House of Representatives

Eric Holder: Another John Mitchell Or Another Harry Daugherty? No Way!

Attorney General Eric Holder has come under constant fire as Barack Obama’s Attorney General, being accused of being a law breaker, and having been cited for contempt of Congress by the House of Representatives. He is often portrayed as the worst Attorney General in American history, and there have been constant calls for his resignation, as well as impeachment.

But what it comes down to is that Eric Holder is not John Mitchell, Richard Nixon’s Attorney General; or Harry Daugherty, Warren G. Harding’s Attorney General, both of whom were involved in criminal actions in their time in office.

Eric Holder is the victim of pure politics, as another way to get at Barack Obama, and the fact that he happens to be African American makes him a prime target of the extreme right wing of the Republican Party and of the conservative movement.

Imagine an Attorney General who takes his job seriously as to preservation of national security, and the promotion of civil rights cases, and a person who shows no fear of his enemies.

Despite the outrage now displayed against Eric Holder, he will be be looked upon in the long run of American history as one of the shining lights of the Justice Department!

The Anthony Weiner Disaster: No Solution Is Good!

New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, admired by many for his willingness to fight for his principles, and hated by Republicans because of his strong attacks on their party and its policies, has put himself in an impossible position by his involvement in “sexting” on Twitter, Facebook, and on email.

For a member of Congress to be involved in a sex scandal is nothing new, unfortunately, but his lies and deceit for a week make his finally “coming clean” much more problematical. It is sad how a talented politician can be so self destructive, and can risk his career, and his new marriage, all because he has no self control over his sexual urges.

Should Weiner resign? Some would say yes, and others would say no, but some politicians have stuck it out, and have survived, such as Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, and President Bill Clinton. Of course, many more have quit under the pressure, and the intensity of the attacks, and a planned investigation by the House Ethics Committee, and the lack of public support by his Democratic colleagues are telling signs of his likely failure to be able to stay in office and leave it to the citizens of his congressional district to decide his fate.

In fact, his seat is likely to be disappearing during reapportionment of seats in the House of Representatives, with the fact that two congressional districts will be eliminated for the state of New York in any case.

So, sadly, Weiner, who once hoped to run for NYC Mayor, is probably doomed and likely to be forced out soon. Public scrutiny of public figures makes one realize that if he or she cannot keep his behavior within norms, then his or her humiliation and embarrassment is legion, so expect Weiner to resign under fire very soon as another victim of his own shortcomings!

Imagining If Medicare Had Never Become Law Under Lyndon Johnson

At a time when the Republican Party has advocated by a formal vote in the House of Representatives that they wish to privatize Medicare over the next decade, therefore ending a program that the vast majority of them voted against when it first passed in 1965 as a part of Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society, let us just imagine that Medicare had never occurred. How would America be different?

The effects of NOT having Medicare pass and be part of the American safety net would be the following:

1. Millions of senior citizens, who were taken out of poverty by the security of their medical bills being paid, would have instead remained in poverty and become a burden on theiir children, if they had any, and if they were willing to put themselves in dire economic straits to help their parents.

2. The longevity rate for senior citizens would have been much lower, as many, being unable to pay for medical services at an advanced age, would have died instead. Therefore, the life span increase in America, which has advanced so much since 1965, would not have occurred for anyone but the elite wealthy.

3. The quality of life for older people, their state of mind and sense of security in older age, would have deteriorated through constant concern about money and health.

4. The family unit of parents and chldren, grandparents and grandchildren, so important as part of what makes America a sucess, would have been cut short by money standing in the way of good health and long life span.

5. The contributions of senior citizens to our economy, our workforce, and the real life accomplishments of many to our advancements as a society, in so many intangible ways, would not have happened. People do not stop being positive forces for change and for good when they reach the “golden years” of 65 plus.

Medicare helps make America a more humane society, giving dignity and a sense of mental relief to those who have done so much for this country, through producing their offspring and contributing in their work life to the advancement of the nation that they helped create.

Of course, there is no doubt that Medicare was created nearly fifty years ago with the expectaton that people would not live as long and healthy lives as has occurred. And of course, costs of the Medicare program have skyrocketed, and there are concerns over the long term health of the program. And, yes, there is corruption and fraud in the sytem which needs to be rooted out.

