Presidential Election of 2012

Trend Toward Older First Term Members Of Congress–Mitt Romney And Donna Shalala As Examples Of Trend

A trend that has developed lately is that some new members of Congress are older than usually at their swearing in, as compared to previous times.

We have two such examples in the 116th Congress.

Newly minted Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee, will be two months short of age 72 in January. He lost the race for a Senate seat in Massachusetts to Senator Ted Kennedy in the Midterm Elections of 1994, 24 years ago, but now will be in the Senate a quarter century later.

Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001, after being President of Hunter College from 1980-1988 and Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, from 1988-1993, was then President of the University of Miami in Florida from 2001-2015, and President of the Clinton Foundation from 2015-2017. She is now the new Congresswoman in the Miami, Florida district that was occupied by Ileana Ros Lehtinen from 1989 through 2018. It earlier had been the seat of the revered Claude Pepper from 1962-1999.

That seat in South Florida is an especially sacred seat in a sense, and Shalala will be one month short of age 78 when she joins the House of Representatives.

The Ultimate Outcome Of The Midterm Elections Of 2018: The Social Welfare, Social Justice State Is Permanent After 83 Years

The ultimate outcome of the Midterm Elections of 2018 is the success and institutionalization of the Social Welfare, Social Justice State, finally permanent after 83 years.

It all goes back to the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the passage of Social Security in 1935, bitterly fought by Republicans and conservatives of that era, and still argued about by such leaders as Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan over the next half century.

But in 1983, President Reagan and Democratic Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill negotiated a bipartisan deal to save Social Security, not destroy it as Reagan had wanted to do, and it is the fundamental part of the Social Safety Net.

In 1965, after years of opposition by Republicans and conservatives, Lyndon B. Johnson and his Great Society accomplished Medicare and Medicaid. It has continued to be attacked and condemned, but it has survived and is a great part of the Social Safety Net.

Then, in 2010, Barack Obama accomplished the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare, with no cooperation from Republicans or conservatives, even though back in 1993, conservatives, with the support of Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich, came up with a very similar health care plan, in opposition to the Bill and Hillary Clinton health care plan, which ultimately failed of passage. Also, Mitt Romney in Massachusetts accomplished a very similar plan as ObamaCare, but ran against his own plan for the nation when he ran for President in 2012.

The Republicans continued to try to destroy ObamaCare ever since 2010, having 70 votes on it over the years, but Chief Justice Roberts and Senator John McCain in 2012 and 2017, respectively, backed continuation at crucial moments. Now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that, clearly, ObamaCare is here to stay, so like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, ObamaCare has survived and become a permanent part of the Social Safety Net.

The Democrats and progressives have accomplished these great pieces of legislation since 1935, and the goal has always been to improve the laws, as no one ever said they were perfect, but it is the Democrats, not the Republicans who have advocated and succeeded in accomplishing the Social Welfare, Social Justice state, and they should be very proud of the work they have done.

So FDR, LBJ, and Obama are the three most successful domestic policy Presidents, and not just in the areas mentioned in this article!

Two Outliers: Republican Governors In Heavily Democratic States—Larry Hogan In Maryland And Charlie Baker In Massachusetts

In the midst of highly partisan elections being the norm in America under Donald Trump, we have the two outliers that are hard to explain.

In Maryland and Massachusetts, two heavily “Blue” states, we have very popular moderate Republican governors on their way to easy reelection victories.

Maryland, a heavily Democratic state, with strong backing from those living in the Washington DC suburbs, Larry Hogan has a 68 percent rating in his popular support, and is way ahead of Ben Jealous, the African American Democratic nominee for Governor, who was former head of the NAACP. Barack Obama twice and Hillary Clinton won the last three Presidential races by 25 to 26 points in each of those contests.

But somehow, Hogan is seen as an easy victor for a second term. He has 65 percent approval from Democrats, 64 percent backing from Independents, and 81 percent support from Republicans. Hogan has avoided being supportive of Donald Trump, and in fact, has been clearly critical of the President.

Every poll shows Hogan winning, as high as 58 percent, with a undecided percentage being as high as 10-18 percent in some polls, indicating the likelihood that Hogan will win a landslide victory of more than 60 percent in November. Hogan has had to deal with a heavily two thirds Democratic legislature and a Congressional delegation (7 Democrats to one Republican) dominated by Democrats.

