Tag Archives: US Senate

Hoping for a ‘Sen. Romney’

I cannot believe I am about to write this blog post.

No kidding, I am excited about Mitt Romney’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate from Utah.

The 2012 Republican Party’s presidential nominee didn’t get my vote when he ran against President Barack H. Obama. That was then. Six years later, he now stands as a possible deterrent to another Republican, the current president of the United States, Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump.

Romney wants to succeed Orrin Hatch in the U.S. Senate. He has some Utah connection, although he will face the “carpetbagger” charge from those who might oppose his candidacy. Romney ran for the Senate in Massachusetts, losing in 1994 to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. He then was elected governor of the Bay State. Mitt has lived most recently in southern California.

But in 2002, he did step in to rescue the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Plus, he has strong ties to the Mormon Church — which is headquartered in Utah — and is arguably the nation’s most well-known Mormon.

A Sen. Romney would take office as a leading lawmaker. There will be no “getting acquainted” with this guy. He’s a known quantity, a national political figure of considerable renown.

He also has had his run-ins with Donald Trump. Romney famously called Trump a “fraud” and a “phony” during the  2016 presidential campaign. Thus, Romney potentially could serve as a check on the president’s sometimes-weird instincts.

Yes, I realize he auditioned for a secretary of state appointment in the Trump administration. I also know he likely groveled a bit to get the nod. I don’t hold it against him.

To be honest, I think I would like Mitt Romney if I ever got the chance to meet him. For starters, a Republican who would challenge Trump’s legitimacy as a serious politician is OK in my book.

Mitt Romney becomes the prohibitive favorite to succeed Sen. Hatch. I now will hope he can win this seat — and turn up the heat under the president.

By all means, it’s the ‘Trump Shutdown’

A headline on Politico.com sought to say how media outlets are “struggling” to assign blame for the current shutdown of the federal government.

Are you kidding me? I know who’s to blame. Someone just needed to ask me.

It’s Donald John “Deal Maker in Chief” Trump Sr.! He’s the man. He’s the one. He’s the guy who’s got to shoulder the blame.

How do I know that? Because the president of the United States laid the previous shutdown, which occurred in 2013, at the feet of Barack H. Obama, his presidential predecessor.

He said the president has to lead. He’s the one elected by the entire country. The president has to step up, take charge, bring members of Congress to the White House, clunk their heads together and tell ’em shape up, settle their differences and get the government running again.

Trump said all that. He was right.

But now that Trump is the man in charge, he has retreated into the background. Trump is pointing fingers at Democrats. He says they are to blame solely for the shutdown.

Give me a break!

A president is supposed to lead. We elect presidents to run the government. They stand head and shoulders above the 100 senators and 435 House members. When the government shudders and then closes its doors, we turn to the president to show us the way back to normal government functionality.

Donald Trump hasn’t yet shown up to lead the government out of its darkness.

Who’s to blame? It’s the guy who called it in 2013.

This is Trump’s Shutdown. Pure and simple.

If only he’d kept his trap shut when he was a mere commercial real estate mogul and reality TV host …

GOP turns wacky, man!

Just how crazy has the modern Republican Party become?

Get a load of this …

According to an essay in RealClearPolitics, Mitt Romney — the 2012 GOP nominee for president of the United States — is considered an “outlier” should he win election to the U.S. Senate later this year.

You might ask: Why is that?

The Republican Party has become the party of a man who not long ago wasn’t even considered a Republican. I refer to Donald J. Trump, the current president and a man who Mitt Romney has criticized with extreme prejudice.

Romney is considered the odds-on favorite to win the open U.S. Senate in Utah; Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving Republican in Senate history, is bowing out at the end of the year. Romney hasn’t yet announced his candidacy, but virtually everyone thinks he will.

He also was considered to be the epitome of establishment GOP principle. Romney was considered a fiscal and social conservative, a pro-business sort of fellow. He campaigned for president in 2012 calling himself a “severe conservative.”

That might have been enough for doctrinaire Republicans to embrace him.

However, he has taken Donald Trump to task with, um, severe vigor.

In 2016, he called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud.” He delivered his anti-Trump mantra in a 17-minute speech that raised plenty of hackles among the Republican “base” that had endorsed Trump’s presidential candidacy.

And just recently, Romney labeled the president’s description of African nations, Haiti and El Salvador as “sh**hole countries” as “antithetical to American values.” The RealClearPolitics essay found that fascinating because “most of Trump’s Republican denouncers are either comfortably outside of Congress or on their way out.”

Romney, meanwhile, is likely on his way in, heading for a sure-fire electoral victory in the U.S. Senate contest in Utah.

All of this to my mind paints a picture of a major political party in a state of serious disarray. It has attached itself to an individual, rather than a set of principles.

Thus, I welcome Mitt Romney’s return to public life. My hope is that he continues to remind us that the president really and truly is a “phony” and a “fraud.”

