Arthur Vandenberg

It Is Official: The Republican Party Has Become A Cult Around A Strong Arm Authoritarian Out To Destroy American Democracy!

The Republican National Convention began today during the daytime hours, and Donald Trump and Mike Pence were renominated for President and Vice President of the United States.

Donald Trump avoided tradition and spoke for an hour, ranting and raving against his “enemies”, reminding those who know history of Adolf Hitler at his Nuremberg rallies.

We are witnessing the Republican Party officeholders swearing their loyalty to a man who has lied 20,000 times in office; has promoted racism, nativism, misogyny, white supremacy; has become a friend of authoritarians and alienated democratic nations; has undermined the judiciary, intelligence agencies, the foreign policy apparatus, and attacked the news media as “the enemy of the people”; has bullied and attacked all of his critics incessantly; has undermined our environment and civil liberties; has refused to take strong action against the CoronaVirus Pandemic; has shown no sense of compassion, empathy, decency or dignity in any form; and a legion of others sins and shortcomings that has never been matched by any previous President in more than two centuries of American history!

The party of such Presidential luminaries as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush has been shamed by Donald Trump!

The party of such Congressional luminaries as Charles Sumner, Robert LaFollette, Sr., George Norris, Arthur Vandenberg, and Everett Dirksen has been embarrassed by the weak kneed refusal of today’s Republican members of Congress to show some backbone to Donald Trump!

Face the facts: the Republican Party has become a cult, and is unlikely to come back into respectability, even after Donald Trump leaves the scene, as he has done so much damage and harm, that the Republican Party name may very well go into oblivion!

Historic Leaders Of The Senate Foreign Relations Committee

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is one of the most important of all committees in the history of that body, having begun as early as 1816.

It is one of the most significant committees, with many future potential Presidential seekers wishing to be seen as “experts” on American foreign policy.

It is a committee often in conflict with the President of the United States on strategy and policy toward other nations.

There have been many colorful leaders of the committee, both Democrats and Republicans, who have become famed or notorious for their principles and impact on American foreign policy.

The committee again has become focused on as part of the heated debate over the Iran nuclear deal, and its recent former Chairman, John Kerry, is now the Secretary of State, charged with gaining the support of the committee, which, clearly, however, under Republican control, is a lost cause.

Among its leaders have been Presidential nominees Rufus King, Henry Clay, and John Kerry; President James Buchanan; and Vice Presidents Hannibal Hamlin and Joe Biden.

Such prominent political figures, other than those mentioned above, who served as Chairman of the committee include: Thomas Hart Benton, Charles Sumner, John Sherman, Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr., William Borah, Arthur Vandenberg, J. William Fulbright, Frank Church, Charles Percy, Richard Lugar, Claiborne Pell, Jesse Helms, and present Chairman Bob Corker, with Fulbright serving the longest as Chairman, 16 years from 1959-1975.

Those who made the most news included Lodge fighting Woodrow Wilson on the Versailles Treaty and League of Nations; Vandenberg playing a crucial role in backing the containment policy of President Harry Truman, despite them being from different parties; Fulbright fighting against the Vietnam War under Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon; and Helms being a major problem for Bill Clinton on many foreign policy issues.

New Reality: Foreign Policy Will Matter More Than ObamaCare In 2016 Presidential Election!

It is becoming clear, as a result of recent events involving Russia and Ukraine, that the foreign policy issue will matter more in the Presidential Election of 2016 than domestic policy, including ObamaCare.

This is NOT what many progressives and liberals would prefer, as there are many domestic problems that need attention on the agenda, and President Barack Obama has been trying to deal with many of these issues, despite obstructionism and stalemate caused by the Republican control of the House of Representatives.

But national security and defense, and the possibility of armed conflict in Europe, related to NATO and the European Union, may force the hand of President Obama and his successor to focus more on foreign policy in the next Presidential term of office.

In a way, it reminds us of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940, able to run for a third term, and seen as the only legitimate person to be our President in the midst of an international crisis, the victory of the Axis Powers in Europe and Asia, at that time. Alternative possible candidates, such as Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, Vice President John Nance Garner of Texas, and Senator Burton Wheeler of Montana, were all isolationists, the wrong viewpoint at the time. When Wendell Willkie came along as a surprise opponent of FDR, it was clear that on foreign policy, they had an agreement, which was good for the nation as it faced the likelihood of engagement in World War II.

Now, of course, an experienced and wise President in foreign policy, not rushing into conflict, and using his diplomatic skills, is ineligible to be President for another term, so it becomes extremely important that the proper person be elected to succeed Barack Obama.

