George HW Bush

NBC Poll And Obama Numbers: Potential Trouble For The Future

The latest NBC poll shows widely varying public opinion views of President Barack Obama.

57 percent like his foreign policy, a tremendous boost after the successful elimination of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.

52 percent overall like the job performance of Obama, which is higher than it has been since early in his term.

But only 37 percent are happy with his economic policies, and that is a danger sign for the President. And certainly, the GOP is not going to do anything to help change the economic picture, as that is the best issue to use against the President.

With 18 months to the election, one has to think back to the first President Bush, who had 91 percent in the polls after the Gulf War, but collapsed to 37 percent in the actual voting percentage a year and a half later in 1992.

So Obama cannot bask in the glory about Osama Bin Laden’s death, as the truth still is what Bill Clinton used as his campaign slogan in 1992 against Bush–“It’s the economy, stupid!”

Does Osama Bin Laden Success Guarantee Second Presidential Term For Barack Obama?

As a result of the successful raid into the Osama Bin Laden compound in Pakistan, the first thought would be that it gives President Obama a tremendous edge in the contest for re-election as President in 2012.

But before we conclude that, we need to look at history, whether military success insures a political victory.

In at least three cases, two American and one British, exactly the opposite occurred.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was the great hero of World War II and the struggle against Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. And yet, when the British people voted months after the end of the European war, they chose to vote out the Conservative Party of Churchill and put in as Prime Minister the Labour Party leader, Clement Attlee, who served from 1945-1951.

In 1975, President Gerald Ford mounted a successful rescue mission of 39 US Navy personnel from the ship Mayaguez, which had been seized by the radical Khmer Rouge government of Cambodia. While 41 military personnel died in the successful rescue mission, two more than the number saved, it was still seen as a victory to be able to release the hostages unharmed. But in 1976, President Ford lost to Governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia for a full term in the White House!

And in 1991, President George H W Bush was able to mount a UN offensive which defeated Saddam Hussein in six weeks, the very brief Gulf War! Bush’s ratings hit an all time high for any President, 91 percent, but a year and a half later, only 37 percent voted for Bush against Bill Clinton, the second worst defeated President in American history, despite the great and quick victory over Iraq!

So while it would seem likely that Obama gains a great edge for next year’s election by the death of Osama Bin Laden, there is no certainty in any sense of what the future holds!

The 30th Anniversary Of The Attempted Assassination Of Ronald Reagan: A Time To Reconsider Stronger Gun Control Laws!

Today, March 30, thirty years ago, after only ten weeks in office, President Ronald Reagan was subjected to an assassination attempt by John Hinckley.

Reagan was seriously wounded, and without the wonders of modern medicine, would have died after what would have been the second shortest term of a President in American history, only surpassed by William Henry Harrison, who died of pneumonia from cold weather conditions on Inauguration Day, exactly one month after he became President in 1841.

Reagan is also the only President ever shot who would recover from his wounds, although former President Theodore Roosevelt, shot while campaigning for election as a Progressive in 1912 after his time in office, also recovered from his wounds.

Reagan’s shooting demonstrated the chaos and anarchy that can happen for a period of time after such a tragic event, with no one really sure who was in charge in the moments after the assassination, due to Vice President George H W Bush traveling overseas at the time, and Secretary of State Alexander Haig claiming he was in charge, when actually Speaker of the House Thomas (Tip) O’Neill technically was next in line, but Bush able to act from afar, not having to be present in the nation to be in charge.

Press Secretary James Brady suffered much greater wounds than Reagan, who fully recovered, although some wonder if he suffered mental damage that led to his later Alzheimers diagnosis after leaving the Presidency. But Brady suffered major brain damage, was paralyzed and forced to spend his life in a wheelchair, and even today, speaks in a distorted manner. But his wife, Sarah, is a true example of a loyal wife, who has stuck through thick and thin with her husband, an example of true love!

The Brady Bill for gun control finally resulted in the Clinton Administration, but was not renewed ten years later during the Bush Administration, and we have seen the dangers of lack of gun control, with the recent attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona in January.

We need President Obama to speak up on this issue in a much more forceful manner, and of course, we know that the National Rifle Association and the Republican Party will fight any attempt at gun control, but this is a moral cause, and the memory today of how we almost lost our 40th President thirty years ago today should sustain us in this fight!

Ironic Coincidence: Iraq War And Libyan Civil War Intervention On Same Day And Timing Within Presidential Terms Of Bush And Obama!

