Glenn Beck Should be Speaker of the House

November 14, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Evan A. Schnidman

Or maybe Rush Limbaugh, or possibly Sarah Palin. True, none of these individuals hold elected office, much less have a seat in Congress, but that’s irrelevant. Perhaps the most idiosyncratic rule under which Congress operates is that the Speaker of the House need not be an elected member of the House, or even a member of Congress. Sure, in 200+ years Congress has always elected one of its own to the prestigious post of both most powerful legislator and second in line, according to the current Succession in Office Act, to ascend to the Presidency, but who is to say that things can’t change? After all, some moderate Democrats who were pushing for Bill Clinton to become Speaker instead of Nancy Pelosi after the Democrats retook Congress in 2006.

One needs only to do a quick search on YouTube to findCalifornia Democratic Senator Barbara Boxerholding up the gavel and reminding Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe (who had lost his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works to her as a result of the 2006 elections)that “elections have consequences.” Indeed, most predictions indicate that next week’s election will be especially consequential.

It appears likely that Republicans, led by Tea Party activists, are likely to take control of the House of Representatives. These Tea Party Republicansmay wellmake the ideologically charged Republican class of 1994 look like moderates. Which leads one to ask, why would these ultra-conservative freshman Congressmen vote for moderate Republican leadership in John Boehner? Perhaps it is his charisma, or just his inner (or maybe his outer) glow…

The truth is that Boehner is a lackluster leader and the right wing of the Republican Party has no good reason to support him. He is ideologically left of them and, in many cases, has done little to help them get elected. So, why not bring in a leader with genuine Tea Party bonafides, someone with established national name recognition who has been more integral in getting these new members elected…someone like Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin.

While legislative nuance is not in the particular skill set of any of these high profile conservatives, that hardly matters. All three get an abundance of media attention and have a great deal of skill stirring up support in the conservative base. While Palin would almost undoubtedly refuse the job so that she could continue to make a great deal of money as she sets up her run for President, Beck and Limbaugh would surely relish the experience of actually being in power rather than simply proselytizing through various media outlets,not to mention the possibility that they might get to the Oval Office itself should anything happen to President Obama and Vice President Biden.

While the threat that one of these pundits might be a viable candidate for Speaker might seem an unlikely outcome because mainstream Republicans in the House would resist such a takeover, it is a more genuine possibility than one might initially believe. (Recall that Christine O’Donnell was a 100-1 long-shot against Michael Castle the Delaware Primary). Given the Republican establishment’s capitulation to the Tea Party, many “mainstream” Republicans are extremely likely to submit lest they face primary opposition in 2012 for failure to support the Tea Party’s chosen Speaker.How would you like to explain to Tea Party activists why Good-ole John Boehner is preferable to the Man who wants to “restore real America,” the “King of Talk Radio,” or even Alaska’s own “Mama Grizzly?”

If, as Jon Stewart asserts, America is a moderate, secretly sane nation, one would think that the last thing Americans truly wantis to wake up after an election only to look around and see that the guy scribbling on a chalk board and convincing them to buy gold on Fox News is suddenly the nation’s most powerful legislator. But it wouldn’t violate the laws of Physics, nor more to the point, the United States Constitution.

Evan A. Schnidman is a Ph.D student studying political economy and American politics in the Harvard Government department. You can reach him by e-mail at evan.schnidman at gmail.com

Balkinization

At Least 300 Expected At Ex-House Speaker Jim Amann’s Retirement Party On Friday Night; Lost Bid For Governor

November 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

At least 300 people are expected Friday night at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington for former House Speaker Jim Amann’s retirement party.

Since leaving the state Capitol as a two-term speaker and longtime lawmaker, Amann has started working as a lobbyist for various causes. His most recent return was this week – announcing the filming of a submarine thriller called “Thunder In The Deep” that will be filmed in Connecticut.

Amann appeared with a crowd of officials that included author Joe Buff, two animation experts who flew in on the red eye from California, and various behind-the-scenes executives. The film is expected to create about 200 jobs in Connecticut, and the executive producer said that the film would not have come to Connecticut without the generous tax credits that Amann helped enact as speaker. Connecticut – with the submarine capital of the world – beat out Vancouver for the bulk of the work, but some filming will still be done in Vancouver.

