Bill Clinton

Time For “A New Generation Of Leadership” For Democrats Running For The Presidency

The Democratic Party needs “new blood” running for President in 2020, just as it had in John F. Kennedy in 1960; Jimmy Carter in 1976; Bill Clinton in 1992; and Barack Obama in 2008.

This is not the time for “old” leadership, meaning another run for the White House by Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden. Anyone reading this blog knows of my great admiration for Biden, but at age 78 in 2020, it is too late, in the author’s opinion, for him to be a serious alternative. And as much as Hillary Clinton has an exceptional background, having run for President twice, and being still seen by many as a divisive figure, and being 73 in 2020, it is proper to say that her time has passed.

It is also NOT the time for Bernie Sanders, who despite his strong support, is not really a cooperative member of the Democratic Party, not having been a member until he decided to run for President, and now backing away again from membership in the party. His age in 2020, 79, also makes him far from a good choice for such a demanding job.

What about Elizabeth Warren? She will be 71 in 2020 and is an inspiring person, but the problem of misogyny that Hillary Clinton faced, which was a factor in her defeat, argues against Warren, as she has been cast in a negative light by many, for her vehement and outspoken manner. This blogger admires her, but finds it hard to believe she could win in the 2020 Presidential race.

So basically, what we need is someone not thought about before, and there are a multitude of candidates one can think of to consider for 2020.

Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, (62 in 2020) )Hillary Clinton’s Vice Presidential running mate, is one, as is his fellow Virginian, Senator Mark Warner (65 in 2020). But both are seen by many as too moderate centrist, not appealing to the Bernie Sanders supporters in 2016.

There is Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, (68 in 2020), who was thought of as an alternative running mate for Clinton, and who might have helped keep the white working class in Ohio and elsewhere for the Democrats in 2016.

There is also Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who would be 47 in 2020, and comes across as very appealing in appearance and views on the issues.

Then, there is Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, who would be 51 in 2020, but is seen as too centrist by many, and being African American, after the racism so evident during the term of Barack Obama, one wonders if that would be a problem.

And there are also Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota (60 in 2020)and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York (54 in 2020), but being females might be a negative factor, sad to say.

Additionally, there is Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon (64 in 2020), the only Democrat to endorse Bernie Sanders in 2016.

Less likely possibilities include Senator Chris Coons of Delaware (57 in 2020); Senator Al Franken of Minnesota (69 in 2020); Senator Kamala Harris of California (56 in 2020); and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island (65 in 2020).

Other than the US Senate, the only possible gubernatorial Presidential possibilities that seem reasonable are New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (62 in 2020), and California Lieutenant Governor and likely next Governor Gavin Newsom (53 in 2020), former Mayor of San Francisco.

Trying to figure out this early who might indeed run is really difficult, but one can assume that a good number of these 14 possibilities will actually enter the Presidential race.

First thoughts on this would be that Chris Murphy, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Cuomo, and Gavin Newsom would have the best chance, with all likely to be candidates. All are young enough, and have a record of accomplishment worthy of consideration. But also, it is likely that Mark Warner, Sherrod Brown, and Elizabeth Warren will also announce for President, and others might as well.

Of course, someone not yet thought of, who might be elected to the governorship or the Senate in 2018, might be added to the list.

And, one cannot eliminate someone from outside the political system, likely a businessman or media or entertainment star, could enter the race, and one cannot project against such a person having a real chance to be the Democratic Presidential nominee.

One must recall that John F. Kennedy had the issue of Catholicism that was a problem; Jimmy Carter the Southern issue and basically unknown nationally; Bill Clinton having the ethics and morality issue; and Barack Obama having the racial problem.

No one would have predicted three years before their elections that any of them would have been the nominee of the party, let alone the next Presidency of the United States!

Donald Trump’s First Hundred Days: An F Grade Is Appropriate! Neil Gorsuch Is The Only “Accomplishment”!

