Henry Clay is depicted speaking to the Senate about the Compromise of 1850. This lithograph shows: 1. Henry Clay (W-KY), 2. Daniel Webster (W-MA), 3. Thomas Hart Benton (D-MO), 4. Lewis Cass (D-MI), 5. William Seward (W-NY), 6. Vice President Millard Fillmore (W-NY), 7. William Dayton (W-NJ), 8. William M. Gwin (D-CA), 9. John C. Calhoun (D-SC), 10. James A. Pearce (W-MD), 11. Robert F. Stockton (D-NJ), 12. Henry S. Foote (D-MS), 13. Stephen A. Douglas (D-IL), 14. Pierre Soule (D-LA), 15. Truman Smith (W-CT), 16. Salmon P. Chase (F-OH), 17. William R. King (D-AL), 18. John Bell (W-TN), 19. James Mason (D-VA), 20. James Cooper (W-PA), 21. Willie Mangum (W-NC), 22. Sam Houston (D-TX). W = Whig, F= Free Soil.
Since 1789 there have been 1,910 Americans who have served as United States Senators. The average length of service is 12.82 years, which is about two terms. In the 19th century many Senators were unable to serve a full six year term, and only a small number of lawmakers were re-elected. Continue reading
The most visible opponent of childhood immunization is celebrity Jenny McCarthy. She has written two books on the subject and told Oprah Winfrey vaccines are not safe. The response from the American Academy of Pediatrics was: "There's no valid scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism, but because of unfounded fears, the U.S. is suffering its biggest measles outbreak in a decade."
The relationship between autism and vaccines has been a major issue for the past 12 years. Actress Jenny McCarthy and politicians such as Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) have tragically convinced thousands of parents not get their children vaccinated. The link is completely untrue, and many of the leading people who perpetuated this myth were cruel profit seekers. The parents of over 5,000 autistic kids are now requesting compensation for vaccine injury. Of more importance, childhood diseases almost unknown in the U.S. have come back and children have needlessly died. Continue reading
Ron Paul and his anti-vaccine supporters are wrong. Vaccinations save millions of lives every year. People no longer die of cholera, smallpox, scarlet fever, and dozens of other diseases which were once endemic to the United States. Your child should be immunized. A very small number of people have had adverse reactions, but there is no reason to stop these programs. Continue reading
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the new Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, today said ObamaCare will be repealed by the House before the State of the Union Address. Upton said the real surprise will be the number of Democrats voting for repeal. Upton is predicting a two-thirds veto-proof majority. A veto proof (67 votes) majority does not exist in the Senate. Continue reading
With one month to go before the election, prospects for Republican control of the House of Representatives are excellent. Media attention is focused on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her ouster will result in many additional benefits for the conservative movement. When the GOP gains control a top target for the new Speaker will be the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Continue reading
Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) has been running behind in her re-election campaign all year. No one expects her to be re-elected, but in a poll out today she is losing by an astronomical 65% to 27% margin. Lincoln has not committed any crime and she is not among the top Senate liberals. She has not made any serious errors, but organized labor and liberal activist groups spent over $10 million on a primary campaign to defeat her.
The message from Arkansas is that Blanche Lincoln was defeated on the day Barack Obama was elected. The President is radioactive in Arkansas and his approval rating is now at a dismal 31%. The GOP now has one Congressional seat but they are expected to capture 75% of the House delegation in November. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) is more liberal than Lincoln and he is very pleased that he does not have to face the electorate until 2014.
Lincoln inflicted a major wound on herself the day she became the deciding vote on ObamaCare. If she voted no, it meant risking defeat in a primary, but by voting yes she sealed her doom in the general election. Prior to the health care vote she was considered a competent centrist. Once she voted for ObamaCare the tide turned swiftly and devastatingly against her.
President Barack Obama is expected to sign the health care reform legislation tomorrow and he will return to Iowa City on Thursday. It will be his first trip outside of the nation’s capital since the House of Representatives narrowly passed the bill on Sunday evening.
The President will discuss health care at the University of Iowa and in the city where he first unveiled his medical plans three years ago. Iowa City was then a bastion of Obama support but that has changed dramatically. The President’s approval has slipped steadily in Iowa since he carried the state in 2008 and after winning its leadoff Democratic nominating caucuses that year. According to the Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll, only 33% approve of his health care plans while 58% disapprove.
