An Uneasy Case for the Filibuster Rule

THE UNEASY CASE FOR THE FILABUSTER RULE

 

As most of you students of Congressional history are aware, current Senate rules require a vote of 60 Senators to end debate on a particular piece of legislation and, thus, to allow that legislation to proceed to a vote on the Senate floor. In other words, even if the voters elect a majority of Senators of one party, that majority cannot accomplish anything unless that majority constitutes at least 60 Senators. Consequently, when the voters elected a Republican majority in the Senate, they had the temerity to think that the Senate would be able to approve some portion of the Republican Party agenda. How foolish is that?

While Americans believe that majority rules, the majority which you elected to the Senate believes that the elected majority cannot be trusted–that it can only act if a significant percentage of members of the opposing party are willing to go along with the majority’s proposal.

The GOP has consistently asserted that it could get nothing done in Washington with only a majority in the House. So we gave them a majority in the Senate. To which the Party responded, “you can’t reasonably expect us to get anything done without a Republican in the White House.” So we gave them a Republican in the White House. To which the GOP responded, “you can’t really expect us to get anything done because of the filibuster rule.” In other words, we gave them the House, we gave them the Senate, and we gave them the Presidency–but, unfortunately, we neglected to give them 60 Senate seats. Shame on the Republican voters for failing to understand how the Senate ties its own hands by adopting self-imposed rules of procedure.

The 60-vote filibuster rule is not found in the Constitution, or in any other governing document for that matter. The requirement that 60 votes are needed for cloture (a vote to end debate and to allow legislation to go to the full Senate for an up or down vote) is “a Senate rule.” A “rule!” In other words, the Senate has arbitrarily decided that it is incapable of acting based upon the will of the voters that elected its majority. By “rule” it requires the vote of up to 10 members of the opposition party to get anything done.

In effect, the Senate has approved a rule which makes it more difficult for it to act than the Constitution requires–a rule which makes it “more difficult” to carry out the will of the voters. Apparently the Senate believes that the American people are incapable of selecting a trustworthy Senate majority. Apparently the Senate does not understand its function in the overall governmental scheme of things. The Senate is designed to act as a check and balance to the House, which, by its more parochial nature, tends to represent primarily the more populous areas of the country. The Senate was not designed or intended to act as a check and balance to itself.

We sent a majority of Republicans to the Senate–so let them act like a majority. We did not ask them to tie both hands behind their backs so that a few Democrats can impede all legislative progress. We did not ask that a majority party surrender its majority status to the minority party. In fact one could reasonably argue that the filibuster rule is unconstitutional, or at least violates the one man, one vote concept, because it allows a minority to arbitrarily impede the will of the majority and otherwise dilutes the vote of any vote cast for any Senator.

So, here’s a quick fix for consideration by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Use your Senate majority to rescind the filibuster rule. Permit the voters’ selection of Republican Party Senators to mean something. Don’t senselessly cede the will of the majority of Republican voters to the opposition party.

We don’t believe that the filibuster rule serves any purpose other than to slow down the implementation of legislative action demanded by the American people. If Republican leadership (the term rapidly becoming an oxymoron) believes that the filibuster rule serves some redeeming legislative purpose (other than to prevent the Senate from acting it the best interests of the American people), now is the time for such leadership to articulate and defend its reasoning. We understand that a change in the Senate rules would benefit Democrats when they have a majority in the Senate. So what? That consequence does not alter the legitimate political construct that the winner of a political contest should have more say than the loser.

If Republican leadership continues to oppose elimination of the filibuster rule, it is time for you to stop claiming that you are unable to advance your constituents’ agenda simply because of the filibuster rule. The filibuster rule is, at best, a self-inflicted wound. The American voters are on to the Senate’s game–they understand that the filibuster rule is designed solely to prevent Senators from having to vote on controversial issues, or alternatively, to allow cast meaningless votes for matters they know will never be adopted by the full Senate. In other words, the purpose of the filibuster rule is to allow Senators to spend most of their time campaigning and to give them room to duck and cover when communicating with their constituents. The American voters don’t give a fig about self-constructed and self-imposed Senate rules. What American voters want is for the Senate to carry out their will–even if it requires the Senate to tweak some feckless and arbitrary Senate rule.

Politicians refer to elimination of the filibuster rule as “the nuclear option.” And from their perspective, it probably is “nuclear.” From their constituents’ perspective, however, it is simply representative democracy.

We are confident that the Republican establishment liked the world of politics better before social media allowed the average American to understand the arcane rules of the Senate. But time moves on even though the Senate apparently does not. Toto has pulled back the curtain revealing that each Senator is nothing more than the “wonderful and all-powerful” Wizard of Oz.

 

© 2017

 

ONE SWAMP DOWN–TWO TO GO

Because this is our first posting since the Presidential election, we want to take this opportunity to congratulated Donald Trump on his well-run and successful populist campaign. We are also inclined to extend congratulations to the GOP as well–though it seems likely that the GOP success occurred in spite of, rather than because of, many members of the GOP Establishment.

