Tag Archives: US Senate

Beto flush with cash, but will it deliver the votes?

Beto O’Rourke is raising lots of money in his quest to become the next U.S. senator from Texas.

Campaign finance records show that O’Rourke raised $38 million for the third quarter of 2018, a record for a Senate contest. His opponent, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz? About $12 million.

Here’s the question of the day: Will this prodigious fundraising by th Democratic challenger translate to votes in the fall? If it does, O’Rourke would become the first politician elected to a statewide office in Texas since 1994.

The Texas Tribune reported: “The people of Texas in all 254 counties are proving that when we reject PACs and come together not as Republicans or Democrats but as Texans and Americans, there’s no stopping us,” O’Rourke said in a statement.

I remain — much to my chagrin — skeptical at this moment that O’Rourke’s cache of cash is going to put him over the top. I keep seeing public opinion polls that put Cruz up by 4 to 6 percentage points. In a state as large as Texas, with its estimated 15 million registered voters, that remains a steep hill to climb, especially in Texas with its long-held tradition of electing candidates purely on the basis of their Republican Party affiliation.

I’ll stipulate once again that I intend to vote for O’Rourke on Nov. 6. I don’t want the Cruz Missile re-elected. I no longer want him representing my state. I am not a native Texan, but by God I’ve lived in the state long enough — more than 34 years — to declare my Texanhood.

My wife and I, after all, chose to live in Texas way back in 1984.

I do remain a bit dubious of candidates’ boasting of the amount of money they raise. O’Rourke is proud, as he declares, that the vast bulk of his campaign cash comes from individual donors. That’s highly commendable. Is it enough to put this young man over the top and into the Senate seat now occupied by Cruz?

What I don’t hear about is the so-called “ground game” that successful candidates deploy to win elections. A candidate with tons of dough need to invest that money in hiring individuals and groups of individuals to do the important work that needs doing, such as targeting the precincts where they see the greatest advantage.

Oh, and getting out the vote. Manning phone banks. Making calls constantly to Texans in those targeted precincts, encouraging them to get off their duffs to be sure to vote.

My hope is that Beto O’Rourke spends his money wisely and effectively, understanding full well that it shouldn’t burn a hole in his proverbial pocket.

Kavanaugh joins high court with zero political capital

Now that we’ve established — at least in my humble view — that the U.S. Supreme Court has become the third political branch of government, it’s worth examining briefly the cache that the court’s newest member brings to his post.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh has none. Zero, man!

Is that important, given that he is now charged with interpreting the constitutionality of federal law? Yep. It is. Why? Because the new justice takes office by the thinnest of political margins.

The U.S. Senate voted today 50-48 to confirm him. The previous narrowest confirmation belonged to Justice Clarence Thomas, who was approved 52-48 in 1991. Move over, Justice Thomas. There’s a new Bottom Dog in town.

I will acknowledge that at least the confirmation vote for Justice Kavanaugh wasn’t an entirely partisan affair; Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin voted with the majority to confirm Kavanaugh, and no doubt all but sealed his re-election to the Senate from West Virginia, a state that Donald Trump carried by more than 41 percentage points in 2016 over Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Kavanaugh has pledged to rule with impartiality and independence. He did so in an op-ed piece written for the Washington Post. It was a remarkable pledge, given his fiery — and highly partisan — rebuttal to the criticism that exploded in the wake of the sexual assault allegation leveled against him by Christine Blasey Ford.

This justice takes his lifetime appointment seat amid continuing question and a good bit of recrimination over the manner in which the Senate shoved his confirmation across the finish line.

I now am going to rely on my limitless optimism that Justice Kavanaugh will deliver on his promise to be independent and impartial as he takes on the huge challenges of constitutional interpretation.

Don’t mess up, Mr. Justice.

Two votes not cast … to what end?

I admit to being slow on the uptake. Thus, someone will have to explain how this works.

The U.S. Senate today confirmed Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. The tally was 50-48.

Two senators’ votes weren’t recorded. Sen. Steve Daines, a Montana Republican, was absent, attending his daughter’s wedding. Daines would have voted “yes” on Kavanaugh’s nomination. The other non-vote came from Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, who declared her opposition to Kavanaugh; she voted “present” when they cast the roll-call vote.

There’s a Senate custom that enables senators to pair their votes with those who cannot cast their votes in person. Murkowski teamed up with her friend Daines.

But … why? If Murkowski had voted “no” on Kavanaugh’s nomination, the tally would have been 50-49; Kavanaugh still gets confirmed. Therefore, this vote pairing had no tangible impact on the outcome of the Senate.

I guess I need to study more carefully the rules and customs that govern the World’s Most Deliberative Body. This one is a bit of a head-scratcher.

