Posted tagged ‘harry reid’

Pelosi, Reid – Time For Change?

December 4, 2014

The dust has settled on the Washington playground providing Democrats a moment to catch their breathes. Come January there will be a new Congress with both houses in GOP control. Nancy Pelosi could again be minority leader in the House while Harry Reid would have to relinquish his gavel and become, maybe, the minority leader. Is it time for changes?

The public image that both Pelosi and Reid have developed would argue Democrats, eyeing 2016, would be well advised to put new faces on the Congressional leaders. The flip side of that coin is whether in the rough and tumble world of Congressional politics there are two more qualified leaders. Hmmm.

Another point to keep in mind is that the Democrat loss in this past election is hard to lay at Pelosi and Reid’s feet. President Obama was the target most Republicans used to run against. Never the less, it might be time for a change.

Nancy Pelosi has provided both a seniority and a gender role model. Her hard, somewhat cosmetically touched up features do not project that well visually and her voice is equally distracting.

Harry Reid has battled hard for President Obama and shielded the President from endless vetoes. A former boxer, Reid just does not project the warm and friendly image Democrats may need.

So why change?

Voters have shown that past performance is no indication of future results. Voters increased GOP numbers in both houses after the GOP shut down the Government and said no to every piece of legislation. Bad behavior made little difference. If Democrats stay with the same leadership, why should they expect a different outcome in 2016.

Pragmatically, Congress lacks sufficient votes to over turn a Presidential veto, so why should Democrats worry about new leadership.

The upside with new leadership, since Democrats will be in the minority, is that they can espouse all sorts of policies and not have to worry about whether they would work. The GOP is not going to adopt any Democrat proposal. In other words, Democrats should be prepared to take a page out of the GOP playbook (with one important change).

Democrats should be for immigration reform, job creation, a stronger economy, and a foreign policy that brings security to the US. They should advocate for these policies with a charming and television friendly set of faces. They should leave the “just say no” to GOP legislation to the President’s veto. Hmmm.

There is, of course, so much more we could (should) ask of our Congressional leaders. With the amount of money fueling the race for office, it will be very difficult for either party to conduct sensible leadership.

For 2016, winning the White House again and potential regaining control of the Senate is probably the best Democrats can hope for. With Reid and Pelosi, that is less likely an outcome.

Sense Of History

July 16, 2013

Senator Harry Reid says he is laying down the gauntlet.  Either the Republican minority allow an up or down vote on 6 Presidential executive branch appointees or he will ask his Democrat colleagues to change Senate rules.  This issue shows the Senate at its dysfunctional best.  Where are the grown ups?

Filibusters are designed to protect strong minority views from being trampled by a simple majority vote.  This feature is a marvelous gift from our founding fathers and was meant to provide protection for minority opinions… on important matters.  The filibuster was not intended to block appointment of executive department heads just because the current Senate members do not like a certain department.  If they do not like the department’s duties, then change the law.

The GOP has been sliding down a slippery slope since 2008 when they determined that just saying no was a way to block President Obama proposed activities.   Not surprisingly, just saying “no” carries with it apparently unforeseen consequences.  To be effective, more and more nominees had to be blocked, even those clearly qualified and deserving.  Departments, some with no controversy, must be left leaderless.  Hmmm.

As a consequence, the Senate role of advise and consent becomes laughable and meaningless.  The GOP has consequently put Democrats in the position of either accepting a meaningless Senate or changing the rules which have historically protected both Democrats and Republicans when they were in the minority.

It seems like a no brainer decision to me.

The best outcome I could imagine (other than the GOP changing its ways) is that Senate Democrats would vote to change the rules, and having accomplished the requirement of a simple majority on executive appointments, Harry Reid would resign as Senate Majority leader.   If not, we can look forward to the next Supreme Court nominee waiting until hell freezes over hoping to get confirmation.



Help President Obama Does Not Need

August 6, 2012

Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, and House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, are two political operatives whose help is too often the opposite for other Democrats and especially President Obama.  Their public remarks and TV personas do not evoke a populist response.  Instead, Harry and Nancy symbolize why a 9% Congressional approval rating is well deserved.  I wonder why?

Let’s see.  Both are career politicians.  Both have fought their way (making deals) through the back benches and emerged as their party’s choice for Congressional top leadership positions.  Both speak in a whiney back biting manner.  One immediately thinks, “liar, liar, pants on fire”.

This past week Reid was quoted as saying that GOP challenger, Mitt Romney, had not paid any Federal taxes for 10 years (the implication being Romney’s returns showed no taxable income).  Since Romney has not released his tax returns, how would Reid know?

What we do know is that Financial Statement reports (not tax returns) released by both Reid and Pelosi show that their net worth have increased significantly during their time in office.  The taint of office perks makes one question (without any facts) how both increased their wealth so much?

