Hubert Humphrey

Centennial Of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Birth: Most Prominent American Historian In Second Half Of Twentieth Century

Today, October 15, marks the centennial of the birth of renowned American historian, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr, considered by many scholars to be the most prominent American historian in the second half of the 20th Century.

I was fortunate to have been a graduate student under Schlesinger at the City University of New York Graduate School from 1966 to 1975, and I was one of eleven graduate students to have had the opportunity to produce a Ph. D. Dissertation under his support and tutelage. That dissertation, later revised, was published by The Johns Hopkins University Press under the title: TWILIGHT OF PROGRESSIVISM: THE WESTERN REPUBLICAN SENATORS AND THE NEW DEAL in 1981.

Schlesinger was a very cordial and supportive sponsor of my dissertation, and we kept in touch occasionally over the next three decades, and I was saddened by his death in February 2007 at the age 89.

Schlesinger helped for me to confirm my liberal and progressive convictions, and my blog that you are now reading was partly inspired by his influence, and has now been operated for more than nine years.

While I do not claim any of the greatness that Schlesinger represented, I am proud of my association with him.

Schlesinger was a public intellectual and social critic, and although he never went beyond an earned Bachelors degree from Harvard University, he was a leading historian, although he had many critics.

He was a Cold War Liberal, strongly anti Communist, and a founder of the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) with Eleanor Roosevelt, Hubert Humphrey, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Reinhold Niebuhr in 1947, and was its national chairman in 1953-1954.

A professor at Harvard University from 1947-1960, he was the son of the renowned historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr, and related also to 19th century historian George Bancroft through his mother.

He was a speechwriter to Democratic Presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956; speechwriter and Latin American policy adviser to President John F. Kennedy; speechwriter and adviser to Senator Robert F. Kennedy during his Presidential campaign in 1968; speechwriter and adviser to 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee George McGovern; and also speechwriter and adviser to Senator Edward M. Kennedy in his 1980 Presidential primary campaign against President Jimmy Carter. That year, Schlesinger broke with his Democratic Party roots and voted for Independent Presidential nominee, Republican Congressman John Anderson, as did former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, both only revealed in their votes in the past few years.

Schlesinger was the author of more than 30 books and hundreds of articles, and was most famous for his two Pulitzer Prizes for his books: THE AGE OF JACKSON (1946) and A THOUSAND DAYS: JOHN F. KENNEDY IN THE WHITE HOUSE (1966). He also wrote three seminal volumes on Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, only getting as far as 1936, and telling me of his goal to finish in a few more volumes, but that never happened.

But he also wrote an important book on the threat of Richard Nixon–THE IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY (1973)—and also the standard study of his friend, Robert F. Kennedy–ROBERT KENNEDY AND HIS TIMES (1978).

Schlesinger was the recipient of the Albert Schweitzer Professor of the Humanities Chair at the City University of New Graduate School from 1966 to 1974, and that is how I became one of his graduate students.

His impact on the historical profession and American politics continues a decade after his death.

49 Years Since Robert Kennedy’s Assassination: The Beginning Of The End Of The Triumph Of Liberalism In The 1960s

It is now 49 years since Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York was tragically assassinated in Los Angeles, where I am right now, in my first visit to the number two city in America.

RFK was seen as likely to win the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1968, and it is believed that he would have defeated former Vice President Richard Nixon in a close race, without being tied to the Vietnam War policy of Lyndon B. Johnson, which Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey had as an albatross around his neck, from which he was unable to escape.

It often seems as if RFK’s death marked a turning point to the right, from which America has never fully recovered, despite the best efforts of Barack Obama, the most liberal President since LBJ, but with the reality of a strong Republican opposition that helped to prevent much of his agenda.

Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, while certainly more “liberal” than any Republican President in the past half century, were unable, and also to a great extent, unwilling to go anywhere as far as Obama attempted.

So in a sense, America lost its liberal champion, which Ted Kennedy represented after his brother’s death, but due to his own Chappaquiddick scandal, was unable to promote, with one failed attempt in 1980 against President Carter.

