The party of ideas versus the party of Dr. Seuss

“The liberals now want to cancel Dr. Seuss.  I’m drawing a line in the sand on this one.  And that, is why I’m asking you to stand with me.  In 2013, while filibustering ObamaCare, I read Green Eggs and Ham to my daughters on the Senate floor.  If you’re willing to stand against cancel culture by donating $60 right now, I’ll sign a copy of Green Eggs and Ham and send it to you.” Senator Ted Cruz fundraising appeal

The first seventy days of the Biden administration have drawn a serious contrast between the Democratic Party and the Republican (aka Trump) Party.  The evidence is in both words and activities.

Ted Cruz, once and future Republican/Trump candidate for president, has been having a great time promoting Dr. Seuss books in the face of the publisher’s decision to remove certain books from sale.  What a great contrast he shows of what the parties are offering voters:  Cruz signs copies of Green Eggs and Ham while Joe Biden signs the American Rescue Plan.

That plan provides relief for individuals, families, schools and universities, and businesses while ramping up COVID vaccinations and treatments.  Polling has consistently shown bi-partisan support in the 70 percent range.  Even Republicans are in favor, polling about 60 percent positive.  Another poll found that more than 30 percent of Republican voters believe that Republicans in Congress supported the Rescue Plan despite the fact that not one of them voted for it.

The Trump administration left Biden to deal with the prosecution of the January 6th Trump insurrection plus crises concerning the vaccination rollout, the unemployment and economic collapse, climate matters, and assorted international problems that need serious attention.  Don’t bother looking for proposed Republican solutions to any of those issues.

Another serious matter is the problem along the southern border, a dilemma that has confronted this country and several administrations for decades.  Getting a handle on the immigration issues will need more than Executive Orders.  Legislation will be a challenge in a Congress that is essentially divided right down the middle by party, with aggressive and uncompromising elements on the fringes of both sides.

The Republican approach to the immigration issues is to send gaggles of House and Senate members to observe the border.  Lots of photo ops for those people, but they offer no legislative solutions.

The Democratic approach to the issues facing this country is to propose legislation from Biden and from members of Congress – real words on paper, intended to be debated, hoping to be enacted.  That is are how laws are made – one of your basic civic lessons in school.

Republicans have no proposals on the table to improve health care, education, the environment or jobs.  No plans to deal with the border issues are forthcoming.  “No” is not a solution to any problem.

For many years now there has been lots of talk in Washington about the need to repair and replace aging roads, bridges, airports, and transit facilities.  In fact it was discussed so much over the last four years that the Trump team’s “Infrastructure Week” became a running joke.

Infrastructure is a trillion dollar problem that will require making some hard choices.   Some of the cost should be borne by tax increases like rolling back 2017 Trump tax cuts to the wealthy.  An increase in the gasoline tax, which hasn’t changed since 1993, should be on the table.  But ”tax increase” to Republicans is like kryptonite to Superman.  While actual legislative proposals will be coming from Biden and congressional Democrats, Republicans will busy themselves with opportunities to promote culture wars that are intended to divide America.

There was a time when Congress actually debated proposed laws and when policies could be proposed and compromises could be developed for the good of the country.  Tip O’Neill could work with Ronald Reagan.  Republicans like Jack Kemp made their mark by promoting their ideas and looking to make those ideas laws.  No more.

Both parties share some blame for allowing debating and legislating to be abandoned.  Congressional rules, particularly the filibuster, have stymied the ability of well-intentioned legislators to get something done.  But changes to the filibuster rule come with its own obstacles.

Ideas can have power; words can lead to action.  Democrats are now the party of ideas, and they need to keep plugging away at it.  Maybe someday Republicans will have more to talk about than Green Eggs and Ham.

Politics on the radio

Veteran political journalist and participant Tony Farina has debuted a new radio show where he discusses politics of the day along with guests and call-ins. The show airs on Wednesdays at 6 PM on WEBR AM 1440.  Give it a listen.

