The Weiner Component #164 – President Hillary Clinton & the Republican House of Representatives
If Hillary Clinton is elected President on November 8, 2016, and the probability is that she will be, then the question arises of: How will she avoid political gridlock with the Senate having a Democratic majority but the right to filibuster and the House of Representatives having a Republican majority? Is it possible that she will be able to take the country beyond the point which had limited President Barack Obama, that of a Republican majority in the House of Representatives?
President Obama during his first term in office (2009 – 2012) kept trying to get Republican cooperation. He did not succeed in doing this during either of his two terms in office. President Clinton would be starting out with this knowledge. She would not put herself in a position to be rejected by the Republicans. In this case the responsibility would be clearly theirs to cooperate with her. How could she achieve this?
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt from 1933 on used, what he called, The Fireside Chat to talk the people of the United States through The Great Depression. These were weekly radio broadcasts to the people throughout the country.
At that time the center of family entertainment and news was the family radio. Television did not exist. Presidential announcements were made through it. So were sports, music, and drama presentations. Mothers listened to drama serials as they prepared dinner. Children listened to adventure stories during dinner and afterwards. The family listened to news, concerts, or drama presentations in the evening. President Roosevelt used this device to communicate with the people of America, by giving weekly reports to the nation on what was happening and what was being done by the government. It served as an emotional crutch for the people of the United States.
Earlier, at the turn of the 20th Century, Theodore Roosevelt had used, what he called The Bully Pulpit to transmit his messages to the people. He made his speeches and announcements before crowds and the press. They were carried in newspapers throughout the country. This, when necessary, brought pressure on members of Congress to pass many of the laws he desired for the benefit of the public.
The President of the United States does not make laws. That is the job of Congress. He/She is the chief administrator of the country. But that individual is supposed to lead the nation through his/her party in Congress, by proposing many necessary laws in order to carry out his/her agenda which is supposed to exist for the benefit of the public.
What President Barack Obama proposed after 2011 to a Republican dominated House of Representatives was generally turned down. The Republicans even tried to force him to carry out their agenda by adding riders to many laws which would carry out their agenda which he, in turn, would veto. This was carried to the point of shutting down the government by attaching riders to necessary finance bills.
Currently, during President Obama’s last four months in office, the Republican dominated House of Representatives is refusing to really deal with the Zika epidemic and also refusing to pass anything but a temporary budget to fund the U.S. Government over the next few months instead of for the full fiscal year.
In addition to this the current Republican dominated Senate has been refusing for the last seven months to allow the President to appoint a ninth Justice to the Supreme Court to replace Antonin Scalia who died on February 13, 2016. They want the next President, if he is a Republican, to choose the ninth member of the Supreme Court.
However some Republicans feel that if Hillary Clinton is elected then they should hold a lame duck session and approve President Barack Obama’s choice, Merrick Garland. The argument being that he is more conservative than anyone Hillary Clinton might choose.
My feeling is that the best choice Hillary Clinton could make would be a Constitutional lawyer by the name of Barack Obama; if he would take the job. That would be the second time the Republicans have gotten what they deserve for refusing to properly do their job.
The first instance was Elizabeth Warren, who helped create and was supposed to be the head of the Consumer Protection Agency. They would not allow her to be confirmed so she ended up becoming the second Senator from Massachusetts. This would be the second instance where Republican plans backfired. And there is precedent for this move by Clinton, President Warren Harding appointed former President William Howard Taft to the Supreme Court.
How would Hillary Clinton keep in constant contact with her public? Generally most people in the United States have very little free time. They are mostly busy with work, raising children, and the rest of their lives. It takes a lot of time and effort to closely follow what goes on in Washington, D.C.
Radio has not been an important means of communication since the end of World War II (1945) when black and white television made its first appearance. Today colorized television has become the major means of communication across the country.
In order to have a live, functional agenda the President today needs to have constant contact with the people of the United States. He/She needs to keep in constant contact with her constituency.
He/She still has the bully pulpit. She is the directly hired representative of all the people. And the people, as a whole, can make themselves heard by Congress. And if Congress does not carry out their will then they can fire the entire House of Representatives and 1/3d of the Senate at the next election in 2018.
The President, as the representative of the entire nation, can keep up a weekly communication by weekly reports. These reports can also function two ways with the constituency also being able to communicate with the President through the internet.
This would mean at least weekly reports of what is and is not going on. Up to this point the Republicans in the House of Representatives, all 247 of them are fairly visible; their votes and the issues upon which they vote are recorded but not advertised. It takes a lot of time to dig up that information. It would certainly pay for the chief executive to set up a staff to keep a record of these happenings. They could also script or outline the President’s report and keep the records of public’s communications to the President.
In addition this group could also have easy access on the internet to specific information, like the addresses of all the members of Congress. From this bank of specific information that could be accessed at any time by the public on demand, intense pressure could be brought on any or all members of Congress. Those citizens who so desire could also share their thoughts with the President. It would make the individual Congress members responsible for their actions.
If President Hillary Clinton and/or her husband were to do a weekly television broadcast together or separately each week and specifically state their objectives and then go over what was done or not done by the specific members of Congress and the political party they represent for the prior week that would affect the general electorate. This would be especially true if they had the means to easily respond to these members of Congress. The President could also keep the public aware of their advance plans and what help they could expect from Congress by passing specific laws.
This weekly broadcast would have to be on prime time over one of more major TV stations. I would suspect that CBS, NBC, or ABC might each be willing to carry the program. The major cable networks: CNN, MSNBC, and even Fox News would probably also vie for the broadcasts. This would be particularly true if they could sell commercial time just before or after the broadcasts.
What the White House would be doing here would be keeping constant contact with the voting public whose prosperity would be tied to the White House agenda. It would also demonstrate to the voters exactly what they were getting from all their elected officials. And it would do this with no additional effort by the public except watching a government report each week.
As an additional benefit from an arrangement like this there would be a feeling by the public of contributing to the running of the government. This could allay the feeling of frustration and helplessness many Americans feel about their government.
While there are different governmental philosophies between the two major political parties this type of move could bring about an end to gridlock in Washington, D. C. It’s a little ridiculous to wait four months or more to have Congress sit on the Zika epidemic and mainly argue political points during a national medical emergency. It’s equally ridiculous to have the House of Representatives refuse to fund the government, using it as a means of blackmail to get their way on other issues, because they don’t have the votes to pass those other issues.