George W. Bush

The Problem And Burden Of Family Members For Presidential Candidates

Many Presidential candidates have had the problem and burden of family members who make their candidacy and, if they win, their Presidency, more difficult, because of their behavior or utterances.

So we have, for instance, the problem of Lyndon Johnson’s brother, Richard Nixon’s brothers, Jimmy Carter’s brother, George H.W. Bush’s sons, Bill Clinton’s step brother, and George W. Bush’s daughter causing grief.

And now, we have candidates for the Presidency who face the same problem, specifically:

Jeb Bush–his brother, former President George W. Bush
Hillary Clinton—her husband, former President Bill Clinton
Rand Paul—his father, Ron Paul
Ted Cruz–his father, Rafael Cruz

Any and all of these four candidates could be harmed greatly by the controversies over their brother, husband, and fathers, and yet none of them can or would repudiate their family connections, but they could all discover the negative impact of family on their Presidential campaigns!

The Best Hope For The Republican Party For 2016: Governor John Kasich Of Ohio!

It is becoming very clear that the best hope for the Republican Party to regain the White House in 2016 is NOT Jeb Bush, is NOT Chris Christie, is NOT Rand Paul, is NOT Scott Walker and is NOT anyone else being considered other than the sitting Governor of Ohio, John Kasich.

Of all of the potential GOP candidates for the Presidency, it is John Kasich who has the most distinguished record of accomplishments, who has made very few flubs or blunders, who has avoided making stupid statements up to the present, who has come across as a serious possibility from the state that is the ultimate “swing” state, Ohio.

NO Republican President has won office without winning Ohio, and from 1868 to 1923, there were SIX Republican Presidents from Ohio—Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding.

The Republican National Convention will be in Cleveland, and what could be more dramatic than nominating the sitting Governor of Ohio in Ohio?

Kasich has the most years of experience of anyone on the Republican side, having 18 years in Congress, and risen to the Chairmanship of the House Budget Committee, before leaving Congress, being an anchor for awhile on Fox News Channel, then working on Wall Street, before winning two terms as Governor of the “Buckeye” state.

No one is trying to claim that Kasich has made no mistakes, but compared to everyone else in the race, Kasich is the highest quality. While in Congress, he supported the Brady Assault Weapons Ban legislation and angered the National Rifle Association. He angered Tea Party groups by accepting Medicaid expansion, one of a very few Republican governors who have done that.

Kasich has worked against abortion rights, and has been shown to be anti union, typical of Republicans on the other hand, but he has also come across as an independent guy, who some have said has been influenced by the fact that his parents, killed tragically in an auto accident, were Democrats.

Kasich was considered as Bob Dole’s Vice Presidential running mate in 1996 but Jack Kemp instead was the choice of the Republican Presidential nominee. In 1999, he considered a Presidential candidacy but dropped out and endorsed George W. Bush. He could have stayed on in his Congressional seat and easily retained it, but decided after 18 years, it was time to move on. Had Dole picked him, he would have been only 44, and had he had a more serious Presidential bid in 2000, he would have been 48. Now he will be 64 in 2016, still young enough to be vibrant!

Kasich is also a reasonable man, a pleasant man, and avoids the image of arrogance and elitism that so many other Republicans exude. One can imagine a President Kasich, and if forced to do that, would be better able to live with it, as he is not a Tea Party Movement guy, not a Religious Right guy, not a libertarian! In fact, he is a bit of a skeptic about religion in politics, and has changed his religious views over his lifetime from Catholic to Anglican. He is in the mainstream of America, and is the best that the GOP has to offer, assuming former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman does not change his mind and decide to run after all!

Eleven Foreign Policy Presidential Elections In American History, And Now 2016!

America has had foreign policy affect eleven Presidential elections, overshadowing domestic policy issues. This has usually been centered about military intervention and wars. The list of foreign policy dominated Presidential elections follows:

1812—With the War of 1812 having begun, it became the major issue under President James Madison

1844—With the issue of Texas annexation a major issue, and with James K. Polk running on expansionism and “Manifest Destiny”, the issue of relations with Mexico became a major issue under John Tyler and Polk.

