Democratic Party

Barack Obama: Who Is Our 44th President?

The attacks on Barack Obama, our 44th President, have reached a point of being totally ridiculous and preposterous in so many ways!

Critics say Obama is a Muslim, even though he never attended services at a mosque, and has called himself a Christian. Meanwhile, he has had America war against terrorist Muslims, and has used drones and troops to kill more Muslims than George W. Bush, including Osama Bin Laden!

Critics say Obama is a weak President, who has been unwilling to confront Vladamir Putin and defend Ukraine, while George W. Bush did not confront Putin on military action in Georgia in 2008; Lyndon B. Johnson did not confront the old Soviet Union on military action in Czechoslovakia in 1968; and Dwight D. Eisenhower did not confront the old Soviet Union on military action in Hungary in 1956.

Critics say that Obama is an “Emperor” or “King” because of action on immigration reform, but this is the same President they have said is “weak”, and when Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and all of the other Republican and Democratic Presidents since Dwight D. Eisenhower took action on immigration, none of them were called “Emperor” or “King”. So Obama is a “weak” President who is also an “Emperor” or “King”?

Critics say Obama is a Socialist, but Obama accepted the Newt Gingrich–Bob Dole–Heritage Foundation–Mitt Romney concept of health care, when he pushed for “ObamaCare”, which gives private insurance companies full control over health care when many Democrats and liberals and progressives really want “Medicare for all”.

Critics say Obama is anti capitalist, but Obama has tied himself to Wall Street much more than many Democrats and liberals and progressives wish he had, and the stock market is at an all time high, up about 250 percent from when he came in.

Critics say Obama is adding more to the national debt than anyone, forgetting he came in at the lowest point in 75 years, and that much of the new debt was an outgrowth of the disastrous George W. Bush economic policies that would have added the same to the national debt if John McCain and Mitt Romney had been elected President.

Critics say that Obama refused to work with the opposition party, but NO President EVER had such obstructionism as Barack Obama has had, and Republican Presidents, in particular, have found that opposition Democrats, while challenging them, NEVER promoted total lack of cooperation as the extremist right wing Republicans, led by the Tea Party Movement, have done over the past six years. Despite that, Obama has presided over a long list of accomplishments.

Critics blame Obama for the loss of seats in Congress in midterm elections, when ALL Presidents have faced that, except Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934. Harry Truman in 1946, Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954, Bill Clinton in 1994, George W. Bush in 2006, and now, Barack Obama in 2014, have seen the opposition party gain control of both houses of Congress. Also, FDR in 1938, Truman in 1950, Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, John F. Kennedy in 1962, Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966, Richard Nixon in 1970, Gerald Ford in 1974, Jimmy Carter in 1978, Ronald Reagan in 1982, George H. W. Bush in 1990, and Barack Obama in 2010 lost seats, and in the case of Obama, control of the House of Representatives.

These are just eight ways in which the critics of Obama are manipulating the truth and the facts, and despite all these attacks, Barack Obama stands tall and will look much better in history than his critics wish to concede!

Barack Obama In Line With Presidents Abraham Lincoln And Harry Truman! Profiles In Courage!

President Barack Obama is in line with Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman in his courageous use of executive orders, which were highly unpopular, but the right thing to do!

Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, despite his entire cabinet suggesting that he not do so, as it would cause great controversy. But Lincoln knew it was the right thing to do morally and ethically, and that politically, it would help to prevent Great Britain and France from recognizing the Confederate States of America, which would have caused war between the US and the two major European powers.

Truman knew that his executive order ending segregation in the armed forces and in Washington DC would rile up the Southern states, and cause his election campaign a lot of damage in the Old South, but he went ahead anyway, because it was the right thing to do, and politically, it made him a profile in courage. Despite losing four Southern states to the States Rights Presidential candidate, Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, Truman still staged an upset victory over Republican nominee Thomas E. Dewey. His actions against segregation cemented an African American alliance long term with the Democratic Party, and spurred the growth of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

Now, Barack Obama taking action on immigration reform, is taking a courageous action, vehemently opposed by Republicans and conservatives, but the right thing to do morally and ethically. The long term effect will be to cement the Hispanic-Latino-Asian alliance with the Democratic Party, and will insure that the Republicans will be marginalized, as the white population dwindles over time, and the elderly right wing majority will disappear over time.

