Gerald Ford

Two Republican Majority Courts Supported Abortion Rights, But Not Now In 2022!

In the case of Roe V. Wade (1973), decided by 7-2, Abortion Rights for women was made federal law, with five of the seven votes being Republican appointments:

Harry Blackmun (Nixon)
Warren Burger (Chief Justice) (Nixon)
William Brennan (Eisenhower)
Potter Stewart (Eisenhower)
Lewis Powell (Nixon)

In Planned Parenthood V. Casey (1992), a later case on abortion, with some limits, the decision was 5-4, with all 5 in the majority being Republican appointments:

Sandra Day O’Connor (Reagan)
Anthony Kennedy (Reagan)
David Souter (HW Bush)
Harry Blackmun (Nixon)
John Paul Stevens (Ford)

All of these Republican appointed Justices were considered to be “conservatives” in their time frame, although Blackmun, Brennan, and Stevens came to be seen as “liberals’ over time, and O’Connor, Kennedy, and Souter came to be seen as “moderates”.

The definition of “conservative” has changed dramatically in the past half century, so all of the Republican Justices would be seen by right wing Republicans in 2022 as “RINOS”, Republicans In Name Only!

In 2022, in Dobbs V. Jackson’s Women Health Organization, all six Republicans voted to end abortion rights, although Chief Justice John Roberts wanted only further limitations on abortion, and therefore dissented while joining the other five Republicans.

These appointments were by two Presidents who lost the popular vote when they were elected by the Electoral College, along with Clarence Thomas appointed by George H W Bush.

Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh both had charges of sexual impropriety brought against them, while Neil Gorsuch gained a place on the Court that was meant for Barack Obama appointee Merrick Garland, and Amy Coney Barrett replaced the recently deceased Ruth Bader Ginsburg just a week before an election in which Donald Trump lost by 7 million votes to Joe Biden, who should have been allowed that appointment.

The Supreme Court Reputation Reaching An All Time Low

The US Supreme Court is in a crisis, as its reputation in public opinion polls, and among Supreme Court “watchers”, is reaching an all time low, not matched since the late 1920s and early 1930s.

The Court has never been as right wing in substance as it is now, since a century ago, and even going further back to the late 19th century Gilded Age era.

The Supreme Court’s reputation was glowing in the time of the Warren Court (1953-1969) and even moving forward to the Burger Court (1969-1986), and still having an image of balance in the era of the Rehnquist Court (1986-2005).

This was due to the reality that many Republican appointees to the Court, including the following, avoided hardline conservativism:

Eisenhower–Earl Warren, William Brennan
Nixon–Warren Burger, Harry Blackmun
Ford–John Paul Stevens
Reagan–Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy
HW Bush–David Souter

These eight Justices made a massive difference in enunication of Supreme Court opinions.

Sadly, George H W Bush’s appointment of Clarence Thomas, and George W. Bush’s selection of Samuel Alito, veered the Court far to the right, and Donald Trump’s three appointments—Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett—have continued that trend.

The fact that Thomas and Kavanaugh have been connected to accusations of sexual harassment, and that Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett were chosen by Presidents who lost the national popular vote, and that Gorsuch took a seat that was meant for Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, and that Barrett was confirmed for the Court less than two weeks before the national election—only adds to the fury and disgust felt about the Supreme Court!

This has, reportedly, disturbed Chief Justice John Roberts (2005- ), whose historical reputation is being damaged, as he has moved, personally, from being conservative to attempts to create a moderate balance on the Court. Sadly, it is not working, so there are some rumors that he might retire from the Court after 17 years as its leader, as that is about the norm for most of the 17 Chief Justices in Amerian history, with the exception of John Marshall (1801-1835) and his successor, Roger Taney (1836-1864).

That would be a major step forward, to retire, and allow Joe Biden to pick a Chief Justice, which has not happened for a Democratic President since Harry Truman in 1946!

