Tea Party Movement

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!

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!

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!

Seven Years Of Sarah Palin: The “Gift” Of Senator John McCain!

It is now seven years since Arizona Senator John McCain selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential running mate in the Presidential Election of 2008.

Other than her good looks, Palin brought nothing into the race, and came across as a massive negative in a losing campaign.

We have never had a Vice Presidential candidate as dim witted, as obtuse, as  exasperating as Sarah Palin.

But we figured once she had lost, we would never hear from her again, particularly after she resigned as Alaska Governor.

But lo and behold, Sarah Palin made a career of being on Fox News Channel, having a reality show, and teaming up with the Tea Party Movement, all to infuriate all intelligent citizens.

And now, she made a total fool of herself, not by far the first time, yesterday when she spoke at the Capitol Hill rally against the Iran deal.

How can anyone take this woman seriously?

And it gets worse, as Donald Trump has praised Sarah Palin, and hinted she would be part of his administration in a cabinet post.

Sarah has suggested she would love to be Secretary of Energy, and then leave after destroying that department, giving the energy interests of the nation free reign, and letting states determine how energy is handled, instead of the federal government.

The thought that our environment would be affected by this woman is enough to make one scream, and hope he is waking up from a nightmare.

Senator McCain did a terrible deed in giving us Sarah Palin, and it is as if we had a massive pest problem, and nothing works to alleviate the menace!

The only good thing is, thank goodness,that Sarah Palin has not been a heartbeat away from the Presidency for the past seven years!

Donald Trump: A Mix Of Wendell Willkie, George Wallace, And Ross Perot

Donald Trump’s Presidential candidacy has brought back memories of three other Presidential candidates.

First is Wendell Willkie, a corporate leader and Wall Street industrialist from Indiana who had never run for public office, who wowed the Republican convention in 1940 with his charisma, rhetoric, and attack on “career politicians”.  He was able to win the Republican Presidential nomination in 1940, and run a good but losing race against the master politician, Franklin D. Roosevelt, running for an unprecedented third term.

Next is George C. Wallace, Governor of Alabama, who formed the American Independent Party in 1968, rallying those opposed to the Civil Rights laws passed under Lyndon B. Johnson.  He attracted angry working class whites, and won 13.5 % of the popular vote, the fourth best percentage for a third party in American history.  He also won five Southern states and 46 electoral votes, making him the second best in total states and electoral votes in American history, only behind former President Theodore Roosevelt, who won six states and 88 electoral votes as the nominee of the third party known as the Progressive (Bull Moose) party, in 1912.  TR also is the only third party nominee to end up second, rather than third in the election results.  His campaign in 1912 decimated the Republican Party under President William Howard Taft, and helped to elect Democrat Woodrow Wilson.

And then we have Ross Perot, a billionaire businessman who had never run for public office, who ran an independent race twice, winning nearly 19 percent of the vote in 1992, and 8 percent of the vote in 1996, while winning no states in the Electoral College.  He appealed to those who were disgusted with the federal government, and worried about the growing national debt.  His candidacy undermined the Republican Party nominees, President George H. W. Bush in 1992 and Senator Bob Dole in 1996, and elected Democrat Bill Clinton twice.

Now we have Donald Trump, a billionaire, who has developed an appeal to those who are disillusioned with politics and the federal government, making him similar to Perot.  But Trump also appeals to the baser instincts in many people, those who dislike African Americans, Latinos, immigrants in general, in these ways having similar views  to Wallace.  These Trump supporters  also think women should not be treated equally, preferring the old image of women who should cook, clean, and be available for the sexual satisfaction of their men, but with no rights over their bodies and reproduction,  similar to the Tea Party Movement.  Also, there is a distaste for labor rights, and for the environment, and an orientation toward absolute belief in religion as the gospel, and a repudiation of science.

Can Trump “storm” the Republican Party, as Wendell Willkie did in 1940; or will he run on a third party, like Ross Perot, and make it impossible for the GOP to win the White House?  And will Trump continue to appeal to the George Wallace type voters, and promote a right wing populism as Wallace did?