Let us salute our President, as history judges Lincoln and Truman, for having done the right thing in the midst of massive assault and threats of retribution. This is what the Presidency is all about–principle, conviction, and courage!

The Democratic Party Winners In The 2014 Midterm Elections!

While the Democrats lost more seats in the House of Representatives, and lost 8-9 seats in the US Senate and majority control as a result, there WERE Democratic triumphs worthy of mention!

Jeanne Shaheen won a second term in the Senate, defeating Scott Brown in the New Hampshire Senate race.

Al Franken won a second term in the Senate in Minnesota.

Jeff Merkley won a second term in the Senate in Oregon.

Dick Durbin won a fourth term in the Senate in Illinois.

Chris Coons won a second term in the Senate in Delaware.

Ed Markey won a first full term in the Senate in Massachusetts, after having a special election victory in 2013 to replace Secretary of State John Kerry.

Cory Booker won a full Senate term in New Jersey.

Tom Udall won a second Senate term in New Mexico.

Jack Reed won a fourth Senate term in Rhode Island.

Mark Warner won a second Senate term in Virginia after a very close race with Ed Gillespie.

Brian Schatz won the remainder of a full term in the Senate from Hawaii.

Gary Peters was a new Senator elected in Michigan, to replace retiring Senator Carl Levin.

In the Governorship elections, Andrew Cuomo in New York and Jerry Brown in California won major victories, and also, Democrats kept or gained control of Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont–a total of ten victories. Their biggest win, however, was Tom Wolf, defeating Tom Corbett, making Pennsylvania, the sixth largest state, run by Democrats again!

It is not that Democrats have a total great number of victories, but it is worth mentioning that they are far from giving up on regaining the Senate in 2016, and many Governorships are likely to go to the Democrats as part of a “wave”, helped along by the strong likelihood of a Democratic Presidential nominee winning in 2016, and by a substantial majority in the Electoral College!

Short Term Weakening Of Potential Democratic Presidential Nominees

The midterm elections of 2014 have had the effect of creating a short term weakening of many potential Democratic Presidential nominees.

Hillary Clinton was involved in a lot of campaigning for fellow Democrats, who mostly lost their Senate and Gubernatorial races.

Joe Biden also was hurt, simply by association with President Obama, as the loss of the Senate was a blow to the administration and the Vice President.

But other potential Democratic nominees also suffered from the midterm elections.

Virginia Senator Mark Warner, considered a moderate alternative to most other potential Democratic candidates, struggled to win a close victory over Ed Gillespie, when polls indicated he would have an easy ride to reelection, so this might have affected any plans he had to run for President.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, also considering a Presidential bid, was hurt by the surprise defeat of his Lieutenant Governor, Anthony Brown for the Governorship. losing to Larry Hogan, the Republican nominee in a very “blue” state. Maryland has had only two previous GOP Governors in the past 50 years, Spiro Agnew and Bob Ehrlich.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, also flirting with running for President, was not helped by a surprising Republican victory in the Gubernatorial race, with Charlie Baker defeating State Attorney General Martha Coakley, who also lost the 2010 Senate race to Scott Brown, who succeeded Ted Kennedy. Massachusetts has been strange in the reality that it has elected a number of Republican Governors, while the Democrats dominate the state legislature, and House and Senate races, with the brief exception of Scott Brown for three years.

It is likely that these temporary blows, to five leading potential nominees on the Democratic side, will have no long lasting effect, with the Democrats still having an overwhelming edge in the Electoral College for the 2016 Presidential election.

Ohio The Crucial State In Presidential Elections Since 1964! Republicans, Be Aware Of That Reality!

Ohio, the “Buckeye” state, is the crucial state in Presidential elections since 1964, with the winner in Ohio going on to win the election, and reside in the White House!

This makes it essential for the Republican Party to take this into consideration, and to nominate an Ohioan for the Presidency in 2016. It also makes it essential for Democrats to fight tooth and nail to win this state, although they could win the Electoral College without Ohio.

A recent assessment of the Electoral College theorizes that the Democrats may have the 270 electoral votes needed to win the Presidency in 2016, as the so called “blue” states add up to 257 electoral votes, including all of New England and the Northeast, down to the District of Columbia; the Midwest states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota; and the Western states of California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, and Hawaii. Add Virginia and its 13 electoral votes, and the fact that the state has gone “blue” in Senate and gubernatorial elections recently, and is influenced by the power of the Northern Virginia (DC suburbs) population, and you have the precise number of electoral votes needed.

