Dead Presidents

Historical facts, thoughts, ramblings and collections on the Presidency and about the Presidents of the United States.

By Anthony Bergen
E-Mail: bergen.anthony@gmail.com
Posts tagged "Senate"
Asker Anonymous Asks:
If someone ran for the U.S. Senate at 29 and won the election, could that person still be sworn in? I know Biden turned 30 right before he was sworn in, but what if he would have turned 30 in February, after the official swearing in in January. Would they have let him wait to be sworn in after he turned 30 or do they check all this stuff when you apply to run?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Today they certainly check.  If someone was elected to the Senate at 29 and didn’t turn 30 until after the new Congressional session started, the Senator-elect would just have to wait until he or she turned 30 and became Constitutionally eligible before they could take their seat.  You mentioned Biden, who was 29 when he was elected, but turned 30 prior to the date he was scheduled to be sworn in.  In the 1930’s, a Senator-elect from West Virginia won his seat when he was 29 and didn’t turn 30 until after the Congressional session started, so he had to wait until his 30th birthday before he could take his seat. 

Back in the nation’s relatively early days it was a bit easier to slide into a Congressional seat before hitting the required age, but that could have just been due to the fact that it was easier to fudge the records at a time when record-keeping wasn’t as thorough.  Or it could have simply been that the rest of the Senate didn’t make a fuss about it.  Henry Clay actually took his seat in the Senate when he was still 29 years old and two other Senators in the early 19th Century — Virginia’s Armistead T. Mason and Tennessee’s John Eaton — joined the Senate when they were just 28 years old.

Imagine that you were an idiot. And then imagine that you were a member of Congress. Wait a minute…I repeated myself.
Mark Twain

I am a loyal, lifelong Democrat and I think that Harry Reid is the absolute worst Senate Majority Leader in the history of the United States.  He has a Democratic majority in the Senate and a Democrat in the White House, yet his “leadership” has been so ineffective and inefficient that Obama might as well have a Republican-controlled Senate.  I think Senator Reid is a petty, petulant man who can barely control his own caucus let alone set the agenda for the Senate, help his own President realize the goals of the Administration, and that he is a complete push-over who is easily steamrolled by anybody who opposes him.  Because of the traditional civility and decorum of the Senate nobody will say it, but I don’t think anybody respects him and I have no idea why he is still the Majority Leader.  Instead of using the Senate’s arcane rules and parliamentary tricks to get things done and actually accomplish things for the nation, he uses them to delay, divide, and obstruct.

The past few Congresses have been among the worst in American history and have received the highest disapproval ratings since polling began.  That’s one thing that Harry Reid can take credit for.  In my opinion, Senator Reid is one of the worst things about the Democratic Party and the only thing on Capitol Hill more terrible than Harry Reid is the House of Representatives.  And Ted Cruz.

Yes, it’s happened nine times — all in the 20th Century.  The most recent self-appointment was in 1977 when Minnesota Governor Wendell Anderson appointed himself to fill the vacated seat of Senator Walter Mondale who resigned to become Jimmy Carter’s Vice President.

If we want to get really technical, all nine of the Governors who appointed themselves to the Senate resigned their Governorships and were then immediately appointed by the Lieutenant Governor who succeeded them, largely for paperwork reasons.  However, the Historian of the United States Senate, personal biographies, as well as pretty much everywhere that you’ll find information about Governors-turned-Senators considers them to be self-appointees.

Here’s an interesting note, though:  Voters don’t seem to like it when Governors appoint themselves to vacant Senate seats.  All nine Governors who self-appointed themselves to the Senate sought election to the Senate in their own right once they took their seat.  Of those nine Governors who self-appointed themselves to the Senate, only ONE — Kentucky’s very popular Happy Chandler won election to the Senate in his own right.    

Asker Anonymous Asks:
When a candidate is elected into Congress, are they expected to know all of the rules and customs or are they trained? For example, knowing all of the rules regarding voting during session and things like that.
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

They have freshman orientation for incoming members of the House and Senate.  I’m not sure about what it all entails, but I know that the newly-elected members head to Washington shortly after Election Day and that’s when the orientation begins.  I’m sure there is also some sort of transition process where the outgoing Representative or Senator helps out with the person coming in to replace them (much like what happens with a Presidential transition).  There are also plenty of support systems, from their party’s caucus to their state Congressional delegation and down to the committees that they are assigned to. 