We are also pleased to suggest that many of the concepts that led to Trump’s success are covered extensively in our companion book–“Honey I Shrunk the Government (Tough Love for the GOP).”

Anticipating the Trump Presidency has been extremely satisfying. However, we cannot deny that it was equally gratifying to watch the Clinton Machine grind to a staggering and unexpected stop– to the obvious and enjoyable disbelief of the media, the pollsters, DNC folks, and a fair number of anti-Trump GOP Establishment types.  Apparently, this time around, a plurality of American voters decided  not to be taken in again by the Democrats “big lie”–“We’re going to make the lives of the poor and middle class better–just like we always have.”

The notion of “draining the swamp” in D.C. is compelling because it hints of eliminating much of what we perceive to be wrong with our federal government. We are confident that President Trump will preside over a thorough cleansing of the unbridled corruption and cronyism that has been pervasive in Washington and which has done much to destroy confidence in the federal political system over the past two and a half decades.

But cleaning up D.C. is only a start. While corruption, arrogance, lies, deception, and fecklessness are systemic within the federal government, they are arguably symptomatic rather than causal.  The root cause of the disaster that has become the abusive seat of power in Washington can be found throughout contemporary life in America.  In other words–there is more than one swamp which must be drained.

The next reclamation project which needs to be undertaken involves fixing the badly-broken media. There can be little question that the media is strongly biased, at all levels, in favor of the Democratic Party and its candidates.  There is also little doubt that many completely incompetent Democrats have been propelled into office with the swift wind of media bias at their backs.  And perhaps, more importantly, who among us can contest the fact that the GOP and the RNC and their affiliates have spent billions of dollars endeavoring to counter the deleterious effects of liberal, media bias during each election cycle?

The media has essentially abandoned its Fourth Estate function of being the watchdog of the people.  Instead it has become the lapdog of the Democratic National Committee.

As we have frequently suggested, for half the money the GOP normally spends trying to neutralize the liberal media, the GOP could acquire, control, and convert the media to its own political persuasion (a matter also covered in great detail in Honey I Shrunk the Government).   When confronted with the argument that acquisition and control of media outlets by the GOP would violate First Amendment freedom of speech, one needs to simply note that that is exactly what the Democratic Party has done over many decades.

When the liberal media swamp has been thoroughly drained, attention should then be turned to cleaning up the primordial swamp of academia. Ah academia–the cultural institution that is supposed to educate and enlighten our best and brightest.  Unfortunately, our institutions of higher learning no longer enlighten–they offer only politically-correct pabulum, liberal orthodoxy, and unbelievable bias.  Who would have thought that these once bastions of free speech could sink so low as to penalize and excoriate any student having the audacity to articulate a conservative thought or concept?  Who would have ever thought that nebulous notions of political incorrectness, hate speech, safe spaces, and “micro-aggressions” would inveigh students for taking any conservative position on campus (or off campus) which might conflict with any liberal or progressive doctrine?  It appears that “micro-aggression” can be easily defined as being any writing or statement which contravenes any writing or statement containing a liberal or progressive thought or principle.  Leaving for another day discussion of the implications of our colleges and universities creating an entire generation of dysfunctional pantywaists, it is safe to conclude, overall, that we have transitioned from “Institutions of Higher Learning” to “Institutions of Liberal Propaganda.”

The academic swamp may prove to be the most difficult to drain, because the only folks who have any real leverage over these educational institutions are their ultra-rich donors. Unfortunately, as we all know, once folks become extremely wealthy, they tend to take contra-indicative postures by becoming ultra-liberal, eschewing capitalism, and declaiming all things conservative.  Because of the election of Donald Trump, there is some hope that the threat of withholding federal funds might convince colleges and universities that freedom of speech needs to be a two-way street.

After a little practice draining the Washington swamp, and then the media swamp, perhaps The Donald will have gained enough experience to tackle the more challenging academic swamp.

To the millions of real Americans who had the temerity and the perspicacity to vote for Donald Trump, congratulations and best wishes for an exciting 2017. Now let’s get out there and drain some swamps in order to, well, “Make America Great Again.”

© 2016

 

 

 

 

THEY HAVE SEWN THE WIND (OR, IF YOU PREFER, RIP GOP)

Now they are reaping the Whirlwind. The unbelievable shock of the GOP Establishment that there is voter pushback against their empty promises and feckless policies. “If we just had the House.” “If we just had the Senate.” “ If we just had the Presidency.” Time after time they have ignored the clear will of the people. Such hubris. Such arrogance. They can’t believe that GOP voters have finally had enough. But the voters are hellbent on taking their country back from career political hacks, from lobbyists, from Wall Street greed, from special interest groups, and from those anarchists who are committed to spreading chaos by allowing religious liberties to be trampled on, by disregarding immigration laws, by disregarding racially-motivated riots, by disregarding sanctuary cities, by ignoring or making excuses for radical Islam–all with a view to fundamentally changing the nature of our county and our culture.