This is the season for judgment on Donald Trump’s First Hundred Days, and being a professor of history and political science, as well as a lecturer, blogger, and published author of two books and many articles, the conclusion is clear.

Donald Trump gets a F for his performance, easily the least accomplished President in the first Hundred Days, with only one major accomplishment, the approval by the US Senate of his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.

But even that only came about because of the Republican decision to abandon the filibuster rule, therefore allowing Gorsuch to be confirmed without a 60 vote margin usually required before a final vote. And it seems likely that Gorsuch will, sadly, take America backwards, maybe more so than his predecessor, Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch will affect constitutional law in a detrimental way, based on his earlier record as a circuit court judge.

Otherwise, Trump has been all bluster and bullyism, who has made many promises, and none of them nearing fulfillment. Trump’s public opinion ratings are by far the lowest of any President since polling began, particularly at this early a stage of his time in office. He has never had the majority of the nation behind him, either in the election, during the transition, or now after a hundred days in office.

Donald Trump has done more to divide America in his first Hundred Days than any previous President, and he relishes conflict, rather than compromise and unity. He has pitted his white working class supporters against minorities, and yet he is showing lack of any concern about those who supported him. There are signs already of disillusionment and “buyer’s remorse” by many who voted for Trump.

He has promised a Mexico Wall which will not work, if it is ever built, and it will add many tens of billions to the national debt, and Mexico is not going to pay for the Wall, and one hopes Trump is not ready to start a war with our neighbor, as he has more than enough foreign policy problems as it is.

He saw his National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, forced to resign in less than a month, and there has been total chaos, anarchy, and disarray with the White House staff, with the only good thing being the lessening of the influence of right wing radical Stephen Bannon, and the rise of the influence of Ivanka Trump, and her husband Jared Kushner. It is hoped that the couple will have a humanizing influence on Trump, which would be a good thing.

Meanwhile, the Russian connection to Trump is still being investigated, and could force him out of office at some point. But meanwhile, Trump has been saber rattling with North Korea and Iran, and has bombed Syria and Afghanistan, and continues to promise the total destruction of ISIL (ISIS). Relations with Russia, at least publicly, are deteriorating as well.

Trump has managed to create hostility and antagonism with such allies as Great Britain, France, Germany, Canada, and Australia, while seemingly cozying up to China over the Korean issue, and therefore changing his hostile tone in the campaign toward China.

Trump has shown his total ignorance of history and of science, and has declared war on the environment, on consumer rights, on labor rights, on women’s rights, on the Hispanic community, on African Americans, and on the health care system itself. He seems unconcerned about the loss of health care for 24 million Americans, and is just out to trash his predecessor, Barack Obama.

His appointments to his cabinet are atrocious, and we have the most terrifying Attorney General in all of American history in Jeff Sessions.

Trump has failed to gain any legislative accomplishments, and has, instead, used twice as many executive orders than his last two predecessors, but many are mean spirited and negative, undermining our values and the historical accomplishments of government in the past hundred years since Franklin D. Roosevelt, and including Republican Presidents, as well as Democrats.

Trump makes Richard Nixon look much better, and even the weaknesses and shortcomings of George W. Bush pale by comparison, as at least Bush was a decent human being, while wrong headed.

His anti immigrant, nativist stand is a stain on history, and the tragedy of deportation of children protected under executive order of Barack Obama adds to the horrors of families being torn apart.

His condemnation of the judiciary is detrimental to respect for the law, and his Muslim bans have been held up by courageous federal court judges.

Trump, in many ways, is the third President without a party, as there is a major split in the Republican Party, and there are many officeholders and conservative journalists and intellectuals who have major problems with him. John Tyler and Andrew Johnson are the earlier Presidents who had no party backing, but Trump was elected, while they were not, but Trump’s constant switches of position, and his lying, and insulting, undermine his Presidency dramatically.

Donald Trump comes across, ultimately, as the least likable President, if one judges by his character, his behavior, and his basic values.