Now that the United States is engaged in the Libyan Civil War, it comes to mind that the timing of our intervention EXACTLY matches the situation of intervention in Iraq under George W. Bush!

The United States started military intervention in Iraq on March 19, 2003, two years and two months into the Bush Presidency.

The United States began military intervention in Libya on March 19, 2011, two years and two months into the Obama Presidency!

Both wars were against horrible tyrants of long standing–Saddam Hussein since 1979 and Moammar Gaddafi since 1969.

Both tyrants had been engaged in conflict against the US–Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War under George H W Bush, and Moammar Gaddafi in terrorist actions against the West and twice experiencing air attacks under Ronald Reagan in 1981 and 1986, with the second time nearly killing Gaddafi, bombing the house next to where he was hiding!

There is, of course, much different between the two interventions, but both began with great optimism as to the brevity of the war effort, and we all know how Iraq is now eight years long and counting of an intervention, and one has to wonder will this nation be involved in Libya eight years from now?

And there is troubling concern over much congressional opposition, both from Democrats and Republicans, plus concern over the financial cost of yet another war intervention, making it THREE at once!

The Politics Of The Libyan Civil War Intervention

With the US involvement in the Libyan Civil War, along with that of France, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Canada, Denmark, and Norway, and with the backing of the Arab League, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the United Nations, and lack of use of their Security Council veto by Russia and China, we are seeing a political split developing in our nation.

We have learned that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, after earlier doubts, was finally convinced by UN Ambassador Susan Rice.

We have also learned that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen had great doubts on the intervention, but of course were loyal team members once the decision was made for involvement.

Also, Senator John McCain of Arizona and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, of different political persuasions and the last two losing Presidential candidates in 2008 and 2004 both felt that intervention was essential.

Independent Senator Joe Lieberman and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham also have strongly backed the military action, but Republican Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking member ofr the Kerry led Foreign Relations Committee, has expressed great upset at the intervention, and Speaker of the House John Boehner has made it clear that the President needed to consult Congress before taking action, which he basically failed to do, leading to a controversy over the War Powers Act of 1973, which mandates an explanation by the President within 48 hours, and the ability of Congress in theory to demand withdrawal after the military action, IF they can gain a majority vote in both houses of Congress, which has never happened, and is unlikely ever to happen!

The lack of consultation so far has angered Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich so much that he has brought up the concept of impeachment of the President, which certainly is not going to happen, but shows the turmoil developing because of the US now being committed to THREE wars at once, all in Muslim nations!

The danger is that Obama might, by what he has decided to do, to intervene to stop mass murder in Libya, could end up in a protracted war that could cost the nation many billions of dollars at a time when we are in economic crisis and cutting domestic budgets in states and nationally.

Additionally, it could cause Obama to have a Democratic opponent in the Presidential primaries of 2012, who assuredly he could defeat, but the attacks that would occur against him would weaken him, and make him more subjected to the likelihood of defeat in the Presidential Election of 2012 by the Republican nominee for that office!

This has happened three times in the past 35 years, in 1976 to Gerald Ford, in 1980 to Jimmy Carter, and in 1992 to George H W Bush.

It is clear that the Libyan Civil War intervention complicates the economic and political scene in America, and creates potentially new defense, foreign policy, and national security issues for the short run and the long run!

The Death Of Warren Christopher: Memories Of The 2000 Presidential Election!

The death of former Secretary of State Warren Christopher at the age of 85 brings back many memories.

A key adviser to President Jimmy Carter and the first Secretary of State in the Bill Clinton Administration, Christopher always came across as a thoughtful, dedicated public servant who served his Presidents with distinction.

But what the author remembers even more is the legal battle waged by Christopher for former Vice President Al Gore in the contested Presidential Election of 2000, when the battle over the electoral votes of Florida dragged out the election controversy for 36 long days, but with James Baker, who was Secretary of State under George H. W. Bush, and the leader of the legal team for George W. Bush, ultimately being victorious when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Bush over Gore, despite Gore having a popular vote margin of over half a million citizens!

So Christopher’s passing brings back wistful memories of what might have been, had Al Gore been President in the first decade of the 21st century, rather than George W. Bush!

How different would the history of the United States be, both domestic and foreign, if Al Gore had been in charge? That is all speculation, and excellent for a potential political novel, a “What If?” book, similar to Jeff Greenfield’s new book, THEN EVERYTHING CHANGED: STUNNING ALTERNATE HISTORIES OF AMERICAN POLITICS: JFK, RFK, CARTER, FORD, REAGAN.