Many of the Establishment folks have even taken to trying to undermine the candidacy of Trump–calling him unfit, unqualified, dangerous, lacking Presidential temperament, or at least, failing to whole-heartedly endorse him if they endorse him at all. It is obvious that most of these GOP traitors (some of whom are actually violating the pre-primary pledge they took to support the ultimate GOP nominee) are under the misapprehension that all they need to do is suffer through 4 years of Hillary until 2020 when they believe they will be able to run and support a more conventional, ultra-conservative, bought-and-paid-for candidate. Then they can go back to the rigged, crony, feckless governmental activity that has been so beneficial for them and so awful for the rest of us.

It is one thing to cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face–it is quite another thing to cut off one’s head to spite one’s body. Yet that is exactly what our conscience-stricken GOP turncoats are doing.

Here’s what they clearly do not understand. If Donald Trump does not win the Presidential election in 2016, the Republican Party will be effectively dead. Do they really think that millions and millions of Trump supporters and voters are going to take the Establishment’s rebuff of GOP primary results lying down? We think we know where they are going to go: Directly to a nationally unified and organized Tea Party. Not the sporadic, crop-up organization that you know today as the Tea Party–but rather one that will either swamp and supplant the GOP entirely or, at a minimum, take so many votes away from traditional, Establishment-types that the GOP will be lucky to win an occasional county dog-catcher’s race.

The false hope that these arrogant, know-it-all Republican Trump defectors are relying on is the notion that they can still manage to win enough down-ballot races to hang onto the Senate and the House. The only way that these misguided folks can reasonably expect to hold onto anything is if Donald Trump sweeps to victory (or the race is very competitive regardless who ultimately wins). Do they really think that, if Trump is getting clobbered, quite possibly as a direct result of the defections and/or outright attacks by these same Establishment gurus, Trump supporters are going to rush to the polls to vote for some down-ballot Senatorial or Congressional candidate? And to be perfectly blunt about it, unless Trump wins the White House, it really doesn’t matter to most Republican voters whether the GOP holds the Senate or the House. Why should they care? After all, the GOP has held the House since 2010 and the Senate since 2014, and what have the Party faithful got to show for it–bupkis. The Republicans in the Senate, and to a slightly lesser extent in the House, have done absolutely nothing to halt Obama’s assaults on the Constitution, or do anything other than appease their Democrat colleagues. In other words, while we thought we were electing Republicans, we have, effectively simply gotten more Democrats.

Additionally, if Hillary wins the White House and has the likely opportunity to pack the Supreme Court with more Progressive activists, it really won’t matter what majorities the Republicans might hold going forward.

So, in other words, the active Republican opponents of Trump are pursuing the only course that will ensure loss of the White House, loss of majorities in both the Senate and the House, politicizing of the Supreme Court for decades, and the probable, permanent destruction of the Republican Party. You’ve got to hand it to them–they are willing to unabashedly convey the message that they plainly are putting personal aggrandizement ahead of the well-being of the country. Let’s all give them a standing ovation for their candor.

© 2016

 

PLANE INCREDIBLE

imagesimages

As clandestine meetings go, this one turned out to be not so clandestine.

As everyone except perhaps California surfers now knows, former President Clinton’s private plane and Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s private plane almost experienced a mid-ground collision on the tarmac at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport a few days ago.

The AG had a speaking engagement in Phoenix, so her presence at the airport was understandable.

Bill Clinton’s presence at the airport seems a bit more coincidental. The Clinton spokespersons would have us believe that Bill was just flying around the country for lack of anything better to do, when his pilot spotted the beautiful Valley of the Sun and decided to drop in at Sky Harbor as a break from spending so much time flying nowhere.

Once on the ground Bill apparently learned that Loretta Lynch was “coincidentally” headed his way for a Phoenix speaking engagement (or whatever). Having nothing better to do than flying aimlessly around the country, he decided to wait on the tarmac until the AG’s plane landed. Being the gregarious sort, he determined that he would pay a little surprise visit on Mrs. Lynch as soon as she landed and her plane was parked. It is unclear whether Mrs. Lynch’s plane coincidentally parked close enough to the former President’s plane so that he would be able accomplish his social visit on foot, or whether the former President’s plane was required to stalk the AG’s plane in order to effectuate the rendezvous.

We also know that President Clinton met alone with Loretta and her husband–no press, no staff, and no security personnel. The next logical questions are “how” and “why”? Either the meeting was pre-arranged among the principals, or he had to communicate through his security folks in order to make sure they understood the rules. One can only imagine the nature of that conversation:

“Mr. Secret Service guy, would you hustle over to talk to the Attorney General’s plane, before she deplanes, to let her know that I, former President and august personage, would like to honor her with a brief social call. Let her know that this coincidental, unscheduled, and completely unplanned meeting is most fortuitous, since I would like to have a chat with her about golf, our travels, and  grandchildren.  Oh yes, and make sure that she understands that the meeting must be completely private. We wouldn’t want the press to glean any information about our golf scores, where we have been, or our grandchildren’s potty training, you know.”