But the answer is to reform the system, not destroy it!

The answer is to recognize that the tax base for Medicare will have to go up, and that there must be methods developed to root out waste and fraud, and that some tinkering with the system of costs must be enacted, not an easy thing to do, but essentiial as future generations will want to have the same security and sense of dignity that their parents and grandparents have had for nearly a half century.

America will not be the same if our nation rejects the needs of senior citizens, and throws them to the wolves. A society which does not take care of its elderly in a decent way is a society which has lost its principles, its bearings, and its purpose!

The Economy On The Upswing? A WPA Revival Needed on Its 78th Anniversary!

The economy saw the addition last month of 244,000 new jobs in private industry, the third straight month of equivalent numbers of growth in private sector employment.

This should be seen as a good omen, but at the same time, there are more people seeking work than before, which therefore raised the unemployment rate from 8.8 to 9 percent.

With the decline in public employment, and the rapidly growing number of young people looking for work as they graduate high school and college, it is hard to know if the unemployment rate will hit below 8 percent by the fall of 2012, a number seen as crucial to insure the re-election of President Obama.

It is clear that the Republican Party does not wish to help President Obama economically by taking steps in the House of Representatives to create jobs through economic investment in infrastructure, such as the government took upon itself exactly 78 years ago today when Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated the Works Progress Administration, which helped to promote the building of hospitals, schools, airports, libraries, roads and other public facilities, along with encouraging artists, musicians, writers, historians, and playwrights to produce with their genius on the public payroll.

That is the only way that true economic recovery is going to occur rapidly enough, but don’t bet on it ocurring anytime soon!

Republicans Gone Mad: Jan Brewer And Mitt Romney Go Neanderthal! :(

It is very obvious that the next two years of Republican control of the House of Representatives is going to be a literal “nightmare” for the country, and the attempt to promote “compromise” or “common ground” as Speaker to be John Boehner terms it, is almost certain to fail, and not because Barack Obama is causing it.

But it is not just Congress that will be a center of conflict. It is already showing up in other ways that are very alarming! ๐Ÿ™

We have Arizona Governor Jan Brewer denying transplants to about 100 very sick people, and saying they should ask the federal government for more stimulus money, something the GOP has been totally against until now! ๐Ÿ™

But the cost involved for these approximately 100 patients is only 5 million dollars! So Republican Governor Jan Brewer does not believe in the “right to life” for transplant candidates, but insists that every fetus must come to term! And this is the party of Sarah Palin who talked about Obama’s health care plan promoting “death panels”! And what is this going on in Arizona, and probably soon in other states? Have we lost all our humanity? ๐Ÿ™

Then, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, seen by many intelligent, rational people as probably the best potential nominee for President in his party, including the author, suddenly starts to appeal to the extreme right wing of his party by proposing that unemployment compensation be privatized, a shocking idea that people should open up accounts for the threat of unemployment in the future, with their own investments in the stock market, similar to what George W. Bush proposed for Social Security in 2005, which if it had been done, would have totally destroyed Social Security in 2008 when the stock market crashed! ๐Ÿ™

If Romney is trying to appeal to the hard right of his party, heaven help us! Who is there out there that we can call a sane, civilized candidate who this nation could live with? Has Mitt Romney gone mad in his quest to be President, that now he backs away from his own state health care plan in Massachusetts, and obviously will now promote privatizing of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? How will he differentiate himself from the “loonies’ in his party if he is to adopt every demagogic concept they advocate? ๐Ÿ™

This is not just being partisan, what Brewer and Romney are advocating, it is TOTAL INSANITY! ๐Ÿ™

It is attempting to take all morality, all decency, out of American politics!

It is aiming to destroy the New Deal and Great Society which has humanized this nation over the past 75 years!

It is saying everyone is in this world just for himself, and to hell with anyone who is suffering from illness, unemployment, poverty, deprivation!

The message being sent is that this is a country of, by, and for the wealthy, and the “American dream” is to take as much as one can gain, no matter how it is acquired, as basic common decency no longer applies! To hell with those less fortunate or needy, as this is unadulterated laissez faire capitalism at its best! ๐Ÿ™

The GOP is declaring war on common decency and morality and ethics, and the fight must begin to overcome this threat to our principles! The future of this nation as a beacon of freedom and opportunity is at stake! ๐Ÿ™

The Ultimate Battleground For The 2012 Presidential Election: The Midwest!