But of course, the desire is not to barely win, so Ohio is crucial for Democrats, but also Republicans!

This author has said before that, therefore, the best choice for the GOP Presidential nomination is either Governor John Kasich or Senator Rob Portman, more than any others, but not even certain that either will run for the Presidency, or do well in the caucuses and primaries, starting in January 2016!

Kasich has accepted Medicaid funding for the poor in his state, and Portman has backed gay marriage after his son came out as gay, and these factors hurt both with the Tea Party base in the Republican Party.

On the other hand, Kasich has a long record of Congressional service in the past, and headed the House Budget Committee in the 1990s; and Portman was Budget Director under President George W. Bush.

Both are mild mannered, not the type to make outrageous or ridiculous or extremist statements, and both seem competent to serve as President, more than most of the other potential alternatives.

The GOP National Convention will be in Cleveland, and there is a good chance of the Democratic National Convention being in Columbus, so Ohio moves to the forefront as a major battleground for 2016, which should not be ignored by either party, but particularly the Republicans!

Realize that six Ohio Republicans went on to become President from 1868-1923—Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding!

Will the GOP be smart enough to do the right thing? Don’t bet on it!

The US Senate Becomes More Ideological Than Ever!

The US Senate used to be a legislative body with moderate and even liberal Republicans, and moderate and conservative Democrats, allowing for a “crossing of the aisle”, and the creation of coalitions of Republicans and Democrats to promote legislation.

The recent Senate elections further destroyed any such “crossing of the aisle”, and insured more deadlock and gridlock, as moderate Democrats were defeated, and the most moderate Republican Senate nominee was defeated.

I am referring to the defeat of Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and the pending likely defeat of Mark Begich of Alaska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, on the Democratic side, and the defeat of Scott Brown of New Hampshire, who was often called the most moderate Republican.

When one looks at the new 2015 Senate, who is really “Moderate”?

On the Democratic side, we could say Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Bill Nelson of Florida, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Jon Tester of Montana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and the almost defeated Mark Warner of Virginia, who shocked everyone, including himself, by his almost loss to Ed Gillespie.

On the Republican side, the list of “Moderates” would include Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, John McCain of Arizona, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

Some readers might be shocked to see McCain and Flake included on this list, but in comparison to the rest of the GOP, they are, often, somewhat moderate and reasonable, although not reliably so.

This is a sad state of affairs, and not likely to change anytime soon!

The Confederate South Lost To Democrats For The Long Haul!

Hard to believe, but 150 years after the Civil War, the party of Abraham Lincoln, which was hated in the South for a century, now controls 70 percent of all Congressional seats, helped along by Republican gerrymandering, and the future is gloomy for the Democratic Party in the Confederate South.

For the eleven states involved, there are now only four Democrats to the 18 for the Republicans, and it is thought likely that Mary Landrieu’s Louisiana Senate seat will be lost in the runoff election in that state in December. Only Bill Nelson’s seat in Florida and Tim Kaine’s and Mark Warner’s seats in Virginia are Democratic, and Warner nearly lost his seat eleven days ago!

In the House of Representatives, in the eleven states, there are only 37 Democrats to 99 Republicans, and 21 of the 37 Democratic seats are in mostly urban areas of Texas and Florida, and most of those seats are held by African Americans, Latinos, or Jews.

So the South has become an area totally different now than in the 19th century, but with, sadly, the same mentality on race, and lack of concern about the poor amongst themselves!

Need For New Democratic Congressional Leadership Urgent! New Blood Needed!

With the defeat of the Democratic Party, and the losing of up to nine seats in the US Senate and about 15 in the House of Representatives, it is time for fresh blood leadership in both chambers!

It is time for Harry Reid to give up the leadership of his party in the Senate, and for Nancy Pelosi to give up the leadership of her party in the House of Representatives.

Senator Reid will either be retiring in 2016, or seeking another term, and it is time for Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, a more aggressive leader, but also better at negotiation with Republicans, to take over that position.

Congresswoman Pelosi was an outstanding Speaker of the House, but it will now be three defeats for her party in the House, with no likelihood of regaining majority control for many years. It is really time for her to give younger members the chance to move up to leadership, and that includes second in command Steny Hoyer also giving up his position as well.