For detailed reporting and analysis of local news, check out the latest articles on Investigative Post, including my Money in Politics reports.   This week we are reporting on Congressman Chris Jacobs’ fundraising.  www.investigativepost.org

Follow me on Twitter @kenkruly

Andrew; Kevin; six years

Andrew

As we head toward final approval of the new state budget, the whole world is waiting to know:  how much funding will there be for the Tug Hill Commission?  You can look it up.  Okay, what the state and the country want to know is, is Governor Andrew Cuomo going or staying?  He’s staying.

Although maybe if the investigation into the governor’s alleged improprieties by the Attorney General’s office turns up convincing evidence, Cuomo will have no choice but to go.  He has said, wait for the results of the investigation.  So have the dwindling number of his supporters.

Or maybe there is something to the FBI investigation.  Would that make him go?

Or maybe the Assembly’s impeachment inquiry gets some momentum and the threat of impeachment helps him conclude that it is time to leave.

Or maybe after the state budget is done he can depart the stage with that out of the way.

Or maybe he’ll just serve out his term and go do … what?  It would be hard to imagine what that would be.  Politics is in his blood.

In the meantime we have a governor who is distracted by all the negative attention; a governor who has lost allies, such as they were, that will be needed to do whatever it is that he believes needs doing during the next 21 months.  Or maybe that just does not matter to him.

In the meantime politics will go on, the business of government will go on, and the state of New York will go on – waiting.

Kevin

There are some people in Western New York who pay attention to and support the activities of attorney Kevin Gaughan.  At the moment the focus of those people is on Gaughan’s plans for building a new golf course; converting an existing golf course into an arboretum; and redesigning another golf course into a different configuration.  There is also some discussion about an educational element connected with these projects.  Golf legend Jack Nicklaus is part of the planning process for the golf courses.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that golf is not the popular sport it once was.  It seems highly likely that there are not a whole lot of people in Western New York or anywhere in America who are particularly interested in developing and redeveloping golf courses in Buffalo through personal financial contributions.

Evidence of that lack of interest was noted in a recent Buffalo News article which detailed the financial problems that Gaughan has run into with the purchase and development of property for his new golf course, a situation that is not surprising.  Raising very large sums of money is difficult even if there is broad public support for the project.  That is not the case here.

This latest Gaughan project will sooner or later come to the conclusion that it is a no-go.  Hopefully investors, such as they are, will get their money back.

Gaughan’s project is under the aegis of an organization named Better Parks Buffalo.  There are no federal 990 tax returns available to see how the organization is structured or funded. 

You can now return to your previously scheduled programming.

Politics and Other Stuff at six years

My first post on Politics and Other Stuff was published on March 24, 2015. 

We are on our third president since then, having gone through two election cycles unlike any others in American history, ending with a Trump-inspired insurrection at the United States Capitol.

We have been going through the first pandemic in one hundred years, which has disrupted life like no living person has ever seen. 

Locally not much has changed in politics, with most major offices in the same hands.  There will be at least two new names among that group in January.  Party leadership has been pretty stable.  The list of official parties has changed somewhat.

In other stuff, the Bills have come back to life with three playoff appearances and one trip, so far, to the AFC championship game, with more success in the offing.  Go Bills!

I hear that Buffalo once had a franchise in the NHL – the Sabres I believe they were called.  Maybe the Pegulas can bring the team back to the city.

As a baseball fan I find it kind of neat that Buffalo was in 2020 and may soon again be the temporary home of a major league team.  Go Jays!

This is the 423rd post over the past six years; more than 462,000 words have been written.  Readership and subscriber numbers for Politics and Other Stuff are doing well.  The blog’s subscribers include political, business, academic, and news media leaders as well as other readers of all political persuasions

Lots of facts have been provided.  You have first read many political stories here.  There have also been opinion pieces that some have applauded while others have booed.  I thank all of my subscribers and occasional readers for taking the time to read the posts.

I would also like to thank my friend of more than five decades, Paul Fisk, for all his assistance in editing this blog.

Be well and stay safe!

For detailed reporting and analysis of local news, check out the latest articles on Investigative Post, including my Money in Politics reports.   This week we are reporting on Congressman Chris Jacobs’ fundraising.  www.investigativepost.org

Follow me on Twitter @kenkruly