Tag Archives: Nancy Pelosi

Socialist? Why, I never …

I’ve been called out by a critic of High Plains Blogger.

Some fellow who I don’t know, but who reads my blog regularly, has called me a “socialist.” He likens me to U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer as a socialist in their ilk.

Hmm. I need to respond to this guy.

I’ll start with this: He doesn’t know what a socialist is. A socialist is someone who believes in, um, socialism. And what is that, precisely?

Socialism is an economic philosophy that emphasizes collective ownership of business and industry. Let’s see. Have I ever advocated taking over business and industry by the government? Have I ever said that private ownership is bad for the country? No. I haven’t.

To that end, I am as much of a capitalist as this fellow who purports to know — beyond a shadow of a doubt — that I am a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool socialist.

I tend to avoid getting involved in these tit-for-tat responses on social media. For starters, many of High Plains Blogger’s critics tend to suffer from last word-itis. They have to get the last word on any exchange. So, I concede the last word to them. I’ll make whatever point I want to make, let ’em respond and then I move on.

As for the socialist rap, this individual hung that label on me after a blog post that didn’t discuss economic policy at all!

I believe, therefore, many of those who hang the “socialist” tag on folks such as yours truly are using the word as  cudgel to beat others up whenever they disagree with them on any policy at all.

To call someone a “socialist” is akin to saying “your mother wears combat boots.”

When in doubt, I rely on my tattered American Heritage dictionary, which describes socialism this way: “A social system in which the means of producing and distributing goods are owned collectively and political power is exercised by the whole community.”

Is that me? Umm. No. It isn’t. So there.

Democrats suffer a gigantic electoral shock

Something happened to U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley’s inexorable march to the chair occupied by the speaker of the House of Representatives.

He got beat! In a Democratic Party primary no less!

His conqueror is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, a first-time political candidate, a self-proclaimed “Democratic socialist,” a community activist who worked the neighborhoods of Queens and The Bronx in New York City.

Crowley had poured lots of money into this race. He outspent Ocasio-Cortez by about 18 to 1. All that money went for naught, given that Ocasio-Cortez beat Crowley by double digits Tuesday night.

One problem emerged with Crowley’s re-election effort, just as it did in 2014 when Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his Virginia GOP primary contest. It turns out Crowley was more interested in his own political ambition than in the problems facing the constituents who sent him to Congress in the late 1990s. He wanted to push Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi aside; he kept yapping about the need for “new leadership” among the House Democratic caucus.

His hope has been that Democrats could retake the House this year and he — not Pelosi — would be chosen as the next speaker of the House.

Did he care about the home folks? They spoke Tuesday night and delivered their verdict that, nope, he didn’t give a damn about them.

Is there a lesson here. Yep.

Somewhere, the late House Speaker Tip O’Neill is laughing out loud. It was O’Neill who coined the well-worn phrase: “All politics is local.”

Pelosi: Don’t impeach Trump

Nancy Pelosi has offered an interesting — and to my mind, quite unexpected — analysis on what might lie in store for Donald J. Trump.

She hopes impeachment is not part of his future.

Yep. That’s right. The Democratic U.S. House leader — and someone who wants to become speaker of the House once again — thinks it is in the nation’s best interest to avoid impeaching the president. She sat down for an interview with the Dallas Morning News, which published her responses to questions in today’s edition.

Read the article here.

It’s too divisive. It’s too political. It would bring too much harm to the political process, according to Pelosi.

Do I agree with her? Well, not entirely. It remains to be seen whether he committed any “high crimes and misdemeanors” that rise to the level of impeachment. A special counsel, Robert Mueller, is investigating whether to level formal charges against the president.

The cynic in me — and I don’t consider myself to be of a cynical bent — suggests that Pelosi has based her reluctance to impeach Trump on more political concerns.

She wants to be speaker after the midterm election this year. Suppose the Democrats retake control of the House and Pelosi gets elevated. Does she lead an impeachment march that results in a Senate trial, only to have the president acquitted because the charges don’t persuade a super-majority of senators to convict him?

What does that do to Pelosi’s future as speaker? And would a failed impeachment effort result in Trump’s re-election in 2020?

Then there’s the prospect of Trump being convicted. That means Vice President Mike Pence gets elevated to the Oval Office; a President Pence could run for election in 2020 and possibly lead a Republican wave that produces a GOP retaking of the House of Representatives.

Well, I’ll have to take Pelosi at her word as stated in the Dallas Morning News Q&A.

I find it a remarkable revelation from a staunch and stern Democratic partisan.

Rep. Pelosi sets a blab record

This record needs to stand for a long time.