Capitol Watch

The Plane Facts: John Boehner to Fly Commercial as House Speaker … Parks Nancy Pelosi’s Over Priced Air Force Jet

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The GOP changes begin to differentiate the new House from Pelosi’s old one …

Soon to be House Speaker, John Boehner (R-OH) makes a symbolic gesture to show that the GOP got the message from the 2010 midterm elections. Boehner says he will fly commercial, rather than use the Air Force jet formerly used by Speaker Pelosi. Many had speculated what Boehner would do with Peloi’s lavish air travel in a time when most Americans could not even afford coach air fare. Out of control and wasteful government spending was obviously on the minds of voters in the 2010 midterm elections.   The “plane” fact is … the GOP looks to change many House rules.

Boehner’s decision would be a change in protocol from Nancy Pelosi and her predecessor, former Speaker Dennis Hastert, who usually flew back and forth to their home states in whichever Air Force aircraft was available for their use, typically a 12-seat jet.

Beyond changing travels arrangements, Boehner also said he wants the House of Representatives to be more open and transparent than in years past. To tackle that job, he has tapped Rep. Greg Walden to lead a group of GOP members to propose changes to House rules and procedures. The group began meeting Tuesday and will keep talking throughout the week.

Following the midterm election according to Gallup, John Boehner’s approval image has improved but Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s has not. Boehner is viewed favorably by 34%, up from 27% in mid-October. Many still do not know who Boehner is; however, they certainly know Reid, who has high disapproval ratings. Makes one wonder what the people of Nevada were tinking to reelect him back to the US Senate.

Americans’ opinions of House Republican Leader John Boehner, who is in line to be the speaker of the House in the new Congress, improved after the midterm elections. Though 4 in 10 Americans are still unfamiliar with Boehner, more Americans now rate him positively than negatively, a shift from three prior 2010 readings, including one taken in mid-October.

 As the Hot Air Pundit says, would we ever see Pelosi travel with the common folk as Speaker? Not on your live, “not even if they were giving away free Botox”.

A special hat tip to Atlas Shruggs for the retrospective to Nancy Pelosi, wow … things have come a long way. Love the retro! What will Pelosi be most known for … “We Have to Pass Our Bill So That You Can Find Out What Is In It”. Some how for Dems and the MSM it is a badge of honor for Pelosi to have strong armed and overwhelming majority of Democrats in the House to vote for unpopular legislation that lost them control of the House.

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Scared Monkeys

The Plane Facts: John Boehner to Fly Commercial as House Speaker … Parks Nancy Pelosi’s Over Priced Air Force Jet

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The GOP changes begin to differentiate the new House from Pelosi’s old one …

Soon to be House Speaker, John Boehner (R-OH) makes a symbolic gesture to show that the GOP got the message from the 2010 midterm elections. Boehner says he will fly commercial, rather than use the Air Force jet formerly used by Speaker Pelosi. Many had speculated what Boehner would do with Peloi’s lavish air travel in a time when most Americans could not even afford coach air fare. Out of control and wasteful government spending was obviously on the minds of voters in the 2010 midterm elections.   The “plane” fact is … the GOP looks to change many House rules.

Boehner’s decision would be a change in protocol from Nancy Pelosi and her predecessor, former Speaker Dennis Hastert, who usually flew back and forth to their home states in whichever Air Force aircraft was available for their use, typically a 12-seat jet.

Beyond changing travels arrangements, Boehner also said he wants the House of Representatives to be more open and transparent than in years past. To tackle that job, he has tapped Rep. Greg Walden to lead a group of GOP members to propose changes to House rules and procedures. The group began meeting Tuesday and will keep talking throughout the week.

Following the midterm election according to Gallup, John Boehner’s approval image has improved but Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s has not. Boehner is viewed favorably by 34%, up from 27% in mid-October. Many still do not know who Boehner is; however, they certainly know Reid, who has high disapproval ratings. Makes one wonder what the people of Nevada were tinking to reelect him back to the US Senate.

Americans’ opinions of House Republican Leader John Boehner, who is in line to be the speaker of the House in the new Congress, improved after the midterm elections. Though 4 in 10 Americans are still unfamiliar with Boehner, more Americans now rate him positively than negatively, a shift from three prior 2010 readings, including one taken in mid-October.

 As the Hot Air Pundit says, would we ever see Pelosi travel with the common folk as Speaker? Not on your live, “not even if they were giving away free Botox”.

