Day: September 18, 2010

John Boehner And Mitch McConnell: Watch Out For Challenges To Your Leadership In Congress!

The Republican establishment, particularly the leaders of the party in both houses of Congress, had better watch out if the party gains control of either or both houses of Congress! You might be regretful that your party gained power, as you are under threat and are in the cross hairs of Tea Party types and sympathizers, who are very likely to try to seize control of the party leadership from you before you even realize it! ๐Ÿ™

I am referring here to so called “Speaker of the House” John Boehner of Ohio, and so called “Senate Majority Leader” Mitch McConnell of Kentucky! Both of you gentlemen are an “endangered species”, with the word “gentle” soon to be not in vogue in Washington DC! ๐Ÿ™

Who are the threats to the leadership of John Boehner? There are four names that stick out, with two in particular–Mike Pence of Indiana, who just won the straw vote at the so called Values Summit, and is considered likely to seek the Presidency on a very socially conservative platform, but has worked at wooing the Tea Party Movement activists; and Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Minority Whip, who often has had tough relations with Boehner, and has now published a book, YOUNG GUNS, with two other conservatives who, like him, are politically ambitious and flirt with the Tea Party Movement–Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and Kevin McCarthy of California! Does Boehner really think he will be able to sleep at night with these four colleagues, and particularly Pence and Cantor, hot on his heels? ๐Ÿ™

And who is the threat to Mitch McConnell, that should have him worried? The answer is a whole slew of potential Senators–Tea Party Favorites–including Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sharron Angle of Nevada, Mike Lee of Utah, Ken Buck of Colorado, Joe Miller of Alaska, Linda McMahon of Connecticut, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Christine O’Donnell of Delaware–all of whom were not supported by the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee and its head, Senator John Cornyn of Texas–but won the nominations against candidates endorsed by that committee! ๐Ÿ™

And who would they, or many of them, be likely to back for Senate Majority Leader? The answer is Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who has declared himself the leader of the Tea Party revolt, and is supported by such as James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who might wish to be Senate Majority Whip! ๐Ÿ™

This is a horrifying scenario in both houses, IF the GOP gains the majority! And even if they don’t, the present leaders could still face the axe by disappointed rebels who would desire to “purge” the party leadership and move it to the extreme right!

So there will be an interesting next few months for the GOP, whether they actually gain the majority in either house of Congress, or just come close!

As stated many times earlier in this blog, the future of the Republican Party hangs in the balance, as to whether it will be a legitimate opposition party with any future after the attempted takeover by the Tea Party Movement! ๐Ÿ™

159 Years Of The New York Times: No Better Historical News Source!

Today, September 18, in the year 1851, the venerable New York Times began publication!

It became the “newspaper of record” early in the 20th century and has remained so ever since!

Without the NY Times, scholars in all fields, and particularly historians such as myself, would have been unable to do the writing and publication of much human knowledge!

It has always been the most thorough, most complete source of national and international news, as well as local New York City news, the arts, business, and sports!

It has been the source of the best book review, and a much respected Sunday magazine, as well as a succinct review of the week’s news on Sunday!

It has been the only newspaper to have an index that covers the entire history of the newspaper, from 1851 to the present, and without it, one cannot mine the paper, or compare coverage to other newspapers!

It has won more Pulitzer Prizes than any other newspaper, 101, throughout its history!

The NY Times has been the center of controversy over its long history, sometimes for reporting stories that were considered secret, such as the Pentagon Papers, and other times for deciding not to publish information that many feel should have been published in the national interest!

Also, the NY Times has had its cases, as many newspaper and other journalism sources, of created news stories having no factual basis, due to poor journalistic ethics of some of its reporters over the years!

The NY Times has been attacked by every Presidential administration, and by members of Congress and state and local officials, but that has only proved the value of this exceptional newspaper!

Sadly, the New York Times has had problems in recent years, with advertising revenues down, circulation of its paper having troubles, and the undermining of all newspapers by the reality of the internet! The availability of the internet has really hurt the long term prospects of the paper in print form, and it seems likely that soon the NY Times will start a policy of charging for online access, which would be a blow to many readers and scholars who might choose, or be forced for economic reasons, to lose the ability to stay in touch with the best print source in America!

The author personally cannot imagine doing without the NY Times, so will have to shell out for access, as this newspaper is simply a national treasure that cannot be allowed to dwindle in public availability, as that would be the undermining of the knowledge base, the exposure of truth, and the education of the American people about their world and their constantly evolving democracy, through good and bad times!

