Howard Baker

White House Chief Of Staff Ron Klain A True Star!

The position of White House Chief of Staff, the person closest to the President on a daily basis, has existed since the Truman Presidency after World War II.

Some have lasted very short times in that position; some have proved to be disasters; and a small number have turned out to be exceptional in their dedication to progress under their Presidents.

The true disasters include:

Sherman Adams under Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1958)
H. R. Haldeman under Richard Nixon (1969-1973)
Donald Rumsfeld under Gerald Ford (1974-1975)
Dick Cheney under Gerald Ford (1975-1977)
Hamilton Jordan under Jimmy Carter (1979-1980)
Donald Regan under Ronald Reagan (1985-1987)
Reince Priebus under Donald Trump (six months in 2017)
Mark Meadows under Donald Trump (2020-2021)

The success stories include:

Kenneth O’Donnell under John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)
James Baker under Ronald Reagan (1981-1985)
Howard Baker under Ronald Reagan (1987-1988)
John Sununu under George H. W. Bush (1989-1991)
Leon Panetta under Bill Clinton (1994-1997)
Erskine Bowles under Bill Clinton (1997-1998)
John Podesta under Bill Clinton (1998-2001)
Andrew Card under George W. Bush (2001-2005)
Denis McDonough under Barack Obama (2013-2017)
John F. Kelly under Donald Trump ((2017-2019)
Ron Klain under Joe Biden (2021- )

When one looks at these lists, it is clear that Ron Klain stands out as one of the top few White House Chiefs of Staff of all time, with Kenneth O’Donnell, James Baker, Leon Panetta, Andrew Card, and Denis McDonough also on the list of the best!

Lamar Alexander No Profile In Courage, Unlike His Mentor, Howard Baker, In The Watergate Scandal

Retiring Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, unlike his mentor, Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee, is clearly no Profile in Courage.

Baker stood up against his party’s President, Richard Nixon, in Watergate in 1973-1974.

Alexander chose instead to state that what Donald Trump has done in the Ukraine Scandal is wrong, but that it is up to the voters to decide whether Trump should stay in office.

In so deciding, Alexander prevented the possibility of a 51-49 majority in the US Senate calling for additional witnesses and testimony, which has been so in previous Presidential impeachment trials, as well as Federal Judiciary trials.

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski likely would have voted for such witnesses and testimony, had Alexander done so, but instead the vote was 51-49 against having such additional witnesses and testimony.

So Lamar Alexander’s obituary some day will make clear that he was NO Profile in Courage, putting party over principle, a big disappointment.

Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell A Traitor To American Values And National Security, And Will Be A Leading Villain In American History!

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will go down in history as a traitor to American values and national security, and be seen as a leading villain in American history.

When one compares him to other Senate Majority Leaders, including:

Democrats Alben Barkley, Lyndon B. Johnson, Mike Mansfield, Robert Byrd, George Mitchell, and Tom Daschle

and Republicans Howard Baker and Bob Dole

McConnell pales by comparison.

The fact that his wife, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, is in the Trump Cabinet, is in itself a massive example of corruption and conflict of interest.

But beyond that, McConnell denied President Barack Obama his right to have a Supreme Court Justice nominee, Merrick Garland, to be considered for the Court in 2016.

McConnell has also refused to allow any strengthening of voter security to prevent a Russian government collusion in our election system, as occurred in 2016.

McConnell has also been involved with Russian businessmen investing in Kentucky industrial projects, a clear cut example of treason.

McConnell has made clear that if a Supreme Court appointment occurs in the election year of 2020, he will allow such an appointment, after NOT allowing it in 2016.

McConnell has not allowed votes on House of Representatives bills, with the ability to vote them down, but not even allowing a vote on so much potential legislation, in order to avoid the Republicans in the Senate from putting their careers on the line by actually having to vote to prevent reforms of all kinds.

McConnell’s major goals has been to enrich the top one percent with tax cuts; to destroy all regulations possible on business and industry and destroy as much of the Great Society programs of Lyndon B. Johnson and the New Deal programs of Franklin D. Roosevelt; and to pack the federal courts with extremist right wing judges, many of them incompetent, who wish to destroy civil rights, organized labor, consumer rights, environmental regulations, women’s rights; and other progressive causes and laws, wiping out all fairness and movements towards social justice and equality.

Senate Intelligence Committee (Richard Burr-Mark Warner) Might Be The New Watergate Committee (Sam Ervin-Howard Baker) Of 1973-74

Forty four years ago, in 1973, the US Senate formed a special committee to investigate the burgeoning Watergate Scandal under Richard Nixon.

The committee was headed by a conservative Southern Democrat, Sam Ervin of North Carolina, and the ranking Republican member of the committee was Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee, and the committee dedicated itself to the discovery of the truth.

Over the next year and few months, many witnesses were called, and evidence was gathered, which helped to lead to the indictment of 40 Nixon Administration figures and the conviction of several aides to Nixon on charges of obstruction of justice and other crimes.

Ervin and Baker became folk heroes, and John Dean and Alexander Butterfield became the most famous witnesses that, through their testimony, helped to lead to impeachment charges against Richard Nixon, and cause his resignation 15 months after the Watergate Committee began its work.

Nixon was in the early months of his second term, coming off a massive victory against George McGovern in the Presidential Election of 1972.

Now, we are witnessing another committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, headed by another North Carolina Senator, Republican Richard Burr, and assisted by the ranking Democratic member of the committee, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, beginning an investigation of Donald Trump and his Russian connection, believed to have assisted him in defeating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election. Trump had only a small margin in the proper combination of states to win the Electoral College, but with Hillary Clinton having won the popular vote nationally by 2.85 million votes.