The Republican Party Has Gone Bonkers, And Conservatives Need To Leave And Form New Party!

The Republican Party and its long history is ending, effectively, with the crazy decision of the Republican National Committee to censure Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming, and Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois!

And the party apparatus has declared that the January 6, 2021 Insurrection was “legitimate political discourse”, an absolutely lunatic statement that is having all past Republicans shamed, and many principled moderates and conservatives in the party today stunned beyond belief!

The party can be considered to have committed suicide, and all decent people in and out of government, need to make clear that they are abandoning the party, as many already have, and start a new conservative party, based on principles, not lawlessness, bloodshed, and violence!

Can any sane person imagine any of the great Senators, Congressmen, Governors, and those connected to past Republican Presidents and nominees who would not be appalled by the total recklessness and conceding to a tin horn lunatic named Donald Trump that has now occurred?

What would Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush say?

What about all of the other luminaries of the Republican Party past and present?

How can such Republicans today as Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse, Mitt Romney, and others NOT quit the party and denounce what they have declared about the January 6 Insurrection, and the mistreatment of Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger?

One Term Presidencies That Mattered: Jimmy Carter, George HW Bush!

President Joe Biden stated at his end of first year press conference yesterday, that he planned to run for a second term in 2024, and that Kamala Harris would again be his running mate.

That is to be expected at this time, but by early 2023, Biden will need to make a final decision on running, so as to open the race to alternative choices if he announces he will retire.

The concept that a President must seek reelection was not the case with three Presidents, who decided not to run–James K. Polk in 1848, James Buchanan in 1860, and Rutherford Hayes in 1880. But Polk, despite not running for another term, is considered to have accomplished his goals, and as it turns out, his health was not good, and he died 105 days after leaving office in 1849.

Buchanan and Hayes are not considered to have had successful terms, and they may have sensed that they could not win reelection.

Other one term Presidents, such as Benjamin Harrison and Herbert Hoover, had horrible depressions to deal with, helping to cause their defeats in 1892 and 1932, and William Howard Taft had a split in his party with former President Theodore Roosevelt, which doomed his campaign for reelection in 1912.

Gerald Ford was a special situation, having not been elected, succeeding Richard Nixon, and having a bad economy, which doomed his desire for election to a full term in 1976, although he is considered in a kind manner at this point, having worked to unite America after the Watergate Scandal and resignation of Nixon.

But the two most recent Presidents defeated for reelection, before Donald Trump, had real accomplishments in office, although they were unable to win a second term, Jimmy Carter in 1980, and George H. W. Bush in 1992.

Clearly, all Presidents since Rutherford Hayes in 1880, who have survived a term, have attempted to be reelected, but since Biden will be 82 years old weeks after the Presidential Election of 2024, he might decide not to run, or his health might be such that he is told he should not run.

First Year In Oval Office Under Most Presidencies Problematical, And Joe Biden Better Than Many!

One could argue that Joe Biden has accomplished a great deal in the first year, while often having disappointments and shortcomings.

Two major pieces of legislation were accomplished (The American Rescue Plan, and the Physical Infrastructure legislation), and the only reason why the Build Back Better bill and voting rights have failed to be accomplished is the opposition of two Democrats–Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema–and the reality of an equally divided Senate for only the third time in American history!

While inflation has become a major problem, the stock market dramatically rose, more jobs were created in the first year of a Presidency than any other administration, and the unemployment rate has dropped to a very low rate.

There are still the issues of the COVID 19 Pandemic, and the disaster of Afghanistan withdrawal, but the first issue was unpredictable as the worst health crisis in a century, and the second would have been the same result had Donald Trump stayed on as President, since he had made a deal with the Taliban without Afghanistan government involvement, to leave in May 2021, NOT as occurred in August 2021!

So some disappointing developments in the first year of a Presidency are not unique to the 46th President!

When one looks back at other Presidencies, it is actually quite common that the first year of a Presidency is a learning curve, and does not reflect on whether such Presidents will be, in the long run, successful, and also have the possibility of successful reelection.