Of course, there are certain parliamentary tricks and arcane rules that take some extra time to figure out if the Representative or Senator wants to master the legislative process and excel like some of our greatest legislators such as LBJ or Robert Byrd.  It’s not a requirement to know all of those tricks (and today it’s probably just easier to hire someone who can handle that), but it certainly can come in handy when trying to pass your legislation or kill someone else’s.

Anonymous asked:  Any thoughts on Bob Dole’s recent Senate appearance to ask for the passing to the UN Disability Treaty?

I wish I could say that I was surprised that the Senate didn’t do the right thing despite the appearance and support of a nearly 90-year-old Bob Dole who not only dedicated his life to public service, but did so with significant disabilities because of the fact that he very nearly gave up his life fighting for this country in World War II.

I wish I could say that I was surprised, but I’m not.  Nothing surprises me anymore about the Senate or the House, particularly in this 112th Congress.  I’m hoping that enough was done in November to, for a lack of a better term, flush the waste out of the Capitol so that the 113th Congress can get some good things done for our country.

It just makes me angry now.  It makes me angry that these are our representatives.  It makes me angry that 38 United States Senators voted against ratifying a treaty that was basically an international version of our own American With Disabilities Act.  The United Nations modeled the treaty after the ADA in order to urge people around the world to take care of and no discriminate against people with disabilities.  And after frail, wheelchair bound Bob Dole made an appearance in support of the treaty’s ratification, he was wheeled out of the Senate chamber and 38 American Senators said no. 

Thirty-eight American Senators opposed that treaty while Arizona Senator John McCain, who spent nearly six years being tortured in a North Vietnamese prison and can’t even raise his arm into the air to be recognized by the presiding officer, sat in that chamber.  I can’t even imagine how Senator McCain can caucus with those Senators in the future and work together with them.  I can’t understand it.

38.  Thirty-eight Senators rejected that treaty while Hawaii’s Senator Daniel Inouye was in the chamber.  Senator Inouye is 88 years old and disabled.  Do you know why Senator Inouye is disabled?  BECAUSE HE LEFT HIS ARM ON A HILLSIDE IN ITALY FIGHTING FOR HIS COUNTRY.  That was after he had already been shot in the stomach attacking a German bunker.  A German grenade blew his right arm off of his body as Inouye prepared to toss his own grenade.  Do you know what happened when Daniel Inouye’s arm was blown off of his body?  He reached down with the arm he had left, pulled the grenade that he was about to throw out of the closed hand of his severed right arm, and then he finished the job that he had started, tossed the grenade at the Germans, and kept shooting with the arm he had left until he passed out.  Thirty-eight of Senator Inouye’s colleagues rejected an international treaty protecting the rights of people like Inouye as he sat there.

It’s shameful.  After the vote, John Kerry (another American who served his country and was wounded in combat, by the way) said it was “one of the saddest days I’ve seen in almost 28 years in the Senate and it needs to be a wake-up call about a broken institution that’s letting down the American people.”  I couldn’t agree more with Senator Kerry except for one thing:  rejecting this treaty lets down the people of the world — 700 million of whom are disabled.

Thirty-eight United States Senators should be ashamed of themselves and their constituents should be disgusted by their representation.  Shame on you, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Roy Blunt of Missouri, John Boozman of Arkansas, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Dan Coats of Indiana, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Bob Corker of Tennessee, John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Dean Heller of Nevada, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Jon Kyl of Arizona, Mike Lee of Utah (who took the lead in opposing the treaty’s ratification), Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Rob Portman of Ohio, Jim Risch of Idaho, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Richard Shelby of Alabama, John Thune of South Dakota, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, David Vitter of Louisiana, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.  If I were running the DSCC, I would target all 38 of you in your next campaigns and lay your vote for the rejection of this treaty’s ratification on your doorstep every night so that you step in it every morning and drag it with you every time that you speak to a veterans organization or a group of people with disabilities or a senior citizen.  I’d add “go to hell”, but with the 112th Congress in charge, I’m not positive that we aren’t already there.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Any thoughts on Bob Dole's recent Senate appearance to ask for the passing to the UN Disability Treaty?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

I wish I could say that I was surprised that the Senate didn’t do the right thing despite the appearance and support of a nearly 90-year-old Bob Dole who not only dedicated his life to public service, but did so with significant disabilities because of the fact that he very nearly gave up his life fighting for this country in World War II.

I wish I could say that I was surprised, but I’m not.  Nothing surprises me anymore about the Senate or the House, particularly in this 112th Congress.  I’m hoping that enough was done in November to, for a lack of a better term, flush the waste out of the Capitol so that the 113th Congress can get some good things done for our country.

