Everett Dirksen

Unwise For Republicans To Denounce Lisa Murkowski, And Democrats To Denounce Joe Manchin: They Could Switch Parties After Midterm Elections

Now that the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has been accomplished, by the smallest margin since 1881, there is discussion in both political parties about retribution to be paid for the one Republican Senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and the one Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who broke ranks in their parties and voted against the party line.

This is very unwise, and could reverberate after the midterm elections are completed.

What if the US Senate ends up with a 50-50 split, which would give Vice President Mike Pence the ability to organize the Senate for the Republicans?

If Lisa Murkowski is angry in November, she could decide to switch parties, becoming a Democrat, as long as the party promised, with her 16 years of Senate experience, to give her a committee chairmanship. That would make the Senate 51 Democrats and 49 Republicans, backfiring on the Republicans.

Or what if the Senate became 51-49 Democratic, and Joe Manchin decided to switch to the Republican Party, making a 50-50 tie, giving Mike Pence the ability to organize the Senate for the Republicans?

What it comes down to is that no political party should punish its members because they are not always in lockstep with their party.

There is no reason why all Democrats have to be to the left of center, and all Republicans have to be to the right of center.

In the past, there were a lot of people who “crossed the aisle” on a regular basis, and accomplished great goals, as for instance Lyndon B. Johnson gaining support of many Republicans for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 due to his ability to work with Republican Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen.

Another instance was a deal on Social Security reform in 1983 between Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill.

The only way to move ahead is to overcome the confrontational, no holds barred rhetoric, that now has made Congress such an inept institution, and promote willingness of both parties to negotiate and compromise for the good of the nation and its future.

A Way To Promote End Of Political Polarization: Nominate Merrick Garland A Justice Of The Supreme Court

Assuming that the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court fails to gain a majority of the US Senate, the future of the Court and its reputation remains at stake.

One way to resolve it is for both Republicans and Democrats to work toward the end of polarization, and call upon President Donald Trump to nominate Merrick Garland to the empty seat on the Supreme Court, three years after he was summarily dismissed and ignored by the Republicans, when President Barack Obama nominated him to replace Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.

Merrick Garland was seen by Obama as a compromise choice, whom the Republicans would accept, as he is seen as a moderate, and has a distinguished background as the Chief Judge of the US Court Of Appeals for the DC Circuit, the highest court next to the Supreme Court.

Garland is technically the “boss” of Brett Kavanaugh, and also was of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, and both of them have always been very positive in their views of Garland.

Being in his mid 60s. Garland would serve far less than the theoretical 30 years that Gorsuch might serve, and that Kananaugh might serve if he was confirmed.

Garland is perfectly qualified to keep the Court balanced, and would likely replace Anthony Kennedy as the “swing vote” on the Court, and would prevent the kind of polarization represented by an extreme right wing choice for the Supreme Court, keeping it as four liberals, four conservatives, and Garland as the crucial vote, sometimes siding with one or the other side, as Anthony Kennedy did, and earlier, Sandra Day O’Connor did.

Why could not the two parties agree to a truce, to work toward cooperation, and return the US Senate to what it was under Lyndon B. Johnson and Ronald Reagan, when Senator Everett Dirksen worked with LBJ, and Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill did with Reagan, working across the aisle on many matters?

It is proper that Merrick Garland be put on the Court, as a distinguished, and accomplished man, who deserves, belatedly, three years late, to give his service to our nation’s highest Court.

Former Tennessee Republican Senator Howard Baker Dead, A Major Loss!

Former Tennessee Republican Senator Howard Baker has died at the age of 88, and his death reminds us of what the Republican Party used to be a few decades ago.

Baker was a man of principle, decency, dignity, and substance. He was a moderate centrist conservative, with the ability to cross the aisle and be bipartisan with Democrats.

He served with distinction in the US Senate for eighteen years, and was Senate Majority Leader in the first Ronald Reagan Administration term, and was Chief of Staff to Reagan for the last couple of years of his Presidency. He also was Ambassador to Japan in the first term of President George W. Bush.

