border; spends twice as much on border security; and builds a 700 mile fence between Mexico and the United States.

32 Republican Senators voted against the bill in the US Senate, with a final vote of 68-32, all Democrats included in the majority.

The roll of honor of GOP Senators includes:

Marco Rubio of Florida
John McCain of Arizona
Jeff Flake of Arizona
Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire
Lamar Alexander of Tennessee
John Hoeven of North Dakota
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
Bob Corker of Tennessee
Susan Collins of Maine
Orrin Hatch of Utah
Dean Heller of Nevada
Mark Kirk of Illinois
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Jeff Chiesa of New Jersey

These 14 Senators realize they will have their head handed to them by the Tea Party and right wing talk show hosts, but they did the right and moral thing by supporting reform.

Sadly, the other 32 Republican Senators and the majority of the House Republicans are not going to go along, and it will be up to Speaker of the House John Boehner, whether he will sacrifice his Speakership to do the right thing, promote passage of the Senate immigration reform bill, which is very rational and reasonable, and gives the Republicans a chance to gain some Hispanic and Latino support down the road!

Without this legislation, and maybe even with it, with the attack on women’s rights and gay rights, the Republican Party long term future is doomed!

Gloomy Future For Bi Partisanship In Congress

The best Congresses of the past were those that promoted bi partisan reforms and change, but that has become a casualty of recent times, and there is no sign that it will be returning anytime soon.

With the Citizens United Case of the Supreme Court two years ago encouraging SuperPacs that award those on the extreme left and extreme right with unlimited campaign funds, any mainstream moderate is likely to decide to quit Congress (as for instance Olympia Snowe and Ben Nelson), or to face a challenge for re-election as not extreme enough (as for instance Orrin Hatch and Richard Lugar).

The latest possible casualty is Senator Lugar of Indiana, a mainstream conservative, but not extreme enough for Tea Party types. Lugar has served longer than any sitting Senator, and is now 80, and there is an argument that it is time to retire, but Lugar, with his expertise and wisdom on foreign policy, could be argued to be a national treasure who should stay on in the Senate for another term.

Lugar’s experience and knowledge would be valued in any other profession, no matter what his age, and yet the argument is that it is time for a change. It will, of course, be up to Indiana Republicans next week as to whether Lugar stays on, with Lugar having the endorsement of Governor Mitch Daniels and Arizona Senator John McCain.

The irony for the Republicans is that if they defeat Lugar, the likelihood of a Democrat winning the Senate seat vastly improves, so in many respects, they are committing suicide if they defeat a man regarded as one of the very best they have had in office in the past four decades.

But then, statesmanship is not in vogue these days, sadly!