Bill Clinton

The Beginning Of A Challenge To Donald Trump For Renomination: William Weld And Larry Hogan

It seems as if the beginning of a challenge to Donald Trump for renomination by the Republican Party has arrived.

Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld (1991-1997) , also the Libertarian nominee for Vice President in 2016 with Presidential nominee Gary Johnson, has indicated he is planning to challenge Trump. He would be 75 at the time of the inauguration in 2021.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who just won reelection last year by a 12 point margin, has also indicated he plans to compete for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2020. He would be 64 at the time of the next election.

Both are moderate Republicans, seen as centrist and pragmatic, and both won office in heavily Democratic states.

Weld has a distinguished aristocratic background starting with ancestors coming over on the Mayflower with the Pilgrims in 1620. He was a counsel with the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate Impeachment inquiry, and with one of his colleagues being Hillary Rodham, before she married Bill Clinton.

Hogan has the heritage of being the son of a Congressman, with the same name, who, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee in 1974, voted to bring impeachment charges against President Richard Nixon.

Can either of them seriously overcome the advantages of being an incumbent President?

History tells us when incumbent Presidents are challenged for renomination, invariably, the President defeats his opponent, but then loses the election.

So even if Weld or Hogan cannot defeat Trump, hopefully, they can weaken him enough that he will follow in the tradition of William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush, who overcame, respectively, Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Ted Kennedy, and Pat Buchanan, and yet lost the second term as President.

Three Democratic Presidents In Past Half Century Promoting Peace And Diplomacy In Foreign Policy

The three Democratic President in the past half century—Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama–all promoted peace and diplomacy in foreign policy.

Hopefully, the next Democratic President elected in 2020 will do the same.

Carter promoted the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel; brought about the Panama Canal Treaty; and opened up diplomatic relations with mainland China.

Clinton promoted the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, although later the progress made was reversed with the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Clinton also opened up diplomatic relations with Vietnam. And he also was able to bring about the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, between Catholics and Protestants.

Obama ended involvement in Iraq in 2011, although later sending some troops back to deal with the rise of ISIS (ISIL). He also opened up diplomatic ties with Raul Castro’s Cuba, although lately, the progress made has been derailed by Donald Trump and by incidents involving attack on the hearing of diplomats in Cuba, not only the US, but also Canada. Additionally, the Iran Nuclear Agreement was arranged, with the backing of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, and Russia. Sadly, Donald Trump has backed away from the agreement, and the future is uncertain, including the possibility of war with Iran at some point.

Each of these Presidents had to use military force, as Carter did to try to rescue the hostages in Iran in 1980; Clinton bombing Serbia and Kosovo over murder of Muslims by Christians in the former Yugoslavia; and Obama continuing US intervention in Afghanistan.

But all three Presidents are seen as having the right intention, and did what they could to promote reconciliation and negotiation, rather than military confrontation.

Whoever is the next President needs to revive this tradition.

A further elaboration of this article will be published on HistoryNewsNetwork.org this Sunday, and all of my more than 100 published articles on HNN are listed on the right side of this blog.

Latest Presidential Ranking Survey For Presidents Day Changes Ratings Of Several Presidents Upward And Downward

The game of Presidential rankings is one always changing, and the newest survey of scholars, including this author as a participant, does not disappoint in that regard.

The Siena College survey, now done six times since 1982, once for each new President being considered in the rankings, has some surprises.

157 experts, questioned by the Siena College Research Institute, raised two of the Founding Father generation to the top ten, with James Madison number 7 and James Monroe, his successor at number 8. In so doing, two modern Presidents were dropped out of the top ten, with Ronald Reagan at number 13 and Lyndon B. Johnson at number 16.

A rare occurrence was that Abraham Lincoln was number 3, when usually he is on top, although in earlier Siena College surveys, Franklin D. Roosevelt had been number one, now number two, with George Washington moving up to number one.

