Tag Archives: House Speaker

C’mon, Mr. POTUS, you’ve been impeached

I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing, Mr. President, but let me be as crystal clear as I possibly can.

The House of Representatives has impeached you on two counts: one for abuse of power, the other for obstructing Congress.

I watched the vote happen this past week in real time. So did millions of other Americans. One former Republican voted to impeach you; two Democrats bolted on one count, three of them voted “no” on the other one.

Still, the impeachment stands for the record. It stands for history. You’re going to your grave eventually “impeached president,” or words to that effect, on your obituary.

I don’t get this strategy you and your legal team are employing, suggesting that Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to send over the impeachment articles immediately to the Senate means you aren’t actually impeached. Of course you are!

It’s a silly game designed to confuse everyone. I trust your lawyers know better, but then again they work for you and are obligated to do your bidding while they represent you in this matter.

Your lawyers are citing the arguments of a Harvard law professor who says that until articles are submitted to the Senate, there is technically no impeachment. What the heck does that mean? The articles are going to the Senate, Mr. President. The speaker simply wants some clarity on the nature of the trial the Senate plans to conduct before she sends ’em over. The Senate will get them in due course. I want them sent over sooner rather than later, too.

How about ending this idiotic game-playing? Let’s get down to brass tacks: Your task is to persuade us — including me — that you really didn’t ask Ukraine for political dirt on Joe Biden and that your blanket order to deny cooperation with congressional subpoenas aren’t impeachable offenses. I believe they are.

You’ve been impeached, Mr. President.

So … with that I wish you a Merry Christmas.

We’ll see you on the other side.

Yes, on House impeachment inquiry vote!

The U.S. House of Representatives is taking the correct course in its decision to call for a vote of its members on whether to proceed with its inquiry on impeaching Donald J. Trump.

The courts have ruled that the impeachment process is legal. They have said the House is on solid legal footing, despite what the president and his allies have alleged.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had dug in against staging a vote. However, with sufficient votes to support the inquiry and likely enough votes to impeach the president when that vote comes due, the speaker has decided to put the House’s officials imprimatur on the inquiry.

So it will be done Thursday.

Republicans have declared that an inquiry without an official vote somehow was less than legitimate. They are wrong. The House, though, plans to settle that issue once and for all as it proceeds toward all-but-certain impeachment possibly by the end of the year.

Let’s call the roll, shall we?

Mr. Ryan is moving to Washington

I don’t know exactly why this is such a big deal, why the media are making hay about it, but it kinda/sorta is a big deal.

Former U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan is moving from his beloved hometown of Janesville, Wis., to Washington, D.C. Yep, he’s moving his family — all of ’em — to the nation’s capital city.

Why is it a big deal?

Here’s my take. Ryan made quite a big splash about how he loved getting out of Washington, how he cherished his time away from The Beltway, how he wanted to commune with the home folks to get a feel of what the rest of Middle America was thinking.

He’s now out of office. He left the speakership and the House of Representatives at the end of 2018. Maybe he’s had all the Middle America perspective he can stand.

Let’s remember, too, that Ryan ran for vice president in 2012 on the Republican ticket led by now U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah. Indeed, I recall vividly during that campaign how Ryan espoused the virtues of going home, of how he wanted to spend as much time as possible away from the halls of power.

To be fair, Ryan is not selling his Janesville home. He and his wife will rent a house in the D.C. ‘burbs in Maryland. He plans to return home to Janesville. His foundation will be based back “home.”

It’s just that when a national politician makes a lot of noise about spending time away from the Center of the Political Universe, only to return to it, well … it does make me scratch my noggin.

No, Mr. POTUS, Pelosi isn’t ‘bad for the country’; you are!

Mr. President, I cannot let you get away with this nonsense you spouted on CBS News.

Your belief that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “very bad for the country” is laughable on its face. Except that it ain’t funny.

What’s “funny,” and my laughter is of the derisive kind, is that you say these things with a straight face. You, sir, are the one who is “bad for the country.” I hate saying that about the president of the United States, but I feel as though I must.