In any case, Happy Birthday, New York Times, and many, many more years of excellent work in the future! ๐Ÿ™‚

Banks Hate Elizabeth Warren: Great Reason For Obama Appointment as Head Of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau!

Yesterday, President Obama made one of his very best appointments in 20 months in office, when he chose Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren as the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau!

By making her a Presidential adviser, he gives her a seat at the table, able to consult regularly with Obama, and he avoids a difficult confirmation fight with the Republicans in the Senate, since presidential advisers do not need Senate confirmation, so he is gaining her involvement without the headache of a partisan battle!

Of course, the GOP will be upset, but who cares? And, of course, the banking industry is furious, because Warren has been a major critic for years of how banks treat consumers!

Warren has called for a short, explainable mortgage agreement, which would prevent banks from bilking consumers of billions of dollars in undisclosed fees, and deny banks the ability to confuse consumers with long pages of legalese! She would also prevent unwarranted, burdensome fees imposed by credit card companies, and force auto loans to be disclosed in exact details as to fees and charges! Additionally, student loans would be accomplished with the end of banking abuses!

The more the banks hate Warren, the more we as consumers should love her! And the Republican and conservative opposition to her, as a person who speaks for the people, should be responded to as opposition to the interests of the country, and be reacted to at the polls by a smashing repudiation! ๐Ÿ™

Advice To Sarah Palin: Why You Should NOT Run For President!

Sarah Palin is extremely popular among a certain percentage of the American people, and many people think she should run for President in 2012. Behind the scenes, many Republicans, both those planning to run and others in positions of leadership or influence, hope she will not run, as they fear that she could weaken the party and cause a massive defeat in 2012, negating any gains that might be made in the midterm elections in November!

Sarah Palin will have to decide in the next six to nine months, at the most, whether she will plunge into the race! It is extremely doubtful that she will read, watch or listen to anyone who she sees as a naysayer, but in any case, the author will explain below why Sarah should NOT run!

1. You have a family that really needs you to spend more time at home! You have a disabled son who needs his mother more than he has you around! You have two daughters who need to have their mother in their life more, so that they will not become pregnant while in high school, and before they are married! Your husband could use you to be more involved in family matters, than in self promotion for one’s own ego!

2. You need to be honest, Sarah! You are a person who is very attractive in person, and seems very energetic and enthusiastic when you speak in public! But you have shown no evidence of having any great knowledge about economics, science, or international relations! You don’t seem to read very much, or have much interest in learning from others, including those who may disagree with you! You allow your religious beliefs to overwhelm common sense and to shape your public statements! You are intellectually inferior to the challenges of making tough decisions, as you have never had to do anything significant as Governor of Alaska, a state with the population the size of a congressional district! You might have great advisors as President, although you might also be subject to manipulation by others and make bad choices, as for instance Richard Nixon did when he was President! Would you really want to have to be awakened in the middle of the night to make a tough, immediate decision, when you have no experience in any political position that you have not quit because of boredom or lack of interest?

3. Running for President is HARD work, something you are adverse to, Sarah! Pat Buchanan, who ran for President a few times, makes clear that it is hard, retail work, not all glory and fame! You would have to be involved in debates with your Republican challengers and with the President of the United States! You would have to face interviews with media of all kinds, and if you refused to do so, you would be bitterly attacked, and not only by Democrats, but also Republicans! You would have to take definite stands on issues, and would make a lot of enemies, and your crowds would include many who do NOT adulate you, and you are not good at accepting criticism! You are a lazy person, who will not like being on camera and audio for 18 hours a day, will not like being second guessed all of the time, and will discover for the first time in your life what real WORK is! Sarah, do you really want to put yourself through all this? Think hard about it, Sarah, before you take the step that will change your life, and wear you down, and even have the effect of aging you earlier than necessary!

4. You will have to give up your lucrative income, as you cannot charge for speeches at universities and political gatherings anymore, if you run for President! You will not be able to have a reality series on cable anymore, and will not have time to write more books with shadow assistance, to gain royalties! It is so much more fun to endorse others, and speak for others, and keep your Fox News Channel salary, and have Sean Hannity, Bill O”Reilly, and Glenn Beck fawn and gush over you! Do you really want to give all of this up, which has given you at least $12 million income, if not more, in the past two years?

