Liberalism

Barack Obama Reaches 57 Years Of Age: His Legacy, Despite Donald Trump’s Temporary Destruction, Is Insured, And Will Be Restored Over Time

Barack Obama reached the age of 57 two days ago, and many would think that his legacy is destroyed, by the words and actions of Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

Temporarily, yes, much harm and damage has been done, but the long term legacy of Barack Obama will survive the temporary setbacks, and his accomplishments will be restored over time.

The same desire to destroy the legacy of a successful Presidency was attempted by the Republican Party and the conservative movement after Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death in 1945.

The same motivation, to destroy both the New Deal of FDR and the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson was attempted in the 1980s under President Ronald Reagan.

Both times, the Republican Party was unable to destroy the good programs that had been accomplished, although funding was often cut.

Now, under Donald Trump and the worst group of Republicans, far more disgraceful and despicable than after World War II or in the 1980s, the desire is not just to destroy everything Barack Obama did, but also to strike at the heart of progressive and liberal America, which brought about Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Civil Rights, and environmental and consumer reforms.

But the American people, or at least the majority of them, have seen the virtues of what FDR, LBJ and Barack Obama have done for the nation, as they are the three Presidents who accomplished the most of any Presidents in the past 85 years, although Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton made smaller contributions, and even Republican Richard Nixon, despite all of the reprehensible policies he pursued, actually did improve on the New Deal and Great Society.

The hate and viciousness of Donald Trump will never erase the decency, dignity, warmth, sincerity, empathy, compassion, ethics, morality, and accomplishments of the 44th President of the United States.

The record of the 45th President will be marked as the absolute bottom of the Presidency, while Barack Obama, already rated number 12 by the C Span 2017 Presidential Historians Survey, and number 8 by the 2018 American Political Science Association Executive Leadership Survey Presidential poll, will soar higher as time passes, and further reflection makes Americans realize just how great a President he was. Of course, he had his faults as all Presidents and human beings have, but he will rank in the top tier throughout the long run of American history.

The End Of The Supreme Court Term: Any Retirements Coming?

This is the last week of the present Supreme Court session, and Court watchers are wondering if we are about to see a sharp swing to the Right, with the potential retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan nearly 30 years ago, and a crucial swing vote ever since on the Court.

Kennedy has been on the conservative side about two thirds of the time, and on the liberal side one third of the time, and without him, for instance, there would have been no advancements on gay rights and gay marriage, as he was the crucial fifth vote.

His vote this week may decide whether the Muslim ban of Donald Trump is upheld, or prevented, as it has been by several circuit courts around the nation.

Kennedy has been the unpredictable vote all by himself in the past decade, since Sandra Day O’Connor left the court at the end of 2005.

For a decade before 2005, it was said the Court was the “O’Connor-Kennedy Court”, and now for the past 12 years, it has been the “Kennedy” Court, more than the Roberts Court, as traditionally, the Court is described by the name of its Chief Justice.

Since Kennedy will be turning 81 in one month, and is the second oldest member of the Court, after Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 84, but has made clear she is going nowhere, and hopes to stay on the Court until 2021, so that hopefully a future Democratic President in 2021 can choose her successor.

So if Kennedy does retire this week, it will mark a sharp move to the Right, which will undermine constitutional law for the next generation!

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.

Most Significant Issue Of Entire Campaign: The Supreme Court Future And A Democratic Majority US Senate!

No more important issue is on the plate for this election year than the Supreme Court future, tied into a Democratic Majority US Senate!

The Republicans have made it clear that if Hillary Clinton wins the Presidency, but the Republicans retain the control of the Senate, that NO Supreme Court nominee will be confirmed, and in fact, not even considered in hearings.

This is totally unacceptable, and cannot be allowed to occur for the next four years, as effectively, that is destroying the whole purpose of the separation of powers and constitutional government!

The Supreme Court has been Republican majority since 1972, and finally, the tipping point to a Democratic and more progressive/liberal Court is in the offing.

Such issues as the following could end up before the Court in the next four years:

Abortion
Affirmative Action
Campaign Finance
Class Action Suits
Climate Change
Contraception
Gun Rights
Immigration Reform
LGBTQ Rights
ObamaCare
Redistricting
Unions
Voter ID Laws
Voting Rights

Wisconsin Political History: Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde!

