Dick Durbin

A Need For An Age Limit In Congress!

The news that Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley at age 88 has announced for an eighth term which would take him to age 95 is a sign of the craziness of members of Congress, having no concept of retirement!

Senator Diane Feinstein of California is also 88, and will serve until past age 91. It has been noted that her short term memory is faltering, and that rumors have it that she yells at staff because she is not fully aware of what she is doing, or what she has been told about regarding her ability to do her job.

Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe just won a new term at age 86, and will serve what he calls his last term to 2026, when he will be 92!

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy plans to run again in 2022 when he will be 82, meaning he would be in office until age 88 in 2028.

The other Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders is now 80, and likely would run for reelection in 2024, meaning he would reach age 89 in 2030.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky would be 80 by February 2022, and will be in office until at least 84 plus in 2026.

Idaho Senator Jim Risch, just reelected in 2020, will be past age 83 at the end of 2026.

Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, reelected in 2018, will be 81 by 2024.

Independent Senator Angus King of Maine will be 80 by the end of his present term in 2024.

Only Alabama Senator Richard Shelby is retiring in 2022, at age 88 plus, the only Senator deciding it is time to leave.

Additionally, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin will be 82 at the end of his present Senate term in 2026.

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, expected to run for another term in 2022, would be nearing age 83 in 2028.

And there are six other Senators who would be 80 or past 80 by 2026, so a theoretical total of 17 Senators will be octogenarians (with two over 90) by that year!

Additionally, there are close to 50 House members who will be past 80 by 2026, and among the ten oldest are the three Democratic House leaders–Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Nancy Pelosi of California, and James Clyburn of South Carolina, all over 80 at this stage!

There needs to be some kind of age limit with a range of 80-85 at the most, but the problem is that Congress would have to enact such legislation or have a constitutional amendment, but it is highly unlikely that will ever occur!

Michelle Obama Impresses As Orator: Could She Eventually Engage In Politics Directly A La Hillary Clinton?

First Lady Michelle Obama gave the most impressive speech of the Presidential election campaign a few days ago, deploring the conduct and statements of Republican nominee Donald Trump regarding women. She put into oratory what all decent people had been thinking and saying about Trump’s outrageous misogyny.

She was passionate and magnificent in her delivery, and she came across as a woman who, despite her denials, could be seen as a potential political candidate in the future, if she wished to, while she now claims she is not interested.

But her younger daughter Sasha will be out of high school in two years, and therefore, if she had a change of heart, she could run for an Illinois Senate seat in 2020, if Senator Dick Durbin, thought likely to retire, decides to do just that.

Clearly, it is too far ahead to speculate on 2020, but even Glenn Beck, the right wing talk show host, declared how impressive Michelle Obama was, and the First Lady has charisma and presence that is valuable in a political candidate.

Who can say that some day in the future that Michelle Obama might not seek the Presidency, as she is young enough to imagine a possible run in 2024 or 2028.

So Michelle Obama could become the next Hillary Clinton!

The Future Of The Democratic Party: Younger Liberals In The US Senate

When one sees that Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, California Senator Barbara Boxer, and Nevada Senator Harry Reid are retiring in 2016, and know that other older Senate Democrats have limited time left in the Senate, it makes it clear that it is time to examine who among the “younger” generation of liberal Senate Democrats may be perceived as the future of the Democrats beyond Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and even Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Even if Hillary Clinton becomes President, where is the hope for liberal Democrats in the future, as there are very few Democratic governors. The “youth” movement in the Democratic Party is therefore in the hands of the following younger liberal Senate Democrats:

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy (41)
Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz (42)
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (45)
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (48)
Colorado Senator Michael Bennet (50)
Delaware Senator Christopher Coons (51)
Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin (53)
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (54)
Michigan Senator Gary Peters (56)
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (57)
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley (58)
Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (59)

These are the present Democratic hopes for the future, to make an impact on the level of Mikulski, Boxer, Reid, along with Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, California Senator Diane Feinstein, Florida Senator Bill Nelson, Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, Washington Senator Patty Murray, New York Senator Chuck Schumer, Minnesota Senator Al Franken, and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, as well as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Of course, more liberal Senate Democrats yet unknown could be elected in 2016, including Kamala Harris in California and Patrick Murphy in Florida, and hopefully, the Democrats will take back control of the United States Senate, and some new Democratic governors might be elected, assuming a coattail effect of the candidacy of the Democratic nominee in the Electoral College, still highly likely!

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!

“Gang Of Six” Becomes “Gang Of Eight” On Immigration Reform

As a new immigration reform plan is unveiled by Senators, the “Gang of Six” described yesterday in a blog entry has now become a “Gang of Eight”.

Joining the group, which had included John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, Charles Schumer of New York, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, and Dick Durbin of Florida are Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona and Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado.

President Obama is to speak about this issue in Nevada on Tuesday, and it seems as if, finally, there may be a move toward real action on an issue that has been highly divisive, including a failure to get a McCain-Ted Kennedy bill through Congress in 2007 under President George W. Bush, who had pushed for it, but failed to see it succeed. Let us hope for quick action!

The “Gang Of Six” And Immigration Reform Moving Ahead

President Barack Obama has made immigration reform one of the major goals of his second term in the Presidency, and now, after much resistance for years by the majority of Republicans, suddenly we have a “Gang of Six” US Senators who are cooperatively working together toward that goal, making the likelihood of such reform much more likely.

The members of the “Gang of Six” are:

Democrats Charles Schumer of New York, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, and Dick Durbin of Illinois

Republicans Marco Rubio of Florida, John McCain of Arizona, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

This group includes Senators from key states that have growing Latino population—New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Florida, Arizona and South Carolina.

it includes two leading Hispanic Senators, both Cuban—Menendez and Rubio.

