Tag Archives: Democrats

Missing the old GOP

Never in a million years would I imagine saying what I am about to say … which is that what passes for today’s Republican Party makes me miss many GOP politicians who once played by a different set of rules.

What we have now competing for votes against Democrats is a party full of craven sycophants, loyal to a twice-impeached, four-times indicted and possibly soon to be felony-convicted former president.

I must stipulate that I do not consider myself to be a loyal Democrat. I am an independent fellow who’s cast over many years plenty of votes for Republicans; none of them have gone to GOP presidential candidates since I began voting in 1972.

If some of the former Republican presidential nominees were running today against the presumed GOP frontrunner in 2024, I surely would consider casting a vote for them. Mitt Romney, John McCain, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush come to mind immediately.

These men were of high honor and integrity. They knew government, understood its many complexities and worked with Democrats frequently to solve national problems.

Of the men I mentioned, I came closest in 1976 to voting for President Ford, who was running for election after having assumed the presidency in a time of national crisis. He was never elected VPOTUS or POTUS, but was the right man at the time to restore honor to a government torn asunder by what was the worst constitutional crisis in history. His pardon of President Nixon a month into his term was a deal-breaker … as I recall it; I since have changed my mind.

I just miss the era when Republicans weren’t so frozen in their loyalty to a single politician that they could suspend their rigidity to work out compromise solutions. I believe truly that is one of the tenets of good government.

Today, though, we see a party held captive by a megalomaniac. Senate Republicans hammered out an immigration deal that would strength border security. The former POTUS didn’t want President Biden to get any credit for solving the crisis, so he put the arm on senators to get ’em to back away. They did and to their everlasting shame, the border deal died a quick and unexpected death.

And why? Because Republicans in the Senate — and the House — lack the guts to do the right thing in spite of what their hero suggests.

I miss the old Republican Party.

Awaiting the new year … and new challenges

The worst year of my life is inching closer to the back door and I will say farewell to 2023 without a trace of affection.

But … you know about the reason why, so I won’t belabor the point.

The new year is full of promise for me as (a) an adult seeking to rebuild my life, (b) a patriot who is proud of my country but recognizing it has work to do to become a ”more perfect Union,” and (c) a voter who will gladly exercise my right as a citizen of the world’s greatest nation.

I want to talk only about “b” and “c.”

My patriotism is nothing I choose to display by waving flags, or wearing lettered clothing or marching in the street. I am a quiet patriot. I pay my taxes without complaining. I generally trust my government to do right by me and my family. I do stand for the National Anthem and doff my cap if I am wearing one. I know all the social graces required.

I also use this blog as my venue for ranting on occasion when my government messes up. The Constitution allows me to do so without fear of retribution.

Now, for the “c” part of the promise that awaits. 2024 is a presidential election year. Every year, one or more of the candidates for POTUS declares it to be “the most important election of our lifetime.” The election coming up just might be it for this old-timer.

I continue to harbor enormous faith that our Constitution will weather the storm that is pummeling it. Two major parties are fighting for control of our government. Only one of them, though, is a “great” party. Republicans have ridden their party off the bridge and into the drink.

The lone great party happens to be run by Democrats. They normally would have a good story to tell about why we should return one of them, Joe Biden, to the White House. That message is going into the ears of millions of voters and out the other side … into the void.

What does that mean for the Democratic Party? It means they need to sharpen their long knives and tell the voters what is at stake. Do Americans want to retain a democratic republic or do we want to introduce a government that is run by an individual vowing to seek revenge against his foes? Against the press? Against anyone who opposes his (alleged) public policies?

The Republican Party has set the table exquisitely for Democrats to use their many talking points against them.

If I were King of the World, I would compel Democrats in power to start serving up what Republicans are offering. Many millions of us need reminding of what is at stake.

My eternal optimism tells me to believe we are better than where Republicans want to take us.

My faith is strong. So is my resolve to do all I can to spread the message.

May the new year bring us discernment to hear that message … and courage to act on it!

Dallas mayor joins GOP … so?

Why the hubbub over Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson announcing he now belongs to the Republican Party?

I heard about this morning and thought immediately: big, fu**ing deal!

Johnson serves as mayor of the state’s third-largest city. But you know what? He serves as a “non-partisan” elected official. That’s how it generally goes in Texas. Municipal officeholders don’t run under a partisan banner. We don’t elect these folks because they are Democrat, Republican, independent, Libertarian … whatever. We elect them because they might pledge to do something that we could support: street repair, more cops on the beat, more efficient trash pickup … those kinds of things.

It took Gov. Greg Abbott no time at all to “congratulate” because of his party switch. Again … BFD.

Why did Mayor Johnson make such a big deal of his partisan switcheroo? He might be considering a run for higher office, which requires candidates to run under a partisan banner. If that’s the case, well, it’s his choosing. He did serve as a Democrat in the Legislature before running for Dallas mayor.

Oh well. I will not spend another minute even thinking about it.

Time limit on campaigns?