Trump has no background, experience, knowledge, or ethical standard to be our President, and one must recall that 54 percent of those who voted, were against him, and he is the 7th lowest popular vote percentage winner of all Presidents, with the others–John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, and James Buchanan–all having two or three opponents who won electoral votes, while Trump only had Hillary Clinton as an electoral vote competitor. And Hillary won the biggest margin of popular votes of any losing candidate–2.85 million popular votes.

The nightmare of Donald Trump has just begun, and America is a loser for having, somehow, elected this egomaniac and narcissist, who is only out for his own glorification!

Presidential Family Members And The American Presidency

The growing influence of Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, is a significant factor in Donald Trump’s approach to the Presidency.

His reliance on and loyalty to his daughter and son in law demonstrates the power of family.

Other Presidents have also utilized family members as follows:

John Adams relied on John Quincy Adams as Ambassador to Prussia.

Woodrow Wilson had his second wife, Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, conduct cabinet meetings after he had a stroke in October 1919.

Franklin D. Roosevelt relied on his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, for advice on so many domestic and foreign policy issues, and in his last two years, his daughter, Anna, also was available to assist him.

Dwight D. Eisenhower used his son John Eisenhower as a staff aide in the White House.

John F. Kennedy had the most prominent relative in his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, serving as Attorney General of the United States for the entire time of the Kennedy Presidency.

Lyndon B. Johnson leaned on his wife, Lady Bird Johnson, for much advice.

Ronald Reagan followed the advice of his wife, Nancy Reagan, on a host of issues, including developing a relationship with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Bill Clinton utilized his wife, Hillary Clinton, on a proposed national health care program, as well as a host of other issues.

Barack Obama capitalized on the advice of wife Michelle Obama, as they were a very close couple.

But notice how mostly it was First Ladies who were engaged in helping their husband, with only John Quincy Adams, Anna Roosevelt, John Eisenhower (children) and RFK (brother) as important aides to the President, and Ivanka and Jared are in many ways unique in their growing role, with only RFK being of an equal or greater significance.

The Growing Role Of Jared Kushner: Will It Make A Difference And Transform Donald Trump?

It is now clear that son in law Jared Kushner, and his wife, daughter Ivanka Trump, have a great and growing influence over Donald Trump, as the President is very loyal to family.

The question is whether it will make a difference and transform Donald Trump from a nasty, mean spirited right wing Republican, out to destroy the system, exactly what Stephen Bannon wants, or will move toward the center, and be able to appeal to moderate Republicans and some Democrats, as after all, Kushner was a Democrat in his politics that we know of, earlier in his life.

Kushner has been given great responsibility, to reorganize the federal government, as well as deal with the Middle East, and has also been engaged in traveling to Iraq this week, and the issue is whether he really has the qualifications and knowledge to be able to handle these responsibilities in a way that will lead to good results.

In other words, is Jared Kushner possibly the new Robert F. Kennedy, who had already had government experience before he became Attorney General under his brother, John F. Kennedy, and proved to be indispensable to his brother?

Is Jared Kushner the next Hillary Clinton, who took on health care reform unsuccessfully as First Lady under Bill Clinton, but was also one of the leading attorneys in America?

First impressions of Jared Kushner is that he is nothing special or impressive, more a spoiled rich kid who married into the right family, and had assets to start a New York City newspaper.

The future of America short term, and for the reputation of Donald Trump in history, may be based on the level of Jared Kushner’s success, which at the moment is much in doubt.

Denial Of Health Care To Anyone Is A Crime Against Humanity, Particularly In Aging, Sicker America, Including Poor Children, Mental Issues And Other Diseases!

What it comes down to is the following: To deny health care to anyone in America is a crime against humanity!

We are an aging society, and a sicker nation, including poor children, mentally ill people, and people having to deal with all kinds of diseases, including cancer, heart issues, and innumerable other health issues.