It just makes me angry now.  It makes me angry that these are our representatives.  It makes me angry that 38 United States Senators voted against ratifying a treaty that was basically an international version of our own American With Disabilities Act.  The United Nations modeled the treaty after the ADA in order to urge people around the world to take care of and no discriminate against people with disabilities.  And after frail, wheelchair bound Bob Dole made an appearance in support of the treaty’s ratification, he was wheeled out of the Senate chamber and 38 American Senators said no. 

Thirty-eight American Senators opposed that treaty while Arizona Senator John McCain, who spent nearly six years being tortured in a North Vietnamese prison and can’t even raise his arm into the air to be recognized by the presiding officer, sat in that chamber.  I can’t even imagine how Senator McCain can caucus with those Senators in the future and work together with them.  I can’t understand it.

38.  Thirty-eight Senators rejected that treaty while Hawaii’s Senator Daniel Inouye was in the chamber.  Senator Inouye is 88 years old and disabled.  Do you know why Senator Inouye is disabled?  BECAUSE HE LEFT HIS ARM ON A HILLSIDE IN ITALY FIGHTING FOR HIS COUNTRY.  That was after he had already been shot in the stomach attacking a German bunker.  A German grenade blew his right arm off of his body as Inouye prepared to toss his own grenade.  Do you know what happened when Daniel Inouye’s arm was blown off of his body?  He reached down with the arm he had left, pulled the grenade that he was about to throw out of the closed hand of his severed right arm, and then he finished the job that he had started, tossed the grenade at the Germans, and kept shooting with the arm he had left until he passed out.  Thirty-eight of Senator Inouye’s colleagues rejected an international treaty protecting the rights of people like Inouye as he sat there.

It’s shameful.  After the vote, John Kerry (another American who served his country and was wounded in combat, by the way) said it was “one of the saddest days I’ve seen in almost 28 years in the Senate and it needs to be a wake-up call about a broken institution that’s letting down the American people.”  I couldn’t agree more with Senator Kerry except for one thing:  rejecting this treaty lets down the people of the world — 700 million of whom are disabled.

Thirty-eight United States Senators should be ashamed of themselves and their constituents should be disgusted by their representation.  Shame on you, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Roy Blunt of Missouri, John Boozman of Arkansas, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Dan Coats of Indiana, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Bob Corker of Tennessee, John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Dean Heller of Nevada, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Jon Kyl of Arizona, Mike Lee of Utah (who took the lead in opposing the treaty’s ratification), Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Rob Portman of Ohio, Jim Risch of Idaho, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Richard Shelby of Alabama, John Thune of South Dakota, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, David Vitter of Louisiana, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.  If I were running the DSCC, I would target all 38 of you in your next campaigns and lay your vote for the rejection of this treaty’s ratification on your doorstep every night so that you step in it every morning and drag it with you every time that you speak to a veterans organization or a group of people with disabilities or a senior citizen.  I’d add “go to hell”, but with the 112th Congress in charge, I’m not positive that we aren’t already there. 

Asker Anonymous Asks:
As a fellow Missourian, what do you think of Claire McCaskil? I did not care for her particularly before, but to be fair I did not pay her much attention either. Obviously I'm never voting for Akin and would like your opinion on his main opponent. Thanks :)
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

I’ve always liked Senator McCaskill.  I only moved here a year ago, but I’ve written about her previously (when I was in California and Texas) as one of the Senators I most respected and when people have asked me about who I thought was amongst the leading women of the Democratic Party.  I think Senator McCaskill is a solid legislator and that she has shown an independent streak at times that makes her stand out from many of the one-dimensional, blind sheep (on both sides of the aisle) that she serves with in Congress.

I mean, I’m from California, where my Senators since I’ve been able to vote have been Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, yet I’m looking forward to the opportunity to vote for Senator McCaskill.  And I’m even more exciting to vote AGAINST Todd Akin.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
What happened to the long filibusters that lasted for hours?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Politicians got lazy.  Now, filibusters still exist but they basically are pretend filibusters where the Senate declares “Hey, this is a filibuster” and it stops debate on a bill until cloture can be invoked.  I’m of the opinion that a filibuster should have to be a good, old-fashioned exhaustive speech in order for it to suspend debate.  It just seems too easy to say, “Oh, by the way, we’re filibustering so stop debating unless you have 60 votes.”  I want Senators sleeping on cots in the Senate Chamber, dramatically stepping in for one another when one Senator’s endurance falters, and creative ways to fill time — like reading the phone book or making up stories.  A filibuster should take some real effort.