This is what is yet to be evolving, but in many ways, Trump is a combination, right now, of Willkie, Wallace, and Perot!

The Best Republican In 2012: Jon Huntsman! The Best Republican In 2016: John Kasich! But Not An Endorsement!

There is no debate that former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman was the best Republican in the Presidential campaign of 2012. He had the best credentials, including real foreign policy expertise, and unwillingness to take crazy, extremist stands on issues or to make nutty statements. Of course, it got him nowhere, and he gave up running for President again long ago!

Now in 2016, there is no question that out of a horrible group of potential Republican Presidential candidates that Ohio Governor and former House Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich is easily the best potential nominee in 2016.

Kasich was very late in announcing, doing so only this week, and being ignored in all of the hype about Donald Trump, who has taken all of the oxygen out of the room with his rantings and ravings, and insults against anyone who criticizes him, whether fellow Republican contenders or the news media.

But Kasich is the most experienced of all of the potential GOP nominees, and has avoided coming across as a right wing extremist in his statements. He is clearly a conservative, but considered in the “mainstream”, whatever that means.

No one is saying, certainly not this blogger, that he is about to vote for John Kasich if he was the GOP nominee.

And no one is saying that everything he has said and done is endorsed or acceptable. He has shortcomings as everyone else does, but in comparison, he comes across as the best alternative IF the Republicans were to win the Presidential Election of 2016. His stands on immigration, education, and Medicaid make him better than any alternative the Republicans have.

In many ways, John Kasich is the alternative to Jeb Bush, to whom he has been compared, but has much more experience than Bush has had, and avoids the connection to the Bush name.

And lately, Jeb Bush has been making horrible statements of his views, which seem to be catering to the Tea Party crowd, while Kasich so far is seen as less willing to cater.

Having said that, Kasich has just made some terrible statements about climate change (that nothing should be done as it is God’s will) and about military intervention in the Middle East, making one worry that he could be linking up with the neoconservatives, who took us into the Iraq War, similar in that regard to Jeb Bush.

So again, this is not an endorsement, but simply recognition that were the nation forced to accept a Republican President, John Kasich is the best of a terrible crop of candidates!

The Five Worst, Most Dangerous Republican Presidential Candidates!

The Republican Party is offering us a disgraceful group of candidates for the Presidency, with most of them being an embarrassment to the glorious history of the party historically!

The Republican Party was the party of the Civil War and the end of slavery!

The Republican Party was the party, originally, of progressivism in the early 20th century!

The Republican Party was the party of moderate centrism, under Dwight D. Eisenhower, and offered many governors and senators who were moderate centrists or moderate progressives, in the image of Nelson Rockefeller, in the years after Ike was in the White House!

But since the time of Ronald Reagan, the Republican party has moved so far to the Right and been captured by Christian conservatives and Tea Party extremists, who have moved the party out of the mainstream. The party has allowed itself to be influenced by Fox News Channel and talk show hosts, such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Michael Savage, and Laura Ingraham!

So we have a group of candidates, some of which can be seen as the worst, most dangerous candidates imaginable!

We would include in the list of five worst, most dangerous Republican Presidential candidates the following:

Donald Trump
Ted Cruz
Mike Huckabee
Scott Walker
Rick Santorum

Any of these five would be especially threatening to the nation’s future, both in domestic and foreign policy! Luckily, only Walker, at this point, seems a real threat, but Trump is taking all of the oxygen out of the room with his divisive candidacy, including personal insults against all of his opponents.

In so doing, he is insuring a Republican party loss by a massive landslide in the Presidential Election of 2016!

Proper Republican Strategy: Attack Donald Trump Or Ignore Him? Neither Will Help GOP Brand!

The Republican Party is in deep trouble, as Donald Trump has now emerged in first place in some public opinion polls, passing Jeb Bush, and leaving everyone else far behind.