We then presume that an acquiesce by Mrs. Lynch arrived in timely fashion, and the former President, accompanied by his security detail, ambled across the tarmac to the conveniently close Lynch plane, parted company with his security detail, and climbed the stairs into the sanctuary of Mrs. Lynch’s plane. We do not know whether Mrs. Lynch’s pilot and co-pilot were hustled off the plane or were simply sequestered in the cockpit.

So we have a pretty good idea how the details of this chance meeting unfolded–but what about the “why” aspect of the encounter?

We know that both the former President and Mrs. Lynch had in mind that their meeting would go undetected. Neither one left the meeting declaiming–“Wow, what a coincidence, I just unexpectedly ran into former President Clinton!” or “Wow, I just unexpectedly ran into Attorney General Lynch.” In point of fact, we would likely still not know about this “chance” meeting if a local Phoenix TV anchor or reporter had not been tipped off that it was taking place.

Even if one could believe that this little tête-à-tête really occurred by chance, the demand for total secrecy leaves only the very, very naïve to believe that the conversation was limited to golf, travels, and grandchildren.

We will not be so crass as to suggest that the subject of the FBI’s ongoing criminal investigation of Hillary, Bill, and their relationship (and the government’s relationship) to the Clinton Foundation actually came up during the half hour or so meet and greet. Nor was it necessary that Bill raise the subject of the investigation in order to get his point across.

Our surmise is that Bill told Loretta that she was Hillary’s first choice to fill the vacancy left on the Supreme Court by the untimely demise of Justice Scalia. Then he turned the conversation to golf, travel, and grandchildren–so, at least, they wouldn’t have to lie about that.

Pretty clever actually. Without ever mentioning the FBI or its investigation, Bill communicates that if Hillary is actually indicted, she will lose the election, and if she loses the election, Loretta’s prospect of being appointed to the Supreme Court goes up in smoke as well. Anyone but a politician would consider this sort of conduct to be a form of bribery.

The most amazing thing about this fabrication by a high ranking former public official and a current public official, is that, even when confronted with its implausibility, Democrat spokespersons and the Main Stream Media have tumbled to this fairy tale with the gusto of the Brothers Grimm.

Who of sane mind (or any mind at all for that matter) could seriously believe that Clinton’s plane and Lynch’s plane just happened to be in the same place at the same time; or that complete secrecy was necessary for a casual conversation about grandchildren. Please. We know that the principals perpetrating “Plane Gate” are corrupt, but it never ceases to amaze that the media types are so willing to look like ignorant boobs in order to try to conceal the obvious. But then no one ever claimed that Democrats and their support group were lacking in gullibility.

© 2016

JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA

HCK Blog 17 (Justice Antonin Scalia)-2

Rest in peace Mr. Justice. Your legacy as one of the truly great Supreme Court Justices is secure. More than any Justice within recent memory, you have embodied the legal spirit that we believe the drafters of the Constitution had in mind. You have interpreted the Constitution without endeavoring to expand or modify it. Your opinions have been insightful, imminently readable, fair, and consistent–whether as part of a majority or in dissent. And you have carried out your sworn duties with verve, wit, and humor.

We suggest to our readers that they take the time to read some of your recent opinions if they want to understand how a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States should comport himself or herself.

It is however a sad commentary on the state of political life in America today that, before you even had an opportunity to lay in state, the matter of your successor became a political football. President Obama was quick to assert that he intended to carry out his sworn Constitutional duty to nominate your successor. As an aside, it is interesting to observe how this President adheres to the Constitution when it suits his political narrative and blatantly disregards that document when it does not.

And so the President has set the table for the Republican majority in the Senate to, at last, demonstrate to their constituents why it was important to elect that majority. In spite of holding majorities in both the Senate and the House, Republicans have done little to justify the honor that the voting public has bestowed upon them–unless, of course, one believes that acquiescence to Presidential whims, or standing by while the President tramples upon the Constitution, are virtues. But perhaps this is the moment we have all been waiting for–that significant opportunity for the Senate majority to demonstrate that they are not simply Democrats light, that they are more than just appeasers, that they have at long last developed a backbone.

Let us begin by noting that allowing President Obama to have his third nominee appointed to the Supreme Court would be an unmitigated disaster. Who can seriously doubt that a President, who has politicized everything down to the White House china, would fail to politicize the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice who could, and likely would, implement his plan to radically transform America for decades to come?