John McCain And Affirmative Action In Selection Of VP Candidate In 2008

A new revelation has been made by one of Senator John McCain’s campaign managers, indicating that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was added to the Vice Presidential list in 2008 because McCain felt there was a need for a woman on his final list of Vice Presidential possibilities.

But McCain, by doing so, endangered the whole nation with a choice of a running mate, who while a female, was totally unqualified to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency, let alone be on the list as a potential Presidential candidate in 2012!

Sarah Palin is not Hillary Clinton; she is also not Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, or former Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, or other qualified women of the GOP in the House of Representatives!

Palin has been a burden on the nation, and the only benefit of her candidacy in 2008 was to enrich her by millions of dollars as she became a celebrity, although with very thin, almost unnoticeable qualifications other than her appearance.

When one looks at the the rest of the list McCain was considering for the Vice Presidency, one can only weep!

On that list were Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Joe Lieberman, Charlie Crist, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City.

ANY and ALL of them would have been far better qualified, and might have given McCain a real shot at winning, even in the midst of the economic collapse of September and October 2008. In any case, we could all have rested easier with the thought of a President Romney, a President Pawlenty, a President Lieberman, a President Crist, or a President Bloomberg than a President Palin!

This shows how the first decision a Presidential nominee makes, who shall be his Vice President and a heartbeat away from the White House, is a crucial test as to his suitability for the White House!

And when he makes the wrong decision, as Richard Nixon did in selecting Spiro Agnew, and George HW Bush did in picking Dan Quayle, it creates nightmares and the need for prayers, as it would have had John McCain won the White House in 2008!

Affirmative Action is fine, as long as the candidate involved is QUALIFIED, which Sarah Palin was not, and is not, to be President of the United States!

The Centennial Of Ronald Reagan: Myth And Reality

Today is the centennial of President Ronald Reagan’s birth, and it begins a year of commemorative events relating to our 40th President.

Ronald Reagan was a very charismatic leader, handsome even at an older age than any other President, and very charming and personable. It was hard not to like Reagan as a human being, and he could be very funny, and played the ceremonial role of the President as if he was the Queen of England!

But many myths have been built up around Ronald Reagan in the years since he left the Presidency, and particularly in the years since his death at age 93 in June 2004.

The myths have sustained the Tea Party Movement of the past two years, and have motivated the ignorant, poorly educated Sarah Palin, who was the absolutely wrong person to speak at commemorative events this weekend in southern California! It is a travesty to assert, as some do, that Sarah Palin is the heir to Ronald Reagan, as she has no clue as to his accomplishments, shortcomings, and motivations. Reagan would be shocked that Sarah Palin is speaking in his honor, a point well made by son Ron Reagan, Jr.!

Ronald Reagan restored our defenses which helped to lead to the breakdown of the Soviet Union. Ronald Reagan restored a sense of patriotism and honor after the difficult years following the Vietnam War’s sad ending. And Ronald Reagan was an inspirational leader in his rhetoric, stimulating the American people like no one since John F. Kennedy.

But Ronald Reagan had many shortcomings and failures, which are conveniently forgotten by his supporters in the Republican Party and Tea Party Movement, or better still, many are totally unaware of the reality of his record in office!

This is a man who tripled the national debt, beginning the long downhill trend in responsible economic policy which has led to the present massive national debt problem that is the leading economic crisis since the Great Depression!

This is a man who set back civil rights, labor rights, the environment, and worsened the plight of the poor, while promoting the rich getting richer, and the middle class becoming poorer, via giving major tax cuts to the rich, but adding to the tax burden of the middle class!

This is a man who ignored human rights in many countries, and allied with Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, who both turned against the United States after we armed both of them so readily!

This is a man who reacted to a terrorist attack on our troops in Beirut, Lebanon, by withdrawing from the Middle East, something his supporters try to make believe did not happen!

This is a man who talked about the social issues of the Moral Majority led by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, and yet never followed through on them more than rhetoric, and hardly ever went to church or associated with his children, preferring to spend his personal time with his wife Nancy without their children!

This was a man who was tough with the Soviet Union, but negotiated significant arms agreements with Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s, and had a vision of banning nuclear weapons worldwide over the long haul!

This was a man who talked about smaller government, but actually increased the size of the government, and created a new cabinet agency of Veterans Affairs and backed off on a campaign pledge to eliminate the Departments of Education and Energy, which many Republicans today would love to destroy!

