Tag Archives: Democrats

Go it alone, Mr. President

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

If you put a gun to my noggin and forced me to make a prediction, I am likely to say that President Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress are on their own if they want to enact an infrastructure improvement package.

Biden is trying like the dickens to get Republicans to sign on. He is coming up empty.

The president has pitched a $2.25 trillion package. Republicans want to spend a lot less. Biden wants it to include job creation, climate change remedies and assistance to families. The GOP wants more emphasis on roads, bridges, airports, seaports.

They remain far apart.

Biden has been meeting with GOP Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. They remain deadlocked.

Oh, what to do. I guess it well might fall on President Biden and Democrats in both congressional chambers to go it alone. Hey, they did it already with the COVID stimulus/relief package that Republicans resisted, only to then take credit for some of the programs it helped salvage.

Ayeee. It’s frustrating for those of us who want to see government work. We watch the president and congressional Democrats seeking to put government to work for us instead of against us. Then we watch Republicans dig in, resisting this and that, claiming that Democrats are playing “politics” with things such as, oh, the Jan. 6 commission that would find answers and solutions to the horrifying insurrection.

It occurs to me that Biden well might have offered a high-end proposal infrastructure knowing that Republicans would low-ball a counter-offer. Could it be that President Biden is aiming toward something in the middle, which is where he intended for this discussion to go?

That’s how you negotiate. If not, then I hope he and Democrats are ready to take off without their GOP friends.

End the filibuster?

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The debate over whether to end the filibuster rule in the U.S. Senate gives me heartburn.

It’s a “reform” that is fraught with peril.

You know how it goes. Senators in the minority use the filibuster to block legislation. It was created with the notion of allowing senators to talk bills to death by blathering on and on about this and that. It has become more of a procedural maneuver these days.

The peril lies in the political future of the Senate and which party maintains the majority.

At this moment, Democrats control a 50-50 Senate split only because they have a Democratic vice president, Kamala Harris, available to break tie votes. Democrats are angry with Republicans because they filibuster legislation that Democrats want enacted; creation of the Jan. 6 bipartisan commission is the latest significant example.

What happens, though, if Republicans take control of the Senate after the 2022 midterm election? Democrats who today are screeching for an end to the filibuster are likely to sing a different tune if they are caught in the minority among senators. Meanwhile, are Republicans going to be as quick to stand with the filibuster if their Democratic colleagues begin filibustering in an effort to kill GOP-friendly legislation?

Control of the legislative branch is a fluid thing. It sways back and forth.

This is a rule written by the Senate. It is not a constitutional provision. Thus, I am a bit concerned that Democrats’ insistence on ending the filibuster might bite ’em all in the backside if control of the Senate — as tenuous as it is — slips away.

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 the filibuster, however …

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Democrats smell a certain radical political overhaul in the making.

They need to take great care if they intend to enact it. The filibuster rule in the U.S. Senate looms in the proverbial gunsights of congressional Democrats and their fellow activists out here in the peanut gallery.

They want to end it now that they have control of both congressional chambers and the White House

Senators can filibuster while opposing legislation they oppose. One of them can stand on the Senate floor and talk about anything they want. Sometimes they read from children’s books, or ramble on about this or that … they just bluster.

It requires a super majority of senators to end a filibuster.

The aim is to stop legislative momentum. The filibuster can be abused. And it has been abused in recent years, chiefly by Republican senators.

Democrats see an avenue to end the procedure now that they have the slimmest of majorities in the Senate, which is split 50-50; but Democrats have a weapon in the person of Vice President Kamala Harris, who can break a tie.

The filibuster — which dates to era of ancient Rome — protects the minority members’ political interests. Do I want the GOP to advance its legislative agenda? No. I don’t. I do, though, want to caution any Democratic zealot that their party is unlikely to remain in the majority forever. Political cycles have a way of wresting control from one party and handing it to the other one.

What happens if and when Republicans get control of the Senate, or the House or even the White House in the future?

I want to protect this process, with one provision: Democrats invoked what they called the “nuclear option” in 2015 by voting with a simple majority to end a filibuster that sought to block a judicial nominee put forward by President Obama. I don’t have a problem with maintaining that option.

As for the filibuster itself, let us just remember that what goes around, comes around. 

I am glad to see Democrats in control of the White House and Capitol Hill. Let’s not get carried away … hmmm?

Why isn’t there more bipartisan outrage and fear?

I usually am not inclined to ascribe partisan motives to varying responses to monumental tragedies, such as what we’re experiencing at this moment with the coronavirus pandemic.

