Tag Archives: Capitol Hill

Dole draws tributes from both sides

I am gratified to read the tributes that are pouring in from both sides of the great divide in Washington to honor the life and service of a genuine American hero.

Indeed, “hero” is a word we are hearing in the wake of Robert Dole’s death today at age 98.

Dole was a longtime Republican Senate stalwart, a man who knew how to work across the aisle. He built friendships that transcended whatever political differences he had with his colleagues.

To hear Democratic politicians praise Dole’s service to the country, starting with his combat service during World War II, gives me hope that we might be able someday to bridge the chasm that has turned mere political opponents into enemies.

Lawmakers remember Bob Dole: ‘Bona fide American hero’ | TheHill

Our current lawmakers can take a page from the example that former Sen. Bob Dole set during his long, productive and profoundly distinguished life.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Both sides need to talk … to each other

Fairness dictates that I make this complaint of Democratic politicians just as I did of Republican politicians during the previous presidential administration.

I want Democrats to talk to Republicans and I am terribly distressed that they aren’t reaching to the other side of the great divide.

Think back to the term of Donald J. Trump. The Republican president chose to speak only to fellow Rs on Capitol Hill. He allowed the GOP caucus to craft that tax cut bill that favored rich folks. Democrats wanted no part of the deal. The then-POTUS didn’t reach out to them. He stiffed ’em!

That guy is gone. The new president, Joe Biden, has resorted to talking mainly to Democrats on his Build Back Better agenda. Indeed, GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell has made his point clear: Ain’t no way the Republicans are going to support anything that comes from a Democratic president. President Biden figures: What the hell is the point in talking to them?

Well, I believe he should. Just as I believe that his predecessor should have talked to Democrats in search of common ground.

I have spoken of late about “good government.” This is how government ought to work. Compromise is not a four-letter word.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

GOP duplicity: simply stunning

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The duplicity and hypocrisy being shown by congressional Republicans is an astonishing sight to those of us who believe in fairness and good government.

The GOP caucus in Congress is hell bent on supporting Republican-controlled state legislatures — such as in Texas — for their effort to curb “widespread voter fraud” that doesn’t exist. The GOP caucus is resisting efforts to approve the John Lewis Voting Rights Act named after the late civil rights icon. Why? They suggest that legislatures have the answer to how to ensure free and fair elections while preventing vote fraud that — I state again — does not exist.

Meanwhile, the same GOP caucus turns its back on the impact of the Jan. 6 insurrection incited by the former Seditionist in Chief. People were killed. They were injured. A mob comprising thousands of domestic terrorists stormed the Capitol Building that day to prevent the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

The GOP response? Nothing, man! They have been delivered tangible, visible, visceral proof of extreme malice among the rioters who wanted to “hang” Vice President Pence that day. Meanwhile, the former POTUS did nothing to stop the riot. He reportedly cheered them on from the safety of the White House.

And this doesn’t seem to bother most members of the GOP caucus in Congress? My goodness. I am ashamed of them all.

No way was it a ‘routine day of touring’

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Congressional Republicans have their Big Lie — alleging vote fraud in the 2020 election. Now they might have spawned a smaller, but still significant, lie about the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Now that the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to create a select committee to examine the cause and consequence of the riot against the government, it is good to examine the other “big lie” making the rounds on Capitol Hill.

It’s the one that suggests that the riot was nothing more than a group of “peaceful tourists” taking part in a tour of the Capitol Building. Indeed, some members of the GOP congressional caucus have uttered such trash.

It begs the question: When has a “routine tour” left feces on the walls of the Capitol Building, or smashed through windows, or assaulted police officers with weapons and pepper spray, or left two officers dead and many other participants injured?

Never in my entire life have I witnessed such an egregious attempt at lying, deceit and boorish conduct as we have seen among congressional Republicans who have resisted calls for a thorough examination of the insurrection we saw play out on Jan. 6.

They won’t call it what it was: an insurrection against the government. They won’t acknowledge the role that the 45th POTUS had in inciting the mob of terrorists.

This lie won’t ever rise to the level of The Big Lie, given that the riot occurred because the disgraced ex-POTUS made the phony allegation that day and ignited the mob to do what it did.

However, this lesser — but still significant — lie about the riot being nothing out of the ordinary is bad enough. It likely will scar the current cult that masquerades as a political party perhaps for the rest of its existence.