1848—With the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo after the Mexican War under James K. Polk granting so much new territory to the United States, the issue of what to do with these territories became the major issue of the campaign.

1900—With the Treaty of Paris ending the Spanish American War under William McKinley granting new territories to the United States, the issue of what do to with those territories reigned during the campaign, and the Filipino Insurrection was a hot issue as well.

1916–The issue of keeping America out of World War I dominated, with Woodrow Wilson campaigning on the fact that he had kept us out of the war.

1940—The issue of isolationism and World War II in Europe and Asia, and Franklin D. Roosevelt campaigning on keeping us out of war, but offering some assistance to Great Britain, dominated the campaign.

1944—The fact that we were still in World War II, and what to do about the postwar world and the Soviet Union, were key issues of the campaign.

1952—The debate over what to do about the limited nature of the Korean War under Harry Truman was a major factor in this campaign which elected Dwight D. Eisenhower.

1968—The debate over the Vietnam War under Lyndon B. Johnson, and the resulting split in the Democratic Party, and Richard Nixon declaring he had a secret plan to end the war, dominated the discussion in the campaign.

2004—The Iraq War and Afghanistan War under George W. Bush dominated the discussion in this campaign, as September 11 transformed the issue of national security.

2008—The continued intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan became a major issue, along with the Great Recession emerging during the campaign, and benefited Barack Obama, who promised to end the war in Iraq and downgrade the war in Afghanistan.

Now 2016 seems likely to be centered much more than many people want over foreign policy, particularly the threat of Iran in the Middle East, along with the danger of ISIL (ISIS) Terrorism, and the growing menace of the Russian Federation under Vladamir Putin, overall adding to the image of growing threats to national security.

And in these circumstances, one needs a steady hand at the helm, and only Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden have the experience and the judgment needed, along with Jon Huntsman, who, although listed by many as a long shot nominee for the Republicans, has indicated he is not a candidate. In any case, the Republicans are not smart enough to realize that the true treasure in their midst is Jon Huntsman!

Third Parties Or Independent Candidates For President In 2016? A Waste Of Time And Effort!

It seems clear that many Americans are disgusted with the two party system, as they see the Democrats and the Republicans as “owned” by Wall Street and the billionaires.

So therefore, there are calls for a third party or independent movement, but it is unlikely to happen in any serious way, and certainly, will have little or no effect on who wins the Presidency.

But if any effect, it would lead to those who are discontented discovering that by voting for a third party or independent candidate, they have helped to elect the worse choice of the two major party nominees!

In American history, twice there has been a serious third party or independent nominee who has helped to defeat a sitting President or a popular vote winner and promoted the election of a candidate seen by many who voted for the third party as far less desirable.

Only Theodore Roosevelt in 1912; and Ralph Nader in 2000 are seen as having any real impact on the election results, helping to lead to the election of Woodrow Wilson and George W. Bush. William Howard Taft lost his Presidency due to the third party candidacy of TR; and Al Gore lost the chance to be President because of the third party candidacy of Ralph Nader.

Looking ahead to 2016, there is no prominent personality planning to run on a third party. Those who have said they would not run include: former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman; former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura; Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; and environmentalist Ralph Nader. These individuals have a certain appeal to many Americans, but they well recognize they have no chance to win, and could only mess up the election by running, as NO third party or independent has EVER been elected President, with only Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 making a really respectable performance as candidate of the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party, winning 6 states nationwide, 27.5 percent of the popular vote and ending up second rather than third, and gaining 88 electoral votes!

Nine Presidential Nominees Who Lost In Very Close Races To Their Opponents

It is not generally known that we have had several Presidential candidates who lost the Presidency in very close races, where one could note that a small switch of votes would have changed the result, with five such cases in American history. And some Presidential candidates have lost despite winning the national popular vote, with four such cases in American history. So therefore, nine elections saw these scenarios.

