Tag Archives: US Senate

Not even close …

This isn’t anything like the way I envisioned legislation would proceed upon the election in 2020 of Joe Biden as president of the United States.

I envisioned a return to the type of collegiality and compromise one could see with a president with decades of legislative experience working with members of Congress to enact laws that would do good things for Americans.

What have we seen? More gridlock. More obstruction from the loyal opposition. More partisan wrangling.

Democrats are cheering the enactment of what they call the Inflation Reduction Act. The Senate vote was 50-50, leaving the tie-breaking vote to come from Vice President Harris.

The bill isn’t perfect, but it includes the nation’s largest investment ever on ways to battle the planet’s changing climate. It seeks to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. It is paid for by taxes being leveled on corporations.

The Grand Obstructionist Party fought all of it. Tooth and nail. Hammer and tong.

President Biden’s predecessor took office without a lick of government experience … and it showed. He couldn’t negotiate his way out of a phone booth. Biden took office in January 2021 making what I thought at the time was a reasonable pledge to restore a sense of commonality between Democrats and Republicans.

Silly me. It hasn’t worked. GOP members of both congressional chambers continue to dig in, even to the point of denying that Joe Biden even is the “legitimate president of the United States.” Yes, they have swallowed The Big Lie and are obstructing the president at every turn.

But … Democrats won this latest battle. I am glad and grateful at least to see one side of the great divide working on my behalf.


Pure nonsense!

All righty, this seems to make a point better than I could ever make it about whether Herschel Walker, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from Georgia, is a certifiable dumbass.

I want to challenge anyone out there to parse this piece of verbal dooky and report back to me.

What in the hell is this idiot saying?

Let’s remember that this former football star who has earned the “full and complete endorsement” of Donald J. Trump wants to join a legislative chamber that once proclaimed itself to be the world’s “greatest deliberative body.”

This guy deserves to enter the Senate chamber? Not … a … chance!

I might be inclined to pay real American money to watch this guy debate the man he wants to defeat, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.

Meantime, someone please tell me what Walker said.


Headed to Land of Oz?

Pennsylvania’s Republican Party voters appear to be punching their tickets for a trip to the Land of Oz. God help them!

Mehmet Oz is leading — albeit barely — over Dave McCormick in the GOP primary balloting for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Pat Toomey, who is retiring.

I won’t spend a lot of time on this nonsense, given Oz’s lack of credentials or credibility. He got the endorsement from Donald J. Trump for reasons that have nothing to do with public policy. Trump likes celebrities, and Oz fits that description.

I consider Oz, once a practicing physician, to be a quack. Trump thinks he’s the greatest.

I am going to pull hard for Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who won the Democratic primary easily, to defeat the GOP winner. Whether it’s Oz or McCormick, it matters little. They’re both repugnant.

If it’s Oz, then Fetterman can start with the fact that Oz doesn’t even live in the state he wants to represent in the Senate. He’ll figure out the rest of it.


RBG spoke wisely

God bless the memory of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The nation is beating itself senseless over a leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court that proposes to do the very thing that Justice Ginsburg feared.

The opinion suggests the court should toss aside Roe v. Wade, the ruling that legalized abortion in January 1973. Doing so, I fear, would turn women into “less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.”

The fight has commenced. The U.S. Senate will vote next Wednesday on legislation that provides federal protection for those seeking an abortion. It isn’t likely to pass, given the Republicans’ strategy to filibuster the bill. Since it takes 60 votes in the Senate to end a filibuster, such a move is virtually doomed in a 50-50 Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, though, wants to put his GOP colleagues on the record in opposing granting women the right to control their own bodies. Go for it, Mr. Leader.

Justice Ginsburg would be proud


Hatch’s death saddens me

A strange sense of sadness overtook me this evening as I learned of the death of the longest-serving Republican U.S. senator, Orrin Hatch of Utah.

Why am I so sad? I think it is because Hatch, who left the Senate in 2018, embodied a gentler time in American politics. Did I agree with his policy views? Hah! Not even close! Hardly ever!

However, this conservative lawmaker — whose name appears on hundreds of pieces of legislation that became law — exemplified the ability to work with Democrats. He knew how to find common ground, where to look for it and how to craft it into meaningful legislation.

