John F. Kennedy

Birch Bayh, One Of The Best Senators Of Late 20th Century Dead At Age 91, A Truly Creative Legislator Who Should Have Been President

Former Indiana Senator Birch Bayh, who served in the Senate from 1963-1981, passed away this week at age 91.

Birch Bayh was one of the best United States Senators of the late 20th century, a truly creative legislator who should have been President.

He competed in 1976 for the Democratic Presidential nomination against Jimmy Carter and many others, and he was the favorite of this blogger and author.

This is a man who promoted the passage of the 25th Amendment, providing for an Acting President if the President was incapacitated, and of the appointment and approval of a Vice Presidential replacement when there was a vacancy in that office.

This was the reaction of Bayh and others after John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, and with Lyndon B. Johnson having had a serious heart attack in 1955, and with potential successors being House Speaker John W. McCormack (age 73), and President Pro Tempore of the Senate Carl Hayden (age 86).

Bayh also promoted the 26th Amendment, giving 18 years olds the right to vote, and he also sponsored the unsuccessful Equal Rights Amendment, which failed of passage by enough states.

He also sponsored Title 9 of the amended Civil Rights Act in 1972, ending quotas for women in higher education and giving women equal opportunity to participate in sports.

Additionally, Bayh saved Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy when they were both in a small plane crash in 1964.

Bayh was the father of Indiana Governor and Senator Evan Bayh. He won three close races in Indiana, and then was defeated by future Vice President Dan Quayle in 1980.

The Castro Brothers, Julian And Joaquin, Big Time Political Stars

Two Texas brothers and identical twins, Julian and Joaquin Castro, have become big time political stars, with Julian running for President, and Joaquin leading the charge as his campaign manager, and the leader of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the 116th Congress.

Julian was Mayor of San Antonio, the seventh largest city in America, from 2009-2014, and was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014-2017 under President Barack Obama. If elected, he would be the first Hispanic/Latino President, and the first President since Herbert Hoover whose highest federal position was as a cabinet officer under a President. He was considered a finalist to run for Vice President with Hillary Clinton in 2016, and some observers think he would have helped Clinton to win the Electoral College, but that subject to debate. He gained notice in 2012 nationally when he gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

If Julian Castro was elected, he would be the third youngest President, behind Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. He supports comprehensive immigration reform; free trade; first two years of public higher education tuition free; universal health care and Medicare For All; the Paris Climate Accord; refusal to take PAC money as part of his campaign; Affirmative Action; and assault weapons ban; gay rights; and abortion rights. So that makes him a progressive on the left of the Democratic Party, but not seen as far left as Bernie Sanders.

Brother Joaquin Castro has been a Congressman from the San Antonio area since 2013, so is in his fourth term in the House of Representatives. Earlier, he was a member of the Texas State House of Representatives from 2003-2013. This year, Joaquin has been the leader in organizing to oppose Donald Trump’s Border Wall Emergency Declaration, and has been standing out as one of the leading members of the Democratic caucus.

To differentiate himself from his brother, Joaquin has grown a beard, as otherwise, it is impossible to tell which brother is Joaquin or Julian. Some humorists have said Joaquin could replace Julian in a public sphere, and most people would not know the difference.

It is rumored that Joaquin, while running his brother’s campaign for President, might also seek the Senate seat of Republican John Cornyn in 2020.

It is clear that the Castro brothers will be national figures for the long term future, no matter what happens.

This author and blogger, at this point, is quite enthused by Julian Castro, who is seen as on his short list of favorites for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

It would be fitting if we had a Latino President after Donald Trump has bashed Latinos and people from Mexico as part of his nativism as a candidate and as a President.

It is felt that if Castro was the Democratic nominee in 2020, the state of Texas, with 38 electoral votes would be in play, and if won, the Midwest battleground everyone talks about would not be as crucial in winning the Electoral College.

America Will Never Be A “Socialist” Country, But We Have “Socialist” Ideas Americans Want To Keep: Social Security, Medicare, Environmental, Labor, Consumer, Health Care, Education, And Civil Rights Laws, All Which Make Capitalism Work Better!

Donald Trump attacked “Socialism” in the State of the Union address, knowing full well that is simply a code word to attack progressive reforms that have become part of the American tradition and system of social justice.

“Socialism” in America is Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Federal Environmental Laws, Federal Labor Laws, Federal Consumer Laws, Federal Health Care, Education and Civil Rights Laws.

These laws are the hard, years fought for, efforts of primarily Democrats and some moderate Republicans over the century since Theodore Roosevelt, including Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and even contributions of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and innumerable Senators and Congressmen and state governors who saw these laws as essential for American advancement.

