George H. W. Bush And John Adams: Comparisons

With the death of George H. W. Bush, we can make many comparisons with John Adams.

Both were born in Massachusetts.

Both served as Vice President under their Presidents for eight years, John Adams under George Washington, and George H. W. Bush under Ronald Reagan.

Both only had one term as President, defeated for reelection.

Both are seen as lower in ranking than their predecessors, George Washington and Ronald Reagan, who served two terms in office.

Both had the President elected after them rank higher in rankings of Presidents, and both Thomas Jefferson and Bill Clinton served two terms in office.

Both outlived their wives.

Both had a son become President, and live to see that occur.

Both reached to the age of 90, with Adams being the longest lived until Ronald Reagan, then Gerald Ford, then George H. W. Bush, and then Jimmy Carter surpassed his age.

Bush died at the oldest age of any President, although Jimmy Carter could surpass Bush if he lives to March 22, 2019.

Both died after 25 plus years in retirement.

Both have been rated higher than their son, John Quincy Adams and George W. Bush, in rankings of historians and political scientists, and it is unlikely that their sons will ever surpass them.

The Death Of The 41st President, George H. W. Bush, At Age 94

This blogger woke up this morning to the news that the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, had died last night (November 30) at age 94, and five and a half months.

He had the longest life span of any President, although former President Jimmy Carter will surpass him in age on March 22, 2019.

Bush was one of the most experienced Presidents, with a tremendous resume particularly on national security and foreign policy issues. This included being a Houston, Texas, Congressman; United Nations Ambassador; Republican National Committee Chairman; Second Chief of the Liaison Office to the People’s Republic of China; Central Intelligence Agency Director; Vice President of the United States for two terms under President Ronald Reagan; and President of the United States for one term from 1989-1993.

Bush was an honorable, decent man, who knew his own shortcomings and admitted to it, but although he was the first Vice President to succeed his President by election since Martin Van Buren in 1836 after Andrew Jackson, he was unable to win a second term, losing to future President Bill Clinton, in an election which included businessman Ross Perot, who managed as an independent candidate to win 19 percent of the vote. This led to Bush having the second worst defeat for a sitting President, with 37 percent, only ahead of President William Howard Taft in 1912, gaining only 23 percent of the vote in a three way race with Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt.

Bush will be best remembered for his leadership in the Persian Gulf War of 1991 against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein; his helping to end the Cold War with Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev and usher in the unification of Germany; the promotion of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada; the concept of a “Thousand Points of Light” to encourage local activism to solve problems; the signing into law of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 to provide equal opportunity for those Americans with disabilities; and the appointment of two Supreme Court Justices, David Souter and Clarence Thomas.

His decision to support tax increases caused a challenge by conservatives, led by Pat Buchanan, in the primaries of 1992, which he overcame, but that plus the recession America was suffering at the time of the election, along with the challenge of not just Bill Clinton, but Ross Perot, making the campaign a three way race, led to his defeat.

Bush lived to see his son George W. Bush become President, only the second such situation, after John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and he had nearly 26 years of retirement, and the longest Presidential marriage, until his beloved wife Barbara died in April, after 73 plus years of a devoted couple, who brought up five children.

Bush is ranked near the middle of all Presidents, generally between 17 and 20, depending on the poll of 44 Presidents, with his failure to win a second term a factor in why he has not risen higher.

His impact on America, however, has been massive, and it is likely his ranking among Presidents will rise in the coming years.

Major Roles To Be Played By Democratic Committee Chairs In 116th Congress

The 116th Congress will see Democrats taking over the committee chairmanships in the House of Representatives.

Adam Schiff of California will be the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and will require many Trump Administration figures, including his children and son in law, to testify.

Elijah Cummings of Maryland will head the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Jerrold Nadler of New York will head the House Judiciary Committee, which might move to have impeachment hearings against Donald Trump.

Eliot Engel of New York will lead the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and deal with the problems of unstable foreign policy of Donald Trump.

