Barack Obama

Barack Obama’s Quandary: Endorse Hillary Clinton Or Joe Biden, Or Stay Neutral In Democratic Presidential Race?

President Barack Obama is in the midst of a real political quandary.

If Vice President Joe Biden decides to announce for President, should Obama endorse him, endorse his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or stay totally neutral in the Democratic Presidential race?

CNN reported yesterday that Obama had had a meeting with Biden and  had “given his blessing” to Biden to run.

If that is so, is that an endorsement, or only an encouragement?

Press Secretary Josh Earnest said yesterday that Obama regards Biden as the best decision he made in the 2008 campaign.

Is that an endorsement, or only an encouragement?

It would be unusual for the President, any President, to make a formal endorsement, put his prestige and office on the line,  so early in a Presidential nomination battle.

So we will be watching to see what Obama says at his next news conference, or at any other activity or ceremony where he allows questions and agrees to answer.

One thing seems clear: the personal chemistry between Barack Obama and Joe Biden surpasses the personal chemistry between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton!

Obama will never deny the importance that Clinton had in his first term, but whether he is willing, formally, to break ties with her and endorse Biden this early, is the question on the lips of all political observers!

The Die Is Cast! Hillary Clinton Is A Flawed Candidate Who Can No Longer Be Assured The Presidency, And The Democrats’ Hold On White House Is Now Endangered!

After Hillary Clinton’s contentious press conference a few days ago, regarding the Email controversy,  and with time to reflect on the situation, one thing is very clear.

Hillary Clinton is a flawed candidate who will face problems winning  the Presidency, and the Democrats’ hold on the White House is now endangered!  This is the danger of “putting all your eggs in one basket”!

This comes at a time when rumor has it that Vice President Joe Biden has, supposedly, decided not to run for President.

If that is so, then, as things now stand, the Democrats are left with the likelihood that Bernie Sanders, who has always proudly declared that he is a Socialist, is their front runner, with what seems like little chance that Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chafee, or Jim Webb could overtake him and become competitive.

And it seems that anyone else, such as former Vice President Al Gore or Secretary of State John Kerry, both past Democratic Presidential candidates, from 16 and 12 years ago, are unlikely to run, and in any case, would be long shots for the Presidency at this point.

This would be the time for a “new generation” of leadership to rise, with Martin O’Malley, the former Governor of Maryland, to be that individual—the new John F. Kennedy, or Jimmy Carter, or Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama—but that seems highly unlikely to occur.

It seems clear that the dream of having the first woman President, and it being Bill Clinton’s wife, long believed to be a fait accompli, is not going to happen, and if it somehow does anyway, that it would be a highly flawed Presidency.

Hillary Clinton seems to many neutral observers, and even some Democrats, to be a “Nixonian” kind of personality, surrounding herself with “yes” advisers, who are unwilling all along to tell her that the appearance of impropriety and lack of ethics is clear cut.

Hillary Clinton has so messed up her campaign by her behavior and actions as Secretary of State, and lame attempts to “cover it up”, that her candidacy is one of damage control, rather than being able to advance ideas and programs.

Hillary Clinton is very intelligent and capable, but she is, sadly, going to have a campaign dominated by the Email controversy, and the implication, which may be untrue,  that she has lied, deceived, and manipulated the truth about her activities.

Her behavior and actions now endanger the ability of the Democrats to retain control of the Presidency.  If one looks at the Electoral College situation, it should have been easy for the Democrats to win the White House, but now everything is unsettled, including the possible effect of the Donald Trump candidacy.

If the Democrats lose the White House, then the Republicans would have the ability to put the Obama Presidency’s accomplishments and advances in domestic and foreign policy into reverse, a true tragedy for the nation.

It would also endanger much of the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson and the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

It would probably mean a permanent, long term, right wing swing of the Supreme Court, affecting the next generation and more of legal and constitutional interpretation.

If the Democrats lose, Hillary Clinton will be blamed for the demise of what should have been an easy victory for the Democrats, but more importantly, the nation would suffer from a totally different approach to labor, the environment, women’s issues, race, immigration, science, and so much more.

So now, if not ever before, it is essential that the move of many to say “Run, Joe, Run”–to pressure Vice President Joe Biden to run—is now not just what Biden supporters wish to occur, but an absolute demand that he MUST run to save the Democratic Party and the American people from a right wing future in our government!

