Jon Kyl

Congressional Members Leaving Who Will Be Missed, And Those Who Will NOT Be Missed!

As the lame duck session of the 112th Congress finishes its last weeks, one can reflect on some of the members who will not be returning, some because of defeat, and others because of retirement or resignation.

Some of these members made major contributions and will be missed, including:

Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine
Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut
Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin
Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas
Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts
Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio
Congressman Gary Ackerman of New York
Congresswoman Shelley Berkley of Nevada

Among those leaving who will NOT be missed are:

Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona
Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts
Congressman Ron Paul of Texas
Congressman Allen West of Florida
Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois
Congressman Ben Quayle of Arizona

Altogether, 47 members were defeated; 35 members are retiring; and 11 members have resigned, including just today, Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr, who has serious mental illness complications.

A grand total of 93 members will have left by the end of the year, which means about one out of six members in 2013 will be brand new in Congress.

Five Republican Senate Seats In Danger Of Being Won By Democrats In 2012

The usual political line is that the Democrats are in danger of losing control of the Senate, with 23 Democratic or Independent seats up for election in 2012, as compared to only 10 Republican seats.

But actually, five of the ten GOP Senate seats are in play, with Republicans on the defensive!

This includes:

Maine—where retiring Senator Olympia Snowe seems likely to be replaced by Independent Angus King, former Governor of the state, thought to be likely to caucus with the Democrats if he wins, based on greater agreement with Democratic principles.

Massachusetts—where Senator Scott Brown, who replaced Ted Kennedy in 2010, is behind in many polls to consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, in a state so strongly Democratic that Brown’s victory in 2010 was seen as an outlier.

Indiana—where retiring Senator Richard Lugar may be replaced by Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly , because the GOP nominee, Richard Mourdock, has been labeled a Tea Party extremist, unwilling to work across the aisle with Democrats.

Nevada—where appointed Senator Dean Heller is having a rough race against long term Democratic Congresswoman Shelley Berkley.

Arizona—where Senator Jon Kyl is retiring, but the Republican nominee, Jeff Flake, is facing a surprisingly tough battle against Democrat Richard Carmona. former Surgeon General of the United States. Carmona has a distinguished law enforcement and medical career, and is seen as having a really good chance to replace Kyl, and being Hispanic (Puerto Rican) in Arizona is certainly a positive, as well as his biography.

If one had to put betting money on these five races, it would be a good bet that Maine, Massachusetts, and Arizona will go Democratic in Senate races, with Indiana and Nevada tougher races.

That would mean a three seat gain for the Democrats, making it much tougher for Republicans to become a majority, as then they would need at least six to seven Democratic held seats out of 12 seats seen as in play, with 11 others of the total 23 seats seen as NOT in play!

An analysis of Democratic seats in contention will follow in the coming days!

Arizona Ripe For Pickup By Barack Obama In Presidential Campaign Of 2012

Arizona, the center of anti immigrant legislation, and arguably the ‘looniest” state in America, at least according to Bill Maher, is ripe for pickup by the Democratic Party and Barack Obama in the Presidential campaign of 2012.

Yes, it is true that the legislature is overwhelmingly Republican, and that both Senators (John McCain and Jon Kyl) are Republicans, and that the majority of the House delegation is Republican, and that Governor Jan Brewer is Republican, but yet with the growing Hispanic and Latino population, now about 30 percent, it looks as if Arizona is, over time, going to go the way of California, New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado and vote Democratic.

Even Texas in the future, certainly by 2020, is likely to tip Democratic as long as the GOP continues its nativist mentality toward immigrants.

No one is saying that Obama will win Arizona, but there is a good chance that he could, and even if he does not, Arizona is likely to be a closer race than it was in 2008, when an Arizona Senator named John McCain won his home state, but not by as much as one would have thought (about 8.5 percentage points of the vote and 196,000 popular votes).

The Clash Of The Future Now: Arizona As Ground Zero

The state of Arizona is a perfect example of a right wing state clashing with the future, and it is now Ground Zero.

This is the state of Governor Jan Brewer, just about the most despicable woman politician, not an easy thing to say when one thinks of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, but she fits the bill with her words and actions, including her disrespect shown to the President Barack Obama by pointing her finger at him, and lying about it and many other things.

This is the state of Senator Jon Kyl, thankfully retiring at the end of this year, with his former respectable image destroyed by evidence of bias, prejudice, and loads of stupid statements in the past few years.

This is the state of Senator John McCain, once respectable and moderate, but now old and grouchy and ready to take America into another Middle Eastern war anytime.

This is the state of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, being investigated on charges of violating the rights of prisoners and mistreatment of Hispanics, whether legal or illegal, and not caring about image or violations and abuses, as he promotes a “tough guy” image embarrassing to his state.

This was the state of Russell Pearce, who thankfully was recalled by the voters of his state senate district, but was infamous for anti immigrant and pro gun legislation seen as very extreme.