Barack Obama, number 8 in the American Political Science Association survey in 2018, and number 12 in the C Span 2017 survey, ended up number 17 in the Siena College survey, so below such Presidents as Woodrow Wilson, James K. Polk, John Adams, and Bill Clinton.

And Donald Trump, who was dead last in the APSA poll, was number 42, above James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson, with Johnson ending up below Buchanan, the opposite of both the C Span and APSA surveys.

Of course, the game of Presidential ranking is a never ending and highly debatable one, and the way that Presidents are ranked is purely in the eyes and expertise of the beholder.

Should a great man, such as Madison or Monroe, but not as accomplished as more modern Presidents, such as Reagan or LBJ, be higher in the ratings?

That is left up to how people perceive Presidents, and whether they include the whole life, or just the actual years of the Presidency, in their judgments.

America Will Never Be A “Socialist” Country, But We Have “Socialist” Ideas Americans Want To Keep: Social Security, Medicare, Environmental, Labor, Consumer, Health Care, Education, And Civil Rights Laws, All Which Make Capitalism Work Better!

Donald Trump attacked “Socialism” in the State of the Union address, knowing full well that is simply a code word to attack progressive reforms that have become part of the American tradition and system of social justice.

“Socialism” in America is Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Federal Environmental Laws, Federal Labor Laws, Federal Consumer Laws, Federal Health Care, Education and Civil Rights Laws.

These laws are the hard, years fought for, efforts of primarily Democrats and some moderate Republicans over the century since Theodore Roosevelt, including Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and even contributions of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and innumerable Senators and Congressmen and state governors who saw these laws as essential for American advancement.

We are a nation of capitalism but with “socialism” mixed in, due to the promotion of such legislation by the Socialist Party of the 20th century, and its leaders, including Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, and most Americans support and see the need for the laws we have.

We are not going to go back to the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, as the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the 1960s, and the Obama era have made our nation better, and the right wing attack on all these reforms will be fought bitterly and defeated!

One Year To The Iowa Caucuses, And The Democratic Presidential Race Is Wide Open And Even Chaotic

One year from February 3, a Monday in 2020, we will witness the 2020 Democratic Presidential Caucuses, the first test on the road to the Presidential nomination, as it turned out to be exactly 11 years ago on January 3, 2008, when Barack Obama won out over Hillary Clinton.

One year out, it is impossible to figure out who will be the Democratic Presidential nominee, but with the urgency that it is essential that whoever is selected is able to win the Presidency, and save the nation from a second term of Donald Trump or a succession of Mike Pence.

Within just one month, February 3 to March 3, assuredly, the field, which may start as high as 25 candidates, will be winnowed to no more than 5, and March 3, Super Tuesday, with California and Texas and a vast number of other states voting, could cut it down to no more than 3 finalists.

A prognostication, which may prove to be totally preposterous in retrospect in a year, this blogger senses that the following five will be the ultimate finalists:

Vice President Joe Biden, representing the older, establishment, experienced group of candidates and the Barack Obama legacy.

Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, representing the Midwest heartland, and like Biden, appeal to white working class voters.

Former San Antonio Mayor and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, a Latino, and younger by months if he became President than Bill Clinton, from Texas, representing the largest minority in America in a state and section of the nation with growing potential to turn Blue in the next decade, and transform the Electoral College in favor of the Democrats long term.

Senator Kamala Harris of California, mixed race (mother from India and father from Jamaica), often called “the female Barack Obama”, representing a candidate who revolutionizes the whole election process with her presence, and if she wins California, it could propel her into front runner status.

I would sense that the Presidential-Vice Presidential team will come from this group of five, but we shall see as the next year transpires.

Essential That Congress Pass Law Banning Government Shutdowns Now!

The Republican Party is guilty of provoking government shutdowns as a regular tactic in the past 25 years, since the time when Newt Gingrich and the Republican Revolution came to power in the 1994 Midterm Elections under Bill Clinton.

