At SOTU Trump Reminds me of Tip O’Neill, Sam Rayburn and Why I’m no Longer a Democrat

President Reagan & Speaker Tip O’Neill (Left) President Eisenhower & Speaker Sam Rayburn (right)

For a very long time you would have described me as a Tip O’Neill Democrat. We shared the same faith, came from the same state and shared the same values. I read his books watched his speeches loved his fight for the working man, and regretted that I didn’t take a day off to meet him at a book signing not too long before his death.

I left the Democrat party in the 90’s (and the GOP in 2013) but as I watched President Trump’s State of the Union Speech I was thinking of Tip O’Neill and Sam Rayburn who 1st put him on the rules committee and the path to power in the house. Like O’Neill and before O’Neill Rayburn was a man of the people who had never forgotten the American worker and the American Farmer and all the country owed them.

I thought of them as the president talked about jobs, taking care of Americans, protecting freedom of speech, freedom of religion and talking about American manufacturing and striking back at terrorist who targeted Americans etc etc etc.

I was thinking of them because it hit me that with one very prominent exception from Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema

…Democrats remained sitting as they president talked about gains for women, minorities and American workers.

I thought back to my youth watching these speeches as a political junkie and remembered Tip and remembered all I read about Sam and thought of how he would have reacted to all of those things Donald Trump was speaking of.

They would have been on their feet clapping.

Sam Rayburn and Tip O’Neill would be what you might call yellow dog Democrats, people who were so loyal to their party that if said party nominated a yellow dog for office they would vote for it vs any Republican but as much as they loved their party they loved America more.

They would have been cheering American victories overseas, they would have been cheering American jobs, they would have been cheering freedom of religion, they would have been cheering higher wages, more opportunities for blacks, Hispanics and women and both Speaker Tip O’Neill and Speaker Sam Rayburn (unlike Speaker Nancy Pelosi) would have been smart enough to make damn sure that their fellow democrat members were standing for these things as well.

In 2010 at CPAC while interviewing some local transit workers in DC I was asked why I was a republican. I answered on camera that as a believing Roman Catholic I felt I was no longer welcome in the Democrat party. I submit and suggest that neither Tip O’Neill nor Sam Rayburn be welcome in the party either because they were more interested in success for America and Americans than in who got credit for that success.

I think it’s a great mercy that neither lived to see what their party had become.

Footnote While Mr. Sam & Tip would be ashamed of what their party had become they’d be damn proud of Senator Kyrsten Sinema tonight.