The Thinker: Rich Galen


The definition of the word mull.
Mullings by Rich Galen ®
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Speaker of the House

Rich Galen

Thursday May 24, 2018

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  • The Second Law of Thermodynamics more-or-less states that the universe tends to move toward disorder (or entropy) and that this process is not reversable unless outside energy is applied.

  • The clean dishes in your kitchen cupboards will inevitably become dirty dishes in your sink. They will not - as our mothers attempted to teach us many times - wash themselves.

  • Corporations will inevitably disappear - either through merger or loss of market. Sears was the major retailer in the U.S. and is now a minor player. Of the 12 companies that made up the original Dow Jones Industrial Average only one - General Electric - is still in existence.

  • I believe that political systems tend toward disorder as well. Soviet Communism couldn't sustain itself. When the money ran out, the system collapsed.

  • In the U.S. House by the time the Gingrich Revolution took place with the election of 1994, Democrats had controlled the House for 40 straight years and 60 years out of the previous 62 dating all the way back to 1931.

  • The only time the Rs controlled the Chamber during that entire period was when they got swept into power along with Gen. Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. With a sideways glance toward this November, Democrats regained control in the election of 1954 - Eisenhower's first mid-term.

  • After all that time, Newt, and his political guru Joe Gaylord, made certain the nation knew the Congressional Democrats were out of sincerity, out of ideas, and out of power.

  • Entropy.

  • Republicans have controlled the House since the election of 2010 - Obama's first midterm. The big issue was Obamacare which was new, was confusing, and you couldn't keep your old plan or your old doctor. It has been passed in March of that year.

  • Another issue was the fact that the economy which had collapsed in late 2007, was still bumping along the bottom three years later. In 2010 the unemployment rate was at its highest point in the recession: 9.8 percent.

  • The economy is doing quite well in 2018, health insurance has fallen from the front page to somewhere deep in the business section. The unemployment rate for April was 3.9 percent.

  • Yet, House Republicans appear to be in disarray. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) announced last month that he would not be seeking re-election this Fall. One Senior GOP Member told me there is a body of thought that Ryan should have run for re-election and then retired "after he saw what happened" in the November election.

  • "But," this Member told me, "Paul is too much the Boy Scout" to be deceptive like that.

  • The "Freedom Caucus" is a group of 30-or-so very conservative Members led by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). They have enough power to have scuttled the farm bill last week even though they weren't totally against the Farm Bill. What they were doing was holding the farm bill hostage to an immigration bill which has yet to be finalized.

  • Democrats are trying to round up enough Republicans to join them in signing a "Discharge Petition" on an Immigration bill to deal with the "Dreamers" and other immigration issues. A Discharge Petition is a parliamentary maneuver to circumvent the committee structure and take a bill directly to the Floor for a vote.

  • They need 218 signatures (a majority of Members), and because it is a finger in the eye of the majority Leadership it doesn't happen very often.

  • But, with Ryan announcing he's stepping down, there is little down-side risk of retribution between now and November.

  • Between the defeat of the farm bill and this Discharge Petition, Ryan appears to have lost control of the Republican Conference. He also got involved in a situation dealing with the House Chaplain - who has refused to accept having been fired - which was more embarrassing than anything else, but it was a complication Ryan didn't need.

  • Another thing Ryan didn't need was White House Budget Chief (and former Member) Mick Mulvaney openly musing about Ryan stepping aside now in favor of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca).

  • Retiring Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tx) spoke for many Republicans when he was quoted by the Associated Press as saying: "Nobody I know is pressuring Paul Ryan to step aside. We just want results."

  • As we used to say during the Gingrich days: "If being Speaker were easy, anyone could do it."

  • Entropy.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to a listing of which party has controlled the House since 1789, to the original Dow companies, to Wikipedia's look at the Freedom Caucus, and to the AP's summary of Paul Ryan's woes.

    The Mullfoto is from Old Town Alexandria, VA - an oddly exuberant "Out of Business" sign.

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