US House Of Representatives

December 19, 1998: The Impeachment Of Bill Clinton! A Day Which Will Live In Infamy!

On this day 16 years ago, the Republican controlled House of Representatives voted charges of impeachment against President Bill Clinton!

Two charges, perjury and obstruction of justice, gained a party line majority vote, and the 42 nd President faced trial in January and February 1999, and was found not guilty, with only 45 votes for conviction on perjury, and 50 votes for conviction on obstruction of justice, with 67 votes needed to convict and remove. Ten and five Republicans supported Clinton on the two counts, and all Democrats supported the President, while 45 and 50 Republicans voted to convict.

The impeachment and trial was a mockery, with no just cause, just an attempt to besmirch the reputation of Bill Clinton, but it failed, in the sense that Clinton came out shining, growing in popularity, and this has continued since 1999.

So any attempt to impeach Barack Obama will have the same effect, with the same result, but that does not mean that the Republicans, with 54 Senators now, instead of 55, will avoid moving toward impeachment, since the GOP is much more right wing now than even in 1998-1999!

Historic Action Of Barack Obama On Changing Isolation Policy Toward Cuba!

When history is recorded on the Obama Presidency, the President’s move to end the isolation of Cuba, a failed policy for 54 years, will be high on the list of accomplishments!

The decision under Dwight D. Eisenhower to start an embargo on Cuba on January 17, 1961, was an historic mistake that has failed to bring down the regime of Fidel and Raul Castro.

Who would have thought that, through thick and thin, and even without Soviet support for the past 20 years, that the Castro brothers would have the continuation of the longest personal dictatorship in modern times, surviving through eleven Presidencies?

It is not an issue of endorsing the harsh dictatorship of Fidel and Raul Castro, as that, rightfully, has been, and continues to be, something worth condemning.

But if we were to decide not to deal with governments that are oppressive, then we would not have diplomatic relations with much of the world, and certainly not with China and Vietnam, but Richard Nixon opened up to China; Jimmy Carter established diplomatic ties to China; and Bill Clinton established diplomatic ties with Vietnam, a scant generation after 58,000 Americans died in the disastrous Vietnam War!

The Castro Brothers, in their mid to high 80s are on the way out, and Raul has said he will retire in 2018, and there is no obvious family heir, so the opportunity to influence the future of the island is likely by America having diplomatic relations with Cuba, and promoting trade, travel and opening up to American influence.

The Congress should lift the embargo, but even if they do not, short term, the failed policy is on its way out, and a majority of Americans support opening up to Cuba.

Barack Obama has been a profile in courage on this, and Senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Robert Menendez, and House members Ileana Ros Lehtinen, and Mario Diaz Balart, and other Cuban American politicians are living in the past, with their narrow minded views on their homeland to go into the dustbin of history! The older generation in Florida and elsewhere may still be bitterly opposed to change, but the younger generation supports opening up to Cuba, which will have a massive short range and long range effect on that nation!

Presidents In Last Two Years In Office: Tradition Of Opposition Congress And Little Legislation Accomplished!

When one looks back at the past century of Presidential history, it is clear that it is common for the President to have to deal with an opposition Congress in the last two years of his tenure, and in two cases, a divided Congress in the last two years in the White House.

This, of course, means little can be accomplished, other than by judicial appointments, and by executive orders, as significant legislation is unlikely.

Look at the list of Presidents who dealt with opposition Congresses in their last two years:

Woodrow Wilson–1919-1920
Dwight D. Eisenhower–1959-1960
Richard Nixon–1973-1974
Gerald Ford–1975-1976
Ronald Reagan–1987-1988
George H. W. Bush–1991-1992
Bill Clinton 1999-2000
George W. Bush–2007-2008
Barack Obama–2015-2016

Add to this list two Presidents who had a divided Congress in their last two years:

William Howard Taft–1911-1912–Democratic House and Republican Senate
Herbert Hoover–1931-1932–Democratic House and Republican Senate

So if all the Presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama are counted, it means ELEVEN Presidents faced a Congress unfriendly to them in the last two years of office, with only TR, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Jimmy Carter having “friendly” Congresses in their last two years, with Warren G. Harding and John F. Kennedy in office too short a term to qualify, since they died in office, unlike Gerald Ford, who actually completed a short term.