Sen. Flake launches well-aimed barrage against …

He didn’t mention his target by name or even by title, but everyone who heard U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake’s speech today know of whom he spoke.

Flake, the lame-duck Arizona Republican, was talking about Donald John Trump Sr., president of the United States.

Flake’s scathing remarks spoke to an assault on the truth by the “most powerful person in government.” Yes, he called the president a liar.

He also scorched Trump for his ongoing assault on the media and lambasted him for undermining a valuable institution charged with holding government accountable for its actions.

Here is Flake’s speech.

Flake’s speech came just a day after his Arizona colleague, Sen. John McCain, wrote in a Washington Post commentary that Trump needs to stop his criticism of the media and stop invoking the “fake news” criticism of those media reports with which he disagrees.

The White House response was quite predictable. It spoke of the lousy poll numbers staring Flake in the face, which many have said caused him to announce his retirement from the Senate at the end of the year; he won’t stand for re-election.

Of course, the poll numbers retort dodges the point that Flake sought to make. Which is that Donald Trump has torn the truth to shreds with his constant prevarication and his frontal assault on those whose job is to report to the public about what the public’s government is doing for — or to — the people to whom those in government must answer.

Here’s a final thought …

If congressional Republicans are going to criticize how the president has conducted himself while in office, shouldn’t they mention him by name?

I mean, they chewed former President Barack Obama out for failing to mention the words “radical Islamic terrorists” as he spoke about the nation’s ongoing war against terrorism.

We all know about whom Sen. Flake was referring. He should have mentioned his name just to remove any smidgen of doubt.

I’ll close with these words from Jeff Flake himself: We are a mature democracy – it is well past time that we stop excusing or ignoring – or worse, endorsing — these attacks on the truth. For if we compromise the truth for the sake of our politics, we are lost.

Well stated, senator.

Birtherism: It’s back!

Political nut jobs have this annoying way of getting attention they don’t deserve.

The newest Exhibit A of this phenomenon happens to be the new Republican candidate for the U.S. senator from Arizona, the former Maricopa County sheriff and convicted (and later pardoned) felon Joe Arpaio.

The ex-sheriff says former President Obama’s birth certificate is a phony document. He doesn’t believe the 44th president was born in Hawaii. He said he has “evidence” that the president served two terms illegally. Will he produce the “evidence”? No, he said on CNN last night.

He had this exchange with Chris Cuomo:

“We have the evidence, nobody will talk about it, nobody will look at it, and anytime you want to come down or anybody we’ll be glad to show you the evidence,” Arpaio said.
Cuomo pressed Arpaio again on the topic: “So you believe that President Obama’s birth certificate is a phony?”
“No doubt about it,” Arpaio said.
Ugghh! No, double, maybe triple ugghh!
This is the guy, lest we forget, who was convicted of disobeying a federal court order that mandated he stop profiling Hispanics in his quest to find illegal immigrants. He then was pardoned by the president of the United States, the nation’s “birther in chief,” Donald John Trump Sr.
Now he wants to serve in the U.S. Senate?
Please. No!

 

A felon for U.S. senator?

This is fantastic. A man convicted of civil rights violations and disobeying a federal court order is going to run for the U.S. Senate from Arizona.

Oh, sure, Joe Arpaio has received a presidential pardon from Donald John (Stable Genius) Trump Sr., which means that technically he’s no longer a convicted felon.

He had been convicted of violating a federal court order stemming from accusations that he discriminated against Latinos in his hunt for illegal immigrants. That’s when the president stepped in to pardon the former Maricopa County sheriff.

So, the ex-lawman is going to seek to pay Trump back by being elected to a Senate seat that would enable him to support the president’s political agenda. Is this a quid pro quo?

Arpaio wants to succeed Sen. Jeff Flake, the Republican who’s retiring at the end of his current term, which expires at the end of 2018.

I don’t believe Arizona Republicans should nominate this guy to represent the GOP, let alone elect him to the Senate.

Arpaio said this, according to the Arizona Republic: “I’ll outgun anybody running against me or otherwise,” Arpaio said. “I wouldn’t do this if I felt that I couldn’t put all my energy into being elected and also in Washington, doing what I can to help the country and the state. So I feel good about it. I’m not worried about the age.”

Arpaio would be 86 at the beginning of a Senate term.

Weird.

Utah’s loss is nation’s gain

Bye, bye, Sen. Orrin Hatch.

The Utah Republican has announced his plans to retire from the U.S. Senate at the end of this year. He won’t seek re-election to his umpteenth term.

It doesn’t sadden me to see Hatch retire. He’s had his time … and then some, in the Senate. When he was first elected in 1976 he campaigned partly on the notion that senators need not stay too long in the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body. I believe 42 years could be construed as “too long.”

I don’t favor term limits, mind you. It’s just that Sen. Hatch has grown old and stale.

