Patrick Leahy

The Republican Circus Of Donald Trump, Chris Christie, And Paul LePage: Three Narcissistic Bullies!

So Donald Trump, a narcissistic bully, has been endorsed for President by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie , a narcissistic bully; and Maine Governor Paul LePage, a narcissistic bully!

All three are an embarrassment to themselves and to the American people–the biggest collection of hot air and pure egotism and braggadocio we have seen in American history!

Richard Nixon was obnoxious, but still had some “class” in public displays.

Even Dick Cheney has some sense of dignity in public, with the one exception when he used the f word openly with Senate President Pro Tempore, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, one time on the Senate floor.

It  is difficult to find ANYONE with the gall and the public behavior of these three men, and former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden has expressed concern if Donald Trump was to act and speak as a President, as he does as a candidate, as he would undermine America’s safety and security by so doing!

And now Chris Christie must enter the equation as a possible Vice President, adding to the list, including Florida Governor Rick Scott, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and former Republican Presidential candidate and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina!

What a bunch of losers and disasters, all crooked, failed, or purely stupid potential Vice Presidents, or even cabinet officers, god forbid!

 

Small States’ (One House Member And Two Senators) Influence In Congress Since 1945

There are seven states that have had only one member of the House of Representatives, along with two US Senators, in the past 70 years. but despite their small populations, these states have had a massive impact on American politics and history!  In addition, for the first few decades since 1945, Nevada also had one House member until growth caused two, and then, three seats in the House.

The seven states are Vermont, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska!

But North Dakota, South Dakota,and Montana had two members of the House until recent decades when reapportionment caused them to lose a second seat.

So only Vermont, Delaware, Wyoming, and Alaska (since 1959) stand alone as consistently having one House member and two Senators per state.

But look at their influence:

Vermont had George Aiken (R) (1941-1975) and has Patrick Leahy (D) for 41 years (1975 to Present) and counting now, and Bernie Sanders since 1990,  who  was the lone House member for 16 years before election to the Senate in 2006,making him the longest serving Independent in the history of both houses of Congress.  Also, Howard Dean, former Governor of the state, was a leading contender for the Democratic nomination in 2004, and then became head of the Democratic National Committee, and helped the rise of Barack Obama with a “50 state” strategy between 2004-2008.

Delaware had Joe Biden as Senator for six terms from 1973-2009, and now as Vice President.  He became one of the longest serving Senators of all time, and sought the Presidency in 1988 and 2008.

Wyoming had Dick Cheney as its lone Congressman for ten years from 1979-1989, before he ended up as Secretary of Defense under the first Bush Presidency, and Vice President in the second Bush Presidency.  Also, Alan Simpson served in the Senate from 1979-1997 as  a Republican, and Gale McGree from 1959-1977 as a Democrat.

Alaska had Ted Stevens in the Senate for 40 years from 1968 to 2009, the longest serving Republican Senator in American history.  Also, Sarah Palin , while Governor, was the Vice Presidential nominee for the Republicans in 2008.

And if one looks at the other states which had one Congressman at least for the last few decades, we have South Dakota and Senator George McGovern (1963-1981), the 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee; Montana, with Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D) (1953-1977) from 1961-1977; Nevada with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) (1987-Present) from 2007-2015; and North Dakota Senators Kent Conrad (1987-2013) and Bryan Dorgan (1992-2011).

So the “small” states have really had a major role in American politics, despite their small populations!

Long Term Political Projections For 2016 And Beyond!

As 2016 arrives tomorrow, some long term projections for the upcoming year politically.

Next December, we can see how accurate these projections are:

Donald Trump will NOT be the Republican Presidential nominee, and he will lose both the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary.  He will be a sore loser there, and will announce a third party movement, but will win NO states in November, but take away votes from the Republican nominee, similar to Ross Perot in 1992.

The Republican nominee for President will be Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who will select Ohio Governor John Kasich as his Vice Presidential running mate.

Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic Presidential nomination, and will select Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown as her running mate for Vice President to blunt the effect of Ohio Governor John Kasich as the Republican Vice Presidential nominee.  And remember Ohio is the crucial state historically in the Electoral College, as NO Republican has won the White House without Ohio!

