Tag Archives: Congress

Democrats’ hopes dashed

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas Democrats have seen their hopes dashed once again as they seek a significant political victory.

A runoff for the Sixth Congressional District in the Fort Worth area will be decided between two Republicans: Susan Wright and Jake Ellzey.

Why the Democratic disappointment? They had hoped to breach the runoff barrier by getting one of their candidates from a crowded field to replace the late Rep. Ron Wright, a Republican who died of COVID complications after winning re-election in 2020.

One of the runoff participants is Wright’s widow, the aforementioned Susan Wright.

The district is supposed to be trending more Democratic, given the changing voter face throughout Tarrant County, which voted narrowly for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race and for Beto O’Rourke in the Senate contest in 2018.

Two Republicans, one backed by Trump, head to runoff in Texas special congressional election (yahoo.com)

Democrats had high hopes for the Sixth District race. They fell just a bit short. Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez, who was in third place with 13.4 percent of the vote, was her party’s leading candidate in the field.

I am thinking that more opportunities are going to present themselves going forward. The state’s political composition is changing by the year. It’s good to remember that Donald Trump carried the state in 2020 by fewer than 5 percentage points over Joe Biden, which makes the state a “battleground” going forward as the fight for the presidency ramps up.

Wait’ll next time, Democrats.

Who will cheer this POTUS?

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Presidential speeches to joint congressional sessions have devolved over many years into partisan events.

Presidents of one party stand before senators and House members and deliver lines designed to draw applause. The way it usually plays out is that lawmakers from the president’s party stand and cheer while those on the other side of the room sit silently while their “friends” offer the cheers.

So that will be the backdrop next week as President Biden strides to the podium to tell Congress about his big plans to help the nation continue to recover medically and economically from the pandemic that has ravaged us.

Joe Biden has trumpeted himself as being a politician with plenty of friends on the other side of the room. He is a Democrat who has worked well — in the past — with Republicans in the Senate, where he served for 36 years before becoming vice president in 2009. Why, he’s even drawn high praise from his GOP colleagues over those many years.

They aren’t about to praise him now. The mood is markedly different these days from the time in 1973 when Biden first joined the Senate. There’s a whole lot of snarling taking place these days.

He’ll have a Democratic House speaker sitting behind him at the joint session, along with the vice president, Kamala Harris. We’ll get to watch them cheer the president’s remarks.

My curiosity will be piqued, though, when President Biden enters the room as the sergeant at arms announces his arrival. Will congressional Republicans have enough good manners about them to stand and cheer when our head of state enters? Or will they continue to exhibit their petulance over losing the 2020 presidential election?

I am willing to acknowledge that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at times bristled openly at Donald Trump’s remarks and behavior during his speeches to Congress. Her anger manifested itself spectacularly when she stood and tore up the text of Trump’s speech to pieces in front of the whole world.

If only we could expect better behavior this time around.

No federal rules on policing

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As a “good government progressive,” I feel the need to weigh in on an issue that is beginning to get some traction, particularly in light of the conviction of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd.

It’s the issue of police reform and whether Congress should enact laws that dictate how local police departments should do their business.

I don’t consider that a level of “good government” by the feds. Congress would be well-advised to keep its hands off what is fundamentally a local-control issue.

Floyd’s death while being arrested in Minneapolis for passing some fake currency was a shocking reminder of how cops can go rogue and how the consequences of their actions can cause such tragic results. A jury convicted Chauvin of second- and third-degree murder and of second-degree manslaughter. He is likely to spend many years in prison.

Police departments answer to local governing authorities. City councils or senior city administrators have the final say over how the cops should do their job. They hire police chiefs, who then administer policing rules and regulations for their officers to follow. The burden must remain with them — not Congress — to determine what is correct and proper. If the voters in their cities, counties and states don’t like the way these matters are being handled, they can take measures to rectify the situation.

And yet some zealots are pushing Congress to enact federal laws that prohibit certain policies. No, Congress should stay away from that particular discussion and let local communities have their say.

