Day: November 10, 2009

Delay On Health Care Likely, Despite Bill Clinton’s Plea To Senators

Former President Bill Clinton addressed the Senate Democrats in a private meeting today, but that did not change the reality, as Illinois Senator Dick Durbin made it clear that the most that can be hoped for by Christmas is that the Senate might pass its own health care bill.

But, of course, the conference committee must then reconcile the bills from the House and Senate, and that will not be an easy task. It might just be impossible, in reality.

Both Clinton and President Obama have made clear that the Democrats will suffer in next year’s midterm elections if no bill is passed into law, that even if the bill is not perfect, lack of action will be worse.

I tend to agree with this assessment, but the likelihood is that IF a bill finally does pass over many hurdles and obstacles, it will be in the spring of 2010, not Christmas! 🙁

The Scandal About Veterans As Veterans Day Approaches: Homelessness!

A new report reveals that, on the average on any given day, 131,000 veterans are homeless, and over a year, double that number are homeless at any point of time.

This information was revealed by the Veterans Affairs Department and Senator Bob Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey.

This news just adds to the traditional view that we have dedicated men and women who offer their service, and often their lives, to their country’s security, and yet, our country has been remiss in its treatment of our soldiers when they return wounded physically or mentally, and when they have trouble finding work, and when they need our help as thanks for their service.

It is so much easier to send troops to war than take responsibility for them after they have done their service! This is a national scandal, and it is time to change the way government deals with our heroes.

The fact that the Obama Administration has brought attention to this crisis is an encouraging sign that we may finally have a Presidency dedicated to real commitment to those people who keep us safe and secure from harm!

Congressional Term Limits Amendment Arises Again: Terrible Idea!

A group of conservative Republicans is reviving an idea that failed years ago: Congressional term limits. This is, of course, as likely to happen as men landing on Mars in the next decade! LOL There is no way that Congress will vote to limit its own terms!

This proposal by Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, arguably two of the worst members of the Senate in its history, makes sense if you look at the authors of the proposal, but is pure demagoguery for political purposes and would not be a good development were it to happen in reality!

Their idea is that Senate service should be twelve years or two terms, and House service should be just six years, or three two year terms.

The first question that arises is why the difference in term limits for the two houses, which automatically will make it dead upon arrival. What makes the Senate think it is more important, that therefore it should have twice as much time for service than the House?

Secondly, it fails to hold accountable the average American voter who needs to be held responsible for who is in office, by paying attention to the issues and the incumbents’s records while serving. If the people are informed and unhappy at the performance of their public officials, then they have the option every two years to throw out a Congressman, and every six years to dismiss a Senator to retirement.

Third, if we were to limit officeholders to such short terms of service, then it would mean experience and competence would be thrown out the window, and we would lose many competent, outstanding senators and representatives and have them replaced by political hacks who see the position of serving in Congress as a temporary honor with no commitment to doing good service, but rather favoring special interests to promote their own aggrandizement once they leave the brief public service. It would also give congressional staff members ultimate power because of experience having dealt with the issues of government longer than the actual congressional membership.

Public service should be seen as a commitment and welcome the best among us in society, not to banish them after a preset amount of time. Would we want anyone in any field of work who can contribute good service, such as doctors, lawyers, professors, journalists, engineers, etc, to be told they cannot make a career for which they have major ability to contribute, because of the narrow mindedness of some inferior legislators who do not see public service as a calling, but rather an opportunity to promote an ideological agenda?

Do we really want to lose future Henry Clays, Daniel Websters, Robert LaFollettes, Hubert Humphreys, Robert Tafts, Arthur Vandenbergs, Robert Doles, Ted Kennedys, Sam Rayburns, Thomas O’Neills, and many other distinguished public servants?

I say NO, that the answer is not term limits, but imposing real limits on fundraising by pressure groups on political campaigns, and the need to impose real ethics reforms so that Congress will truly represent the viewpoints of the American people, and not the corrupt intentions of corporate interests that make us mistrust our government leaders.

Executive term limits are one thing–on Presidents, governors and mayors–who individually have real ability to abuse power by unlimited terms. But legislators, not having the same individual power as executives, are best left to the term limits established by the American people at the election booths!