US Senate leadership: Era of the dinosaurs continues

Senate leadership

Current leaders in the US Senate. Most have been there for years, with one exception. (Snip: US Senate Leadership)

How much do you know about leadership in the U.S. Senate? Did you know leadership in both parties have striking similarities? 

You probably know who former leader Sen. Harry Reid is. For eight long years Reid, speaking on the Senate floor, assailed Republicans for whatever came to his scrambled mind. A new low was reached when Reid attacked presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney for his wealth.

You may also know Sen. Mitch McConnell who became majority leader after Americans placed their trust in the GOP in November, 2014. McConnell is famous for aiming to make President Barack Obama a one-term commander-in-chief. So much for wishful thinking.

Top of the formal Senate heap is Vice Pres. Joe Biden (D-Del.). He is President of the Senate, for purposes of casting a vote if there is a tie. Biden is best known for his unfiltered remarks, such as telling women to fire a shotgun in the air if we need to defend ourselves. Biden is also famous for manual dexterity when there is a female in his official bubble.

Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is President Pro Tempore. In this role, Hatch presides over the chamber in the absence of the vice president. Hatch won his Senate seat almost four decades ago after criticizing his opponent for being in the Senate for 18 years. Hatch was tight with the Democrat, the late Ted Kennedy, whose family is an icon in America’s royal class, one reason Ted enjoyed remarkable public relations rehab, despite a scandalous past, in his final years.

Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is Majority Leader, one of two leadership positions added in the 20th century. Leaders serve as spokespersons for their party’s positions on issues. The majority leader, as described on the Senate website, schedules the daily legislative program and fashions the unanimous consent agreements that govern the time for debate.

Notable mentions include McConnell’s traditional penchant for distributing foreign aid. The top five industries donating to his campaign include securities and investment, lawyers, and health professionals. The Kentucky senator has accused President Barack Obama of leading from behind. At present, that appears to be what McConnell is doing in the Senate.

Harry Reid (D-Nev.) became Minority Leader after the November, 2014 elections. His role is the same as that of Majority Leader except of course for the lesser numbers of senators his party currently has. Easily the most unlikable man in Congress, Reid has come close to the fossilized state the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D, W.Va.), a former member of the KKK,  often existed in. Byrd sometimes slept during Senate proceedings.

Reid rammed the PPACA/Obamacare Tax Bill down Americans’ throats and promptly went to work to get relief for those he favored. Law firms, lobbyists, and financial entities are Reid’s big money people, a fact suggesting his diatribes against leading GOP donors are either the result of senility or hypocrisy. Or both.

Democrats created the majority/minority leadership roles for the same end goal they have today—to get something they wanted to ram through: “In 1913, to help enact President Woodrow Wilson’s ambitious legislative program, Democratic Conference chairman John Worth Kern of Indiana began functioning along the lines of the modern majority leader.”

Most other leadership posts in the Senate are filled with the same types—power brokers who are long time politics veterans, most of whom are dinosaurs. An exception is Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), a relative newcomer who serves as GOP policy chair and does a great job walking the line, as the Johnny Cash song goes.

These senators’ decisions have had a drastic impact on our lives. Democrats’ policy vice-chair Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was a principal architect of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. The Act was promoted to Americans in a misleading manner, and it has actually made the issues of both legitimate immigration and foreign nationals’ criminal enterprise worse, not better.

Schumer also tipped the dominoes on the financial meltdown by leaking a letter regarding the soundness of IndyMac four months before the presidential election in 2008. If your home mortgage is underwater, credit Schumer for playing a large role.

Every leader in the Senate, except for Barrasso, is long term and old guard. There is one unremarkable female, Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who is a loyalist to party, not country. She counts lawyers, lobbyists, and retirees among her biggest funding industries, and you can probably assume the retirees hail from the big labor sector or possibly the government employee sector.

Although both sides of the aisle snark at each other, they have so far been remarkably consistent in how they do business. Most of these senators have been party to the open borders/lax visa oversight trend that began decades ago. That trend has led to record looting, by fraud, of government funds and record identity theft due to imported criminal enterprise, both individual and group. That same trend has expanded the presence of foreign gangs in US cities. As a result, cities and towns are hard pressed to meet demands in healthcare, education, law enforcement, and also housing for poor citizens.

None of these senators deal with what most of us experience on an everyday basis. The Senate has been very lucrative for most, if not all, of them.

There are a number of younger senators in both political parties. The republic would fare far better if both Democrats and Republicans demanded new leadership whose actions would protect the Republic and halt the ongoing destruction of the middle class. That is what we all should demand, from the left, right, and center.

I have roundly criticized President Obama for his executive overreach, and my criticisms are valid.

Obama, as a junior senator serving for three years before becoming president, made the same criticisms of President George W. Bush. On this as on other matters, Obama apparently “evolved.”

A president can only violate the Constitution if he is permitted to do so. The leadership in the Senate on both sides of the aisle has stood aside and not only permitted, but encouraged the overreach.

At the moment, President Barack Obama and Democrats in the US Senate are obstructing funding for the Dept. of Homeland Security.

Essential services would still be in place, but progressives are messaging Americans in a deceptive manner best described as scare tactics. These Democrats aim for political points; they know Obama’s action has been barred by a federal judge. They also know that any funding for Obama’s de facto legislation would be on shaky ground. It doesn’t matter to them—they care only about appeasing ethnic advocacy groups.

Meanwhile, Sen. Mitch McConnell and most other Republicans refuse to do what Reid did when his party controlled the Senate—use the so-called “nuclear option” to pass the funding bill.

The US House of Representatives, both Democrats and Republicans,  led by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), has on this matter done its job, even increasing some funding for DHS. 

Senators in both parties have balked at legitimate immigration reform since the 1960s. Both parties are now dithering over a bill because of one reason—their desire to accommodate demands of individuals who are technically citizens of a foreign nation because some of their parents chose to come to the US without complying with federal law.

While there is a need for Congress to address the so-called ‘DREAMers’, there is also a need to address those in this massive unvetted population who come here to commit criminal acts. There is also a need to address our open borders, both physical and intangible (visa oversight). We still have no viable border metric to determine removals, and DHS has admitted criminal aliens have been released into our communities.

President Obama knows his actions will flood an already overwhelmed bureaucracy. He does not care. He has promises to those ethnic advocacy groups to keep and these promises he plans to keep if allowed.

As the funding debate continues, this president who is unwilling to respect the division of powers established in the US Constitution, has pledged to veto the Keystone XL pipeline, thereby killing thousands of jobs that would pay more than the average wage our president harps on constantly.

We all deserve better.

The era of the dinosaurs should come to an end for the wellbeing of the republic. We can at least look forward to 2016 when, hopefully, we can elect a president instead of a monarch.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Feb. 24, 2015)

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About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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