So 11 of 17 Presidents, two thirds of the total, have had to deal with the reality of the decline of their ability to control events, other than judicial appointments and executive orders!

Tom Coburn Blocks Funding To Prevent Veteran Suicides, Now 22 Per Day, As He Leaves The US Senate

Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is about to leave the US Senate after ten years, and six previous years in the US House of Representatives.

Coburn has been one of the absolutely worst members of Congress, known as MR. NO, constantly blocking action on numerous pieces of legislation by using “senatorial privilege” to use a personal block to prevent legislation he does not like. He has abused his position in the Senate, and will NOT be missed by anyone who believes in rational, decent behavior, which Coburn seems incapable of!

Coburn has opposed abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and gay rights, and has supported gun rights and the death penalty. He has also been against deficit spending and pork barrel projects to the extreme. He has also worked against environmentalists on a regular basis, in that joining his Oklahoma colleague, Senator James Inhofe, making Oklahoma the state with the combination of the two worst Senators of any state in the Union!

Coburn is a medical doctor, an obstetrician, who, however, has opposed Obama Care. His commitment to life is clearly, a mixed one, as he has now caused outrage in opposing a bill to promote veterans suicide prevention, which is at 22 veterans per day, complaining it would not work, and that its $22 million cost is too much. This is beyond belief, as $22 million is a literal drop in the bucket of the federal government budget, and is supported by a vast margin of the US Senate and House, as the least that can be done to stem the suicide epidemic facing former military personnel.

The whole concept of “Senatorial privilege” to use a personal block to stop a bill should be ended, as no member of Congress all by himself or herself, should be able to stop what a vast majority of the Congress wishes to do!

How can this Senator sleep at night, and we can all hope that he will drop his opposition to this bill before Congress adjourns, as there is no justification for his preventing what the vast majority of Congress supports! He can vote NO of course, but should not be able to block the legislation all on his own!

Virginia The Only “Blue” State In The Old South In 2015, In Regards To Governorship And Senators!

Who would ever have thought that Virginia, the capital of the Confederate States of America a century and a half ago, and the home of the Harry Byrd Dynasty for so long, resisting civil rights advancements, would end up the only state of the “Old South” to have a Democratic Governor, and two Democratic Senators going into 2015?

Terry McAuliffe, Mark Warner, and Tim Kaine are the only ones from the Democratic Party to be in office, although the state Congressional delegation is actually 8 Republicans and 3 Democrats.

Only Steve Beshear in border state Kentucky is a Democratic Governor, but he is term limited and leaves at the end of 2015.

Only Bill Nelson in Florida is a Democratic Senator, other than the Virginians mentioned above, although Mary Landrieu in Louisiana has not yet lost her Senate seat, although seen as likely to lose it this coming weekend.

This historic transition from the Democratic to Republican Party in the Old South is now as complete as it has ever been!

A Need For A Constitutional Amendment To Insure Ability Of Any President To Promote His Or Her Agenda

It is very clear that there is a dire need for a constitutional amendment to insure that when a President is elected, that he or she is able to set goals and get them accomplished, as the present stalemate makes it impossible.

The concept that a member of the House of Representatives should have to be, constantly, engaged in raising funds for every election on a two year basis, is long overdue for change, as it would encourage more attempts to accomplish an agenda, if the term was four years, instead of two. Since 90 percent of the House, on the average, wins reelection every two years, it would be much better if election campaigns only occurred in Presidential years, once every four years.

