End Of The Line For Mitch?

Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell is a lot of things. He’s a Kentuckyan, a decent guy from what I hear, and the consummate politician. But there’s one thing Mitch McConnell isn’t and that’s a leader.

Senate leaders of either party need to be able to get an agenda through their side quickly and effectively. For all of Harry Reid’s faults, he was a good leader because he could follow Bobo Obama’s direction, and when Obama needed something passed, Reid was there to help out. And he usually got it done.

For Mitch McConnell, he played the role of minority leader very well. He was able to bash the other side without sounding mean (which is something Chuck Schumer needs to learn how to do). But when it comes to leadership from the majority, Mitch isn’t getting it done. He’s blown two chances to get Obamacare repeals taken care of, and ended up failing both times. Sorry folks, but REAL leaders are able to make that happen. REAL leaders find a way to bring 50 people together to get it done. He is not a real leader, and the call for him to resign by the Tea Party, the Conservative Caucus, and yes, even his fellow Republican senators will force him from office. The only question is, will it be sooner rather than later.

One of the biggest jobs McConnell has is to enact the president’s agenda. He has been unable to do that. Congress is wallowing in 12% approval ratings (though some polls have it as high as 16%). It’s not because the public doesn’t like the things that the congress is trying to pass. It’s because of the inability of the congressional leaders (and yes…I’m looking at you Paul Ryan), to get things done. Trump has some pretty good ideas, and some ideas that are really out there. But the one good idea that congress hasn’t been able to get passed is the repeal of Obamacare, which should be a no-brainer.

The biggest problem with it is they waited until Trump was elected before they started writing the bill. You don’t write an omnibus bill like that without going through all of the steps, and the GOP frankly, skipped a LOT of steps. They didn’t do their due diligence. They didn’t do their homework. They threw together a few bills (and I’m looking at the House as well here) that quite frankly were patchwork and not good law. And they tried to cajole members into backing it. That’s not good leadership, and Mitch McConnell has to pay the ultimate price for his inability to lead. He has to go.

Don’t worry. His wife is still employed in the Trump administration. Elaine Chao will continue to serve as Transportation Secretary, and she’s doing a decent job. Mitch should have taken leadership lessons from her!

Carry on world…you’re dismissed!


Keep The Filibuster Rule!

Donald Trump was downtown Phoenix last week at a much ballyhooed rally. Oh, we love Trump here in the desert. Well, let me re-phrase that. The mayor of Phoenix doesn’t like him a bit, but most of the people in Arizona do. And while the Donald was here, he made some rather boisterous remarks. One had to do with Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader in the Senate pulling a real nuclear option and doing away with the filibuster.

Now, let me explain, the filibuster is something of an enigma to politics. Normally in a Democracy, 50% plus one vote gets you the ability to move forward with something or win an election. In the United States Senate, you can’t do that. They’ve got this rule that says you can talk as long as you like. No one can stop you, and you don’t have to yield the floor for any reason. Remember the movie “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”? Yeah…that’s what Jimmy Stewart did…he filibustered.

There is a reason the Founding Fathers put that clause into the Senate. The House is supposed to represent you and I. It’s supposed to represent normal people who let their emotions out. The Senate is supposed to be the more deliberative body. They are supposed to move more slowly, to think things through, and to poke holes in things. That’s why it takes 60 votes to shut down a filibuster (called “cloture”). Yes, it’s a “super-majority”, but it’s there so we don’t make stupid mistakes and have to eradicate them later. And yes…it’s a good thing.

Oh, for the GOP it’s a bad thing right now because the minority party, the Democrats have some control in the Senate. They can filibuster a law that’s being debated, such as say, immigration reform, or tax reform if they disagree with it, and shut it down. It’s fair believe it or not, because think back to when Harry Reid ran the Senate. Same thing happened with the Republicans. They had the power to filibuster. Removing that power is an incredibly stupid, short-sighted move for either side. It will, as Harry Reid showed by removing the 60 vote rule on presidential appointees, bite you in the butt at some point. It bit the Democrats in the butt in when the GOP instituted the nuclear rule to approve the nomination of Neil Gorsuch as Supreme Court Justice to replace the late-great, Antonin Scalia.

