Donald Trump

The “Imperial Presidency” Of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. in 1973 Is Now Much More Powerful And Abusive Under Donald Trump

A half century after famed historian and scholar Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. published “The Imperial Presidency”, criticizing the growth of Presidential power under Richard Nixon, and tracing how much the Presidency had grown in authority and abuse since the 1930s, we are now faced with a Presidential office much more powerful and abusive than it was back in the time of the Watergate Scandal.

After Watergate and the resignation of Richard Nixon, the Presidency declined in authority under his two successors, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.

But under the Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, abuses and scandals abounded, and many cabinet members and other top personnel were in legal danger, but with many of them pardoned over time.

By comparison, Bill Clinton had sex scandals which led to his impeachment, but otherwise, there was very little indication of scandals and abuse of power, although the Republican Party pursued him as if he was a major criminal.

And under Barack Obama, while there were no scandals or abuse of power, the Republicans did everything they could to undermine many of Obama’s initiatives.

But now under Donald Trump, the Republican Party has gone back to its promotion and endorsement of abusive Presidential power under Reagan and the Bushes, but now at a multiplied rate, endangering the balance of power between Congress and the Oval Office, much greater imbalance than ever before, all in the name of party loyalty to a fault.

We now have a lawless President who has declared he will not answer any subpoenas for materials, or allow any government official in the executive branch to testify before Congressional committees.

Therefore, the whole concept of separation of powers and checks and balances, designed by the Founding Fathers in 1787 to prevent a future King George III under the new Constitution, is now meeting its greatest challenge under a President who elevates the image of Richard Nixon, as by comparison, Nixon is like a “choir boy”, although clearly Nixon was a menace worthy of the attention of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

Donald Trump’s Greatest Nightmare: Joe Biden, Who Can Take The Midwest And Pennsylvania Away From Him In 2020

It is very clear, a week into former Vice President Joe Biden’s Presidential campaign, that he has alarmed President Donald Trump, who clearly sees him as the most dangerous threat to a potential second term.

We know that because Trump is on a crazed Twitter rant on a daily basis against Biden, and for good reason.

Joe Biden is the closest to an “average guy” who has run for President, and served in high office as a Senator and Vice President.

He has always been seen as one of the “poorest” public officials, as he has few assets, other than his salary and pension; his wife’s teaching job at a community college; their home in Delaware; and whatever he has gained from his book publishing and lectures, nowhere near the level of the Clintons, or the Obamas, by any means.

Joe Biden came from a lower middle class background in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and has always been seen as a person who truly related to the white working class of Pennsylvania, and the Midwest, and to those without a college education,and his capacity for empathy and sincerity and concern for average Americans has always resonated as true and genuine.

This does not mean that others, who had struggles, such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Julian Castro do not also have empathy and sincerity and concern for average Americans. They most certainly do, but there is something about Joe Biden, with all of his faults and shortcomings, which all of the above have, that makes him seen in polls and generally as the most dangerous barrier to a second Donald Trump term in the Presidency.

Many have felt that if Joe Biden had somehow run in 2016, that he might have been able to overcome Hillary Clinton, win the nomination, and win the key states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio, and would have taken the Presidency, and saved the nation from the nightmare of Donald Trump.

And Now Number 22 Announces: Colorado Senator Michael Bennet

When this author and blogger published yesterday about the impending announcement of Presidential candidacy by Montana Governor Steve Bullock, he did not know or imagine that Colorado Senator Michael Bennet would “jump the gun” and announce, probably two weeks before Bullock is expected to announce for President.

In any case, once Bullock jumps in the race, with Bennet already now in, we will have 22 Democratic Presidential candidates, the most ever.

However, one can be sure that once the debates begin in late June, and go on for every month, and once the question of money, polls, and adequate staff support start to kick in, we can expect that by the fall, probably half of the group will not be competing in the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary and beyond.

The newest entrant is the 7th sitting US Senator to announce, and has been in the Senate for ten years, first appointed to replace Ken Salazar as he became the Secretary of the Interior under President Barack Obama a decade ago.

Bennet graduated from Wesleyan University, and then Yale Law School, where he was editor in chief of the Yale Law Journal.

Previously, Bennet had been the Chief of Staff to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, before the latter became Colorado Governor. Ironically, now Bennet is competing with his former boss for the Presidency. He was Superintendant of the Denver Public School System from 2005-2009 before his appointment to the Senate. He was elected to a full term in 2010, and reelected in 2016.

