Tag Archives: GOP

GOP continues to cower

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Listen up, America.

Have we just witnessed a precursor to the verdict we can expect from the U.S. Senate that is putting Donald Trump on trial after his second impeachment by the House of Representatives?

I am afraid so. The Senate voted today to narrowly defeat a GOP measure to dismiss the trial on grounds that it isn’t constitutional. Five Senate Republicans joined Democrats in moving ahead. The vote was 55-45. The GOP senators with guts are: Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Pat Toomey and Ben Sasse.

The rest of ’em? All cowards. They are cowering under threat of reprisal by the Trump cultists in their home state who will go after them at the next election.

They contend that the Constitution calls for impeachment to remove a president. Donald Trump already is gone, they say, so the trial is irrelevant and is unconstitutional.

Oh, my. Forty-five out of 50 Senate Republicans want to give a pass to a president who fomented a riotous mob into violence on the Sixth of January. What in the world is wrong with these idiots, er … individuals?

The terrorists captured the very floor of the Senate, where our lawmakers do their jobs. They threatened to kill then-Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, only God knows who else might have been killed or wounded in action had the rioters had gotten their hands on them.

None of that is sufficient to persuade most GOP senators to proceed with a trial that should occur, if only at this point to keep Donald Trump out of the political scene … for the rest of his miserable life.

Stay tuned, folks. It looks to me as though a Senate trial conviction is slipping away.

Trial outcome runs into political reality

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I hate to deliver bad news, but I am going to deliver some right here.

It appears that the upcoming Senate trial of Donald J. Trump is not going to produce a richly deserved conviction of the former president. It has nothing to do with the evidence that he incited an insurrection. It has everything to do with what I expect to be a display of political cowardice among Senate Republicans who will face the mother of political revenge if they do the right thing.

The House impeached Trump on an allegation that he whipped the rioters into the frenzy that erupted when they stormed into the Capitol Building on the Sixth of January. I saw the president make those remarks. I saw the rioters’ response to it. Trump committed an act of incitement of insurrection.

The Constitution sets a high bar for the Senate to convict a president. It states that two-thirds of senators must agree. That means 17 GOP senators have to do the right thing.

Ten GOP House members joined their Democratic colleagues in impeaching Trump. The most notable of them is Rep. Liz Cheney, a member of the Republican leadership. She has been threatened with a primary challenge; some of her fellow GOP colleagues want her replaced as a congressional leader.

Therein is the problem facing Republican senators who might be inclined to convict Trump. Do they do what’s right and convict or do they seek to salvage their Senate careers by deciding to acquit?

The Senate will convene a trial on Feb. 9. The delay is of no particular consequence, given that Trump is now out of office. The only goal remaining is for Democrats and at least 17 Republicans vote to convict him, setting up a follow up vote: whether to ban Trump from ever seeking public office, which requires only a simple majority.

So … here we are. Fifty Senate Republicans face a reckoning. Do they punish a former GOP president who demonstrated for all the world that he is unfit for public office? Or do they scurry into the tall grass and avoid angering the cultists who continue to worship the ground on which Donald Trump treads?

I fear the latter … to their everlasting shame.

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?

GOP turns hawkish on deficit

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Someone needs to explain something to me.

Congressional Republicans saw no problem with running up a federal budget deficit when a president of their own party pitched a massive tax cut that would necessarily run that deficit into the stratosphere.

Now their guy has lost an election and the new president, Joe Biden, wants to enact a hefty package aimed at providing relief to Americans suffering from the COVID pandemic.

Republicans’ response? No can do, they say, because it would — get set for it — run up the deficit!

OK, so why is it that one deficit-explosion notion is OK but another one that would cost a huge sum of money to help Americans is not OK? What gives?

I know the answer. It’s politics. That’s all it is.

Yet there can be little doubt we’re going to hear the GOP blame Democrats for “playing politics” with COVID relief. It’s their mantra. Their siren song.

President Biden is pitching a $1.9 trillion package that includes a $1,400 payment to Americans who qualify for it. It also expedites delivery of vaccines to states. Its aim is to jumpstart the economy while seeking to turn the tide against the pandemic. Does it spend more money that the government does not have on hand? Yes.

Let’s look back briefly. Joe Biden became vice president in 2009 as the national economy was in free fall. He and President Obama came up with a massive relief program that bailed out the auto industry and helped shore up a collapsing financial industry. It, too, boosted the deficit.

What happened next? The economy revived. More Americans went to work. The deficit that skyrocketed began to recede. By the time the Obama-Biden administration handed it over to the Donald Trump, the deficit had been pared to less than half of what it was when Obama took office in 2009.

I will await an explanation for why congressional Republicans suddenly have resorted to their game of fear about bold initiatives.

Why the GOP struggle to loosen Trump’s grip?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly is struggling to move the GOP away from the Donald Trump era into, well, something that might resemble the world that used to welcome his political party.

