Democratic Party

President Obama Not Acting Like A “Lame Duck”!

Barack Obama could be said to have suffered a defeat in the midterm elections, when his Democratic party lost control of the US Senate, and the House of Representatives majority became the largest since 1929 for the Republican Party.

And yet, Obama has been on a “tear” since, and it is clear that he is NOT acting like a “lame duck”, and will work to accomplish as many goals as he can, with or without cooperation of the GOP majority in Congress.

Obviously, Obama cannot pass legislation on his own, but he can veto legislation, and prevent destructive behavior by the Republican majority.

So new House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin can wish to gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, but Obama will be able to prevent much, if any damage, to these signature programs promoted into law by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Obama has been able to get judicial appointments approved by the outgoing Democratic Senate majority, and those judges have lifetime tenure.

Obama can, legally, by executive order, promote many changes that do not need Congressional approval, and every President has utilized this power to bring about changes, sometimes good and sometimes bad, but the issue of the authority to use executive orders is a clear cut one!

So Barack Obama still has two years to bring historic change, and he is now liberated to do what he wishes to do that is allowable under our Constitution and history, and he no longer needs to be cautious, but instead can become aggressive and outspoken, knowing that even if he was to be impeached and brought to trial by the Republican Congress, that he is untouchable, as there is no way to gain a two thirds majority in the US Senate to remove him.

Instead, he has the opportunity to make his Presidency more transformative and historic at a time when so much of what he has already done is bearing fruit!

Obama Supported By Chambers Of Commerce, Catholic Church, Public Opinion Polls, And Many Others, On Cuban Policy

President Obama has taken a gigantic step in changing Cuban policy, and his initiative will overcome the opposition of Cuban American Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, along with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and many other Republicans and some Democrats, other than Menendez.

This Cuban initiative was promoted by Canada’s Conservative government; Pope Francis; Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona; and many other rational people who knew that the policy against Fidel and Raul Castro, beginning under Dwight D. Eisenhower, and lasting through what is now eleven Presidencies, was having no real effect on the Cuban government, and harming its citizens. The Chambers of Commerce and the Catholic Church in America have also endorsed the change in policy. And, interestingly, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has also backed the Obama policy as rational and reasonable, which it most certainly is! And public opinion polls show about 60 percent support a change in Cuban policy.

Yes, the Castros have been horrific on human rights, but we have have relations with many oppressive governments, which are more than half the nations in the world. These have included Communist governments, as in China and Vietnam, for instance; but also numerous right wing dictatorships in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East over the decades.

If we can deal with Vietnam, where 58,000 Americans died, then we can deal with Cuba a half century after the Cuban Missile Crisis!

Either we accept that fact, that it is time to change a Cuban policy which has never worked, or we need to cut off relations with most of the nations in the world, and live in isolation, and our own “dream world” of reality!

December 19, 1998: The Impeachment Of Bill Clinton! A Day Which Will Live In Infamy!

On this day 16 years ago, the Republican controlled House of Representatives voted charges of impeachment against President Bill Clinton!

Two charges, perjury and obstruction of justice, gained a party line majority vote, and the 42 nd President faced trial in January and February 1999, and was found not guilty, with only 45 votes for conviction on perjury, and 50 votes for conviction on obstruction of justice, with 67 votes needed to convict and remove. Ten and five Republicans supported Clinton on the two counts, and all Democrats supported the President, while 45 and 50 Republicans voted to convict.

The impeachment and trial was a mockery, with no just cause, just an attempt to besmirch the reputation of Bill Clinton, but it failed, in the sense that Clinton came out shining, growing in popularity, and this has continued since 1999.

So any attempt to impeach Barack Obama will have the same effect, with the same result, but that does not mean that the Republicans, with 54 Senators now, instead of 55, will avoid moving toward impeachment, since the GOP is much more right wing now than even in 1998-1999!

Presidents In Last Two Years In Office: Tradition Of Opposition Congress And Little Legislation Accomplished!

When one looks back at the past century of Presidential history, it is clear that it is common for the President to have to deal with an opposition Congress in the last two years of his tenure, and in two cases, a divided Congress in the last two years in the White House.

This, of course, means little can be accomplished, other than by judicial appointments, and by executive orders, as significant legislation is unlikely.

Look at the list of Presidents who dealt with opposition Congresses in their last two years:

Woodrow Wilson–1919-1920
Dwight D. Eisenhower–1959-1960
Richard Nixon–1973-1974
Gerald Ford–1975-1976
Ronald Reagan–1987-1988
George H. W. Bush–1991-1992
Bill Clinton 1999-2000
George W. Bush–2007-2008
Barack Obama–2015-2016

Add to this list two Presidents who had a divided Congress in their last two years:

William Howard Taft–1911-1912–Democratic House and Republican Senate
Herbert Hoover–1931-1932–Democratic House and Republican Senate

So if all the Presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama are counted, it means ELEVEN Presidents faced a Congress unfriendly to them in the last two years of office, with only TR, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Jimmy Carter having “friendly” Congresses in their last two years, with Warren G. Harding and John F. Kennedy in office too short a term to qualify, since they died in office, unlike Gerald Ford, who actually completed a short term.

