Tag Archives: Congress

This election really might be one for the ages

It seems that every two years politicians declare the upcoming election — whether for president or for Congress — to be the “most important election in our lifetime.”

Barack Obama joined that chorus today. Others have said that the 2018 midterm election is the most consequential election in memory.

The more I think about it, they might be right. This midterm election might be the most important such event we’ve seen in some time.

Think of the stakes. A president seems to careening out of control. Congress stands as a possible deterrent to the president’s most dangerous impulses. The House of Representatives well might shift from Republican to Democratic control.

What happens if the House flips from GOP to Democratic? Hearings. Lots of hearings. That “Russia thing” will take an even more prominent place on center stage.

So … yes. This election seems like a real big deal.

Maybe the biggest ever?

You want ‘contact’ in politics? Wait for midterm election result

The late great U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas used to call politics a “contact sport,” especially as it was practiced in the Lone Star State.

With the midterm election approaching quickly, it appears as though the political climate in Washington is going to get a good bit more “contact oriented” than it already has become — if that is possible.

I offer this bit of information with extreme caution. The “experts” who suggest that Democrats are looking more likely to take control of at least one congressional chamber, the House of Representatives, also “predicted” Hillary Rodham Clinton would be the 45th president of the United States.

They missed that one.

Suppose, though, that the Democratic Party does take the gavel from the Republicans. What do you suppose will happen?

Let me ponder that.

We must not rule out impeachment of the current president of the United States. Donald Trump is facing a bushel basket of trouble in the months after the midterm election.

What’s more, there well might be a lot of congressional hearings as newly constituted House committees — with Democratic chairs — summoning witness after witness to look into whatever they damn well want to examine.

Yep, payback is a bitch — ain’t it?

Republicans saw fit to examine that matter called “Benghazi” seemingly forever. Then we had that email matter. The Benghazi probe produced nothing incriminating, nor did the email kerfuffle.

So, what might the Democrats do in return?

It’s anyone’s guess. Go ahead and speculate, if you wish.

I’m betting it’s going to get a lot less fun for Republicans once the smoke clears from Midterm Election Day — presuming, of course, that the experts are right … this time!

If they are, get ready for a whole lot of blocking and tackling in the nation’s capital.

Sen. McCain will lie in state where he belongs

John McCain will rank as one of the U.S. Senate’s greatest men. Thus, it is wholly appropriate that he lie in state under the Capitol Rotunda while a nation he served with such distinction pays tribute to him.

The Arizona Republican died Saturday of brain cancer. He declared his intention only a day earlier that he would no longer receive treatment for the disease.

There will be plenty of tributes pouring in to honor this former Vietnam War prisoner, naval aviator and titan of Congress, where he served in both the House and Senate.

I remain deeply saddened that his voice has been stilled forever.

However, I also am proud that he will lie in state in the place where he served with honor for more than three decades.

GOP incumbent changes mind, pulls out

Christopher Collins was defiant one day. Then he thought better of his defiance.

He has made the correct call.

As the New York Times reported: “I respect Chris Collins’s decision to step down while he faces these serious allegations,” Representative Steve Stivers, an Ohio Republican and the chairman of the House Republican campaign committee, said in a statement. “As I’ve said before, Congress must hold ourselves to the highest possible standard.”

Collins is a New York Republican House member who is facing charges of engaging in insider — and illegal — trading of stocks. He has represented a reliably Republican district.

He also is notable for another reason: He was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald J. Trump’s presidential candidacy. He became one of the president’s few go-to guys in the House of Representatives.

What now? Well, I normally wouldn’t care about the future of a New York congressman who said on the day of his indictment that he would seek re-election, only to announce today that he is ending his campaign; the technical term is “suspending,” but it’s over, folks.

This is a big deal for those of us who want to see Democrats take control of at least one congressional chamber. There needs to be some check on the reckless, feckless behavior coming from the White House. Collins’s departure in one sense might help allow the election of a Democrat in that upper New York House seat.

Democrats’ magic number for retaking the House stands at 23, meaning they need to flip 23 seats to get a majority. It looks do-able.