If a Presidential candidate has enough coattails to carry in a majority of his or her own party, all to the good, as it would make our government, therefore, more productive. If the election for the Presidency is close, then the President might have to deal with an opposition Congress, but the election results will indicate the need to promote compromise to get things done. With the House knowing it faced elections in only every Presidential year, that would encourage more across the aisle negotiations, to show evidence that these members of the House are trying to achieve the ideas and programs that the American people have made clear should be the priorities.

As far as the US Senate is concerned, an amendment should be advocated that would either make the members of that body serve a four year term in tandem with the House in Presidential years, OR have half the Senate elected every four years, and the other half at the next four year cycle of Presidential elections, making for an eight year term for each Senator. Since most Senators also get reelected, under ordinary circumstances, it would not be harmful to make their election cycles become, also, less often, so the eight year term is better than the four year term.

At the same time, such an amendment for both Houses of Congress should set a term limit that would be enforced for the future, with no member of the House or Senate to have more than a maximum of 32 years, meaning eight House terms or four Senate terms, with the only variable being that a different half of the Senate is elected every Presidential election year, with each state having one Senator elected at one election, and then each state having the other Senator elected in the next Presidential election year.

Since the average person has a 30 year career before retiring, requiring no more than 32 years would make it likely we would have fewer members of Congress at very advanced ages, although there would not be an actual age limit per se!

Commentary on this idea of a constitutional change is invited!

Right Wing Hate For Barack Obama Far Surpasses Any Criticism Of Any Earlier President!

The right wing hate, led by the Tea Party Movement, for President Barack Obama, has reached the point of no return, and has FAR surpassed any criticism of any earlier President!

Whether it is talk radio, with Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage and others of their ilk; or Fox News Channel spewing poison and lies consistently; or the right wing think tanks, headed by the Heritage Foundation and others who distort facts and have an agenda to promote an oligarchy; or the super wealthy, such as the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and others who are trying to destroy the middle class and promote their own profits at the expense of the entire nation; or the conservative journals of opinion, such as the Weekly Standard and the National Review, which promote their extremist agenda; or the lunatic House members, such as Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, Steve King and others; or the right wing extremist Senators, including Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, newly elected Thom Tillis and Joni Ernst and others; as well as the leadership of many corporations and other special interests—there is a concerted campaign to destroy Barack Obama, with many wishing for his demise, meaning his death by whatever means possible.

Obama is more threatened now than any President since Abraham Lincoln, and in many respects, more than Lincoln, since the population is ten times what it was during the Civil War 150 years ago!

The venom, disrespect, racism, hatred, and accusations against Barack Obama have not had any limits. He has been accused of being a Muslim, a Kenyan, an Indonesian, anti Semitic, a racist against whites, a person who is bisexual, a gay man, an illegal drug abuser, having a mother who was a whore, having a different father who was a black nationalist, and much more.

Obama has been called an Emperor, a King, an abuser of Presidential power, but at the same time, he is weak and wimpy.

Sensible people see Obama as a moderate Republican of twenty to thirty years ago, not at all extreme, as Bruce Bartlett who worked for Ronald Reagan has said, who also says in many ways Obama is a traditional conservative, who has not done what liberals and progressives have wanted him to do.

On issues of human rights, Obama has been more aggressive, such as labor rights, civil rights, and gay and lesbian rights. On issues of importance to the future beyond our own time, he has supported the need for an aggressive policy on environmental protection.

But Obama has pushed a health care plan that the Heritage Foundation and Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole backed twenty years ago, giving health care companies control over health care, not exactly radical in nature, although depicted as such.

Obama has been attacked and criticized for every sin and fault imaginable, including wearing a tan suit; going on vacation (actually less than any recent President); using a veto power that he has only used twice; using executive orders less than any recent President; being unwilling to engage us in more wars and interventions, etc.

Through all the personal and policy attacks, Obama has always acted with dignity and calm, annoying the hell out of his critics, who want him to be the “angry black man”, and the leaders of the Republican Party, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, give him no respect at all.

