Sam Rayburn

Nancy Pelosi, The Most Powerful Woman In American History, And Dealing With The Worst Tyrant In American History!

Face it, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is the most powerful woman in American history, and dealing with the worst tyrant in American history, Donald Trump.

Pelosi is two heartbeats away from the Presidency, the highest position any woman has ever attained, as being Secretary of State (making Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton four heartbeats away from the Presidency in the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama respectively), was the next highest position which has ever been attained by a woman.

Pelosi is already the third longest serving woman in the history of the House of Representatives, with 32.5 years of service since 1987.

She is a very strong leader, the most significant Speaker since Thomas “Tip” O’Neill was Speaker from 1977-1987, and is likely to be put in his league of significance, along with Speaker Sam Rayburn, who served 16 out of 20 years from 1941-1961.

She managed to overcome her rivals in the Democratic Party, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, and to control the new young membership of women who have come to the House in 2019.

She was able to hold her own with Republican Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan, and Donald Trump is truly terrified by her, and until just now, avoided calling her names, although now calling her “Crazy Nancy”, as she has made clear that “intervention” is needed, as Trump has displayed not just narcissistic behavior, but also signs of serious mental illness that threatens the nation’s national security.

If Trump thinks he can overcome this woman, he will clearly have a recognition over the next year and a half that Pelosi will triumph over him, and will bring him to the taking of responsibility and accountability for his illegal, unconstitutional behavior.

Anyone who underestimates Nancy Pelosi will learn the hard lesson, as many have, that she is a survivor who will not take abuse and turn her cheek, but will in her own unique manner, come out on top, as a savior of our American constitutional system.

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.

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: Dramatic Rise Of Dwight D. Eisenhower And Ulysses S. Grant Since First Poll In 2000

The C Span 2017 Presidential Survey demonstrates the dramatic rise of two war heroes in our two major wars: Dwight D. Eisenhower in World War II, and Ulysses S. Grant in the Civil War.

Both were Republican Presidents with low historical esteem as Presidents, particularly Grant, but both suffering from long term negative images in the White House.

But Ike, as Eisenhower was affectionately known, has soared from 9 in 2000 to 8 in 2009 to 5 in 2017, surpassing Harry Truman, who dropped slightly from 5 in 2000 and 2009 to 6 in 2017.

And Grant, who was 33 in 2000, soared amazingly to 23 in 2009 and now 22 in 2017.

Ike was well liked, but thought of as a weak, lackadaisical President when he left office in 1961, more remembered at the time for playing golf than anything else.

People thought of the fact that Ike “allowed” the Soviet Union to go into space first in 1957; and that the U-2 Spy Plane Incident in 1960 complicated relations with the Soviet Union, and ignored the many accomplishments of the 34th President.

Since then, his stock has risen with the understanding of his handling of the Little Rock Crisis in 1957; his ability to work with leaders of the opposition Democrats (Sam Rayburn and Lyndon B. Johnson) who controlled Congress for 6 of his 8 years; his acceptance of the New Deal programs of FDR; his creation of a federal commitment to health, education and welfare through the HEW Department in his first year; his promotion of the interstate highway system as a followup to Abraham Lincoln’s transcontinental railroad; his signing the first two Civil Rights laws since Reconstruction; the establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Defense Education Act in reaction to Sputnik; his refusal to escalate to major involvement in Vietnam and warning his successors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, to avoid the morass that occurred; and his path breaking Farewell Address, warning of a military industrial complex endangering American democracy and American foreign policy.

Grant was thought of historically as a great General in the Civil War, gaining the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House in Virginia to end the Civil War, but as President best remembered for his liquor problems, making him a certifiable alcoholic; massive scandals around his Presidency, typified by the Credit Mobilier Scandals; two Vice Presidents (Schuyler Colfax and Henry Wilson) involved in corruption; and economic hard times leading to the worst economic downturn (the Panic of 1873) until that time, with a massive depression that undermined the majority party outside the South, the Republican Party, and led to the contested Election of 1876.