Put another way, McConnell might seek to shed the GOP as being the Party of Trump. Good call, if that is his aim.

I struggle to realize why it’s so hard for Republican Party honchos to separate themselves from this toxic president. Trump will be gone in two days. Trumpism, the remnants of the movement that Trump created, will continue. Whether it is as strong and vocal as it has been during Trump’s time as president remains to be seen.

Truth be told, Donald Trump is not a Republican. He is not the real thing. He ran as a Republican only because it would provide the clearer path for him to the presidency. Maybe he thought Republicans are more gullible than Democrats, that they would swallow the snake oil he peddled more readily than those of the other party. I cannot say such a thing with conviction; I only can speculate it to be the case.

Trump donned many mantles during his term in office. He was the Liar in Chief, the Demagogue in Chief, the Sore Loser in Chief, the Panderer in Chief, the Russian Appeaser in Chief … you name it, Trump fit the bill.

He did not adhere to a hard and fast philosophy on taxes. He sought to “put America first,” but then slobbered all over Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. The term “fiscal responsibility” is as foreign to Trump as anything uttered in English.

Donald Trump is a classic Republican In Name Only and yet his most fervent followers hang that label on those within the GOP who disagree with Trump’s world view. Are you kidding me?

I wish McConnell and other actual Republicans luck in trying to shuck the Trump skin. Then again, they bought into Trump’s phony rhetoric, too.

Commence the trial quickly

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

U.S. senators say it so often it sounds practically cliche, but I get their point.

They say they “walk and chew gum at the same time,” that they can conduct an impeachment trial and debate, discuss and enact policy matters crucial to running the country simultaneously.

I’ll take them at their word. Which is my way of suggesting that senators need to commence Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial quickly while deliberating over the confirmation of President Biden’s national security team.

Trump will be out of office. It doesn’t matter one little bit whether he is president of an ex-president. What he did on Jan. 6 was punishable and he needs to be held accountable for inciting the riot that sought to subvert our democratic process.

The terrorists who stormed into the Capitol Building sought to end the congressional act of ratifying Biden’s victory in the election. They acted on a message delivered on The Ellipse from Donald Trump. Trump’s impeachment came with 10 GOP House members voting “yes.” It was a bipartisan impeachment!

And so the trial will begin. I do not want House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to delay sending the single impeachment article to the Senate. I want her to do so quickly to enable the Senate to prepare to put Trump on trial for inciting the mob to run rampant over the very Senate floor on which our distinguished senators will convene the trial.

Think for just a moment about that. Senators will conduct a trial in the very crime scene that Trump created by inciting the rioters to act in the manner that they did.

Can this jury of 100 senators hear the evidence submitted in the trial in the morning, break for lunch, and return in the afternoon to consider who President Biden has nominated, say, for defense secretary, CIA director or the director of national intelligence?

Of course it can! And it should!

Hey, Sen. Graham, GOP is already destroyed

(AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt, John Locher, File)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Lindsey Graham, arguably Donald Trump’s most loyal U.S. Senate toadie, said impeaching Trump could “divide” the country even more and — I love this part! — could “destroy the Republican Party.”

I have news for the South Carolinian: The Republican Party already is badly damaged and well might be destroyed … thanks to the cult of personality planted and nurtured by Donald Trump.

Good ever-lovin’ almighty God in heaven! Graham himself has become suckered, snookered and snowed by Trump. Back when Graham was competing against Trump for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, he called Trump everything but the spawn of Satan. He was “unfit” for public office, Graham said, and he was right!

Then the carnival barker got elected president and Graham climbed aboard the Trump clown car parade.

The Republican Party would be “destroyed” by impeaching Trump? is this clown serious?

The Senate will put Trump on trial a second time in due course. He’ll be out of office and gone for good from the White House. The very structure of the Grand Old Party, I hasten to add, is just one of the many collateral casualties felled by this individual’s toxic tenure as president.

A party that once stood for fiscal prudence, taking a hard line against dictators and offering itself as a “big tent” organization has been plowed asunder by the self-serving designs of Donald Trump.

Get a grip, Sen. Graham. The party you once knew — what we all knew — appears headed for the trash heap unless it finds a way to rebuild itself into a responsible political organization.

Lindsey Graham can thank only Donald Trump and those — such as Graham himself — who bought into this con man’s lie for the damage that has been done to the once-great political party.

It’s a ‘go’ for impeachment

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The die is cast in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Vice President Mike Pence is not going to push for Donald Trump’s removal via the U.S. Constitution’s 25th Amendment. Trump isn’t likely to resign.

That leaves the House only with the impeachment option. It will follow that course today with one specific aim, it appears to me. It is to prevent Trump from ever seeking public office again … forever.

A House impeachment will land in the Senate likely after Trump leaves office, so removal from the presidency doesn’t appear to be an option. That leaves the House impeachment managers with the task of persuading two-thirds of the Senate to convict Trump of “incitement of insurrection,” which carries a lifetime punishment of keeping him from seeking office.