Messing with tradition in the Senate usually leads to bad things….and that will be true if Mitch McConnell does away with the filibuster. It will come back, sooner than later, to allow the other side more power than you want to give them. And it will hurt a lot more than trying to actually work with Democrats and craft a law that both sides can begrudgingly agree to. Donald Trump doesn’t realize this because he’s a wealthy business owner who says, “I want to do X”, and he does X. He can’t fathom having to negotiate like what he’s seeing the Senate do, especially when one side has dug in their heels because they don’t like the fact he’s president. It’s just the way the system works, Donald. Get used to it!

Carry on world…you’re dismissed!

Making Congress Work For Us

Well, this has been a busy week leading up to today. We’ve solved the healthcare issue; re-written the tax code, and simplified it; and yesterday we took care of immigration reform. Today, we deal with the reason I had to do this in the first place…the people that we have elected to do the job have balked at it and don’t have the stones to do it. So, today, we have new rules for Congress.

1. Congressional Pay is now set at $75,000. There are no additional franking privileges. There are no special parking places at Reagan National for them. They aren’t treated as anything special. And they aren’t full-time employees anyway with all of the time they get off, so we are going to have them be in session no more than 120 days a year. That’s it. And when you leave office, you get no pension. You get no bonus. You get a pat on the back and hearty, “Well done!”. By the way…the same goes for presidents!

2. They have to purchase their health insurance and pay into Social Security, just like the rest of us do. In fact, all government employees have to. No special treatments, no special perks. They are on the same healthcare plans that we are on with no exceptions.

3. There are to be no lobbyists or PACS allowed in Washington, DC. In fact, we can probably do without having everybody go to DC in the first place. Debates, votes, committee hearings, can all be done on the internet. I’ve had dozens of meetings with people all across the country, and it’s lasted hours. Why couldn’t they do that? That way they can stay home in their districts with the people they represent, and we can turn the US Capitol building into another memorial or monument.

4. Term limits. Each Senator is termed out at 2 terms. That means that they can serve a total of 12 years and then they can no longer serve in any capacity in the federal government again. They can no longer go from government to say Fox News or CNN and become a “contributor” like Jason Chavitz has done. Speaking of Chavitz, House members get 2 terms as well, but they get two year terms for a total of four years. And once you’ve run and gotten re-elected in the House, you’re finished with federal government as well. You can’t be brought back in any other position.

5. It is illegal for members of Congress to accept any gift of any amount from anybody. That means if a constituent takes them out to lunch, the Congressman has to pay for his/her own lunch. There are no trips to faraway lands, no special seats at the Super Bowl, nothing. They are, after all, ordinary people serving the country, no different than the military. When they are done, they go back to whatever it was they did for a living before they served in Congress.

6. Any law that is passed by Congress, those in Congress have to follow without exception. Gone are the days when Congress doesn’t have to follow equal pay for equal work. Gone are the days when Congress doesn’t have to follow the Civil Rights Laws, or anything else. If it’s good enough for us, it’s good enough for them, period.

And there you have it. Congress is solved. See how easy it is to solve our country’s problems? Piece of cake.

Carry on world…you’re dismissed!

Have We Expected Too Much?

Let’s take a look at something Mitch McConnell said recently in his home state of Kentucky. The Majority Leader in the US Senate said that he felt the American people were kind of mis-led by the aggressiveness of all of the things Donald Trump said he was going to do if elected president. And when you look at a body that is lucky to get one major piece of legislation passed each year, they had no chance of doing three or four.

Trump said on the campaign trail he was going to a) replace and repeal Obamacare. That took seven months so far and he has nothing to show for it; b) build a wall on the southern border and make Mexico pay for it, while kicking out 11 million illegal aliens. That hasn’t even really come up on the radar yet, but illegal immigration has slowed to a trickle with just the threat; c) fix the tax code and make it fair for businesses to do business here rather than ship jobs overseas, and give middle America a tax break. We have to wait and see on that one. They were going to use savings from Obamacare to help pay for a tax break, but that hasn’t happened; d) resume our position of leadership in the world by getting out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (or renegotiating it), renegotiating NAFTA, and dumping both the Paris Accord (which he has already done), and the Iran Nuclear Deal (which he just affirmed for another 90 days).

Whew. I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty full plate for a congress that spent six years not even able to pass a friggin’ budget! I’d be happy if that stuff was accomplished all in his first term, not just his first year. So the question remains, did we Americans expect too much out of Donald Trump and congress?