Andrew Jackson lost the Election of 1824 to John Quincy Adams despite winning the national popular vote by about 45,000.

Henry Clay lost the Election of 1844 to James K. Polk by losing New York State by about 5,000 votes.

Samuel Tilden lost the Election of 1876 to Rutherford B. Hayes despite winning the national popular vote by about 250,000.

James G. Blaine lost the Election of 1884 to Grover Cleveland by losing New York State by about 1,000 votes.

Grover Cleveland lost the Election of 1888 to Benjamin Harrison despite winning the national popular vote by about 100,000.

Charles Evans Hughes lost the Election of 1916 to Woodrow Wilson by losing California by about 3,800 votes.

Richard Nixon lost the Election of 1960 to John F. Kennedy by losing the state of Illinois by about 8,000 votes.

Gerald Ford lost the Election of 1976 to Jimmy Carter by losing the state of Ohio by 5,600 votes and the state of Hawaii by 3,700 votes.

Al Gore lost the Election of 2000 to George W. Bush despite winning the national popular vote by 540,000, and by losing the state of Florida by 537 votes.

Of course, Jackson, Cleveland, and Nixon went on to win the next national election in each case, and Ford, although never being elected, had the satisfaction of having been President for almost two and a half years.

Tilden and Gore were the most tragic cases, as they never ran again for President, and yet had won the national popular vote in each case.

Henry Clay and Charles Evans Hughes were exceptional public servants in so many ways, but would never be President.

Finally, James G. Blaine losing was probably good, as he was regarded as the most corrupt national candidate in American history!

Civil Liberties And The Presidency: From John Adams To Barack Obama

When it comes to the issue of the Presidency and the Bill of Rights, many Presidents have scored at an alarmingly low rate, often despite many other virtues that these Presidents have possessed.

John Adams set a terrible standard when he signed into law the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

Andrew Jackson forcibly decreed the removal of five Native American tribes (The Trail Of Tears) from their ancestral lands and relocation in Oklahoma, supposedly forever, but with the discovery of oil in Tulsa, the territory was opened to whites in 1889, and reservation life became the norm.

John Tyler, through negotiation to add Texas to the Union, and accepting its institution of slavery, helped to create the slavery expansion issue as one which would divide the nation and lead to Civil War, and Tyler was part of the Confederate government and gave up his American citizenship.

James K. Polk further promoted the expansion of slavery through war with Mexico, and had no issue with slavery anywhere and everywhere.

Millard Fillmore, signing the Compromise of 1850, allowed the South to pursue fugitive slaves in the North.

Franklin Pierce, signing the Kansas Nebraska Act in 1854, made the expansion of slavery develop into the Kansas Civil War, which led to the Civil War.

James Buchanan endorsed the Dred Scott Decision, which allowed expansion of slavery everywhere in the nation, if a slave owner chose to move to the North with his slaves.

Abraham Lincoln suppressed press freedom; allowed preventive detention; and imposed a military draft that one could escape only by paying a fee that only wealthy people could afford.

Andrew Johnson wanted to restrict the rights of African Americans after the Civil War, and was an open racist, much more than anyone.

Grover Cleveland promoted the reservation life and adaptation to white culture for Native Americans through his signing of the Dawes Act in 1887.

Theodore Roosevelt spoke and wrote often about superior and inferior races, seeing only intellectual accomplishment and military strength as the basis to admire individuals of other races, but believing in white supremacy and the “Anglo Saxon” race.

Woodrow Wilson backed restrictions on citizens during World War I, and presided over the Red Scare under Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer after the war, as well as showing racist tendencies toward African Americans and Japan. He signed the Sedition Act of 1918, and issued an executive order segregating African Americans in Washington, DC.

Franklin D. Roosevelt interned Japanese Americans under executive order during World War II, and did little to deal with the racial problem in the South.

