Wednesday’s Political Odds & Ends

Avoid popularity; it has many snares, and no real benefit. – William Penn

Yesterday was a busy day full of political news!

Today I write about the Democratic Presidential Debate, the Speaker of the House job that just became bigger news in Montana, plus I comment about a report on communicating with your elected officials.

Say it ain’t so, Ryan:

When I happened to catch the Associated Press (AP) story about U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke (R-MT) saying he was considering running for Speaker of the House, the first word that came to my mind was “clever.”

I actually like Zinke. He’s a veteran and we need more veterans serving in Congress, but he’s nowhere near ready to be Speaker of the House.

Zinke told the AP that callers to his office have been urging him to run. I worked in a U.S. Senate office for almost a dozen years and some of the callers were bat-crap crazy. Zinke may not have figured that out yet in his short tenure as a Congressman.

After the story hit, it did not take the Montana Democratic Party and the lefty blogs in Montana to go after Zinke. Face it – if Zinke discovered a cure for cancer the Democratic Party and the lefty blogs in Montana would find something to complain about – that’s their job.

Zinke does not have the staff and can’t cover his district (which is the whole state of Montana) now. Being Speaker would mean he would be in the state even less.

Zinke comes from a military background. I do too. Those who have never served have a hard time adapting to military-style leadership. “Civilians” get their feelings hurt a lot when they have a superior with a military background. Zinke would have about 434 members in the House who might not appreciate his style of leadership – although members of the House could use a little discipline. It would be like herding cats. They don’t follow “orders” because they all think they are in charge.

What Zinke did in announcing that he was considering running for Speaker was clever because it gets him some much-needed publicity. He’s one of 435 members. House members are in continuous campaign mode.

In the long run this little announcement that was gobbled up by the gullible Montana media will end up helping Zinke where it counts most: in the campaign pocketbook.

It was a clever move.

The Democratic Presidential Debate:

We watched the Democratic Presidential debate last night at my house. We all agreed that Hillary Clinton won the night with Bernie Sanders coming in second. The other candidates were Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee.

I think Clinton’s performance might keep Vice President Joe Biden from jumping into the race and has given Republicans concerns that she is stronger than ever. Clinton performed very well and took over the debate right from the beginning.

Here is the AP’s Fact Check story that they do after almost every debate. Everyone should read it.

I agree with the Associated Press that this part was one of the most interesting parts of the debate:

One of the most notable moments came when Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, her most formidable opponent, rose to her defense on her much-criticized use of a private email server as secretary of state.

“The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails,” said Sanders. “Enough of emails.”

When Lincoln Chafee went after Clinton, she put him in his place with just one word:

Chafee on multiple occasions drilled home that he has “had no scandals,” that “credibility is an issue” and the country needs an ethical president. The moderator asked Clinton whether she wanted to respond.

“No,” she said, brushing off Chafee with a grin.

Overall the candidates seemed united on many issues, unlike what we’ve seen in the Republican debates.

Communicating with Elected Officials:

If you don’t feel your elected representatives are giving you the time you deserve or not answering your emails and letters, USA Today reports that a relatively small number of citizens can grab a member of Congress’s attention through social media.

The information comes from a survey done by the non-partisan Congressional Management Foundation. It’s great information for those who communicate with their elected officials.


## END ##