A special hat tip to Atlas Shruggs for the retrospective to Nancy Pelosi, wow … things have come a long way. Love the retro! What will Pelosi be most known for … “We Have to Pass Our Bill So That You Can Find Out What Is In It”. Some how for Dems and the MSM it is a badge of honor for Pelosi to have strong armed and overwhelming majority of Democrats in the House to vote for unpopular legislation that lost them control of the House.

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Scared Monkeys

Boehner Will Fly Commercial as Speaker

November 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)  pledged “that he will continue to fly commercial airlines to and from his home district in Ohio after he becomes the second person in line to assume the presidency next year,” the New York Times reports.

“The announcement was a not-so-subtle dig at the current speaker, Nancy Pelosi, who took heat for flying military airplanes when she returned home to her San Francisco district.”
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

More Liberal MSM Bias … AP Refers tos GOP John Boehner as a “Weepy Speaker In Waiting”

November 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The MSM  just can’t help themself … the state run liberal MSM shows their true colors yet again …

The AP should be ashamed of themself as they refer to Republican US Rep. John Boehner as a “Weepy Speaker In Waiting”. Boehner has not even been given the gavel and become the Speaker of the House and the Democrat bias liberal MSM is already mocking him. UNREAL. Does any one ever remember them using mocking adjectives to describe Nancy Pelosi when she was the Speaker, let olone before she gained the position?

Got hankies? The next speaker is a weeper.

If soon-to-be-ousted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is known for her steely smile and composure, her replacement, John Boehner, has a reputation for tearing up.

It starts with a quaver in the Ohio Republican’s voice. Then there’s a pregnant pause as he tries — usually unsuccessfully — to keep his feelings in check. Soon, he’s choking out words in a rush of emotion, shaking his head and waving his hands as he tries to pull himself together.

It happened most recently when Boehner took his first turn on stage after Republicans seized control of the House in the midterm elections.

Boehner held it together until he got to the spot in his speech when he spoke of his humble origins as one of 12 children in a working-class family.

Then he started to lose it as he told the election-night rally, “I’ve spent my whole life chasing the American dream.”

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Scared Monkeys

Meet The Speaker From K Street: John Boehner

November 8, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), widely expected to become the next Speaker of the House, has promised to create a more “open” and “transparent” Congress. To cultivate an image of independence, Boehner has projected a media profile revolving around his humble upbringing and his refusal to request earmarks.

However, Boehner’s media profile simply does not comport with his career-long record of corruption and influence peddling. Before his ascent to leadership, Boehner had been known for once handing out campaign contribution checks from tobacco lobbyists on the House floor. When Republicans controlled Congress, Boehner and Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) were the point men for former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) in communicating with corporate lobbyists. At one point, Boehner even convened a weekly meeting called the “Thursday Group” to huddle with K Street lobbyists.

As the Guardian’s Paul Harris noted yesterday, Boehner was caught lobbying the Environmental Protection Agency to drop a lawsuit against one of Boehner’s biggest contributors in the steel industry, and has attacked an array of regulations aimed at the specific businesses which contribute to his campaign committee. Moreover, the overwhelmingly positive and uncritical press accounts of Boehner’s career have ignored his cozy relationship with business lobbyists in just the past two years:

– Roll Call reported that lobbyists view Boehner as a “good investment,” and that Boehner assembled a “kitchen cabinet” of lobbyists to organize his fundraising operation, including representatives from Goldman Sachs, Phillip Morris, UnitedHealth, and FedEx. According to the article, Boehner leaned on these lobbyists to pressure their clients to increase their contributions to vulnerable Republican lawmakers. Boehner’s outreach helped his own campaign war chest swell to $ 3.2 million, while his leadership PAC had brought in $ 1.9 million by the end of March.

– In July of 2009, Boehner interrupted House proceedings so Republican lawmakers could attend his annual “Boehner Beach Party” fundraiser with corporate lobbyists. [Politico]

– In December of 2009, Boehner convened a meeting with 100 corporate lobbyists to plot strategy to defeat Wall Street reform. [Roll Call]

– In January of 2010, Boehner organized a House Republican retreat. In an interview with ThinkProgress, Boehner said he didn’t know if any corporate lobbyists would be there. However, ThinkProgress traveled to the retreat, and found lobbyists from Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, and the health insurance industry not only in attendance, but helping to fund the event. [ThinkProgress]

– In March of 2010, Boehner addressed the American Bankers Association, telling corporate lobbyists to fight financial reform. “Don’t let those little punk staffers take advantage of you,” Boehner implored the bank lobbyists, encouraging them to stand up to Capitol Hill staffers. [MarketWatch]

– Last week, Boehner selected Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) to lead his Majority Transition Team to help set the rules and staffing selections for the new Republican Congress. Rather than select a lawmaker with a strong ethical history, Walden gained his new leadership stature by serving as the National Republican Campaign Committee liaison to the big business community for 2009 and 2010.