This is the state of Paul Babeu, Pinal County Sheriff, another “tough guy” and hardline against illegal immigration, who is now shown to have had a sexual relationship with an Hispanic male, which has now become a scandal and will hamper his attempt to serve as a Republican in the next Congress.

This is the state which has a state senate which has banned ethnic studies courses for Hispanics as undermining their “Americanism”, and a state legislature which passed the infamous SB 1070 immigration bill now being challenged by the US government in court.

This is the state which has been judged by NATIONAL JOURNAL to have the second most conservative House of Representatives delegation, only behind, regrettably, my resident state of Florida. Notice that I say “resident”, as this author and blogger still identifies as a New Yorker, the state he lived in, went to school in, and worked in, until moving to Florida in 1989. The fact that New York’s House delegation is rated seventh most liberal, behind only Hawaii and five New England states makes this author proud!

Getting back to Arizona, the state, despite these disgraceful “public servants” and legislative record of discrimination and prejudice, is rapidly changing demographically, and can best be described as having two groups migrating to the state over time—older white retirees, and young Hispanics and Latinos, which guarantees continued clashes, but with young Hispanics and Latinos having the advantage for the future.

Thirty percent of Arizona is now Hispanic, compared to 58 percent white, and over the next decade, it is possible that whites will become less than the majority of Arizonans, and this will affect its politics dramatically.

Some think Arizona could go to Barack Obama, in the Presidential Election of 2012, although that still seems unlikely. But by 2020 and after, the Democrats will have a great advantage, as will be the case in Texas as well.

So the white population is facing a future in which it will NOT control the agenda, the state legislature, or the House delegation or the Senate seats. This is the clash of the future, already displaying itself now, as Arizona is becoming Ground Zero in the recognition of the transformation of America that will be national in the next generation!

Republicans, Women, And Domestic Violence: Beyond Belief!

In 1994, the Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed into law the Violence Against Women Act, a measure designed to combat domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking of women. It was a totally bipartisan effort, widely hailed as an important step in protection of women.

In 2000 and in 2005, the law was renewed with bipartisan support again. It was not a political issue based on party.

But now in 2012, not a single Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to reauthorize the legislation, an absolutely unbelievable development.

Those Republicans on the Judiciary Committee include: Chick Grassley of Iowa, the ranking member; Orrin Hatch of Utah; Jon Kyl of Arizona; Jeff Sessions of Alabama; Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; John Cornyn of Texas; Mike Lee of Utah; and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

How in the world can any of these senators justify this refusal to support a renewal? What is wrong with these people that they do not think women need continued protection from abusive fathers, brothers, boyfriends, and husbands, as well as stalkers? Why is it that whenever women are the issue, Republicans, both men and women as well, do not think women should be protected by federal law?

Apparently, the Republicans disagree on the provisions to protect gay and transgender people, and also to protect undocumented immigrant women who are victims of violence. It is part of their anti gay and anti immigrant agenda, but really, this is simply an issue of human rights, and in the 21st century, to have such a narrow minded and intolerant view of women’s rights, because some might be from certain groups rejected by some, is unconscionable!

Apparently, there are no limits to the refusal of Republicans to promote any bipartisanship on anything! How any self respecting woman can support the Republican Party after this insult, as well as others recently on birth control, contraception, and other issues of women’s health, is beyond understanding.

Absolutely Reckless And Irresponsible Republican Leadership In Congress: Reason For Economic Crisis About To Get Worse!

As we near the last week before the Debt Ceiling Crisis leads to a potential total collapse of the American economy and puts Americans into a second Great Depression, it is important to understand that this crisis has been caused to a great extent by refusal of Republican leaders in Congress to be responsible for disciplining their party membership to do something that was automatic over the past century, but has become a political football because of the decision of the party to refuse to cooperate on anything with the President they see as illegitimate!

Instead of seeing the good fortunes of the American people as the most urgent responsibility they have as leaders, they have chosen to refuse to even cooperate with each other, as egos and ambitions have become more important than doing what is right–to prevent default on the national debt and work to resolve the budget issues and create the proper environment for job creation!

John Boehner has performed horribly as Speaker of the House, and his name in history will be besmirched as a result! He has been unwilling to cooperate with President Obama, and has failed to assert his leadership over his “Troops” in the manner needed in the present crisis!

But Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader, is an even bigger villain, egotistical and totally ambitious to accomplish his own ends, and refusing behind the scenes to cooperate with Boehner, and instead tying his future to an extremist, anarchist, militant movement of reckless “flame throwers” (The Tea Party Movement), who refuse to understand that successful politics MUST be based on the art of compromise!

At the same time, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, overly ambitious to become Senate Majority Leader, openly has made the defeat of President Obama his major goal, and therefore has lost all credibility to claim a desire to resolve the issue of the debt ceiling in any form. Instead, he would prefer to let the President and his party take all responsibility and blame for the raising of the debt ceiling!

