Tag Archives: Democratic Party

Drama isn’t pretty … and it must end

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The drama being played out at this moment in Albany, N.Y., is not pretty to watch.

However, it is real and it has been seen many times before throughout our nation’s history. It has to end and — sad to say — it likely won’t end well for the man on center stage of this drama.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo cannot possibly stay on in his elected position. Eleven women have accused him — seemingly with great credibility — of sexual harassment and of actions that border on sexual assault. It is consuming the governorship.

Cuomo is facing intense pressure from the media, from politicians within his own Democratic Party — not to mention Republicans — to resign from office. The New York Times calls Cuomo “unfit” for office. The Albany Times-Union — in the city where Cuomo works each day — has implored him to resign.

Every single thing that Cuomo touches from this day forward will be tainted by the scandal. It’s big, too. The New York attorney general, fellow Democrat Letitia James, has concluded that the women’s accusations are credible.

Cuomo blames all of this on politics. Really? C’mon, governor. When politicians with whom you are supposedly close — one of whom is President Biden — call for your resignation, well … it ain’t political.

None of us should take pleasure in watching a once-shining political career crash and burn. That is what is happening. Indeed, the more that comes out about Cuomo, about how he treats his foes and the bullying tactics he has been known to employ, the less admirable a man he becomes in many of our eyes.

If he doesn’t walk away on his own, he is likely to be impeached. The way I see the wind blowing in upstate New York, a trial won’t end well, either.

It’s your call, governor.

Wanting a GOP revival … really!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to me whether you choose to believe what I am about to say, but here goes anyway …

I want the Republican Party to pull its head out of its a** and rejoin the mainstream American political movement that pits its ideas squarely against the ideas offered by the Democratic Party.

What we used to know as the Grand Old Party has been desecrated, perverted and prostituted by the cult developed by the immediate past president of the United States, Donald John Trump.

I don’t know what ever became of the once-great political movement, but I am not yet willing to write it off, consign it to history’s trash heap.

I consider myself a good government progressive. I am not a flaming left-wing ideologue. I like the notion of compromise. Good governance requires a bit of give and take and for both sides to seek common ground.

The recent partisan vote in the Senate and  the expected partisan vote in the House of Representatives on the COVID relief package pushed by President Biden illustrates and symbolizes what has gone wrong with our political process. The Trumpster Wing of the GOP has grabbed that party by its genitals and is making it scream loudly and incoherently. 

Donald Trump campaigned for the presidency as a populist. He said he wanted to stand with the little guy, only to persuade the GOP-dominated Congress to give trillions of dollars away to rich Republicans in the form of tax cuts.

Then the GOP caucus opposed the COVID relief bill because, it says, it is “too expensive.” Huh? What about  that tax cut, ladies and gentlemen? The price tag on the the tax cut exceeded the $1.9 trillion contained in the COVID relief bill. That didn’t bother them at all. Good government? That ain’t it!

Come back, Republican Party. I miss you!

Is there a surprise VP pick coming?

This is just me, so take it for what it’s worth. Don’t laugh and suggest it’s not worth a damn. Maybe so, but here it is anyhow.

I am wondering in the deepest recesses of my gut whether Joseph R. Biden Jr. is going to pull a serious surprise out of his fedora when he announces who he wants to run with him as the vice presidential nominee.

I keep hearing about the “top four” contenders in the veep sweepstakes: Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Rep. Val Demings of Florida, Stacy Yates of Georgia and Susan Rice of D.C. They all have something in common. They are “women of color.”

But are they the best candidates Biden could select? I don’t know. I just keep thinking that with a nation as huge and diverse as this one, does it make sense for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to go with the “conventional wisdom” candidate?

I cannot help but wonder whether there is someone lurking in the tall grass, perhaps someone few of us have heard of, let alone considered as a VP candidate.

Joe Biden has guaranteed the VP nominee will be a woman. He is getting plenty of heat to select a woman of color. 

This waiting game is getting a bit tense … don’t you think?

Big money supporting Biden? Not in this household!

The more I hear Bernie Sanders suggest that Joe Biden has become the candidate of big money, well-heeled special interests, the privileged few who run everything in America, the more offense I am taking.

I want to lecture Sen. Sanders about something. It’s the truth and I won’t back away from it.

I am not wealthy. I don’t get involved in establishment political activity. I watch the news constantly. I study the issues. I try to understand them.

I am drawn to former Vice President Biden not because he represents big money. I am drawn to him because I believe in his message and the promise he presents to return some decency, dignity and decorum to the office of the presidency.

Furthermore, I also suspect I am not alone in that view, given the surge that the former vice president saw on Super Tuesday. Evan Smith, editor in chief and founder of the Texas Tribune, noted during the election coverage Tuesday night that “same-day voters” had broken significantly for Joe Biden, wiping out pro-Sanders advantages run up by the votes cast by those who voted early.