He said this in his farewell address to the Senate: “The last several years I have seen the abandonment of regular order … Gridlock is the new norm. And like the humidity here, partisanship permeates everything we do, … All the evidence points to an unsettling truth: The Senate, as an institution, is in crisis, or at least may be in crisis.”

Yep, it’s in crisis, all right. It is in crisis because the Senate has turned into a pit of vipers, along with the House, with members of both chambers expressing outright fear of working with members of the other party.

That is nothing close to the “regular order” that Hatch and other senators cherished.

He was a principled conservative, but he was a gentleman, too.

Thus, the sadness at his death.


Herschel Walker: dumbass

Gosh, I hate speaking badly about a guy I used to admire when all he did was pack a football and run with it for thousands of yards during his career.

However, that ex-gridiron star, former Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker of Georgia, is now running for the U.S. Senate and all I can say about him is that he might be the biggest dumbass running for high office in this election cycle.

Walker is running as a Republican. He wants to succeed Sen. Rafael Warnock, one of two Democrats elected to the Senate in 2020 from Georgia.

I have heard some of the nonsense that comes from Walker’s pie hole. One utterance, caught my attention. He recently said while disparaging evolutionary science that “If man came from monkeys, why do we still have monkeys?”

Isn’t that just a real knee-slapper? Actually, that isn’t even an original quip. I heard the late comic George Carlin say it many years ago. So, Walker not only is a dumbass, but he’s a dumbass who cannot offer many original thoughts.

Sen. Warnock has done a creditable job in the Senate. He has become a leading voice of the Senate’s progressive caucus. He also has plenty of what one could call “cred” among African Americans, given that he is African American. What’s more, when he is not writing federal law, he preaches at Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the Holy Word to his parishioners.

It occurs to me that this contest could offer voters in one state a chance to stop the dumbing-down of Congress by returning a man with considerable intellect — Sen. Warnock — and rejecting a man with next to zero understanding of how government works … and who cannot even produce an original quip.


GOP pledges grim future

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

When the Republican leader of the U.S. Senate pledges to make life difficult for a Democratic president and his Democratic colleagues in the Senate, we had better sit up and pay careful attention.

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell has a proven record of employing his enormous obstructive skills to block legitimate efforts to move the country forward if they will benefit the agenda being followed by the right wing of his party.

Republicans appear poised to take over control of Congress after this year’s midterm election. If they do, the rumbling we hear comes from those Republicans who intend to exact revenge on Democrats. It will come in the form of blocking appointments or derailing legislative proposals. Hell, it might even result in Republicans unplugging congressional investigations into the criminal activity perpetrated on 1/6 by the previous GOP president.

This isn’t how good government is supposed to work.

McConnell exhibited his obstructionist skill in February 2016 when, after Justice Antonin Scalia died, he blocked then-President Obama’s attempt to replace Scalia with a SCOTUS nominee. It was “too close” to a presidential election that at the time was months away, McConnell said. He played his hand skillfully, as the GOP nominee won the election that year and then was able to push through three SCOTUS picks before his term ended in 2021.

The final pick was rammed through the Senate just weeks before the 2020 election, which made McConnell’s “too close to the election” call in 2016 nothing more than a ruse.

Don’t bet your last bitcoin that Congress will flip from Democratic to Republican control this year. But in case it does, then we had better prepare ourselves for a politically bloody clash.

It won’t be pretty.


Cruz proves his idiocy

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Ted Cruz deserves a special mention on this blog, given his shameful and disgraceful and despicable performance while questioning Supreme Court Justice-designate Ketanji Brown Jackson during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

I have made no secret of my loathing for the junior U.S. senator from Texas ever since he joined the Senate in 2013. He always has appeared to be grooming himself as a Republican presidential candidate. He took his best shot in 2016, losing the GOP nomination to the guy who eventually would win that year’s election.

I dubbed him the Cruz Missile because he seemed intent on blowing up every enemy he made along the way. The guy reportedly has few friends in the Senate.

