Republican Party

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!

The Dire Need For A Change In The Presidential Succession Act Of 1947

In 1947, the new Republican controlled 80th Congress, the first Congress to have both houses being Republican controlled since 1928, acted in revenge against the memory of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt by changing the Presidential Succession Act of 1886.

That law in 1886 made the succession to the Presidency to be the cabinet officers after the Vice President, including in order, the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War, Attorney General, Postmaster General, Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Interior. The original law in 1792 made the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House next in line before the cabinet members, and after the Vice President.

This was changed to the present situation in 1947, that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and then the President Pro Tempore of the Senate would succeed after the Vice President and before the cabinet officers.

This has  led to people in the line of succession who, much of the time, have been the opposition party to the President, as in 1947-1949 under President Harry Truman; 1955-1961 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower; 1969-1974 under President Richard Nixon; 1974-1977 under President Gerald Ford; 1981-1987 in the House under President Ronald Reagan; 1987-1989 under President Ronald Reagan; 1989-1993 under President George H. W. Bush; 1995-2001 under President Bill Clinton; 2001-2003 in the Senate under President George W. Bush; 2007-2009 under President George W. Bush; and 2011-2017 under President Barack Obama.

This is not proper, to have the opposition party have the potential to take over the Presidency through having a Speaker of the House and/or a President Pro Tempore of the Senate of their party, rather than having the continuity of the administration though the cabinet members chosen by the President.

So 44 years between 1947 and 2017, out of a total number of 70 years, or just about two thirds of the time, the opposition party has been two heartbeats away from the Presidency, undermining continuity of government.

Also, just because someone is Speaker of the House (elected by one Congressional district) or President Pro Tempore of the Senate ( an often very old person in that position, elected from one state, who has longevity of service) does not make such a person qualified to be President, as much as a Secretary of State, Treasury, etc does!

So while it is unlikely to happen anytime soon, there really is a need to change the Presidential Succession Act back to the one passed and in effect from 1886-1947!

Once Donald Trump Starts To Lose In Actual Caucuses And Primaries, He Will Withdraw From Presidential Race

It is now clear that Donald Trump has been involved in a “lark”, regarding his Republican Presidential candidacy.

He has now told John Harwood of CNBC that once he starts to do poorly, he will get out of the race and go back to doing his business ventures, as he is not interested in losing causes.

It is clear that had public opinion polls NOT shown him to be leading, he would be out of the race already, and one has to wonder about the validity of these polls that keep on putting Trump, and fellow non government contenders Carly Fiorina and Dr. Benjamin Carson having a total of more than 50 percent combined.

Do Republican voters, even if disgusted with Congressional Republicans, and the Republican officeholder Presidential field, really want a”rookie” to run our government and deal with the world? Do they really want someone who is not used to negotiating with others, and just wants to be in charge to dictate, as is the case with Trump and Fiorina, to be their President?  The more one analyzes the situation, it is impossible to believe that any of the three “non officeholders” are going to survive the entire caucus-primary process and win enough popular support to have a majority of the delegates.

They are all protest votes, and none of the three have any real substance to their candidacies, and are just good at being a place to let steam off about the frustration felt by voters. This seems more of an opportunity to demonstrate disgust, but it is not a practical answer to put a non officeholder into the most complex and difficult job in the world!

Trump is going to discover that he cannot win the nomination, and has very high negative numbers, and that the polls are misleading.  So one can be assured that he will NOT be the GOP nominee for President of the United States!  Neither will Fiorina nor Carson prove able to withstand the pressures of the race and become the nominee.

What it will come down to, ultimately, is that one of the following three will be the Republican nominee, with the possibility that two of them will make up the Republican Presidential ticket: Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Marco Rubio.

The best bet is still a Kasich-Rubio ticket, but a possible backup of a Bush-Kasich ticket!

House Speaker Becomes A Race: Kevin McCarthy, Jason Chaffetz, Or Daniel Webster? YES, Daniel Webster (Not The Famous One)!

There is now developing a real race for who should be Speaker of the House, in the wake of the resignation of John Boehner.  It will make us miss Boehner, for all of the faults and shortcomings he possesses!

Present House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has flubbed badly in his comment on the House Benghazi Committee investigating the attack in Libya which led to the death of the ambassador and three others on September 11. 2011.  That committee has been in business longer than any special committee in the history of the United States, and is seen as a purely partisan venture. McCarthy made it clear that the committee was formed to weaken  Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton, and now has tried to backtrack that statement, infuriating Jason Chaffetz of Utah, head of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who has decided to challenge McCarthy for the Speakership.

McCarthy comes across as incompetent and a poor candidate to be two heartbeats away from the Presidency, and his inability to use good judgment on what to say publicly, plus his lack of experience (only nine years), lack of accomplishments, and his use of words such as “Hungria” for the nation “Hungary”. and making up a new word for Hillary Clinton (untrustable) instead of “untrustworthy”, raises intelligent people’s eyes.

