Alan Simpson

44 Retired US Senators Speak Out On Constitutional Crisis, Including Principled Republicans

The Washington Post published two days ago an op-ed editorial by 44 retired US Senators, calling on the present members of the Senate to show guts and courage and speak up to defend democracy and the Constitution, from the threats presented by President Donald Trump.

Eleven of those 44 were Republicans, of all stripes and beliefs, including Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado; William Cohen of Maine; Alfonse D’Amato of New York;  John Danforth of Missouri; David Durenberger of Minnesota; Chuck Hagel of Nebraska; Richard Lugar of Indiana; Larry Pressler of South Dakota; Alan Simpson of Wyoming; John Warner of Virginia; and Lowell Weicker of Connecticut.

The other 33 were Democrats, including such luminaries as Evan Bayh of Indiana; Bill Bradley of New Jersey; Tom Daschle of South Dakota; Chris Dodd of Connecticut; Russ Feingold of Wisconsin; Bob Graham of Florida; Tom Harkin of Iowa; Gary Hart of Colorado; Bob Kerrey of Nebraska; John Kerry of Massachusetts; Joe Lieberman of Connecticut; Barbara Mikulski of Maryland; Sam Nunn of Georgia; Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia; and Mark Udall of Colorado.

America needs Republicans in the Senate, now 53 of them, to stop defending Donald Trump, and start concerning themselves with the preservation of American democracy.  They need to speak up and challenge and confront Donald Trump and stop accepting his violations of the Constitution.

If they do not, they will  be relegated to the dustbin of history, and the Republican party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan, Ford, and H. W. Bush will die of lack of principle and commitment.

Small States’ (One House Member And Two Senators) Influence In Congress Since 1945

There are seven states that have had only one member of the House of Representatives, along with two US Senators, in the past 70 years. but despite their small populations, these states have had a massive impact on American politics and history!  In addition, for the first few decades since 1945, Nevada also had one House member until growth caused two, and then, three seats in the House.

The seven states are Vermont, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska!

But North Dakota, South Dakota,and Montana had two members of the House until recent decades when reapportionment caused them to lose a second seat.

So only Vermont, Delaware, Wyoming, and Alaska (since 1959) stand alone as consistently having one House member and two Senators per state.

But look at their influence:

Vermont had George Aiken (R) (1941-1975) and has Patrick Leahy (D) for 41 years (1975 to Present) and counting now, and Bernie Sanders since 1990,  who  was the lone House member for 16 years before election to the Senate in 2006,making him the longest serving Independent in the history of both houses of Congress.  Also, Howard Dean, former Governor of the state, was a leading contender for the Democratic nomination in 2004, and then became head of the Democratic National Committee, and helped the rise of Barack Obama with a “50 state” strategy between 2004-2008.

Delaware had Joe Biden as Senator for six terms from 1973-2009, and now as Vice President.  He became one of the longest serving Senators of all time, and sought the Presidency in 1988 and 2008.

Wyoming had Dick Cheney as its lone Congressman for ten years from 1979-1989, before he ended up as Secretary of Defense under the first Bush Presidency, and Vice President in the second Bush Presidency.  Also, Alan Simpson served in the Senate from 1979-1997 as  a Republican, and Gale McGree from 1959-1977 as a Democrat.

Alaska had Ted Stevens in the Senate for 40 years from 1968 to 2009, the longest serving Republican Senator in American history.  Also, Sarah Palin , while Governor, was the Vice Presidential nominee for the Republicans in 2008.

And if one looks at the other states which had one Congressman at least for the last few decades, we have South Dakota and Senator George McGovern (1963-1981), the 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee; Montana, with Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D) (1953-1977) from 1961-1977; Nevada with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) (1987-Present) from 2007-2015; and North Dakota Senators Kent Conrad (1987-2013) and Bryan Dorgan (1992-2011).

So the “small” states have really had a major role in American politics, despite their small populations!

Strong Reaction Against Liz Cheney Bid For Wyoming Senate Seat

Dick Cheney has become the most controversial, outspoken Vice President in American history, and his daughter, Fox News commentator Liz Cheney, is adding to that Cheney family image by her announced run for a Senate seat in the smallest populated state in America, Wyoming.