“Speaks Without Notes”; “Has Passion And Joy In Campaigning”; “Speaks His Mind”—Traits Of Donald Trump AND Joe Biden!

It has been pointed out that billionaire Donald Trump “speaks without notes”; “has passion and joy in campaigning”; “speaks his mind”, all traits that most politicians, including Presidential candidates, often do not have.

Well, there is someone else who has the same traits that Trump has, but also has tons of REAL government experience; a record of REAL accomplishments; a true compassion for those NOT wealthy; a sincerity, authenticity, and genuine nature rarely seen in politicians; a person with not a mean bone in  his body; a person who would “give the shirt off his back”; a true man of the people, who has managed to serve longer than any political leader in public office in the entire history of the nation; and has NOT enriched himself in the manner that most politicians do!

In these other traits mentioned in the above paragraph, Donald Trump is entirely different, the diametric opposite of this other person who shares the traits in the first paragraph.

Who am I talking about?  Vice President and former Delaware Senator Joe Biden!

It can be argued that Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton cannot compete in the traits that Donald Trump and Joe Biden share.  Bernie Sanders  may share the traits in the first paragraph, but his connection to the “dirty” word “Socialism” creates many potential complications were Sanders to end up as the Democratic nominee for President, a real “long shot”!

A debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden would be the debate of the century, as Joe Biden would combat the demagoguery of Trump with a strong, rational, but fiery and emotional attack on “Trumpism”.  Biden has already proved how he can make “mince meat” of Paul Ryan and Sarah Palin in Vice Presidential debates.  He proved to be the best debater in the Presidential primaries of 2008, but of course could not overcome the star power of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

But now, coming off the successful and significant Vice Presidency of Joe Biden, he would have the best opportunity to overcome the phenomenon of Donald Trump, and institutionalize the Obama Presidency, and keep the virtues of the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson and the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt!

95 Years Of Women Suffrage Has Changed The Nation Dramatically!

On this day in 1920, women finally gained the right to vote on a national level, after a struggle begun as early as 1848 at the Equal Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York.

The heroines of the women suffrage movement included Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, and Jeanne Rankin, among others, and also included many men.

72 years had passed, and many women had been arrested for marching for the right to vote, including under President Woodrow Wilson, who, ironically, opposed the 19th Amendment, but under whom the amendment was added to the Constitution.

The effect of the right to vote for women took time to sink in, but in the past 25 years, women have become an important factor in the success of the Democratic Party on the Presidential level, with the Democrats winning the national popular vote five of the last six elections, including the two elections of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and Al Gore, who was denied the Presidency by the machinations of the Republicans in the close election in Florida in 2000.

Most of the women who have been political leaders in the last century have been Democrats, but there have been a smattering of Republican women Governors, Senators, and House of Representatives members, as well as Mayors of cities.

The vast majority of women have voted Democratic regularly, due to the fact that the Democrats have dealt with real issues affecting women.

Meanwhile, the Republicans have done everything possible to alienate the majority of women—on issues of reproductive rights, labor rights, the issue of rape, the problems of minority women and single mothers, and so many other issues that affect women.

Additionally, Ann Coulter and others have called for the removal of the 19th Amendment, because of the reality that a majority of women vote for the Democrats, an idea which will never occur in the real world.

This is a massive mistake by the Republicans, as without support of a large percentage of women—including minority, single, young, and educated women—the GOP is destined to continue to lose elections for President over the long haul!

 

 

Left Handed Presidents On “Left Handers Day”!

Today, August 13, is “Left Handers Day”!

About 10-15 percent of the population, supposedly, is left handed, and it is certainly much more common now than in the past, due to children being forced to learn to be right handed in the past, because of belief that it was a sin to be left handed.

So as far as we know, left handed Presidents have occurred only in the past century, although there are those who think Thomas Jefferson may have been left handed or ambidextrous; and that James A. Garfield was the same, due to the statements that he could write in Latin and Greek with both hands at the same time!

Other than possibly Jefferson, and the case of Garfield, the list of left handed modern Presidents includes:

Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
Harry Truman (1945-1953)
Gerald Ford (1974-1977)
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
George H. W. Bush (1989-1993)
Bill Clinton (1993-2001)
Barack Obama (2009-Present)

This means that for 29 of the past 41 years (since 1974), we have had left handed Presidents, all but Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush!