RFK was certainly one of the most talented and creative politicians we have seen, and had a broad appeal, and his goals and aims to unite people of all backgrounds in promoting progressive change, remain the goal of Democrats as they look ahead to 2020, and wish to find the best Presidential nominee possible.

Donald Trump One Of The Lowest Popular Vote Percentage Winners In American History, And NOT Due To Strong Third Party Performances!

Donald Trump’s percentage of the popular vote continues to decline, and now makes Trump one of the lowest popular vote percentage winners in American History, and NOT due to strong third party performances.

Right now, Trump has 46.28 percent of the vote and is 2.35 million popular votes behind Hillary Clinton, who has 48.2 percent of the vote.

The only 7 Presidents to have lower percentage are:

John Quincy Adams 1824—30.92

Abraham Lincoln–1860–39.65

Woodrow Wilson–1912–41.84

Bill Clinton–1992–43.01

Richard Nixon–1968–43.42

James Buchanan–1856–45.29

Grover Cleveland–1892–46.02

Before it is all over, Trump is likely to fall lower than Cleveland, and possibly Buchanan, in percentage of the popular vote, when all votes are accounted for.

In each of these seven cases, however, there were more than two strong Presidential candidates, and a third party and twice a fourth party gained electoral votes.

Adams had electoral vote competition from Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and William Crawford in 1824.

Lincoln had electoral vote competition from John C. Breckinridge, John Bell, and Stephen Douglas in 1860

Wilson had electoral vote competition from Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft in 1912.

Clinton had electoral vote competition from George H. W. Bush and Ross Perot in 1992.

Nixon had electoral vote competition from Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace in 1968.

Buchanan had electoral vote competition from John C. Fremont and Millard Fillmore in 1856.

Cleveland had electoral vote competition from Benjamin Harrison and James Weaver in 1892.

However, Trump had no third party competitor who took electoral votes away from him or Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent.

And only Adams ended up second in popular votes with a percentage of the vote lower than Trump.

So Donald Trump cannot claim a popular mandate by any means.

Ten Most Divisive And Polarizing Elections In American History

As we near the end of an extremely divisive and polarizing election, it is a good time to look back and judge what were the ten most divisive and polarizing elections in American history.

Chronologically, they would be the following:

The Election of 1800 between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

The Election of 1828 between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson

The Election of 1860 between Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, and John Bell

The Election of 1876 between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden

The Election of 1884 between Grover Cleveland and James G. Blaine

The Election of 1896 between William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan

The Election of 1912 between Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Eugene Debs

The Election of 1948 between Harry Truman, Thomas E. Dewey, Strom Thurmond, and Henry A. Wallace

The Election of 1968 between Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, and George Wallace

The Election of 2000 between George W. Bush, Al Gore, Ralph Nader, and Pat Buchanan

A Hillary Clinton Alliance With Bernie Sanders And Elizabeth Warren For Progressive Change After The Election

There are many progressives who are skeptical about Hillary Clinton’s commitment to progressive reform. They seem willing to allow Donald Trump to be elected, which is suicidal behavior.

That is unacceptable behavior, although it is understandable that Hillary Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton, was far from a great progressive in his time, and this blogger has well expressed that reality over the years.

Readers of this blog know that the author was and is a Joe Biden fan, which also may not please the most left wing progressives.

But this blogger believes that insisting on purity is the road to disaster, as when progressives found Hubert Humphrey unacceptable in 1968, giving us Richard Nixon; and when progressives found Al Gore unacceptable in 2000, giving us George W. Bush.

For this nation to elect a far left progressive is never going to happen, and the way forward is incremental reform, as the right wing forces are not going away, and have great power and influence.

So there are those who would say Barack Obama was not progressive enough, but imagine if we had ended up with John McCain or Mitt Romney.

This blogger believes that Hillary Clinton will be committed to progressive reform when she is President, and that she will have an alliance with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, but a lot depends on electing a Democratic Senate and narrowing the Republican control of the House of Representatives.