Many thousands of Texans, along with those in other Super Tuesday states, were moved by the stunning victory Biden scored in South Carolina. I had been leaning toward Biden already, so my vote Tuesday wasn’t spurred by some last-minute conversion from one candidate to another.

I mention this only because Sen. Sanders is drawing what I believe is an inappropriate picture of the kind of support that is lining up behind Joe Biden. The so-called big money had written off Biden after his dismal election performance in New Hampshire.

Then suddenly, he awoke from the near (political) dead. Rank-and-file voters administered the smelling salts and he roared back on his own.

None of this will matter to Sanders. He wants to be nominated for president. Sanders will say what he believes he needs to say to revive the “revolution” he purports to lead. That’s his right.

I just happen to believe he is manufacturing a conspiracy where none exists. It offends me.

Actually, Mr. VPOTUS, you need to win … by a lot!

Joe Biden thinks he has the crucial South Carolina Democratic presidential primary in the bag.

Um, truth be told, he doesn’t. Even if he wins, it’s not tucked away. He’s got to win by a lot. You see, the one-time Democratic Party presidential frontrunner had the Palmetto State primary locked up. He was lapping the field. Then Vermont’s independent Sen. Bernie Sanders started winning the early primaries.

Now it’s neck-and-neck between the two of ’em for South Carolina’s primary vote.

Biden said that a single percentage point victory over the field is enough, although he said he expects to win by a comfortable margin. OK, but expectations and reality don’t always mesh.

The former vice president of the United States needs to win by at least double digits. It would be better for him to smoke the field, to trample the rest of the remaining contenders — and that includes Sanders — into the ground.

Anything short of a decisive win spells doom.

It saddens me to say this, as I have staked my own preference on Joe Biden. I want his candidacy to succeed. I fear it’s teetering on the brink of failure.

Democratic establishment channeling GOP counterparts from 2016

How fascinating it is to watch the Democratic Party establishment wringing its hands over the possible — and I won’t yet say “probable” — nomination of a presidential candidate who’s far from the mainstream.

Does it remind you of anything, say, from just four years ago?

The 2016 Republican Party primary battle featured a large field of contenders having to fend off a challenge from a political outsider. Yep, Donald John Trump gave the GOP establishment fits. He stuck his finger in the establishment’s collective eye.

In 2020, the outlier is a guy named Bernie Sanders, who’s doing the same thing to the Democratic establishment.

Try this similarity on for size: Sanders serves in the U.S. Senate as an independent from Vermont; Trump only ran as a Republican because it presented the easier path to nomination and then to election, as he had no active involvement with the party prior to running for the presidency. Trump had no public service experience. He spent his entire adult life seeking to enrich himself.

Sanders’ critics say he isn’t a real Democrat, just as Trump’s critics said in 2016 — and many of us are saying now — that he isn’t a real Republican. I believe criticism of both men on that point has its merit.

Republicans were damn fools to nominate Trump in the first place. To my mind he has proved himself to be a disaster as president. One of his GOP primary foes, Jeb Bush of Florida, predicted accurately that he would govern as a “chaos and confusion” president. Trump has delivered on that prediction.

What’s in store for the Democrats if they manage to nominate Sanders? I’ve already declared that I believe he is likely to lose big to Trump. Then again, as I’ve noted before on this blog, my prediction skills are quite suspect.

I mean, I never thought Trump would be elected. Hah! Silly me. Silly all those other folks who thought they had the 2016 election pegged.

Democrats have been pummeled over Iowa debacle

The Iowa Democratic Party has become the laughingstock of the U.S. political community.

Except the folks at the Democratic National Committee aren’t laughing. Neither are the rest of us out here who want the party to nominate someone who can defeat the current president of the United States, Donald John Trump.

An “app” malfunction at the Iowa caucus might have doomed the state’s goofy selection process, which to my mind isn’t a bad thing.

Except that it has taken most of a whole week to get the results. Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders finished virtually tied at the top of the Democratic heap. Can either of these fellows defeat Trump? Hmm. I have serious doubts.

The party’s electability mantra has hit a number of sour notes as a result of the caucus malfunction in Iowa.

Meanwhile, Trump is basking in that Senate acquittal at his impeachment trial; he is exacting revenge within the White House against those who testified before Congress; the POTUS gave that idiotic, but weirdly popular among his base, speech to the National Prayer Breakfast and then followed that up with an hour-long riff at the White House.

Democrats have some rebuilding to do. They need to establish a frontrunner. The back-of-the-pack candidates need to give up on their longshot effort. They damn sure need to scrap the caucus idea in Iowa and in other states and return to a nominating process that allows voters to cast their ballots in secret, just as they do when the general election rolls around.

I want someone to emerge soon from this mess as a probable nominee. I would prefer the candidate to be from the more “centrist” or “moderate” portion of the party. The Big Mo, though, appears to be generating on the far left wing of the Democratic Party, to which I offer a word of warning.