It also means that 7 of the last 14 Presidents (from Hoover to Obama) have been left handed! This is 41 of the past 86 years!

It is also a fact that in 1992, all three Presidential candidates (Bush Senior, Clinton, Ross Perot) were lefties, and the same with 1996 (Clinton, Bob Dole, Perot)! And in 2008, the two major party Presidential candidates, Obama and John McCain, were also “southpaws”!

September 2015–A Month Of Federal Budget Deadline, Pope Francis Visit, Iran Agreement Debate For Congress!

When Congress gets back from its summer recess after Labor Day, it faces, along with President Barack Obama, a very challenging and significant month of major events.

The budget deadline is coming on September 30, and as usual, the Republicans in Congress are threatening yet again to shut down the government, with the issue of funding of Planned Parenthood being the major stumbling block, along with fights to cut “safety net” programs and promote yet more tax cuts for the corporations and the wealthy.

Pope Francis, certainly the best Pope in his progressive vision since Pope John XXIII (1958-1963), will be visiting the United States and speaking before a joint session of Congress. He will deliver a message that progressives will love, including concern for the poor; acceptance of change in the Catholic Church on many conservative doctrines, including an open mind on gays and lesbians and divorce; condemnation of unbridled capitalism; and advocacy of the need for action on climate change and the environment in general. The Republican controlled Congress will be uncomfortable over his message, but it will boost the Obama agenda and legacy.

Also, the bitter battle over the Iran nuclear deal is extremely divisive, with American Jews divided; Democrats divided; and Republicans in unison against the deal, and advocating military force against Iran. All that Obama needs to sustain the agreement is one third plus one of the votes in one or both houses. That seems assured now in the House of Representatives with the assistance of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, but in the Senate, it will be more difficult, since future likely Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer of New York has come out against the agreement. But as long as at least one house cannot override the veto, the President will triumph.

So a month of “fireworks” is assured, and who knows what else will occur, particularly with the 2016 Presidential race in full swing, and already highly controversial!

Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Anniversary Coincides With Iran Agreement Debate And Hiroshima Anniversary

It is ironic that the debate over the Iran nuclear Agreement coincides with the anniversary not only of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings in 1945, but also the 52nd anniversary of the Nuclear Best Ban Treaty, signed by the US, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and France in 1963.

President Obama gave a nearly hour speech yesterday appealing for Congressional support of the Iran Agreement, which is bitterly dividing the nation.

The American Jewish community is also clearly divided, and is presenting a problem for the Jewish Democrats in Congress, who also are taking different sides.

The purpose is to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and the issue of the best strategy to pursue, with Obama claiming the only answer is the international agreement, or else the alternative is war in the Middle East.

Never has the breach between the Israeli government and the US been so stark.

This is certainly the biggest foreign policy debate since the Iraq War vote in 2003, and the concern is to do what is best for the future, with no one certain of what that is.

Likelihood Of Oldest Presidential Candidate Race Ever In American History!

As the 2016 Presidential campaign heats up, it looks more and more likely that the two major party nominees will be among the oldest ever nominated or elected.

The Democrats have the following candidates who will be 64 or even beyond 70 as possible nominees:

Hillary Clinton 69
Joe Biden 74
Bernie Sanders 75
Jim Webb 70 (but nearly 71)
Lincoln Chafee 63 (but nearly 64)

The Republicans have the following candidates who will be 64 or beyond as possible nominees:

Jeb Bush 63 (but nearly 64)
Donald Trump 70
John Kasich 64
Rick Perry 66 (but nearly 67)
Jim Gilmore 67
George Pataki 71
Dr Benjamin Carson 65

Between the likely Democratic nominee and the likely Republican nominee, we can expect the oldest combination of Presidential candidates if one for each group above are the chosen nominees.

Right now, the Democratic nominee seems likely to be one of the top three on the list–Clinton, Biden or Sanders; and the Republican nominee likely to be one of the top three on that list—Bush, Trump, Kasich.

