Jacob Javits

The Last Of The Moderate Progressive Republican Senators Of The 1960s And 1970s Passes Away: Edward Brooke Of Massachusetts!

News of the death of former Massachusetts Republican Senator Edward Brooke (1967-1979) yesterday, marks the end of the group of moderate progressive Republican Senators of the 1960s and 1970s, who worked with Democrats across the aisle, and made the Republican Party a mainstream party with a conservative majority, but reputable and dignified moderate progressives who added distinction to the party’s history.

Brooke, the first popularly elected African American Senator in American history, served two terms of distinction, and promoted civil rights, the legalization of abortion, closer relations with China, and opposed Richard Nixon much of the time on his Supreme Court appointments and on the Watergate scandal. He worked to promote aid to the poor and to the cities of the country, and spoke up for the end of the Vietnam War.

Brooke was one of a small, admirable group of Republicans, no longer found on Capitol Hill, where the word “moderate” or “progressive” is now a dirty word. It was easy to praise Brooke, along with Maryland Senator Charles Mathias, Illinois Senator Charles Percy, and Oregon Senator Mark Hatfield, who all added greatly to the distinction of the Senate!

Will the Republican Party ever have men of the distinction of these four Senators, and others who started earlier in the Senate, including Jacob Javits of New York, and Clifford Case of New Jersey? Right now, that seems highly unlikely, as the Senators mentioned above would be called RINOS (Republicans In Name Only) by the present mentality in the Republican Party!

Barack Obama Continues Tradition Of Progressive Republicans And Liberal Democrats

President Barack Obama demonstrated in yesterday’s Second Inaugural Address that he is following the best traditions of the progressive and liberal champions of the 20th and early 21st century!

Not only is he pursuing the vision of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, but also of many others, including:

Senator Robert La Follette, Sr. of Wisconsin, progressive Republican
Senator George Norris of Nebraska, progressive Republican
Senator Robert La Follette, Jr. of Wisconsin, progressive Republican
Senator Jacob Javits of New York, progressive Republican
Senator Clifford Case of New Jersey, progressive Republican
Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, progressive Republican
Senator Charles Mathias of Maryland, progressive Republican
Senator Charles Percy of Illinois, progressive Republican
Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon, progressive Republican
Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, progressive Republican, Independent, liberal Democrat
Senator Robert F. Wagner, Sr. of New York, liberal Democrat
Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois, liberal Democrat
Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, liberal Democrat
Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, liberal Democrat
Senator Walter Mondale of Minnesota, liberal Democrat
Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, liberal Democrat
Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, liberal Democrat
Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, liberal Democrat
Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, liberal Democrat
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Independent Socialist, allied with Democratic Party

And this list of ten progressive Republicans and ten liberal Democrats are not a complete list, but they are among those who have stood the test of time on their progressive and liberal values!

And realize that La Follette, Sr., Humphrey, McGovern, and Mondale all ran for President, and that Humphrey, Mondale and Biden all have served as Vice President of the United States.

Arlen Specter, A Senate Giant, Leaves Behind A Complicated Legacy As He Dies At Age 82

Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, who died today at age 82, was, without a doubt, a Senate giant, who leaves behind a complicated legacy.

Specter was a Democrat in Philadelphia, turned a Republican, and then, at the end of his career, a Democrat again!

Specter was a liberal Republican who became a moderate, but fought against the conservative trend in his party.

Specter was one of the most influential Jewish Senators in American history, ranking on the level of New York Senator Jacob Javits, Connecticut Senator Abraham Ribicoff, Ohio Senator Howard Metzenbaum, Michigan Senator Carl Levin, New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, California Senator Barbara Boxer, Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone, and New York Senator Charles Schumer. Only Javits was a Republican, other than Specter.

Specter was a giant figure on the Judiciary Committee in the Senate, involved in 14 Supreme Court nomination battles, including the stopping of Robert Bork, and the defense of Clarence Thomas, and the impeachment controversy surrounding President Bill Clinton.