And now, the idea is being suggested by the despicable editor Richard Lowry of the National Review, that John Boehner decide not to invite the President to give his State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress!

Go ahead, right wingers, do exactly that, and the President will speak instead from the Oval Office, and will win public opinion, and show once and for all what the right wing nuts represent! If he chooses to denounce, finally, his right wing critics, who have gone beyond the pale in so many ways, it will boost his public opinion rating, just as Bill Clinton’s ratings went up after the impeachment effort against him in 1998-1999!

Expect that Obama will face impeachment by this right wing crowd, but he will come out shining as a result, and will not be removed from office. All it will do is show the Republican Party and the right wing for what they are–despicable hate mongers who will stop at nothing to destroy the 44th President of the United States!

The greatest fear is not impeachment, or not being invited to speak before a joint session of Congress, but the dangers against his life that Barack Obama faces every day, encouraged on in spirit, if not in direct statements publicly, by the opposition, which, again, is more hateful and vehement than any time since at least the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln!

Ohio Governor John Kasich Comes Across As Maverick To Tea Party Right Wingers–His Problem If He Seeks The GOP Presidential Nomination!

Ohio Governor John Kasich is, in many ways, one of the most qualified potential Republican nominees for President, but already, he has made enemies with the Tea Party Movement right wingers who dominate the party, and are likely to control the nomination process in caucuses and primaries in the early months of 2016.

Kasich has so many credentials that make him an ideal candidate for the GOP, including:

Kasich comes from Ohio, the single most crucial state in Presidential elections, with the fact that every President elected in the past 50 years has won Ohio.

Kasich’s state, Ohio, gave us six Republican Presidents between Ulysses S. Grant in 1868 and Warren G. Harding dying in office in 1923.

Kasich has the advantage of having run a state government of substantial size, seen as a plus over someone who has only served in Congress, and particularly, the Senate.

Kasich, however, has had long experience in Congress, having served as a Congressman from the 12th district from 1983-2001, a total of 18 years.

Kasich served as Budget Committee Chairman in the House of Representatives from 1995-2001, making him very knowledgeable on economic issues.

Kasich also has worked as a journalist, for Fox News Channel, and for awhile, had his own show on that channel, and he came across as an interesting speaker and commentator, more so than most on that right wing channel.

Kasich also worked as an investment banker on Wall Street, so has business experience, which most politicians do not have.

Kasich won a two to one victory in popular votes in his reelection efforts for the Governorship of Ohio in 2014, after a much closer race for his first term in 2010.

Kasich has an engaging personality, and has avoided divisive rhetoric in his career, and does not come across as looney or crazy or purely stupid, as many other potential GOP Presidential nominees have managed to do.

Kasich has avoided identification with the Religious Right, while converting from Catholicism to Evangelical Protestantism.

During his Congressional career, Kasich supported the Assault Weapons Ban passed under President Bill Clinton, which angered the National Rifle Association; fought to cut government spending on what he considered wasteful programs; and worked to cut corporate tax loopholes.

Kasich has always come across as having an independent streak, so he has accepted Medicaid expansion, which most other GOP governors have rejected, and he is not seen as a Tea Party supporter.

Kasich also has, just this past week, avoided attacking the immigration executive order of President Barack Obama, showing understanding of the plight of illegal immigrants, who, as he said, did wrong, but that realistically, there is no way to deport eleven million people, and instead we should bring them in from the shadows.

Kasich has made enemies on his stand against abortion, and his crackdown on labor unions, with the latter’s rights to collective bargaining curbed by Kasich, but then soundly defeated by voters in a referendum by 61-39 percent, and he then backed off and accepted the defeat in a gracious manner.

No one is saying that Kasich is desirable in comparison to any potential Democratic nominee for President. All that is being said is that he stands out as preferable to an independent or a Democrat who might be disillusioned, and that he has an image which allows for the possibility of his being a serious contender for the White House, if only he can make it past the primaries and caucuses, which is a major obstacle to any potential Presidential candidacy on his part!