And so we beseech you Senate majority–stand tall and firm with respect to this seminal event. The President has, once again, endeavored to convince the public that he occupies the moral high ground by promptly performing his Constitutional duty to nominate a new Supreme Court Justice–while, of course, implying that the failure of the Senate to immediately confirm his nominee would be an un-Constitutional response. The Senate majority must not let the President frame this debate. The Senate has “a Constitutional obligation” not to appoint a Presidential nominee who has even the remotest chance of sending the Court in a decades-long, leftward-leaning misdirection. And, by design, the Senate’s Constitutional obligation trumps the President’s obligation. So here is the challenge to the Senate majority–unless the President nominates Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, or Ted Cruz, there is no justifiable basis for the Senate to approve “any” Obama nominee. While we would take some satisfaction from having the Senate remind the President that “they won and he lost” or that “elections have consequences,” we will settle for the simple exercise of Constitutional defiance. We don’t really care whether the Senate exercises its Constitutional duty by means of a blanket statement that no Obama nominee will receive consent of the Senate, by advising the President that any nominee he puts forward will be unacceptable and that no hearing will be necessary, or by going through the exercise of holding a hearing before turning down the nominee (though, in fairness, any nominee who wants and receives a hearing should be advised in advance that the process will likely be a waste of his or her time, of the Senate’s time, and of taxpayer dollars).

The appointment of any Obama nominee will disrespect, and likely destroy, the decades of hard work judicial work by a singular Justice. And if the public good is insufficient incentive for the Senate majority to do the right thing, perhaps enlightened self-interest will do the trick. Cooperation with Obama on this important matter would be a deal-breaker for re-election of any Republican Senator.

To date, the center of the Republican majority seems to be holding firm–although the usual weak-kneed GOP Senators have attempted to straddle the fence by agreeing to meet with Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. We will see if the soft, squishy middle of the Republican Senate is willing to hold its ground. Kudos to Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, of whom we are frequent critics, for so far holding his ground regarding this critical Supreme Court decision.

© 2016

 

 

 

RYAN’S REDEMPTION

Ain’t politics grand? Donald Trump wins the GOP Presidential nomination fair and square, and now most of the folks who promised to support the eventual nominee are either backpedaling or outright reneging. I guess what they meant was that they promised to support the nominee “so long as they were the nominee.”

And now, as if to further demonstrate that the GOP Establishment doesn’t give a fig about what Republican voters want, Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, has decided that he “isn’t quite ready to support” Trump. Apparently, after a staggeringly contentious primary, the Establishment believes that having the Party badly fractured is a good posture to take us up to the Convention in July, through the Convention, and during the run up to the election in November. The Party might as well just pin a note on the back of its institutional shirt that reads “I’m Dumb.”

But suddenly, the Obama administration hands us an issue that should rally and cement all Republicans.

As you may be aware, the State of North Carolina passed a law that requires individuals who are born male to use the “Men’s Room,” and individual who are born female to use the “Ladies’ Room.” Seems reasonable. Seems like a ratification of a long-standing human policy that, when it comes to bodily functions, men and women should repair to separate facilities. Who could possibly disagree with the approach that we have collectively taken since the middle ages that women ought not to have to be embarrassed by having men watch while they “do their thing,” and vice versa? If you guessed the “Obama administration,” you are, of course, correct.

The administration, flush (pun intended) from its victory of having the Supreme Court invent a Constitutional right to gay marriage, has decided that invasion of our potty rights is the next logical, progressive step in the destruction of our culture.

The Obama administration has concluded that the North Carolina statute is unconstitutional because it discriminates on the basis of sex. Even if one assumes that this is not sheer lunacy on the part of the DOJ, it is unclear to us exactly who is being discriminated against. Does it discriminate against men because they can’t use the women’s room, or against women because they can’t use the men’s room, or against men who think they would like to be women because they can’t use the women’s room, or against women who think they would like to be men because they can’t use the men’s room, or all of the above, or some combination of the above?

Here’s a dollop of common sense for the DOJ to consider; while integration may be okay for our public schools, separate but equal should remain the norm for our rest rooms.

Now all of this would be laughable, but for one condition. While the civilized way to resolve such a dispute would be to let the courts deal with the matter. The DOJ undoubtedly realizes that it would be laughed out of court, and, consequently, has taken a slightly more draconian approach. Bear in mind that the DOJ interpretation would apply, not just to public facilities, but to the facilities of private entities with more than 15 employees.

The DOJ has advised the State of North Carolina that, unless the State hews to the DOJs rest room access policy, the federal government will withhold all federal funds that would otherwise flow to North Carolina. Setting aside for the moment the notion that the money being withheld effectively came from the State in the first place, the DOJ’s position on this matter amounts to just plain blackmail. And it should not be condoned just because it is “Obama administrative blackmail.”   Allowing the Obama administration (or any other administration for that matter) to use taxpayer dollars to badger, berate and blackmail those same taxpayers is unconscionable. Blackmail is a crime, and in our estimation, those folks in the DOJ who are responsible for such conduct should go to jail.