As for Collins’s indictment and the allegations leveled against, it flies in the face of Donald Trump’s pledge to “drain the swamp” that gives Washington, D.C., its putrid aroma.

See ya, Rep. Collins.

What happened to the ‘Dog Days of August’?

There used to be a phenomenon in journalism, where newspaper reporters and editors would bemoan the “Dog Days of August. ”

Congress would go on recess, with U.S. senators and House members scattering hither and yon. Out of sight, out of mind.

Oh, and the president would go on vacation, hiding away with his wife and kids; maybe enjoying themselves with extended family members and perhaps a few good friends.

News days got slow.

No more, man! Not with this president or this Congress. I want to thank Donald Trump and congressional leadership for providing bloggers such as me and full-time print and broadcast journalists with plenty of grist that will carry us through the era known formerly as the Dog Days.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has kept senators on the job through the summer recess. House members have gone about doing whatever it is they when they’re not prowling the Capitol Hill halls of power.

As for the president, he hasn’t let up one bit while he vacations in New Jersey with his wife and son, Barron.

He’s gone after pro football players yet again for protesting police practices against African Americans. He keeps harping on that “witch hunt” that has produced several indictments from the special counsel who’s looking for answers to The Russia Thing. He launched creation of the Space Force, the sixth military branch.

There’s no let-up. We’ll all need to buck ourselves up as we prepare for the home stretch leading toward the highly consequential midterm election.

Let’s all get plenty rest. We’ll need our strength.

POTUS turns VFW speech into partisan, anti-media tirade

Leave it to Donald John Trump Sr. to turn a speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars into a cheap, partisan, insult-laden stump speech.

Yes, the president turned a potentially noble event into a sideshow.

The president ventured to Kansas City, Mo., stood on the podium at the VFW meeting and laid into the media, the so-called “fake news” outlets.

Why, I must ask, couldn’t he limit his remarks exclusively to paying tribute to the men and women who served this country in time of conflict? They went to war to defend American ideals.

Oh, wait! I almost forgot that the young Donald Trump avoided such service during the Vietnam War. Bone spurs, wasn’t that it?

Whatever, the president couldn’t resist going after the media, Democrats and anyone who opposes his loony policies.

He also chose to take aim at who he refers to as his “low-IQ” opponents in Congress. Classy, yes? Um, no!

To its credit, the VFW issued a statement via Twitter that reads:

Today, we were disappointed to hear some of our members boo the press during President Trump’s remarks. We rely on the media to spread the VFW message, and @CNN, @NBCNews, @ABC, @FoxNews, @CBSNews, & others on site today, were our invited guests. We were happy to have them there.

You see? The VFW showed the kind of class that its featured speaker, the president of the United States, is incapable of showing.

Disgraceful … yet again!

McCain keeps fighting the good fight

I want to offer some kind words about John McCain.

One year ago, Sen. McCain received a medical diagnosis no one wants to hear: He had contracted an aggressive form of brain cancer, glioblastoma.

I don’t know what the docs told him about his prognosis. Sen. McCain has indicated it was grim.

But he’s still with us. For that I am grateful.

I’ll be candid about Sen. McCain. I disagree with his conservative political views. I did not vote for him when he ran as the Republican nominee for president in 2008.

However, I long have admired Sen. McCain for the valiant public service he has given to his country. It spans many decades, including his years as a Navy officer.

In 1967, the young aviator had the extreme misfortune of being shot down over Hanoi during the height of the Vietnam War. He was taken captive and held for more than five years. He was injured when he ejected from his jet fighter; his wounds never were treated properly. He was tortured and submitted to solitary confinement.

He persevered. McCain ran for Congress, being elected to the House and then to the Senate.

His courage has never been doubted. His heroism in a time of war is well-documented. I long have admired this man’s service and I have saluted him — through this blog — many times.

I just feel compelled to wish Sen. McCain well as he continues his valiant battle. I consider him a heroic figure.

To what end will this investigation lead?

I’ve spent a good part of my day sitting in my study. My TV has been tuned to a cable news channel, which has been broadcasting a congressional hearing with a single witness: FBI agent Peter Strzok.

My question is this: For what purpose are they conducting this all-day marathon?