These three men, along with Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona, have shown disrespect, and lack of cooperation with the President in a way that no one can ever quite remember occurring to this extreme state, with any other President, no matter what the personal differences or ideological disputes that might have existed!

So the Republican Party will pay heavily for this lack of leadership by their party spokesmen, and the country is going to suffer further from the economic collapse caused by the outrageous policies of the Republican Congresses that led to the Great Recession, and now in danger of becoming a second Great Depression!

An Absolute Environmental Sacrilege: Republican Proposals To Permit Uranium Mining In Grand Canyon!

The Grand Canyon is our greatest natural treasure, providing enjoyment and recreation to millions of tourists, and the Colorado River running through it provides drinking water to 25 million Americans.

Who would think that ANYONE would be so shortsighted to wish to have mining interests, particularly in the uranium industry, have access to the Grand Canyon, and therefore destroy this greatest of our national parks and the wildlife and plant life contained within it?

Republican Congressman Jeff Flake of Arizona, who plans to run for the US Senate seat of retiring Senator Jon Kyl in 2012, is the villain who, with financial backing of mining interests, is attempting to force a change in Interior Department rules to allow such a sacrilege!

Flake and others in the House MUST be fought tooth and nail to prevent such a outrageous rape of our greatest natural wonder! President Theodore Roosevelt would turn over in his grave if he knew what his party was attempting to do, and were he actually alive, he would be ready to go into combat to prevent such an outrage!

Republican Lies And Deception Gets Worse! Jon Kyl And “Factual Statements”!

The Republican Party is both famous and infamous for its lies and deceptions on a regular basis!

Is there any sane, normal, truth telling Republican left?

The latest outrage is Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, who claimed that Planned Parenthood spends 90 percent of its money on abortion services!

The problem with Kyl’s statement is that it is a TOTAL DISTORTION of the truth, as only THREE percent of Planned Parenthood funds are spent on abortion, while women’s health services, including fighting breast cancer, is the bulk of their activities, and the GOP is willing to ignore women’s needs in their crazy struggle against abortion, while not giving a damn what happens to children AFTER they are born or to women’s health!

But even worse is that a Kyl spokesman says Kyl defended himself by stating what he said was not meant to be a “factual statement”!

So Kyl is saying that he is exaggerating, lying, manipulating the truth, etc, or is that NOT what he is doing?

One could not make up such stupidities and inanities as this if one wanted to downgrade the Republican Party, as they are much better at doing it to themselves! (head shaking in disbelief)!

The US Senate In Turmoil: Rapid Turnover Becoming A Fact Of Life

The US Senate is often called the greatest debating society in the world, and it carries tremendous prestige, with so many of its members often thought by them and by others as potential candidates for the Presidency.

So the rapid turnover going on in recent years is a fact of life, but it helps to make the Senate appear in turmoil with so many new members.

In the 112th Congress, there are 16 new senators, 13 Republicans and three Democrats, and now a total of five Senators, three Democrats and two Republicans, have announced their intention to retire at the end of their terms in 2012.

Democrats Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Jim Webb of Virginia, and Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman are leaving, and Republicans Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona also are retiring, with all but Webb having had multiple terms in the Senate.

A lot of the wisdom and the vision of the Senate is leaving, so while many have varying views of all these five Senators, in many ways it is a sign of the stresses and tensions of serving in the Senate, making it far less desirable for many to stay beyond two to three terms.

Of course, on the other hand, it might be a good thing that fewer Senators are deciding to remain to the point where they might be wearing out their welcome–which, at least in the mind of Tea Party Movement leaders, might be true of Republicans Senators Orrin Hatch of Utah, Olympia Snowe of Maine, and Richard Lugar of Indiana, with Hatch and Lugar having served six terms already, but still planning to run yet again in 2012. The question of whether it is good for some Senators to serve into their 80s remains a major subject of debate, even at a time when others decide to “throw in the towel” by a more normal retirement age.

The US Senate: Facing Possible Major Turnover In 2012

The US Senate saw a major turnover in 2010, with sixteen new Senators being added to the body, 13 Republicans and 3 Democrats. Also, four incumbents lost their seats.

Now as 2012 comes on, 22 Democrats and only 11 Republicans face the challenge of running for re-election, and already three members have decided to retire–Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Democratic Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota, and Independent Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

Senators Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Bill Nelson of Florida, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, Jim Webb of Virginia, Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, all Democrats, and Republican Senators Orrin Hatch of Utah, Jon Kyl of Arizona, John Ensign of Nevada, and Richard Lugar of Indiana all face major challenges from the opposition party, as well as the Tea Party purists who seem to be out to defeat several Republican Senators, including Hatch, Lugar, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and Olympia Snowe of Maine.

The Senate may be seen as a glorious and prestigious body that no one would want to leave by choice, but the struggle to win elections and hold on to seats is becoming more and more taxing, emotionally and financially, as the country becomes more divided by vitriolic opposition, so it would not be surprising if more than the three who have announced they are retiring end up leaving the hallowed body, considered the greatest legislative body and debating society in the world!