Tag Archives: Democrats

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

Warnock wins! I can breathe now

OK. There will be plenty to say in the days to come about what the nation has just witnessed in Georgia.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock has been re-elected to a new six-year term. It was a nail-biter. Frankly, I did not believe Sen. Warnock would have this kind of difficulty securing his victory over Republican Herschel Walker.

But … he did.

What I am going to try to assess over the immediate term is how in the world Walker held up as a serious candidate for the Senate.

I am shaking my head at the prospect that Walker actually could win this race. I am delighted, though, to know that Sen. Walker is returning to his post in the Senate. He is a good man who — as he pointed out during his campaign — actually “knows what he is doing.”

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Run, Joe, run!

As a general rule, I am not inclined to presume what incumbent officeholders should do, whether to run for re-election or call it quits.

I’ll make an exception right now: President Joe Biden should run for re-election in 2024. 

OK, so why the change? It’s because I believe he is doing a good job as president and that he is prepared to take on another four years as our head of state and commander in chief.

I do not buy into the rumors about alleged cognitive decline. I know about the verbal gaffes. He’s been making rhetorical mistakes for decades. It’s nothing new; it’s likely an after-effect from the stuttering condition he suffered as a child.

I have no earthly idea who the Republicans will nominate in 2024. Given the GOP’s obstructionist nature since they lost the presidency in 2020, it likely won’t matter who carries the party banner into the political battle against the Democrats.

To that end, I hope it’s the president who carries his party’s flag onto the field.

Joe Biden has managed to get Congress to approve gun violence legislation, to back his infrastructure revamping plan, to help reduce the cost of prescription drugs. On his watch, more jobs have been created in a single presidential term than any time in history. The jobless rate is now at pre-COVID pandemic levels. President Biden has persuaded our allies to back the U.S. economic sanction effort to fight the Russians’ illegal invasion of Ukraine. NATO is more united than ever.

Yes, Joe Biden has worked to do to combat the illegal immigration problem. My belief is that he is working daily to fix it. Yes, despite the threats of impeachment and further obstruction, I am going to retain my faith in Joe Biden’s ability to work the complexities of government in search of a solution.

He’s been at it for decades. Joe Biden isn’t ready to stop.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Warnock vs. Walker … oh, my!

Every time I venture out on that proverbial limb labeled “political predictions,” it seems to snap under my weight … and I get highly embarrassed.

With that predicate laid out there, I am going to take another stab at political prognostication.

It is my fervent hope that Sen. Raphael Warnock, the Georgia Democrat facing a runoff next month, can return to work on Capitol Hill in January. To do so he will need to defeat Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

Why is that important for folks such as me, who doesn’t have a vote in Georgia but who has a keen interest in good government?

For starters, a Walker victory — and it hurts my fingers to type those words — doesn’t rob Democrats of control of the Senate. They still will be the “majority” party, even though the Senate would be tied at 50-50, just as it is at this moment. It is a tenuous majority to say the very least, as Democrats need Vice President Kamala Harris — who presides over the Senate — to cast tie-breaking votes.

She has done so before. Those ties make me nervous.

Were the runoff go to Sen. Warnock, then Democrats would have an actual majority at 51-49. OK, that ain’t exactly a landslide, either. But at least Democrats, if they were to hold together against the MAGA crowd that dominates the GOP caucus in Congress, wouldn’t need to call on the VP to break a tie.

There’s another reason for me imploring Georgia voters to do the right thing and re-elect Sen. Warnock. Have you listened to Herschel Walker speak? Have you heard Walker try to string sentences together to make a policy point?

There’s no nice way to say this, but Walker is an ignoramus. He has no business speaking for the people of Georgia, let alone casting votes on legislation affecting the rest of the nation that resides far from that lovely state.

Walker is the GOP nominee because he earned the endorsement of Donald Trump, who has said only this about Walker: “He was a heck of a football player and he’ll be a heck of a senator.” There you go. He played football in college and in the pros. He won lots of awards as a running back. That makes him fit for high public office? No. It doesn’t!