Let the probe begin

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It’s not how many of us wanted this process to move forward, but I’ll accept it as a step toward rooting out the cause of the infamous insurrection of Jan. 6.

The U.S. House of Representatives, with just two Republican members joining their Democratic colleagues, today voted to form a select committee that will take a deep dive into the insurrection.

GOP Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — both of whom voted to impeach the disgraced 45th POTUS for his role in inciting the riot on Capitol Hill — voted “yes” on the committee creation. They both also signaled a willingness to serve on that panel.

My version of political perfection would have produced a bipartisan commission approved by the Senate. The GOP caucus slammed that door shut, leaving any look into the event up to the House. The lower chamber’s approval does not require Senate endorsement, so the House will proceed on its own, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The Wall Street Journal reports: “It’s clear that Jan. 6 was not simply an attack on the Capitol building, it was an attack on our democracy,” Mrs. Pelosi said in a speech before the vote Wednesday. “Every member here knows that Jan. 6 was an attempt to subvert our democracy,” she said. “But many across the aisle refuse to admit the truth.”

House Approves Creation of Select Committee to Probe Jan. 6 Attack (msn.com)

Indeed, the Republican resistance to examining the horrific event simply boggles my mind. The mob that stormed Capitol Hill that day launched a full assault on the entire government. It targeted Republicans as well as Democrats. It injured several law enforcement officers; two of them died in the melee. So, members of the political caucus that professes to be strong on “law and order” has resisted efforts to get to the truth of the attack.

Moreover, they have dug in to fight efforts to prevent future attacks.

So now it falls on the Democratically controlled House to select the committee. Pelosi is indicating she might appoint at least one Republican to sit on the panel.

This isn’t the perfect path toward finding some key answers to this horrifying assault on our democratic form of government. Given the stubborn refusal by Republicans to seek the truth behind it, this select committee will have to do.

Who’s he kidding?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Who in the name of gullible listeners does Ron Johnson think he’s kidding?

The Wisconsin Republican U.S. senator is now trying to take back what he told the radio talk show host the other day about the insurrection of the Sixth of January on Capitol Hill.

I am certain beyond a doubt that he said that the crowd that stormed Capitol Building would “never” do anything to break the law, that they have “great respect” for law enforcement and that had the rioters belonged to Black Lives Matter or Antifa that he would have “been concerned.”

Now the Cheesehead nut job says the media twisted his remarks. That his statements were taken out of context. Huh?

Respect for law and order, for the police? What about the cops who were injured by the rioters/terrorists? Or the young Capitol Police officer who died from his injuries?

I heard what Johnson said. I heard all of it. I know what I heard.

Ron Johnson said it. He needs to own it. Oh, and while he’s at it he ought to resign from the U.S. Senate.

Experience matters

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This needs to be repeated — with emphasis.

Joseph R. Biden brings important experience to the presidency that was sorely lacking in the individual he succeeded, Donald J. Trump.

I’ve talked already on this blog about whether President Biden will be able to shepherd an infrastructure bill through Congress. My hunch is that he stands a much greater chance of doing so than Donald Trump ever had. Why? Because Biden is a creature of Congress and Trump is, well, someone with zero government experience.

That kind of thing matters when a president chooses to operate the complicated machinery called the federal government.

Trump trumpeted his business experience as a selling point while winning election in 2016. I’ll set aside that he lied about his success as a business mogul. I believe we have learned that Trump’s business record at best is considered, um, checkered. He spent his entire professional life propping his own image up. Trump never grasped the concept of teamwork, which is an essential element of governing with a co-equal branch of government, the men and women who work on Capitol Hill.

Joe Biden, on the other hand, knows the Senate well. He was a major part of that legislative body for 36 years. He chaired key Senate committees. Biden developed first-name relationships with foreign leaders. He worked well with Republicans. He is fluent in the legislative jargon that senators and House members use among themselves.

This is the kind of experience that should serve President Biden well as he seeks to push an agenda forward. Trump’s experience in business, in show biz, in self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment provided a prescription for failure.

I consider myself a good-government progressive. Therefore, I intend to look carefully over time at how well our government functions with a president who knows which levers to pull and which buttons to push.

