Tag Archives: GOP

Matt Gaetz: Lock him up?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Congressional Republicans need to get their priorities in order.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, one of the GOP bomb throwers, is being investigated for sex trafficking charges and whether he had a sexual relationship with an underage girl.

House GOP leadership’s response? He deserves “the presumption of innocence.”

Now … how does that compare with the Republican response to Hillary Clinton’s email kerfuffle? They were chanting “Lock her up!” Due process? Presumption of innocence? Hah!

So, which is it? The Republican Party’s political leadership hypocrisy is on full display once again.

It makes me sick.

Boehner comes out swinging

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There he is, suddenly becoming a major newsmaker.

John Boehner had been in relative seclusion since walking away from political life six years ago. Make no mistake that he wasn’t my favorite pol when he served as speaker of the House, given his penchant for trying to block meaningful legislation pitched by President Obama.

Now, though, Boehner is back in the news. Suddenly he has become one of my favorites. How’d that happen? Because he is hanging “political terrorist” labels on some seriously bad dudes in public life today. They are, for example, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and, oh yeah, Donald J. Trump of Mar-a-Lago.

Boehner has decided to reveal his deepest feelings about the insurrection of Jan. 6, about Trump’s conduct prior to and after the 2020 election, about what an a**hole Ted Cruz has been while serving in the Senate and Jim Jordan’s conduct as one of Trump’s suck-ups in the House.

In interviews, the former speaker has declared his disgust and revulsion at what has become of the Republican Party to which he has belonged for decades. The emotional politician shed a couple of tears on TV this past weekend talking to CBS News about his feelings watching the terrorists storm the Capitol Building at Trump’s urging.

Boehner is now a civilian. He won’t be back in the saddle. The former speaker of the House, however, remains a potent political antidote to the toxic mix that comprises today’s Republican Party.

Thus, I welcome his return to the limelight.

Arguing over ‘infrastructure’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

So, now President Biden and his Republican “friends” in Congress are arguing over how to define “infrastructure.”

Their disagreement means that GOP members of Congress will oppose what Biden wants to do with $2.25 trillion he is proposing as an “infrastructure” package he wants approved by the Fourth of July.

The GOP defines the terms in the traditional manner: roads, bridges, rail lines, airports, seaports. President Biden considers job creation and the care and well being of Americans as part of an infrastructure plan.

Hmm. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who wins the day?

I am going to go with President Biden’s world view.

He wants to pull back some of the corporate tax reduction Congress enacted in 2017. That tax would help pay for the proposal. Republicans don’t want to betray those corporations by forcing them to pay part of the freight.

We are at a stalemate.

Republicans also contend that too little of what Biden wants is going toward those traditional infrastructure needs. They want it scaled back in a big way. President Biden isn’t having any of that.

The package does contain hundreds of billions of dollars for highways, bridges, airport and seaport renovation. It also enhances Internet broadband capability. It also invests in green energy development. Along the way, it intends to put millions of Americans to work.

Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so. It’s a good thing that needs to become law. First, though, we need to get past this disagreement over what constitutes “infrastructure.”

POTUS ready to ‘negotiate’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden says, to borrow a phrase, that “doing nothing is not an option” with regard to improving our nation’s infrastructure.

However, he has stated his willingness to negotiate with members of Congress over the scope of the tax increases he will insist on to pay for the $2.25 trillion package.

The way I read it is that Biden isn’t casting the proposed 28 percent corporate tax rate in stone. Or, if he is, the president is willing to work with the numbers while the stone is hardening.

He said he is tired of middle Americans getting “fleeced” by a tax structure that gives rich Americans too much of a break while foisting the tax burden on the not so wealthy. He accused Republicans in Congress and Donald Trump of doing that when they approved the 2017 tax cut over the objection of Democrats in the House and Senate. Biden is prepared to play the same partisan game to get his infrastructure plan enacted.

However, he is willing to wiggle around a little on the tax burden he insists must be borne by those who can afford it.

