Edward Brooke

The Last Of The Moderate Progressive Republican Senators Of The 1960s And 1970s Passes Away: Edward Brooke Of Massachusetts!

News of the death of former Massachusetts Republican Senator Edward Brooke (1967-1979) yesterday, marks the end of the group of moderate progressive Republican Senators of the 1960s and 1970s, who worked with Democrats across the aisle, and made the Republican Party a mainstream party with a conservative majority, but reputable and dignified moderate progressives who added distinction to the party’s history.

Brooke, the first popularly elected African American Senator in American history, served two terms of distinction, and promoted civil rights, the legalization of abortion, closer relations with China, and opposed Richard Nixon much of the time on his Supreme Court appointments and on the Watergate scandal. He worked to promote aid to the poor and to the cities of the country, and spoke up for the end of the Vietnam War.

Brooke was one of a small, admirable group of Republicans, no longer found on Capitol Hill, where the word “moderate” or “progressive” is now a dirty word. It was easy to praise Brooke, along with Maryland Senator Charles Mathias, Illinois Senator Charles Percy, and Oregon Senator Mark Hatfield, who all added greatly to the distinction of the Senate!

Will the Republican Party ever have men of the distinction of these four Senators, and others who started earlier in the Senate, including Jacob Javits of New York, and Clifford Case of New Jersey? Right now, that seems highly unlikely, as the Senators mentioned above would be called RINOS (Republicans In Name Only) by the present mentality in the Republican Party!

Cory Booker Becomes Fourth Elected African American Senator In US History!

Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker has become the fourth elected African American Senator in US history, as a result of a special election to fill the unexpired time in the term of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg.

Booker will have to run for a full term in November 2014, but would be heavily favored, since he won the seat at an odd time for an election by the margin of about ten points.

So Booker follows Edward Brooke (R) of Massachusetts (1967-1985); Carol Moseley Braun (D) of Illinois (1993-1999); and Barack Obama (D) of Illinois (2005-2009) in being elected.

Senator Tim Scott (R) of South Carolina, appointed to fill the vacancy left by resigning Senator Jim DeMint in January of this year, will face election in 2014, and is considered likely to retain his seat in the US Senate.

Two others were temporary appointments—Roland Burris (D) of Illinois (2009-2010), who replaced Obama; and Mo Cowan (D) of Massachusetts ( four and a half months in 2013), who replaced John Kerry.

And Mississippi had two Republican Senators during Reconstruction who were African American, and were selected by the state legislature—Hiram Revels (1870-1871) for about one year; and Blanche Bruce (1875-1881) for a full six year term.

Booker would be seen as likely to have a long, productive career in the US Senate, and be a potential Presidential candidate in the near and far future!

Barack Obama Continues Tradition Of Progressive Republicans And Liberal Democrats

President Barack Obama demonstrated in yesterday’s Second Inaugural Address that he is following the best traditions of the progressive and liberal champions of the 20th and early 21st century!

Not only is he pursuing the vision of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, but also of many others, including:

Senator Robert La Follette, Sr. of Wisconsin, progressive Republican
Senator George Norris of Nebraska, progressive Republican
Senator Robert La Follette, Jr. of Wisconsin, progressive Republican
Senator Jacob Javits of New York, progressive Republican
Senator Clifford Case of New Jersey, progressive Republican
Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, progressive Republican
Senator Charles Mathias of Maryland, progressive Republican
Senator Charles Percy of Illinois, progressive Republican
Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon, progressive Republican
Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, progressive Republican, Independent, liberal Democrat
Senator Robert F. Wagner, Sr. of New York, liberal Democrat
Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois, liberal Democrat
Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, liberal Democrat
Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, liberal Democrat
Senator Walter Mondale of Minnesota, liberal Democrat
Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, liberal Democrat
Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, liberal Democrat
Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, liberal Democrat
Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, liberal Democrat
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Independent Socialist, allied with Democratic Party

And this list of ten progressive Republicans and ten liberal Democrats are not a complete list, but they are among those who have stood the test of time on their progressive and liberal values!

And realize that La Follette, Sr., Humphrey, McGovern, and Mondale all ran for President, and that Humphrey, Mondale and Biden all have served as Vice President of the United States.

The Loony Politics Of South Carolina

South Carolina, the “Rebel” state which started the Civil War at Fort Sumter in 1861, has become one of the looniest states in American politics!

Not only is it the state of Congressman Joe Wilson, who yelled out that President Barack Obama was lying, during a State of the Union Address.

Not only is it the state of Governor Nikki Haley, hailed because she is the second Indian American Governor, after Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, but who has the most extremist views on many topics, similar to Jindal.

Not only is it the state of Jim DeMint, the leader of the Tea Party Senators, who now is leaving the Senate to join the Heritage Foundation, a right wing think thank.

Not only is it the state of newly appointed Senator Tim Scott, the first African American Republican Senator since Edward Brooke of Massachusetts in the 1960s and 1970s—a man nothing like Brooke, but rather closer in extremist views to fellow African American Republican Congressman Allen West of Florida, who lost his reelection to the House this November. Scott favors cuts in food stamps, HIV AIDS support; called for the impeachment of President Obama over the debt limit; and wants billions of dollars in aid to the oil industry, among other crazy, extremist ideas.

This is also the state of Senator Lindsey Graham, who has tied himself to Senator John McCain in going after Susan Rice, United Nations Ambassador, over the Benghazi, Libya incident, for which she had no blame, and therefore negating her chance to be Secretary of State in tne next term of Barack Obama.