So what does all of this have to do with redemption for Paul Ryan? Considering the degree to which he is in disrepute with Republicans because of his ill-considered failure to support his Party’s Presidential nominee, the “bathroom” issue provides Ryan, and his Establishment cohorts, an opportunity to prove that he is willing to listen to the voters and his constituents. He is willing to convince the Republican base with some evidence that the hard work they have done to hand the GOP majorities in both the House and the Senate was not in vain, and is willing to stand up against the unreasonable, intrusive and, frankly, stupid policies of the Obama administration.

Here are a few things that we think GOP leaders in the House and Senate might consider doing in response to yet one more outrageous action by an already out-of-control administration:

  1. Pass legislation that prohibits the federal government from intruding on the gender or sex policies of the several States, or of private enterprise, with respect to rest rooms. It seems unlikely that the President would veto this legislation since the highpoint of his legacy would then become–the President who allowed men to use women’s rest rooms. If he were to veto the bill, you might even get enough Democrat votes to override an Obama veto.
  2. Immediately defund any portion of the Justice Department that has anything to do with this inane policy and with related threats of withholding of federal funds.
  3. Appoint a special committee to investigate the DOJ’s action regarding its policy, its use of blackmail to enforce the policy, and to determine whether any laws have been broken by those in the DOJ, or elsewhere in the administration.
  4. And if you really want to take a more global and forceful approach, enact legislation that prohibits any federal agency to threaten to withhold federal funds tied to any requirement that a municipality, an entity or an individual take any specific action without the prior consent of Congress.

Any takers regarding whether the feckless and impotent Republican Congressional majorities will pursue any of the above actions, or action of any kind, in response to the unconscionable policy of the DOJ?

Bear in mind that the next logical step would be for the DOJ to determine that “separate but equal” is not a sustainable approach to rest room use, and that all such facilities must become unisex. Why stop when you are on a roll?   And what do you suppose the DOJ will do when they find someone who believes that 100% of the time he/she is 50% male and 50% female. Will the DOJ insist that a door must be blasted between the men’s room and the ladies’ room so that this oppressed he/she can wander freely between the two?

At this very moment, Loretta Lynch, Attorney General and surrogate for the liberal Obama administration, has announced that North Carolina will feel the full weight of the DOJ since, after all, the right of men to use the little girls’ room is a logical extension of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Really? We don’t know what she actually thinks, but her recent pronouncements are classic examples of government overreach, unconstitutional violations of the Tenth Amendment, bureaucratic idiocy, and total contempt for the will and rights of the vast majority of honest, hard-working, sensible taxpayers.

We believe that this irrational intransigence on the part of the DOJ, and the Obama administration, is Donald Trump’s ticket to the White House. This is the federal government taking their notion of political correctness well beyond the absurd. Trump simply needs to tap in to the vast majority of sane voters’ belief that the continued expansion of the PC net must come to an end.

Surely, Speaker Ryan, you understand that the Obama administration is driving Americans to distraction, and that you and your fellow travelers are driving us to Trump.

So here is our challenge to you, Speaker Ryan. If you cannot protect little girls in the little girls’ room from indecent exposure by grown men, then you should acknowledge that there is no reason to have a Republican majority in the House and the Senate, surrender your gavel, and go home to Wisconsin. What do the American people have to do to convince you and your compatriots that we are sick and tired of this PC BS and your unwillingness to do anything about it? Hermaphrodites, bi-sexuals, and trans-genders thank you for your public service.

© 2016

 

 

THE RULES ARE THE RULES – EXCEPT WHEN THEY’RE NOT

Here we are in the middle of the 2016 presidential primaries, and what have we learned? That the fix is in–whether you are a Democrat or a Republican.

For years, maybe forever, we have been led to believe, and probably have believed, that we, the public, had some role to play in the political primary process. But this year, due to a very unusual set of circumstances, the scales have fallen from our eyes, the political onion has been peeled back, the curtain has been opened to reveal–the Wizard of Oz.

We have long suspected that the Presidential primary process has been too protracted, too incoherent, and too, well, nonsensical. Why, for instance, should the corn farmers of Iowa or the liberal independents of New Hampshire be given the opportunity to influence the Presidential nominating process of Republicans earlier, and likely to a greater extent, than the residents of other states? Or, on the other side of the aisle, why should the corn famers of Iowa or the Southern Baptists of South Carolina have the right to disproportionately influence the Democrat nominating process? Apparently because we’ve always done it that way (at least since the current primary process was established decades ago). So, after 50 plus years, how’s that working out for you?

Recently, the parties have made efforts to compress the primary process, while still observing the “traditions” of allowing certain states to jump the gun and continue to exercise undue influence. And why do we allow the Republican candidates to verbally assault and denigrate each other during the primary process to the point where their public personas are only slightly more appealing than the paper at the bottom of the birdcage? Apparently because we’ve always done it that way.