He lectured Justice-designate Jackson on whether children are born racist and sought to paint her as soft on child pornographers and threw assorted red herrings at her during the time allotted for questioning. Granted, he wasn’t alone in behaving boorishly among Republican inquisitors. I just am feeling the urge to express my disgust at this clown who represents my interests in the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.

Cruz is a coward. Why do I say that? Because the guy who once told the truth about Donald Trump — calling him a sniveling coward and an “amoral” politician — became a suck-up acolyte to the POTUS.

He also doesn’t give a damn about the people he represents. I have to point to the jaunt he sought to make with his family to Cancun while most of the state was freezing in February 2021 in that winter freeze that ended up killing hundreds of Texans.

Moreover, how much more “sniveling” can one get than to blame his daughters for the decision to flee to Mexico while Texans were freezing to death? That’s what Cruz did when he was outed for fleeing the state.

Ted Cruz ain’t among the best and brightest Texas can offer to serve in U.S. Senate. As he showed during the SCOTUS confirmation hearing, all this clown intended to do was prance, posture and preen for the GOP base that will nominate the next president of the United States.

God help us if it’s Ted Cruz.


So much for cheering this big moment

Roy Blunt is a chump lame-duck Republican U.S. senator from Missouri who this past weekend declared to the world that Ketanji Brown Jackson’s pending confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court would be a high point in American history, as she would become the first Black woman to take her rightful place on the nation’s highest court.

Blunt then voted “no” on her confirmation.

What, then, did this GOP nimrod do when Vice President Kamala Harris declared that the Senate’s vote had officially confirmed Judge Jackson to the court? Blunt joined the rest of his GOP colleagues in walking out while the Democratic senators stood and applauded the history-making confirmation.

The only Republican to join the Democrats was Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, one of three GOP senators to vote to confirm Jackson; the other two, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, also walked out of the chamber.

I am singling out Blunt, though, because of his idiotic comments praising Judge Jackson’s legal skill, her educational background, her standing as a jurist, her obvious qualifications.

I was left to wonder: If she is all the things that Sen. Blunt said of her — which she is! — why in the name of political reason did he vote against her?

Roy Blunt, who is retiring from the Senate at the end of the year, demonstrated his true self by refusing to cheer for the history that the Senate made in confirming this eminently qualified Supreme Court appointee.



GOP senators show ugly side

Ketanji Brown Jackson is going to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate and will take her seat soon on the U.S. Supreme Court. I feel comfortable making that presumption. However, I cannot let go of what we all witnessed from the Republican Party side of the dais at the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing.

What did we see? We saw senators parse and nitpick their way through the judge’s stellar judicial record and question her on issues that have next to nothing to do with the cases that will come before the nation’s highest court.

Sens. Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton and Marsha Blackburn were especially reprehensible in their conduct as they grilled President Biden’s nominee to the court, where she will succeed Justice Stephen Breyer at the end of the court’s current term.

What stood out to me first and foremost was the poise that Judge Jackson exhibited as these senators took turns interrupting her while she sought to answer the questions they threw at her. I sat in my North Texas home watching this spectacle unfold and I actually thought: How in the world would I handle this kind of hectoring, haranguing and harassment? My answer? I couldn’t! I would storm out of the hearing room!

Thus, I would hand Judge Jackson the highest praise I can muster for the way she exhibited the poise and grace that her questioners all lacked. Indeed, it was Sen. Graham who huffed and puffed his way out of the hearing twice after completing his interrogation of Judge Jackson, who remained seated for hours on end, answering ridiculous question after ridiculous question.

It is clear that the GOP Senate caucus was aiming at a constituency beyond the room, the QAnon-loving cabal of voters who embrace notions of child molestation and pornography among politicians. Hence, we saw senators asking Judge Jackson to speak to sentencing practices involving criminal defendants accused of child porn crimes, which the judge referred to as a “small subset” of her entire legal career.

The GOP caucus behaved disgracefully. The target of their vile behavior, though, will take her place among the ranks of justices who interpret the Constitution. She made history already by being the first Black woman ever nominated to ascend to this high court. I remain confident Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s history-making career only will glorify her … and the nation she serves.

I also am quite sure history will be unkind to those who sought to besmirch her.