Massachusetts, another heavily Democratic state, and a heavily (80 percent) Democratic legislature, and an all Democratic Congressional delegation, yet has had Republican Charlie Baker as its governor for the past four years, and in polls, Baker is ahead of his Hispanic Democratic opponent, Jay Gonzalez, by margins of 52 to 68 percent, depending on the poll. Barack Obama won by 26 and 23 percent, and Hillary Clinton by 27 points in the last three Presidential elections.

Baker has also shown himself to be a moderate Republican who has been regularly critical of Donald Trump, and has had as high as a 71 percent majority of popularity in his term of office, higher even than Larry Hogan in Maryland. One can assume that he will win two thirds or more of the vote on November 6.

So both Larry Hogan and Charlie Baker are outliers, on the way to what is conceived as a “Blue Wave”.

Candidates For US Senate Who Might Start First Term In Their 70s: Mitt Romney In Utah And Phil Bredesen In Tennessee

A new phenomenon is that newly elected members of the Senate are tending to come into office at advanced ages.

In 2019, we could have two new Senators in their 70s upon taking the oath of office to serve their states in the Senate.

Mitt Romney, the former Republican nominee for President in 2012, is almost certain to win the Senate seat in Utah, and he would be two and half months short of 72 in January 2019.

Phil Bredesen, the former Democratic Governor of Tennessee, if he wins the open Senate seat, would be two months past 75 in January 2019.

They would both surpass two other Senators who were a bit younger–Republican S. I Hayakawa of California who took office in 1977 at age 70; and Angus King, Independent of Maine, who was 68 in 2013 when first came to the Senate, and running again now in 2018 at age 74.

The Next Speaker Of The House IF GOP Keeps Majority: Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, Or Jim Jordan

If the Republican Party, somehow, holds on to majority control of the House of Representatives in the 116th Congress, they will need to select a new Speaker of the House, as Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan is leaving Congress at the end of this year.

At this point, there are three key contenders for the Speakership in the Republican Party:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana

House Freedom Caucus member Jim Jordan of Ohio

All three, honestly, make outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan look better by comparison, and yet, my readers know how much I dislike, and have denounced Paul Ryan, including when he was the Vice Presidential running mate of Mitt Romney in the Presidential Election of 2012, for which I was viciously attacked on several right wing websites at the time.

But seriously, Kevin McCarthy is practically the “lap dog” of Donald Trump, extremely loyal and obedient, and was seemingly aware of Russian Collusion in 2016, was talking about it at a Republican House conference meeting, until Paul Ryan told him to stop talking about it. He is a man without any principles other than the advancement of Donald Trump and his agenda, part of the Trump party, rather than the traditional Republican Party, and even more so than Paul Ryan, who has been unwilling to speak out against Trump’s disgraceful tweets and policies. McCarthy has refused to engage in Town Hall events in his Bakersfield, California district since 2010. He also promoted pursuit of Hillary Clinton for the Benghazi, Libya incident, where four diplomats were killed, gaining a reputation of promoting a “hit job” on her, when many more diplomats were killed at embassies during the Presidency of George W. Bush.

Steve Scalise, thankfully, recovered from being shot at the Congressional baseball game in June 2017, but it had no effect on his views on gun control, which is no regulation at all. Beyond that, Scalise used to be a friend of Ku Klux Klan Wizard and white supremacist David Duke, although now, of course, he denies it, and tries to claim it was not so. He would, in this author’s view, be a worse choice than McCarthy. However, for those who are uncomfortable with McCarthy, and might prefer a Southerner as the next Speaker, due to the strong GOP presence in the South, he might be seen as a potential favorite, and certainly less disgraceful by comparison, to the third choice, Jim Jordan of Ohio.

Jim Jordan, who is a co leader of the House Freedom Caucus, the most Far Right group in the Republican Party, has been accused of covering up abuse of athletes on the wrestling team at Ohio State University, when he was an assistant coach in the 1980s. He was one of the Republicans who promoted government shutdowns, and has done everything possible to block the House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee from pursuing investigation of the Donald Trump collusion with Russia in the 2016 campaign. He also pursed the Benghazi, Libya investigation of the deaths of four diplomats, targeting Hillary Clinton in a total of 11 investigations, which found no evidence of wrongdoing, and which featured 11 hours of testimony by Clinton, with no sign of weakness on her part, as compared to the performance of many others investigated by Congressional committees. Plain and simple, Jordan would be the absolute worst of the three choices being considered by the Republicans, although others might join the fray after the midterm elections.