The state of Wisconsin, the cheese and dairy state, has had a distinguished history in many respects.

It was the base of the great Mr. Progressive, Governor and Senator Robert La Follette, Sr, who also was the Progressive Party nominee for President in 1924, and had the third best percentage of the vote of any third party nominee in history, with one out of every six voters backing him.

It was the state of his son, Senator Robert La Follette, Jr, and also of his second son, Governor Philip La Follette, both leading Progressives in the 1930s.

It was the state of Senator Gaylord Nelson,  Senator Herb Kohl, Senator William Proxmire, and Senator Russ Feingold, the latter now seeking to regain his Senate seat that he lost to Ron Johnson in 2010, with these two men running against each other again in 2016.  It was also the state of Governor Patrick Lucey and Gaylord Nelson, before the latter became a Senator.

It is the state of Senator Tammy Baldwin, the first lesbian US Senator.

However, it was also the state of Senator Joseph McCarthy, the infamous Red Scare leader in the 1950s.

It is also the state of the disgraceful Governor Scott Walker; Senator Ron Johnson; and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, all very willing to work against the interests of the middle class and the poor.

How a state with a progressive tradition can often “go off the rails” is hard to understand.

But the progressive-liberal tradition remains a significant part of the Wisconsin historical story!

Now it is becoming the center of attention again, after Scott Walker endorsed Ted Cruz in the Republican primary to be held next week, with Cruz leading Donald Trump in polls; and Bernie Sanders leading Hillary Clinton in polls for the Democrats.

Conservatives Desperate! Floating Idea Of Tom Coburn Or Rick Perry As Third Party Alternative To Donald Trump!

The conservative movement is desperate, as they foresee disaster for their movement and for the Republican Party, and rightfully so, with the almost certain nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican Presidential nominee this summer at the GOP National Convention in Cleveland.

The likelihood is, more than ever, that the Democrats will win the Presidency, regain control of the US Senate, be able to transform the Supreme Court majority to the liberal-progressive side, and possibly win the House of Representatives majority.

The latter is hard to accomplish, but the effect of Trump could cause that disaster for the Republican Party.

So now, Bill Kristol of THE WEEKLY STANDARD and other conservatives are promoting the idea of a third party movement, with former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn or former Texas Governor Rick Perry as potential nominees!

That is so hilarious, as both are terrible choices and will NOT help the conservative cause.

This blogger has already listed Coburn as one of the absolutely worst members of the Senate historically in previous posts over the last number of years, and Perry is a true example of an
“empty suit”,who can never outlive the embarrassment of his inability to remember federal agencies he wished to eliminate, during debates in the Presidential Election campaign of 2012!

With such choices, it demonstrates just how clueless and bankrupt the conservative movement has become, as it reaches a nadir in its evolution!

 

Republican Party, The Party Of Conservatives Abraham Lincoln And Ronald Reagan: Really, Lincoln A Conservative?

As the Republican Party is imploding, we are hearing Florida Senator Marco Rubio and others talk about how Donald Trump is not a conservative, like Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, and that Trump cannot be allowed to inherit their conservatism.

Really?  Abraham Lincoln  a conservative?  Give us all a break!

Lincoln was NOT a conservative, as he challenged the Establishment of his time in so many ways, including opposing any expansion of slavery!

Lincoln waged war on the South, to prevent their successful secession from the Union, and that is NOT conservatism!

Lincoln moved to promote freedom of the slaves, via the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment, and that is NOT conservatism!

Lincoln promoted a major national government commitment to a transcontinental railroad, and that is NOT conservatism!

Lincoln promoted creation of a national banking system; a national currency; the first federal income tax; the first land grant colleges; the Department of Agriculture added to the Presidential cabinet; the Homestead Act; and set up the first military draft; and all of this list is NOT conservatism!

Lincoln was a Liberal, a Progressive, who believed in the use of Presidential power and authority!

Lincoln became the inspiration for another Republican President, Theodore Roosevelt, who is condemned by conservatives, because he believed, as Lincoln did, in in expansion of federal authority, and assertion of Presidential authority and Social Justice, a la Abraham Lincoln!