Liz Cheney, who has been a Virginia resident for years, but recently moved back to Wyoming, is seen by many there as a “carpetbagger”, who has moved back where she grew up only with the expressly clear cut reason to continue the Cheney tradition in American politics, knowing full well that she could not win a Virginia Senate seat, in strong hands with Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

She is challenging a sitting Republican Senator, Mike Enzi, who has been a loyal conservative Republican in his voting, but is not as outspoken as other conservatives. Enzi, however, has had the “gall” to work occasionally with some fellow Senate Democrats on some legislation, and that makes him somehow regarded as not loyal enough to the conservative tradition.

Liz Cheney is ridiculing Enzi’s age of 69, while her father is older, and would not be alive without a heart transplant, which could have gone to a much younger person, rather than the 72 year old Cheney, but Cheney and his family have long felt entitled to whatever they want, and to speak their mind, no matter how divisive it might be!

Liz Cheney takes the view of her father, a no holds barred, confrontational, refusal to cooperate or compromise with the Obama Administration on ANYTHING! Just simply go on the attack and take no prisoners is the approach to what Liz Cheney wishes to do in the Senate, and if others are hurt in the process, so be it!

So we have seen former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson; the other Wyoming Senator, John Barrasso; Wyoming’s only Congresswoman, Cynthia Lummis; Kansas Senator Jerry Moran; and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, all condemn the entry of Liz Cheney as bad for the Republican Party in Wyoming.

Moran and particularly, Paul, are Tea Party types, and it is clear that what Liz Cheney is doing is making bare the massive split in the Republican Party, not only in Wyoming, but nationally, as this is not just a personal battle for the Cheney family against the Republican Party in that state, but an example of the struggle between the neoconservatives who took America into two massive wars that we have not won, and the Rand Paul wing of the party that wants America out of foreign interventions. So Liz Cheney is declaring war on Rand Paul, and wishes, as her father does, to take away any strength he might have to win the GOP Presidential nomination in 2016 or beyond!

It is very clear that Liz Cheney has greater ambitions, and IF she wins the Senate seat in Wyoming in 2014, do not be surprised if she comes out of the gate as a quickly announced Presidential candidate, who would be supported by the neoconservatives who want us to intervene in Iran and Syria and Egypt, and have no problem with the use of military force all over the world, with the budget issue being unimportant!

And we can be sure that Liz Cheney would continue to back the “Birther” myth about Barack Obama, and continue to infer that Obama is a secret Muslim who is against what is good for America. She has no ethics or scruples, as she intends to be a dominant figure in the Republican Party future, and does not care to make friends among Democrats, and really has little regard for fellow Republicans of any stripe!

That is why the first goal must be the defeat of Liz Cheney’s grandiose ambitions in the Wyoming Republican Senate primary, but by causing a massive rift and split, it would be wonderful if the Democrats could win that seat, and hold it for a generation, as moderate Democrat Gale McGee did from 1959-1977.

David Stockman And Bruce Bartlett, Former Reagan Economic Policy Advisers, Condemn The Romney-Ryan Republican Ticket As Out Of Mainstream!

The Republican Party loves to invoke Ronald Reagan as their patron saint, even though his record clearly shows he would not be very happy with the trend in the GOP, as even his son Ron Reagan Jr claims.

But beyond Ron Reagan, Jr., two leading economic policy advisers under President Reagan, Bruce Bartlett and David Stockman, have condemned the Republican Party and its candidates and economic policies as out of the mainstream of American politics.

Bartlett says the party has gone insane, dreams of anarchy and the end of government, and has lost all reasonableness.

Stockman has ridiculed the Ryan budget plan, and condemns the idea of Ryan that more defense spending is necessary, and more tax cuts to the wealthy, while the middle class and the poor are victimized. Stockman see the Ryan Plan as not serious, and lacking any common sense!

It is not just Bartlett and Stockman who are critical of the Ryan Plan, and of the turn of events in the Republican Party.

Many past Republican leaders are privately shaking their heads, and see an electoral disaster coming, and we are seeing moderate conservative Republican Senators such as Olympia Snowe of Maine, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, and Richard Lugar of Indiana, all three leaving, with Lugar not by his own choice, bemoaning the turn of events toward unreasonable extremism, and failure to be willing to cross the aisle for support from Democrats.

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee is one of many former Republican leaders who have promoted that states led by GOP Governors stop fighting ObamaCare, and to start exchanges for the uninsured, required under the law by 2014, or else the federal government will do so for those states against their will. Frist, himself a surgeon, says these Republicans leaders are misguided, and that the Obama plan was originally a Republican idea in the mid 1990s., an absolutely true statement!