Richard Nixon arranged for bugging and wiretapping of his “enemies”; arranged break ins and “dirty tricks”; and became engaged in obstruction of justice and abuse of power, leading to moves toward impeachment and his eventual resignation from the Presidency, due to the Watergate Scandal.

Ronald Reagan cut back on civil rights enforcement, and showed insensitivity on the issue of apartheid in South Africa.

George W. Bush pushed through the Patriot Act, and the government engaged in constant civil liberties violations as part of the War on Terror.

Barack Obama also promoted violations of civil liberties, as part of the continued threat of international terrorism.

So 17 Presidents, at the least, have undermined our civil liberties and civil rights, often overlapping.

If Hillary Clinton Flounders, What Then For The Democratic Party?

Behind the scenes, there is growing trepidation that Hillary Clinton might have damaged her candidacy over the private emails issue, and also, the foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation.

So there are whispers about the issue: What then, for the Democratic Party, if Hillary Clinton flounders?

There are those who think it is time for Vice President Joe Biden to decide to enter the race.

There are those who think it is time for Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to stop stating she will not run, and to enter the race.

There are those who think that former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who has been hinting he would run no matter what Hillary Clinton does, to do just that.

There are those who hope that the hints that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders would run are going to lead to his actual candidacy.

There are those who think that former Virginia Senator Jim Webb will offer himself as the more conservative alternative within the Democratic Party, as he has hinted earlier.

But now there are other whisperings, including Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and or New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand thinking of entering the race, with women particularly looking to Gillibrand as the younger version of Hillary Clinton.

And, believe it or not, there is a “blast from the past”, with three former Presidential seekers thought to be considering getting back into the competition for the Presidency: Jerry Brown, John Kerry, and Al Gore!

Imagine a candidate who last ran in 1992 against Bill Clinton, running against his wife 16 years later, and having first run for President in 1976 and 1980 against Jimmy Carter!

Imagine the Democratic Presidential nominee of 12 years ago choosing to leave the State Department and decide to run, possibly against the brother of the man, George W. Bush, that he lost to in 2004!

Imagine the Democratic Presidential nominee of 2000, who won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote in a Supreme Court decision, Bush V. Gore, that gave Bush the Presidency, now coming back nearly a generation, and possibly running against the man, Jeb Bush, whose state gave his brother George W. the Presidency.

Realize that only two Presidential nominees ran for and won the Presidency as long as 12 years after being on the national ballot–Henry Clay in 1844 after 1832, and Franklin D. Roosevelt losing as Vice Presidential nominee in 1920 and coming back to win the White House in 1932!

For history and political junkies, the possible scenarios are totally fascinating!

A Disturbing Reality: Military Suicide Rate Of 22 Per Day Is Primarily Due To The Bush-Cheney Wars In Iraq And Afghanistan!

The alarming statistic that 22 military personnel commit suicide every single day is clearly tied to the Bush-Cheney wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,

Not all veterans or military personnel who kill themselves come from these recent wars, but a very high percentage do, and it is because the Bush-Cheney Administration was too loose and easy to send troops to war, and not concerned enough about their treatment when they came home scarred from their war experiences.

It is important to realize that it is not just combat situations that have caused Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but also the growing evidence that the torture and abuse of detainees in both Iraq and Afghanistan was part of the requirement given to many of these military personnel, beyond the day to day combat.

One could conceivably fight and kill in a war and learn to deal with it, as a concept of “us or them”.

But making many military units, including those not in combat, torture and abuse detainees in the most heinous fashion, of which we had only a hint of what happened at Abu Ghraib in 2003, is the real culprit, as it is clear that Abu Ghraib is just the tip of the iceberg on this matter of torture and abuse.

It is much harder to justify in one’s mind the use of torture and abuse, when compared to actual combat situations, where one can rationalize the horrors that occur. For anyone to engage in torture and abuse and NOT feel guilty would require someone of very strong mental and physical constitution, or else demonstrate that we have troops that have major mental illness which allows them to enjoy and bask and prosper in hurting other human beings in the most despicable ways.

So Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld et al are indeed, as the New York Times has declared, guilty of war crimes, and rightfully should be charged in international courts, but that will not, of course, ever happen.

But each time after just a little more than an hour, when a soldier or former military personnel sees his life destroyed and has tremendous guilt and chooses to end his life, the guilt and burden of this reality falls on our government leaders who allowed such torture and abuse to go on, and have worked to keep as much of it secret as possible.

But over time, the truth shall come out, as it is starting to emerge now on news stories on National Public Radio and elsewhere, and it will condemn the Presidency of George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and many others to the conclusion that we have had true war criminals in charge of our government.

They have used the September 11 attacks to justify actions and motivations that have poisoned our reputation as a nation for the long haul, and for that, they will never be able to be forgiven!

The Shame Of Alabama, The Republican Party And the Supreme Court On The 50th Anniversary Of The Selma To Montgomery March!

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March of 1965.

On this significant anniversary, three things are clear.

Alabama has NOT shed its image of bigotry!

The Republican Party, many of whose members supported the Voting Rights Act of 1965, is not sending anyone to commemorate this event. Late news reports indicate that former President George W. Bush and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy are to show up, but few other Republicans, and none other than McCarthy in the leadership of the GOP.

And the Supreme Court has contributed to the withering away of the Voting Rights Act by its 2013 decision permitting new voting rights restrictions!

Not only is racial discrimination still very obvious in Alabama and much of the South, but now Alabama is the center of a so called states rights struggle over gay marriage, with the state Supreme Court, headed by George Wallace like Chief Justice Roy Moore ordering that gay marriage be stopped, after a federal judge ordered it go forward, and with the Supreme Court poised to consider the case, which will be decided by June.

So prejudice, discrimination, and the false argument of states rights still reigns in the original home of the Confederate government!

And for the GOP to bypass major representation at this premier civil rights anniversary is to the shame of the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike!

And for the Supreme Court and African American Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Chief Justice John Roberts to promote a weakening of the Voting Rights Act two years ago, and see what it has wrought on voter suppression, is to the shame of the top Court of the land, which has not done its job to uphold the Constitution of the United States!

The Inevitability Of Hillary Clinton Is No Longer Active! Doubts Are Rising!

It has been pointed out that any candidate for President who is ahead in public opinion polls in the second year of a Presidential term has never been elected President, since the age of polling became active after World War II.

If it was, Thomas E. Dewey, Robert Taft, George Romney, Edmund Muskie, Ted Kennedy, Mario Cuomo, Al Gore, and Hillary Clinton would have served in the Presidency after elections in 1948, 1952, 1968, 1972, 1980, 1992, 2000, and 2008.

Instead, we had Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama!

So now it is clear that the inevitability of Hillary Clinton as our 45th President is far from certain, due to various factors!

Hillary Clinton is seen as too close to Wall Street billionaires and millionaires, and too close friendships with major corporations, while mouthing the support of overcoming income inequities.

Hillary Clinton is seen as a “hawk” in foreign policy, even a neoconservative to many, having backed the Iraq War and coming across as much more hardline than many Democrats on recent events in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Hillary Clinton has supported the Patriot Act and National Security Agency surveillance and spying.

Hillary Clinton has not been a strong supporter on environmental issues, particularly in supporting fracking.

Hillary Clinton has come across as secretive, and now has the new scandal of having all emails being private, rather than on government emails while Secretary of State for four years.

Hillary Clinton has also allowed foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation, including Arab countries in the Middle East, not a wise or thoughtful idea.

Hillary Clinton has the history of earlier questioning of her ethics, both as First Lady and as Senator and Secretary of State, and many see her marriage to Bill Clinton as a sham, designed to promote her insatiable desire to be the first woman President of the United States.