You know what? I am more than fine with that. Yes, I had argued earlier that the Senate could return immediately and commence an expedited trial.

That won’t happen.

You know the story. Trump incited the rioters to stampede up Capitol Hill, where they stormed into the Capitol Building itself where Congress was performing its constitutional duty to certify President Biden’s victory over Trump on Nov. 3. Trump argues to this moment the election was “stolen.” It wasn’t. Yet he sought to actually prevent Congress from doing what it was obligated to do in ratifying an Electoral College victory for Biden.

He sought to subvert the democratic process. Indeed, many of the rioters were seen with nooses, zip ties, they shouted “Hang Mike Pence!” and shouted out “Where’s Nancy (Pelosi, speaker of the House)?”

Can there be a conviction, given that it would require 17 GOP senators to cross over? Two days ago it looked impossible. Today, not so much. GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is said to be supportive of the impeachment effort, signaling a willingness to convict Trump when the Senate receives the single impeachment article. That suggestion might open the door for other Senate Republicans to join him. I can think of at least three others who are in the “convict Trump” category.

Trump’s days as president are all but over. The rest of the story still needs to play out. I want him banished from seeking federal public office.

It’s not too much to ask our senators to show courage and fealty to something other than to Donald Trump … you know, such as the oath they took to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. 

Bring senators back now, Mr. Majority Leader

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

We have 10 days to go before President Biden takes office.

Donald Trump will be gone from the White House. The House of Representatives might impeach the current president a second time, say, by Wednesday or Thursday of this week. House members will consider at least one impeachment article: incitement of insurrection, which to many folks’ view is as impeachable an offense as one can imagine.

If the House impeaches Trump, then the Senate — led at the moment by Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — would conduct a trial. However, McConnell said the Senate won’t convene until the day before Biden takes office.

Whoa! Hold on! The Senate majority leader can summon senators back to office immediately, declaring a national emergency. He can seek to suspend the rules and then fast-track the vote of senators to determine whether Trump stays in office for the remainder of his term.

I believe it is imperative for the Senate to act quickly, just as it acted to confirm Supreme Court justice after the Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death 11 days before the presidential election.

All of this presumes that Trump won’t quit, or that the Cabinet won’t invoke the Constitution’s 25th Amendment and remove him from office.

It can be done. It should be done. Majority Leader McConnell must not sit idly while Donald Trump — who incited the rioters to storm Capitol Hill this past Wednesday — to walk away from the presidency on his own terms. The riot, as if McConnell and other GOP members of Congress need reminding, put their own lives in peril had the rioters been able to storm the House and Senate while our legislators were doing their constitutional duty in ratifying Biden’s victory over Trump.

Time isn’t on the side of those who want Donald Trump to be held accountable. However, the Senate has the mechanism to move rapidly … which it must do.

GOP needs serious soul-searching

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Lisa Murkowski’s days as a Republican might be dwindling.

The U.S. senator from Alaska said so herself this week while she and the rest of us watched Donald Trump fire up the rioters who stormed Capitol Hill while seeking to stop Congress from ratifying Joe Biden’s election as the next president of the United States.

I don’t particularly care what Sen. Murkowski does, or how she plans to chart her political future. She said the GOP must not remain “the party of Trump.” If it does, then she well might turn away from the party that used to welcome her.

What does concern me about the Republican Party is that it has been hijacked by Trump, whose believers have taken to calling non-Trump-supporting Republicans “RINO,” or Republicans In Name Only. Let’s ponder that for just a moment.

Donald Trump had zero party involvement prior to declaring his presidential candidacy in the summer of 2015. He chose to run as an “R” because it presented the easiest path for him; goodness, he even said as much himself.

He has not governed as a Republican. He has no philosophical mooring. Trump’s guiding principle is welded to his personal brand and so the party leadership in Congress has hitched itself to Trump’s world view — whatever that is — while seeking to preserve leaders’ own political standing.

Sen. Murkowski’s decision to leave the GOP well might spur the party leadership to finally — finally! — do the kind of soul-searching it vowed to do after Mitt Romney lost to President Obama in 2012. It should commence that search even if Murkowski remains a member of the GOP.

A gentleman who has frequent disagreements with this blog’s view of Trump suggested to me recently that the two-party system we once knew is dead. “They both have moved so far right and left they are unrecognizable,” he wrote to me.

I believe we still have a two-party system. I disagree, though, on its configuration. There remains a mainstream Democratic Party comprising moderates and center-left thinkers. From my vantage point — and I acknowledge my own bias — the Republican Party’s heart and soul has been co-opted by the radical Trumpkin Corps that professes fealty to an individual … and has tossed party principles into the crapper.

I want a healthy debate on issues that matter. Thus, I want a return to a two-party system that we used to have in this country. That system cannot function as long as one of those two parties remains loyal to a con man/phony baloney carnival barker/seditionist who has disguised himself as a Republican.