My thought is yes.

We really need to realize that the Republicans aren’t the cohesive group we thought we elected. They are more diverse and widespread in their opinions than the Dems are. I seriously doubt you would be able to get the Republicans in this congress to band together like they did against Obamacare and not have one Republican vote for the bill in either the House or the Senate. Some schlub somewhere along the way would vote the wrong way. Both parties are dysfunctional in a variety of ways, but it seems the GOP is having a much tougher time keeping the troops in line. They are too often wanting to go chase butterflies instead of getting work done.

What we really need is a strong leader in both the House and the Senate and my hunch is we have politicians, not statesmen or leaders in both positions. Having said that, we have to play the hand we are dealt, and frankly I don’t know who I’d rather have in those positions on the Hill. But the end analysis is, you need a group that is cohesive. We don’t have that in the GOP, and we need it. Were we too aggressive in our wish list? Probably…after all…we are dealing with people who decided to be politicians, so we know they’re not the smartest bulbs in the box!

Carry on world…you’re dismissed!

I Think I Know The Problem…

One of the things that I’ve been wracking what’s left of my addle-minded brain with is what in hell is the problem in Washington, DC? We’ve gone for over 240 years with the same type of government, and all of a sudden it’s dysfunctional? I don’t think so. There has to be something wrong, and after a rare tweet from Donald Trump (tongue firmly planted in cheek), I think I’ve found the problem…

It’s Congress.

It’s not Trump. It wasn’t Obama (though he still sucked as president), and it’s not the liberal judges on the appellate courts. It’s Congress. That is the crux of the problem we are seeing in DC right now. Let me explain.

I saw a Trump Tweet over the weekend that said that the problem was Congress should be paying for what the rest of America is paying for. He was talking about healthcare, and he’s right. He was making the argument that if Obamacare is hurting normal, everyday Americans (and it undeniably is), then it should also hurt the insurance companies, and it should also hurt the people that passed the law (that would be Congress). I couldn’t agree more.

In fact, in the recent past I’ve said that Congress should be blown up and start anew…not blown up in a physical sense, but in a sense that we need to fix the problem. I’ve landed on one fact…Congress is what’s corrupt. Congress takes the lobbyists, not the courts, and not the president. Congress gets the perks that the other branches don’t get. And Congress gets off the hook because they always exempt themselves from laws that are passed for the rest of us. I say, NO MORE!

If it’s good enough for the American people, it should be good enough for Congress. And if it’s not good enough for us, then why are they shoving it down our throats? Too often we hear of Congress getting special deals, able to have great pensions, getting paid a lot of money for working basically part-time. And we don’t have a thing to say about it. Well, we should. We need to start fresh.

We can only do that actually through a C.O.S. or Convention Of States. That’s where the states call for a Constitutional Convention. Now, it’s risky, because when you do that, you open up not just fixing Congress, but you open up the entire constitution to being re-written. But I think it’s worth the risk at this point. We can add to the constitution term limits for those in Congress. We can add that Congress only gets to work for us, without any perks or added benefits unless they give all of those benefits to each and every American citizen. We can add that they live together in dorm-style housing. They can eat in dorm-style cafeterias, or better still…they can do their bidding from their home offices on computers. They don’t even have to waste out money flying back and forth to DC. That’s why we have WiFi, and telephones, and email now.

It’s worth a thought. It also would take care of lobbyists because who wants to visit every state just to talk to two Senators? Think about it!

Carry on world…you’re dismissed!

Our “Do Nothing” Congress

Have we as a nation reached a point where our elected leaders are afraid to do anything? I’m beginning to think that’s the case, and has been for some time. We The People are just getting around to seeing it. And I’m not talking one side of the aisle or the other here. I’m talking both sides. Let me explain.

Over the past eight years, when Obama was in the White House, and Harry Reid ran the Senate for much of the time, the Senate never ever passed one budget…which is their fiscal duty to do every year. The reason? They weren’t going to saddle Obama with spending limits that he didn’t want. They basically passed continuing resolutions over and over again, and would fund things individually anytime they wanted to. But as far as actually doing something big? The last “big thing” the US Senate did was Obamacare back in 2009.