As a result of the Midterm Elections of 2010, it is becoming clear that the 2012 Presidential Election will be ultimately decided in the Midwest, an area of the country suffering more heavily from the Great Recession, and also an area that is losing a significant number of seats in the House of Representatives reapportionment that will take place, as a result of the Census of 2010!

Even though the Midwest is losing electoral votes because of a smaller relative population as compared to the growing Sun Belt, it still contains states that are among the top ten states in population plus others that are in the next ten states in population!

It is also an area that can presently be described as “purple”, rather than “blue” or “red”, but has moved in the direction of the Republican party in the midterm elections due to the economic hard times and the tendency to blame the party in the White House for the poor economic conditions!

With all of the key Midwestern states electing Republican governors except for Illinois, and many state legislatures and House seats going over to the GOP, it poses a massive problem for the Democrats and President Barack Obama as they look at the electoral scene for 2012!

However, two of those states historically are particularly crucial in a Presidential election–Ohio and Missouri!

Ohio has been the decisive state for the Republican Party, as every Republican President since the first one, Abraham Lincoln, to the last one, George W. Bush, has won Ohio! At the same time, it means that if Ohio goes to the Democrats, as say Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Barack Obama in 2008, the chances of Gerald Ford and John McCain were therefore dashed!

Missouri, if anything, has been the true bellwether state, as every single time since 1900, except 1956 and 2008, the winner of Missouri has become President! And even Dwight D. Eisenhower came close to defeating Adlai Stevenson in Missouri in 1956, and Barack Obama came extremely close to defeating John McCain in Missouri in 2008!

Since the Atlantic Coast of the nation–New England and the Middle Atlantic–is seen as solidly Democratic except maybe for New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, and the Pacific Coast also seen as solidly Democratic, while most of the South, maybe all of it including Florida, Virginia and North Carolina, are seen as solidly Republican next time, and much of the Mountain West and Great Plains also solidly “red”, it will be the Midwest which will decide the electoral winner again next time!

So the Democrats and Barack Obama will have to make inordinate efforts to appeal for support in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and cannot afford to lose much of this area if the party and Obama are to win in 2012!

That is one of the reasons why the Democratic Party is planning its national convention in the Midwest in 2012, with St. Louis, Cleveland, and Minneapolis as the key competitors for that honor!

So despite declining population percentages, the heartland of the nation again will be the central focus in the upcoming national elections in 2012!

Why The 111th Congress Will Be Seen Positively In American History Despite Election Results!

A question that has arisen recently is how to judge the actions of Congress in historical terms.

If a party loses control of Congress after bringing about historic legislation, does that mean it should be regarded as a failure for the party historically?

Many are saying that Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party have failed, because they have lost control of the House of Representatives by the biggest margin since 1938!

Others would, however, say that in the long run of history, the fact of repudiation means nothing, as the health care legislation and other massive changes passed by the 111th Congress will be long lasting, and eventually be seen as positive upon reflection!

Are momentary reactions to leadership always seen as accurate in historical terms? If that were true, then Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman would still be regarded as among the worst Presidents we have had, instead of being ranked in the top five of our Presidents, with Lincoln first and Truman fifth!

Is the only purpose of holding power to continue to win elections, or to bring about reforms that affect the country long term?

Despite the results of the election, it is still a fact that the present Congress has accomplished more good for the nation than any since 1965-1966, 1933-1934, and 1913-1914, and despite much rhetoric in the past against those Congresses, what they did has had a long range impact on the nation, as this Congress will have, when we look back in future generations, and wonder why there was such short sightedness and anger over the good actions taken in the midst of economic hard times!

History will record that it was the Democratic Party under Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Barack Obama which brought about fundamental change in so many ways, and that it was the Republican Party which stood in the way of reform, but despite later Congressional gains, failed to repeal the reforms that have made America a better place for the middle and lower classes, even as the upper class wealthy condemned what was happening as “socialism”!

So forget all the rhetoric of the campaign, and the pledges to “repeal” what has happened, as it will NOT happen, and the Republican Party will suffer as it attempts to destroy the changes that the Democratic Party has courageously brought about!