I, too, am horrified at what has been happening in communities across the land. Too many police officers are acting badly when arresting racial minorities. The result, such as what happened to George Floyd, have occurred with shocking regularity.

It must rest with those communities to repair the damage being done and to find permanent repairs. Congress need not get involved in what belongs to others to resolve.

Assault weapons have their place, but …

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This picture showed up overnight on my Facebook news feed and by golly it pretty much sums up what I believe about assault weapons.

They have their place. They belong in the hands of fighting men and women who are in battle against enemies of the state. They are built to kill lots of people in rapid fashion. Should our military personnel carry them? Abso(freakin’)lutely, man!

What role does a weapon that packs dozens of rounds of ammo have in civilized civilian society? None. Zero. They are used too often by lunatics to kill innocent human beings in fits of rage.

So it is that this debate has been joined once again in the wake of the Indianapolis massacre at the FedEx facility. Eight people died in that mayhem before the lunatic shooter killed himself with the weapon he used against his victims.

Gun-rights enthusiasts/fanatics continue to harp on the notion that the Second Amendment guarantees their right to own whatever weapon they want to own. Even those that carry high-capacity magazines that the weapon can empty in seconds. For what purpose?

As the sign I posted with this blog item declares, it ain’t to kill lots of critters in the forest. Their intent is to kill human beings in short order.

I’ll be clear on this point: We shouldn’t hold our breath waiting for Congress to exhibit any semblance of sanity by banning these weapons. Nor should we expect any sign of courage among those who are willing to stand strongly against the gun lobby that keeps lying about what the Second Amendment allows.

Take the offer, Mr. POTUS

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Joe Biden has received an offer he cannot in good conscience refuse.

It came from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has invited Biden to speak to a joint session of Congress on April 28. Accept the invitation, Mr. President.

The speech won’t be a State of the Union address, per se. It would give the president a chance to speak to the nation all at once, seeking to lay out his legislative agenda and to keep a pledge he made to tell us “Help is On the Way.”

And it is.

The president has scored one key legislative triumph in the form of the COVID-19 relief bill. He wants more victories that he says will benefit Americans.

The Hill reported: “Nearly 100 days ago, when you took the oath of office, you pledged in a spirit of great hope that ‘Help Is On The Way.’ Now, because of your historic and transformative leadership, Help Is Here!” Pelosi wrote in a letter inviting Biden to address both chambers.

“In that spirit, I am writing to invite you to address a Joint Session of Congress on Wednesday, April 28, to share your vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment,” Pelosi added.

Pelosi invites Biden to address Congress on April 28 | TheHill

Joe Biden has a full plate of “challenges and opportunities” as he seizes control of our government’s executive branch.

My fervent hope is that he accepts the offer, agrees to speak to us directly, candidly and honestly. We keep hearing about the progress we are making in eliminating the pandemic. We see job creation accelerating after the battering our economy took in 2020 when the pandemic shut the nation down.

There’s more to do, to be sure.

Talk to us, Mr. President. Say “yes” to the speaker’s offer.

Gaetz won’t quit; he certainly should

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Matt Gaetz says he isn’t going to quit his seat in Congress.

He said the allegations against him — that he had sex with an underage girl and might be involved in a sex trafficking ring — are the work of a conspiracy.

Forgive me for saying so, given that Gaetz ain’t my representative, but he needs to get the heck outta there. Why? It’s because he will not ever outrun the allegation, particularly if a federal investigation provides evidence that he, indeed, has been boinking little girls.

Why do I care, living as I do in North Texas, about the political future of a loudmouth who represents a Florida congressional district? Because … this blowhard actually votes on federal laws and regulations that affect all Americans. Members of the House and Senate vote on federal legislation. They propose these laws. They debate them in public. They influence how their colleagues should vote on them.

‘Absolutely not resigning’: Gaetz blasts Justice Dept. probe — and critics (nbcnews.com)

That’s how it’s supposed to work. We have, though, among those serving in the House a seedy cabal of miscreants, not to mention the wacky conspiracy theorists who adhere to the nonsense promoted by QAnon and other traitorous groups.

