Barack Obama

First Year In Oval Office Under Most Presidencies Problematical, And Joe Biden Better Than Many!

One could argue that Joe Biden has accomplished a great deal in the first year, while often having disappointments and shortcomings.

Two major pieces of legislation were accomplished (The American Rescue Plan, and the Physical Infrastructure legislation), and the only reason why the Build Back Better bill and voting rights have failed to be accomplished is the opposition of two Democrats–Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema–and the reality of an equally divided Senate for only the third time in American history!

While inflation has become a major problem, the stock market dramatically rose, more jobs were created in the first year of a Presidency than any other administration, and the unemployment rate has dropped to a very low rate.

There are still the issues of the COVID 19 Pandemic, and the disaster of Afghanistan withdrawal, but the first issue was unpredictable as the worst health crisis in a century, and the second would have been the same result had Donald Trump stayed on as President, since he had made a deal with the Taliban without Afghanistan government involvement, to leave in May 2021, NOT as occurred in August 2021!

So some disappointing developments in the first year of a Presidency are not unique to the 46th President!

When one looks back at other Presidencies, it is actually quite common that the first year of a Presidency is a learning curve, and does not reflect on whether such Presidents will be, in the long run, successful, and also have the possibility of successful reelection.

The following Presidents had very successful first years—Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, George H. W. Bush!

Three Presidents had what could be described as mixed records in the first year in office–Dwight D. Eisenhower, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

The following Presidencies in the 20th and 21st century were far from successes in their first year:

Harry Truman 1945
John F. Kennedy 1961
Richard Nixon 1969
Gerald Ford 1974-1975
Jimmy Carter 1977
Ronald Reagan 1981
Bill Clinton 1993
Donald Trump 2017

Among these eight Presidents, four—Truman, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton–won reelection.

So it is not time to say that Joe Biden will fail to succeed, as he already has in many respects, and it is not time to say he cannot win reelection fo a second term!

Sad 44th Anniversary Of The Passing Of Hubert Humphrey, My Original Political Hero!

On this day, January 13, 1978, 44 years ago, my original political hero, Senator, Vice President, and Presidential nominee Hubert H. Humphrey passed away from cancer at the young age of 66.

When I was young, Humphrey became my political hero, with his strong liberal championship of views on civil rights, and introducing many ideas that became part of Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society in the mid 1960s.

Not well utliized by Johnson, Humphrey became the nominee of the Democratic Party for the Presidency in 1968, a divided party that had elements rallying around Senator Robert F. Kennedy before his tragic assassination, and also those who backed fellow Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy.

In a three way Presidential race, Humphrey would fall short, losing to Richard Nixon, and with George Wallace being a strong third party candidate.

Humphrey, who had been Mayor of Minneapolis, and then a US Senator from 1949-1965, returned to the Senate in 1971, replacing the retiring Senator McCarthy, and competed unsuccessfully for the Presidential nomination in 1972, and remained a major figure until his untimely death in 1978.

This author and blogger literally wept when Humphrey died, as I was drawn to his humanity, empathy, decency, and compassion.

And once he passed away, I looked around the US Senate for a successor leader I could believe in, and found the young Delaware Senator Joe Biden, still in his first term at age 35.

I feel fortunate that although there were many barriers to Joe Biden’s advancement to the Presidency, that after serving in the Senate for 36 years, and as Vice President under Barack Obama for eight years, that four years later, on his third try for the Oval Office, Biden finally won, and saved the nation from the menace of Donald Trump.

Neither Humphrey nor Biden were or are perfect, no such situation exists, but the two men shared characteristics that caused me to fall in love with them as political leaders.

I am sure that Humphrey would be very proud of Joe Biden, and the two men stand out as uncommonly models of leadership!

Comparing Kamala Harris To Mike Pence, Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle, Spiro Agnew!

Kamala Harris has been Vice President for nearly a year, and has faced brutal criticism and attacks, and suggestions by some that she resign, because she has not been assertive in the role of Vice President.

Of course, these suggestions come from Fox News Channel anchors Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham, who are actively involved in attempting a coverup of the events of January 6, 2021, even though they were stunned by the events of that day, and tried to reach Donald Trump to express their dismay.

It is insulting that conservative supporters of the January 6 Insurrection have the gall to attack Kamala Harris, when the major issue is that she is a woman, and of mixed African and Asian American heritage, as her father is from Jamaican origin and her mother of Asian Indian origin.

Who are the critics turning to as models?

Is it Mike Pence, who refused to speak up at all to Donald Trump for four years, but at least had the guts to uphold the Electoral College vote for Joe Biden on January 6, facing the threat of being hanged by rioters? That is his only redeeming quality.

Or is it Dick Cheney, who while qualified by experience, was a dangerous, out of control Vice President, under George W. Bush, who enriched himself by America’s engagement in two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq through leadership of Haliburton, and endorsed the use of torture against war prisoners?

Or is it Dan Quayle, who made everyone nervous for four years about the health of George H. W. Bush, as Quayle demonstrated how dumb and clueless he was?

Or was it Spiro Agnew, who resigned from office as a felon, after nearly five years a heartbeat away from the Presidency under Richard Nixon?