Hillary Clinton will become the 45th President of the United States , and Sherrod Brown will become the 48th Vice President of the United States, winning by a substantial margin in the Electoral College, keeping the 242 electoral votes of 18 states (Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii) and the District of Columbia, PLUS the following “swing states”—Ohio (18); Virginia (13)–thus insuring an Electoral College majority of 273 when 270 are required;  but also, in addition, the following:  Colorado (9); Iowa (6); Nevada (6); New Mexico (5); New Hampshire (4)–a total of 25 states and 303 electoral votes.

The only loss for the Democrats will be Florida, which will go to Rubio, a home state favorite, and taking away 29 electoral votes, from the 332 of Barack Obama in 2012 to the 303 of Hillary Clinton.  So Hillary Clinton will win 25 states, instead of the 26 that Obama won in 2012. The final electoral vote will be 303-235.

Hillary Clinton will name Vice President Joe Biden her Secretary of State.

Hillary Clinton will gain the opportunity to select FOUR Supreme Court nominees in her four year term, as follows:  Ruth Bader Ginsburg,  Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer–but of course, this cannot be proved to be correct until that next four year term is completed!

The US Senate will go back to the Democrats, gaining the seats up in Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire, Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Missouri, going from 44 seats plus two Independents (Maine, Angus King; and Vermont, Bernie Sanders) to 51 plus 2, effectively 53 seats to 47 for the Republicans, from the present 54 seats for the GOP.  Senator Chuck Schumer of New York will be the Senate Majority Leader as a result.  The President Pro Tempore position will go back to Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, the longest serving Senator with 42 years and another elected term beginning in 2017.

The US House of Representatives will go from 247 Republicans to 188 Democrats, to a gain of 17 seats, and a new total of 205 Democrats and 230 Republicans.  Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin will remain Speaker of the House of Representatives.

So the line of succession will be President Hillary Clinton; Vice President Sherrod Brown; Speaker of the House Paul Ryan; Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy, followed by the cabinet officers, beginning with Joe Biden.

We shall see in a year how accurate my prognostications are!  Happy New Year 2016!

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 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!

Quandary Over Progressives Opposing Military Action Against ISIL (ISIS)

The Senate vote last week authorizing aid to the Syrian rebels fighting ISIL (ISIS) was a strange vote, bipartisan, which is rare, but 22 Senators of both parties voting NO!

This included such progressive Democrats as Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, and Chris Murphy of Connecticut.  It also included Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

On the other hand, it included Republicans such as Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, and Rand Paul of Kentucky, all Tea Party types.

The first list of seven Progressive Democrats and one Independent is highly respected by this author and blogger, and it makes him pause in his own support of the concept of starting a war against Islamic terrorism, what he sees as the beginning of World War III!

Of course, other Progressive Democrats DID support the majority vote, and it makes one wonder who is right, and who will be judged as correct by history, and it could affect the Presidential Election of 2016 and beyond, as, for instance, Hillary Clinton backing the Iraq War can be, and has been used, against her, and could be a problem in 2016!

These are difficult times, and we face a crisis of massive proportions, and trying to figure out what is best for the nation puts one in torment daily!

The Ten Most Heroic Members Of The Senate: Committed To Reform And Decency!

The US Senate is an exasperating legislative body, very slow to take action, and having too many members who cause one to roll his or her eyes and to sigh!

But it has its heroes and heroines, those members one knows are truly committed to reform and decency, and care about the middle class and the poor.

The “Honor Roll” of its ten most heroic members would include by last name alphabetical order the following, all Democrats:

Barbara Boxer of California
Sherrod Brown of Ohio
Chris Coons of Delaware
Al Franken of Minnesota
Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
Bernie Sanders of Vermont
Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island
Ron Wyden of Oregon

The “Honorable Mention” list of five other Senators would include four Democrats and one Republican:

Tom Harkin of Iowa
Patrick Leahy of Vermont
Jeff Merkley of Oregon
Barbara Mikulski of Maryland
Susan Collins of Maine (the only Republican)

The author welcomes commentary on these selections!