Speaker Pelosi is performing just as she did when he held the post the first time. You weren’t around Washington back then. You were still slapping your name on high-rise buildings and “firing” people on “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Pelosi was controlling her Democratic Party congressional caucus. She was helping ensure that President Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act legislation got passed by the House and eventually by the Senate. She was doing her job as a legislative leader.

She is displaying her strong hand once again in this silly battle over The Wall and whether we should pay for it. Your ridiculous campaign promise that Mexico would pay for it has been exposed for what it is: utter nonsense. Yet you make these idiotic pledges anyway.

You call Pelosi “rigid”? No, sir. She is standing behind her principles and is holding her caucus firm in its resistance to building The Wall. You contend you are ready to declare a “national emergency” where none exists on our southern border. You are prompting a legal challenge. You are intent on putting our military personnel to work as wall builders. Haven’t you heard your fellow Republicans urge you to resist this measure, that you are courting disaster?

That, Mr. President, represents a public policy that is “very bad for the country.”

Rep. Jordan seeks to follow Speaker Hastert; oh, the irony

This cannot possibly be happening. But it is.

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan wants to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives. The current speaker, Paul Ryan, isn’t running for re-election. Ryan has endorsed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy as his successor, according to The Hill.

That hasn’t dissuaded the young Freedom Caucus co-founder, Jordan, from joining the speaker fray in the fight to become the person who is second in line to presidential succession.

But … this is a richly ironic candidacy. It has nothing to do with Jordan’s legislative record. It has everything to do with, um, sex!

Jordan has been accused by several former Ohio State University wrestlers of looking the other way while these athletes were being sexually abused by a team doctor. Jordan denies the accusations categorically. Still, they are mounting up, much like the women who accused a former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice of abusing them when they were much younger.

The irony? It goes like this: A former U.S. House speaker, Dennis Hastert, pleaded guilty to a felony charge related to the abuse of young boys he coached many years ago in an Illinois high school. Hastert wasn’t charged specifically with sexual abuse, as the statute of limitations had expired. He did admit to doing so, however, during his sentencing.

I just find it strange, weird and oh, so ironic that Jordan would seek the same office once held by someone who also got himself into deep doo-doo over a sexual abuse matter.

You also can bet the farm that Democrats are going to use Rep. Jordan’s own set of (alleged) troubles against him as they seek to re-capture control of the House of Representatives in this fall’s midterm election.

Another ‘Me Too’ congressman hits the road

Blake Farenthold, a Republican congressman from Corpus Christi, has quit. Good deal. Hit the road, dude!

This means Congress’s ranks of men accused of sexual harassment has thinned by one more.

Farenthold, though, is a bit of a special case. He isn’t your garden-variety sexual harasser. He happens to be someone who bilked taxpayers out of $84,000 to settle a harassment claim. You see, the money came from that mysterious fund that enables lawmakers to use the fund — which is public money — to pay off those who accuse them of personal misbehavior.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Farenthold has pledged to pay the money back. He hasn’t done so just yet. Hey, I thought this guy took out a personal to reimburse the fund. Isn’t that what was reported when the allegations came forth in the first place and when Farenthold announced his intention to retire at the end of his current term.

He’s thought differently about that. I won’t say “better,” because of the statement he issued when he announced his resignation effective immediately. “While I planned on serving out the remainder of my term in Congress, I know in my heart it’s time for me to move along and look for new ways to serve,” Farenthold said.

Here’s a thought as this fellow begins his search for “new ways to serve”: Don’t harass anyone — sexually or otherwise.

Oh, and how about lobbying Congress to get rid of the fund?

Presidency no place to ‘learn how to do the job’

I damn near spit my coffee at the TV screen this morning when I heard U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan give Donald J. Trump a pass on the utter chaos that follows the president around.

Ryan said Trump “is new at this,” meaning he’s new at governing. No kidding, Mr. Speaker? He’s so damn new he continues to blunder and bluster his way through mistake after mistake.

And what do you suppose is the cost? It’s the loss of credibility among our allies; it’s the fear this man generates among Americans who cannot depend on the president to do or say anything sane.

I am trying to imagine how the speaker would react if Hillary Rodham Clinton would make the kind of mistakes that Trump has made. He’d be drafting articles of impeachment immediately. To be fair, Democrats likely would give a President Hillary Clinton a pass, too.