But Chaffetz himself, while better spoken, has only seven years in the House, two fewer than McCarthy, and he was a former Democrat, who actually campaigned for Democrat Michael Dukakis for President in 1988, before meeting former President Ronald Reagan in 1990, seemingly transforming his  life.

To top it off, Florida Congressman Daniel Webster from central Florida, a distant relation of the famous Massachusetts Senator of the same name before the Civil War, but no match for his ancestor, is also in the race, and is seen as a Tea Party candidate for the Speakership.

This whole embarrassment of the battle between McCarthy, Chaffetz, and Webster makes clear that the nation is in trouble, having to look at any of these three men as being two heartbeats away from the Presidency, and it will make us wish John Boehner had not resigned.

And the job to make the House Republicans be united and responsible, with the Tea Party element of 40 or so members the balancing act, means tough times ahead for the GOP, and gives a glimmer of hope that the Democrats might, maybe, be able to squeak out a majority of seats in the 2016 elections, but considered highly unlikely!

Kevin McCarthy, Incompetent And Unqualified, Soon To Be Two Heartbeats From The Presidency!

There have been many complaints over the past five years about Speaker of the House John Boehner, from the far right, and from the left, but at least we knew that Boehner had 20-25 years experience and was at least, basically, competent.

Now, with Boehner’s resignation, we are soon to be stuck with California Congressman Kevin McCarthy as the next Speaker, a man who admits that the Benghazi, Libya hearings were simply designed to weaken Democratic Presidential contender Hillary Clinton, and that the doctored Planned Parenthood videos are a ploy to help promote the anti abortion movement, and uses a word that does not exist, that Hillary Clinton is “untrustable”! He also called the nation of Hungary “Hungria”!

McCarthy is seen as better than Tea Party rivals, who would love to take over the Speakership, but McCarthy, with the least experience in Congress of any Speaker in more than a century, a total of only nine years and no special accomplishments and only two bills passed (both perfunctory), is someone to be concerned about as being only two heartbeats away from the Presidency!

Kevin McCarthy can be compared to former Vice President Dan Quayle in his looks and lack of any sign of intellect, and also to Sarah Palin, who also was good looking but lacking the brain power to be close to the Presidency!

What is it about the GOP that they find “good looking” men and women, who have no brains or intellect, and are a sign of the worst among us, putting the nation into danger by being so close to the Presidency, as Quayle was for 4 years; as Palin could have been for eight years: and as McCarthy now seems to be for at least the next 14 months, if not more?

America deserves much better than this!

Joe Biden Is Most Popular Of All Presidential Candidates In Public Opinion Polls, So Advice To Joe Biden: “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained”!

Vice President Joe Biden is still wrestling with the issue of whether he should enter the Democratic Presidential nomination battle for 2016.

While he is still mourning his son, Beau Biden’s, death, and mulling whether he should try for the Presidency for a third time, public opinion polls show that he is the most popular and trusted of all Presidential possibilities, and would defeat Republicans Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Dr. Benjamin Carson, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio in a one on one race.

Joe Biden is admired and loved by millions, and if he entered the race, while his record is not as liberal as Bernie Sanders, Biden would actually threaten Hillary Clinton’s support among minorities, particularly African Americans, in the crucial primary state of South Carolina and elsewhere.

Joe Biden is very personable, very charming very authentic, and is seen by many as the true heir of Barack Obama, and while the President is not likely to take sides publicly between Joe and Hillary, it seems clear that he prefers Joe as his successor.

The question remains if Joe will run, but with his son’s last words asking him to run; plus the public opinion polls being so positive; and with the old saying that applies: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” being appropriately applied, it makes sense that Biden try for the White House, his last chance.

Sure, he could lose, but if he does not run, he will, probably, regret it forever afterwards, that he had a chance, and let it escape.  Life does not guarantee success, but even if he lost the nomination to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, he would know that he had engaged in the “good fight”, and that would be better than to give up the chance to be our 45th President, with a record of more experience than ANY President in history–44 years of service to his nation in government!

Marco Rubio Rising, Jeb Bush Falling: The Two Floridians A Generation Apart!

It now seems clear that Florida Senator Marco Rubio is gaining support, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is rapidly losing support in the Republican Presidential race.

Rubio always has called Bush his “mentor”,  as Rubio entered the Florida legislature during the tenure of Jeb Bush as Governor of the “Sunshine” State.

Also, Rubio is almost a full generation younger than Bush, born 18 years after Bush.

Bush, more than ever, is seen as representing the past, the Bush Dynasty, and has been out of office since the end of 2006.

Rubio is one of the youngest Senators, and has been in office since the new century began, and is portraying himself as the “new generation” of leadership, the kind of appeal that John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama used as a pitch when they ran for President on the Democratic Party side.

The Democrats now have a problem, if Marco Rubio is able to become the Republican Presidential nominee, as their three leading candidates—Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden, if he enters the race–will be 69 to 75 at the beginning of their term of office, making them 24 to 30 years older than the Florida Senator.

Generally, the nation goes for the younger candidate for President, with the exception in modern times of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984.

Martin O’Malley, former Governor of Maryland, represents the “younger generation” in the Democratic Party, but has not “taken off” at all, a perplexing situation, and again, a problem for the Democratic Party as it enters the 2016 Presidential competition.