A study released Monday indicates the bill is highly unpopular with the very professionals which will be asked to treat an expanded pool of insured Americans. Seventy-one percent of U.S. physicians said they had an unfavorable opinion of the administration’s plan. The poll of 1,217 physicians was conducted by HCD Research and the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion. Of those who had a negative view of the President’s plan, 80% said the new law would have made them less likely to enter the medical field.
A major reason why American’s have soured on the President can be seen in Iowa. The significant theme in the 2008 Obama campaign was to bring the nation together, and to govern in “a post partisan manner.” That has never happened, and not one Republican in the House or Senate voted for the health care bill. All of the GOP reform proposals were rejected, and it is now clear Obama is one of our most partisan presidents.
Obama has constantly been in the national spotlight since he won the Iowa precinct caucuses on January 3, 2008. His address that evening in Des Moines emphasizes his subsequent failure to cross party lines and to move forward in a bipartisan manner. In claiming his Iowa victory, Obama said:
You said the time has come to move beyond the bitterness and pettiness and anger that’s consumed Washington; to end the political strategy that’s been all about division and instead make it about addition – to build a coalition for change that stretches through Red States and Blue States. . . We are choosing hope over fear. We’re choosing unity over division, and sending a powerful message that change is coming to America.
I’ll be a President who finally makes health care affordable and available to every single American the same way I expanded health care in Illinois – by bringing Democrats and Republicans together to get the job done.
This was the moment when we finally beat back the politics of fear, and doubt, and cynicism; the politics where we tear each other down instead of lifting this country up. . . . We are not a collection of Red States and Blue States, we are the United States of America; and at this moment, in this election, we are ready to believe again.
Barack Obama entered the White House with an enormous reservoir of political and public support. His honeymoon with the American public was greater than any incoming president in the past three decades. He had better numbers, and they were usually by double digits, than Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan or either George Bush on every item traditionally measured in transition polls.
President-elect Obama told CBS’s Steve Croft about his ability to bridge differences and bring people together. He said he wanted to rally Americans to a common cause. To date, the only groups Obama united are the Republican Party and his political opponents. The President is now returning to Iowa but the message of his 2008 campaign has been forgotten.
It is a triumphant night for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the senior leadership of the Democratic Party. A deal was struck in the late afternoon, and pro-life Democrats provided the margin of victory (219 to 212) for the misnamed health care reform bill. There has never been a time in American history when such an unpopular major piece of legislation such as health care reform has become law by such a narrow and partisan margin. Speaker Pelosi used the same gavel which was last seen during the 1965 Medicare debate. The difference is that Medicare and Social Security were popular entitlement programs which had broad support from both parties. The intensity of the opposition (those who strongly oppose ObamaCare) has grown steadily, and 60% of independent voters are in opposition. The best analogy to what has happened would be the 1854 Kansas Nebraska Act, which seven years later resulted in the Civil War.
The argument frequently used by Democrats is based on the need for covering the uninsured, but that is not the health care system’s major problem. According to Robert Samuelson:
The big problem is uncontrolled spending, which prices people out of the market and burdens government budgets. Obama claims his proposal checks spending. Just the opposite. When people get insurance, they use more health services. Spending rises. By the government’s latest forecast, health spending goes from 17 percent of the economy in 2009 to 19 percent in 2019. Health “reform” would likely increase that. . .
Whatever their sins, insurers are mainly intermediaries; they pass along the costs of the delivery system. In 2009, the largest 14 insurers had profits of roughly $9 billion; that approached 0.4 percent of total health spending of $2.472 trillion. This hardly explains high health costs. What people need to know is that Obama’s plan evades health care’s major problems and would worsen the budget outlook. It’s a big new spending program when government hasn’t paid for the spending programs it already has.
Jimmy Carter’s pollster Pat Caddell was on Fox News on today and said the health-care bill is a “political Jonestown” for House Democrats. He said Speaker Pelosi’s insistence on forcing them to vote yes is akin to mass suicide, “The battle for public opinion has been lost. Never in my experience as a pollster can I recall such self-deluding misconstruction of survey data by Democrats.”
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) noted on June 18, 2010, “If you just pound it through on a partisan vote, you have people practically as soon as the ink is dry looking to have it repealed.” He was correct and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) are both pushing repeal bills, and they have 47 co-sponsors so far.
Several prominent liberal activists are upset about allegedly inappropriate remarks made by some tea party protesters who visited the U.S. Capitol on Saturday. Ironically, these same left wing activists have often overlooked outrageous remarks by the senior leadership of the Democratic Party.