Burr is a conservative Republican, as Ervin was a conservative Democrat more than four decades ago, and Mark Warner is a moderate Democrat as Howard Baker was a moderate Republican back in the 1970s, and all four of these Senators came from the South–North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia–and all four were and are dedicated to finding out the truth about Presidential scandals.

Expect the Senate Intelligence Committee to have a dramatic impact as the Senate Watergate Committee, and it seems likely that Michael Flynn will be the new John Dean, and that others we are not yet aware of will be the new Alexander Butterfield and other significant exposers of the facts that we learned about in 1973.

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!

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!

Republican Senate Leadership: From Howard Baker And Bob Dole To Trent Lott And Mitch McConnell

A clear sign of the decline of the Republican Party in the Senate is the clear cut difference between earlier Republican leaders twenty to thirty years ago–Howard Baker of Tennessee and Bob Dole of Kansas—and recent Republican leadership, including Trent Lott of Mississippi and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

The first two were outstanding Senators, and in many ways, statesmen, while the latter two were and are party hacks, men with an image of prejudiced, narrow minded leadership, neither destined to be regarded in history as outstanding or as statesmen.

When one looks at the Republicans in the Senate today, one can only mourn the decline of a once great party, that had real outstanding leaders and other exceptional Senators, many of them now having passed on, but part of the historic Republican tradition of men of principle, who also knew how to work across the aisle!

Barack Obama Goes British: The Question And Answer Session With The House GOP

President Obama took a courageous step on Friday, when he appeared before the House GOP retreat in Baltimore, defended his record, and took questions for almost an hour.

He put on a maestro performance, and showed that the Republicans had the opportunity to promote health care reform when they controlled the Congress for twelve years, with six of those under a Republican President, and yet did not, but now claim they have plans for health care reform, although they have refused to cooperate with Obama in any way on the subject.

He also pointed out that Bob Dole, former Kansas Senator, Senate Majority Leader, and 1996 Republican Presidential nominee, had endorsed much of the Obama health care plan when it was first introduced last year. Also, former Tennesee Senator , Senate Majority Leader, and candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 1980 and 1988–Howard Baker–had also supported the basic elements of the administration’s health care reform in 2009.

What Obama was implying is that in the past, there were reasonable Republicans who were moderates and worked toward cooperation and bipartisanship, rather than total opposition and confrontation as the present Republican party is engaged in on not just health care, but also education loan programs, job creation, global warming, economic stimulus, and really everything else imaginable! 🙁

Watching this equivalent of the British House of Commons question and answer session for the Prime Minister, it seems to me that it might be a good idea for every President to schedule this kind of session at least once a year to defend his program and be challenged directly by the opposition.

The only problem is that it would be hard to imagine George W. Bush being able to do this in front of a Democratic gathering and come across as legitimate and capable. Some Presidents would have a rough time, as they do not have the knowledge and speaking presentation that Barack Obama has.

While of course there will be partisan review of this event, it seems clear to neutral observers that the President came across as having legitimized and improved his standing and defense on the issues, and that the House Republicans came across as overly preaching rather than asking questions, looking to make points which have no validity but sound good as sound bytes. Their long introductions to their questions became very obviously a propaganda moment, but the President deftly handled them and responded in an assertive but good natured way, with his brilliant smile and charm always evident.

This was not an equal bout, with about 140 or more Republicans against one President. It only made the GOP look more ridiculous, more negative, more confrontational, more a party without any solutions, but instead catch words and propaganda lines that will not solve the problems of the economy or the American people.

And the more that the Republican party caters to the Freedom Works and Tea Party crowd, which is more extreme with elements of anarchism and implied hatred, racism, and violence, the more they will lose any chance to gain mainstream voters. As Barack Obama said, rhetoric that is extreme makes it hard to work together, and to unify to deal with the massive problems the nation faces.

So the ultimate reality is that moderation is the way for the GOP to go, and if they do that, they have a far better chance of making a contribution, and of eventually regaining respectability and the possibility of being given responsibility to run the government and do the people’s business!

Five Prominent Republicans Back Obama Push For Health Care

It is great news to see that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has joined former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson in calling for an overhaul of the health care system through support of President Obama’s push for reform. Also, as reported earlier, Bob Dole and Howard Baker, two other GOP Senate Majority Leaders from earlier times, have backed the need for change.

Only one Republican senator, Olympia Snowe of Maine, seems willing to move in that direction, and the fact that four significant Republicans from the past and the governor of our largest state are breaking ranks with the “just say No” Republicans in Congress is therefore an encouraging move.

Obama has also met with a group of doctors from the the fifty states, as he is becoming more intimately involved in pushing for what a majority of Americans say is essential–to change the nature of our health care system so that we finally bring almost all Americans under the umbrella of protection, a step that should have occurred long ago!

How Far The Republican Party Has Fallen As Compared To Past Leadership!

News has emerged that THREE former Republican Majority Leaders of the Senate would, if they were in the Senate now, vote for a health care reform plan, instead of Mitch McConnell and just about all Senate Republicans in today’s Senate who are totally negative and lacking in any new ideas.

I am speaking of Bob Dole of Kansas, Howard Baker of Tennessee, and Bill Frist of Tennessee.

This just is further evidence of how far the GOP has fallen as compared to the party in the age of Nixon and even Reagan. Then the GOP had some principles, as compared to now when they have no real alternative ideas and have allowed their party to be co-opted or hijacked by whacko talk show hosts.

Not only should the Republican party of today be ashamed, but I contend that if Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt or Dwight D. Eisenhower were alive today, they would refuse to remain Republicans, and I would add to that list, even Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

The Republican party had a significant role in the past, but now all they are able to be is negative. What a disgrace!