Had it with all these Kavanaugh speeches

I hereby declare that I have had it up to here with all these speeches about Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Where is “here”? Name it: my eyeballs, my armpits, the top of my noggin. Or, you can say “here” is my chinny-chin-chin.

We know what U.S. Senate Republicans think of Kavanaugh. They think he’s the best thing to happen to jurisprudence since pockets on shirts. Democrats believe the accusation that he sexually assaulted at least one woman in the 1980s and don’t want him anywhere near the highest court in the land.

Yet many of the 100 men and women who comprise the Senate are orating their pleasure/displeasure about the confirmation vote.

Spare me, ladies and gentlemen. Indeed, spare the rest of the country. We’ve heard it already. Multiple times! You’ve repeated yourselves.

Actually, all I’m hearing now is the equivalent of white noise.

Blah, blah, blah … and some more blah, blah. 

Kavanaugh isn’t my idea of a good choice for the Supreme Court. Then again, I have no direct say in who Donald J. Trump appoints to these posts. The president won’t listen to me. For that matter, he doesn’t listen to damn near anyone, believing that since he is the president of the United States, he is entitled to make whatever decision he feels like making.

True enough.

In the meantime, the Senate’s 100 members need to stop talking now about things we’ve heard already.

Credible accusation … or not?

Brett Kavanaugh’s ascent to the U.S. Supreme Court is virtually assured.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has endorsed Kavanaugh’s nomination; then came immediately after her 50-minute Senate floor speech came the endorsement of Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

It’s done!

But here’s an interesting — and borderline maddening — caveat to the senators’ “yes” votes. They both had plenty of praise for the testimony delivered by the woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in that gripping hearing a week ago.

They both said they believe Ford is a victim of sexual assault. They both called Ford’s testimony “credible.” OK, if it’s credible, why do they both assert that although they believe she was assaulted, they do not believe her “100 percent certain” allegation that Kavanaugh was the assailant in 1983? Ford told senators she is absolutely, unequivocally certain that Kavanaugh attacked her.

Is the accuser’s allegation credible? Or not?

How are these folks defining the term “credible”?

Did the judge make an empty promise? Let’s hope not

Judge Brett Kavanaugh appears headed for the U.S. Supreme Court.

I don’t believe he belongs there, but that’s not my call. Texas’s two U.S. senators are going to vote for his confirmation, along with at least 48 of their colleagues. That puts he count at 50 “yes” votes; Vice President Mike Pence will be standing by to break the tie.

OK, that all said, Kavanaugh has made a promise to be an “impartial” justice once he joins the highest court in America. He wrote the op-ed column for the Wall Street Journal in an extraordinary last-minute pitch to the Senate to confirm him.

He had to write it, given his ghastly response to the criticism of his nomination in the wake of the sexual abuse allegations leveled against him. He blamed his troubles on a “left-wing” hit job from those who sought “revenge for the Clintons.”

Wow, man!

It is fair to wonder — so I will do so — whether Kavanaugh’s pledge of impartiality and fairness from the SCOTUS bench is an empty one. He is going to ascend to the highest judicial post in America and it’s a lifetime job at that! It’s his for as long as he wants it, or for as long as he draws breath.

I want to believe that he can be the kind of justice he pledges to be. The skeptic in me, based on his performance at that supplemental Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, makes me wonder whether he can keep that promise.

Judges who get these lifetime jobs are free to rule however they wish, within the constraints of the U.S. Constitution. They have no elections awaiting them. Sure, they can be impeached, but the bar for judicial impeachment is at least as high as it is for a presidential impeachment.

Those of us who oppose Kavanaugh’s appointment are left to hope for the best … even as we fear the worst.

Kavanaugh headed to SCOTUS?

The fix is in. The deal appears to be done. Barring some remarkable change of mind and heart among key U.S. senators, a deeply flawed nominee is heading for the ninth seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh stands accused — still! — of sexual assault by a woman who accused him of attacking her when they were teenagers.

Christine Blasey Ford testified to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh did as she has alleged. She said she is “100 percent certain” her attacker was young Brett.

Kavanaugh denies it.

He disqualified himself, though, in my mind with his highly partisan attack on those who have opposed his nomination by Donald J. Trump. He blamed those who seek “revenge” on behalf of Bill and Hillary Clinton and then said their effort was being financed by “left-wing” political interest groups.

Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell are delivering the mother of all bum’s rushes in pushing this nomination forward. The FBI conducted a perfunctory examination of Kavanaugh and the allegation against him. It didn’t bother to talk to Ford, which I would have thought would have been a no-brainer.

The report now is in the hands of senators, Democrats and Republicans. It needs to be made public, given that Kavanaugh appears headed to a lifetime post on the nation’s highest court — which is paid for with money that comes out of my pocket … and yours!