The take home message from Reid’s statement is not that Romney paid zero taxes (if he actually did pay zero) but that Romney qualified for legal tax deductions and benefited from a tax code which favors the wealthy at the expense of everyone else.  Saying Romney paid no taxes gets quickly to “yes, he did”, and “no he did not”, rather than “Romney’s tax returns show convincingly what type of world he favors, one for the rich and one for the rest”.

Reid and Pelosi have their share of rich friends too.  These Democratic rich friends must be wondering what Reid is thinking unless his message is about helping his friends get more from the public troth.

It is going to take a cool mind in this Presidential election to sort through what is relevant and what is not.  Listening to Reid and Pelosi (as well as McConnell and Boehner) will not help.


Transparency, Is That What We Need?

July 19, 2012

Democrats, many Republicans, and the media are banging on Mitt Romney to disclose more years of his tax returns.  Mitt says, “nope, 2 years are enough”.  End of story?

The question is why should he release more returns and what’s at stake if he doesn’t.

The answer to those questions is it depends upon whether you are Mitt Romney or not.  If you are Mitt Romney, you can conclude that what you have already released is sufficient to understand his financial connections.  To release more years will not show him to have gained sudden wealth or to paid any higher a 14% tax rate (some pundits speculate that Romney may have had years of 0%).  Releasing more returns would just raise more questions when his objective is to discuss President Obama and the economy, not his tax returns.

If you are not Mitt Romney, you might like to know more about how he has accumulated his wealth.  What complex financial instruments has  he used to pass money from Bain to himself, or where has he invested off-shore (at favorable tax levels).  In essence, what legal tax tricks has Mitt used to make a lot of money and pay very little taxes?

Discovery would almost certainly reveal that the tax code is highly tipped in the super rich’s direction.  That would lead quickly to how can he, in good conscious, favor more tax reductions for the rich while cutting social services for those who can’t afford the tax breaks he receives.

So what should Romney do?

Let’s use Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi as guides.  They have both called for the releasing more years, and criticized Romney’s character for not releasing.  “What is he hiding” they infer.  But wait.  How many years of tax returns have either of them released?


Mitt’s father George Romney released 12 years of returns.  John McCain released 2.  Releasing multiple returns tells the public whether you are a wealthy person and gives an indication of how you made your wealth.  In Mitt Romney’s case, releasing more returns will almost certain parade before America the vastly different set of rules the very rich have, compared to the middle class.  Mitt is thinking that is not a good idea.

My guess is that Mitt will not release more years.  He will say he is following recent precedent and take the heat.  The IRS is charged with ensuring Romney’s return meets the tax code standards.  Public release is about satisfying public curiosity, not whether Romney cheated on his returns.

The tax return issue has morphed into a huge hypocrisy subject.  Standing tall, Romney says his returns are absolutely consistent with the law.  He is proud of his 14% tax bracket even though that is well below the average person’s.

He is just as confident that further tax reductions are necessary and social safety net programs need to be cut to accommodate these proposed tax reductions.

Look me in the eye and say that.


Pelosi and Reid

February 27, 2010

If the Blair House was the headquarters of a vibrant American corporation and last Thursday’s Health Care Summit was a meeting of its senior executives, I think there would have been new jobs in line for Senate Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Their behaviors and rhetoric were far beneath the dignity of their positions and demeaned the importance of this meeting. Their performance clearly call into question their ability to lead.

Seniority and gender recognition are powerful reasons to consider in picking leaders but both have limits. Representatives Dingle and Rangel both added nothing of value in their comments and in effect detracted from the strength of President Obama’s proposals.

Thursday’s meeting was not that of a corporation but sadly it was a meeting of the senior leaders of our Country. It was inescapable that these four “leader” speak to the often overlooked wisdom of “term limits”.

Do We Need This?

January 1, 2009

Roland Burris has been named by Governor Rod Blagojevich to fill Barack Obama’s former Senate seat.  Burris appears on first reports to be a perfectly qualified person and could be ready on day one to serve.  There are just two problems.  (1) The Illinois Secretary of State will not certify Blagojevich’s appointment and (2) Senate leaders have said they will not seat Burris if he does appear for work.  What are these people thinking?

Under Illinois law, Governor Blagojevich has the authority to appoint Obama’s replacement and since Blagojevich is still the governor, it would seem open and shut.  Unfortunately, Blagojevich was arrested on Federal charges of corruption including an attempt to auction off Obama’s seat for personal gain.  So the righteous Senate leaders have decreed that any appointment by Blagojevich will be suspect and therefore unacceptable for membership in the Senate.  Do you smell the odor of majority control?

The Democrats and especially their Senate leaders need to pause and consider carefully the precedent they are setting.  The choice of who should represent Illinois is that of the State of Illinois and its citizens.  And should the Senate forget, the principle that someone is innocent until proven guilty is one of our legal systems corner stones.  While there may be others who could fill Obama’s position, and for a variety of reasons, may be more acceptable to Senate leaders, that is not a place they should go.