We are a nation of capitalism but with “socialism” mixed in, due to the promotion of such legislation by the Socialist Party of the 20th century, and its leaders, including Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, and most Americans support and see the need for the laws we have.

We are not going to go back to the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, as the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the 1960s, and the Obama era have made our nation better, and the right wing attack on all these reforms will be fought bitterly and defeated!

Hillary Clinton Running Again For President Is A Terrible Idea

Rumors are spreading that Hillary Clinton is considering the idea of announcing again for President in 2020.

That would be a terrible idea, and would divide the Democratic Party, when it needs to move on from the disappointments of 2016.

Hillary Clinton is very talented, smart, and knowledgeable, and it is true that she won the national popular vote by 2.85 million votes in 2016, more than many Presidents, including John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter.

But she was unable to win over the white working class vote of the Midwest, and nothing we know of her would indicate that she can magically win over that voting bloc in 2020.

It is tragic that she lost the Electoral College, but just as with Al Gore after 2000, it is time to move on, as there are so many other talented, smart, capable potential nominees in the Democratic Party, who could carry the mantle of the party into November 2020.

So, please, Hillary Clinton, campaign for others for 2020, make speeches, write books, and enjoy Chelsea’s children, now soon to have a third child. Even Chelsea has said a blessing of the loss was that her mom had a chance to spent more time with her grandchildren.

Enough is enough, and it is time to move on from the Age of the Clintons.

Inspiring January 20s—1961 And 2009, And Then Depressing January 20s, 2017 And Today

Today is commemorated as the Presidential Inauguration Day every four years, since the passage and ratification of the 20th Amendment in 1933, changing the date from the original March 4 from 1789 to 1933, to the new date starting in 1937 and every fourth year after.

The history of January 20 is one of two particularly inspiring Inauguration Days, those of John F. Kennedy in 1961, with his soaring oratory, and Barack Obama in 2009, with the largest Inauguration crowd in American history, and with this author and blogger in attendance with his older son, witnessing the historic event.

Kennedy was the youngest elected President, and the first and only Catholic President, and Obama was the first and only mixed race African American President, and both appealed to the highest ideals of the American spirit.

Already, both are rated in the top third or better of our Presidents, and both will always excite and inspire our image of what America could be.

But sadly, now we are in a crisis, which makes Richard Nixon look better, something thought to be impossible after the Watergate Scandal. We never thought we could have a worse and more corrupt President than Nixon, who with his manifest shortcomings actually had some positive contributions.

But with Donald Trump, we have a wrecking ball out to destroy American domestic policies since Theodore Roosevelt onward, and American foreign policies since Harry Truman onward.

We have a President who has collaborated and colluded with the Russian government of Vladimir Putin, and yet we have one third to 40 percent of the nation totally in delusion, and proving that as PT Barnum said long ago, “There’s a sucker born every minute!” People who should know better have their heads in the sand, as if they are ostriches, and nothing will convince this ill informed and morally deficient portion of the population to see the reality of the disaster we face.

Donald Trump gave a bitter, divisive Inaugural Address two years ago today, and has not stopped from his mission of total destruction, and division of our population with his insults, his racism, his nativism, his misogyny, his repudiation of our long time allies, and his promotion of the destruction of the environment and the concept of civil rights and civil liberties in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

January 20, 2017, was not a day to celebrate, and January 20, 2019 is not either, as the Federal Government Shutdown continues, with the long range goal of the undermining of the Federal government agencies, and the destruction of the lives of millions of dedicated workers, and the collapse of the American economy, as we hurtle toward another Great Recession or maybe even another Great Depression.

It is impossible to have hope that we can survive this Trump disaster without long range damage and harm that will permanently undermine the future of American democracy.

The Wealthiest And The Poorest Presidents

The American Presidents have varied greatly in wealth acquired or inherited in their lifetimes.

Some were born poor, such as Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, due to family circumstances, with Clinton and Nixon acquiring wealth in their lifetimes, but Johnson would still be the seventh poorest President at death, according to statistics.

Materials gathered by scholars have led to conclusions on the net worth of our 44 Presidents, including their post Presidential years.

Easily, at least by the knowledge we have now, Donald Trump is likely the wealthiest President, although subject to change by further Congressional investigation of Trump’s finances, sure to come in the 116th Congress by congressional subpoenas. By estimate, Trump is wealthier than all the other 43 men who have been President of the United States.

After Trump, probably John F. Kennedy, had he not been assassinated, would have inherited close to $1 billion later in his life.

Other than Trump and Kennedy, George Washington would be considered the wealthiest President, in modern terms, around $580 million.

Behind him would be Thomas Jefferson ($234 million); Theodore Roosevelt ($138 million); Andrew Jackson ($131 million); James Madison ($112 million); and Lyndon B. Johnson ($108 million), with all those numbers being estimates.