Nancy Pelosi may be condemned by many, but she will remembered as the Speaker of the House who historians will record as the path breaking Speaker who will compete with Sam Rayburn and Thomas “Tip” O’Neill as the greatest Speaker in the past one hundred years!

Should Nancy Pelosi Remain Democratic Leader In The House Of Representatives? Why Not?

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has decided to run for the post of Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, after the Democratic Party lost more seats than at any time since 1938, as the New Deal programs of Franklin D. Roosevelt were coming to an end!

There are many who feel that Pelosi was a lightning rod who alienated many voters, and that she should take the blame and leave as a leader of her party after the loss of more than 60 seats, a walloping rebuke by the voters!

But others point out that the Democrats in the House accomplished landmark legislation in so many ways, and that hundreds of other bills that have passed the House may not become law because of blockage in the Senate!

It is clear that Nancy Pelosi, despite the Democratic defeat, has been one of the best and most effective Speakers of the House in US History!

Her gutsy, aggressive personality has upset many people who don’t like a woman who can compete with ambitious, aggressive men. The personal enmity of many Republicans, conservatives, and ordinary citizens toward Pelosi would not be half the level if Pelosi was male. There is still a “glass ceiling” in many people’s minds, the same one that expresses the view that an African American should not be President of the United States!

So, considering her accomplishments as Speaker, and despite the public repudiation in the midterm elections, Nancy Pelosi should be encouraged to stay and fight for the return of her party to the majority in the 2012 election!

The next congressional election in 2012 should seen as a battle of progressives to overcome adversity, and the fight for political democracy, social justice, and economic regulation should not be abandoned or compromised, by the “quitting” of Nancy Pelosi!

Sarah Palin may have quit, but Nancy Pelosi is no “quitter”! Rather, she is a courageous, hard working woman who is not about to give up the fight, or allow criticism to cause her to avoid the fray!

The Republican Party Goal: To Prevent A Second Obama Term In The White House, Not To Deal With The Nation’s Problems! :(

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has made it abundantly clear what the intention of the Republican Party is in the next two years, now that they control the House of Representatives.

It would be nice to think that they would hope to work on the nation’s problems and come to some kind of compromise to move the country forward.

But such a dream is just that: a dream! The Republicans don’t want to negotiate; they want simply to defeat Barack Obama and prevent him from serving another four years as President of the United States! ๐Ÿ™

So any possibility of progress on the economic crisis facing the country is fruitless. It is sadly a reality that the next two years will see stalemate and gridlock, but it seems likely that if the GOP follows through on its intentions, that voters will realize it in 2012, and will kick the Republicans out of the majority in the House of Representatives!

So the party of NO will now become the party promoting stalemate and gridlock, since politics rather than policy is at the center of the party’s actions! Why help deal with the crisis facing our citizens when it is so much more “fun” to go after the President, who many Republicans wonder if he might be a Kenyan, a Muslim, and a non citizen! ๐Ÿ™

Opposition to the President of the other party is part of the normal political process, but the viciousness and nastiness of the GOP toward Obama reaches the level of making one wonder: Would the intense anti Obama campaign that has existed, and still endures, possibly be connected to the fact that Barack Obama is an African American, and many people in this country just cannot accept that a smart, articulate black man can really be President of the United States? ๐Ÿ™

One has to consider such a possibility, as sad as it is! ๐Ÿ™

The CNN Top 100 House Races In Play!

CNN has come up with a list of 100 House of Representatives seats that the network believes are in play in this fall’s election!

The list includes 90 Democratic held seats, with 15 of them being open seats, while 10 seats are held by Republicans, with 4 of them being open seats!

50 seats are thought to be most vulnerable, while 50 seats are races to watch! Four Republican seats are seen as most vulnerable, which if all went Democratic, would require the GOP to gain 43 Democratic seats instead of 39, in order to control the chamber. Of course, if all ten GOP seats were to switch, it would require 49 seats to be gained by the Republicans from the Democrats in order to gain control of the House.

More than normal interest in the House of Representatives exists because it could create a dramatic change in Congress if that chamber went Republican, while the Senate remained Democratic, which seems at this point more and more likely!

Never has the House of Representatives switched over without the Senate also switching, so this would be an historic election were it to happen!