It is indeed a very sad situation when we can look back on John Boehner as being far better than Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, and Jim Jordan.

Let us hope that one of the latter three will be the Minority Leader, rather than the Speaker of the House in 2019-2020.

13 Democratic Women Senate Candidates, 11 Running For Reelection, And 2 New Candidates Competing in Arizona And Nevada In 2018 Midterms

In 2018, the US Senate has 23 women serving in the body, including 17 Democrats and 6 Republicans.

11 of the 17 Democratic women face reelection challenges in November.

These include the following:

Dianne Feinstein of California
Mazie Hirono of Hawaii
Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
Tina Smith of Minnesota
Claire McCaskill of Missouri
Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota
Maria Cantwell of Washington State
Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin

Additionally, two women are running for election to the Senate:

Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona
Jacky Rosen of Nevada

Also, Jenny Wilson is the Democratic nominee in Utah, competing against former 2012 Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney for the seat of retiring Orrin Hatch, but seen as having no real chance to overcome the well known Romney, much admired in Mormon dominated Utah.

At this point, six weeks before the midterm elections, all of the seated Democratic women Senators seem likely to be reelected, with the most contentious challenges being Claire McCaskill in Missouri and Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota.

The odds on the two women running for election in Arizona and Nevada also look good at this point.

So the odds are heavy that there will be 25 women in the Senate in 2019, with 19 being Democrats and 6 Republicans.

And in the cases of Wisconsin and Arizona, the Republican challengers are women, so already we can add Arizona as a state which will have its first woman Senator. Additionally, Nebraska’s Republican woman Senator, Deb Fischer, has a Democratic opponent who is female, so that assures that seat will continue to have a woman as well.

Jon Huntsman Needs To Resign As Ambassador To Russia, And Consider A Presidential Challenge In The GOP Primaries In 2020

The US Ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, has been urged by his hometown newspaper in Utah to resign, after the disastrous performance of Donald Trump at the summit with Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki, Finland, and not made any better by Trump’s claim that he misspoke one word, meaning “wouldn’t” instead of “would”.

Disillusionment with Trump, and concern that he is “owned” by Putin, who has some deep, dark, scandalous secret about Trump, is spreading, and as this author and blogger stated last week, we could be witnessing a “Manchurian Candidate” situation, as well as possibly a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and a Multiple Personality Disorder President, with the danger of his access to nuclear weapons.

Huntsman, who this author and blogger believed was the best Republican Presidential contender in 2012, and even better than John Kasich, believed to be the best 2016 Republican Presidential contender, has seen his daughter Abby, who is on Fox News Channel, condemning Trump’s press conference in Helsinki, Finland.

It is believed that Huntsman is unhappy over the circumstances, and it would be a badge of honor for him to resign now, and consider a Presidential challenge to Donald Trump and or Mike Pence in the 2020 Primaries.

While this author and blogger is not a fan of Republicans in general, the one way possible to revive the image of the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush, would be if we were to see a ticket of Huntsman and John Kasich, or possibly the opposite.

I would not vote for such a ticket, but IF we were to be “stuck” with another four years of Republicans in the White House, far preferable to have Huntsman-Kasich or Kasich-Huntsman than Trump-Pence or Pence and whoever else!

Speaker Paul Ryan Dismissal Of Catholic Chaplain For Statement About Protecting Those Less Fortunate Is An Outrage!

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has been a disgraceful Speaker, far worse than his predecessor John Boehner.

That is saying a lot, as Boehner was far from virtuous.

But Ryan who defines himself as a “devout” Catholic is nothing better than a phony, as his Catholicism and Christian beliefs are extreme right wing “prosperity” based.

The right wing Christianity condemns the poor and disadvantaged, and emphasizes acquisition of wealth over everything. the precise repudiation of the message of Jesus Christ.

So the decision of Ryan to dismiss the Catholic chaplain Patrick Conroy for his statement hoping that the recently enacted tax bill, which clearly benefited the rich over the rest of the population, that there should be no winners or losers in the legislation, and that benefits should be balanced and shared by all Americans, is to be condemned,

What is wrong with that statement? It is a Social Justice view of Catholicism and Christianity, totally appropriate, and the true message that Jesus preached.