Boehner and his allies have pledged largely cosmetic attempts at reforming the ethics of Washington. For instance, he has indicated that he is open to cutting his own pay. This move may garner more good press and promote Boehner’s image. However, a more apt symbol of Boehner’s ethical standards occurred four years ago. In 2006, Boehner was caught living in a house owned by a lobbyist who had sought legislative favors from him.

ThinkProgress

From Speaker Pelosi to Weaker Pelosi

November 8, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

I joked last week after she announced her bid for Minority Leader that Speaker Pelosi needed to change her Twitter account name to Weaker Pelosi.

Ask and ye shall receive! An enterprising person on Twitter snapped up @WeakerPelosi and now publishes satirical tweets in the name of the Dethroned One.

There certainly is a wealth of real-life joke fodder.

The New York Times editorialized this morning against Pelosi’s bid, once again regurgitating the Team Obama delusion that the Dems’ failure was a failure of communication:

If Ms. Pelosi had been a more persuasive communicator, she could have batted away the ludicrous caricature of her painted by Republicans across the country as some kind of fur-hatted commissar jamming her diktats down the public’s throat. Both Ms. Pelosi and Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, are inside players who seem to visibly shrink on camera when defending their policies, rarely connecting with the skeptical independent voters who raged so loudly on Tuesday.

With President Obama proving to be a surprisingly diffident salesman of his own work, Congressional Democrats need a new champion to stand against a tightly disciplined Republican insurgency.

Other Democrats who oppose Pelosi’s attempt to cling to power are slightly more in touch with reality. In an open letter, they reportedly implore her to step aside because she will scare away good prospective candidates. Again, they blame the Republicans for “demonizing” Pelosi, rather than her own mouth and actions. But hey, it’s a start.

Via Chad Pergram at Fox:

From a House Democratic Source:

FOX has obtained a letter being penned by defeated House Democrats that implores House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to step aside.

The letter is now circulating Capitol Hill and has not yet been sent to the Speaker. FOX has obtained draft language of the letter.

In the draft of the letter, the members say that they were “victimized by a national wave of resentment toward Democrats, a wave that ensnared you along with us.”

The letter goes on to say “Madam Speaker, fairly or unfairly, Republicans made you the face of the resentment and disagreement in our races. While we commend your years of service to our party and your leadership through many tough times, we respectfully ask that you step aside as the top Democrat in the House.”

The letter says that the defeated members “fear that Republicans will further demonize you, and in so doing, they will scare potential candidates out. The prospect of having to run against their own party leadership, in addition to their Republican opponent is simply too daunting.”

The lawmakers also say that “one mark of a strong leader is the ability to discern when it is time to pass the baton” and calls this a “dark hour.”

Michelle Malkin

New Republic Writer Grudgingly Admits Marco Rubio a Great Speaker

November 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

So just how good a speaker is the new senator-elect from Florida, Marco Rubio? Conservatives are rightly highly impressed with Rubio's oratory, especially his election night victory speech. However, even liberals are giving high marks to Rubio's speaking abilities. John McWhorter of The New Republic even commits liberal sacrilege by grudgingly admitting (after slamming the speeches of other conservatives) that Rubio is a better speaker than Obama. Of course, this also scares him as well:

Marco Rubio, in his victory speech, was the exception, and showed as he often has why he is the Tea Party’s real secret weapon. Starting out with gushy God talk and closing by stressing that he is a “son of exiles,” Rubio is – let’s face it – a better Obama in his way. His Christianity will always be clear to those who care, and his foreign forebears are ones who fled Communism. At first we were to suppose that Obama’s mongrelism made him “like America,” but the leftist Kenyan business is ripe for the Becks and D’Souzas among us to frame as alien, never mind that Indonesia is a Muslim country. Rubio’s foreignness is more cuddly, immune to Fox News-style demagoguery.