I am OK with that. Just get something done to fix our roads, bridges, airports, seaports and Internet.

Vote ‘reform’ based on the Big Lie

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

State legislators and governors keep yapping about “protecting the electoral process” by enacting rules that make it more difficult for millions of Americans to actually vote.

All of which makes me wonder: Against what are these officials seeking to protect us? 

I think I know. They are protecting us against a bogus affliction of voter fraud promulgated by the Big Lie that took root when Donald Trump was in the process of losing his bid for re-election as president of the United States.

You’ll recall when Trump alleged that were he to lose his re-election bid it would be the result of “widespread fraud.” That illegal voters would be able to cast ballots. That they would vote for Joe Biden.

Evidence in state after state has concluded that the voter fraud Trump said existed doesn’t exist. Has there been a scant ballot cast illegally? Sure. Is it as widespread and corrosive to the system as Republicans, led by Trump, Not by a long shot.

Indeed, the man Donald Trump hired to protect the nation’s electoral system, Christopher Krebs, declared the 2020 election to be the “safest, most secure” election in U.S. history. What did he get for doing his job? Donald Trump fired him!

Texas has joined the vote fraud amen chorus by approving voter suppression laws. Major League Baseball responded to Georgia’s restrictions by pulling its all-star game from Atlanta. This debate, as you would expect, has fallen along partisan lines: Republicans make the bogus case of vote fraud; Democrats debunk those claims and allege that the GOP is seeking to hold onto the power it has in many states by any means necessary.

I keep circling back, though, to the cause of all this tempest. It is the Big Lie, which culminated on Jan. 6 when the riotous mob of terrorists mounted an insurrection against the federal government just as it was certifying Joe Biden’s election as president.

The Big Lie continues to fester in the minds of those in state capitols who enact laws that have little to do with vote fraud but seemingly everything to do with making it more difficult for Americans to vote.

We are witnessing a disgraceful assault on a cherished right of citizenship.

Bipartisanship? It’s toast!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This pearl of wisdom came from a noted progressive commentator,  the brilliant Rachel Maddow.

She writes: Now that Mitch McConnell has made clear that no Republican will vote for the infrastructure bill, there is now no reason for Democrats to waste time trying to do the ultimately futile thing they might otherwise do of trying to make Republicans happy while compromising the bill, all in the hopes of picking up a few Republican votes.

The grown-ups can now work among themselves to craft a better bill.

Maddow is host of a show on MSNBC. She acknowledges per progressive political credentials. That all said, I am afraid she has spoken a brutal truth about President Biden’s search for unity and bipartisanship in our federal government.

Biden wants to enact a $2.25 trillion infrastructure package. He won’t get any Republican support for a project that in an earlier, more perfect, time would have transcended partisan political concerns.

This one won’t get there.

What, then, is the Democratic president to do? President Biden is left to deploy his partisan pals in both congressional chambers. They will get some version of the infrastructure package approved.

I wish them well. I want the bill to become law. We need to build things again. We need to put people back to work. If congressional Republicans don’t want to sign on to this monumental legislation, well … so be it.

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.

Bipartisanship withering away

REUTERS/Mike Blake

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It’s becoming clearer by the day, if not the hour, that President Biden’s stated wish to conduct a bipartisan government policy is being tossed aside.

Congressional Republicans accuse Biden of talking a good game about working with the GOP, but acting in a highly partisan, far-left manner.

The $2.25 trillion infrastructure bill that Biden wants enacted by the Fourth of July is drawing plenty of hits from the GOP. Why? They don’t want to raise taxes on the rich folks who got that big tax cut during the Trump administration … or so they say.

Republicans don’t think Biden really wants to work with them | TheHill

Let’s flash back for a brief moment to 2009. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said his No. 1 priority then was to make Barack Obama a “one-term president.” That meant he sought to make Joe Biden a one-term vice president. Do you think the current president of the United States has forgotten that solemn pledge? Hah! Hardly.