So 11 of 17 Presidents, two thirds of the total, have had to deal with the reality of the decline of their ability to control events, other than judicial appointments and executive orders!

Barack Obama Should Veto Continuing Resolution, Forcing Congress To Stay In DC And Change $1.1 Trillion Budget!

One of the most important pieces of legislation to reach Barack Obama’s desk–the $1.1 trillion Continuing Resolution legislation that would cover the government budget through September 30, 2015, and allow Congress to leave, and would avoid a government shutdown—should be vetoed by President Obama!

This is a bold move, to ask Obama to veto the bill, but it has many problems, including allowing the big banks, led by Citigroup, to avoid responsibility for another collapse of the banking system, which seems more and more likely, and would have taxpayers save the banks once again, adding to the national debt! This would be possible by the repeal of the Dodd-Frank legislation that prevents future such disaster! Senator Elizabeth Warren has made national news by her denunciation of this action on the Senate floor.

Additionally, allowing wealthy people to give ten times what they can now contribute to political campaigns is a further extension of the Citizens United Case, in which the Supreme Court has allowed millionaires and billionaires to engage in the “buying” of elections, through unlimited spending!

Also, pension protection for public and private pensions would no longer be guaranteed, causing disaster for millions of workers who would no longer be assured of the protection of their hard earned pensions when they retire, or even for those who have retired.

Additionally, nutrition standards set by Michelle Obama would be relaxed; and DC would not be able to allow marijuana use, losing control over its own jurisdiction by interference of Congress, despite the vote of the population in November’s election.

24 Republicans and 16 Democrats voted against this bill, including most of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, and it should be vetoed by Obama, on the basis of too much lost and too little gained.

It is time for Obama to show aggressiveness, as what does he have to lose now?

Elizabeth Warren And Bernie Sanders Turn The Democrats Toward A New Populism!

The two New England heroes of progressivism, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, are pushing the Democratic Party to return to its principles, and promote a new Populism, in which the battle for the middle class and the poor; the ethnic minorities; women; gays and lesbians, labor; the environment; support for veterans; and protection of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and ObamaCare are the priorities over protecting Wall Street privilege and engaging us in never ending foreign conflict with our troops as cannon fodder for the interests of those who feel invasion and war actions are the answer to our problems at home, which they, most certainly, are not!

It looks more than ever that Hillary Clinton, if she runs, will be challenged by one or the other of these two progressive heroes. Hillary may end up as the nominee of the Democrats, but her closeness to Wall Street and her “hawkish” image in foreign policy hurt her for the battle ahead!

We need a President who is willing to challenge the establishment, and we need a President who will fight Wall Street and the defense establishment, and work to undermine the one percent oligarchy which is undermining our democracy!

We need a President who has principles that he or she will not bend, to continue the work begun by Barack Obama, but needing a continuation under the next President!

A Warren or Sanders candidacy would make Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, or any other Democrat, work to return to the base that has made the Democratic Party a party of great accomplishment, instead of acting as a moderate alternative to the Republican Party.

Three Outstanding U.S. Senators Retiring: A Loss To The Institution

As the 113th Congress nears its end, setting a record as the worst, most unproductive Congress in modern history, it is time to reflect on the loss of three outstanding US Senators who are retiring, after decades of exceptional service.

Those three Senators are:

Tom Harkin of Iowa
Carl Levin of Michigan
Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia

Harkin and Rockefeller served 30 years in the Senate, while Levin served 36 years.

All were principled men who stood up for the middle class and promoted progressive values and principles in their years in the Senate.

All three were men of conscience who worked against right wing attacks on the Democratic Party and its constituents, and added dignity to the Senate.

All three will be greatly missed, but will go down in the annals of Senate history, as having been among the greats in its history.

The Complete Reversal Of American Politics: Republicans In The South, Democrats In Large Populated Northeastern, Midwestern And Western States!

The defeat of Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu on Saturday marks the complete reversal of American politics from the years 1877 to the present.

After the Reconstruction of the South ended, with Union Army troops leaving, twelve years after the Civil War, the South became an area totally dominated by Democrats, resentful of the Republican Party, Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War defeat, and the passage of Amendments 13, 14, and 15, ending slavery, making blacks citizens, and giving the men the right to vote.

