Tag Archives: Ted Cruz

Is this alliance all that rare … really?

I continue to be struck by the surprise alliance reportedly formed with conservative Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and liberal Democratic U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

They supposedly are preparing to team up on legislation aimed at restricting, possibly eliminating, lawmakers who become corporate lobbyists. The budding Cruz-AOC Alliance has tongues a-wagging in Washington. Why, some folks just cannot believe that these two ferocious partisans could find common ground on anything.

But I guess they have. At least that’s my hope.

It’s not unprecedented by any stretch. Two former senators, liberal Democrat Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and the late conservative Republican John McCain of Arizona, teamed up on campaign finance reform measures that sought to put caps on the money raised in political campaigns.

Countless other alliances have been formed since the beginning of the republic. Indeed, Democratic President Lyndon Johnson needed Republican senators to help him enact voting rights and civil rights legislation in the 1960s, given the resistance he was getting from southern Democrats in the U.S. Senate. LBJ was able to parlay his bipartisan friendships into landmark legislation.

I get that there appears to be plenty of skeptics about the Cruz-AOC team. Righties doubt that Ocasio-Cortez will be actually reach out to Cruz and other Republicans; lefties are inherently suspicious of Cruz’s statements expressing support for any idea put forth by a progressive colleague.

What began as a Twitter conversation between these two highly partisan lawmakers well might bear fruit. Or … it could wither and die.

I’m going to hold out hope that Sen. Cruz and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez carry through on their pledge to begin draining the proverbial swamp.

Lobby reform: a tough hurdle to clear

Having already lauded Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandrea Ocasio-Cortez for reaching across the partisan chasm to take up the issue of lobby reform, I want to extol the virtues of what the lawmakers hope to accomplish.

The Republican Cruz and the Democrat Ocasio-Cortez say they want to prohibit members of the House and Senate from moving directly from public service into lobbying on behalf of well-heeled, deep-pocketed corporate sponsors.

Yes, the Cruz Missile and AOC have teamed up.

Why is their goal so important? Because it would deprive recently former lawmakers from parlaying their influence and friendships with their former colleagues into legislation that favors their new employers. It’s not a fair fight when lobbyists who do not have those connections have to compete with those who do have them.

I understand fully the role that lobbyists play. I do not oppose lobbying per se within the halls of power, as long as it’s done ethically and above board.

I do oppose the notion that legislators can walk directly from their public service jobs into their for-profit jobs, while gaining an unfair advantage as they campaign on behalf their sponsors.

We’ve seen this kind of thing happen all too often in Texas. Other states no doubt have the same issue that nags them, too.

Former Republican state Rep. David Swinford went to work for wind energy interests immediately after leaving his Texas House District 87 seat. Former Democratic Texas House Speaker Pete Laney left the House some years earlier and registered immediately as a lobbyist for agriculture interests.

That’s for the state to rectify. Perhaps it will eventually.

As for the federal lobbying reform, let’s hope Sen. Cruz and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez can use their newfound alliance to hammer out an overhaul that makes sense.

Whether a lobby reform bill ever gets a vote in both congressional chambers likely will serve as a test to determine whether Cruz and AOC are serious about the effort or whether they’re just pretending to be allies for the sake of positive news coverage.

Ted Cruz joins forces with AOC? What the … ?

As my dear ol’ Dad would say: I’ll be dipped in sesame seeds.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a hardline conservative, has joined forces with U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an equally hardline progressive, on legislation aimed at banning former members of Congress from joining the lobbying ranks immediately after leaving office.

Who in the world knew?

Cruz put out a Twitter message that declared he actually agrees with an idea that AOC put out there, which is to ban lawmakers from becoming lobbyists; at least, she said, the new law should require a lengthy waiting period.

I don’t think hell has frozen over, but it might be getting a bit chilly down there nonetheless.

This unlikely partnership demonstrates to me that bipartisanship is not a lost cause on Capitol Hill.

I’ve written often about my dislike for Sen. Cruz. As for AOC, well, she has annoyed me as well, given the undeserved spotlight she is getting as a rookie member of the House of Representatives.

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted this: “If you are a member of Congress + leave, you shouldn’t be allowed to turn right around &leverage your service for a lobbyist check. I don’t think it should be legal at ALL to become a corporate lobbyist if you’ve served in Congress. At minimum there should be a long wait period.”

Cruz responded with this: “Here’s something I don’t say often: I agree with @AOC.” He said he has long favored a ban on lawmakers becoming lobbyists. He added this via Twitter: “The Swamp would hate it, but perhaps a chance for bipartisan cooperation.”

There you have it. Two lawmakers from extreme ends of the political spectrum have reached out, locked arms and decided on something on which they both have found common ground.

Indeed, lobbyists who walk away from the halls of power and begin working directly for corporate employers have built-in advantages over their colleagues/competitors. It ain’t fair, man!

AOC responded that she’s “down” with what Cruz has proposed as long as it doesn’t contain any partisan trickery. Cruz responded, “You’re on.”