“Law And Order” Domestic Policy, And “America First” Isolationist Foreign Policy: The Coming Of Fascism To America Under Donald Trump!

Donald Trump last night delivered a 75 minute speech accepting the Republican Presidential nomination with a sense of humility and gratefulness (yeh sure)!

The longest acceptance speech of modern times, he promoted fear and trepidation about the condition of America and its future, and declared that he, himself, will resolve the problems of terrorism, crime, and crumbling infrastructure all by himself.

He declared that he will be the President of “Law and Order”, reminding people of the last President to utilize such a term, Richard Nixon, who proved to be the most lawless President in American history. He made it seem that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, was for lawlessness, much like Richard Nixon and third party candidate George Wallace in 1968 made it seem as if Hubert Humphrey was for lawlessness.

He declared an “America First” doctrine, reminding us of the isolationist group of 1940-1941 of that precise name, promoted by many naive isolationists, most famously Charles Lindbergh of aviation fame, who wanted to keep us out the war in Europe as Nazi Germany took over most of the continent.

He argued that only he, alone, could resolve the issues of terrorism and crime, as if by magic, he would solve them, without considering the role of the Congress and the courts, and the fact that we are NOT a Fascist dictatorship with one man rule.

Face the reality that Donald Trump is a clear cut Fascist, and a danger to American democracy and the US Constitution, and all efforts must be made to prevent this monster from becoming our 45th President.

A major job of education is needed, as too many people have no clue as to what Trump is doing, manipulating emotions and fear as he strives to become our leader, despite no experience, no knowledge, and with a constantly confrontational persona!

Analyzing Hillary Clinton’s Choice For Vice President: Most Likely To Be A Sitting US Senator

It is two days until Democrat Hillary Clinton announces her Vice Presidential running mate, and it is almost certain, looking at history, that it will be a sitting United States Senator.

If one looks back historically from 1944 onward, every VP nominee except one and a half times (to be explained in next paragraph) was a sitting Senator.

The only exceptions were Sargent Shriver (second choice after Senator Thomas Eagleton withdrew over his mental shock treatments being revealed) in 1972, and Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, and those were the two worst Democratic defeats ever in their history.

So 16 out of 18 elections, a US Senator ran for Vice President:

Harry Truman 1944
Alben Barkley 1948
John Sparkman 1952
Estes Kefavuer 1956
Lyndon B. Johnson 1960
Hubert Humphrey 1964
Edmund Muskie 1968
Walter Mondale 1976 and 1980
Lloyd Bentsen 1988
Al Gore 1992 and 1996
Joe Lieberman 2000
John Edwards 2004
Joe Biden 2008 and 2012

Notice that 8 of the above 13 Senators who ran for VP were from the South or Border states, and two were from Minnesota–and keep this in mind as you read further down on this entry.

So it would seem to this blogger that, based on history, one can assume that three cabinet officers—Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (a recent name added to the mix), would be unlikely to be chosen.

So that would leave the following as possible choices, all US Senators:

Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
Cory Booker of New Jersey
Tim Kaine of Virginia
Sherrod Brown of Ohio
Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
Al Franken of Minnesota

The problem is that Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Ohio have Republican Governors, so at least temporarily, a seat would be lost by Republican appointment, which could be crucial to organization of the US Senate next year.

So it would seem to this blogger that Tim Kaine is the most likely choice, followed by Amy Klobuchar (bringing a woman to the ticket, but not the highly controversial Elizabeth Warren).

In two days, we shall see!

“Law And Order” Theme Of Donald Trump Reminds Us Of Lawbreaker Richard Nixon!

Republican nominee Donald Trump is making “law and order” the major theme of his convention this week, reminiscent of Richard Nixon a half century ago.

For a candidate for the White House to use such a theme is always suspect, as what Presidential candidate or occupant of the White House does not believe that we need “law and order” as a basic reality?

So to use this as a weapon against Democrat Hillary Clinton, as Republican Richard Nixon and third party candidate George Wallace did against Democrat Hubert Humphrey a half century ago, is pure demagoguery, and a sign of what would happen if the nation was crazy enough to elect Trump to the White House.