It has undermined respect in our government, and hurt many people in the process, and it should never happen again.

Any attempt of any President to force a government shutdown should be opposed by both parties, ready to override a Presidential veto by a two thirds vote.

Since Federal Government workers are not permitted to strike, therefore the Congress has a responsibility to make it illegal to ever disrupt the nation as it has, due to Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the Republican Party unwilling to keep their oath of office.

Effectively, they have been committing lawlessness, and hopefully, many will be wiped out of Congress in 2020.

The Wealthiest And The Poorest Presidents

The American Presidents have varied greatly in wealth acquired or inherited in their lifetimes.

Some were born poor, such as Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, due to family circumstances, with Clinton and Nixon acquiring wealth in their lifetimes, but Johnson would still be the seventh poorest President at death, according to statistics.

Materials gathered by scholars have led to conclusions on the net worth of our 44 Presidents, including their post Presidential years.

Easily, at least by the knowledge we have now, Donald Trump is likely the wealthiest President, although subject to change by further Congressional investigation of Trump’s finances, sure to come in the 116th Congress by congressional subpoenas. By estimate, Trump is wealthier than all the other 43 men who have been President of the United States.

After Trump, probably John F. Kennedy, had he not been assassinated, would have inherited close to $1 billion later in his life.

Other than Trump and Kennedy, George Washington would be considered the wealthiest President, in modern terms, around $580 million.

Behind him would be Thomas Jefferson ($234 million); Theodore Roosevelt ($138 million); Andrew Jackson ($131 million); James Madison ($112 million); and Lyndon B. Johnson ($108 million), with all those numbers being estimates.

Other Presidents who had substantial estimated wealth would include Herbert Hoover ($82 million; Bill Clinton ($75 million); Franklin D. Roosevelt ($66 million); and John Tyler ($57 million). Clinton acquired most of his wealth post Presidency by speeches and authored books, and will likely rise much higher if he lives a long life.

At the other end of the scale, we had 13 Presidents who had $1 million or less wealth by all estimates, in 2016 dollars, including in ranked order:

William McKinley

Warren G. Harding

James Buchanan

Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S. Grant

James A. Garfield

Chester Alan Arthur

Woodrow Wilson

Calvin Coolidge

Harry Truman

Notice that the bulk of these Presidents served in the years from Buchanan to McKinley, the last half of the 19th century, a total of seven out of eleven Presidents.

The three Presidents from Wilson through Coolidge also are on this list, and Harry Truman ends up as the least prosperous President at his death, as compared to Andrew Johnson the poorest at birth.

Barack Obama is rated just below John Tyler at number 13 on the wealth list at an estimated $40 million, with potential over a long lifetime to become one of the top few wealthiest Presidents by speeches, books, and other activities due to the stature and prestige of being a former President in modern times.

Other Presidents are rated in the middle on wealth, such as George W. Bush at $39 million; George H. W. Bush at $26 million; John Quincy Adams at $23 million; John Adams at $21 million; Richard Nixon at $17 million; Ronald Reagan at $14 million; Dwight D. Eisenhower at $9 million; and Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter at $8 million each.

California Governor Jerry Brown Retires With Positive Reputation As Best Governor In 2010 Decade

California Democratic Governor Jerry Brown leaves office after his second two term stint as governor of the largest state with an extremely positive reputation.

He is seen by many as the best governor in any state in the 2010 decade.

Having been governor at age 36 in 1975, Brown now leaves office at age 80 in 2019.

Brown brought California back from the brink of disaster financially in the past eight years; dealt with the environment in a very positive way; protected undocumented immigrants through the promotion of sanctuary cities; and set a standard for courage and principle, particularly in the last two years as he combated Donald Trump.

Originally seen as “flaky ” in the 1970s, he made many enemies by seeking the Presidency in 1976 and 1980 against Jimmy Carter, and then again running against Bill Clinton in 1992.