Does it seem like an hour or so ago that the 2020 presidential election came to a conclusion … and already we are in the midst of the next campaign for the U.S. presidency?

It does to me. It also makes me wonder whether the Europeans have the right idea on how to manage these campaigns.

It varies from country to country, but many nations — and I am looking at Europe at the moment — place a time limit on when candidates can campaign actively for high office.

I cannot recall the specifics, but I have heard anecdotally about campaigns for head of government or head of state lasting no more than six weeks or so.

Given the nature of our presidential campaigns, including the incessant and relentless fundraising that must occur to pay for them, I am willing at least to consider implementing such restrictions here.

The 2020 campaign began almost immediately at the end of the 2016 campaign and on and on it has gone through the past many presidential election cycles.

It never ends!

The news media feel compelled to report on the comings and goings of candidates in and out of, say, the early primary states. They speculate on who’s in and who’s just out for a weekend eating bad fair food and kissing children.

I lose interest in the early reporting of these campaigns. I get it back closer to the stretch drive. In the meantime, though, I have to suffer through endless news reports of what this potential candidate is saying about himself or herself and about the other candidates.

Hey, I consider myself a political junkie. Maybe I should change that to “recovering political junkie.” My recovery, though, is made more difficult by the non-stop campaigning that just won’t cease.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Don’t misrepresent vote

Memo to Marie Biggs, a Democratic precinct chair in Collin County, Texas: You need to cease misrepresenting the nature of the recent election to the Collin College Board of Regents.

I returned home today after spending a couple of nights way and found a single-sheet flyer in my front door. It speaks to the need for Democrats to get out and vote for three candidates running for the board of regents: Megan Wallace, Scott Coleman and Stacey Donald.

“Turnout has been extremely low,” Biggs wrote in her note. “That means we have a chance t beat the MAGA Republicans on the Collin College board,” she wrote.

Hold on a second, Ms. Biggs! The college board is elected on non-partisan ballots. No one runs as a Democrat or a “MAGA Republican.” A regent or a candidate for the board can adhere to policies that tilt one way or the other.

However, to call on voters to “vote for the following Democrats” constitutes a gross misrepresentation of the election.

It reminds me of a ploy I witnessed in Amarillo in the late 1990s in the race for mayor, another non-partisan office. A candidate seeking to defeat incumbent Mayor Kel Seliger sent out literature asking “all good Republicans” to vote for her. I was editing an opinion page at the local newspaper and we called out Mary Alice Brittain for doing the same thing that Marie Biggs did this weekend. Brittain lost the race for mayor … and then disappeared.

Listen up, Ms. Biggs: Take care in characterizing these campaigns.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Biden set to go again?

Joe Biden doesn’t need any advice from little ol’ me out here in Flyover Country … but he’s going to get some anyway.

Mr. President, let me be among the millions of Americans who voted for you in 2020 to wish you well as you launch your re-election effort. We hear it’s this week and that you’ll do it via an online platform of some sort.

Go for it!

The president has plenty to sell a public that seems embittered by the politics of the past half-dozen years. It appears that Joe Biden cannot do anything totally right in the eyes of a public that seems unwilling or unable to recognize success when it slaps ’em in the puss.

President Biden has gotten damn little help from his Republican “friends” in Congress. Democrats have held together on Capitol Hill to approve a number of key laws: gun safety rules, the Inflation Reduction Act, infrastructure repair and rebuilding.

Biden has spoken glowingly of his history of working well with Republicans. I guess it goes only so far as his record in the Senate and his eight-year stint at vice president. As POTUS? The GOP has dug in, many of ’em still angry that he defeated their hero in the 2020 presidential election.

I don’t want the president to re-litigate the previous election, which is what his defeated foe in 2020 keeps doing. Joe Biden should look to the future and tell us what he intends to do in a second term.

President Biden might need some help in ensuring he carries through on his agenda. Voters appear to be getting lathered up over the GOP’s insistence on banning abortion nationally, its resistance to gun safety measures and its haggling over the debt limit increase … and the failure to pay our debts sending the world’s economy into the crapper.

I said prior to the 2020 primary campaign that Joe Biden wasn’t my first pick. He ended up winning the Democratic nomination and, therefore, became my guy along with 81 million other Americans.

He’s my guy going into the 2024 election.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Who’s playing politics?

How in this good ol’ world can Republicans say with a straight face that Democrats are guilty of “playing politics” when the GOP has turned the politics-playing game into an art form.

Consider the upcoming fight over the debt ceiling.

A Republican president ran up 20% of the total national debt during his single term in office. Congressional Republicans were silent when Donald Trump managed that feat. The debt happens to be on the books already as money is already spent. Meanwhile, the U.S. Constitution calls for the “full faith and credit” to be free of the political games now being played.

Now that we have a Democrat in the White House, congressional Republicans want to hold the national debt as a weapon to use against Democrats. What the hell?

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met today to discuss this debt ceiling matter. McCarthy came out of that meeting and suggested the two men made progress in settling their disagreements.