Other Presidents who had substantial estimated wealth would include Herbert Hoover ($82 million; Bill Clinton ($75 million); Franklin D. Roosevelt ($66 million); and John Tyler ($57 million). Clinton acquired most of his wealth post Presidency by speeches and authored books, and will likely rise much higher if he lives a long life.

At the other end of the scale, we had 13 Presidents who had $1 million or less wealth by all estimates, in 2016 dollars, including in ranked order:

William McKinley

Warren G. Harding

James Buchanan

Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S. Grant

James A. Garfield

Chester Alan Arthur

Woodrow Wilson

Calvin Coolidge

Harry Truman

Notice that the bulk of these Presidents served in the years from Buchanan to McKinley, the last half of the 19th century, a total of seven out of eleven Presidents.

The three Presidents from Wilson through Coolidge also are on this list, and Harry Truman ends up as the least prosperous President at his death, as compared to Andrew Johnson the poorest at birth.

Barack Obama is rated just below John Tyler at number 13 on the wealth list at an estimated $40 million, with potential over a long lifetime to become one of the top few wealthiest Presidents by speeches, books, and other activities due to the stature and prestige of being a former President in modern times.

Other Presidents are rated in the middle on wealth, such as George W. Bush at $39 million; George H. W. Bush at $26 million; John Quincy Adams at $23 million; John Adams at $21 million; Richard Nixon at $17 million; Ronald Reagan at $14 million; Dwight D. Eisenhower at $9 million; and Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter at $8 million each.

Midterm Election History In First Presidential Midterms Since 1946, And Likelihood Of Results Of Midterm Elections In 2018

With the Midterm Elections of 2018 upon us in less than two weeks, it is time to analyze midterm election results in the first such elections after a new President has come to office, starting with Harry Truman in 1946 and all the way through to Barack Obama in 2010.

We are discussing 12 Presidents and how they were factors in the midterm elections which followed their entering the Presidency.

Six of the 12 Presidents entered that first midterm election with their popularity in public opinion polls under 50 percent—with the order of lack of popularity being lowest to highest the following—Truman, Reagan, Lyndon B. Johnson, Obama, Clinton, and Carter. Notice this list is all Democrats except for Reagan.

The other six Presidents were above 50 percent popularity at the time of the first midterm elections–from the highest to the lowest being George W. Bush, Kennedy, Eisenhower, George H. W. Bush, Nixon, Ford. Notice this list is all Republicans except for Kennedy.

The record shows that only George W. Bush and Kennedy saw the best results, with Bush seeing a gain of 8 House seats and 1 Senate seat, in the year after September 11, and Kennedy losing 4 House seats but gaining 2 Senate seats in the weeks after the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

And George H. W. Bush, Nixon, and Eisenhower midterms showed respectively 8 House seats and 1 Senate seat lost; 12 House Seats lost and 1 Senate seat gained; and 18 House seats and 1 Senate seat lost.

Only Ford, three months after taking over the Presidency, and with still a high public opinion rating of 54 percent, but the Nixon Watergate Scandal still reverberating with Ford’s pardon of Nixon, do we see a major loss of 48 House seats and 4 Senate seats lost.

Meanwhile, those six Presidents with a lower than 50 percent public opinion poll rating at the first midterm of their Presidency saw a much greater loss, with Carter having the smallest loss, 15 House seats and 3 Senate seats lost with a 49 percent rating.

Reagan, with a 42 percent rating, lowest except for Truman, saw a loss of 26 House seats but one Senate seat gained.

The other four Presidents—Johnson, Clinton, Truman, Obama—suffered far worse losses—with Johnson losing 48 House seats and losing 4 Senate seats, the same as Ford, who had ten points higher public opinion rating of 54 percent to LBJ’s 44 percent.

Clinton, Truman, and Obama, all Democrats,lost massively in seats in both houses of Congress—Clinton losing 54 House seats and losing 8 Senate seats; Truman losing 55 House seats and losing 12 Senate seats; and Obama losing 63 House seats and losing 6 Senate seats.

What all this leads to is the strong belief that Donald Trump, with 47 percent approval rating most recently, will see a major loss of House seats for sure, and the guess at this time, after much reflection, is that it will be between 40-45 seats. In the Senate, with the great Republican advantage in only having 9 seats open for election, and the Senate having a 51-49 Republican margin, the odds of the Democrats holding on to their seats and gaining two or more of the nine contested Republican seats would seem to lead likely to a 50-50 tie, meaning a one seat Democratic gain, but still a Republican controlled Senate at 50-50, whereby Vice President Mike Pence will still organize the Senate for the next two years. This so unless there is a move by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, who voted against Brett Kavanaugh, and has been attacked by her state’s Republican party leadership, to switch to Independent or Democratic support, and giving the Senate to the Democrats.