Looking back, however, this blogger feels he misunderstood the virtues of Jerry Brown, and now wonders how life would have been different with a President Brown instead of a President Clinton, as Clinton and his wife dominated American politics in the past 25 years, and while good in some ways, very tragic and troubling in other ways.

When history is written, Jerry Brown will be seen as one of the best Governors in America of all time. He also will have set the record as the third longest serving Governor since the US became a nation under the Constitution, only behind former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and 8,169 days (22 years, 4 months, and 13 days), and former South Dakota Republican Governor Bill Janklow, with 16 years and 7 days, and Brown having just two days less, with 16 years and 5 days. Brown will have one more day than former Alabama Democratic Governor George C. Wallace, (yes, that infamous segregationist who ran for President in 1968), the only other Governor to finish 16 complete years, although Ohio Republican James Rhodes and North Carolina Democrat Jim Hunt fell just a few days short of 16 years.

Growing Likelihood Of Challengers To Donald Trump For GOP Presidential Nomination In 2020

With Donald Trump being “individual No. 1”, clearly the center of probes by Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel, and also by the Southern District of New York, the likelihood grows of Republicans, who have just come off a 40 seat loss in the House and control of the lower chamber, being alarmed enough that serious challengers to Donald Trump’s nomination for a second term seem likely.

One can expect the following Republicans to consider challenges to Trump.

Outgoing Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse.

Utah Senator Mitt Romney, the 2012 Presidential nominee.

Outgoing Arizona Senator Jeff Flake.

Former South Carolina Governor and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

There could be others as well, but this list seems quite realistic, although the more that challenge Trump, the less likely there would be success.

It would be much easier if only one challenger took the bait, and went after Trump.

One can think back to 1979-1980, when President Jimmy Carter was challenged by both Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy and California Governor Jerry Brown.  

The one thing about even one challenger to a sitting President is that the result has been that while the President won the nomination, he ended up losing the election, with three of the four times losing massively.

William Howard Taft won only 23 percent in 1912 after being challenged by former President Theodore Roosevelt, and having to deal with TR as the Progressive Party nominee, as well as Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson.

Jimmy Carter won only 41 percent in 1980 after being challenged by Ted Kennedy and Jerry Brown, and having to deal with an independent nominee, John Anderson, as well as Republican nominee Ronald Reagan.

George H. W.  Bush won only 37 percent in 1992 after being challenged by Pat Buchanan, and having to deal with independent nominee Ross Perot and Democratic nominee Bill Clinton.

At this point, before we begin the new year, it would seem as if John Kasich would have the upper hand on a challenge over others, and that Ben Sasse, representing a new generation of conservative leadership, would be an additional major challenge to Trump, were Sasse willing to mount a campaign.

Of course, any challenge to Trump would also be indirectly a challenge to Vice President Mike Pence as the “heir apparent”.

The Fourth Period Of Six Living Presidents Ends With Death Of George H. W. Bush

We have just seen the end of the fourth time in American history that we have had six living Presidents.

The first time was in 1861-1862, from March to January, a total of about 10 and a half months, when we had President Abraham Lincoln, and former Presidents Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan, until John Tyler died in January 1862.

The second time was 1993-1994 from January to April, a total of about 15 months, when we had President Bill Clinton, and former Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, until Richard Nixon died in April 1994.

The third time, the longest time, was 2001-2004, from January to June, a total of about 40 and a half months, when we had President George W. Bush, and former Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, until Ronald Reagan died in in June 2004.

And now, the fourth and last time, was 2017-2018, from January to November, a total of about 22 and a half months, the second longest time, when we had President Donald Trump, and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, until George H. W. Bush died on the last day of November 2018.

The odds of having a fifth period of six Presidents anytime soon seems unlikely, as Jimmy Carter, at age 94, would seem unlikely to have much more life longevity, but if Donald Trump were to be forced out of office, in the next two years, or be defeated, and Carter stayed in good health, it could happen.