These three leaders are all over 70, and it would not be surprising if all three chose not to run in 2016, part of the necessity of new blood coming into the party and its leadership for the long haul!

Midterm Elections, Second Term, A Political Disaster From Woodrow Wilson To Barack Obama!

The issue of midterm elections, second term of a President, has become one of great interest, as invariably, it weakens the President in his last two years, and inevitably, puts the opposition party in power.

This happened with Ronald Reagan in 1986, George W. Bush in 2006, and now, Barack Obama in 2014.

The second term midterm election also led to stronger opposition support in the time of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, although the Democrats already had control of both houses, gained in the first term midterm elections of 1954.

In the time of Harry Truman, while his Democratic Party kept control in the second term midterm elections of 1950, his party lost 28 seats in the House and 5 in the US Senate, after having lost the first term midterm election and control of both houses to the Republicans in 1946.

In the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt, while his party continued to control both houses of Congress, the second term midterm election in 1938 saw weaker Democratic support than his first six years, with FDR actually gaining seats in the first term midterm election of 1934, the only time until 1998 under Bill Clinton.

In the time of Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic Party lost control of both houses in the second term midterm elections of 1918, just as Wilson was about to go to Versailles to negotiate the end of the First World War, and this insured that the Treaty of Versailles and League of Nations would be rejected by a Republican controlled Senate. Wilson had already suffered heavy losses in the first term midterm elections of 1914 in the House of Representatives, although not in the Senate.

The only modern President to avoid second term midterm doldrums was Bill Clinton, who still saw the opposition Republicans in control in 1998, but with the same balance in the Senate and a five seat gain by Clinton’s Democratic Party. However, Clinton and his party had suffered massive losses and control of both houses of Congress in his first term in 1994.

Opposition Congresses Vs Split Congresses: Which Performs Better?

America is about enter a new period of an opposition Congress in both houses, something that been quite common in the past 70 years since World War II.

Harry Truman had an opposition Congress in 1947-48, and despite his “do nothing Congress’ attack on them in 1948, they actually accomplished a lot, just not all that Truman preferred, an example being the anti labor Taft Hartley Act.

Dwight D. Eisenhower had an opposition Congress in 1955-1961, but a lot was accomplished, including two Civil Rights laws in 1957 and 1960, and the National Defense Education Act in 1958.

Richard Nixon had an opposition Congress in his time in office from 1969-1974, but despite conflict and Watergate, actually accomplished a lot in domestic affairs by cooperation, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Gerald Ford had an opposition Congress in his time in office from 1974-1977, and although no major legislation was passed, got along quite well with the opposition party.

Ronald Reagan had an opposition Congress in 1987-1989, and while his last two years were declining years of performance amidst the Iran Contra Scandal, he still got along quite well with the opposition party, including when the House of Representatives remained Democratic during his first six years, and Social Security was reformed by bipartisan agreement.

George H. W. Bush had an opposition Congress in his time in office from 1989-1993, but was able to move ahead on the Americans With Disabilities Act, and made a deal on a tax increase with the opposition party.

Bill Clinton had an opposition Congress in his time in office from 1995-2001, after the first two years having his party in control, and while there was plenty of turmoil and drama, they actually came to agreement on balancing the budget in his last years, and working together on welfare reform.

George W. Bush had an opposition Congress in his last two years in office from 2007-2009, and despite a lot of conflict, gained support on a bailout of banks and other financial institutions during the Great Recession.

One will notice most times that the Republicans were in the White House, and the Democrats were in control of Congress when we had opposition Congresses, and that they were a lot more cooperative in general. The point was that at least most things that had to be done, and some others as well, were accomplished!

The split Congress of 2011-2015 has seen just about total stalemate, gridlock, and failure to accomplish anything, with a GOP House and a Democratic Senate. The four other Congresses in this situation, had also much more difficulty to gain new legislation, but those five from 1911-1913 under William Howard Taft, 1931-1933 under Herbert Hoover, and 1981-1987 under Ronald Reagan still accomplished more, due to the fact that the House was Democratic, and the Senate was Republican, the opposite of the last four years.

So when we have a Democratic Congress, or a split Congress with a Democratic House, historically, things get done; while when we have a Republican Congress, or a split Congress with a Republican House, the ability to get things done is far worse!

So the prognosis for Democratic President Barack Obama and a Republican Congress, led by a party much further to the right than earlier Republicans, to accomplish much in 2015-2016, is gloomy