Maxine Waters will lead the House Financial Services Committee, and is sure to demand lots of testimony and documents from the Trump Administration.

Nita Lowey of New York will be the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, clearly crucial in dealing with spending programs.

Raul Grijalva of Arizona will be the Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, and will be engaged in combat with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department over Donald Trump’s refusal to combat global warming.

These seven committee Chairs are going to face a constant assault by the right wing extremists, Fox News Channel, and Donald Trump himself, along with others who are Chairs of other committees in the House of Representatives.

One point of particular concern is that four of these seven committee Chairs named above are Jewish (Schiff, Nadler, Engel, Lowey), two (Cummings and Waters) are African American, and Grijalva is Hispanic, which makes it likely that white supremacists, encouraged by Donald Trump rhetoric, are likely to pose a growing threat to these committee Chairs, and makes it likely they will need security services to protect them, a horrendous reality.

But the move to investigate and hold Donald Trump and his administration responsible is urgent, even with the growing threat.

New Diverse House Democratic Leadership Emerging: Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico And Hakeem Jeffries Of New York

Although there is some opposition to the existing Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives, it is now clear that younger members of diverse background are being groomed to be in the top leadership by the 117th Congress in 2021.

Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, The Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the past four years, will now have the position of Assistant Democratic Leader, the fourth ranking position in the House leadership. Lujan is 46 years old, and has been a member of the House for ten years, and would be the highest ranking Latino in Congressional history. He is a leader on the issue of public lands, and has also led on Native American issues in his tenure, and is an inspiring figure who could become the new Speaker of the House or the House Majority Leader in the 117th Congress.

Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee in the present Congress, will have the position of Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, the fifth ranking position in the House leadership, He is 48 years old, and has been a member of Congress for the past six years, after six years in the New York State Assembly. He has been the Congressional Black Caucus Whip, and has been active in pursuing programs to deal with the high public housing and high unemployment of his Congressional district. He is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is seen as a rising star in the party, who also might contest to be Speaker of the House or House Majority Leader in the future.

So in a nation becoming more diverse, we have a Latino member and African American member of the House of Representatives who will be making news in the coming years, and rising into House leadership.

The 116th Congress, 2019-2020, In Detail: Hopefully, The First Step To A Democratic Senate and Democratic President Elected In 2020

The 116th Congress, opening on January 3, 2019, will have exactly 100 new members, an all time high turnover.

It will contain 235 Democrats and 200 Republicans in the House of Representatives, a gain of 40 seats by the Democrats, the most massive turnover since the Midterm Elections of 1974, after Richard Nixon had resigned that August due to the Watergate Scandal.

The Senate will be 53 Republicans to 45 Democrats and 2 Independents (Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont), an increase of two seats for the Republicans.

It is much more “Blue” or Democratic and younger and more diverse in every way, a true “Blue Wave”.

The average age of the newcomers is age 49.

63 of the new members are Democrats, and 37 are Republicans, with the Democrats having 60 new House members and 3 Senators, while the Republicans have 31 new House members and 6 Senators.

So there are 91 new House members and 9 new Senators, making a turnover of about 20 percent of the House and 9 percent of the Senate in membership.

40 of the new 100 members of Congress are women, 36 in the House and 4 in the Senate.

60 of the new members are men, 55 in the House and 5 in the Senate.

24 of the new House members are Hispanic, Native American and people of color, but all of the newly elected Senators are white.

History Makers include: Marsha Blackburn (R) of Tennessee, the first woman elected to Congress from her state; two Native American women elected to the House from Kansas and New Mexico; the Kansas Congresswoman being the first openly gay person elected to Congress from Kansas; first two Latina women elected to Congress from Texas; first Muslim women elected to Congress from Michigan and Minnesota; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York the youngest elected Congresswoman ever in Congress; the first black Congresswoman ever elected from Massachusetts and Connecticut; and Kyrsten Sinema the first woman elected to the Senate from Arizona, and also first openly bisexual member of the Senate.