But now to top it off, former Governor Mark Sanford, who resigned over his love affair with a woman in Argentina, and whose wife divorced him, has decided to run for Congressman Scott’s seat in the House of Representatives, a seat he once held before becoming Governor, as a way to revive his flagging political career.

Oh, and by the way, Scott’s House seat, once held by Sanford, and maybe again, is in Charleston, where the Civil War began at Fort Sumter!

So has anything changed in South Carolina since 1861? One has to wonder!

Senator Tim Scott Of South Carolina: Just What The Senate Does NOT Need!

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has just announced the appointment of Congressman Tim Scott, who is African American, to replace retiring Senator Jim DeMint, who resigned to become the head of the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation.

DeMint was the leader of the Tea Party Caucus in the US Senate, and his replacement by Scott, who is in the vein of defeated one term Florida Congressman Allen West, is in many ways, even worse than DeMint.

Scott is no Edward Brooke, African American Senator from Massachusetts from 1967-1979, who served credibly as a moderate Republican, the first popularly elected African American Senator, and received a Congressional Medal of Honor and a US Mint Medal struck in his honor a few years ago, a medal the author is proud to own. Brooke, now past 90, is a true credit to the US Senate and his race!

Scott is a right wing Tea Party activist, who has advocated the impeachment of President Obama; called for the cutting of food stamps to children; helped to push through cuts in services to HIV/AIDS patients in South Carolina; has backed large subsidies to Big Oil; and has promoted the idea of the Ten Commandments being on the walls of every government building in South Carolina.

This man is a right wing extremist, who will have no success in convincing African Americans to become Republicans, as he comes across as a firebrand, who will undermine any chance of compromise by House or Senate Republicans on any issue over the next two years.

He is the equivalent of Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, another African American who has turned against civil rights, and gone over to the white conservative establishment of the Republican Party, but can do a lot of damage, as Thomas has done repeatedly, including conflicts of interest on many cases brought before the Court.

Scott will not be a quiet freshman, and in many ways, will be a nightmare who will plague the Senate, and probably have a long career in a state which has gone so right wing and loony that its poverty stricken black and white population will suffer, but always with the thought that they are following the teachings of Jesus Christ, which they most certainly are NOT doing!

The Death Of Former Senator Mark Hatfield Of Oregon: A Great Public Servant And Mainstream Republican!

The death over last weekend of former Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon reminds us of just how far the Republican Party has shifted from the 1960s through the 1990s mainstream historical tradition.

Mark Hatfield was a Senator’s Senator, one of the giants of the Republican Party, much admired and respected by Democrats, as well as mainstream Republicans.

The fact that South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond in the early years of Hatfield’s Senate tenure, and newly elected Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum in 1995 moved to harm Hatfield’s seniority over different issues such as civil rights and the so called “balanced budget” amendment, only adds to his historical stature. And today, we have people of the ilk of Thurmond (Rick Perry, for instance), and Santorum himself attempting to be the nominee of his party for President on a platform promoting hate and lunatic ideas, demonstrating the moral crisis in the GOP these days.

Hatfield believed in government, supported social programs with vigor, and opposed defense spending and intervention in foreign lands, having the distinction of NEVER supporting a Pentagon spending bill in his thirty years in the US Senate.

Hafield was a religious man, a Baptist, but believed in separation of church and state. He was the true image of a really religious man, who believed that we are here to help our fellow human beings, not be mean spirited and uncaring about those less fortunate. He was the true follower of the beliefs of Jesus Christ, not phonies such as Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain, among others in the GOP Presidential race.

Mark Hatfield was a principled progressive in the Republican tradition, and was willing to cross the aisle to work with Democrats for the good of the nation.

How can we mark his death at age 89, without a sense of mourning that the party he was a proud member of, has become a disgrace, an embarrassment, a dinosaur, as the party has allowed itself to be taken over by greedy, selfish interests, and Tea Party radicals that are anarchists, with willingness to destroy the American economy in their hatred of those less fortunate, and particularly their despising of the first African American President, who if he were white, would not have as much poison and venom directed at him, as Barack Obama has to bear daily from despicable talk show hosts and bigoted, right wing corporate spokesmen, and most Congressional Republicans.

Mark Hatfield will be remembered as in the best tradition of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Robert La Follette, Sr., George Norris, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and numerous other moderate progressives, including Jacob Javits, Nelson Rockefeller, Charles Percy, Charles Mathias, Lowell Weicker, Edward Brooke, Clifford Case, William Scranton, Bob Packwood, George Romney, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. and others not mentioned here.

So may Mark Hatfield rest in peace, and we should continue to honor him, and teach about his principles and contributions to our political history!

A Wonderful Gesture: Congressional Gold Medal For Senator Edward Brooke

Former Massachusetts Republican Senator Edward Brooke, the first African American senator elected by popular vote, and serving from 1967-1979 in the upper chamber, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on the occasion of his 90th birthday today.

The ceremony took place in Statuary Hall in the US Capitol, and President Obama presided over the honor being bestowed. The fact that Brooke was highly respected by public figures on the left and on the right, and that he placed himself in the moderate center in his years in the Senate, makes this honor particularly appropriate at a time when his party is far from moderate.

Brooke alluded to this by saying that working together across party lines was essential, but which unfortunately is not occurring during the Obama Presidency.

If we had more people like Edward Brooke in the Senate now, it would be a better institution!