Plus Rubio is a natural talker. No stagy incantations of lines based on things other people said long ago; no giggling; no props; no wandering off topic. He can rub a noun and a verb together, with minimal attendance to notes. As a result, like Bill Clinton, he seems intelligent in a way that Paladino and O’Donnell do not, and approachably human and on the ground in a way that Paul, despite his active mind, cannot.

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NewsBusters.org – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Assessing our first female speaker of the House

November 4, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

By Dana Goldstein

A few weeks ago, a friend returned to New York City from a visit to her family in suburban Ohio with the following query: “Why do people hate Nancy Pelosi so much?”

It’s a good question. By any measure, Pelosi has been one of the most effective House speakers in American history, especially given her relatively short tenure. At Salon, Steve Kornacki offers a helpful recollection of her many accomplishments, from health care to student loan reform to the credit card bill of rights to cap and trade. Pelosi consistently delivered legislation that became law, as well as legislation that the Senate then stalled on and failed to pass. As Kornacki writes, Pelosi is unpopular less because of what the House has done or failed to do — most Americans have little idea of those particulars — but because the economy is bad and voters wanted someone to blame.

But there’s another factor that makes Pelosi that much easier to scapegoat: She is a woman — the highest-ranked woman ever to hold elective office in the United States. In January 2007, Pelosi gaveled in her first legislative session as speaker while cradling her newborn grandson (one of seven grandchildren) and surrounded by other legislators’ offspring, whom she had invited to the dais to celebrate. She spoke about her own journey from “kitchen to Congress” and promised that the Democratic Party would govern on behalf of children, and their mothers, too — a vow she fulfilled by collecting the votes to pass the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which insures 11 million kids, and the Lily Ledbetter Act, which made it easier for victims of gender- and race-based pay discrimination to file civil rights complaints and collect back pay.

Her toughest personal moment in politics may have come last November, in the last 24 hours before the House passed the health-care reform bill. Faced with threats from antiabortion rights Democrats to kill the bill, Pelosi — a lifelong pro-choice activist — called the women of the Democratic caucus into her chambers, breaking the news that in order to enact their president’s agenda, the entire group would have to vote for a bill that would further limit poor and middle-class women’s access to affordable abortion. It is a mark of the trust these legislators had in Pelosi — and their commitment to expanding access to affordable health care — that every single one held their nose and voted “yea.”

Unfortunately, Pelosi’s openly feminist approach — as well as her disingenuous self-portrait of a housewife who just sort of stumbled upon political power (in fact, she was a canny operator who, over 23 years in Congress, carefully out-strategized the competition to ascend to the top of the party’s hierarchy) — allowed conservatives to caricature her all too easily. The attacks were vicious. A Republican National Committee campaign, “Fire Pelosi,” made careful, mocking use of her official title, “Madam Speaker.” When she criticized Gen. Stanley McChrystal for one of his many intemperate public comments about the administration’s Afghanistan strategy, ignoring chain of command, the Republican National Campaign Committee spokesperson said, “Taxpayers can only hope McChrystal is able to put her in her place”—barefoot and in the kitchen, presumably, far away from important matters of war and peace.

Most recently, Pelosi’s Ron Paul-backed Republican challenger depicted her as the Wicked Witch of the West. The ad went viral, and Rush Limbaugh picked up the habit of playing the Wicked Witch’s theme song when speaking about the House speaker.

Pelosi never shied away from what it meant to be the first woman to hold such an important job. She spoke openly about the sexism Hillary Rodham Clinton faced while running for president, noting matter-of-factly: “I’m a victim of sexism myself all the time, but I just think it goes with the territory. I don’t sit around to say, ‘but for that.’” And I must admit, I’ve had a soft spot for her ever since, standing in a scrum of reporters at the Capitol in 2008, all shouting questions in her direction, she called on me, noting that I was the only woman among the group.

So as her political career likely draws to a close, let’s raise a glass to Nancy Pelosi. Her legacy as the first female speaker of the House will, I believe, be vindicated by history, which will also remember her as a tough and effective leader of the Democratic caucus.

Dana Goldstein is a contributing writer to the Daily Beast and the Nation, and is a Spencer Education Journalism Fellow at Columbia University. Read more of her work at www.danagoldstein.net.







Ezra Klein

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