This brings up the issue: What is the proper Republican strategy to deal with Trump, attack him or ignore him?

In reality, neither will help the GOP brand!

If the decision is to attack him, Trump will be infuriated, and will strike back and set out to destroy the GOP totally. He will bluster and bloviate, and will have the means to form an independent movement or third party.

If the Republicans choose NOT to attack and, therefore, to ignore him, they will be complicit in his racist and nativist viewpoints, which many of them actually agree with.

No political party can succeed now or in the future which sets out to demonize ethnic minorities, because, like it or not, the nation is becoming more diverse, and will be minority majority within three decades, counting Hispanic and Latino Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans.

There is no way to bring back, even if people wished it, a mostly white Anglo America, as that is not going to happen.

The rapidly aging white Anglo population is dying off, and the nation and the Republican Party MUST face reality.

But is that likely to happen for 2016?

The answer is NO, and therefore, the GOP is rapidly becoming a dinosaur, and trying to make voting more difficult will require more effort to overcome such restrictions through the courts and through political action to register voters and meet the onerous requirements that some Republican governed states have put on the elderly, the poor, college students, and racial minorities in a purposeful manner.

And with a Democratic President, a likely Democratic Senate, and a possible Democratic House of Representatives, the Republicans will be marginalized further. And a Democratic President will have the ability to insure that the Supreme Court and lower federal courts move to the left, and overcome the conservative influence of Ronald Reagan, and the two Presidents Bush.

Once constitutional law goes back to the Warren Court image of the 1950s through the 1970s, the country will have been transformed in a way that the Republicans will never recover, until they abandon the far right image they have developed over recent years. Only then will the Tea Party influence finally dissolve and disappear!

From Strom Thurmond To Paul Thurmond: Is The Civil War Finally Over In The South?

South Carolina, which started the Civil War at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, MAY have finally conceded defeat on June 23, 2015, with the courageous speech by State Senator Paul Thurmond, son of the notorious segregationist and racist Governor and Senator Strom Thurmond, who made his career on racial division.

A burden to the Democratic Party, when Lyndon B. Johnson was able to overcome Southern Democrats and conservative Republicans, and courageously get through Congress the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Senator Strom Thurmond quickly switched to the Republican Party, and over the next generation, the Confederate South transferred its loyalties to the Republican Party, despite their hatred of the party because of Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and Reconstruction.

The Republicans welcomed and embraced the segregationists, and did whatever they could to appeal to the prejudices of many Southern whites, rather than elevate them to a level of tolerance and open mindedness.

And when the Supreme Court damaged the Voting Rights Act in a 2013 decision, it was Republican state legislatures and Governors who rushed to pass voter restriction laws, designed to harm African Americans and other minorities, as well as the poor, reminding us of what had happened after Reconstruction ended in the late 19th century. They were not afraid to show their purpose, to deny people the vote on flimsy grounds, and showed no conscience.

This sudden transformation after the Charleston Massacre is what finally brought out the truth, that the Republicans have been promoting racism, and even after the disaster, many Republican office holders and Presidential candidates were slow to react.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was hesitant to call for removal of the Confederate Flag, but finally did so under duress, but it was state Senator Paul Thurmond, son of Strom Thurmond, who showed true courage and guts in denouncing what his father had stood for, and saying the flag must be removed.

There are still plenty of bigoted Southerners in South Carolina and elsewhere, who rushed to buy Confederate flags, shirts, and other paraphernalia, but thank goodness that Walmart, Ebay, Amazon and other retailers announced the end of such sales yesterday.

It is time for the Republican Party nationally to stop voting restriction laws, and truly compete for the African American vote and the Hispanic-Latino vote too, and also to stop the attack on women and on gays and lesbians, as they are now the party of so much hate. The white racist vote is rapidly declining, and the GOP is living in the past, reveling in its promotion of narrow mindedness and intolerance!

We are all in this together as a nation, and the Republican Party must change dramatically, and must repudiate the Tea Party Movement whackos, or it will expire in the near future!