Hatch resisted intense pressure from Donald Trump to stay on. He has become one of the president’s staunchest Senate allies.

Now comes the fun part.

Mitt Romney, the guy who called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud” is likely to run for the seat Hatch will vacate. I look forward to how Sen. Romney — presuming his election this year — will deal with the “phony and fraudulent” president’s agenda.

Romney — the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee — made sort of nice with Trump when the president-elect was looking for a secretary of state. Romney didn’t get that gig, and has been critical of the president from time to time. Trump’s closest aides don’t trust Romney. Too bad … not!

Romney figures to be the prohibitive favorite to succeed Hatch. I welcome Mitt’s return to public life, notably because he’ll be a bur under Trump’s saddle.

Alabama cedes national attention to … Utah!

Many Americans, including me, were fascinated by the election of a U.S. senator from Alabama.

The election turned out the correct way. It was a big surprise. Democratic nominee Doug Jones won and is now the senator-elect from one of the nation’s strongest Republican-leaning states.

Now we have another state. It’s out west. It’s Utah. Orrin Hatch is the U.S. Senate’s longest-serving Republican … in the history of the Senate! He is considering whether to run for an eighth six-year term. Sen. Hatch, though, does not have the backing of Utah’s largest newspaper, the Salt Lake Tribune, which named him “Utahn of the Year,” but said he earned the “honor” by demonstrating a new level of crass political ambition. The Tribune wants voters to choose someone else if Hatch decides to run again; the paper, obviously, wants him to retire.

If Hatch does call it quits, it opens the door for Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee and a man considered the odds-on favorite to be elected to the Senate in 2018.

Utah drama shaping up

Why is this so fascinating? I’ll tell you. Hatch is a Donald Trump ally; Mitt Romney is, um, not an ally of the president. Sen. Hatch gave Trump his backing on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act; he stood behind the president on the GOP-authored tax cut.

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, calls Trump a “fraud” and a “phony.” He despises the way Trump has lied; he detests the president’s disparaging of individuals and groups.

Would a Sen. Romney be as closely tied to Trump as Sen. Hatch. I would hope not.

I have developed a significant respect for Romney since the 2012 presidential election. He was courageous enough to deliver a blistering speech during the 2016 campaign in which he hung the fraud and phony label on Trump.

Sure, Trump pondered whether to appoint Romney as secretary of state. The men shook hands. They seemed to bury the hatchet.

But my hope would be that Romney would travel down a more independent path than Hatch has trod.

My request of Sen. Hatch? Listen to what the Tribune said about you. Call it a career. As the Tribune noted, Hatch told Utah voters in 1976the year he was elected for crying out loud — that senators shouldn’t stay too long.

Mitch is striking ‘bipartisan’ tone for new year

Can it be true? Is the Senate majority leader finding some form of “religion” on how to govern?

Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is talking about a more “bipartisan” approach to legislating in the coming year. Well now. Imagine that.

The New York Times is reporting that McConnell is going to shy away from highly partisan measures and concentrate more on issues that have broader bipartisan support. He’s going to look for more Democratic support to go along with the Republican majority that controls the flow of legislation in the U.S. Senate.

Dodd-Frank, which governs the financial industry, has bipartisan support for overhauling the law enacted in the wake of the 2008 banking crisis. McConnell said he virtually certain to push that overhaul forward.

Mitch is going bipartisan

As Politico reports, McConnell and other Republicans failed in their effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this year. “I wish them well,” he said of efforts to continue to repeal the ACA and replace it with … something!

As an American who favors a bipartisan approach to legislating in Congress, I welcome the majority leader’s stated intention to seek another way to govern.

Now … if only Sen. McConnell can persuade the guy in the Oval Office that cooperation works far more effectively than confrontation.

GOP ‘wins’ while their guy loses

Republicans far and wide are breathing more easily today than they were a week ago.

Last week they were worrying that one of their own, Roy Moore of Alabama, was going to win a special election to a U.S. Senate seat. He didn’t. Moore lost that contest to Doug Jones, a Democratic former federal prosecutor.

I’ll leave it to my old pal Tom Taschinger — who succeeded me more than 20 years ago as editorial page editor of the Beaumont Enterprise — to explain in detail how Republicans won while losing an election.

Read Taschinger’s essay here.

Moore was a damaged candidate even before allegations surfaced from women who accused him of sexual misconduct. He is a religious zealot who doesn’t work well with so-called “establishment” Republicans, many of whom cringed at the idea of him joining the ranks of the U.S. Senate.

Moreover, other GOP candidates would have had to run under the banner of a party that elected someone accused of the hideous acts that Moore is alleged to have committed. That’s if he won.

Since he didn’t, Republicans now have been spared the misery of campaigning under the specter of a “Sen. Roy Moore.”

Does this put the Republicans in the clear? Does it make a forgone conclusion that they’ll hold onto their slim Senate majority after the 2018 midterm election?

Hardly. The fight has just begun.