The South went into massive resistance, creating Jim Crow segregation to replace slavery, and until the election of Herbert Hoover in 1928 and Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, it was always a solid Democratic South with no black voting, due to discriminatory state laws that were ignored by generations of the federal government. Hoover won much of the South due to his Catholic opponent, Alfred E. Smith, in 1928, and Eisenhower won over Adlai Stevenson twice in the 1950s due to his personal popularity and World War II D Day reputation.

But only when the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing, starting in the 1950s, and reaching its peak with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 under Lyndon B. Johnson, did we see the beginning of a mass exodus of office holders and ordinary white population, to the Republican Party, starting with Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina in 1964, switching parties to back Republican Senator Barry Goldwater against President Lyndon B. Johnson.

As the Democrats started to lose power in the South, the nomination of Southern governors Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, and the rise of “New South” Governors like them and others in the Democratic Party, slowed up the switch to the GOP.

But the election of Barack Obama, considered anathema in the South, has now led to the entire wiping out of Southern Democrats in Congress, except for black and Jewish members of the House in districts gerrymandered that give the Republicans more total Congressional and state legislative seats in the South. Only a few other white non jewish members of the House remain, and they are endangered in the political climate of the South in 2014.

Only Virginia has both its Senators and Governor (Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Terry McAuliffe) as Democrats, and only Florida has one other Democratic Senator, Bill Nelson at this point, as we enter 2015.

And both Virginia and Florida have Republican dominated legislatures, as well as the other states that made up the Confederate States of America.

And, of course, Florida includes the heavily Northern South Florida, and Virginia has the heavily Northern North Virginia, influenced by being part of the DC suburbs, and otherwise, these three Senators and one Governor would not be in public office.

So the complete reversal of a century and a half ago has occurred, and is unlikely to be changed for a generation or more, at the least.

This means that the South will remain as it is now for a generation or more, and that the issue of race nearly a century and a half ago, again stands out as the key difference that separates that section from the rest of the country.

Meanwhile, the heavily populated areas of the nation in the Northeast, Midwest and West are more Democratic than ever, and are unlikely to change either over time, creating political deadlock long term over the future, stifling change and creating constant political conflict and deadlock!

A Presidential Race Without Hillary Clinton Or Jeb Bush Would Be Better For The Nation!

CNN Anchor Candy Crowley has said that she believes Hillary Clinton will not run for President in 2016.

Charlie Cook, Editor of the Charlie Cook Political Report, has said that Hillary hurt her cause on her recent book tour, and is seen as “rusty” by many, and that many think she will not run, although he thinks she will run. Cook also says that it is highly unlikely that Jeb Bush will run, and if he does, the odds of him being the GOP nominee for 2016 are low, predicting that a Tea Party Senator or a Midwest Governor will be the likely nominee.

What Cook says, if it happens, will actually be good for the nation, as we really need new faces, someone who has not run for President, on both sides of the political divide, and that includes Mitt Romney!

So if one goes by what Crowley and Cook are saying, the most likely strong competitors on the Democratic side would be Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland, and two Virginians, Senator Mark Warner, and former Senator Jim Webb (who has recently made clear he intends to run no matter what Hillary Clinton does). Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, should not be left out of the fray, with the last two possibly entering if Hillary does not run. And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo might also choose to run. At this point, the favorite would be Elizabeth Warren. This is all based on the assumption that Vice President Joe Biden, not a new name himself, will not run, or will falter. In other words, a non Hillary race would be a lot more exciting, and a surprise could emerge from the race.

On the Republican side, if Charlie Cook is correct, it means one of the Tea Party Senators–Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas–would emerge as the favorite, alongside a Midwestern Governor—meaning John Kasich of Ohio, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, or Mike Pence of Indiana.

Trying to imagine the final two in the Presidential race from this group is purely a guess–but somehow, the thought of Warren vs Kasich comes to mind, but really is a pure random guess!

Virginia The Only “Blue” State In The Old South In 2015, In Regards To Governorship And Senators!

Who would ever have thought that Virginia, the capital of the Confederate States of America a century and a half ago, and the home of the Harry Byrd Dynasty for so long, resisting civil rights advancements, would end up the only state of the “Old South” to have a Democratic Governor, and two Democratic Senators going into 2015?

Terry McAuliffe, Mark Warner, and Tim Kaine are the only ones from the Democratic Party to be in office, although the state Congressional delegation is actually 8 Republicans and 3 Democrats.

Only Steve Beshear in border state Kentucky is a Democratic Governor, but he is term limited and leaves at the end of 2015.

Only Bill Nelson in Florida is a Democratic Senator, other than the Virginians mentioned above, although Mary Landrieu in Louisiana has not yet lost her Senate seat, although seen as likely to lose it this coming weekend.

This historic transition from the Democratic to Republican Party in the Old South is now as complete as it has ever been!