Ryan’s abrupt decision, after he announced his retirement at the end of this year, was denounced by Democrats, but also many Republicans in the House of Representatives as totally outrageous and should not be happening.

It just adds to this blogger’s long held denunciation of Ryan, going back to when he was selected as Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential running mate in 2012, which led to bitter attacks by many trolls on this author and his views on this blog, as well as on social media.

Now, more than ever, Paul Ryan has proved how disgraceful and biased a person he is, with his Ayn Rand, Social Darwinist view of his faith and of the rights of the American people.

Ryan would love to destroy Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and other social safety net programs, and for that, he will be condemned in history.

Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan: A Failed And Disgraceful Figure In American Political History, And Total Sham!

Back in 2012, when Paul Ryan was chosen by Mitt Romney to be his Vice Presidential running mate, this author made clear his total distaste of the Wisconsin Congressman, who had made his career on balancing budgets, and cutting social programs from the New Deal on through the Great Society. He has now proved once again that he is a failed and disgraceful figure in American political history, and is a total sham!

It was made clear that Ryan was a disgraceful choice to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency, had Mitt Romney won the Presidential Election of 2012.

As a result of my harsh criticism, I was bitterly attacked by the right wing, in a very vicious manner.

But I was correct in my assessment then, and since, and now, Paul Ryan is quitting Congress, and leaving the Speakership of the House of Representatives, at a time when he was facing a major challenge from Democrat Randy Bryce, an iron worker, who was totally disgusted by the hypocrisy and self serving of Ryan over his 20 year Congressional career.

Ryan set out from a young age, based on his Ayn Rand philosophy, to destroy the Social Safety Net of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and other programs to help the millions of poor, disabled, sick, children, and elderly in our society. And yet, when his father died when Paul Ryan was not yet an adult, he received Social Security benefits, but now wishes to destroy FDR’s signature program!

At the same time, his goal was to cut taxes dramatically for the wealthy, and he succeeded under Donald Trump, blowing a massive hole in the budget, and now creating a $1 trillion increase in the national debt by so doing.

Ryan has done more to harm the future of the nation economically than just about anyone, and he has been unwilling to take a strong stand, or any stand, against Donald Trump’s abuse of power.

It almost seems as if he gets sexual thrills from hurting people, and yet, he claims to be a “good Catholic”, which most decent Catholics would totally disagree with.

The best response to Ryan leaving is “good riddance”!

Is Presidential Race Of 2020 Beginning Early? Rumors About Mitt Romney And Joe Biden Emerge

Hard to believe, but on the 13 month anniversary today of Donald Trump’s inauguration, rumors and gossip are spreading about the Presidential race of 2020 beginning early.

Early speculation talks about former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee, now running for the open Senate seat in Utah, being vacated by Senator Orrin Hatch, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, leaving after 7 terms and 42 years of service. Rumors have it that Romney is positioning himself for another Presidential run against Donald Trump or if he leaves office, Vice President Mike Pence, in two years.

Of course, Romney denies such rumors, but it is said that many mainstream conservatives want Romney to run, and possibly Trump realizes that potential, as he has now come to endorse Romney for the Senate, after having encouraged Hatch not to retire,

Romney is well known for his bitter denunciation of Trump’s candidacy in 2016, and then being manipulated by Trump for the possible post of Secretary of State, but passing him by for that position, so this will be something to watch, if Romney decides to challenge Trump or Pence.

Also, former Vice President Joe Biden, ahead in early polls for the Democratic Presidential nomination, over both Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Oprah Winfrey, is making clear through friends that he is seriously considering another run for President, as he is well aware that many have said had he run in 2016, and been the Democratic Presidential nominee, that he would have won the working class white vote in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and defeated Trump. Of course, the tragic death of son Beau Biden prevented that, and is seen by many as a tragic turning point in American history.

Realize, however, that were Romney and Biden to be their party nominees, we would have a candidate who would reach 74 after two months in office (Romney), and a candidate who would reach 78 two weeks after the election in 2020.

Either would be the oldest Presidential first term winner in American history, and once again, despite loyalty of many to both Romney and Biden, as being “Presidential”, one has to wonder if younger voters would be turned off by two “Grandpa” candidates, rather than moving toward supporting nominees in their 40s, 50, or early 60s, as preferable.

There is a long list of such potential nominees, and this will all be explored over time, but for now, the “Old Guard” is in the forefront of speculation.