But in recent years, there has been recognition of Grant promoting racial equality through backing of Congressional Reconstruction in the South and the support of the 15th Amendment and laws against the Ku Klux Klan and additional Civil Rights legislation; promotion of an Indian peace policy very different from earlier and later times; his around the world tour after his Presidency adding to his stature; his amazing Memoirs, written as he was dying of cancer, and still considered a classic work, unsurpassed by any other President; and the deep mourning and honoring of Grant in death, including the commemoration of Grant’s Tomb in New York City in 1897. No one even in 2017 is rating him in the top 20 Presidents, but his rise from very low to middle status is quite an accomplishment, although it is hard to imagine him rising any further.

The question arises whether modern Presidents, including Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon, who have fallen in recent times in the Presidential polls, will yet arise and pass Grant, and knock him down below them in the future. Historians are constantly changing their perceptions of our Chief Executives, and it will continue into the long term future.

The Ten Longest Serving Speakers Of The House Of Representatives

Paul Ryan is the 54th Speaker of the House, but the top ten longest serving have dominated in the 226 years of history of Congress.

The ten longest serving have been in the Speakership for 81 of the 226 years, more than one third of the time!

They are, in order,with time rounded off:

Sam Rayburn  17 years

Thomas “Tip” O’Neill   10 years

John W. McCormack  9 years

Dennis Hastert  8 years

Champ Clark  7 years

Henry Clay  7 years

Carl Albert   6 years

Joseph Cannon  6 years

Thomas Foley   6 years

James G. Blaine  5 years

Six of these ten (Rayburn, O’Neill, McCormack, Clark, Albert, and Foley) were Democrats for a total of 55 years.

Three of these ten (Hastert, Cannon, and Blaine) were Republicans for a total of 19 years.

One of these ten (Henry Clay) was a Democratic Republican for a total of 7 years, later becoming a Whig as a United States Senator.

Clay, Blaine and Cannon were in the years from 1811-1911; Clark and Rayburn were in the years from 1911-1961, and McCormack, Albert, O’Neill, Foley and Hastert in the years from 1962-2007!

So modern Speakers on the average have served much longer periods than earlier Speakers!

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!

Speaker John Boehner’s Constitutional Responsibility Comes Before Partisanship!

Speaker of the House John Boehner needs to be a profile in courage, a man with “cajones”, as the crisis over the budget reaches its peak, and default on the debt is possible by mid October.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives is, first and foremost, a constitutional officer, and under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, he is second in line, two heartbeats away, from the Presidency.

That is his most important role, more than being a partisan leader of his party, and it is essential, accepted, and mandated that he do NOTHING to cause the “good faith and credit” of the United States government to be harmed, or for the creation of an economic collapse that could harm all of the American people!

So it is time to stop playing games, and for Speaker Boehner to refuse to allow the Tea Party whackos, who are basically domestic terrorists taking America hostage, from stopping the necessary actions to avoid a government shutdown and, later, a reneging on the raising of the debt limit!

He must work with those responsible Republicans, and with Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader and her party, to gain the majority vote to resolve both of these crises, and to hell with the right wing lunatics who do not care about anything but their sick, demented ideology!

And if that leads to his party in the House of Representatives to depose him as Speaker, so be it, as he will look great in history for having taken the responsible, sane stand on his duty as top ranking federal official after the President and Vice President!

This situation would never have occurred under Sam Rayburn during the Eisenhower Administration; under John McCormack or Carl Albert during the Nixon and Ford Administrations; and Thomas “Tip” O’Neill during the Reagan Administration, and it MUST NOT be allowed to hold America in a reckless grab for power by an anarchistic group which is controlled by powerful special interests, including the Koch Brothers!

Mr. Speaker, do what you need to do, and you will leave office with your head held high!

Speaker John Boehner And The Uncontrollable Republican Majority

It is absolutely amazing how Speaker of the House John Boehner has been totally emasculated by the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives, and seems unable to strike a deal with President Barack Obama on avoiding the so called “Fiscal Cliff”.

The only good thing out of this is that the Republican Party, already way down in the polls, and seen as an extremist, uncompromising group, will suffer further from the lack of an agreement, and the Democrats will have the edge on the issue of spending and taxation when the new year begins, and after a short period of uncertainty, the tax cuts for 98 percent of the American people will be restored, while the tax increases for the top two percent will continue, and maybe go back to the $250,000 range, rather than the deal Obama was striking to make it $400,000.