Specter was a prickly, ornery individual, who did not suffer fools very well, whether Senate colleagues or constituents, and became a major critic of the mindless Tea Party Movement in the Republican Party after the election of President Barack Obama.

Specter lost his seat in the Senate after 30 years, when he backed President Obama on health care, and switched back to the Democratic Party, giving them, for a brief period, a 60 member filibuster proof majority in the US Senate.

Specter was seen as a man of principle, but also an opportunist, who gained many enemies all over the political spectrum.

Specter was a key figure in the Warren Commission investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy, being on the staff of the commission, and promoting the viewpoint of a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, which became the official viewpoint of the Warren Commission, a viewpoint he never backed away from, despite the many conspiracy theories.

Specter may have been a “loner” in many ways, but in the thirty years he was in the US Senate, he gained a lot of respect and stature as one of its giant figures, who could not be ignored, overlooked, or mistreated, as he would always fight back, including his two courageous battles with cancer in his last decade.

Arlen Specter is a person who historians will have to wrestle with to understand American politics and history in the 1980s, 1990s, and the early 21st century! His effect on so many areas and issues will be a goldmine for scholars in the future, trying to decipher the controversies and issues going back even to the 1960s!

May Arlen Specter rest in peace, knowing he had a great impact on his nation that will not be forgotten!

Death Of One Of Last “Liberal” Republican Senators: Charles Percy Of Illinois

The era of “liberal” Republican senators, who were loyal to the party but crossed the aisle to work with Democrats, and had moderate views on most issues, is just about over, as the death of Charles Percy, who served three terms in the Senate from 1967-1985, was announced over the weekend.

Percy died at age 91 of Alzheimers Disease, which he had suffered for the past two years, according to family sources.

Percy, often seen as a possible Presidential candidate, might have run for the nomination in 1976, if President Gerald Ford had decided not to seek election, after replacing President Richard Nixon as a result of the Watergate scandal.

Percy served alongside other Liberal Republicans, including Jacob Javits, Clifford Case, Charles Mathias, and Mark Hatfield, all of whom passed away before him.

Percy served as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under President Ronald Reagan, and spoke openly against President Richard Nixon in the time of Watergate.

He was not afraid to fight for his principles, and was highly respected by his colleagues.

His death reminds us of just how extreme his party has become, and one can only wish for a return to moderation some day by his party, when they regain their senses!

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!

Tim Pawlenty Rejects Return To “Rockefeller Republicanism”: Just What Is Needed For America’s Future!

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, on Meet The Press this morning, has made the statement that this is not the time for the return of “Rockefeller Republicanism”, referring to the former “Liberal” wing of the Republican Party led by former NY Governor, Vice President, and perennial Presidential candidate Nelson Rockefeller.

Nelson Rockefeller, even if one could find fault with him personally or on specific issues, represented a viewpoint shared by many Republicans in the 1960s, 1970s, and into the 1980s–of being “mainstream” on economic, social, and foreign policy issues.

It used to be that the Republican Party offered an alternative which one could “live” with, even if one were a Democrat.

The Republican party was seen as center Right, but the emphasis was on CENTER.

A whole generation of Republican Governors and Senators fit this image–among them George Romney, William Scranton, Charles Percy, Clifford Case, Lowell Weicker, Jacob Javits, Charles Mathias, Mark Hatfield, Tom Kuchel, and Bob Packwood.

The Republican Party today represents an extremist group which offers no possibility of restoring confidence in the future of American politics, as they have allowed themselves to be “hijacked” by social conservatives and Tea Party Movement radicals who see no problem in allowing the government to default on its debts, and destroying the social safety net built up by the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson.

Were the Republican Party to return to the views of the “Rockefeller” wing of past decades, the future of the party and of the nation would be vastly improved, but that is highly unlikely, something sad to say!