Marco Rubio Emerges From “Pack” Of Republicans As “Officeholder” And “New Generation” Of Leadership!

It is interesting that in the midst of the “non officeholders” —Donald Trump, Carley Fiorina, Dr. Benjamin Carson—together gaining a majority of the support in most public opinion polls for the Republican Presidential nomination, that we are seeing the rise of Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and to a lesser extent Ohio Governor John Kasich, in the polls, while others, including Jeb Bush, are losing support.

Rubio is taking advantage of the situation to point out that he is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and that he is a “new generation” of leadership, surpassing his own “mentor”, Jeb Bush!

Rubio has many weaknesses, but the fact that he is Hispanic, is from the  leading “swing” state, Florida, and makes a good personal appearance, are all factors in his rise.

The question is whether he can overcome the “non officeholders” and continue to improve enough in debates to end up as the leader in the polls in the next few months before the Iowa Caucuses occur on February 1.

The Crisis In The Speakership Of The House Of Representatives: Not A Laughing Matter!

The Speaker of the House of Representatives is, under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, second in line for the Presidency behind the Vice President of the United States.

Therefore, who is the Speaker of the House is not an idle matter, but of crucial importance, that he or she be a mainstream, responsible public official.

The Republican Party has produced disasters in the Speakership since 1994.

First, we had Newt Gingrich, who had a scandalous private life, and was extremely confrontational in his dealings with President Bill Clinton, and yet, right wing conservatives were unhappy with him, and he resigned after two terms as Speaker, a total of four years.

Then, his theoretical successor, Bob Livingston, was forced to turn down the Speakership, due to his own private life scandals.

Then, Denny Hastert became Speaker, seemed noncontroversial, and in comparison to Gingrich and Livingston, was just that.  But now, years after his decision to leave Congress after the Republicans lost control of the House in 2006, Hastert faces prosecution and is involved in a sex scandal involving when he was a high school wrestling coach 35 years ago.

And then, there was John Boehner, who lasted almost five years, but was under constant attack by the far right Tea Party Movement, and now has decided to resign at the end of October.  Boehner created constant confrontations with Barack Obama, but also, at times, was cordial with limits imposed by his party’s dynamics.

Eric Cantor, who was supposed to be Boehner’s successor, unexpectedly lost his seat in a nomination fight last year, just as he had the chance to become the first Jewish Speaker of the House, and his defeat apparently delayed Boehner’s decision to leave, until now after the Pope has visited the United States, and spoken before the Congress in joint session.  This event brought out the tears so common to Boehner, a devout Catholic.

Now the issue is who should succeed Boehner, two heartbeats away from the Presidency, with new House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy  of California favored even though he has only been in Congress nine years, has sponsored no important legislation, and never would have been in this position had Eric Cantor not been defeated  last year.

McCarthy seems pleasant enough on a personal basis, actually more than Gingrich, Livingston, Hastert, and now Boehner, but will the right wing Tea Party movement be satisfied with him, and will he be responsible enough to conduct himself with a willingness to work with President Obama for the next year?

What if a true right wing extremist ends up as Speaker, with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a possible successor seen as a true extremist and often compared by many to David Duke, the former KKK leader, due to Scalise’s opposition to a Martin Luther King Holiday in Louisiana, one of the last states to adopt it?

America cannot tolerate a right wing extremist to be two heartbeats away from the Presidency, and it can be hoped that, under the present circumstances, Kevin McCarthy become Speaker, but somehow, although unlikely, hope that disillusionment with the Republican control of Congress leads to Democratic control of the House, as well as the Senate, to occur in the 2016 national elections.

Since the House is gerrymandered, giving the GOP control despite more total popular votes for the chamber being Democratic, this seems unlikely, but those who feel it is urgent that the next Democratic President have both chambers of Congress willing to work with him or her, must work very hard to try to elect a Congress controlled by the Democrats!

Hispanic Influence Predates That Of Other European Cultures on America, Something Forgotten By Many Conservatives!

Listening to Donald Trump, and also to many conservatives and Republicans in general, one would think that Hispanic and Latino influence in America is somehow dangerous and “foreign”, and something new.

In reality, Hispanics and Latinos are the largest “minority” in America, and only German immigration outnumbers Mexican immigration in numbers to have come to our nation.

Also, one can forget or be ignorant of the fact that it was Spain which made the first settlements in what became the United States, 450 years since the establishment of St. Augustine, Florida as a Spanish colony in 1565.

It was Spain which settled the entire Southeast and the Southwest of the United States.

It was Spain which established settlements in Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and California.

It was Mexico that once controlled the entire Southwest, and lost it to the United States between 1836, 1848 and 1853 by rebellion, war and treaty.

But there was always a Spanish influence in America even after this, and people of Spanish heritage have played a major role in America throughout the nearly two centuries now since the original Texas “rebellion” against Mexico.

So to attack Spanish or Latin American influence in America is to show prejudice, ignorance and lack of recognition of Hispanic significance on America and its history!