We also have older new members in their 70s, Mitt Romney in the Senate at 71, and Donna Shalala of Florida in the House at 77.

The new Congressional group is highly educated, with 70 percent having gone to graduate school; one third having law degrees; 12 having MBAs; seven members having at least two graduate degrees; and Kyrsten Sinema having four graduate degrees.

19 members have served in the military, including 6 in the Army, 11 in the Navy, and 2 in the Air Force.

4 of the newcomers are professional athletes in their past, including 2 NFL football players, 1 professional hockey player, and 1 mixed martial arts fighter.

Also, there are 3 doctors, one dentist, 1 nurse, and 5 educators in the group of 100 new members of Congress.

The average age of members of Congress remains about the same as it has been, 58.5 years.

The total number of women in Congress are 124, an all time high, including 100 in the House and 24 in the Senate.

Finally, 21 percent of the Congress is Hispanic, Native American, and people of color.

Hopefully, the “Blue Wave” of 2018 will lead to a Democratic Senate and Democratic President in the Presidential Election of 2020.

Orange County California, Reagan And Goldwater Stronghold, Goes Completely Democratic In Midterm Elections Of 2018

Orange County California, with a population of about three million people, sandwiched between Los Angeles and San Diego, has long been conservative Republican “Country”, but in the Midterm Elections of 2018, all of the Congressional districts went to the Democrats, a startling development.

The heroes of Orange County have been Ronald Reagan, and before him, Barry Goldwater, and Democrats knew they had no opportunity to succeed in that Southern California bastion.

But now, not only did Democrats gain all four seats in that county, but also won seven of the 14 formerly Republican held seats in the California state delegation, making for a total of 46-7, compared to the former 39-14 division between Democrats and Republicans.

The Republican nominee for Governor, John Cox, lost Orange County by a hair to incoming Governor Gavin Newsom as well.

The Republican Party is dead in California for now, although the House Minority Leader is Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield.

It all started 25 years ago when the Republicans promoted nativism and bigotry under Governor Pete Wilson against Latinos and other immigrants, and started their generation long decline in the Golden State.

The same is likely in the future for Arizona, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida, and if these named states start to veer to the Democrats, which is likely in the 2020s, then the Democrats will have a lock on the Electoral College, after being victimized twice in 2000 and 2016.

Two Mayors Potential 2020 Democratic Presidential Contenders: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti And Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu

At least two Democrats who have served as Mayors of their cities are likely to enter the Democratic Presidential sweepstakes.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has spent his entire career in city government, serving on the LA City Council before his election as Mayor of the second largest city in 2013. He has had to deal with the issues facing nearly four million people, and has spent time in Iowa and New Hampshire, hinting of his plans to seek the Presidency. Garcetti has ties to the Jewish, Italian, and Mexican communities as he is ethnically related to all three groups.

Of course, California will also likely be the state that will contribute other potential nominees, including Senator Kamala Harris and Congressman Eric Swalwell, and potentially billionaire and liberal activist Tom Steyer, who has led the impeachment movement against Donald Trump.

Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu offers the rare case of a Southerner who might be able to gain some traction, having served as Mayor from 2010-2018, after earlier service as Lieutenant Governor of the state, and as a member of the state House of Representatives. He is seen as a moderate, in the vein of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton in the past, but most observers would see him as more likely to be a potential Vice Presidential running mate to help a more progressive Presidential nominee.

The odds of Garcetti lasting longer in the Presidential competition than Landrieu seems likely, but at this early point, there is no way to know what the political future holds.

The New Chair Of The House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff Of California, To Engage In “Combat” With Trump Administration In 2019

Southern California Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, who has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2001, will be the new Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, when the 116th Congress convenes on January 3, 2019.

Schiff is one of the most reputable members of the House, and has long taken critical positions on the foreign policy of Donald Trump, and of the Republican Party before Donald Trump.