I get that we need to control government spending. I’m fine with that as a matter of principle. However, the debt ceiling must be lifted to allow this nation to maintain its full faith and credit. Bringing the debt ceiling crashing down would bring financial ruin. That is the truth. How about raising the debt ceiling, which is always done, and then talk about looking for greater fiscal responsibility?

Refusing to raise the debt ceiling arguably is the most brazen act of political gamesmanship imaginable. Thus, when the GOP accuses Democrats of playing politics, they are projecting their own sin on their opponents.

It is beyond shameful.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Can they work together?

Hakeen Jefferies says he and Kevin McCarthy can work together when it matters. Count me as a skeptic … for the time being at least.

Jefferies is the newly minted U.S. House Democratic leader is the equally newly minted speaker of the House. Oh … McCarthy also is a Republican who had to fight through 15 floor-vote ballots before eking out enough support to get the speaker’s gavel.

Jefferies says he and McCarthy get along just fine, that they can “agree to disagree without being disagreeable.” Indeed, McCarthy said some pretty angry things about former speaker Nancy Pelosi, who in turn fired some nastiness at McCarthy.

Jefferies and McCarthy need to work together to craft legislation that President Biden can agree to sign into law. I fear that the task might be hampered by the MAGA crowd within the GOP House caucus that is intent on impeaching everyone who carries the title of Democrat.

Well, I will hold out a sliver of hope that the party leaders can forge a working relationship that puts country ahead of partisan concerns.

Many of us are watching you, gentleman.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Sinema bolts Dems … OK, so what?

So … Sen. Kirsten Sinema of Arizona no longer belongs to the Democratic Party, choosing to register as an independent.

You may count me as one American — who cheered mightily for Democrats to capture an actual majority in the Senate — to be not as chapped as many others out here in the cheap seats.

Sinema has rankled many Democratic partisans by declaring she no longer ascribes to party doctrine. She wants to vote independently, serving the needs, wishes and demands of her Arizona constituents.

I ask you: Why is that so terrible?

The question will be whether she caucuses with Democrats the way two other independents do: Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. If she does, then I believe she can be counted on as much as Democrats always counted on her vote on key issues. She has shown a rebellious streak, even when she was a card-carrying Democrat.

As Politico reported: “I don’t anticipate that anything will change about the Senate structure,” Sinema said, adding that some of the exact mechanics of how her switch affects the chamber is “a question for Chuck Schumer … I intend to show up to work, do the same work that I always do. I just intend to show up to work as an independent.”

Sinema switches to independent, shaking up the Senate – POLITICO

I can recall a time in the 1990s when another partisan lawmaker refused to toe the party line. Republican Congressman Larry Combest of Lubbock stuck his finger in Speaker Newt Gingrich’s eye on farm policy, namely the Freedom to Farm bill. Combest told Gingrich publicly that he worked for the farmers and ranchers of West Texas and did not work for Newtie. He pissed Gingrich off to no end.

Combest remained a steadfast Republican for his entire time in Congress, unlike Sinema’s decision to toss her party label aside … but the message then was the same as what Sinema is delivering now.

Democrats still control the Senate, no matter what Sinema decides ultimately on with which party she will caucus.

My advice to the partisans? Chill out!

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Election over … get busy

I find no need to look back on the 2022 midterm election, which came to a wonderful end with the re-election this week of Raphael Warnock to the U.S. Senate.

Warnock’s victory extends by just a tiny bit Democrats’ majority in the Senate, enabling that body now to proceed with some important business on our behalf. I have said all I intend to say about the (lack of) quality in Sen. Warnock’s Republican opponent … except to speculate whether Herschel Walker will return to his mansion in Texas and consider running for politics here. God forbid …

What’s ahead for the Senate? Lots of business that Democrats can do — hopefully with Republican help. But with a 51-49 majority, Democrats now can lose one of their members to the other side and still have Vice President Harris waiting in the wings to break a tie. The good news for Democrats? It’s no longer as urgent a fallback position.

The Senate now can proceed with filling federal judicial vacancies. President Biden has nominated judges for these vacancies, but the Senate had been hamstrung by GOP obstructionists. They need to be filled. It is with great pleasure I acknowledge that the House of Representatives, with its slim GOP majority, has no voice on that matter.

To be sure, the Senate cannot act on its own without some assistance from the House. There needs to be legislation to codify women’s reproductive rights that the Supreme Court stripped away when it trashed the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. Congress should seek legislation to make it even more difficult for lunatics to purchase firearms.

To be sure, the next Senate is going to have more election deniers among the ranks of senators. Two of them won election in Ohio and North Carolina. However, with Democrats’ position strengthened, the Big Lie believers can be silenced more readily.

The 2024 campaign for president is likely to commence soon. Joe Biden is sounding more like a candidate for re-election. Only heaven knows how many Republicans will step forward to seek their party’s nomination. That’s all well and good.

I am ready for a political breather.

Thus, I also am ready to watch the 118th Congress takes its oath and get to work.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com