When will GOP wake up?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

What in the name of all that is holy is it going to take to get the Republican members of Congress to realize that they took an oath to defend the nation, not to defend the reputation of a disgraced former GOP president?

Some of the GOP congressional honchos traipse down to Mar-a-Lago to tee it up with Donald Trump. Meanwhile, back at their place of employment — Washington, D.C. — the man who succeeded Trump, President Joe Biden, is trying to craft a legislative agenda that works for the nation he was elected to govern.

Biden took office wanting to unify the country gripped in the throes of a killer pandemic. Drug companies have developed vaccines and now are flooding pharmacies and government mega-vaccination centers with tens of millions of doses of vaccine to inoculate Americans.

Democrats are on board with President Biden. Republicans aren’t. They continue to spew the crap that comes from Donald Trump’s pie hole, speaking for the disgraced ex-president as if whatever he says is actually relevant. It isn’t. He isn’t relevant.

It frustrates me to no end to watch the president cobble together alliances within his own party but falling short in his efforts to bridge the still-gaping divide between the Democratic and Republican parties. All the while there is that chatter about Trump wanting to retain some position of power and influence within the Republican Party.

Let me be among those who hold a contrary view of Donald Trump’s future. He is toast. I am getting that nagging feeling in my gut that there might be an indictment or three in Donald Trump’s future. The men and women who continue to march to No. 45’s cadence will have to look elsewhere for actual political leadership.

They won’t have to look far. It resides in the White House.

Scars to remain

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald Trump’s impeachment trial is now history and, indeed, it made history on its way into the books.

The former president’s “acquittal” by a minority of U.S. senators serving as jurors does not wipe away the scars created by the horrendous event that precipitated the House of Representatives’ impeachment of the former president.

The healing will take time. Lots of time. Maybe the time will outlast the terms of all the lawmakers currently serving in our Congress.

The insurrectionists who stormed Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 inflicted damage not just on the physical structure of our Capitol Building, but also on the relationships among members of both political parties serving in the building.

The men and women who challenged the results of the 2020 presidential election have been cast aside by those who didn’t mount the challenge. We have heard stories of House members and senators being afraid to serve with colleagues, fearing physical harm; they have spoken of lawmakers carrying weapons with them in the halls of the Capitol.

We also have heard of House members and senators seeking to move their desks away from colleagues with whom they have served.

The Donald Trump Age brought us a new level of hostility that didn’t exist in the good old days. There once was a time when Democrats and Republicans could find common ground frequently. Now such discoveries become the subject of major news stories.

We hear about relationships being fractured. Men and women no longer speak to each other while the legislative body seeks to craft laws.

Yes, these are difficult times. I don’t have a formula for ridding the atmosphere in Washington of the toxicity that has poisoned it.

I have told you before that I am an optimist. I am going to cling to the hope, therefore, to a quaint notion, which is that the greater cause of public service will bring men and women of good will together. I just hope it is sooner and not long after many of us have, to borrow a phrase, “left the building.”

Conviction still unlikely

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The evidence of incitement of insurrection has been searing, heartbreaking, graphic and it reveals a profound danger to our republic.

Despite what I believe we have seen in the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump, I fear it won’t move a sufficient number of Republican U.S. senators to do what they should do … which is convict the ex-president of the crime for which the House of Representatives impeached him for the second time.

Trump will get an acquittal. He likely will crow about it. The good news from my standpoint, though, is that his legacy — and I use that term with great caution — will be scarred forever by the knowledge that most senators believe he violated the sacred oath of his office.

He stood before the crowd of terrorists on the Sixth of January and implored them to march on Capitol Hill. He told them to “stop the steal” of an election he lost fair and square to President Biden. They tried to do as they were instructed to do by their hero, the disgraced president.

It won’t move enough senators to convict Trump. Which means the Senate cannot vote to ban this monster from ever seeking federal public office.

That will be to the shame of all the Republicans — and I am talking specifically to Texas’s two senators, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, both of whom indicate no interest in doing the right thing.

They will hide behind the phony argument about the trial’s alleged unconstitutionality. They will look indifferently at the evidence, at the sight and sounds of terrorists storming the Capitol building, ignoring how many of their colleagues came to being physically harmed … or worse.

The good news, as I see it, will be that Trump will be marked forever as someone who sought to destroy the very government he took an oath to defend and protect.