Jesse Bohannon announces candidacy (for District 17 of IN House of Representatives)

(District 17 includes all of Fulton County with the exception of Liberty and Union Townships and all of Marshall County. – Admin.) 5/20/15 Jesse Bohannon of Bremen has announced he is a candidate for the Republican nomination in district 17 … Continue reading

Presidents All Around Us (including Mitch Daniels and many others)

Presidents All Around Us
There are dozens of men and women who would make good – or even great – presidents.
By James K. Glassman

This presidential race is shaping up as a contest of dynasties — potentially setting up an election next fall that includes the exact same names that were on the ballot in 1992, Clinton vs. Bush. I’m not knocking former Secretary Hillary Clinton or former Gov. Jeb Bush, but the choice reminds me of Peggy Lee’s 1969 song, “Is That All There Is?”

In fact, it isn’t. Across this vast and varied land, there are dozens of men and women who would make good — or even great — presidents. They come from business, the military, the nonprofit sector and academia. Some are current or former elected officials who are officially independent. Others are affiliated with the two major parties, but because of litmus tests on such issues as abortion, gay rights, immigration or taxes have no chance of being nominated as a Democrat or Republican. (At the end of this article, I list 15 of my own suggestions for a wider field.)

In an interview recently, I asked Roger Porter, the Harvard scholar who served in the White House under Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, what it takes for a president to be successful. Porter identified three categories of presidential endeavor: administrative (running the most complex institution in the world), legislative (initiating policy and building coalitions to get it enacted) and rhetorical (moving individuals, organizations and governments to “make different decisions than they would otherwise make”).
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Reform the Presidential Debate Commission
By Lee Hamilton and Vin Weber

The presidential debates should be among the best live dramas on television, but 27 percent more of the American population watched the three-person 1992 debates than watched the Romney-Obama debates in 2012. To revive the debates, and to make them truly nonpartisan, the presidential debate commission needs to make room for a third candidate on the stage.

The picture that has emerged in recent years is unsettling: partisan campaign operatives openly delivering demands to the supposedly independent commission; big money flowing to the commission’s coffers despite claims that it runs on a “shoestring budget”; and an insular organization that appears to have ignored its public interest commitment by ducking and weaving from hard questions.
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The Electoral College effect — in 3 cool charts

The Washington Post
By Philip Bump

We know this, of course, having learned the lesson very clearly in 2000: The only thing that matters is the Electoral College. Yes, we all go to the polls and do our thing and, in cool states, get little stickers saying we voted. But our votes only sort of count. It’s the electors who determine our president. And most of the time, the electoral-vote margin differs pretty dramatically from the popular vote.

There’s an obvious reason for this: States split their votes but (with just two exceptions) not their electors. So if, say, Barack Obama wins 51.2 percent of the vote in North Carolina, he gets 100 percent of its 15 electors. There have been repeated efforts in various states to link electoral votes proportionally to a state’s popular vote, but usually it wouldn’t make any difference. (If electors were tied to congressional district voting results, the only election since 1992 that would have changed would have been 2012.)

Still, there’s an elegance to the relationship between the two metrics. Inspired by pie charts from the University of Connecticut’s Roper Center, we used data from the U.S. Election Atlas to plot each presidential race winner’s percentage of 1) the popular vote and 2) the electoral vote.

Notice that in many cases, the winner didn’t surpass 50 percent of the popular vote. Since 1860, 25 of the 39 elections have had a winner that was supported by more than half of the voters.

Unsurprisingly, there’s a rough correlation between percentage of popular vote and percentage of the electoral vote. But the key word there is rough.

That’s because we’re dealing with a fairly small sample size, and because the percentage difference between the two has been massive — a 40-point difference in 1980, for example — and it has also been tiny, like the two elections of George W. Bush.

But those tiny margins were more than enough to give Bush eight years in office. The outer ring on those pie graphs up there is the one we contribute to. The inner circle, as always, is the one that makes the difference.

(Philip Bump writes about politics for The Fix. He is based in New York City.)

Town Hall Meetings: When did your congressman last hold one?

By Russ Phillips

My Congresswoman (Jackie Walorski), in her second term, has not held a town hall meeting, thus far. She does meet with special interest groups as well as with businesses and industries and does regularly appear on a local radio show. However, she has not held a town hall meeting where any citizen is welcome to attend and engage her in conversation. This is most unfortunate.

In a previous article it was pointed out that the House will be in recess for eighteen weeks – yes, 18 – during this year and the Senate for thirteen weeks – yes, 13. And this does not account for individual Mondays and Fridays when sometimes they are not in session. Yet, my Congresswoman has not held even one town hall meeting.

My Congresswoman has recently announced she will be running for a third term. However, she has not announced any plans to hold a town hall meeting.

Recently I ran across the following article:

Congress out of session does not mean it isn’t working

The Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University
By Josh Huder (Senior Fellow at the Government Affairs Institute)

The Fix blog at the Washington Post has an article arguing that since 1978, Congress has only worked a full week 14% of the time. This is a common—and extraordinarily misleading– jab at Congress. While it is easy to criticize an institution that frequently makes itself an easy target, it’s a disservice that unnecessarily undermines trust in government.

First, it oversimplifies lawmakers’ jobs. Members of Congress really have two jobs: represent their constituents and govern. These responsibilities do not always go hand in hand. Representing constituents means speaking with them in person, holding town hall meetings, organizing rallies, attending to casework, and otherwise being present in the district or state they represent. This is not easily done from a Washington office. Supporting or opposing legislation is an important part of a Member’s job. However, it does not come close to capturing Members’ range of responsibilities. This is why even when Congress is out of session, Members are at work. Most Members of Congress work a 5-6 day week. The representative aspect of Congress’s job is almost completely ignored in these statistics.

Second, the chambers rarely work in concert. The article concludes on this note: “It is hard to escape the implications of Friday being the weekday on which the House and Senate are least commonly in session.” Actually, both chambers do not need to be in session at the same time. It is not a requirement to legislate nor are the chambers routinely working on the same issues.

The House and Senate are independent, uncoordinated bodies. They work on different issues at different times and most often do not coordinate their schedules. For example, last Thursday (September 18th) the Senate passed 19 bills on its final work day of the week. Among the bills it passed were the Debbie Smith Re-authorization Act (H.R. 4323), Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Amendments (H.R. 594), and the Prevent Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (H.R. 4980). Those bills passed the House on April 7th, July 28th, and July 23rd, respectively. The House did not need to be in session for those bills to pass the Senate, then go to the President. The only time the two chambers need to be in session at the same time is if there is a pending deadline Congress needs to meet (e.g. the debt ceiling, avoiding government shutdown, etc). Otherwise, being in Washington at the same time is not a prerequisite to enacting laws.

Lastly, there is no evidence to suggest more legislative days lead to more legislation. The 111th Congress was in session fewer days than the 112th Congress. Having fewer legislative days did not prevent the 111th Congress from being among the most successful in congressional history while the 112th Congress was the least productive since the Civil War. Similarly, the Senate has often worked more days than the House. However, the Senate routinely passes fewer bills than the lower chamber. It is in session longer because its legislative process requires more time for bills and motions to move through the legislative process.

Congress has a lot of problems. Being in session at the same time or holding longer work weeks isn’t one of them. The 113th Congress has been extraordinarily unproductive, but fewer days in session have little to do with that.

(Did you note in the above article, “Representing constituents means…holding town hall meetings…”? BTW, do your Congressmen and Senators hold town hall meetings? – Admin)