Many observers doubt the offensive tea party comments were made, and videotape of the incidents does not support the allegations of the liberals. Nevertheless, the House Republican leadership earlier today released a statement criticizing the alleged comments of a few demonstrators. If offensive comments were made, there is no excusing them. No matter how heated a debate may be, no one has the right to bring into question a person’s race, religion, national origin or sexual orientation, and personal attacks are not permitted on the floor of Congress.
That has never stopped Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA). He said President George W. Bush was sending troops to Iraq to get their “heads blown off for his amusement.” In a debate on national health insurance, he said Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, the then HHS Secretary, was “a disgrace to his race.” Lawmakers such as Rep. Craig Washington (D-TX) supported Stark. He called Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) “a whore,” Rep. Scott McInnis (R-CO) “a little fruitcake,” and Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA) was a “fascist.” He falsely accused Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK) of having children born out of wedlock.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called Bush a “loser” and a “liar.” When Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) did that he immediately apologized, and said “This evening I let my emotions get the best of me. While I disagree with the president’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the president for this lack of civility.” President Obama accepted the apology but Wilson was still censured. That has not happened to any recent Democratic party lawmaker.
Why is the President so persuasive? Seven lawmakers who voted no on health care reform in November switched positions yesterday. They had previously made statements critical of the bill, but flipped after meeting with the President. Perhaps the prestige of the Oval Office had an impact on them? Former House Majority Whip David Bonior (D-MI) tells another story in recounting the 1993 battle over the North American Free Trade Agreement.
It was an usual debate in that Democratic lawmakers were opposing a treaty advocated by a Democratic President. Bonior remembers, “We had about a 25-vote lead going into the last two weeks. The President basically opened the store and people came down to the White House one by one and asked for things — roads, bridges, educational grants, fund-raisers. One by one I watched the lead disappear. The power of the presidency is huge.”
The White House has incredible power, but hopefully these lawmakers will not forget the sentiments being expressed by their constituents. They might also want to reflect on the fate of the 34 Democrats who were defeated in a similar situation.
Health care, tax increases and the prestige of a new Democratic President were also factors in 1993. Then freshman Rep. Don Johnson (D-GA) said “I don’t think I’ll ever forget that time. I remember it quite well, and it is tattooed inside my brain.”
Johnson recently spoke to WSB radio and said he repeatedly told President Clinton and Vice President Gore that he would not vote for a budget deal filled with tax increases. He remembers speaking to Gore on one phone while Clinton was calling him on another line. The Senate Majority Leader, George Mitchell (D-ME), assured him there would be consideration of a cap on the growth of entitlement spending. At the last moment he changed his mind and voted with Clinton.
At the time the Clinton budget was the largest tax increase in history, and it passed by one vote. Every lawmaker who supported Clinton could be described as the decisive vote. Johnson held a town hall meeting shortly afterwards. One his constituents described he scene:
I had never been to one before, but I was energized by the crowd of 75 or so citizens, most of whom were mad as hell at what they considered a betrayal by Representative Johnson. Many of the questioners demanded to know what “Slick Willie” had promised the Congressman in return for his vote. The Congressman’s earnest, almost plaintive, statements that he made his vote in good conscious without any quid-pro-quo of any type were not well received by the hostile crowd.
I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I, and most of the people at that meeting, did not behave respectfully to the Congressman. He was interrupted repeatedly by jeers, shouted rebuttals, and cat-calls. He made his points, but there was nothing he could say that could explain away his critical support for a large, unpopular tax increase. In any event, the crowd was not in a conciliatory mood, and let him know this in very direct and personal terms.
Johnson’s district had always been represented by Democrats but he was defeated in his 1994 bid for reelection by a shocking 31 points. Johnson was booed off the platform during other campaign events, the newspaper in Augusta (which had strongly backed him in 1992) took the unusual step of apologizing to the voters for its mistake.
He lost to a GOP dentist who had never run for elected office before. It was the first time since reconstruction that the district had voted for a Republican, and it remains in GOP hands today. It should also be noted that Johnson tried to run away from Clinton but it did not work because of his voting record. The Congressman said he would not want Clinton to visit his district unless he was “coming down to endorse my opponent.” The Clinton administration did take care of Johnson, and he subsequently received the rank of ambassador in the Office of the United States Trade Representative.
Many Democrats who vote yes on health care reform on Sunday will be defeated in November. It would be better for them and our nation if they would reflect on the consequences. If the bill is defeated the process can start over in a bipartisan manner.