The only truly reputable Republican Vice President in the past half century was George H. W. Bush under Ronald Reagan! Although it must be said that the abbreviated Vice Presidency of Nelson Rockefeller under Gerald Ford was also decent!

Meanwhile, Democrats could be proud of their Vice Presidents—Walter Mondale under Jimmy Carter; Al Gore under Bill Clinton; and Joe BIden under Barack Obama!

Kamala Harris is in the tradition of decency and dignity of Mondale, Gore, and Biden, and will do a fine job over the next three years, with her excellent qualification as former San Francisco District Attorney, California Attorney General, and US Senator!

Assessment Of Biden’s First Year: A Lot Accomplished With A 50-50 Senate!

Conservative journalist David Frum, who worked in the George W. Bush Administration, makes clear that Joe Biden has accomplished a great deal in his first year in office with a 50-50 Senate, more accomplished than even Barack Obama with a 57 member Democratic Senate in 2009!

But the naysayers are at work, claiming the Biden Presidency has not been a success, due to the COVID 19 Pandemic, inflation, and Afghanistan.

That is preposterous, as if Donald Trump had been in office, for certain the first and third issues would have been no different, and the second one would have occurred no matter what was done!

Trump had misled and botched up the COVID 19 Pandemic, and regarding Afghanistan, had made an agreement with the Taliban with no Afghanistan governement involvement in 2020, to withdraw from that nation in May, not August 2021!

Inflation happens in cycles, and under Ronald Reagan it was a major issue in 1982 midterms but was resolved by 1984 when Reagan ran for reelection.

The hope is that the same will occur in the next year, and will not be as big an issue as it is presently!

The AntiSemitism Of Donald Trump Stated Loud And Clear!

AntiSemitism has sadly been part of American history, and we have had Presidents whose attitudes towards the Jewish people have been questioned.

Many question Franklin D. Roosevelt’s reaction to growing evidence of the Holocaust during World War II.

Harry Truman’s reaction toward Jews and Israel only developed due to his long friendship with Eddie Jacobson, and yet he could not visit Truman at his home in Independence, Missouri, due to the antiSemitism of Truman’s wife, First Lady Bess Truman.

Richard Nixon, while assisting Israel during the Yom Kippur War in 1973, expressed antiSemitic slurs on the Watergate Tapes.

Many Jews have questioned Jimmy Carter’s criticism of Israel, and accused him of being an antiSemite.

George H. W. Bush’s Secretary of State James Baker uttered criticism of Israel and of Jewish influence.

Many Jews have always believed that Barack Obama was unfavorable toward Israel’s government under Benjamin Netanyahu.

But none of these Presidents, not even Nixon, match the antiSemitism of Donald Trump, which many thought was well hidden, but now has come out full blown, beginning with his statement in 2017 that the Neo Nazis and white supremacists at Charlottesville, Virginia had some “good people” on their side.

Now, in an open interview, he is critical of Jews who have the gall to vote for Democrats and are not in lock step on Israel’s government policies, and condemned in foul language former Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for congratulating Joe Biden on his election victory in 2020!

And yet, there are Orthodox Jews and a percentage of extremely wealthy Jews who continue to support Donald Trump, even to the extent of continuing to back the Fascism of Trump displayed on January 6, 2021, and to promote the “Big Lie”, that Trump won the Presidential Election of 2020! They are blind to the evil that Donald Trump represents, and are a danger to the concept that Jews believe in social justice and compassion for those less fortunate!

Those Jews who continue to support Donald Trump even now should be roundly condemned and ostracized, and only are accelerating antiSemitism nationwide and worldwide!

Fareed Zakaria CNN Special From May 2021 Updated: “A Radical Rebellion: The Transformation Of The GOP”

The Welfare State–Secularism—changing racial situation.

Fareed Zakaria on a CNN Special today, updated from May 2021, entitled “A Radical Rebellion: The Transformation of the GOP”, presented an analysis of the disaster that the Republican Party has become:

in an era of conservatism attacking the concept of the Franklin D. Roosevelt New Deal and the Lyndon B. Johnson Great Society;

allowing Right Wing evangelical Christianity and theocracy to take over the party in the name of God;

and working against the reality that the white majority face a future in America of minority racial groups together being a majority of the population in about 2040-2045.

He covers from the John Birch Society in the 1950s;
to William F. Buckley, Jr and the National Review;
to Barry Goldwater and the conservative takeover in 1964, leading to massive victory of Lyndon B. Johnson and the Great Society;
to Richard Nixon and the “Southern Strategy”in 1968;
to Jerry Falwell and the “Christian Coalition” and the “Moral Majority” in the late 1970s and early 1980s;
to Ronald Reagan and the “Reagan Coalition” in the 1980s;
to Pat Buchanan’s challenge of George H W Bush in 1992;
to Newt Gingrich and the “Republican Revolution” of 1994 and after;
to the promotion of right wing propaganda and lies by Fox News Channel starting in 1996;
to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in the 2000s;
to the Tea Party Movement rise under Barack Obama’s Presidency;
to the rise of Donald Trump in 2015-2016;
to the “Big Lie” about the Presidential Election of 2020;
to the January 6, 2021 US Capitol Insurrection;
to the present extremism in the Congressional and State Republican parties in 2021;
to the constant threat to women’s rights, including abortion;
to the right wing rejection of Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney as not conservative enough;
and the growing racism, nativism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, and homophobia that have become alarming realities for the future of American politics!