It includes two Democratic leaders, the number 2 and number 3 in the leadership—Durbin and Schumer.

It includes former Republican Presidential candidate McCain, and his good friend, Graham.

If any combination of Democrats and Republicans can accomplish the goal of recognition of the need for a reasonable immigration reform, rather than the anti immigrant view of Mitt Romney during the Presidential campaign of 2012, it is this group of US Senators!

Can The “Gang Of Six” In The Senate Promote A Solution To National Debt Crisis?

In the midst of the national debt crisis, and the issue of the extension of the debt limit just around the corner, six US Senators, three Democrats and three Republicans, have been meeting for months trying to come up with a plan that can be accepted by both parties, and show the American people that the politicians in Washington can work together on an issue that is threatening the short term and long term stability of the economy.

The Democrats are Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, and Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota. The Republicans are Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and Senator Michael Crapo of Idaho.

No matter what these six Senators come up with, it could fail in the Republican controlled House of Representatives, if the extremist Tea Party people refuse to budge on tax reform or tax increases on the wealthy and corporations, even by getting rid of tax loopholes and tax breaks.

It is clear there will have to be not only tax increases, as well as cuts in military spending, but also reforms of Medicare and Medicaid that will not destroy the system but modify it, and long range planning to change the full Social Security age and tax all income on Social Security, instead of the limit on contributions now in the law.

This is a time for politicians to do what needs to be done, without fear of losing their seats in future elections, and to take the philosophical view that they would rather do what is proper and sensible to do, than to bend to extremists who have no understanding of the need for change, and only want to promote their one sided, impractical, and dangerous views of the future of the nation, despite the realities of the urgency of action!

The Righteousness Of The Passage Of The DREAM Act!

A major problem area on the subject of “illegal immigration” are the children of “illegal” immigrants who are brought to this country, grow up in this country, and wish to receive a college education and begin a career in this country, but are dogged by their “illegal” status through no fault of their own!

A present case on this involves Eric Balderas, a Harvard student, with plans to become a cancer researcher, who was detained at the San Antonio airport this week, and given a date for a hearing at which he is faced with immediate deportation to Mexico, a country he has never lived in, and where he knows no one!

The proposed DREAM Act is cosponsored by Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois and Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, who sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in April, calling for a moratorium on deportation of young people who could be saved from such action once this legislation were to pass. The DREAM Act would allow a path to citizenship for undocumented young people who serve in the military or attend college.

The DREAM Act is the acronym for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act.

The fact is that young Balderas was brought into the United States at the age of 4 to escape a domestic violence situation in Mexico, and this is the problem with the hardline “illegal immigration” crowd that just calls for the deportation of millions of undocumented people , most of whom have never committed a crime, have been law abiding citizens since they entered illegally, and are now living in fear and trepidation as to what their futures might be!

So it is good time to grant Balderas a waiver and to pass, as soon as possible, the humane DREAM Act, and have the President sign it in a public ceremony!

The Growing Influence Of Chuck Schumer: The First Jewish Senate Majority Leader?

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, elected in 1998, after 18 years in the House of Representatives, has become a major player in the Senate, and is on the brink of becoming the highest elected Jewish official in US history, if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada loses his very competitive Senate reelection race this fall.

Schumer, always an aggressive and egotistical figure in the Senate, was the Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and helped bring about the Democratic control of the Senate, and its upgrading to 59 senators in the past four years.

A truly brilliant politician, Schumer is seen as likely to succeed Reid, although he must compete with his townhouse roommate, Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, if Reid leaves the Senate. It is interesting how they have a rivalry, and yet they are good friends. Schumer has an image of being able to cross the aisle for support, and to gain backing from his own Democratic colleagues for various initiatives.

If Schumer ends up as Majority Leader, it can be imagined that he would rival Lyndon Johnson and Bob Dole in getting things done, and he could be a major advocate of new initiatives by President Obama over the last two years of his term.

Schumer will win easy reelection this fall to a third term, and is likely to help Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stay in office as well. And with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Cuomo likely to have a tremendous edge over GOP opponents, the Democrats are likely to have complete control of state matters, despite the many problems New York State faces.

Schumer will become one of the most important Senators ever to represent New York, on the level of Robert F. Wagner, Sr. (1927-1949), Jacob Javits (1957-1981), and Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1977-2001)! And none of the above ever were Senate Majority Leader!

The Senate Majority Leadership Battle

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has been under constant attack, and faces a tough reelection contest in his home state this fall.

Already, with that fact in mind, the Senate Majority Whip, Dick Durbin of Illinois, often seen as the heir apparent if Reid loses his seat, is readying for a fight against the former chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Chuck Schumer of New York.

While both Durbin and Schumer are tough politicians, as anyone reaching their level must be to survive, Schumer is seen as much more aggressive and having an edge because of the fact that so many new Democratic senators were elected when he was the campaign committee chairman, and he expects their loyalty when and if a battle erupts over who should succeed Reid.

Schumer would certainly be more combative than Durbin, but that includes the ability to be more controversial and unpopular because of his constant need for attention. In a New York Jewish way, he would be as hard nosed a leader as Lyndon Johnson, and might very well be more effective than either Durbin or Reid.

But it seems to the author that President Obama might prefer Durbin as more diplomatic and more a conciliator, which could be major pluses for the Illinois Senator.

Of course, if Reid wins reelection, this is all academic as it is highly unlikely that he would be challenged for the leadership, and were he to be, he probably would win the struggle.

Of course, if by a complete collapse, the Senate goes Republican, then this whole matter is resolved in an unpleasant way!