U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California believes strongly in immigration reform. She believes so strongly in it that she is able to talk for a verrrry long time about why Congress needs to enact it.

Pelosi put her commitment to the test today. She took the floor of the House and spoke — non-stop, without a break — for eight hours. She argued passionately on behalf of “Dreamers,” those undocumented immigrants who were granted a reprieve under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program established near the end of the Obama administration.

That’s a filibuster-length harangue, only they cannot call it that in the House; only the Senate allows filibusters, which enables senators to talk about whatever the heck they want for as long as they want.

Here, though, might be the most remarkable element of the Pelosi gabfest.

The former House speaker happens to be 77 years of age. Do not accuse me of being sexist by mentioning Pelosi’s age; I would say the very same thing about a comparably aged male member of Congress if he were able to talk as long as Pelosi has done.

Pelosi’s astonishing display of endurance is likely to remain on the books for a long time.

Nice going, Mme. Minority Leader.

Chuck and Nancy no longer pals with Donald

Hey, I thought Donald Trump had made new friends in Congress.

Didn’t he once say he and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were partners in an effort to actually get some legislation approved?

He called ’em Chuck and Nancy. He supposedly worked out an agreement with them to keep the government functioning until early December.

Now, though, the friendship is on the rocks. Surprised? Neither am I.

He said today that he didn’t see a deal in the making that would prevent a government shutdown. Chuck and Nancy were supposed to go to the White House to meet with Republican congressional leaders … and the president.

Then they backed out. They left their chairs empty at the White House conference room table.

Who’s to blame for the scuttling of this friendship? Who among them is the most stubborn? POTUS or Chuck and Nancy?

Here’s what needs to happen, though. The government funding measure is set to expire a week from this coming Friday. If the two sides don’t rekindle their friendship, then the feds are going to shut down the government.

This kind of brinkmanship is not why voters elect these people. It’s damn sure not why they sign on to “serve the public.”

Can’t they all be friends … again?

Can this congressman promote Capitol Hill unity?

Steve Scalise is back at work.

His office is on Capitol Hill. He is a Republican member of Congress from Louisiana. Rep. Scalise also serves in a leadership position with the GOP caucus in the House of Representatives.

He has been away from the office for a while. You see, Scalise was nearly shot to death earlier this summer while practicing for a congressional baseball game along with his fellow Republican caucus teammates.

Scalise was rushed to the hospital. His condition became critical. His bullet wounds caused immense internal bleeding.

But now, thank goodness, he is recovering. He walks with crutches. He is unsteady on his feet. This past week, though, he walked onto the floor of the House to a thunderous ovation from a packed chamber of his colleagues.

And that brings me to the point of this blog post.

The tears of joy flowed across both sides of the partisan aisle. Democrats cried and cheered along with Republicans. Their friend and colleague was back. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, took the floor to proclaim her joy at Scalise’s return and credited jokingly that his “Italian heritage” — which Pelosi shares — enabled him to return to work after suffering such grievous wounds.

So, the question emerges: Was this bipartisan joyous welcome a harbinger of a potentially new era on Capitol Hill?

It might be said that such a “new era” would in fact be a return to an older time, when Ds and Rs got along after hours. They were just political adversaries, not enemies.

Scalise said on a “60 Minutes” episode broadcast tonight that he doesn’t believe Republicans and Democrats are that far apart on many key issues. He wouldn’t predict a return to a more civil atmosphere under the Capitol Dome, but he sounded mildly hopeful that his near-tragedy well might signal a return to the collegiality that’s been missing for far too long in Washington, D.C.

Can unity return?

Americans of all stripes should hail the recovery of Rep. Scalise. We all should welcome the tremendous affection demonstrated on the floor of the House when he made his dramatic return to work.

Let us hope it does signal a renewed spirit of unity.

The ‘swamp’ is draining … finally?

Tom Price is not a political whippersnapper. He’s not wet behind the ears. He’s been around Washington, D.C., first as a member of Congress and then — until today — as secretary of health and human services.

Dr. Price quit his HHS Cabinet job in the wake of boiling controversy involving his use of private aircraft that taxpayers paid for. It smacked of a spendthrift philosophy that smacked Donald Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” in D.C. squarely in the face.

Price’s travel expenses ran into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. He had promised to pay back $52,000, which amounted to a fraction of the bill he ran up flying aboard private charter jets rather than commercial airlines, which had been the custom over many previous administrations.

Price is now gone. He resigned today. Is the proverbial “swamp” now starting to drain? Well, I’m not holding my breath just yet.

Price once complained loudly against then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s use of “luxury jets” while she flew around the country. Then he gets caught doing something quite similar, if not identical, to what he accused Pelosi of doing.