The following Presidents had very successful first years—Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, George H. W. Bush!

Three Presidents had what could be described as mixed records in the first year in office–Dwight D. Eisenhower, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

The following Presidencies in the 20th and 21st century were far from successes in their first year:

Harry Truman 1945
John F. Kennedy 1961
Richard Nixon 1969
Gerald Ford 1974-1975
Jimmy Carter 1977
Ronald Reagan 1981
Bill Clinton 1993
Donald Trump 2017

Among these eight Presidents, four—Truman, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton–won reelection.

So it is not time to say that Joe Biden will fail to succeed, as he already has in many respects, and it is not time to say he cannot win reelection fo a second term!

Comparing Kamala Harris To Mike Pence, Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle, Spiro Agnew!

Kamala Harris has been Vice President for nearly a year, and has faced brutal criticism and attacks, and suggestions by some that she resign, because she has not been assertive in the role of Vice President.

Of course, these suggestions come from Fox News Channel anchors Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham, who are actively involved in attempting a coverup of the events of January 6, 2021, even though they were stunned by the events of that day, and tried to reach Donald Trump to express their dismay.

It is insulting that conservative supporters of the January 6 Insurrection have the gall to attack Kamala Harris, when the major issue is that she is a woman, and of mixed African and Asian American heritage, as her father is from Jamaican origin and her mother of Asian Indian origin.

Who are the critics turning to as models?

Is it Mike Pence, who refused to speak up at all to Donald Trump for four years, but at least had the guts to uphold the Electoral College vote for Joe Biden on January 6, facing the threat of being hanged by rioters? That is his only redeeming quality.

Or is it Dick Cheney, who while qualified by experience, was a dangerous, out of control Vice President, under George W. Bush, who enriched himself by America’s engagement in two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq through leadership of Haliburton, and endorsed the use of torture against war prisoners?

Or is it Dan Quayle, who made everyone nervous for four years about the health of George H. W. Bush, as Quayle demonstrated how dumb and clueless he was?

Or was it Spiro Agnew, who resigned from office as a felon, after nearly five years a heartbeat away from the Presidency under Richard Nixon?

The only truly reputable Republican Vice President in the past half century was George H. W. Bush under Ronald Reagan! Although it must be said that the abbreviated Vice Presidency of Nelson Rockefeller under Gerald Ford was also decent!

Meanwhile, Democrats could be proud of their Vice Presidents—Walter Mondale under Jimmy Carter; Al Gore under Bill Clinton; and Joe BIden under Barack Obama!

Kamala Harris is in the tradition of decency and dignity of Mondale, Gore, and Biden, and will do a fine job over the next three years, with her excellent qualification as former San Francisco District Attorney, California Attorney General, and US Senator!

Bob Dole, An Historic Figure, And True American Hero, Dies At Age 98!

Former Kansas Senator Bob Dole, the Vice Presidential running mate of Gerald Ford in 1976, and Republican Presidential nominee in 1996 against Bill Clinton, passed away on Sunday at the advanced age of 98!

Dole served nearly 40 years in American national government, including service in the House of Representatives from Kansas, as well as the Senate.

Dole was a true American hero, and suffered immensely when wounded in World War II as the war in Europe neared an end in April 1945, and spent three plus years in a military hospital recovering, and never had the use of his right arm, as a result of grievous injuries.

Dole was an historic figure, who fought hard for his Republican views, but also had humanity and a sense of humor, and often worked across the aisle with Democrats.

Dole served as Senate Majority Leader and Senate Minority Leader, and was also Republican National Chairman at one point, as well as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Dole is a giant figure in the history of the Republican Party, and was well regarded by politicians in both parties, and millions of Americans!

Fareed Zakaria CNN Special From May 2021 Updated: “A Radical Rebellion: The Transformation Of The GOP”

The Welfare State–Secularism—changing racial situation.