Effect Of John F. Kennedy Assassination Still Reverberates On America 58 Years Later!

This author and blogger was a sophomore in 1963, when John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

It was the most stunning event of my life until the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The Kennedy assassination transformed American politics dramatically, both in good ways and bad ways.

It brought about the possibility of the greatest period of reform since Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, with Lyndon B. Johnson and the Great Society.

But it also brought on a devastating long term war in Vietnam, and the beginning of disillusionment with government at all levels.

Had Robert F. Kennedy survived and won the Presidential Election of 1968, instead of being assassinated after winning the California primary in June 1968, the potential for more great reform and change, and to avoid the Presidency of Richard Nixon, would have existed.

WIth RFK’s death, after the earlier tragedy of JFK, America was put into a permanent decline in hope and optimism for the next forty years, as even the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton in 1992 did not revive the hopes of the Kennedy legacy.

Instead, we had Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush cause great regression in so many ways, as Richard Nixon had done earlier.

Barack Obama was a bright light, but faced great opposition, and the horrors of Donald Trump as his succession!

Joe Biden, who has a bust of RFK behind him on the left in all photos when he is sitting at his desk, is trying to revive the Kennedy legacy of hope and promise, and has made a good start.

But it is clear the two Kennedy assassinations in the early and late 1960s have left a permanent scar on the nation!

Birthday Of Joe Biden And Robert F. Kennedy November 20, And The Issue Of Age!

Yesterday, November 20, was the 79th Birthday of President Joe Biden, our oldest President in office.

It was also the birthday of Robert F. Kennedy, who Biden perceives as a hero, with Biden having a bust of RFK always in every photo on his left side when Biden is at his desk in the Oval Office.

Biden is working so hard to accomplish the greatest social change legislation in the past 55 years since Lyndon B. Johnson accomplished the massive reforms of the Great Society in the mid 1960s, something RFK wished to build on if he had lived and become President in the Presidential Election of 1968.

The issue of age constantly is brought up as Joe Biden will be 82 years old weeks after the Presidential Election of 2024.

Biden certainly has aged since he was Vice President under Barack Obama, but he is still capable and alert, although his annual physical shows his gait has slowed a bit.

But when one compares Biden to Donald Trump or Ronald Reagan at the end of their terms, and even Trump now a year later, Biden is far more mentally capable than either of them.

And the idea that Donald Trump at age 78 and a half at the time of inauguration three years hence would magically be much more mentally and physically capable than Joe Biden, when already it is clear that Trump is a danger with his reckless rhetoric, and promotion of hate, sedition and treason, makes one have to wonder about the mental stability of Donald Trump followers, who see him as a God like figure!

Joe Biden might decide one term is enough, considering his age, and that would be perfectly understandable, as only one third of our Presidents have served two terms.

Joe Biden is a transformative figure in the Presidency, who is having an historical impact, and this is just his first year in office!

A new generation can follow him and continue the good works, and common decency, that would make Robert F. Kennedy proud, if he was alive, on his 96th birthday!

A Year After Joe Biden Election, Major Economic Advancements In Midst Of COVID 19 Pandemic!

A year since Joe Biden was elected President, the nation has seen major economic advancements in the midst of the COVID 19 Pandemic.

We have seen 5.6 million jobs created, the greatest of any President in nine months in office.

We have seen 531,000 jobs created in October alone.

We have a 4.6 percent unemployment rate, similar to what Barack Obama left the nation when he finished his Presidency in January 2017.

The Stock Market is at an all time high as I write this!

We have seen major Pandemic relief legislation, and now a massive Physical Infrastructure bill ready to be signed by Joe Biden.

The Social Infrastructure legislation is making progress, at a lower rate than originally planned, but still in the range of $1.75 trillion.

We are seeing greater progress than was possible by Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and even Barack Obama in their first year.

Joe Biden is on the way to being the most successful domestic President since Lyndon B. Johnson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

This is the time to promote and publicize the great advancements, and make the case for the Democrats to have expanded majorities in both houses of Congress in 2022 and beyond.

The Presidency And Native Americans

A recent article on History News Network has rated Presidents on “Integrity and Humanity in Dealing with Native American Nations”, a significant analysis of how the “original” Americans have been treated by American government.

It is not a positive picture overall, and we have had Presidents who were particularly horrid in their treatment of native Americans, and others who had a more open minded and considerate reaction to the plight of native Americans.

The list of Presidents who are seen as villains includes:

Thomas Jefferson
Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
Andrew Johnson
James Garfield
Theodore Roosevelt
Donald Trump

The list of Presidents who are seen as reformers includes:

John Quincy Adams
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Bill Clinton
Barack Obama

Overall, sadly, native Americans were treated with violence, disrespect and paternalism, with their lands stolen, and forced out of their ancestral lands!