August 24, 2006: Constituent Coffee, Presidential Vetos
Wednesday, 23 August 2006 19:00
Coffee: When I began my career in public service, I decided that a good way to communicate with average, everyday people in my district would be to show up at a coffee shop on a Saturday morning and invite them to stop by and to have a cup and a chat. Over the last six years they have been a very useful and successful way to learn what is on peoples’ minds.
Earlier this month at a Diedrich's in Laguna Niguel, I held my first coffee as a Congressman. It was a little different than previous coffees. First of all, 125 people signed the guest book which means there were probably close to 200 that showed up during the two hours I was there. Among the attendees were two to three protestors who had a number of handmade signs including one on which they had misspelled "Iraq." There also was a confrontation, which we were able to diffuse, between Hamas supporters and Israel supporters. In short, it was one of the more lively lattes I have had in some time. Based on the questions I was asked and comments I received, illegal immigration clearly is still the number one issue. This was followed by taxes and spending (both are too high) and the War on Terrorism. Additionally, my staff, who regularly helps people resolve difficulties regarding the federal government, were able to help a number of people with specific personal issues related to immigration or Medicare or other matters.
In spite of the contentious atmosphere at times, I found the coffee to be helpful and I expect I will do more, but I may get an extra shot of espresso next time!
Vetoes: It has been well publicized that President Bush's veto of the federal funding for embryonic stem cell research was the first veto of his Presidency. Much of the reason for this is that he has usually been able to resolve his differences with Congress before the final version of the legislation is passed, so he doesn’t have to veto bills.
In an effort to keep the readers of this communication informed, and in order to give you facts with which you can amaze your friends and seem very erudite, here are the total number of vetoes issued by American Presidents since World War II. It is interesting to note that the only other 2 year period with no vetoes was Bill Clinton's first term when he (like George Bush today) had a Congress controlled by his own party:
Bill Clinton 37 in 8 years
George H.W. Bush 44 in 4 years
Ronald Reagan 78 in 8 years
Jimmy Carter 31 in 4 years
Gerald Ford 66 in 2 1/2 years
Richard Nixon 43 in 5 1/2 years
Lyndon Johnson 30 in 5 years
John F. Kennedy 21 in 3 years
Dwight Eisenhower 181 in 8 years
Harry Truman 250 in 7 years
You see that Harry Truman was the veto king of the postwar period. Have fun wowing them with this information at your next cocktail party.
Until next week, I remain respectfully,
Congressman John Campbell