And the myth that is probably most believed is that Ronald Reagan was supremely popular throughout his time in the Presidency, which is the furthest thing from the truth, as he was more popular AFTER his Presidency, particularly after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 1994. Much of the time during his eight years in office, his public opinion ratings floundered. John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, and George H W Bush were all more generally popular in the polls than Ronald Reagan, as hard as that is to believe!

Ronald Reagan may be the patron saint of the far right today, but in many ways, it is clear that he would not approve of the inflexibility of his party in Congress, and the loony, nutty behavior of many of its top leaders, as well as the right wing talk show hosts on radio and Fox News Channel!

Historians will be writing about Ronald Reagan for all time, and he will continue to be one of the most fascinating and significant Presidents we have had, but the concept that he was an ideal President who mostly succeeded in making the country a better place will continue to be contested by those who wish to look at reality, rather than promote a myth!

But then, mythology around Presidents is a popular activity, and it makes the job of historians only the more important, to separate truth from propaganda. So the work of demythologizing Ronald Reagan continues in earnest!

The Supreme Court Image Being Destroyed By Inappropriate Actions By Three Of Its Membership! :(

The Supreme Court of the United States is the final arbiter of the Constitution, and its members have a responsibility to pursue appropriate behavior in statements and actions outside of their direct work on the Court.

But now we are witnessing totally unprofessional, unethical behavior and open bias on the Court by its three most conservative members: Antonin Scalia, appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986; Clarence Thomas, appointed by George H W Bush in 1991; and Samuel Alito, appointed by George W. Bush in 2006!

All certainly have a right to their views of the Constitution, but all three have by word or deed acted inappropriately, and in so doing, have undermined the image and respect of the Court, which is so crucial for its continued stature.

Never in history have we seen Supreme Court Justices be so openly political! πŸ™

Justice Scalia allowed himself to be exploited by the Tea Party Movement and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, in agreeing to speak about the Constitution at an openly political meeting on Capitol Hill. This is not the role for a Supreme Court Justice, as also it is not appropriate for him to speak before conservative groups and attack liberal doctrines, as for instance claiming that women and gays are not protected by the Constitution in an interview published in a legal magazine. How can he be seen as being objective and open minded when cases on such matters come before the Court in the future? Should he come into cases with preconceived notions? πŸ™ The answer is NO! πŸ™

At the same time, Justice Thomas also openly speaks his mind in public events, even though he never asks questions in oral arguments. Additionally, his wife, Virginia Thomas, has been openly involved in Tea Party and conservative causes, including the group Liberty Central, which benefited from the Citizens United Case last January, allowing corporations unlimited rights, for the first time in a century, to contribute to and fund political causes.

Finally, Justice Alito openly mouthed “not true”, when President Obama criticized the Citizens United Case in his State of the Union address a year ago, and has spoken before conservative fundraisers, as has both Scalia and Thomas.

The dignity and prestige of the Court are at stake, as the Court becomes politicized, not part of the purpose of the Founding Fathers, when they decided we needed a Supreme Court in Article 3 of the Constitution, and in the passage of the Judiciary Act of 1789.

Total Ignorance About American History: Michele Bachmann, Pat Buchanan And Other Republicans! :(

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is demonstrating her total ignorance of American history and the history of her Republican party, based on the text of her speech to be delivered tonight after President Obama’s State of the Union Address!

She says slavery was ended by the Founding Fathers, showing she is unaware of the role of her Republican Party, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War in ending slavery. She is, as always, demonstrating her total lack of knowledge of the American past and the American Constitution, joining many other Republicans, including Sarah Palin, in this regard! πŸ™

But now, Pat Buchanan, former challenger for the Presidency against George HW Bush in 1992, and running for President as a third party party candidate in 2000, has also demonstrated his lack of knowledge, by asserting there were more slaves in the Union states that had slaves (Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri) than in any of the Confederate States that broke away from the Union! He also said incorrectly that George Washington freed his slaves after his wife died, but the reality is that his wife outlived him by over two years! πŸ™

The ignorance and lack of knowledge of these and other Republican leaders is shocking and reprehensible! πŸ™

The Founding Fathers (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Franklin) and the statesmen of the pre Civil War era (Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, Stephen Douglas, William Seward, Charles Sumner, Abraham Lincoln) would be shocked and mortified if they came back today and witnessed the TOTAL STUPIDITY AND IGNORANCE of many GOP leaders, and Republicans of the Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower era would also be ashamed of what their party has become: a party without legitimacy, ethics, character, and morality! πŸ™