So let’s just stop it. Here are a few prospective modifications that would streamline the primary process and make it both less expensive for the candidates and more appealing to the public at large: no campaigning until January of the year of the Presidential election; the allocation of the delegates of all states will be made in accordance with a uniform formula; multiple delegates will be encouraged to stand for election for a given candidate as opposed to essentially being “selected for election” by the local Party officials; no more than two debates; moderators at Republican debates will be conservative Republicans in order to focus the debates on issues rather than endless strings of “gotcha” questions and ad homonym attacks; and all state primary elections will be held on the first Tuesday in March.

Why are such changes necessary? Because, in spite of objectives of Establishment1 politicians of both political parties, most Americans still believe in the democratic process and want a process that is fundamentally fair.

Without being too specific about the distinctions between the primary rules of the GOP and the Democrats, let’s examine the current arrangement. While both Parties’ systems are patently absurd, the Democrat process really does take the cake. While 2,383 delegates are required for nomination of a candidate, there is a huge number of “uncommitted” “Super Delegates” (712 to be exact) just waiting in the wings to intervene at the convention. The purpose of the Super Delegates (all of whom are Democrat “Establishment” political hacks, office holders, or Party officials) is to make sure that, no matter who the Democrat voters select in the primaries, the Super Delegates will be able to “override” the will of the voters. In other words, the function of the Super Delegates is principally to ensure that, should the common voters select a candidate who is unacceptable to the “Establishment,” the Super Delegates will be able to correct the voters’ “error in judgment” by guiding the delegates toward a more “Establishment-friendly” nominee. As a consequence, the Democrat primary process is, essentially, a sham and a fraud. There is no reason for Democrat voters to go through such a meaningless charade. If the voters fail to select an “appropriate” candidate, the Super Delegates will select the Party’s nominee. Sorry Bernie–but as a life-long Democrat, you should have known going in that the process was completely rigged in Hillary’s favor. The problem isn’t really that Bernie is so naïve that he thinks the country will elect a socialist (his main supporters are college students with too much time on their hand, for heaven’s sake), but rather his naïveté in thinking that the Democrat Party would allow him win the nomination (in the Democrat Party it’s okay to be a socialist, but definitely not okay to aver being one). Regardless, we all owe Bernie a debt of gratitude for helping to peel back the façade of the Democrat primary process. Bernie cannot reasonably expect to even become the Party’s standard bearer as a result of Hillary’s email FBI examination or even her subsequent indictment. It seems more likely that John Kerry or Al Gore will be parachuted into the convention in order to reluctantly accept the mantle of Democrat “nominee.” In the final analysis, Bernie’s role in the primary process may simply be to prove to the electorate that Hillary can beat someone, anyone. Unfortunately for Hillary, Bernie has taken his charge a bit more seriously than the Party ever imagined.

And while Republicans have every right to be joyful over the Democrats’ predicament, it’s not like they don’t have problems of their own. Before anyone gets too giddy about the Democrats’ dyspepsia, consider the Republican Party’s untenable predicament. Like Democrat primary voters, Republican voters also used to think that the primary process was an equitable affair–namely, that the determinative factor in the selection of the Party’s nominee is within the purview of the primary voters. Also, not unlike the Democrats’ circumstance, the Republican voters only learned the true nature of the primary process because of the unusual circumstances of the 2016 election. Just as the Democrats have their Bernie Sanders, the Republicans have Donald Trump. The ascendance of those two candidates has brought greater than normal scrutiny of the primary process.

We have considered the inherent inequity of the Democrat primary, so let’s take a brief look under the hood of the Republican process.  For openers, consider that the delegates are basically selected, not through some separate democratic process, but rather by being hand-picked by GOP Party hacks and cronies at the local level. So the Establishment bias of the delegates is baked into the convention cake, so to speak. And while it is true that, by rule, the delegates may be bound to a specific candidate on the first convention vote, thereafter they are likely free to vote for any candidate. Consider also that bound delegates may or may not actually be all that fond of the candidate to whom they are bound. There is no requirement that a delegate even like the candidate to whom he or she is bound. Of course, a GOP primary candidate is advised up front that the rules require a candidate to obtain at least 1,237 delegates in order to become the Party’s nominee. But that’s just a “rule.” And then there’s that pesky rule that purports to limit potential nominees to only those candidates who have won a majority of the delegates in at least eight states. But, as it turns out, the rules that the candidates are operating under were established by the Rules Committee in 2012 and were intended to apply only to the 2012 election. A new Rules Committee, to be convened just prior to the 2016 convention, will actually establish the rules for the 2016 candidates. So let’s see if we have this straight. Candidates have been running for the Republican nomination for the last 6 months, or more, on the basis of rules that were adopted specifically for the 2012 election, which do not apply to the current primary process, and which may be modified or entirely eliminated by the 2016 Rules Committee immediately prior to the convention. In theory, the Rules Committee could conclude that a qualifying nominee must have received less than 150 delegates in order to be nominated (John Kasich, for instance). Or the Rules Committee might decide that any candidate who resides in a Blue State is ineligible to compete. Or whatever other ex post facto restrictions or limitations the Rules Committee might choose to impose and apply to the 2016 convention. In other words if, Mr. Trump hasn’t “bought” the folks on the Rules Committee prior to the actual convention, he may be the peoples’ choice–but that and 75 cents will get him a cup of coffee. One would assume that there is, or at least will be, some prohibition in the rules against outright purchase of delegates’ votes. But since the current rules apply only to 2012, and since the new rules won’t be effective until July of 2016, perhaps there is a window of opportunity between now and July to “do some deals.” Perhaps Trump’s attorneys should look into this possibility. What delegate wouldn’t be happy to receive a free week’s vacation at one of Trump’s Florida resorts? That would certainly be a poke in the eye of an already rigged process. We don’t want to be perceived as suggesting any sort of illegal conduct. We’re just saying . . .