When one looks at the cast of characters on the Republican side, and the alternatives on the Democratic side, it is clear that ONLY three potential future Presidents meet the need for appropriate foreign policy experience in a delicate and dangerous time, as we may now be entering. Not only is there the threat of war in Europe over Ukraine or other Russian attempt at advancement west, but also the looming threat of Iran and North Korea, as well as the Syrian Civil War and its effect on the entire Middle East, and the growing influence of China.

So reality tells us ONLY Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Jon Huntsman fit the bill to be our Commander in Chief, based on their experiences, expertise, and skills!

There are other Democrats who have positive aspects, but do NOT have the diplomatic experience of Clinton, Biden and Huntsman.

On the GOP side, it is literally horrifying to imagine a Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, or anyone else as Commander in Chief, with many of them purely ignorant, or bullyish, or extreme in their rhetoric, or in the case of Rand Paul, a flaming isolationist! Only Jeb Bush, conceivably, due to his intelligence and connection to his dad, but not his brother, MIGHT be otherwise acceptable, but not with the same sense of confidence in Clinton, Biden and Huntsman!

So the best we can hope for is a Clinton-Huntsman or Biden-Huntsman race for the security and safety of our nation, because we would know that any one of them could perform well as our 45th President, and do the best we can hope for in the area of foreign policy!

What Republican Presidents Have Wrought: The Vietnam War Syndrome And The Iraq War Syndrome!

The Republican Party loves to claim that they are the experts, when it comes to American foreign policy, that they are far better than Democrats in executing foreign policy.

But the facts of history tell us otherwise, as witness:

Before America entered World War II. who were some of the most powerful, most influential people advocating isolationism— Republicans such as Senators Robert Taft of Ohio, Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, Hiram Johnson of California, and Gerald Nye of North Dakota, with the latter two discussed in detail in the author’s book: TWILIGHT OF PROGRESSIVISM: THE WESTERN REPUBLICAN SENATORS AND THE NEW DEAL (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981).

When America entered the escalation stage of the Vietnam War under Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, it was Republicans who backed the President in much greater numbers than Democrats, but even Johnson finally realized the need for America to get out of the war, and decided not to run again in 1968.

Republican President Richard Nixon ran his campaign for the Presidency in 1968, pledging that he would end the Vietnam War expeditiously, and saying he had a “secret plan” to end the war, which soon became evident did not exist, and Nixon made up his plan to end the war as he went along, and it took four long years to end the war, with a heavier loss of soldiers killed and wounded, than had been so under Johnson! Nixon and Henry Kissinger, his National Security Adviser and Secretary of State, misled the American people and lied to them about the plans and strategies to end the war, and it created a feeling of unwillingness to engage in overseas crises as a result, what could be called the Vietnam War Syndrome.

And then under George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the Republican run national government in 2003 lied to us, manipulated us, propagandized us, to begin a war in Iraq, with no plan to get out, and the war dragged on through the second Bush term, and into the Barack Obama Administration. No “weapons of mass destruction” were ever found, and it created an Iraq War Syndrome, which now has made many Americans reluctant to engage in a military action against an outlaw nation, Syria, which has utilized chemical warfare, only the third world leader ever to do so, after Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein!

So the Republican Party and its cynical, corrupt leadership in the 1969-1973 and 2002-2009 periods poisoned the political atmosphere of America, making it more difficult to engage in the shaping of a sane, rational foreign policy that would be in American interests.

And now Rand Paul and his kind, libertarian “Know Nothings”, promote isolationism all over again, back to the image of the GOP in the late 1930s before American entrance into World War II.

The damage that Presidents Richard Nixon and George W. Bush have wrought is massive, and undermining America in 2013 from doing what it must do, react to the massive war crime of the Syrian government!

Can Hillary Clinton Be Crowned President For 2016? Not Realistically!

As Hillary Clinton gets ready to leave the State Department after four distinguished years, she is being flattered by kudos paid to her brilliance, and public opinion polls that make her, on paper, an easy nominee and winner of the Presidency in 2016!

But hold it, everyone! Our system of government and elections does not permit the nomination and election of anyone without real competition, hard work, and lots of grief and “blood, sweat and tears”!

We do not crown anyone to be President, and if you believe otherwise, ask such luminaries of the past as Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, William Seward, Charles Evans Hughes, William Borah, Hiram Johnson, Robert La Follette Sr, Al Smith, Henry A. Wallace, Robert Taft, Arthur Vandenberg, Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey, Nelson Rockefeller, George McGovern, Bob Dole, Bob Kerrey, Al Gore, John Kerry, John McCain, and even Hillary Clinton, about the conclusion that they would be President of the United States someday!