Obscene, Crude Behavior By Republicans And Conservative Ideologues: No Common Decency!

Republicans and conservative ideologues have no limits as to their obscene, crude behavior.

Witness the news that Speaker of the House John Boehner, passing by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, uttered “Go F—Yourself”, which startled Reid, and Boehner repeated it. This was done, all because of the frustration of Boehner with Reid and the Democrats over the difficult bargaining on the “Fiscal Cliff”. It is certainly believable that anyone can have such thoughts, and might even state so to his friends and colleagues about someone else, but to use such language directly eye to eye with the person being attacked by such invective, is totally unacceptable, totally crude and obscene, totally unbecoming of a Congressional leader or anyone else in the public eye! Boehner needs to apologize publicly to Reid, but is unlikely to do so, but this makes further communication and negotiation with political rivals all that much more difficult! As a public figure, Boehner needs to set an example of good and appropriate behavior!

Let us not forget that during the George W. Bush Administration, Vice President Dick Cheney said the same words that Boehner utiliized against Reid, against Senator Patrick Leahy in the Senate chamber, and never apologized, and in fact bragged and gloated about his misbehavior and lack of class!

But it is not just foul language as mentioned above, but also the attack on Hillary Clinton by Republicans and conservatives who think her concussion and hospitalization with a blood clot is a lie, designed to prevent her from having to testify about the Benghazi, Libya terrorist attack on September 11, which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.

So fun has been made, and accusations have been uttered, that Hillary is not really sick, that it is all a cover up!

Among those saying this on camera are:

Former Florida Congressman Allen West
Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton
Conservative ideologue Laura Ingraham
Charles Krauthammer of Fox News Channel
Bill O’Reilly of Fox News Channel
Sean Hannity of Fox News Channel
Rush Limbaugh, radio talk show host

And this is just a short list of cynics, who have no common decency, no compassion, no humanity, and know very well that the Libya matter is all conjured up, not a real issue. But it is the view of the right wing wingnuts that they must attack Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden and other Democrats, simply because they are alive and breathing!

Nothing will stop the nasty, insulting, disgraceful behavior of Republicans and conservative ideologues in their mission to destroy America through character assassination of our political leaders, as long as they are Democrats!

The Need For Filibuster Reform In The US Senate

The Senate is in a crisis situation, unable to accomplish much, due to the ridiculous filibuster issue, which has totally derailed action or voting on so many matters in the past few years.

The Republican minority has been able, just by threatening a filibuster, to block approval of judicial and executive nominations, and prevent serious discussion and voting on crucial matters. The filibuster, however, does not presently require that any Senator or Senators take the floor and talk for hours and hours, as Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina did in 1957, when he set a record of 25 hours for a personal filibuster, or having an 83 day group filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, before finally cloture was voted, and the filibuster was overcome.

So there have been proposals to modify the present requirement that 60 votes are needed to allow movement forward on any Senate issue.

Some want a simple 51 vote majority, similar to the 218 simple vote majority needed in the House of Representatives, while others want a 55 vote majority needed to move forward.

And others suggest something even less of a controversy: Bills for debate could not be filibustered, and filibusters could not be used to prevent formal negotiations with the House on Senate passed legislation, what is called the formation of a conference committee, which used to be common, and now is very rare.

Also, a Senator would have to be on the floor to mount a filibuster, or else, a vote on the bill would proceed. So the old filibuster rule, best represented by the Thurmond example, would require a commitment by one or a group of Senators to give the effort by personal sacrifices, speaking constantly on the floor of the Senate, to stop the bill from moving forward.

Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico have proposed these reasonable changes, and Joe Biden, as presiding officer, could move such changes forward, but there are seven Democrats, out of the 55 in the new Senate, who seem to be opposed.

These are Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California, Carl Levin of Michigan, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Max Baucus of Montana, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Notice that these Senators are all senior and older, longer serving members, with the shortest amount of service being Pryor, in the Senate since 2003.

This failure to understand how important reform is makes one watching this legislative mess feel very frustrated, and leaves one with the feeling that Senate reform will likely fail, and further undermine respect for our Congress and its ability to get things done!