But then there is this unmistakable trend we keep witnessing: Republican governors appear to be less inclined to invoke statewide measures to cope with the pandemic than their Democratic colleagues; a GOP congressman, Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana, has said that people dying would be preferable to allowing the U.S. economy to tank from the pandemic; Texas GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick recently said old folks should sacrifice their lives if it means the economy would survive this crisis.

GOP-leaning talking heads on conservative media keep suggesting the fear is the product of the “mainstream media” overhyping the danger brought by the COVID-19 virus. Donald Trump reserves his criticism of governors to the Democrats among them; he remains silent on his fellow Republicans.

Is there a trend here? Well, it looks like it to me.

The nation’s top Republicans spent a good deal of time and effort when the pandemic first exploded downplaying its severity. His fellow Republicans appear to be following his lead. Only by mid-March did Donald Trump finally acknowledge the onset of a grim outcome caused by the pandemic.

Democratic state governors, meanwhile, are teaming up. The governors of three West Coast states — California, Oregon and Washington — have formed a coalition among them to coordinate their responses to the pandemic. The same thing is occurring in the Northeast, with New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island governors — all Democrats — forming a similar partnership; to be fair, a GOP governor in Massachusetts has joined them … so it’s not all bleak if you’re a Republican officeholder.

What’s going on here. Has the GOP machinery become clogged up by Donald Trump’s ignorance, fecklessness and imbecilic feuds with the media and Democrats?

This is way bigger than partisan differences, folks. How about everyone pulling together? As near as I can tell, Democrats are on the right side of this fight by taking a more proactive approach to fighting this “invisible enemy.” Republican governors need to get into the game … right now!

Facing an electoral quandary

I have been “chatting” via social media with a longtime friend who has told me of her intention to vote in the Republican Party primary next month. She lives in the Golden Triangle of Texas and tells me she must vote in the GOP primary because of the plethora of local races that mean much to her.

I get that. I also have told her that I intend to vote in the Democratic primary because I have not yet built the familiarity my friend has with her community.

She’s lived in Orange County for decades. I have lived in Collin County for a little more than a year. I am not proud to acknowledge that my familiarity with local contests isn’t yet up to speed. However, I must go where my instincts lead me.

They are leading me to cast my ballot for races involving national and statewide contests.

We’re going to cast our votes for president on March 3. Super Tuesday’s lineup of primary states includes Texas and its big prize of delegates to both parties’ nominating conventions.

I am not going to restate the obvious, which involves my vote for president, or simply that I will never cast a ballot for the current POTUS. My chore now is to examine the Democratic field for the candidate of my choice.

My inclination is to support Joseph R. Biden Jr. However, it is not clear at this writing whether he’ll be a viable candidate when the Texas primary rolls around. He must win in South Carolina. The former VP is losing African-American support that he says is his “firewall” to protect his candidacy from total collapse.

Then we have the U.S. Senate race and the U.S. House contest. Yes, the impeachment battle plays a factor in my vote. GOP Sen. John Cornyn, whom I actually like personally, has been a profound disappointment to me with his vote to acquit Donald Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. What’s more, my first-term congressman, Republican Van Taylor, also disappointed me when he voted against impeaching Trump of those high crimes and misdemeanors.

My attention is focused, therefore, on the bigger stage.

I will need to live through another election cycle to familiarize myself with local issues and candidates sufficiently to cast my vote with any semblance of intelligence. Hey, given that I live in a county that’s even more Republican-leaning than my friend’s home county in the Golden Triangle, I understand the need to get up to speed.

I will do so in due course.

Looking for a centrist alternative to the current POTUS

I reckon the time has arrived to declare a preference for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

I have kinda/sorta danced around the topic, declining to make that declaration — until right now.

My preference is for a centrist Democrat to succeed the current president of the United States, Donald John Trump. I have spoken already about my admiration for Joseph R. Biden Jr. I long have admired his Senate work and I believe he served ably as vice president during the Obama administration.

Of all the Democrats running for president, my belief at this moment is that Biden is the best candidate to take on Trump. He is, as a pundit once described it, my “Goldilocks candidate.” He is not too liberal, not too conservative. He seems to fit the bill of a man who is equipped at virtually every level to become the next head of state.

Joe Biden could restore some dignity to the presidency, which Donald Trump has sought systematically to destroy through his idiotic behavior.

Trump has declared war against damn near everything that Barack Obama and Joe Biden sought to do during their two terms as president and vice president. Biden doesn’t appear inclined to do anything of the sort were he to win the presidency later this year.

My fear for the Democratic Party right now is that it is lurching toward nominating a far-left progressive, perhaps even a “democratic socialist,” in the form of Bernie Sanders. It is my considered opinion that the party is courting disaster were it to nominate Sanders to run against Trump.