EVERY industrial democratic nation makes sure that all of its population has health care, which is something all human beings are entitled to, rather than, as conservatives and Republicans say, that it is a privilege, an absolute outrage.

And the fact that wealthier people pay more taxes for health care is perfectly justified as all Americans have a responsibility to society, and those who have done well owe more to society for the good fortune this nation has given them.

The wealthiest country in the world ultimately needs Medicare for All as the best system, and the constant battles over the right to health care, under Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump, is an insult that needs to end!

How Long Until Cabinet Members And Staff Walk Out On Donald Trump? Sooner, Rather Than Later, Be Assured!

Working for any President of the United States is pure hell, as the stresses and pressures are always overwhelming.

But some Presidents are harder to work for, such as Richard Nixon, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Bill Clinton, each with their own maniacal behavior.

But is is clear that no President has ever matched Donald Trump as a “boss”, and the stresses and exasperation of working for Trump is starting to overwhelm his cabinet members and staff, even more so due to their boss’s incessant ranting and tweeting.

People who work for a President know that it is a meal ticket for future wealth, as the status of having worked, even briefly for any President, insures interviews on radio and television, and invitations to write articles and books, and make public appearances speaking about their experiences in the White House.

So these cabinet members and staff members are willing to sacrifice a lot, often including their health, their children, their wives and husbands, due to the aroma of money and fame.

But even that can reach its limit, and the way things are going, it is extremely likely that we will see many resignations over a short period of time, leaving Donald Trump in a lurch, trying to find new cabinet members that must be confirmed, as well as staff people willing to take on abuses, when they know the horrible experiences others have had.

Already, several people have rejected joining the Trump Team, and General Michael Flynn is done, and Jeff Sessions is already compromised, so watch as the turnover in the Trump Administration, if he lasts long enough, which is doubtful, as it reaches an all time high.

But imagine the memoirs that will come out in the future, just proving how crazy, loony, and despicable a man Donald Trump really is, as if we did not witness it every day.

The Wealthy And Corporations Love Trump, Most Pro Business Since Calvin Coolidge, But The Great Depression Came After Coolidge!

The stock market has surged since the election of Donald Trump, and has hit the 20,000 mark and now the 21,000 mark, a 15 percent increase.

And why not? This nation, and its clueless masses, worship wealth and opulence over principle and ethics, sorry to say!

The wealthy elite and the corporations love what Donald Trump represents—massive tax cuts for the top one percent promised, and the end of most regulations of corporations in all fields of the economy.

This is already the most conservative President, just in pledges and promises, that we have seen since Calvin Coolidge nearly a century ago.

Even Ronald Reagan was not able to do so much so quickly, or pledge to do, as Donald Trump has been pledging to the elite wealthy.

Meanwhile, for the average American, and the blue collar whites who voted for Trump, they are not yet aware of the scam being perpetrated, as they lose their health care, their protection from environmental calamity, and their social safety net that they receive in greater numbers than minorities often have.

No longer can they get a lower interest rate on mortgages, or a greater overtime pay at work, or protection from being victimized by those who advise them on retirement investments.

Public schools will be harmed; gays and transgender people will be discriminated against in an open fashion; civil rights violations will not be investigated; and civil liberties of all of us will be undermined by a lawless, corrupt administration which is taking advantage of gullible citizens who thought a narcissistic billionaire, who has always treated his workers, contractors, and tenants with disdain throughout his life, could be trusted.

While the wealthy and corporations celebrate Trump, expect that we will have the same result we had under Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover–the coming of the Great Depression; and the same results we had under George W. Bush, the Great Recession.

Remember also we had great economic recessions under Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s; under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford in the 1970s; and under Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush in the 1980s and 1990s.

The way we get out of economic depressions and recessions is to elect Democrats—Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy. Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, with FDR and Obama being the most crucial Presidents in taking us out of the two greatest economic downturns of the past hundred years–1929 and 2008!