Think of 1972, when Democrats nominated a lefty to be president. Sen. George McGovern drew huge crowds. They cheered loudly. He filled himself with some sort of deluded hope that, by golly, he might have something significant to offer.

Then he lost 49 of 50 states.

Take great care, Democrats. Fix the political infrastructure and come to your senses.

Hoping the Iowa SNAFU deals caucus a mortal blow

I am old-fashioned guy when it comes to elections.

My strong preference is to allow people to walk into a voting booth, look at a ballot, then select the individual they want to win the contest, or the issue they want to see enacted.

Thus, it is my equally strong hope that the Iowa Democratic Party caucus system has been dealt a fatal blow with the SNAFU that has thrown the entire process into an uproar.

The caucus was supposed to send one of the Democrats off on a clearer path toward their party’s nomination. Then came that goofy “app” that malfunctioned. Iowa Democratic officials were unable to tabulate the results in anything close to a timely fashion.

As it turned out, Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg have ended up in a dead heat. They’ve gone on to New Hampshire, where Democratic voters will actually cast ballots in secret.

That’s how we ought to do this presidential nominating duty. We need to declare the winner to be the candidate who gets more votes than the others. In Iowa, they have this multi-faceted system that separates tabulations that determine delegate apportionment and actual votes. It makes me cross-eyed trying to sort it all out.

I don’t have any problem with Iowa being the state that kicks off the presidential campaign season. Hey, one of the 50 states needs to be the first to go. Isn’t that right? If not Iowa, then which state gets the nod? You see, that issue doesn’t matter to me.

What does matter is the way the first state should commence this important process. I get, too, that an actual primary election could result in a tie vote, that there are instances in which no candidates could emerge as clear winner.

If so, then all we have to worry about is how we ensure that the votes are counted accurately. The “app” mess isn’t in the picture.

I am hoping we can say “goodbye” to the caucus system that has shown itself in this election cycle in Iowa to be a monumental failure.

Democrats have just messed up an electoral process at the worst time

I guess you can say this about the Democratic Party: When they mess up an election, they do it in a big way, embarrassing themselves and dousing many millions of Americans watching from afar with a huge splash of ice water.

They had that long-awaited Iowa caucus Monday. Except that the system broke down. Democrats are blaming it on a computer “app” that went haywire. They’re unable to tabulate how the caucus-goers decided to support. As I write this blog at almost noon the next day, they still don’t know who finished where in the caucus donnybrook.

Yep, they blew this one!

It could not have possibly come at a worse time for Democrats,

They have fielded a lineup of competent challengers to Donald John Trump, the current U.S. president. Four of them serve in the U.S. Senate, which on Wednesday will vote on whether to acquit or convict the POTUS of high crimes and misdemeanors. They’re scrambling now to make sense of the mess that has been spilled all over them in the Hawkeye State.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump is going to gloat. He’ll make that State of the Union speech tonight and something tells me he might use that high-profile platform to toss a dig or three at the feckless-appearing opposition that tried to conduct a time-honored process to begin the search for a presidential nominee.

Some of us — such as yours truly — prefer an even more venerable tradition in making this determination. How about voting in secret? How about just allowing voters to look at their ballot and place a mark next to the candidate of their choice?

But, no-o-o-o! We have this caucus nonsense that has been swallowed whole by technology that a political machine apparently doesn’t know how to operate.

This is not how you’re supposed to launch an election cycle.

Newt’s legacy lives on with ‘Democrat Party’

REUTERS/Mark Avery

I laugh to myself when I see the term “Democrat” used as an adjective, or as part of the proper name of one of the nation’s two major political parties.

It’s a holdover from an earlier era when Republicans took control of Congress for the first time in 40 years. You remember the landmark Contract With America election of 1994, right? Of course you do!

A then-young GOP bomb thrower, Newt Gingrich, led the insurgency that elected Republicans to the House and Senate that year. The GOP slate took down plenty of heavyweights, including House Speaker Tom Foley and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jack Brooks.

Gingrich essentially coined the usage of the term “Democrat” in a way that sought to cast the other party as a sort of foreign element.

Democrats belong to the “Democratic Party.” Gingrich, who became speaker of the House in 1995, kept referring to the party as the “Democrat Party,” a term that just doesn’t roll off the way the proper term does.

Well, Gingrich left the speakership and the House after the 1998 midterm election and the failed impeachment of President Clinton. He ended up with his own personal baggage — the affair he was having with a staffer while married to his second wife — that took him out; it was one of the more ironic political downfalls in modern U.S. history, given the nature of the charges leveled against Bill Clinton.

However, Newt’s branding of Democrats and their political party lives on. Donald Trump refers to the Democratic Party as the Democrat Party; so do his allies in Congress; so do critics of this blog, by gum, use that term.

It used to annoy me, given my understanding of the motive behind its use: the demonization of a great political party. I’ve gone beyond the point of annoyance. I am now mildly amused.