He also sought the Republican Presidential nomination in 1980, against Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bob Dole, and this author considered him, by far, the preferable choice among that group.

He was on the Senate Watergate Committee, and backed away from support of Richard Nixon without any qualms, and was famous for asking what did the President know, and when did he know it?

He was the son in law of former Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois, and later married Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum of Kansas, the daughter of former Kansas Governor and 1936 Republican Presidential nominee Alf Landon.

If there were more Howard Bakers in the Republican Party, that party would be so much better off, but Baker would not fit well in today’s GOP, sadly!

Tennessee and the nation have lost a giant figure in the history of American politics and the US Senate!

Eric Cantor Not Only Congressional Leader Defeated For Re-election

The defeat of Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader in his Congressional primary in Virginia by David Brat, was stunning and shocking, but not the first time that a Congressional leader was defeated for renomination or reelection.

Other prominent cases include:

Senator Richard Lugar, former Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, of Indiana in 2012 by Richard Mourdock

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota in 2004 by John Thune

House Speaker Tom Foley of Washington State in 1994 by George Nethercutt

Former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois in 1994 by Michael Flanagan

Congressman Emanuel Celler, House Judiciary Committee Chairman of New York, in 1972 by Elizabeth Holtzman

Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas of Illinois in 1950 by Everett Dirksen

Senator Robert La Follette, Jr of Wisconsin in 1946 by Joseph McCarthy

Notice that ONLY Cantor, Lugar and La Follette, Jr. were Republican officeholders defeated, while the others listed were all Democrats.

So it is newsworthy and highly unusual for Congressional leaders and prominent members to lose reelection!

Bipartisanship Of The Past: Why Not Now?

When one looks at American history in previous recent decades, one sees so much evidence of bipartisanship between Republicans and Democrats, and one wonders why that is not possible now in the interests of the nation!

Witness the following examples:

1962–John F. Kennedy calls upon Dwight D. Eisenhower for help and counsel during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

1963–Lyndon B. Johnson becomes President after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and calls upon Dwight D. Eisenhower for advice in a moment of crisis.

1964–President Lyndon B. Johnson calls upon Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois to help push through the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

1983—President Ronald Reagan and Democratic Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill work together on Social Security reform and get it passed.

1990s—Democratic Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia works with Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana on arms control legislation, lessening the dangers of nuclear war after the end of the Cold War.

2000s—Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona works with Democratic Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin on passage of campaign finance reform legislation.

2001—Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts works with President George W. Bush on education reform.

Instead of publicly calling for the move to make Barack Obama a one term President, as Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky enunciated in 2009, or Speaker of the House John Boehner to use foul language against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and to say he refuses to have any more private meetings with President Barack Obama, what we need is mutual respect, and willingness to cooperate!

And this includes the idea that both Republicans and Democrats need to “cross the aisle”, and stop vilifying each other as the “devil”, as this prevents doing what is good for the American people!

The country is sick of the partisan wrangling and the lack of respect and dignity displayed, and is calling for Congress to act like adults and to work cooperatively with the President, who always has an open minded attitude toward discussion and compromise within reason!

Illinois: NOT Prime Material For Republicans In 2012 Presidential Election

Illinois is the state of President Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President. Today, Republicans vote in their Presidential primary, but the state will not go to whoever wins the state.

It is the state of mainstream moderates in the past, including Senator Charles Percy, Senator Everett Dirksen, House Minority Leader Bob Michel, and House Republican Conference Chairman John Anderson, who ran an Independent race for President against Ronald Reagan and President Jimmy Carter in 1980.

None of the above would have a chance in the Illinois Republican Party of 2012, or the national Republican Party.

This is a tragedy, and it is copied in many other states throughout America.

When Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts can claim to be the second most bipartisan Republican Senator, after retiring Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, and only Senator Susan Collins of Maine can claim to be much the same, that is testimonial to just how right wing the GOP has become!

There is NO chance for Illinois to go Republican in 2012, or anytime soon! The spirit of compromise and bipartisanship does not exist, sadly!