Tag Archives: House Budget Committee

Why not Kasich, indeed?

cruz and kasich

No one is talking about him this morning.

The political story line of the day — and perhaps for the rest of the week — will be the epic crash of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s Republican Party primary presidential campaign and the pending nomination of one Donald J. Trump as the party’s next standard-bearer.

But there is Ohio Gov. John Kasich, all alone in the corner, wondering what in the name of political punditry he’s got to do to get anyone’s attention.

As the co-founder of RealClearPolitics, Tom Bevan, has noted: Kasich is the one Republican candidate who polls ahead of Hillary Clinton — but the GOP voter base is rejecting him.


From my vantage point out here in Middle America, it appears Kasich’s dilemma serves as a fitting metaphor for the demise of what we used to know as the Republican Party.

Kasich is a traditional Republican. He’s been a player in the “establishment” for more than two decades. He served in Congress and became a party leader. He chaired the House Budget Committee and worked with Democrats and fellow Republicans to balance the federal budget.

That’s a big deal, dude.

However, he’s getting zero traction — none! — on that record.

The GOP voting base is now turning its attention and showering its love on a guy who’s got zero government experience, no philosophy and seemingly not a scintilla of grace.

Those voters are angry. So they’re going with the guy who shares their anger.

Can this guy govern? No.

What the hell. That doesn’t matter.

The Grand Old Party as we used to know it appears to have died. Its demise wasn’t entirely peaceful. It’s being replaced by something that is still taking form.

One of those formerly important Republicans — Gov. Kasich — is now among its casualties.


Speaker fails to perform ‘basic’ task


Paul Ryan spoke the truth when, as chairman of the House Budget Committee, he said the federal government must perform its basic function, which he said is to approve a budget.

Now that he’s speaker of the House, Ryan is finding matters are getting complicated.


Speaker Ryan said he lacks the votes to approve a federal budget.

He’s battling the TEA Party wing of the GOP, which wants to stick to the sequester provision that allows across-the-board cuts in many government programs.

Oh, the divisions within the Republican House caucus are deep and wide — and they might be getting deeper and wider.

What’s the speaker to do? How does he get his fellow Republicans to speak with a single voice? Isn’t that what leaders do?

Well, he’s finding himself in the same predicament that bedeviled his predecessor as speaker, John Boehner, who ended up getting so fed up with the TEA Party that he gave up the speakership — and then quit the House of Representatives.

Governing involves compromise. It means all sides give a little. Sure, they can cling to their principles.

The speaker, though, is unable to lean on House Democrats to bail him out. Why? That toxic environment on Capitol Hill has become seemingly terminal.

Government cannot function under those conditions.


Who’s qualified to become POTUS?

kasich and clinton

Politicians “walk back” comments all the time.

They get caught up in the heat of tossing verbal barbs and stones and then rethink what they say. Are the rest of us allowed to reconsider things we say out loud?

I’ll do so here. I won’t take back everything I said earlier.

At issue are the qualifications of the current crop of candidates for president of the United States. I said in an earlier blog post that I believe Hillary Rodham Clinton is the most qualified of the five people running for president — in either party.

Here is what I wrote earlier.

Then came a comment from a regular reader/critic of this blog. He tells me that Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s qualifications and record make him the most qualified candidate.

This reader, I feel compelled to note, is an Ohio native. So maybe — just maybe — his view is a bit colored by some home-boy bias. I hope he might concede that point. I won’t hold it against him if he doesn’t.

He does make a good point, though, about Kasich — who long ago emerged as my favorite Republican presidential candidate.

Why is Kasich my favorite? He works well with Democrats. He showed an ability to do so while he served in Congress. A good bit of his congressional service included his chairmanship of the House Budget Committee, which — as its title suggests — helps craft the federal budget.

While he sat in the chairman’s seat, the federal government managed to balance its budget. That means Chairman Kasich was able to reach a meeting of the minds with the Democrat who at the time was president; that would be William Jefferson Clinton.

That is no small task. It’s been made even more profound given the current political climate that has poisoned the air and water in Washington.

He’s my favorite Republican for that reason, plus his grown-up answers to today’s tough questions. He understands how government works, how Washington works. That also commends him for the presidency, rather than the blow-it-up approach preached by Donald J. Trump and Rafael Edward Cruz.

Does this make him more qualified than Hillary Clinton? My critic says Clinton’s service has been marginal; she “stood by her man” as U.S. first lady, served an undistinguished tenure in the Senate and her time as secretary of state was plagued by scandal … he said.

That’s his view. I honor that. I just disagree with it.

I do, though, admire Gov. Kasich’s service. I hope lightning strikes at the GOP convention this summer that produces a Kasich nomination for president.

Then the decision for yours truly becomes difficult.

Chairman Ryan must avoid code words

When you mention people who live in what’s called the “inner city,” you’re generally referring to Americans of African descent.

That’s a given in today’s political culture.

And when you suggest that the “inner city culture” doesn’t honor work, you’re insulting a whole race of Americans.

That’s what U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan was told after he made some, um, intemperate remarks on talk-show host Bill Bennett’s radio show.


And one of Ryan’s Wisconsin constituents called him out on it at a town hall meeting this week in Janesville, Wisc.

Ryan said on Bennett’s show that there is a “tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning to value the culture of work.”

An African-American man, Alfonso Gardner, challenged Ryan for that remark, saying he was using code words to describe black citizens. Ryan’s response? “There was nothing whatsoever about race in my comments at all, it had nothing to do with race.”

Actually, Mr. Chairman, it had everything to do with race, even if you didn’t say it overtly.

That’s the point Gardner is making and it is something the possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate may need to clear up if he jumps into the next national presidential campaign.

Ryan already has more or less apologized for using what he described as “inarticulate” verbiage when talking to Bennett. Indeed, as the link attached here notes, Ryan has become an advocate for immigration reform while many of his GOP House colleagues have balked at the notion. He told the town hall crowd he is entirely sensitive to the plight of minorities.

Code words can be perceived as hurtful if they’re put in the kind of context Ryan was addressing in his radio interview. One of the young congressman’s constituents construed it that way. It doesn’t matter what he intended to say or meant to imply.

Words have consequences, Rep. Ryan.