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: The Golden Age Of The Presidency, 1933-1969 (FDR, Truman, Ike, JFK, LBJ) With Five Of The Top Ten In History!

One final commentary on the C Span 2017 Presidential Survey is in order.

Based on the results of this survey, including 91 Presidential scholars, it is clear that there was a Golden Age of the Presidency from 1933-1969, a 36 year period in the 20th century when we had five Presidents–4 Democrats and 1 Republican—who had a transformational effect on American history.

All five of these Presidents—Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson—had bright moments in their Presidencies, but also times when their actions caused problems down the road of history. But they had a massive impact on the office and the nation, and they were ranked as Numbers 3, 6, 5, 8 and 10 in the most recent C Span survey.

Three of them—Truman, Eisenhower, and Johnson—left the Presidency with very low public opinion ratings, but have recovered to rise dramatically in image and reputation over the decades.

The four who followed FDR institutionalized the New Deal and expanded it, and yet now in 2017, everything that was accomplished in both domestic and foreign policy is in danger from the anarchistic, chaotic forces of Donald Trump, Stephen Bannon et al, who are ready to use a sledge hammer to destroy all of the progress and growth of the federal government to protect the population, particularly the vulnerable groups—the poor, the sick, the disabled, the elderly, women, ethnic and racial minorities, labor, and those concerned about the environment.

Since 1969, the Presidency has been going through crisis, first through the shortcomings and paranoia of Richard Nixon, through further decline under Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter (despite their well meant intentions), and then through the Presidency of Ronald Reagan which revived the image of the office, but started the long term decline of the middle class by its actions, continued under George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton despite some reforms, and then reaching a low under George W. Bush, leaving Barack Obama with a challenge unseen since FDR.

Obama’s response in the midst of constant obstructionism was miraculous, and his number 12 rating upon leaving the Presidency insures his eventual rise to the top ten of the list, likely through a decline of Woodrow Wilson and Ronald Reagan by a few notches.

Donald Trump will cause the rise of all of the Presidents who have not done well in the rankings—Nixon, Ford, Carter, and the second Bush—but that reality is a sign that the American Presidency has been under attack as an institution since 1969, with the only bright moment being the rise of Barack Obama. So we are unlikely to see a new Golden Age, and the five Presidents from 1933-1969 are likely to be well entrenched in the Top Ten for the long haul of American history.

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey Results On George W. Bush And Bill Clinton: Little Hope Of Further Rise, And Never Above Barack Obama

The C Span 2017 Presidential survey gives evidence that the two Presidents before Barack Obama–George W. Bush and Bill Clinton—are unlikely to rise very much from their positions in the recent polling.

George W. Bush was a very low 36 in 2009 and now has risen a few notches to 33, while Bill Clinton, who had been 21 in 2000, and rose to 15 in 2009, remained at 15 in 2017.

Bush’s slight rise is due to recognition that he did have some virtues, as with his promotion of immigration reform although it failed to be achieved, his education reforms (No Child Left Behind), his promotion of tolerance toward Muslims after September 11, his prescription drug program for seniors, and his aid to Africa on AIDS.

But there is little room to move up, as to believe that Bush’s failures will ever be overlooked enough that he will rise above Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter or Gerald Ford, seems delusional.

So at the most, Bush might move above Rutherford B. Hayes, who has had a dramatic drop from 26 in 2000 to 33 in 2009 and slightly up to 32 in 2017; Zachary Taylor (who died after the third shortest term); Benjamin Harrison (who was sandwiched in between Grover Cleveland’s two terms); and James A. Garfield (who died after the second shortest term due to assassination). It is not really an accomplishment to pass two short term Presidents, and two one term Presidents of the Gilded Age. No one higher from Number 28 Richard Nixon upward is a likely candidate to fall below Bush ever in the future. So Bush will not be like Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, or Lyndon B. Johnson, who started off low and then rose to the top ten over time.