The scouting report on Matt Gaetz tells me he is interested only in promoting the political future of his former godfather, Donald John Trump. Gaetz keeps a seat warm on the House Judiciary Committee, which gives even more power than your average back-bench member of Congress.

I haven’t been following this story closely enough to be able to project how it will end up. Those who are close to the Gaetz matter suggest that there’s an indictment in the works. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has said that if an indictment comes down, then Gaetz needs to exit the Judiciary panel.

The bitter truth, though, is this: Matt Gaetz cannot outrun these allegations. Every issue he touches as a House member becomes tainted by a tawdry allegation. Pols call it a “distraction.” Yeah, it’s that and a whole lot more.

Get out of there, Matt Gaetz. You have sullied my House, young man.

It’s now Biden the Legislator

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am going to stand firmly and stand tall (to the extent that I can do that) behind my belief that President Biden’s lengthy history as a legislator will serve him well as he seeks to advance his policy agenda.

Joe Biden spent 36 years in the U.S. Senate before being selected to run as vice president with Barack Obama in 2008. The Obama-Biden ticket, of course, won that election and served two successful terms leading the executive branch of government.

Joe Biden, though, was a man of the Senate. He built friendships and alliances across the aisle. He worked well with Republicans as well as with his fellow Democrats.

Now that he is president, he brings that extensive knowledge of (a) the leaders of the legislative branch of government, (b) of how the legislative system works and (c) the language that members of both congressional chambers speak to each other.

That’s not important? Of course it is!

President Biden is the most legislatively accomplished president since, oh, Lyndon Baines Johnson.

This is worth mentioning once again as Joe Biden begins crafting a strategy to enact a massive — and I mean gigantic — infrastructure bill.

To be sure, he will deal with a Republican minority in the House and Senate that is still chapped at having lost their majority and at Biden whipping Donald Trump’s keister in the 2020 election. I am going to retain my faith that President Biden’s legislative experience will hold him in good stead as he moves his agenda forward.

I do like Joe Biden’s style of leadership. He seeks to remind us of the good work that government can do for us. We need help fighting the pandemic. Our economy needs a big push. The federal government is a monstrous, often cumbersome machine. It needs a president who knows which levers to pull, which buttons to push.

We have one on the watch now.

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.

Keep talking, GOP hypocrites

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The checks are in the mail — so to speak.

At least a good number of “checks” are showing up this weekend in Americans’ bank accounts, thanks to President Biden and his Democratic Party allies in Congress, who worked to enact the COVID relief package over the strenuous objections of their Republican “friends” and colleagues.

But wait a minute.

Now comes word from around the country that Republican members of the House and the Senate are trying to take credit for something they opposed. I hear, for instance, that Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, one of the 50 Senate GOP “no” on the relief package, is heralding the benefit it will have on education in his state.

Yeah, keep talking Sen. Wicker. The voters in Mississippi ought to be wise to what’s up with him.

This kind of doublespeak occurs from time to time. Lawmakers who find themselves on the wrong side of public opinion look for ways to weasel their way into voters’ good graces. It turns out the COVID relief package totaling $1.9 trillion is quite popular with the masses out here. Eighty-plus percent of Democrats favor it and a slim majority of — gulp!Republican voters look kindly on the government relief effort.

None of that swayed the GOP cultists in Congress to sign on.

However, here they are, trying to glom onto the benefits being sent out en masse to those who have been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. They have lost their jobs, not to mention lost their loved ones, to the disease. The package provides unemployment relief for the next several months and seeks to lessen the misery that has befallen so many millions of us.

What’s more, President Biden spoke to us the other evening and implored Americans to help in steering the nation away from the effects of the virus. “I need you,” he implored, which I consider to be a marvelous about-face from the “I, alone, can fix it” mentality offered by Donald John Trump.

However, don’t be fooled by the GOP fools who are trying to hoodwink Americans into thinking they played some role in bringing this relief to beleaguered pandemic victims.