The GOP primary process is the functional equivalent of setting the rules of a football game at the end of the fourth quarter (touchdown one point–field goal ten points) or the rules of a baseball game at the bottom of the ninth inning (team with the most hits wins). We don’t think the NFL or MLB would last very long if it established the rules governing a game at the end of the game. We can’t think of any good reason why the concept should work any better for political parties.

So what are the options if the GOP Establishment tries to stick it to the GOP faithful? Let the Establishment know in no uncertain terms that, if Trump is not the GOP nominee, he will be your third party nominee. Call the Establishment’s bluff. When they tell you that you wouldn’t dare vote for a third-party candidate because it would not only hand the Presidency to Hillary, but would also cost the GOP its majorities in the Senate and the House, let them know that, while they may care about keeping the House and the Senate, you don’t–after all, you gave them the House and the Senate in 2010 and 2014, respectively, and they gave you–six more years of unfettered Obama. If the GOP Establishment thinks for one minute that throwing Trump under the bus to preserve majorities in the House and Senate is a good idea, let them know that, if there is hanky-panky at the convention, you are just as willing to throw the Senate and the House under the same bus. Let’s see who blinks first.

If the GOP Establishment doesn’t have the collective common sense to accede to the wishes of its constituents (as it has failed to do with respect to Obamacare, with respect ot securing the border, with respect to immigration reform generally, with respect to standing up for the police and first responders, with respect to reigning in ISIS, with respect to preserving religious freedom, and with respect to holding President Obama’s feet to the Constitutional fire), then, by God, maybe it’s just time to put the old GOP down and start all over again. And, in the meantime, let those elected GOP politicians who have publically announced that they are opposed to Trump know that, just like everyone else, they get one vote for a Presidential candidate, and beyond that, they should sit down, shut up, and stop subverting the will of their constituents. Otherwise, there will be political consequences.

Donald Trump has suggested that the primary process is corrupt. That would appear to largely be hyperbole. But if “corrupt” means that: (1) the primary process is complicated by design in order to discourage participation by outsiders, (2) the process is set up so that the Establishment can largely control the selection of delegates, (3) the RNC is positioned to set up debates and schedule primaries at the times and places of the RNC’s choosing, (4) the RNC can exert pressure on state GOP representatives to control the primary process to the advantage, or disadvantage, of a particular candidate (consider, for instance, Colorado), (5) the RNC can support and finance candidates with no serious prospect of winning in order to dilute the delegate count of another candidate, and (6) the RNC can encourage the adoption of rules prior to the convention that favor one candidate over others–well then, Donald may not be engaged in hyperbole after all.

Donald’s detractors say that by alleging “corruption “ in the process, he is just a whiner that doesn’t want to play by the rules as announced prior to the beginning of the primary process (you know, those rules that can be amended or imposed at the convention, long after the candidates have committed to strategies). But knowing the rules, or even agreeing to the rules, is not relevant to a determination whether the rules are fair or have been stacked in favor of the Establishment’s preferred candidate.

If someone has his hand on the primary scale to the detriment of one or more candidates, it is little defense to such bias to assert that everyone was aware of the inherent bias in the process from the outset.

_____________________

1Whenever pundits and politicians have an opportunity to respond to a suggestion that the “Establishment” is engaged in nefarious or wrong-headed conduct, the inevitable response is–“Establishment? Whatever that is supposed to mean?” So, for those folks, here’s a relatively simple definition. “Establishment” means the entire GOP Congressional leadership, all sitting members of Congress who are not affiliated with, or don’t have the backing of, the Tea Party, all officers of the Republican National Committee and members of its standing committees, all officers of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee and the equivalent House organization, all major donors to the any of the aforesaid committees or to Super PACs, and all lobbyists who facilitate the flow of moneys from special interest groups to the foregoing individuals, committees, GOP-controlled campaign organizations, and all Congressmen who receive major contributions from special interest groups. We are undoubtedly missing a trick or two here (e.g., major campaign bundlers), but you get the idea.

 

© 2016