5. Finally, John McCain honored you and made you what you are, a multimillionaire, which you never would have been without him! You owe him a debt of gratitude that cannot be fully repaid, and he has been very good to you, and supportive of you ever since he chose you to run with him for Vice President! But isn’t it your responsibility to be thankful, and also realistic, about your talents, abilities, and character? Should you not look in the mirror and realize that you have been put into a position in public affairs way beyond your own reality, and that you need to be appreciative, but not burden your party and the nation with unsightly ambitions, which would, if by some freak chance, led to the White House, would be a danger to the American future? Not everyone, in fact most people, who may fantasize about being President should be President, as this is a position that requires the BEST among us, not just any average American! And yes, there certainly are women who could be qualified to be President, but face the facts, YOU ARE NOT ONE OF THEM, SARAH! Stop living in a fantasy of your own making, Sarah, and do what is right for you, your family, and the country: ANNOUNCE SOON YOU ARE NOT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, so that we can focus and concentrate on those who ARE qualified to compete in running for the White House! It would be the patriotic thing to do, to recognize your own limitations, and be thankful for the role you already have in political life!

Assuredly, this advice from the author will NOT be paid attention to, or even noticed by Sarah Palin, but this is a heartfelt appeal for reason, rather than emotion, to control her decision making process!

Fighting For The “Soul” Of The Republican Party: Internal Struggles in Florida, Delaware And Alaska!

It is good to see that some Republicans, considered moderates, are refusing to allow the Tea Party Movement reactionaries to seize control of their party without a fight!

First, we had Charlie Crist, who decided to run as an Independent for the US Senate in Florida, and has a good chance to defeat Marco Rubio, the GOP and Tea Party nominee for that seat!

Then, we had Congressman Mike Castle of Delaware, who has refused to endorse Christine O’Donnell for the Senate after she defeated him in the primary this week, because of her lies and distortions, along with her lack of qualifications!

Now, belatedly, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is attempting to do something only one Senator ever has achieved–win the election by write ins only! Only Strom Thurmond of South Carolina accomplished that in 1954 as a Democrat! Murkowski lost the Senate nomination by a very small margin to Joe Miller, who she and many describe as an extremist with loony views! She attributes her defeat to her earlier unwillingness to come out fighting against him!

Of course, this Murkowski attempt at a write in victory will be very difficult, but she is well known and liked throughout the state, and her father also was Senator and Governor of Alaska! This is also a personal battle between the Murkowski family and Sarah Palin! The likelihood is that this move by Murkowski will fail, but help Democrat Scott McAdams to win the Senate seat!

The odds are that these internal revolts in the GOP will help the Democrats to keep control of the Senate and lose fewer seats than often imagined in the polls!

And should Murkowski pull out a miracle victory, and Crist win and even organize with the Republicans who have repudiated him (which seems highly unlikely), we will still be better off with two “moderate” Republicans than with two right wing fanatics in the Senate!

The future of the Republican party as an opposition is to be what they were historically–a centrist party leaning to the right, just as the Democratic Party is a centrist party leaning to the left–the mainstream where most Americans are then and now!

The worst possible scenario would be if the “Tea Party Eight” all won Senate seats, as that would be a nightmare not just for the Democratic party and the nation, but also for Senator Mitch McConnell and other establishment Republican leaders in the upper chamber!

Using The Power Of The Majority: Finally, The Democrats Are Taking Action On Important Legislation!

With less than seven weeks to the midterm elections, the Obama Administration is coming out swinging, ready to assert the power of the majority, something the Republicans know how to do when they are the majority!

With the threat that the Republicans might regain the majority, the Democrats are finally moving to take action that may not succeed, but will at least show their intentions!

A small business bill has made it through the Senate, with the help of two “Georges” who are not seeking reelection, and have broken with the Republican filibuster. Senator George Voinovich of Ohio and Senator George LeMieux of Florida broke the filibuster on the legislation, making it a 61-38 vote to pass the bill.

Meanwhile, a Pentagon appropriations bill next week will be the moment where the Democrats in the Senate try to push through the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military, and also push through the DREAM Act, which would allow children of illegal immigrants who are in the US through no action of their own, but arrived before age 16, have lived here for at least five years, have graduated high school, and have been in college for two years or served two years in the military, to become American citizens!

It is possible that the GOP will block passasge, but if so, it can be used as a campaign issue against them! It is long overdue for the Democrats to play hardball, and not worry about bipartisanship and cooperation since the Republican Party clearly declared war on the Obama Administration on Day One!

It is time for action on gay rights and immigration, and even though the Democrats have a low rating on their Congressional performance in Gallup polls, the GOP has an even lower score, so let them continue to bottleneck and blockade, and they will, hopefully, suffer at the polls on November 2!