As far as Bill Clinton is concerned, his original low standing was due to the fact that he had the most corrupt Democratic Party administration, although it was on a lesser level than Republicans Richard Nixon, Warren G. Harding, Ulysses S. Grant, and Ronald Reagan. His personal sex scandals brought him down as he was leaving office, but his rise in 2009 seemed reasonable, but really what will allow him to rise further, as he did not do in 2017?

The more one looks at Clinton, the more one realizes that his time in office is best remembered for a good economy which just happened to be lucky to coincide, but which included the moat conservative Democratic administration of the 20th century, with him cooperating with the Republicans on ending the Interstate Commerce Commission; ending the federal guarantee of welfare; passing very strict crime bills that backfired over time; and allowing corporate mergers that no other Democratic President would have allowed. And his shortcomings became more evident as his wife, Hillary Clinton, pursued the Presidency, and ultimately lost, even though she won the popular vote by three million.

The only practical way for Bill Clinton to rise is to overcome James K. Polk, who was extremely successful in his one term; or James Monroe, who in his two terms, accomplished enough that his significance has been recognized. So do not expect any rise from number 15 for Bill Clinton, despite his great charisma and personality.

When Bush and Clinton pass away in the future, it might cause some rise in their ratings, but unlikely long term, and it is a reality that Barack Obama, already ahead of both and likely to rise, will always be ahead of the two Presidents before him, as well as certainly so above the President who has succeeded him, Donald Trump, who has in one month set his legacy, that he will be at the bottom or close to the bottom of ratings in future surveys after he leaves office, hopefully sooner than one term.

Donald Trump keeps on saying he inherited a “mess”, a total lie, which will not stand now or in the long run of historical analysis!

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: Barack Obama Is 12th, Highest Ranking In Any Such Poll For Newly Retired President Since Ronald Reagan

The C Span 2017 Presidential Survey of 91 scholars of the American Presidency did true justice by naming Barack Obama the 12th Greatest President.

This is the highest first ranking of a newly retired President since Ronald Reagan in 1989, before there were C Span polls, but instead other polls existed, although not as organized and prestigious as C Span has now done three times–in 2000, 2009, and now 2017.

Obama was only 15 points behind Woodrow Wilson, and only 18 points behind Lyndon B. Johnson, often seen as the third and second, respectively, most accomplished Democratic President, particularly in domestic policy. And Obama was only 23 points behind Ronald Reagan, the conservative icon.

At the same time, Obama is 23 points ahead of James Monroe of the “Era of Good Feelings”; 31 points ahead of James K. Polk, who acquired so much territory in one term of office; and 35 points ahead of his major living competition, Bill Clinton.

Based on the stellar performance of Obama in the first competition, it seems likely he will move up to the top ten the next time this poll is done, or certainly at the least pass Wilson as a minimum, an interesting thought considering Wilson’s sad racial prejudices, despite his being the only earned Ph. D. President.

If Obama had been fortunate enough to have a Democratic Congress regularly, as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson had in their times, his ranking on “Relations with Congress”, rated 39th, would have been much higher, and he would already be in the Top Ten Presidents. Only Franklin Pierce, John Tyler, James Buchanan, and Andrew Johnson rank lower, which seems rather ridiculous in retrospect.

As it is, Obama rated 3rd in “Pursued Equal Justice For All”; 7th in “Moral Authority”;, 8th in “Economic Management”; 10th In “Public Persuasion”; 12th in “Vision:Setting An Agenda”; 15th in “Crisis Leadership” and “Performance Within Context of Time”; and 19th in “Administrative Skills”. In “International Relations”, much of it still unresolved on effect, Obama ranked 24th.

It seems clear that Obama will look even better in the long run, despite the racism, hatred, prejudice, and total obstructionism of the Republican Party and its leadership, which will pay for it in historical memory in the long haul, when these kinds of traits do not improve one’s historical standing!