Fifty seven percent in a poll want Hillary to be President, but it is a long four years to 2016, and there will be many others who wish to be President, and the question is whether she wants to go through the same hell she went through in 2008!

Don’t be so sure that Hillary will run in 2016!

A Liberal-Progressive Mount Rushmore And A Conservative Mount Rushmore: Who Would Be On Such Mount Rushmores?

Last Friday, Joe Scarborough and MORNING JOE on MSNBC had distinguished historians assess which Presidents might be on a new, second Mount Rushmore, if such a monument were ever built.

This brought to mind the idea of who might be on a Liberal-Progressive Mount Rushmore, and who would be on a Conservative Mount Rushmore, if such were ever constructed anywhere in America.

This is mostly just interesting scholarly speculation, but here goes my suggestions for such honoring on both sides of the political spectrum.

LIBERAL/PROGRESSIVE MOUNT RUSHMORE

Robert La Follette, Sr.–Republican Governor (1900-1906) and Senator (1906-1925) of Wisconsin–Mr. Progressive of the early 20th century and 1924 Progressive Party nominee for President.

George Norris–Republican Congressman (1902-1912) and Senator (1912-1942) of Nebraska–the most creative reform figure and longevity of the first half of the 20th century, a bridge between the Progressive Era of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Hubert H. Humphrey–Democratic Mayor Of Minneapolis (1945-1949), Senator (1949-1964, 1970-1978) of Minnesota, and Vice President of the United States (1965-1969) and Democratic Presidential nominee in 1968, who had the most creative record of promoting reform in the years after World War II throughout the 1960s.

Ted Kennedy–Democratic Senator (1962-2009) of Massachusetts, the fourth longest serving US Senator in American history, and the most creative reformer in the years from the 1970s until his death in 2009.

A possible alternative would be Democratic Senator George McGovern of
South Dakota (1922-2012), who ran for President in 1972, and was a major critic of the Vietnam War, one of the most decent men ever in American politics, serving in the Senate from 1963-1981.

CONSERVATIVE MOUNT RUSHMORE

Arthur Vandenberg–Republican Senator (1928-1951) of Michigan, who opposed the New Deal and was an isolationist in foreign policy through World War II, but then became an internationalist in support of the United Nations and President Harry Truman’s Cold War policy against the Soviet Union after World War II, and potential Presidential candidate twice.

Robert Taft–Republican Senator (1939-1953) of Ohio, son of President and Chief Justice William Howard Taft, promoted the anti labor union Taft-Hartley Act, promoted an isolationist foreign policy, and considered Mr. Conservative by his party, and a potential Presidential candidate numerous times.

Barry Goldwater–Senator (1952-1964, 1968-1986) of Arizona, succeeding Robert Taft as Mr. Conservative, and 1964 Republican nominee for President, becoming the hero of conservatives long term, and having an effect on President Ronald Reagan.

Ronald Reagan–Republican Governor of California (1966-1974), and President of the United States (1981-1989), after a career as a movie actor, influenced by the principles and ideas of Barry Goldwater, who he publicly backed in a famous speech in 1964.

The author welcomes commentary on these selections!

The Republican Presidential Race And Foreign Policy: What A Change For The Worst!

The Republican Party since World War II has built its reputation more on foreign policy than domestic policy, being seen as the stronger party in shaping our relationship with the outside world.

Republicans can rightly brag about Senator Arthur Vandenberg, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, President Richard Nixon, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Senator Bob Dole, President George H. W. Bush, Secretary of State George Shultz, Secretary of State James Baker, Senator Richard Lugar, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as brilliant examples of people who shaped and understood foreign policy.

Today, we have a motley group of Republicans running for the Presidency, with Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum showing no evidence of even a clue as to how to deal with the outside world! Instead, their primary idea is to attack Iran and discipline Pakistan, the two most dangerous nations at this point for the United States.

Instead, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush understood the need for diplomacy and to attempt alternatives to the use of force, except when unavoidable.

Only Mitt Romney, somewhat, and Jon Huntsman in a major way, have the skills and common sense to deal with foreign policy, and this indicates the sad, pitiful situation we are in, when six “dangerous” people are considered possible Presidents, without any understanding of diplomacy!

God forbid that the United States gets one of these six “losers” in the Oval Office!