The Governorships generally follow Congressional results, and are extremely important for reapportionment of state legislative districts and US House districts after the Census 2020 population figures are tabulated, so having more Governors of one party over the other are crucial. At this point, it would seem likely that the Democrats will gain from 16 present Governorships by 10-11, and have 26-27 Chief Executives of states.

So overall, a Democratic gain to a majority of House seats to about 235-240 and 26-27 Governorships, but likely a tied 50-50 Senate, putting the results worse for Trump than for Reagan in the House and Senate, but not as bad as for Ford among Republican Presidents.

The Moment Has Come For Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse: Put Up Or Shut Up, And Be Never Believed Again!

There are four Republican Senators who are drawing all the attention on the issue of Brett Kavanaugh:

Jeff Flake of Arizona

Susan Collins of Maine

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

Ben Sasse of Nebraska

It is these four who will decide if Kavanaugh ends up on the Supreme Court, and besmirches the reputation of the Court.

Kavanaugh on the Court will never be accepted as legitimate by half the nation, particularly after he lost his temper and became partisan, worrying Court watchers that he would not recuse himself on cases involving left wing issues and Democrats, including anyone or anything that might show up in the Court regarding Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Kavanaugh lacks the judicial temperament, and self destructed in that rampage a week ago, and it is like an egg that has been broken, and it cannot be put back together again, even if he were to apologize.

It would paralyze the Court, or cause great controversy on many Supreme Court cases that will be divisive enough without his outburst.

So it is up to these four Senators to do what is right, even if it affects the long term career of Collins, Murkowski, and Sasse, with Flake retiring from the Senate.

The first and the third face election in 2020, and Murkowski in 2022.

Sasse may also plan to run for President, and it would be good if he demonstrated independence from Trump.

The two women want abortion to survive, but to believe Kavanaugh will not work to destroy Roe V. Wade, is to be naive.

So it is now that true “Profiles in Courage” are needed, as written about by John F. Kennedy in 1956.

Barack Obama Finally Gets Back On The Campaign Trail

It was wonderful to see Barack Obama get back on the campaign trail these last few days.

Obama had been reluctant to criticize his successor, Donald Trump, as George W. Bush had scrupulously avoided criticizing Obama, although former Vice President Dick Cheney had had no such qualms.

But the abuses and outrages that have occurred in the past 19 plus months forced Obama to decide to campaign, and Trump has waged war on everything Barack Obama represents, and has worked to destroy all of his accomplishments.

So many wondered why it took this long for Obama to go on the offensive.

His first two speeches in Illinois and California were brilliant, and many scholars and observers realize Obama is, in many respects, a master orator, on the level of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump made fun of Obama, saying that he fell asleep listening to Obama’s speech, a statement never used before by any President against any former President.

What it comes down to is that Trump cannot match Obama in any sense in oratory or speech making, and instead just bad mouths him, as he has all along, as well as everyone else in public life.

It also demonstrates how lacking in intellect and knowledge and depth Donald Trump is, in many ways the least informed President in American history.

Hopefully, Obama’s intervention in the midterm elections of 2018 will have the needed impact to make the Democrats the big winners in November.

It Is Time For Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, And Red State Democrats To Put Nation Ahead Of Their Own Senate Seats

It is perfectly understood that all people who work like to keep their jobs and earn their income.

But there is no member of the US Senate that is “desperate” and “needy” to keep their jobs.

What is needed now is, as John F. Kennedy wrote, “Profiles in Courage”.

Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, so called “moderate” Republicans, need to stand up and say, “NO WAY”, would they support Brett Kavanaugh to fill the available seat on the Supreme Court, since he clearly has a record of being anti abortion, and both women Senators claim they are pro choice, so they must refuse to support him.

It is clear that Brett Kavanaugh has committed perjury a number of times in earlier hearings before the Senate while under oath, and he should not be promoted to the Supreme Court, with his record of pursuing Bill Clinton with Ken Starr 20 years ago; his advocacy of torture in the Iraq War; his promotion of an anti gay marriage amendment under George W. Bush; and his unwillingness to say he would recuse himself from any case involving Trump and the scandals that have erupted in the past two years.

But even if Collins and Murkowksi were to back off on Kavanaugh, the requirement also is for Red State Democrats, who are running for reelection, to vote against Kavanaugh in unison, even if it leads to their defeat, which seems unlikely in the present political climate.

So that means West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly, Montana Senator Jon Tester, and Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill MUST save the nation from a Right Wing extremist Supreme Court, even if they lose their seats, putting the nation ahead of their own ambitions.