Fareed Zakaria on a CNN Special today, updated from May 2021, entitled “A Radical Rebellion: The Transformation of the GOP”, presented an analysis of the disaster that the Republican Party has become:

in an era of conservatism attacking the concept of the Franklin D. Roosevelt New Deal and the Lyndon B. Johnson Great Society;

allowing Right Wing evangelical Christianity and theocracy to take over the party in the name of God;

and working against the reality that the white majority face a future in America of minority racial groups together being a majority of the population in about 2040-2045.

He covers from the John Birch Society in the 1950s;
to William F. Buckley, Jr and the National Review;
to Barry Goldwater and the conservative takeover in 1964, leading to massive victory of Lyndon B. Johnson and the Great Society;
to Richard Nixon and the “Southern Strategy”in 1968;
to Jerry Falwell and the “Christian Coalition” and the “Moral Majority” in the late 1970s and early 1980s;
to Ronald Reagan and the “Reagan Coalition” in the 1980s;
to Pat Buchanan’s challenge of George H W Bush in 1992;
to Newt Gingrich and the “Republican Revolution” of 1994 and after;
to the promotion of right wing propaganda and lies by Fox News Channel starting in 1996;
to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in the 2000s;
to the Tea Party Movement rise under Barack Obama’s Presidency;
to the rise of Donald Trump in 2015-2016;
to the “Big Lie” about the Presidential Election of 2020;
to the January 6, 2021 US Capitol Insurrection;
to the present extremism in the Congressional and State Republican parties in 2021;
to the constant threat to women’s rights, including abortion;
to the right wing rejection of Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney as not conservative enough;
and the growing racism, nativism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, and homophobia that have become alarming realities for the future of American politics!

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy Will Retire At End Of 2022, After Serving As Third Longest Serving Senator!

Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy will retire at the end of his 8th Senate term at the end of 2022, after an amazing 48 years in the upper body of Congress!

He will leave office as the third longest serving US Senator in the 234 years of that historic institution, only behind Democrat Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who served 51.5 years, and Democrat Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who served just short of 50 years.

At the moment, he is fourth longest serving, behind Republican Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, who served 47 years and a bit more than 5 months, which Leahy will pass in June 2022.

Leahy just passed Democrat Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts in total service in late October 2021.

Leahy is the last member of Congress elected in 1974, and the only sitting Senator to have served while Gerald Ford was President, and also to have served while Jimmy Carter was President.

Leahy is the only Democrat ever elected to the Senate from Vermont, as Bernie Sanders always ran as an Independent. Leahy is easily the longest serving Vermont Senator as well.

Leahy has been, in his long career, Chairman of the Agriculture, Judiciary, and Appropriations Committees, and is President Pro Tempore of the Senate, third in line of Presidential succession.

Leahy also presided over the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump in 2021.

Had Leahy chosen to run for an unprecedented 9th term, he would easily have been reelected and in 2026, would have become the longest serving US Senator ever!

Leahy is a premier liberal and progressive throughout his career, and will be nearing the age of 83 when he retires at the beginning of 2023.

Leahy is a great figure in the history of the Senate, and will be missed when he leaves office!

The Presidency And Native Americans

A recent article on History News Network has rated Presidents on “Integrity and Humanity in Dealing with Native American Nations”, a significant analysis of how the “original” Americans have been treated by American government.

It is not a positive picture overall, and we have had Presidents who were particularly horrid in their treatment of native Americans, and others who had a more open minded and considerate reaction to the plight of native Americans.

The list of Presidents who are seen as villains includes:

Thomas Jefferson
Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
Andrew Johnson
James Garfield
Theodore Roosevelt
Donald Trump

The list of Presidents who are seen as reformers includes:

John Quincy Adams
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Bill Clinton
Barack Obama

Overall, sadly, native Americans were treated with violence, disrespect and paternalism, with their lands stolen, and forced out of their ancestral lands!