I want a nominee with foreign policy chops. I want someone who has demonstrated an ability and a willingness to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

More than anything, I want a president who can return the presidency to a more traditional posture on our political landscape.

I acknowledge the difficulty that Joe Biden faces at this moment. His good name was pilloried during the impeachment inquiry and during the Senate trial that acquitted Trump of two serious “high crimes and misdemeanors.” He is paying a potentially grievous political price for the savagery visited on his name and reputation.

It also might be too late.

I just thought it was time to stake my claim in this most consequential fight for the presidency.

Trump likely to turn 2020 campaign into personal bloodbath

Those of us out here beyond the Beltway who want an issues-centric campaign for the presidency are likely to be disappointed greatly in what we get from the major-party nominees.

Why? Because the Republican incumbent, Donald John Trump, appears intent on personalizing the fight. He will level a heavy barrage of innuendo, laced with insults at whomever the Democrats nominate to oppose him.

Bet on it. This is the type of campaign that lines up just the way the president wants it.

As for the Democratic Party nominee, he or she had better be prepared for what is likely to come.

To be candid, I am weary of the insults that Trump hurls with abandon. I want to know what he intends to do about the serious crises facing this nation and the planet: climate change, for one. Trump says climate change is a hoax, although he did recently make a sort of endorsement about how important the environment is to him. It sounded more like a platitude than any sort of serious assessment.

I will not hold breath in anticipation of any sort of serious discussion by Trump and, by extension, by the Democratic nominee. If the Democrat talks about serious matters, the public is likely to tune him or her out.

So that produces a campaign of personal vitriol.

Yes, it will be a virtual repeat of what we got in 2016.

The Democrats nominated an eminently qualified public servant in Hillary Rodham Clinton. She blew it apart at the end by ignoring key Rust Belt states that Trump’s campaign adroitly picked off, enabling him to win a slim Electoral College majority.

Throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump kept up the drumbeat of innuendo against Clinton, suggesting corruption that no one has been able to prove against her.

Take this to the bank: The president will do the same thing against whomever he faces as he seeks re-election. The Democrats’ challenge is to be ready to slug it out.

The losers in this bloodbath will be, well … you and me.

So very sad.

OK, let’s say so long to the also-rans

Andrew Yang, it’s time to call it quits. Same for you, Michael Bennet. Oh, and Tom Steyer … you, too.

That’s three Democrats who need to step aside. It’s time for them to “suspend” their campaigns, which is a nice way of saying they should throw in the towel.

The Iowa caucus ended in a state of Donald Trump-like chaos and confusion. Virtually all of the still-large Democratic field had staked a claim in this madness. One of the Democrats stayed out of the caucus battle: Michael Bloomberg is taking aim at Super Tuesday, which includes Texas, on March 3.

But the field has got to narrow itself to a more manageable gaggle of contenders.

It’s now down to five individuals. That’s all right with me. They all bring certain levels of competence and creativity to this fight.

But as one pundit noted today, the Iowa caucus mess, coupled with Donald John Trump’s assured acquittal by the U.S. Senate, has resulted in the Democrats’ worst week so far of the 2020 presidential campaign.

Dust yourselves off, Democrats. You’ve got some work to do.

Should Democratic candidates recuse themselves?

My quest for fairness compels me to wonder aloud: Given that this blog — published by me — has insisted that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is unfit to sit as a “juror” in the trial of Donald John Trump, might there be a case to be made against the four Democratic senators who are running for president?

McConnell has said he won’t be an “impartial” juror, even though he took an oath to deliver impartial justice in the Senate impeachment trial of the current president of the United States.

What about the individuals who are running for their party’s nomination to oppose Trump in the November election? Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennett have made up their minds on how they intend to vote when they get the order to cast their vote. They will vote to convict Trump. Period.

I can think of a few other Republicans as well who’ve said they have made up their minds, that they don’t need no witness testimony or evidentiary documents. Lindsey Graham? Ted Cruz? John Kennedy? Give me a break.

However, this pre-judging disease spreads across the aisle.

The four Democrats have staked out their views already. Sure, they insist on witnesses and documents. It remains to be seen whether they’ll get ’em. It’s beginning to look to me as though the fix is in. Republicans who comprise most of the 100 Senate seats aren’t likely to admit witnesses, even though they have plenty to offer.

The four contenders for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, though, need to think long and hard whether they are any more qualified to serve with impartiality than the Senate majority leader who’s admitted he will do nothing of the sort.

Hey, fair is fair … right?