Henry Cabot Lodge Jr

Losing Vice Presidential Candidates Who Should Have Been President: Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. (1960) And Edmund Muskie (1968)

A category of political leaders very easily forgotten are Vice Presidential candidates on a losing Presidential ticket.

Many of them are seen in history as disastrous for one reason or another, including William E. Miller, who ran with Barry Goldwater in 1964; Geraldine Ferraro, who was the running mate of Walter Mondale in 1984; John Edwards, who was John Kerry’s Vice Presidential nominee in 2004; and Sarah Palin, who was John McCain’s running mate in 2008.

On the other hand, we can find at least two Vice Presidential running mates who were true giant figures in American political history.

One was Richard Nixon’s Vice Presidential choice in 1960, former Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr of Massachusetts, who lost his seat to John F. Kennedy in 1952, but was United Nations Ambassador under President Dwight D. Eisenhower; and later Ambassador to South Vietnam under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson; and also sought the Republican Presidential nomination in 1964. Lodge was a true star figure, the only one of the four candidates in 1960 not to become President, and there are scholars who think he might have been a better President, than Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. He was certainly a solid figure in American foreign policy, and had 16 years service in the US Senate.

The other Vice Presidential running mate who was a star figure was Maine Senator Edmund Muskie, who was Hubert Humphrey’s choice in 1968. Muskie ran a dignified campaign that year, and later sought the Presidency in 1972, but derailed by the “Dirty Tricks” of the Richard Nixon reelection campaign, and lost the nomination to Senator George McGovern, seen as an easier candidate to defeat, which indeed he turned out to be. But Muskie served 21 years in the Senate, and then was Secretary of State under President Jimmy Carter in 1980.

Both men would have been exceptional choices for the Oval Office, but never had the opportunity, but their legacy needs to be honored and remembered.

159th Anniversary Of Founding Of Republican Party: Not A Celebration!

The Republican Party, which gave us Abraham Lincoln, Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner, William Seward in the years of the 1850s and 1860s; which gave us Theodore Roosevelt, Robert La Follette, Sr, George Norris, William Borah, Hiram Johnson in the 1900s-1940s; which gave us Dwight D. Eisenhower, Nelson Rockefeller, William Scranton, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr,, George Romney in the 1950s-1960s; and which gave us Mark Hatfield, Charles Mathias, Charles Percy, Howard Baker, Bob Dole, Gerald Ford in the 1970s–1990s, reached its 159th birthday today.

The Republican Party began as an anti slavery expansion party, with elements of abolitionism also present when the party began on this day in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1854.

It became the party of civil rights legislation, three civil rights constitutional amendments, progressive legislation, and supportive of much bipartisan legislation with Democrats in the New Deal and Great Society eras.

Of course, they had their evil elements, including McCarthyism, nativism, and tying themselves to organized religious influences that wished to take America backward, but until the past few years, they always had redeeming values in many ways, and would often denounce the extremists in their midst.

But now the Republican Party has become a party dominated by Tea Party radicals, who promote racism, misogyny, nativism, concern only to promote the welfare of the wealthy, and willingness to engage in foreign wars that have cost us dearly in treasure and loss of life and limb!

The Republican Party is no longer, in any way, reflective of its past, and in fact, insults its honorable, respectable history, sullying the names of its heroes and champions over a century and a half!

This is a tragedy of massive proportions, and the name “Republican” should be co-opted by the true moderates who are sitting by, watching the destruction going on, and holding their heads in their hands, ashamed that the name has been so damaged by reckless, anarchistic haters of the federal government! The party which fought the Civil War to uphold the Union is now more like the secessionist Democrats of that era!

Presidents Who Did Not Seek The Office

With the recent comment by Tagg Romney that his father, Mitt Romney, did not have a great ambition to be President of the United States, it brings up the issue of actual Presidents who in the past century did not lust after the job, and it was promoted by others, or the job fell into their lap symbolically.

Six Presidents would fit this description as follows:

William Howard Taft (1909-1913) was prodded by his wife and President Theodore Roosevelt to run, with him preferring to be a judge, later becoming the only President to serve also as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (1921-1930), and being much happier in that position.

Warren G. Harding (1921-1923), who also was prodded by his wife and political professionals in a so called “smoke filled room” to run, and actually hated the responsibilities of being President.

Harry Truman (1945-1953), who was drafted for the ticket as the fourth term Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and never imagined himself as President, before he was, suddenly, thrust into the position in the last months of World War II.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was wooed first by the Democrats in 1948, and finally convinced by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. of Masachusetts and other moderate Republicans, that he was needed to be a candidate in 1952 to stop the conservative candidacy of Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, son of President Taft.

Gerald Ford (1974-1977), who was planning on finishing his career in the House of Representatives, with his only desire being to be Speaker of the House some day, but suddenly was thrust into the Vice Presidency when Spiro Agnew resigned, and soon became aware that he was likely to become President due to the Watergate crisis of President Richard Nixon.

Ronald Reagan (1981-1989), whose wife prodded him, along with conservative supporters, to run at the advanced age of 69 in 1980, when he had given up any thoughts of being President after losing the nomination to President Ford in 1976.

So six Presidents of the past century, if the situations had been different, would not be part of the exclusive “Presidents Club”.

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!