Bennet’s father was a major figure in Democratic politics, having worked for Hubert Humphrey, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton; and his grandfather was an adviser to Franklin D. Roosevelt. The father also was President and CEO of National Public Radio, and President of Wesleyan University, so Bennet comes from a very distinguished background.

When Bennet won his second term in 2016, he gained more votes than Hillary Clinton, who won the state. He also won more votes than any Democrat in Colorado history in a state wide race, and more votes in rural counties than any Democrat in Colorado history.

Bennet has been a typical Democrat in his record on voting, and has been noted for sharp attacks on Senator Ted Cruz, causing more views on C Span when he attacked Cruz in January 2019 for his hypocrisy on the federal government shutdown spurred by President Donald Trump.

Bennet was born with a Jewish mother and Christian father, and while not observant, he acknowledges his Jewish roots.

Bennet underwent what is termed as successful prostate cancer surgery in April, and says it is cured, but that could become an issue in the campaign.

The fact that he was born in New Delhi, India, while his father was an aide to the US Ambassador to India, could become an issue as well, although it seems that he was born on the US Embassy grounds, which would be US territory. This is similar to John McCain born in the Panama Canal Zone, which his dad was serving at the US Navy Air Station in 1936.

Whether Bennet, who is 54, can make a dent in the Presidential campaign is yet to be seen, but at the moment, not perceived as likely. He portrays himself as a pragmatist and centrist. Coming from Colorado, a key purple state that has gone to the Democrats lately, makes him significant, although John Hickenlooper, his former boss, is also competing with his aide for the Presidency.

Yet Another Presidential Contender: Governor Steve Bullock Of Montana

We already have 20 Democratic Presidential contenders, and now another one is imminent: Montana Governor Steve Bullock. It has been made public that he will announce in two weeks, in mid May.

It would seem that Bullock could be dismissed as a serious candidate, but looking at his record gives one pause.

Bullock is 53, making him one of the younger potential Presidents, and he has been successful in a heavily Republican state, first as Attorney General from 2009-2013, and then as a two term Governor, elected in 2012 and again in 2016. He is also the Chair of the National Governor’s Association, elected last year to that position, which gives him more publicity and attention.

Bullock has been rated the most popular Democratic Governor in public opinion polls, and has managed to be effective with a heavily opposition controlled Republican legislature, with Democrats having been able to hold on to the Governor’s chair despite Republican statewide dominance, with Brian Schweitzer for eight years before Bullock, along with one Senate seat, that of Senator Jon Tester. He was the only incumbent Democratic Governor to win reelection in a state that Donald Trump won in 2016.

To survive as a Democrat, Bullock, like Tester, is a moderate Democrat, but he is pro choice; a believer in climate change; is supported by organized labor; refuses to cooperate with immigration authorities on the issue of separation of families on the border with Mexico; supports net neutrality; favors campaign finance reform; and backs gay marriage.

Bullock has emphasized the need for Democrats to gain support from rural and suburban areas, rather than focusing on urban areas, the traditional Democratic base. His visits in 2018 to Iowa and New Hampshire fueled belief he would announce for President, and now it is imminent.

As a moderate centrist Democrat, however, he is competing with Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg, and possibly others whose ideas are not fully developed as of yet. So the odds that a man from Montana could go all the way seems unlikely, but of course, he could be a Vice Presidential choice of the Democratic Presidential candidate.

Richard Lugar, A Rare Decent Republican, And True Statesman, Remembered For His Principles, Courage, Bipartisanship

Former Republican Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, who served 36 years in that chamber from 1977-2013, passed away over the weekend at age 87.

Lugar was that rare Republican, considered a moderate, who became highly renowned as a foreign policy expert, and headed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1985-1987 and 2003-2007.

While usually considered a conservative, he was the kind of Republican who no longer exists now in that party. He “crossed the aisle” and worked with Democrats, including President Barack Obama, who he had come to be close to in the four years Obama was in the Senate before being elected President. He was co-chairman of the Obama Inaugural Committee.

His major commitment was to work with Georgia Democratic Senator Sam Nunn toward the dismantling of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons around the world after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

His views on immigration, climate change, and Cuban policy were outside the norm of his party. He supported Obama’s two Supreme Court nominees, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, one of a very few Republicans to do so.

He was Mayor of Indianapolis from 1968 to 1976, and gained a reputation as Richard Nixon’s favorite mayor. He was overlooked by George H. W. Bush in 1988, who picked fellow Indiana Senator Dan Quayle, a total lightweight selected for Vice President, and gave America four years of concern were anything to occur to Bush.

