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 "United States Senate"
First of all, I want to mention that I LOVE the blanket primary.  For those who don’t know, California has adopted a blanket (or “top-two”) primary system in which the candidates for each office are all entered in the same primary and the top two vote-getters advance to the general election, regardless of their party affiliation.  That opens up the possibility of two members of the same party possibly facing off against each other in the general election.  

In many areas — not just in California, of course, but throughout the entire country — one party is dominant year-after-year.  For example, if there is a region of the state where Democrats have held a Congressional seat for years with little risk of losing it to a Republican, a regular primary between two Democrats is often where the election is actually decided.  In those instances, a Democrat (I’m just using a Democrat as an example, not referring to anything specific) would win nomination and go on to face the Republican nominee in the general election, but the election would never have been in doubt because it was a safe Democratic seat.  With the blanket primary, all the candidates for the office from all the parties face off and the two candidates who win the most votes take each other on in November.  In those traditionally safe areas, this opens up competition and encourages voters to make it to the polls since they are making an actual choice instead of taking part in a coronation.

With your question, I imagine you’re asking what I would think might happen if Gavin Newsom and Kamala Harris both ran for Governor in 2018, were the top-two, and faced each other in the general election.  Newsom is more well-known throughout California, but like I said in my other post, I think Harris has more appeal.  She’s charismatic and tough, she’s brilliant and experienced, and she has the potential to shatter several glass ceilings — first female Governor of California, first African-American Governor of California, first Asian-American Governor of California — she’s the total package.  Newsom is no pushover.  He also has a ton of appeal and charisma, and they both have bright futures ahead of them.  In my opinion, though, Harris would win.  She would also definitely be my choice.  During Obama’s campaign for President, I had a chance to meet Kamala numerous times and work pretty closely with her at several different events in Northern California.  She’s incredible and she’s as grounded and humble as any politician I’ve ever encountered.  I’m a huge Kamala fan and if she ran for Governor, I’d actually come out of my political “retirement” and want to work on her campaign.

I could also definitely see Kamala Harris on the Supreme Court, but I think she has ambitions for higher elective office — either Governor of California or a Senate seat once either Dianne Feinstein or Barbara Boxer finally retires.  As I mentioned in the last post, I could easily see her as a potential Vice President, even as soon as 2016.  If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, I think she’d probably balance the ticket with a running mate with executive experience — probably a Governor like Martin O’Malley of Maryland (who is a sleeper pick for President in 2016 if Hillary doesn’t run) or Kentucky’s Steve Beshear (remember that I mentioned his name, too).  I think President Obama should have gotten rid of Eric Holder at the beginning of his second term and nominated Kamala Harris as Attorney General of the United States.  But it actually might be better for Kamala in the long-run to not have ended up in the Obama Cabinet, especially as the President limps to the finish line with two full years to go before his term ends.

First of all, I want to mention that I LOVE the blanket primary. For those who don’t know, California has adopted a blanket (or “top-two”) primary system in which the candidates for each office are all entered in the same primary and the top two vote-getters advance to the general election, regardless of their party affiliation. That opens up the possibility of two members of the same party possibly facing off against each other in the general election.

In many areas — not just in California, of course, but throughout the entire country — one party is dominant year-after-year. For example, if there is a region of the state where Democrats have held a Congressional seat for years with little risk of losing it to a Republican, a regular primary between two Democrats is often where the election is actually decided. In those instances, a Democrat (I’m just using a Democrat as an example, not referring to anything specific) would win nomination and go on to face the Republican nominee in the general election, but the election would never have been in doubt because it was a safe Democratic seat. With the blanket primary, all the candidates for the office from all the parties face off and the two candidates who win the most votes take each other on in November. In those traditionally safe areas, this opens up competition and encourages voters to make it to the polls since they are making an actual choice instead of taking part in a coronation.

With your question, I imagine you’re asking what I would think might happen if Gavin Newsom and Kamala Harris both ran for Governor in 2018, were the top-two, and faced each other in the general election. Newsom is more well-known throughout California, but like I said in my other post, I think Harris has more appeal. She’s charismatic and tough, she’s brilliant and experienced, and she has the potential to shatter several glass ceilings — first female Governor of California, first African-American Governor of California, first Asian-American Governor of California — she’s the total package. Newsom is no pushover. He also has a ton of appeal and charisma, and they both have bright futures ahead of them. In my opinion, though, Harris would win. She would also definitely be my choice. During Obama’s campaign for President, I had a chance to meet Kamala numerous times and work pretty closely with her at several different events in Northern California. She’s incredible and she’s as grounded and humble as any politician I’ve ever encountered. I’m a huge Kamala fan and if she ran for Governor, I’d actually come out of my political “retirement” and want to work on her campaign.

I could also definitely see Kamala Harris on the Supreme Court, but I think she has ambitions for higher elective office — either Governor of California or a Senate seat once either Dianne Feinstein or Barbara Boxer finally retires. As I mentioned in the last post, I could easily see her as a potential Vice President, even as soon as 2016. If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, I think she’d probably balance the ticket with a running mate with executive experience — probably a Governor like Martin O’Malley of Maryland (who is a sleeper pick for President in 2016 if Hillary doesn’t run) or Kentucky’s Steve Beshear (remember that I mentioned his name, too). I think President Obama should have gotten rid of Eric Holder at the beginning of his second term and nominated Kamala Harris as Attorney General of the United States. But it actually might be better for Kamala in the long-run to not have ended up in the Obama Cabinet, especially as the President limps to the finish line with two full years to go before his term ends.

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.

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.