It hasn’t changed. The Republicans railed against Obamacare since its passage. It has never been a popular bill in the country, and even today, seven years later, it struggles to get to 50% acceptance. The GOP ran for the House and the Senate saying they needed the majority in order to repeal Obamacare. That got them the House in 2010’s election, and added the Senate four years later. Both victories came on the promise to repeal Obamacare (which was later amended to “repeal and replace”). So, since that time, the GOP has had a very aggressive agenda. They wanted to take care of healthcare, tax reform, and immigration reform this year alone. That was a big bite to take, and it looks like they may not get any of it accomplished.

And that leads to the problem in Washington. It’s not the Democrats. It’s not the Republicans. It’s both parties. They are afraid to change the status quo regardless what it is. They realize that if they do what has been promised, the folks in DC all lose power and influence, and for most of them, that’s why they are there.

It’s time for the elected people in Washington, the people that WE employ, to put their own feelings aside and do what they have promised us they wanted to do. There is no excuse for Republicans not voting for the repeal of Obamacare. I don’t care if they EVER replace it. Go back to what we had. 95% of Americans didn’t feel anything in the insurance industry was very broken anyway. And since when do we pass laws and change everybody’s life for 5%? Yeah…that’s what I thought.

Do you really think the GOP has the cuervos to pass a tax reform bill that the voters are going to like? Do you really think the GOP is going to follow that up with passing an immigration reform bill that solves the immigration woes of this country? I frankly don’t think they have it in them to pass a budget, much less a debt ceiling increase. You’ve got people like Susan Collins, Rand Paul, and Lisa Murkowski sitting in the Senate that aren’t team players…they are just happy to get some attention. And they all need to be thrown on the garbage heap and tossed out of DC. You are either on the team or you are against the team in these cases. Either they start working and doing the jobs we elected them to do, or maybe we need to re-write the constitution so it’s not so cushy to become a Representative or Senator any longer!

Carry on world…you’re dismissed!

Ready For….Maxine???

Maxine Waters

I was as surprised as you were. Maxine Waters is running for president? Really? Let’s examine this in detail, shall we?

First of all, Maxine Waters is one of the dumbest members of congress that exists. Yes, she’s the ranking Democrat member of the House Financial Services Committee. That sounds impressive until you understand that you don’t have to know squat to be on that committee. You are assigned by your party’s leadership. And you don’t have to know squat to be the ranking member…just be there longer than any other person from your party.

Second, she’s 78 years old. And today, she’s going to be visiting New Hampshire and attending a picnic so she can hobnob with Democrats from the state. Third, she’s about as anti-Trump as you can get. If you thought the last presidential election stooped to new lows, wait until she becomes the Dems’ nominee! And that will, I assure you, hand Donald J. Trump a re-election in a landslide. This woman is only electable in her district in California, maybe in New York City and Massachusetts. Other than that, she’s pretty much toxic everywhere else in the country.

So, why is Maxine Waters thinking of running for president? I personally think it’s because she saw Trump win, and decided that because she hates him so much, she feels if he could get elected, I could get elected. So, in that addled state of mind, she has decided to throw herself into the fray. Frankly, I’m not sure she has the energy for it. She would become the oldest person ever elected president if she were to make it through the gauntlet, and as we have seen with Hillary this past year, a campaign has a way of really taxing a candidate to the point of passing out. It might just kill Maxine.

This is one reason why the Democrats are in the state they’re in. They have people that should be retiring thinking about running for president. They need new leadership. They need new blood. They need to find a way to get back the blue collar white voters that they lost to Donald Trump last November. Maxine Waters isn’t going to be able to do that. She may be passionate about her beliefs, and I give her credit for that, but when it comes to reality, she’s got as much chance of winning the White House as I do.

And so, it has begun. Roughly seven months into Trump’s reign as president, the Dems are already lining up to try and unseat him. And of course, everyone knew that would happen, right? I mean, no one is surprised. The only surprise should be that it wasn’t Elizabeth Warren, or Cory Booker or even that upstart Senator from Cali, Kamala Harris. One would have thought any of them would be considering a jaunt down Pennsylvania Avenue first.
The more things change…the more things stay the same.

Of course, yesterday, Mad Maxine decided to let the world know that after 48 hours of deriding her decision to visit New Hampshire, she was “just joking” about a presidential run. Yeah, right. Either that or she realized she’d be laughed out of existence. Nice try, Maxy Baby!

Carry on world…you’re dismissed!