Tag Archives: vice-president

Very Interesting…

Most of us of a “certain age” remember Arte Johnson’s Laugh In character who would emerge from undergrowth at points in the show and declaim “Veery interesting!”

A reader sent me a column that elicited a similar sentiment from me as it had from him. He wanted to know whether the legal points being raised were accurate. As I indicated, it’s an area far beyond what expertise I still–or ever–had, but I promised to do a bit of research.

The article itself, titled “Who’s Afraid of Mitch McConnell,” asserted that even in the absence of wins in Georgia, Kamala Harris has authority under the Constitution to call on any senator who will call up one of the numerous bills on which McConnell has refused to allow  a vote. Lawyers who read this blog can click on the link and draw their own conclusions.

I did some limited research, but Dr. Google let me down, so I turned to a couple of lawyers I know, who met my very stringent criteria: they had to be good lawyers, they had to be politically savvy, and they had to be nice people who were likely to humor me. (So–one of my sons and a friend who is really, really smart. Both named David.)

That friend summed up the problem with the article’s thesis thusly:

Certainly not my area of expertise, but I see three problems with the analysis.

First, custom becomes rule. The idea that a VP could come in and do this without a massive response is pie-in-the-sky. The pushback would come from Democrats as well as Republicans, protecting Senate privilege and custom from interference from the Executive.

Second, it ignores the elephant in the room, cloture. Even if Harris could do this, it still takes 60 votes to stop debate, and Republicans not only have them, but such a strong-armed move would guarantee a complete shut down of the Senate, with no negotiation or compromise.

And third, it assumes today’s Republicans are capable of shame. The idea that bringing a vote to the floor would change their behavior is akin to assuming that putting a bow on a rabid pit bull will make it a poodle.

My son was–if possible–even more negative. His comment (edited slightly for profanities–he takes after his mother):

I agree with David. I would add (as I mentioned on the FB page of the guy who circulated this point a few weeks ago) that the ONLY thing the applicable clause of the Constitution says about VP and Senate is that the VP is the President of the Senate and gets NO vote unless the body is evenly divided…. hardly a textual position of strength to argue that the VP can come in and dictate who gets to preside and run the show.  

Also, the argument is somewhat internally contradictory — on the one hand, the Constitution grants her sweeping powers to override longstanding, informal rules, on the other hand, the VP’s “priority recognition”-power IS one of those informal rules. 

Of course, all the other practical/political/prudential reasons David noted are also at work.   

I think it’s a fantasy, particularly in a world where EVEN IF Dems retake the Senate by winning both Dem seats in Georgia, f***ers like Manchin and Feinstein stand ready to kill any attempt to even soften the Filibuster that would defang McConnell.   

Actually, his last sentence suggests his current mood, and may indicate a need for intervention–or at least, strong drink:

The country is doomed. The sooner we all move away, the more peace of mind we’ll have. 

It would be lovely if the Constitution or some other part of the legal system had a shortcut we could use to repair what is broken. It doesn’t. We have a lot of work ahead of us–and failure to do that work would doom the American experiment.


Well, No One Ever Accused Pence of Being “Politically Correct”…

The Donald’s 2016 Presidential campaign is looking more and more like a really bad comedy–one of those films that tries to be clever and just ends up being an embarrassing groaner. Or maybe the appropriate comparison is to a train wreck.

Whatever it is, you want to look away–to just hide somewhere until the whole thing is over–but you really can’t take your eyes off the continuing farce…

The latest speculation is that The Donald might tap Indiana Governor Mike Pence to run as his vice-president. According to the Indianapolis Star, the two met over the weekend.

Marc Lotter, Pence’s deputy campaign manager, was not able to say whether the two talked about the possibility during the meeting.

“They talked about policies that are working in Indiana and the future of this country,” Lotter said. “Nothing was offered during the meeting, and nothing was accepted.”

Pence endorsed Trump in May, after first endorsing Sen. Ted Cruz ahead of the state’s May 3 primary election. Cruz dropped out of the race the day after losing Indiana to Trump, who received 53.3 percent of votes.

“I’m fully supportive of our presumptive nominee, and I do think Donald Trump will do well in the State of Indiana,” Pence said at the time. “I’m going to campaign hard for the Republican nominee because Indiana needs a partner in the White House.”

If they discussed policies that are working in Indiana, it was a very short meeting.

A political commentator on CBS, asked to discuss Trump’s likely VP choice, noted that Republicans who would be remotely credible had all made their disinterest in going down with this particular ship quite clear. That leaves Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie…and Pence. (Interestingly, all three have approval ratings in the 30s–just like The Donald.)

Evidently, the “calculus”–if anyone on the Trump train can spell calculus–is that Mikey would help shore up the religious right vote. (He certainly wouldn’t help with women or minorities or those pesky “elitists” who want their elected officials to understand the Constitution.)

Pence cannot run both for re-election and the Vice Presidency, so if he’s tapped and amenable, he will have to withdraw his gubernatorial candidacy.

I find this scenario fascinating and oddly satisfying. It would spell the end of Mike Pence’s political career (one small step for mankind…). A last-minute switch of the GOP’s candidate for Governor would probably assure John Gregg’s victory in November. It would give a lot of Hoosier voters an additional reason to reject Trump–not that they don’t have plenty of reasons already.

Most of all, I would love to see the inevitable political ads featuring clips from Pence’s disastrous RFRA interview with George Stephanopolous.

“Now George.” “Now George.” “Now George.”  Not a Sarah Palin performance, perhaps, but close enough.

This all really is like very bad comedy.