Former Senator Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson is another Republican who has condemned present Republican attitudes, and many former George H. W. Bush aides quietly have joined the Reagan former advisers in calling for an end to the extremism of the present Republican Party.

But, as in 1964, when we had an ideological election defeat for the GOP with Barry Goldwater, it is clear that there will be a need for a defeat of the ideological environment that Mitt Romney has provoked by selecting ideological Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate!

Former Senator Alan Simpson: Lots Of Common Sense, But Highly Controversial!

Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming, who served from 1979 to 1997, has always been known for being blunt, colorful in his language, and highly controversial.

A conservative in his voting in the Senate, Simpson, however, exudes a lot of common sense, even though he antagonizes on a regular basis.

A critic of the American Association Of Retired Persons (AARP), who he accuses of being only a business to make money, rather than an advocate for senior citizens, Simpson headed the President’s Deficit Commission last year, co chairing with Erskine Bowles, Democrat and Bill Clinton advisor.

The two men came up with recommendations to change the Social Security System long term and to pare defense spending by bringing many of our troops home from foreign countries, and they were immediately vilified for their stand.

But what they advocated makes a lot of sense, and their suggestion to raise the retirement age to 68 by 2050 and 69 by 2075 is certainly reasonable, as we already have had one change in age, the 1983 law negotiated between Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill and President Ronald Reagan, raising the retirement age to 66 for those born after 1960.

Simpson has now come out to declare that the Republican Party has a horrible group of candidates, none of which enthuses him, and he was particularly super critical of those, such as Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and others who use the “social” issues of gay rights and abortion as part of their appeal.

Simpson may be annoying to many, but he has a lot of common sense and practical advice, and should not be ignored!

But it is clear to Simpson and to this author that the GOP is in real trouble, with very few candidates that are legitimate!

Again, as the author contends, the ONLY GOP candidates that have real credentials that could possibly lead to a serious challenge to President Barack Obama are Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, and Tim Pawlenty.

With Romney announcing an exploratory committee today, and Pawlenty hiring his campaign manager, the race is beginning, but too much air is being taken out by the loonies and the crazies, and unless one of these three above named can pull things out of the ditch, the Republican Party will be a joke in 2012!

The Debate Over Social Security’s Future And The Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Commission

The President’s Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Commission, headed by Erskine Bowles, Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, and former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, came up with a statement last week, three weeks before the Commission’s official report on December 1, calling for radical changes in the way the nation looks at the deficit crisis that the country faces in its future.

The immediate reaction was for harsh denunciation by ideological forces on the left and on the right, condemning any suggestions that were made by the joint heads of the Commission.

There is much to be chewed over about the recommendations, but it was surprising that so much attention was paid to the Social Security portion of the recommendations.

Bowles and Simpson both promoted the idea of raising the amount of income taxed for Social Security, which is presently $106,800, to much higher levels, with Medicare, as it is, having no limits on being taxed on incomes. Also, in the year 2050, the age limit would be 68, and in 2075, would rise to 69, in order to keep Social Security solvent.

All of the above makes sense, as one forgets that in 1983, by bipartisan agreement between Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic Speaker of the House Thomas”Tip” O’Neill, and the support of the Republican Senate and Democratic House of Representatives, the retirement age for full Social Security was raised for those born after 1940 to age 66, and for those born after 1960 to age 67.

So what is so radical about the proposals set forth by Bowles and Simpson, but one would think it was extremism, based on the reaction by political forces that seem unwilling to compromise! 🙁

This is the problem today, as compared to nearly thirty years ago, that there is no willingness to compromise in any form by either side of the political spectrum! 🙁

Think about what the above reform suggests: So people born after 1980 will have to wait to age 68 to collect full Social Security benefits, and would have notice FORTY years ahead!

And people born after 2005 would have to wait to age 69 to collect full Social Security benefits, and would have notice SEVENTY years ahead!

And realize that age longevity and health have improved, and anyone could still collect lower benefits as early as age 62!

And if the income limit is raised, Social Security will survive for the long run, and be well funded by these changes!

And in no case, can anyone expect that they will survive on Social Security benefits, so part of the plan for life is to SAVE early and responsibly for one’s retirement in the long run!

This plan is NOT extreme! Instead, it is totally responsible and MUST be adopted if Social Security is to prosper in the long run!

It is time to stop ranting and raving on both sides of the political spectrum, and to recognize the validity of these proposals set forth by Bowles and Simpson!