Tag Archives: US Senate

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!


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.”


Is Walker a Georgian … or not?

Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensberger, has been in the news around the nation for the past two years.

His notoriety isn’t about to expire, given what has been revealed –allegedly — about the GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate in Georgia.

Herschel Walker keeps a “primary residence” in Tarrant County, Texas. Walker is running for the Senate from Georgia. What’s wrong with this picture? Well, it might be that Walker doesn’t live in the state he wants to represent in the Senate.

Oh … my. What does that mean for Raffensberger, the chief election official in Georgia? It means he might be forced, just a week before runoff Election Day, to disqualify Walker. Does he act now, sending a message to Georgians who are set to vote either for Walker or the Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock?

Raffensberger, newly re-elected as secretary of state, is no stranger to controversy. Donald Trump pressured Raffensberger to “find” 11,780 votes for Trump to swing the state that had voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 president election. Raffensberger declined, saying he could do no such thing under the law.

A part of me cannot escape the poetic justice that would be delivered if it is determined that Herschel Walker — a one-time University of Georgia football star — no longer calls Georgia home. That he actually is hanging his hat these days in Texas.

Why should anyone care? Because Democrats have a chance to win a 51st Senate seat, given them an actual majority in the upper legislative chamber.

It also goes to demonstrate in graphic terms the miserable quality of Herschel Walker as a candidate for the U.S. Senate.


Cruz to seek 3rd Senate term? Good, answer this one …

Sen. Edward Rafael Cruz has declared he will seek a third term in the U.S. Senate.

Fine. He also says he also might run for president in 2024. In Texas, he can do that, run for two offices at the same time. Sen. Lyndon Johnson did it in 1960, running for re-election and for vice president; he won the VP post, so he had to vacate the Senate seat. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen did, too, in 1988, running for re-election and for VP; he lost the VP contest but was re-elected to the Senate, where he served for four more years before being tapped for treasury secretary by President Clinton.

What’s on tap for the Cruz Missile?

He needs to be held accountable for one act of idiocy. Why, Ted, did you seek to flee the state in February 2021 when hundreds of Texans were freezing to death in that killer winter storm? Don’t tell us your daughter talked you into jetting off to Cancun. It also doesn’t work that you came back to Texas only when you were outed by others who saw you getting on the outbound plane.

Let me be crystal clear: The Cruz Missile ain’t getting my support in 2024 … not for senator and damn sure not for POTUS.


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.


Reason, sanity prevail

Let us praise the return of some semblance of sanity to the American political process with news out of Nevada that Democrats are going to retain control of the next U.S. Senate.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto will return to Capitol Hill, ensuring that Democrats will occupy at least 50 seats on the upper legislative chamber. The number could rise to 51 if Sen. Raphael Warnock wins the Georgia runoff next month against Republican challenger Herschel Walker; I will root vigorously for that outcome.

What the returns tell me, though, is that American voters across the land are rejecting the Big Lie about alleged vote fraud; they want a return to reasonable debate and discussion; they are giving the heave-ho to notions promoted by those on the far right who condone violence as a form of political discourse.

We are seeing, it seems to me, a return of sanity and reason.

May it continue its regeneration from this day forward.


Senate control hangs in balance

Election runoffs depend on turnout, or so the saying goes. Which means that the candidate who wins a two-person contest will do so on the basis of getting his or her voters to the polls.

In normal circumstances, voters need to be motivated by factors that might not exist internally. They might exist elsewhere.

So … with that the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff election between Sen. Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker might depend on what is about to happen in Nevada.

The stakes are, shall we say … huge man.

The Senate is tied at 50-50, with equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. The midterm election is staggering to its finish. Arizonans just re-elected Sen. Mark Kelly to a six-year Senate term. Kelly becomes the 49th Democrat to be elected. The 50th Democrat well might be Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who is locked in a fight with GOP challenger Adam Laxalt.

If Masto emerges as the 50th Democratic senator, does that render the Georgia runoff moot? Does it lessen the need for Georgia Democrats to ensure their guy, Sen. Warnock, gets enough votes to defeat Herschel Walker? Hardly!

If Warnock defeats Walker — which he damn sure must do — that would give Democrats a 51-49 majority in the next U.S. Senate, scenario few of us saw coming.

I cannot post this blog item without mentioning that Herschel Walker might be the most unfit individual to run for the Senate in the past, oh, 50 years. He was Donald J. Trump’s handpicked nominee, which tells me plenty about Walker’s qualifications to hold this valuable public office — which amount to zero!

Walker is an abortion hypocrite on the basis of two women who say he paid for their abortions. He has next to no relationship with many of his children, yet he campaigns as a staunch anti-abortion family man.

OK, I got that off my chest.

Back to the point, which is that the pending outcome in Nevada does nothing to the importance of the Georgia runoff. Democrats already have made plenty of history by bucking what was supposed to be a political shellacking.

I am going to hope they make more of it next month by re-electing Sen. Warnock to the Senate.


Now … we wait for the votes

OK, here’s where we stand on the eve of the most consequential midterm election I can remember … and at the age of almost 73, I can remember a lot of ’em.

Depending on who you ask or who is doing the talking, Democrats are either (a) going to get a serious, back-alley thumping at the polls or (b) might pull off the surprise of the century and hold onto the Senate and cut their expected losses in the House of Representatives.

I will not venture a prediction on what will occur. I don’t have a clue. I live out here in the middle of the country. All the political action is either back east or in the Deep South or out west in places like Arizona and Nevada.

My bride and I just returned from the western region of the nation; we spent a few nights listening to the news out of Arizona and Nevada. We heard the extreme negativity coming from both sides of the great divide. I didn’t ask anyone what they thought of the tone and tenor of the campaign being waged.

We’re home now. We are going to vote on Tuesday. No early voting for me … for reasons I have explained already.

What will the result be at the end of it all? Beats me, man. You know what I want to happen: I would prefer the Senate and House remain in Democratic hands, given Republicans’ refusal to offer any solutions other than to obstruct what President Biden wants to accomplish.

If the House flips to GOP control, then I fear a vengeance-filled period for the next two years and likely beyond. The best hope, I suppose, lies in the Senate, where Democrats appear to have a puncher’s chance of holding on to the committee gavels.

Is our democracy at stake? You’re damn right it is!


What does he favor?

We elect our legislators to, um, legislate. Isn’t that the rule of thumb? Sure it is.

However, when I see U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s name, the junior Republican from Texas usually is telling us what he opposes. The guy cannot affix his name to any constructive legislation, which is why he pulls down that six-figure salary.

Cruz said today that he opposes legislation codifying same-sex marriage. He said it violates Americans’ religious freedom. I’m not sure I get it, but that’s what Cruz said.

Back to my point. Cruz won election to the Senate in 2012. He hasn’t distinguished himself as an author of legislation that benefits American lives. He continues to rail as a gadfly, raising hell and calling Democrats and sons and daughters of Satan.

That’s when he isn’t seeking to get away from doing his job, which is what happened when he sought a vacation in Cancun in February 2021 while Texas were freezing to death in the killer winter freeze.

Ted Cruz just pisses me off.

There. Now I feel better.


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.