The longest serving Senator in Indiana history, and one of the longest serving in American history, his defeat in the primary in 2012 was another sign of the deteriorating nature of the Republican Party. And Lugar in retirement was a critic of Donald Trump, who represented every trait that Lugar was the exact opposite of, as Lugar was a man who fit the image of being decent, reasonable, intelligent, well mannered, principled, and highly respected.

Lugar even challenged President Ronald Reagan on the issues of the Philippines and South Africa policies during the mid 1980s, and never felt he must be slavishly loyal to the party line, and that is what his legacy will be, a remnant of what the Republican Party had once been, but no longer is, a party of principle and mainstream ideas, now lost in the age of Donald Trump.

Can Joe Biden Overcome The Obstacle Course Awaiting Him In 2020?

Former Vice President Joe Biden finally announced his campaign on Thursday, starting off as a front runner in polls.

But can he overcome the obstacle course awaiting him in 2020?

In his long career of 44 years in national office, 36 in the US Senate and eight years as Vice President, the longest public service record of any Presidential candidate in modern history, Biden came across as genuine, sincere, decent, and compassionate, and gained millions of fans, including this blogger and author.

But he also made judgments that are problematical, including being against school busing in Delaware; supporting the credit card industry in his state, and in so doing, undermining the ability of debtors to protect themselves by bankruptcy; his lack of protection of Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991, for which he continues to apologize but in an unsatisfactory manner; his support of an interventionist foreign policy in Iraq; his many gaffes, many of them harmless but still giving him a reputation for loose and thoughtless language; and his habit of being too touchy feely with women and girls, although never accused of sexual improprieties.

Biden also promoted tough crime and drug laws in the 1990s, which are now looked at as blunders that put too many African Americans in prison unjustifiably, and his leadership at different times of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been criticized. His ability to “cross the aisle” and work with many Republicans is seen by some as a weakness, while others see it as a strength.

Biden is a centrist Democrat in 2019 at a time when many progressives are much further to the left than him, and one wonders if he could gain the support of those to his left if he wins the nomination, as he is perceived as too close to the traditional power centers of the party.

Joe Biden has many positive attributes, but his negative side and shortcomings, as seen by many critics, could doom him in a race against Donald Trump, when the most important thing possible is to insure that Donald Trump does not gain a second term, as that would be destructive of every progressive goal in the short run and long run.

This blogger and author has always looked at Joe Biden as a hero of his, as much as earlier, Hubert Humphrey was his model of what a political leader should be like. But Humphrey had the same problem 50 years ago of being admired and praised, but seen by many as not the best choice to oppose Richard Nixon in 1968, against Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy.

So the same quandary of 1968 awaits us in 2020, to find the best person to be successful against the greatest menace, Donald Trump, that we have had in a half century of American political history, far more damaging than Richard Nixon.

And while Hubert Humphrey was 57 at the time he ran for President in 1968, Joe Biden will be 78 shortly after the election, and as in 1960, 1976, 1992, and 2008, Democrats were able to elect a “new generation” leadership of John F. Kennedy (age 43); Jimmy Carter (age 52); Bill Clinton (age 46); and Barack Obama (age 47).

Should that be the direction for 2020 is the ultimate challenge for the Democrats.

And will Joe Biden be able to win the white working class of the Midwest and Pennsylvania? Will he be able to keep the African American community around him? Will he be able to draw moderate independents and alienated Republicans, who do not wish to vote for Donald Trump? Will he be able to win suburban whites, who veered toward Democrats in 2018? Will many seniors who supported Trump come back to the Democrats they once supported? And will enough young voters who have supported Bernie Sanders, who is 14 months older than Joe Biden, extend their allegiance to Biden if he stops the Sanders juggernaut?

These are the questions that will dominate the upcoming Presidential campaign of 2020.

Censure Of President Trump An Alternative To Impeachment, Since Conviction Impossible With Republican Senate

With the latest poll indicating that 56 percent of Americans do not favor the impeachment of Donald Trump, it might be wiser for the Democrats to consider a censure motion instead, much less controversial and likely to gain some Republican support.

Censure was done by the Senate against Andrew Jackson in 1834 over the National Bank issue, and the House of Representatives agreed to censure of James K. Polk over the Mexican War prosecution in 1848.

Attempts to censure John Tyler in 1842, Abraham Lincoln in 1864, and Bill Clinton in 1998 failed.

It is far from an impeachment, but it would be a strong statement by either house were censure to be considered in place of impeachment, which would never get a two thirds vote of the Senate for conviction.