This is a small step. It’s still an important one.

Space Force: It’s back and it’s still a dumb idea

I cannot believe they’re talking yet again about forming another military branch, this one based in outer space.

On second thought, yes I can believe it.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is pitching the goofy idea one more time. He says we need a “space force” to protect us against pirates who’ll attack us from beyond our atmosphere.

Oh, please help me. Give me strength.

How many times must we say this? The United States already has a military branch — several of them, actually — committed to defending us from outer space attack.

The U.S. Air Force has a Space Command led by a four-star general. The U.S. Navy also has dedicated qualified personnel to monitor the great beyond from ships at sea as well as at naval air stations positioned around the world. The U.S. Army has long deployed units committed to high-tech air defenses.

What in the world are talking about here?

The proposed U.S. Space Force is redundant. It is duplicative of tasks already being done.

The Space Force idea does have its fans. Elon Musk, the Tesla and SpaceX guru, is all in. “It’s cool,” he said, to have a Space Force, noting that they scoffed in the 1940s when the Air Force was split off from the Army.

Donald Trump wants to create this force as a national security matter. He signed a directive calling for additional study of the issue.

Whatever. A Space Force is still a nutty notion.

We do not need to form yet another military service branch. I’m tellin’ ya, the military we have on duty at this time — the most potent fighting force in human history — is quite capable of defending us against space pirates.

Beto gets ’em fired up early

The media and political fascination with Beto O’Rourke has commenced. It’s at full throttle already.

The former West Texas congressman announced his presidential candidacy this week, jetted off to Iowa and had the political media following his every move.

I heard one commentator gushing over how physically attractive he is and how O’Rourke already has ignited the national flame much as he did in Texas when in 2018 he came within a whoop and a holler of defeating U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

None of this early excitement is surprising. O’Rourke presents a different type of presidential challenger. He nearly defeated Cruz in a heavily Republican state. He ran close and hard with nary a political adviser to be found; he had no pollsters; he toured every one of Texas’s 254 counties.

He is pledging to do something similar as he runs for president. Good luck with that, young man.

I remain fervently on the fence regarding Beto O’Rourke. I am inclined to want to support him. I am just not there. I don’t know if I’ll get there. I’m thinking hard about it, along with the rest of the already-gigantic field of Democrats lining up for the chance run next year against Donald Trump.

The media fascination in a strange way seems to mirror the fascination they showed toward Trump as he announced his candidacy in 2015.

I don’t expect O’Rourke, though, to inflame animosity the way Trump did, even though the president likely owes the media debt of gratitude for elevating him from carnival barker to serious presidential candidate.

Welcome to the big time, Beto O’Rourke. This will be wild ride.

Beto has one distinct advantage over rest of huge field

As I ponder the impact of Beto O’Rourke’s entry into the burgeoning Democratic Party presidential primary field, I keep thinking of a distinct advantage he holds over most of the rest of the thundering herd.

He doesn’t have a job at the moment.

Beto once served in Congress. He represented El Paso in Congress for three terms. Then O’Rourke decided to give up his House seat. He ran for the U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. O’Rourke ignited the Texas Democratic Party, which had been in a state of slumber, er . . . stupor for the past three decades.

O’Rourke almost won!

Now he wants to take the fight to an even higher level. He wants to become president of the United States.

He is running against a lot of U.S. senators, some governors and others who are gainfully employed. Beto doesn’t have a job.

One of the points he sought to make while losing narrowly to Cruz was that the junior senator from Texas spent too much time running for president and too little time casting votes in the Senate.

The many folks who are running against him for president in next year’s Democratic primary will be unable to slather him with mud from that particular pit. He’s jobless at the moment and can devote his waking moments full time to the task of running for POTUS.

He’ll be able to parlay that advantage at least for a little while.

Then he well might have to cope with another high-powered politician with no gainful employment.

Joe Biden? Are you out there?

Beto’s big announcement is the real thing

I guess Beto O’Rourke’s “big announcement” is going to be what everyone in America suspected it would be.

The former West Texas congressman is going to run for president of the United States of America. He is going to make the announcement on Thursday.

OK. Now what? How am I supposed to feel about this? I’ll be candid: I am not sure yet how I feel about a President O’Rourke.

I can explain this a couple of ways. Compared to the man who’s currently in the office, I feel better about Beto and I do about Donald, as in Trump.

Beto O’Rourke is No. 13 among the Democrats who have declared their intention to seek their party’s presidential nomination in 2020. More will be jump into the moat. There will be at least one more major candidate to announce: former Vice President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.

Beto captured many Texans’ imagination when he nearly beat Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. That he was able to finish just a couple of percentage points behind the Cruz Missile in heavily GOP Texas still has state Democrats salivating.

Now he’s going to enter the huge field of Democrats.

I sense a certain sort of Bobby Kennedy freneticism in Beto’s candidacy. Just as RFK scrambled to assemble a presidential campaign in 1968 and ran a frenzied race for 85 days before tragedy struck, I sense that Beto might be modeling his 2020 after Robert F. Kennedy.