The Republicans, with a reduced majority and fewer Tea Party members in January, will face the music that they have self destructed, and it is time to consider that we may be witnessing the death of the Republican Party as we once knew it, and that a new moderate, centrist party, a real competition to the Democrats, might emerge sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, the Speakership office has suffered its greatest decline since the “Revolution of 1910” against Speker Joseph Cannon, which took away a lot of power from the Speaker’s office.

Boehner will NOT go down in history as an outstanding Speaker, such as Sam Rayburn or Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, but more like Joseph Martin or Jim Wright. And even Newt Gingrich, with all his faults, will rank higher in history than John Boehner!

House Speaker John Boehner Needs To Show Some “Cajones”!

Speaker of the House John Boehner is now faced with a revolt against the Senate passed two month extension of the middle class payroll tax cut, the continuation of unemployment compensation for those on it, and the delay in cuts in Medicare payments to doctors.

The vote in the Senate was 89-10, but now Tea Party House Republicans are refusing to support the extension, which is far from ideal, as there should have been an agreement to extend these provisions for an entire year.

But at this late date of the calendar year, if no action is taken, then these provisions will expire, and Senate Democrats have made it clear there will be no return to Washington DC by the adjourned Senate. If taxes go up for the middle class; unemployment benefits are ended; and Medicare doctors lose some of their payments, there will be hell to pay!

It is time, after a year of conflict and confrontation that is the worst in Congressional history, that Speaker Boehner show some “cajones”, and make it clear that the Tea Party radicals are not going to hold the nation hostage for the umpteenth time! The 112th Congress MUST get its act together, and not a moment to waste!

Boehner has to show he has the capability of former Speakers such as Sam Rayburn, Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, and even Newt Gingrich, to get things done!

Boehner needs to impose discipline and make these radicals know who is the boss, even at the sacrifice of his Speakership in the next Congress!

He will need to work with traditional conservative Republicans and Democrats to get the country’s business accomplished this next year, as we cannot tolerate another year of such confrontational government!

Refusal to do so will convince voters to give up the experiment in divided government, and the Republicans will be the losers!

It is time for everyone of common decency and humanity to declare “war” on the Tea Party, come hell or high water, and put the nation’s needs in the forefront!

The Leadership Of Nancy Pelosi And Harry Reid: Pilloried But Successful, Nevertheless!

The Democratic leaders in the now ended 111th Congress, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, both faced unprecedented attacks by Republicans, conservatives, and much of the news media, as well as the general public which was mostly ignorant of what they were doing, and the pressures they were constantly under.

Never in the history of the nation has Congressional leadership been so pilloried, ridiculed, abused, mistreated, disrespected to the level that these two stalwarts faced daily, as the barrage of criticism was non stop for both of them.

For Harry Reid, in some ways, it was worse, as his opponent for re-election, Sharron Angle, blamed him for everything that was wrong with America, including, it seemed, “original sin”!

But despite that, Reid came back to the Senate for another six year term, after having the burden of Republican filibusters, his campaign problems, and his wife’s serious auto accident. What a set of burdens to carry, and Harry Reid carried them with grace and dignity. A soft spoken man, often underrated, he did much more than anyone thought he could, culminating in the Lame Duck Session triumphs of the past two weeks!

Pelosi, considered in the class of Thomas “Tip” O’Neill and Sam Rayburn as a Speaker of the House, faced vilification, with much of it based on the fact that she was a woman, a strong, outspoken woman, who was not going to take GOP opposition and allow it to dominate the Congressional agenda. More legislation was passed under her than since the mid 1960s, and there were also hundreds of other bills that never made it through the Senate, making her an extremely productive leader!

There is no way around it, but to say, that we should applaud both Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for a job well done, and a Congress which will stand out in history as one of the best ever, despite all the naysaying and negativism that prevails.

Will John Boehner have anywhere near the level of accomplishment and success of Nancy Pelosi with his caucus, with so many Tea Party activist rebels in the group? Don’t bet on it! 🙁