It all kind of reminds me of how another House speaker, Newt Gingrich, wailed and railed against President Bill Clinton for his affair with the White House intern in the late 1990s — while at the same time Newt was taking a tumble with a congressional staff member while he was married to someone else.

Sigh …

Where do we go from here? The president has made precious few wise moves since stepping into the Oval Office. One of them is his hiring of John Kelly as White House chief of staff. Indeed, it appears quite likely that Gen. Kelly had a hand in Dr. Price’s resignation. Moreover, it also is being reported that Kelly’s fingerprints appear to be all over a new White House directive that mandates that all Cabinet officers and senior staffers clear their travel plans with Kelly and White House legal counsel.

Price’s departure is not a surprise, given the president’s own expressions of anger over the revelation about the former secretar’s travel habits.

The Trump administration, though, needs to pull a lot more plugs at the bottom of that “swamp” to ensure it gets drained.

DACA ‘deal’ produces more … chaos

Chaos, anyone? Anyone?

“Chuck and Nancy” had dinner Wednesday night with the president of the United States of America and then announced they had reached an agreement with Donald J. Trump on the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals rule.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the deal involves legislation to restore DACA that “excludes the wall” that Trump wants to build across our nation’s southern border.

Cheers went up. The illegal immigrants who were brought here as children wouldn’t be rounded up and deported back to countries they don’t know, given that they grew up as de facto Americans.

Trump had rescinded the DACA executive order and gave Congress six months to craft a legislative solution to this problem. The Chuck-and-Nancy announcement seemed to give the DACA residents some hope, some reason to believe they could proceed toward full U.S. citizenship or permanent immigrant status.

Not so fast, said the president.

He insists he didn’t agree to forgo money for the wall — which he has said Mexico would pay for, over the strenuous objections of that country’s president, Enrique Pena Nieto.

Good grief, dude! Two leading Democratic politicians — both of whom have been at this governing thing for a long time — make an announcement, that is contradicted immediately by the president of the United States.

Perhaps Chuck and Nancy should bear some responsibility for this latest round of chaos as it involves the president.

But all told, the rollout of this so-called deal bears the marks of the man who is unable to formulate a smooth strategy — for anything. 

Do they have a deal or don’t they?

Just think: We’re only eight months into a four-year term for the president. This confusion and chaos does seem to make the time drag, doesn’t it?

DACA pact? Deal … or no deal?

Donald J. Trump had a couple of dinner guests at the White House tonight.

They were Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the Senate and House Democratic leaders, respectively. “Chuck and Nancy” emerged from the dinner meeting and announced a “deal” they struck with the president that would produce a permanent agreement to keep “Dreamers” in the United States.

I refer to the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals act that Trump supposedly rescinded the other day. He gave Congress six months to work out a legislative fix to DACA, which seeks to protect those who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

It seems that the DACA matter has been put on a fast track. Oh, and get this: They report that Trump has agreed to forgo building the wall.

Not so fast, says White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who tweeted out something about minutes after Chuck and Nancy announced the deal that the president didn’t agree to scrap the wall idea.

Who do you believe? Two seasoned politicians who know their way around the Capitol Hill pea patch or a president who is not wired to tell the truth?

Trump, by the way, hasn’t yet weighed in with his own tweet about what he agreed on with Chuck and Nancy.

I believe the two leading congressional Democrats have just scored another win over the “best deal maker” the world has ever seen.

Congressional shooting produces a glimmer of hope

It’s only a glimmer, a flicker, a slight flash of light.

It might not last past the first serious floor debate in either chamber of Congress. However, the two leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives are saying something about unity, about common good, about patriotism and love of country.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi today pledged to get the House to work more closely together, to set partisanship aside whenever possible. Their pledge came in the wake of that frightening shooting in Alexandria, in which House GOP whip Steve Scalise was injured critically by a gunman who wounded four others before being shot to death by Capital police officers.

A ‘kumbaya’ moment?

Dear reader, we have entered a dangerous time in American political history. The shooter reportedly was highly critical of Donald J. Trump; he also reportedly had some sort of hard feelings against Rep. Scalise, who appeared to be his primary target at that baseball practice field where Republican lawmakers were preparing for their annual charity game against Democratic colleagues.

As near as I can tell, this about the only good thing to come from this terrible event. I am praying, along with the rest of the nation, for the victims’ full recovery. Yes, the police responded with valor and gallantry; the lawmakers who rushed to Rep. Scalise’s aid also performed heroically.

I will await the outcome of Ryan and Pelosi’s pledge to work together, to put the bitterness aside, to argue civilly but maintain respect for each other’s side, their point of view … and appreciate the other’s love of country.

What a shame, though, that it took an even such as this to possibly make them reach this point.