The Democratic Party Winners In The 2014 Midterm Elections!

While the Democrats lost more seats in the House of Representatives, and lost 8-9 seats in the US Senate and majority control as a result, there WERE Democratic triumphs worthy of mention!

Jeanne Shaheen won a second term in the Senate, defeating Scott Brown in the New Hampshire Senate race.

Al Franken won a second term in the Senate in Minnesota.

Jeff Merkley won a second term in the Senate in Oregon.

Dick Durbin won a fourth term in the Senate in Illinois.

Chris Coons won a second term in the Senate in Delaware.

Ed Markey won a first full term in the Senate in Massachusetts, after having a special election victory in 2013 to replace Secretary of State John Kerry.

Cory Booker won a full Senate term in New Jersey.

Tom Udall won a second Senate term in New Mexico.

Jack Reed won a fourth Senate term in Rhode Island.

Mark Warner won a second Senate term in Virginia after a very close race with Ed Gillespie.

Brian Schatz won the remainder of a full term in the Senate from Hawaii.

Gary Peters was a new Senator elected in Michigan, to replace retiring Senator Carl Levin.

In the Governorship elections, Andrew Cuomo in New York and Jerry Brown in California won major victories, and also, Democrats kept or gained control of Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont–a total of ten victories. Their biggest win, however, was Tom Wolf, defeating Tom Corbett, making Pennsylvania, the sixth largest state, run by Democrats again!

It is not that Democrats have a total great number of victories, but it is worth mentioning that they are far from giving up on regaining the Senate in 2016, and many Governorships are likely to go to the Democrats as part of a “wave”, helped along by the strong likelihood of a Democratic Presidential nominee winning in 2016, and by a substantial majority in the Electoral College!

Ohio The Crucial State In Presidential Elections Since 1964! Republicans, Be Aware Of That Reality!

Ohio, the “Buckeye” state, is the crucial state in Presidential elections since 1964, with the winner in Ohio going on to win the election, and reside in the White House!

This makes it essential for the Republican Party to take this into consideration, and to nominate an Ohioan for the Presidency in 2016. It also makes it essential for Democrats to fight tooth and nail to win this state, although they could win the Electoral College without Ohio.

A recent assessment of the Electoral College theorizes that the Democrats may have the 270 electoral votes needed to win the Presidency in 2016, as the so called “blue” states add up to 257 electoral votes, including all of New England and the Northeast, down to the District of Columbia; the Midwest states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota; and the Western states of California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, and Hawaii. Add Virginia and its 13 electoral votes, and the fact that the state has gone “blue” in Senate and gubernatorial elections recently, and is influenced by the power of the Northern Virginia (DC suburbs) population, and you have the precise number of electoral votes needed.

But of course, the desire is not to barely win, so Ohio is crucial for Democrats, but also Republicans!

This author has said before that, therefore, the best choice for the GOP Presidential nomination is either Governor John Kasich or Senator Rob Portman, more than any others, but not even certain that either will run for the Presidency, or do well in the caucuses and primaries, starting in January 2016!

Kasich has accepted Medicaid funding for the poor in his state, and Portman has backed gay marriage after his son came out as gay, and these factors hurt both with the Tea Party base in the Republican Party.

On the other hand, Kasich has a long record of Congressional service in the past, and headed the House Budget Committee in the 1990s; and Portman was Budget Director under President George W. Bush.

Both are mild mannered, not the type to make outrageous or ridiculous or extremist statements, and both seem competent to serve as President, more than most of the other potential alternatives.

The GOP National Convention will be in Cleveland, and there is a good chance of the Democratic National Convention being in Columbus, so Ohio moves to the forefront as a major battleground for 2016, which should not be ignored by either party, but particularly the Republicans!

Realize that six Ohio Republicans went on to become President from 1868-1923—Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding!

Will the GOP be smart enough to do the right thing? Don’t bet on it!