One must realize that Nixon, Vice President Spiro Agnew, and Attorney General John Mitchell all invoked “law and order”, and all three were lawless, with Nixon forced to resign; Agnew forced to resign; and Mitchell indicted and convicted for crimes in the Watergate Scandal.

No President was more corrupt and lawless than Nixon, and Trump is likely to become the most scandalous President, if he won, of all time, as his whole life, in so many ways, is a group of scandals, both personal and financial!

First Time In American History That An Outgoing President Really Promotes His Party Successor Nominee!

The Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama event yesterday in Charlotte, North Carolina, was amazing to see–a sitting President putting his reputation on the line for his potential successor, unlike any in American history, and for someone who was his bitter rival eight years ago.

It is wonderful to see such warmth and camaraderie develop, and one can assume it is totally sincere on both sides.

And Vice President Joe Biden is also putting his reputation on the line on Friday in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and these two events are just the beginning of a “romance” between Hillary and her two rivals in 2008.

This is historic, as it has NEVER happened in American history, as far as can be ascertained.

It did not happen for William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 in a public display, although TR did endorse his successor quietly.

It did not happen with a very sick Woodrow Wilson and his potential successor, James Cox, in 1920, as Wilson was recovering from a paralytic stroke.

It did not happen with Herbert Hoover in 1928, as Calvin Coolidge was not thrilled by his successor, thinking he was too anxious to gain publicity over the more retiring Presidential personality.

It did not happen with Harry Truman toward Adlai Stevenson in 1952, with Truman staying out of the fray, although he had promoted Stevenson to run in the first place.

It did not happen with Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was very lax on supporting Richard Nixon in 1960, until the final week or so.

It did not happen with Lyndon B. Johnson who was alienated from Hubert Humphrey in 1968, because Humphrey was backing away from Johnson’s Vietnam War policy, and Johnson even hoped privately for Richard Nixon’s election.

It did not happen with Ronald Reagan who did very little openly for George H. W. Bush in 1988, although he endorsed him.

It did not happen with Bill Clinton who was avoided by Al Gore in 2000, which might have affected the results of the election in a detrimental manner for Gore

It did not happen when John McCain was the nominee to succeed George W. Bush in 2008, as McCain worked to avoid public contact with the unpopular President.

But now in 2016, having the backing of both Barack Obama and Joe Biden will help Hillary Clinton to gain unity and win the Presidency in November!

Vice Presidency More Significant Than Ever Before In 2016, With Oldest Presidential Nominees In American History!

The Vice Presidency has been growing in significance and stature in the six decades since Richard Nixon was Vice President and started to grow the office.

We have had outstanding men in the Vice Presidency since then, including Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert H. Humphrey, Gerald Ford, Nelson Rockefeller, Walter Mondale, George H. W. Bush, Al Gore, Dick Cheney, and Joe Biden.

We have also had “lemons”, including Spiro Agnew and Dan Quayle, and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin to scare us at the thought of her being a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.

Now that our Presidential candidates will be the oldest in American history in combination, with average age of past 70, combining Democrat Hillary Clinton at 69 plus and Republican Donald Trump 70 plus on Inauguration Day, it is more essential than ever that we have the best possible men or women placed in that position for the upcoming Presidential election!

But so many of the proposed nominees, that have been bandied about by the news media and the candidates’ campaigns are far from the best possible candidates, and they can cause worry about succession, if the winner of the election dies in office of natural causes or by assassination in the next four years, with the odds growing on each possibly occurring.

The idea of two “senior citizens” competing for the most stressful job in the world is not comforting, and the fact that it has been 53 years since John F. Kennedy was killed, and 71 years since the natural death of a President in office (Franklin D. Roosevelt), as well as 42 years since Richard Nixon resigned.

We need distinguished Senators or Governors ready to come forth and offer a strong backup to the two nominees, but particularly in the case of the Republicans, the odds of such a person arising is not likely!