I want Sen. Warnock to win. I will use this blog whenever possible to extol this good man’s credentials as a reasonable, thoughtful and intelligent man of deep faith and conviction. I also intend to remind anyone who is able to read these posts that his political opponent is unfit for the office of U.S. senator.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Concerns over new Congress

Those of us who have legislative priorities we want to see fulfilled appear to be headed toward a season of disappointment as the new Congress gets ready to take its seat in Washington, D.C.

I want desperately to be wrong on this. Sadly, my fears might prove true.

Republicans are going to take assorted House committee gavels from their Democratic colleagues in early January. A new speaker of the House will appoint chairs to the various panels. If the speaker is Kevin McCarthy of California, then I have little hope he’ll search through his caucus for statesmen and women for these key jobs.

The committee chairs will be able to control legislative flow. They will be responsible for setting committee hearings and for deciding whether to refer items to the full House.

The items are plentiful. They involve abortion rights, climate change/global warming, gun violence, continuing aid to Ukraine in its war with Russia, domestic spending and taxation … you name it.

I worry that good government will be overtaken by sniping and hearings into alleged corruption by the son of the president of the United States. I worry about the impeachment resolutions against President Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and others. I am concerned about the possibility of dragging soon-to-be-retired health adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci to Capitol Hill for more hearings.

I am heartened by the realization that the Senate will remain in Democratic hands. It gives me hope that whatever foolishness that comes from the House can be derailed by the upper chamber that still will be run by adults.

Still, the new season awaits. I am not looking forward to the nonsense that lies ahead.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Lame-duck Congress needs to soar

One usually doesn’t expect much from lame ducks, whether they are politicians or the governing bodies in which they serve.

That is decidedly not the case involving the current Congress, which is now officially entering its lame-duck status. Those of us who are concerned about the status of good government and of congressional investigations into the effort to overturn a free and fair election are expecting a great deal out of this lame duck Congress.

I shall specify.

Republicans who are taking over leadership of the next Congress say they intend to investigate — get ready for it! — Hunter Biden’s business dealings. Yes, President Biden’s son is being targeted for investigation. What about inflation? What about the Ukraine War? What about climate change? Or gun violence? Hey, that’ll have to wait until the GOP finishes its probe into Hunter Biden’s business activity! What utter crap!

Then we have the 1/6 committee’s report. The House select panel is finishing up its own probe into Donald J. Trump’s effort to overturn the election that tossed him out of office. The committee led by Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., needs to get its findings on the record. House Republican leaders are all but certain to toss it aside once they assume power.

The House GOP’s slim majority apparently gives the nut job wing of the Republican caucus even more power. The MAGA/Big Liar cabal is going to lean hard on the presumptive speaker, Kevin McCarthy, to do its bidding. It will be fascinating in the extreme to see whether McCarthy resists their demands and gives the more establishment members of his caucus — not to mention the Democrats — more of his attention.

McCarthy has shown a cowardly tendency, sad to say, toward kowtowing to the nut jobs — starting with the Nut Job in Chief, one Donald John Trump. McCarthy stood on the floor immediately after the assault on the Capitol on 1/6 and declared that Trump was singularly responsible for inciting the assault on our government. Then he ventured to Mar-a-Lago, shook Trump’s hand and mugged for the cameras as if to tell the Insurrectionist in Chief, “Hey, it’s OK now. I was just kidding when I said those things. I’m with ya.”

Thus, the lame-duck Congress becomes important. Highly important, in fact.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

GOP to take over the House

Kevin McCarthy now appears likely to become the Man of the House … of Representatives when Congress convenes its new term in January.

Republican House candidates have secured the body’s 218th GOP seat, giving Republicans the gavel.

It’s not yet a cinch that McCarthy will succeed his fellow Californian, Nancy Pelosi, as speaker. The GOP’s underwhelming performance in the 2022 midterm election — which was supposed to produce a Republican tsunami that would sweep Democrats out of office — has brought plenty of recrimination to McCarthy.

McCarthy said he’ll seek the speakership. He will have a fight on his hands, not that I really care.

Whoever takes the speaker’s gavel from Pelosi will take command of what appears to be a razor-thin majority. The projections tell us the Rs will finish with 219 seats, compared to the Ds with 216. No wiggle room, man.

The red wave never materialized. The new Congress will be fun to watch … don’t you think?

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com