The very best I could have hoped for would have been for Kavanaugh to set aside politics as he pondered how to rule on cases that come before the court. His performance at the supplemental hearing dashed that hope for me.

Newspapers are editorializing against Kavanaugh’s nomination. A retired Supreme Court justice, John Paul Stevens — confirmed in 1975 after being nominated by President Ford — said he has changed his mind and now opposes him. Demonstrators are marching in streets. Politicians are making speeches opposing Kavanaugh.

Will any of this matter? Will anyone’s minds be changed? Probably not. I’m left, therefore, to say a prayer for us as we recover from the circus we’ve just witnessed.

‘Falsus in omnibus’ argument haunts this senator

I cannot remain silent on a minor back story involving the confirmation hearing of Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s nominee to join the U.S. Supreme Court.

It involves the questioning by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut Democrat who had the gall to lecture Kavanaugh about the hazards of lying about “one thing.”

Blumenthal sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee. His path to the Senate came amid some controversy of its own, involving Blumenthal’s own lying.

You see, the senator who’s been in public life for a long time, had been lying about his so-called service in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. As the saying goes … oops! He set never foot in-country during the Vietnam War.

As the New York Times columnist Bret Stephens noted, he is “grateful” for Donald Trump for calling Blumenthal out on his sheer hypocrisy. Stephens wrote this: ” … Richard Blumenthal lecturing Kavanaugh on the legal concept of falsus in omnibus — false in one false in one thing, false in everything — when the senator … lied shamelessly for years about his military service. And then feeling grateful to Trump for having the simple nerve to point out the naked hypocrisy.”

You see, those of us who did set foot in-country during the Vietnam War take this kind of lie quite seriously. It’s the kind of lie I cannot look past when I hear a politician pontificate about truth-telling to another public figure.

Sen. Blumenthal’s hypocrisy doesn’t change my mind about Kavanaugh’s nomination to join the nation’s highest court. It just galls me in the extreme to hear a politician say something he ought to know would come back to bite him in the backside.

Trump shows how low he can go

When he relies on his own instincts, rather than reading text off a Teleprompter, Donald J. Trump is fully capable of demonstrating how rank, vile and moronic he can sound.

Take his Mississippi campaign rally Tuesday night when he decided to mock Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were both teenagers.

Did the president give this serious and grave issue the serious and grave treatment it deserves. Heavens no! He decided to mock the accuser.

According to The Washington Post:

In his most direct attack on Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault while both were teenagers in Maryland, Trump sought Tuesday night to highlight holes in the account Ford gave in sworn testimony to the Judiciary Committee last week.

“ ‘I don’t know. I don’t know.’ ‘Upstairs? Downstairs? Where was it?’ ‘I don’t know. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember,’ ” Trump said of Ford, as he impersonated her on stage.

“ ‘I don’t remember,’ ” he said repeatedly, apparently mocking her testimony.

Trump makes light of serious charge

Isn’t that guy just uproariously funny? Umm. No. He isn’t. He’s disgusting. Then again, that’s must my view.

On the other side of the great divide, we have Americans who just think Trump is the best thing to happen to politics since pockets on shirts. His campaign rally crowd Tuesday night laughed right along with the jokes and the mocking behavior he exhibited toward Christine Ford.

I have to agree with the view of conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, who said that as much as Trump’s idiotic behavior motivates Democrats to vote against Republicans in the midterm election, it also motivates Republicans to stand by their candidates.

The question now rests on which side is more motivated and which side will produce the most voters on Election Day.

Is it entirely possible that the moronic rhetoric we hear from Donald Trump is a winning formula for the political party he leads? Before you dismiss it out of hand, just remember: This clown got elected president of the United States.

How will this donnybrook finish?

Federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh insists he won’t withdraw his name from consideration to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Then again, that’s what they all say … until they do what they say they won’t do.

Donald Trump’s nominee to the high court is facing serious accusations that he sexually assaulted a woman in 1982; two other women have leveled similar charges. The FBI is looking once again at Kavanaugh’s background.

Three U.S. senators — all Republicans — stand at the center of this political tumult. Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine are officially “undecided” on how they will vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation. If two of them turn against Kavanaugh, it’s over, assuming that the Democratic Senate minority stands together in opposing Kavanaugh’s nomination.

If the FBI determines that Kavanaugh lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee about what he did back in the old days, well, that also is a deal breaker.

I cannot begin to predict it’ll happen, but I’ll just say I won’t be surprised if in the next 24 hours or so that Kavanaugh does what he says he will never do — and withdraws his name from consideration.

Hey, stranger things have happened.

Example? Donald Trump got elected president of the United States of America.