However, IF the Republican nominee turns out to be the younger candidates, such as Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, or Marco Rubio, we could have a bigger difference in age than we have rarely had, with only vast differences in age of William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan in 1896 and 1900; Franklin D. Roosevelt and Thomas E. Dewey in 1944; Harry Truman and Dewey in 1948; Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale in 1984; Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush in 1992; Clinton and Bob Dole in 1996; Barack Obama and John McCain in 2008; and Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012.

Note that in the cases of a much older and much younger opponents, the older candidate won with McKinley, FDR, Truman, and Reagan, but the younger candidate won with Clinton twice and Obama twice.

If Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee or Lindsey Graham were the GOP nominee, the average age of the two opponents would still be close to the highest in history, with their average age in the low 60s at inauguration.

Remember that the only Presidents to be 64 or older at inauguration were Ronald Reagan, William Henry Harrison, James Buchanan, George H. W. Bush, and Zachary Taylor.

The only other Presidents over the age of 60 at inauguration were:

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Andrew Jackson
John Adams
Gerald Ford
Harry Truman

So only 10 Presidents out of 43 were 60 or older when taking the oath, while now we are very likely to have both candidates over the age of 60, with 11 out of 17 Republican candidates being over 60, and 5 out of 6 (Martin O’Malley the exception) of the Democratic candidates over the age of 60.

So while we had a “new generation of leadership” three times in the past half century with John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, now we are almost certain to have an “old generation” of leadership coming to power on January 20, 2017.

25 Years Since The Middle East Crisis Which Led To Persian Gulf War Against Iraq, Led By President George H. W. Bush

It was 25 years ago this week that Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator, invaded Kuwait and incited US intervention by January 1991, in what became the six week Persian Gulf War.

Iraq had even been supported by the United States during the Iran Iraq War in the 1980s, but it now became the major menace of the Middle East, and forced the United States to intervene, with the backing of Saudi Arabia, which feared it would be the next victim of Iraqi aggression.

So President George H. W. Bush created a United Nations coalition, and with the assistance of General Norman Schwarzkopf, Colin Powell, James Baker, and Dick Cheney, and others, the fear that it would be a long war turned out not to be the case.

The UN went into this war, the first since the Korean War, with the understanding that the goal was to force Iraq out of Kuwait, and nothing more, so Saddam Hussein was able to remain in power, cause more trouble, and lead to another Iraq War, which would go on for many years under his son George W. Bush, and be ended under Barack Obama.

The whole mess in the Middle East became much more complex as a result of all of these circumstances, and helped, as we look back, to the rise of ISIL (ISIS), with not only the continued disarray in Iraq, but also with the revolutions in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and the horrific civil war in Syria.

Despite all these circumstances, George H. W. Bush, now 91, is seen as having done the right thing a quarter century ago, and keeping the limits set up by the United Nations coalition that fought the war in true unity with the United States. It is still one of his greatest accomplishments as President.

“Fit” And “Unfit” Presidents In American History

The issue of Presidential health is an important one, as the stresses on the Chief Executive, are, and have been, massive over time, and the job ages all Presidents noticeably.

But separate from general health, there is also the issue of how “fit” or “unfit” Presidents have been while in office, and those who have been active in athletic activities before and during their White House years.

The list of truly “fit” Presidents has favored the younger Presidents over time, but there are also cases of other Presidents who have made being fit an important part of their image as Presidents. These Presidents participated in sports, and even when having health issues over time, they still emphasized the active life.

So the truly “fit” Presidents would include:

George Washington

John Quincy Adams

Andrew Jackson

Abraham Lincoln

Theodore Roosevelt

Dwight D. Eisenhower

John F. Kennedy

Gerald Ford

Ronald Reagan

George H. W. Bush

George W. Bush

Barack Obama

All of the above 12 Presidents did a lot of exercise throughout their lives, and some were in the military as generals (Washington, Jackson, Eisenhower).

Those Presidents that would qualify as particularly unfit would include:

John Adams

Martin Van Buren

James Buchanan

Chester Alan Arthur

Grover Cleveland

William McKinley

William Howard Taft

Warren G. Harding

Lyndon B. Johnson

Bill Clinton

All of the above 10 Presidents had major issues with weight, particularly Taft and Cleveland.

Of course, “fitness” has nothing to do with greatness in the White House, as Franklin D. Roosevelt proves! But FDR also had massive upper body strength, despite the polio that prevented him from walking.