Strzok used to serve on Robert Mueller’s team that is looking at Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Then he and another agent, Lisa Page, were fired. Mueller canned them when it became known that they had exchanged anti-Trump messages via e-mail. Congressional Republicans allege a deep bias against the president. They are contending that the alleged bias taints the Mueller probe. They are seeking to undermine Mueller’s probe.

So, where is this investigation going? The U.S. House Oversight Committee is going to issue some kind of report. Then what? Suppose the report determines Mueller’s team has been biased and has conducted a corrupt investigation into whether the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russians who meddled in our 2016 election. Are they going to recommend an end to the probe?

Strzok has defended himself fiercely. He said he and the FBI did everything “by the book.”

I keep circling back to the man at the top of the investigation, Robert Mueller.

I remain quite convinced that Mueller’s integrity is intact. He is a former FBI director. He is known to be a meticulous lawyer. Mueller has assembled a top-tier legal team to probe deeply into the myriad issues surrounding the Trump campaign.

As for the president’s assertion — backed up by his GOP allies in Congress — that the Russia probe is being dominated by “13 Democrats,” this flies in the face of the fact that Mueller is a life-long Republican; so is the man who appointed him, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein; and … so is the man Trump fired as FBI director, James Comey.

Trump accuses Mueller of launching a “witch hunt” against him. I strongly suspect another type of “witch hunt” is under way. It ‘s occurring in Congress and the target is Mueller, who the GOP is targeting because he is inching closer to the White House in his probe into what happened during the 2016 presidential campaign.

House Oversight Committee Republicans have one of Mueller’s former team members — Peter Strzok — in their sights.

Where in the world is this congressional probe heading? I think it will end up in the ditch, right along with the Benghazi probe.

Term limit movement might have taken a big hit

I feel compelled to offer a word about term limits and the notion that we ought to restrict the length of time people can serve in Congress.

I’ll provide a name that suggests that we already have term limits: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The 28-year-old New York City community activist knocked off a 10-term Democratic incumbent, Joe Crowley, in Tuesday’s primary election. Crowley was thought to be on the fast track to serious congressional leadership and power.

He is now on a faster track toward private life. Why? He wasn’t doing the job to his constituents’ satisfaction. So they acted. With their votes. Crowley is a goner.

Term limits? We’ve already got ’em, man!

Get set for another key court decision on being gay

Step up, Stacy Bailey. I think you’re about to become a national celebrity and a lightning rod for a highly emotional talking point.

Bailey once taught in an elementary school in the Mansfield (Texas) Independent School District in Arlington. Then she got suspended by the school system. Why? Because she showed her students a picture of her wife.

The Mansfield ISD is empowered to suspend or even fire employees based on their sexual orientation. Oh, brother. This needs to be litigated and the courts need to do what it did for the issue of gay marriage, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that same-sex couples can marry in all 50 of our United States.

Texas is one of 28 states that allows employers to take such punitive action.

As Fox News reported: The school district released a statement saying they are and have always been “an inclusive, supportive environment for LGBT staff for decades.” Action was taken against Bailey, they say, because allegedly “her actions in the classroom changed.”

Bailey was removed from the classroom after a parent complained that she showed a picture of her and her then-girlfriend and now-wife to her students.

Read the entire Fox story here.

I am unaware of how the MISD defines how her “actions in the classroom changed.” If the “change” involves merely showing students a picture of the teacher and her wife, then I believe the Mansfield district has a serious problem on its hands.

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage on the basis of the Equal Protection Clause stated in the U.S. Constitution. To my way of thinking, “equal protection” applies to Stacey Bailey. She and her spouse are entitled to be married and to live together just like all Americans.

How in the world does that affect her ability to teach children?

Fox News reported this about the Civil Rights Act of 1964: The statute says, “It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer… to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

“The questions is whether ‘sex’ covers sexual orientation and gender identity issues,” attorney Sandra Mayerson told Fox News.

If the court system doesn’t rule in Bailey’s favor eventually, my hope then rests with Congress and whether our nation’s lawmakers will have the courage to insert the words “sexual orientation” into the Civil Rights Act.

It’s only right.