As an aside, I should note that the late New York senator’s name was Robert Francis Kennedy; Beto’s proper name is Robert Francis O’Rourke. Karma, anyone?

I’ll need to hold my breath for Beto’s entry. I wanted him to defeat Sen. Cruz. I am not yet convinced he is ready for the Big Chair in the Big Office.

However, I can be persuaded.

Looks like Beto’s running for POTUS

If you put a gun to my head and said “Make your prediction about Beto O’Rourke … or else,” I am likely to say that Beto is running for president of the United States in 2020.

Why else would be stand in front of a South by Southwest crowd in Austin today and tell ’em he’s made up his mind, but just isn’t ready to divulge what he has decided to do.

It sounds to me as though O’Rourke is lining up his ducks, assembling his campaign organization.

Run, Beto, run?

I mean, think about it! Were he not going to run, why would he have any reason to delay announcing a decision. If he’s going to stay home, find other work, do something else he would just say so. Isn’t that right? Does that make as much sense to you as it does to me?

So, Beto — who nearly beat Sen. Ted Cruz for the U.S. Senate seat from Texas in 2018 — likely is going to jump into the massive and still growing Democratic Party primary field that wants to challenge Donald John Trump for president.

I beg you, though, dear reader. Please don’t hold me to this if O’Rourke decides to stay home in El Paso.

My so-called “prediction” is based on a hypothetical circumstance. Please remember that if he decides against running for president.

Will he or won’t he run for POTUS?

I am on pins and needles waiting for Beto O’Rourke to tell us whether he is running for president of the United States in 2020.

Well, actually, I’m not. I am amazed, though, at the excitement that a potential Beto candidacy is ginning up among Democratic partisans as the field for the presidential election keeps growing.

O’Rourke seems like a fine young family man. He represented El Paso, Texas, in Congress for three terms. Then he ran for the Senate in 2018 and came within a couple of percentage points of defeating Sen. Ted Cruz, the sometimes-fiery Republican incumbent.

That a Democrat could come as close as O’Rourke did in 2018 to upsetting a GOP incumbent still has politicos’ attention. Thus, they are waiting Beto’s decision.

He says he’ll let us know by the end of the month whether he intends to seek the presidency, which is just a few days down the road.

The political world awaits.

I remain decidedly mixed about Beto’s possible candidacy. I wanted him to win his race against Cruz. I think he would be a fine U.S. senator.

And, maybe, one day he will make an equally fine president of the United States. Still, there’s just something a bit too green about Beto.

Do his policies bother me? No. I consider myself a center-left kind of fellow. Thus, I don’t see Beto as a flame-throwing progressive bad-ass. He’s not a socialist — closeted or otherwise.

However, he seems to be trading on the excitement he built with his Senate run, believing possibly that he can parlay that into a national campaign.

I just don’t know

That all said, I’ll repeat what I’ve stated already: If he were to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination and then face off in the fall of 2020 against Donald John Trump, he would have my support all the way to the finish line.

He just isn’t the perfect candidate to take on Donald Trump.

I’m still waiting for Mr. or Ms. Political Perfection — or a reasonable facsimile — to jump out of the tall grass.

Still waiting for that ‘presidential’ moment

A critic or two of my blog has noted that I continue to resist referring to Donald Trump by placing the term “President” in front of his name. They don’t like it, calling me disrespectful of the man who was duly elected to the nation’s highest office.

So help me, as the Good Lord is my witness, I am waiting for that moment — or perhaps a sequence of moments — when I can feel as if the president of the United States has earned that honor from yours truly.

It hasn’t arrived. I don’t know if it will. I want it to arrive. I feel like the guy waiting for the bus or the train that’s overdue. I keep craning my neck, standing on my tiptoes, looking for all I can for some sign that the vehicle is on its way.

The same is true with Donald Trump.

As a presidential candidate, the man disgraced himself and the office he sought with behavior that is utterly beyond repugnant. The denigration of the late Sen. John McCain’s heroic service to the nation as a prisoner during the Vietnam War; the mocking of New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski’s serious neuro-muscular disability; the insults he hurled at his Republican primary foes; the hideous implication, for example, that Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was complicit in President Kennedy’s murder.

Also, we had that years-long lie that Trump fomented about President Obama’s eligibility to run for and to serve as president of the United States; Trump was one of the founders of the so-called “Birther Movement.”

He brought all that, and more, into the White House when he won the 2016 election.

Since taking office, he has acted like the carnival barker he became as a candidate. His incessant Twitter messaging, the manner in which he has fired Cabinet officials and assorted high-level federal officers have contributed to the idiocy that he promotes.

There have been moments of lucidity from this president. He pitched a much-needed effort on federal sentencing reform; he struck at Syria when it gassed its citizens.

The rest of it has been not worthy of the office this individual occupies.

I want to be able to string the words “President” and “Trump” together consecutively.  I cannot do it.

Maybe one day. Something tells me I shouldn’t hold my breath.