But here’s the thing: She’s not the president. Donald “Smart Person” Trump occupies that office. It should go without saying that being elected president creates a steep learning curve even for those who have years of experience in government. Trump came to the presidency with zero experience in any form of public service.

Trump hasn’t appeared to learn a damn thing about the office he inherited on Election Day 2016.

Hey, that’s OK, according to Speaker Ryan. The president of the United States is “new at this.”

Good … grief!

Who are ‘they,’ Donald?

donald

Donald Trump is taking undeserved credit — imagine that, will you? — for Kevin McCarthy’s stunning withdrawal last week from the contest to become the next speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The GOP presidential candidate said “They’re giving me a lot of credit” for McCarthy dropping out of the congressional campaign.

Who said it, Donald?

That’s all part and parcel of Trump’s modus operandi.

He takes credit where none is deserved, along with shuffling blame off on someone else — all while tossing a personal insult or three at various other individuals.

So help me, I never heard anyone giving Trump “credit” for McCarthy backing out of the House leadership race. That is, until Trump said so.

The fact is that McCarthy’s own intemperance got him booted out.

He muttered that amazing fact, er, gaffe about the Benghazi hearing under way in the House, suggesting the committee was formed for the expressed purpose of undercutting HRC’s presidential ambition.

As former Texas Gov. Rick Perry might say …

Oops.

Bring back Newt?

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich speaks at the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California in this May 24, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Mark Avery

You’re never too old to learn something.

I found that out today. I did not know, for example, that the U.S. Constitution does not require the speaker of the House of Representatives to be a current member of the House.

Do you know what this means? The Republicans who control the House conceivably could go outside the body to find someone to lead it.

I’ve been watching the federal government for nearly 40 years and I did not know this about the House.

This opens up the list of candidates for the speakership to a remarkable degree.

John Boehner announced his intention to quit the House and the speakership. Kevin McCarthy was supposed to be the heir apparent. Then he dropped out today.

Who’s left? The TEA Party caucus of the GOP is beside itself.

Hey, why not enlist former Speaker Newt Gingrich? He said today he’d be willing if a majority of House wanted him to return to Capitol Hill.

Hey, maybe the GOP could call on former Vice President Dick Cheney, who once served in the House. We’ve got a former Republican president out there, George W. Bush, who’s able to serve; former President George H.W. Bush is in failing health.

How about Donald Trump? He’s running for the GOP presidential nomination and he proclaims he is able to do anything under the sun.

Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is available. Bring him back.

Oh, the possibilities seem endless.

 

How does ‘Speaker Thornberry’ sound?

mac

Mac Thornberry’s name popped into my noggin today around noon when I heard that Kevin McCarthy had dropped out of the race to become the next speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Then I got onto other matters.

Now it turns out that at least one blogger, writing for a major American newspaper, thinks Thornberry would be a good fit as the Man of the House.

Tod Robberson’s blog for the Dallas Morning News seeks to make the case that Thornberry, a Clarendon Republican who’s represented the 13th Congressional District since 1995, might be the man to (a) heal the fractious House GOP caucus and (b) work with President Obama on some of the key issues that need to be resolved.

I happen to like Thornberry on a personal level. We’ve always had a good professional relationship as well. He and I have something in common: We assumed our new Texas Panhandle duties on the same week; I came to work at the Amarillo Globe-News in January 1995 just as Thornberry was taking his oath of office in Washington.

That’s about all we have in common — except that we belong to the same Presbyterian church congregation in Amarillo. But, hey, I thought I’d mention it.

I don’t really buy into the notion that Thornberry even wants to be speaker. He’s never struck me as a media frontrunner, which is what the speaker must be if he or she is to be an effective congressional leader.

Thornberry had long aspired to chair the House Armed Services Committee, which would take yank him off the back bench and into the limelight. He became chairman this year when Buck McKeon retired from the House.

Prior to becoming chairman of the committee, though, Thornberry was one of those lawmakers few folks outside of his West and North Texas district ever saw.

My strong sense is that Thornberry — who is a strong conservative and loyal Republican — simply isn’t wired for the harsh, bright lights that shine on the individual who is third in line to become president of the United States.

However, in this wild and crazy political time in Washington, anything can happen.

Anything!