Now, he will have the ability to engage in “combat” with the Trump Administration, and order investigations and subpoenas to get to the bottom of the Russian collusion scandal, and the obstruction of justice and abuse of power that has been going on without pause for the past two years.

Schiff is a true professional, and is not afraid or intimidated by Trump calling him “Little Schitt”, and Trump will rue the day that he decided to insult this reputable Congressman who is in the best tradition of statesmanship.

This author thinks that Schiff, becoming more influential, should be considered as Speaker of the House material to follow Nancy Pelosi in 2020, as he has the credentials, the experience, and the wisdom to lead Democrats into the 117th Congress in 2021 and after.

We do not know if Schiff has thought about this long range plan, but this author believes he should be on the short list of future Democratic party leaders in the House of Representatives.

Presidents In Conflict With The Judiciary Are Nothing New Historically, But Trump Could Be The Biggest Threat Yet To Our Constitutional System

The conflict of President Donald Trump with the judiciary is not the first time there has been a challenge from a President to the judicial branch.

Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson had regular conflict with Chief Justice John Marshall and the federal courts in the first third of the 19th century.

Abraham Lincoln had vehement disagreements with Chief Justice Roger Taney in the era of the Civil War.

Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson both found the Supreme Court as standing in the way of progressive reform in the early 20th century.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was so frustrated by a conservative Supreme Court negating important legislation of the New Deal in the mid 1930s, that he proposed the idea of adding six new Justices to the Court in 1937. This came to be known as the “Court Packing” plan, and was soundly defeated, including by members of his own Democratic Party.

Richard Nixon had issues with the rulings of the Earl Warren Court before he was President, and the continued Warren influence on the Court under his successor, Warren Burger. And, Nixon was stopped dead in his tracks in US. V. Nixon in 1974, forcing him to hand over the Watergate Tapes to the Special Prosecutor, Leon Jaworski, leading him to resign the Presidency in August 1974.

Barack Obama was critical of the John Roberts Court on its conservative decisions early on in his Presidency in 2010.

And now, Donald Trump has unleashed what many consider the strongest challenge to the whole federal judiciary, alarming many constitutional experts as far more dangerous and threatening to the checks and balances of the Constitution and the separation of powers.

It is clear that Trump has declared war on the judiciary, but it could be that the Roberts Court will smack back at him when cases regarding his abuse of power make it to the Court, so Trump may be “hoist by hid own petard”, and regret the attacks he has made on the whole court system.

President Trump In Time Of Tragedy: A Horrific Leader, Unable To Express Deep Mourning And True Compassion

Donald Trump is truly the most horrific leader possible in time of tragedy, unable to express deep mourning and true compassion and empathy.

Think of Ronald Reagan and the Challenger Astronaut Disaster in 1986.

Think of Bill Clinton and the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995.

Think of George W. Bush after September 11, 2001.

Think of Barack Obama after the Charleston Church Massacre in 2015, and the Sandy Hook School Massacre in 2012.

These and many other disasters are times when we look to leaders to act appropriately, and we see Presidents of both parties and all philosophies know how to act.

Not so with Donald Trump, who instead:

Throws paper towels in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and threatens to cut off funding for the island.

Shows up at an inappropriate time after the Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre, when funerals for the victims are being held.

Comes to Paradise, California, after the most disastrous fire in modern history, and refers to the town as “Pleasure”, of all names.

His body language and facial expressions show he does not give a damn, and he does not know how to console and hug and show a dose of empathy and compassion.

Rather, he is going through the motions, more staging an appearance so he can draw attention to himself than anything else.

Donald Trump proves again, and again, and again, and again, that he is a horrible human being, a disgrace to the American Presidency, who deserves none of our compassion as he faces the challenge of a Democratic House of Representatives ready with subpoenas and investigations galore, which will stress him out in massive ways.

It could not happen to a “better” person.