It looks more than ever that impeachment will NOT happen, due to the circumstances that are present, and it sets a bad standard for the future regarding Presidential abuse of power.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Following Tradition Of His Father, Seriously Considering Challenge To Donald Trump Within Republican Party

It now looks more likely that President Donald Trump may have a second, and potentially, more viable Republican opponent for the Presidential nomination in 2020.

Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld held office from 1991-1997, and was the Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee in the Presidential Election of 2016. He will be 75 years of age in 2020, nearly a year older than Trump. He is a legitimate candidate, but having been out of office for nearly a quarter century, it weakens his ability to draw support.

But now, Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan is exploring the idea of announcing, and this should be encouraged.

Hogan has been Governor of a very “Blue” state since 2015, and won his second term in 2018, He has managed to be bipartisan in a state in which the legislature is heavily Democratic. He will be 64 years of age at the time of the election, a full decade younger than Trump.

His father of the same name was a renowned Maryland Republican Congressman from 1969-1975, and served on the House Judiciary Committee that voted three articles of impeachment in 1974 against President Richard Nixon, and the only Republican on the committee to vote for all three impeachment articles. His speech announcing his vote for all three articles of impeachment was truly a “profile in courage” at the time.

Hogan is a rare “moderate” Republican, a centrist and pragmatist, much respected by Democrats. In a June 2018 poll, Hogan had 60 percent support from Democrats. He has a record of environmental reform; immigration reform; support of gay rights and gay marriage; gun control legislation; free community college tuition for middle class and lower class students in the state; supports abortion and reproductive rights for women; and opposed the nomination of Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The question is whether Hogan or Weld, seen as similar “moderate” Republicans on most issues, have a real chance to stop Donald Trump’s renomination. The argument is that if they could make Trump weakened at all as a result of their challenge, history tells us that an incumbent President with a challenger in his own party, wins the nomination but loses the Presidency, as happened to William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush in the 20th century.

The Ultimate Age Battle Looking More Likely To Occur: Late 70s Male (Biden Or Sanders) Vs. Millennial Male (Buttigieg)

An amazing situation may be arising: a battle not over man against woman for the Democratic Presidential nomination, but instead a battle over age between one of two candidates, both of whom are the oldest ever to announce for President and be seen as serious potential candidates, and a candidate who would be by far the youngest President in American history, with only William Jennings Bryan in 1896 being an actually younger nominee.

This blogger is referring to Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders vs Pete Buttigieg.

Biden would be 78 and 2 months on Inauguration Day; Sanders 79 and four months on Inauguration Day; and Buttigieg 39 years and one day old on Inauguration Day.

Both Biden and Sanders are twice the age of Buttigieg.

Biden and Sanders were born in the World War II era, so they are not technically “Baby Boomers”, those born from the beginning of 1946 to the end of 1964, the era in which we have had three Presidents born in 1946 months apart, with Bill Clinton in August, George W. Bush in July, and Donald Trump in June; along with Barack Obama, born in August 1961.

Buttigieg is part of the Millennial generation born in the 1980s, born in 1982, alongside two other Millennial candidates for President, Eric Swalwell, born in 1980; and Tulsi Gabbard, born in 1981.

From Barry Goldwater And Hugh Scott To Mitt Romney And Mitch McConnell: The Loss of Republican Principle

Forty five years ago, there were distinguished Republican Senators who stood up for principle, and pressured President Richard Nixon to resign for his abuse of power in the Watergate Scandal.

These included 1964 Republican Presidential nominee Barry Goldwater of Arizona, and Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania, who went to the White House with others to inform him that the vast majority of Republicans were not with the President, and would vote to remove him in an upcoming impeachment trial.

Like any Senator, they wished to promote the advancement of their party and its goals, but also believed in the rule of law.

So they stand out as profiles in courage for their public actions and statements, which did the Republican Party proud.

Now, 45 years later, we have Republican Senators, who on the surface are principled and unhappy about the abuse of power of President Donald Trump, but beyond words, will not take action to inform Donald Trump that his time is up.

So we have Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee; and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Romney has condemned the actions and behavior of President Donald Trump, but it is just words, as Romney has refused to take leadership to promote the impeachment or resignation of the 45th President.

Meanwhile, McConnell, who worked to deny Barack Obama a second term in the Presidency, and to prevent Merrick Garland from being considered for a Supreme Court vacancy in 2016, has led the charge to cooperate with Trump, as the only purposes McConnell cares about are more massive tax cuts for the wealthy one percent, and the promotion of extremist right wing judges and justices, which will distort constitutional law for the next two generations.