Still, President Biden’s inaugural speech included lots of talk about unity. He would seek it. He would work with Republicans. He wanted to bridge the political chasm.

It hasn’t happened. Nor, I am fearful, does it appear to be gaining traction as the debate ensues over the infrastructure plan. Biden didn’t get a lick of GOP support for his COVID-19 relief bill, despite overwhelming public support for it.

Indeed, he has the proverbial wind at his back on rebuilding roads, bridges, rail lines, airports, water systems and Internet access. The public backs his notion on that, too.

So, who among our political leaders is out of step with those of us out here who want to see government doing things for us? Is it President Biden and congressional Democrats? Or is it the Republican caucus that continues to obstruct because they still might be angry at losing their majority in Congress along with the White House?

Expanding vote base a ‘power grab’? C’mon, Ted!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Ted Cruz says that efforts to allow more people to vote, to expand the voter base, is a “power grab.”

Hmm. Let’s parse that one for a moment, eh?

The Texas Republican U.S. senator was taken to task today by a letter writer whose missive was published in the Dallas Morning News. Richard Kidd of Dallas writes, “The only power grab is a party with minority support trying to hold on to power by disenfranchising as many people as possible … The right to vote is a pillar of a democracy and Cruz took an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Congress has a duty to ensure as many citizens as possible have a right to vote and be represented.”

I get his drift. I trust you do, too.

A mantra I beat into the ground over many years as a full-time journalist was that a representative democracy works best when we spread the power out among more, not fewer, voters. That is one argument I sought to make in different ways for greater voter turnout at election time.

It also lies at the heart, I only can presume, at efforts to expand availability to as many voters as human possible.

At its base, increased voter participation shouldn’t ever become a partisan battle. It has become that, however. Republicans are seeking to restrict voter access to ethnic and racial minorities who tend to vote, um, for Democrats. The GOP just can’t have that happen, right? So in states such as Texas, Republican legislators are pushing for rules that make it more difficult for minorities to get registered and to actually vote.

The result will be to invest more power in fewer Americans. It will place more power in the hands of the few and the proud. It also, in my view, runs directly counter to the argument I have been yammering about since The Flood, which is that democracy works better when we spread the power among greater numbers of voters.

So, for Ted Cruz to lament a phony “power grab” while objecting to increasing voter access only reveals how cheaply he values our democratic process.

GOP fighting among its members

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This isn’t a scoop, but it is clear that today’s Republican Party is locked in an internecine battle over the path it should take toward its future.

Yes, it causes me plenty of grief. Not because I am a card-carrying Republican — although I have voted in plenty of GOP primary elections over the years — but because it forces me to align with my  Republican friends who I consider to be on the “good side” of that intraparty battle.

I lived and worked in the heart and soul of the Texas Republican Party for nearly 23 years, nearly 18 of them as editorial page editor of the I know many fine elected officials all of whom are Republica Amarillo Globe-News. I resigned from that post nearly nine years ago, but I have retained many personal friendships with those individuals.

They are being whipsawed by competing factors: the beliefs of those who they represent in public office and their own view of what constitutes a “real Republican.” OK, you know that I am talking about the cult of personality that has evolved since the emergence of Donald John Trump on the political landscape. He ran for president of the United States as a Republican while campaigning as a so-called “populist” who by definition abhors concentrating power in the hands of the “elite.” Is that how he governed? Hah!

He’s out of office — thank Almighty God in Heaven! Trump’s legacy lives on in the minds of those who continue to believe in the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him. The Big Lie taints everything about Trump and the party he purportedly represented while campaigning for the presidency and then serving as president for the past four years.

Meanwhile, we see actual GOP officeholders and contenders for public office trying to sell their ideas to a constituency that has swilled the snake oil sold to them by the presidential imposter known as Donald Trump.

How do these actual Rs compete with that? Thus, we see how this conflict is playing out.

I pity those friends I consider to be actual Republicans. They are caught in a struggle exacerbated by the lies — led by the Big Lie — told by the individual who grabbed their party by the throat. He is throttling the life out of it.