That is why it is two Liberals, two Progressives, Lincoln and TR, on Mount Rushmore, because they were NOT conservatives!

 

Most Significant Election Since 1968: Presidency, Senate, And Supreme Court Are In Play!

It is becoming very clear that the Presidential Election of 2016 will become the most significant election since 1968, when we saw the beginning of the Republican resurgence under Richard Nixon, due to the splintering of the Democratic Party under Lyndon B. Johnson, due to the turmoil around the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement.

The Democratic New Deal coalition had lasted 36 years, with only Dwight D. Eisenhower, really a non politician who ran on the Republican line after being briefly considered by Democrats in 1948, breaking the Democratic dominance, which also included Democratic dominance of the Congress, except in 1947-1948 and 1953-1954.

Since 1968, the Republicans controlled the White House for all but for the four Jimmy Carter years up to 1992, and then won a contested election in the Supreme Court, giving the Presidency and the Republican Party control in the early 2000s under George W. Bush.  And the Congress was Republican, except briefly from 1994-2006, and again after 2010 in the House of Representatives and 2014 in the US Senate, after the Senate had been Republican in the first six Reagan years of the 1980s.  And the Court appointments after 1968 have been 13 under Republicans and only 4 under Democrats, but with the death of Antonin Scalia, the possibility of a permanent (for a generation) Democratic and liberal majority is within reach.

Now, after a long period of Republican control of the Supreme Court, it will come to an end if the Democrats can win the Presidency again, and if they can regain control of the US Senate, so this is easily the most transformative election in a half century!

It would transform America IF the Democrats can gain the upper hand in the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the Presidency, and the hope is that the House of Representatives might be different after reapportionment after 2020. with the goal now to create a smaller GOP margin in the lower House in the interim.

One period of Democratic dominance was replaced by a period of Republican dominance, and with the GOP splintering around Donald Trump, we might be seeing a return to the concept of the New Deal-Great Society and a new Progressive Era.

It all depends on voter turnout and commitment, and for anyone to be lackadaisical and not vote, is inexcusable in the present circumstances!

Xenophobia, Misogyny, Racism, Nativism, Homophobia Must Be Fought In Favor Of Inclusion, Tolerance, And Diversity!

What has made America a great nation is the inclusion of all kinds of ethnic, national, and religious groups in American life, the promotion of diversity and tolerance!

But we also have always had an ugly strain of xenophobia, misognyn, racism. nativism, and homophobia which has permeated America!

Donald Trump is bringing out the worst elements in America, and he has stained the Presidential campaign with his promotion of fear and demagoguery!

The man is NOT a conservative; he is NOT a Republican; he is NOT a liberal; he is NOT a Democrat—he is truly a “Trumpite”, who has hijacked the Republican Party and the conservative movement and is, effectively, destroying both the party and the movement, as the situation, which is presently existing, insures a complete disruption of the political ideologies and political parties that have been part of the tradition of American history.

Donald Trump is a ‘loose cannon”, a demagogue who is arousing the worst elements of American life, and even without winning, he is undermining the possibility of dealing with the major issues this nation faces!

Trump knows nothing of foreign or military policy!  Trump knows nothing about everyday life for most Americans! Trump has no developed ideas to deal with terrorism, the economy, or climate change!  Trump is a “Know Nothing” in the worst way one can describe that term!

Donald Trump is a reckless and uncouth “wild card” who will help to transform American politics in a negative fashion, undermining the long term future of America!  Bigotry, bluster, bullying, and insulting undermines the whole concept of being the leader of the “free world”, and is unacceptable as a new trend in American politics and history!

The Top Ten Transformational Presidents

The issue of “transformational” Presidents has revived lately, as it is clear that we are living through a “transformational” Presidency of Barack Obama, with still a year and a half to go in his tenure in the Oval Office.

With all of the controversy that surrounds Barack Obama, there is no doubt now that Obama has been a transformational President in so many ways.

So the question arises, who among our Presidents has been “transformational”? And in what order would Presidents on this list be ranked?

It seems clear that the top of the list would have to be George Washington, for having established standards and traditions that would be long lasting; and Abraham Lincoln, for keeping the Union together during the Civil War, and ending slavery.

Following Washington and Lincoln would be Franklin D. Roosevelt, who took America through the Great Depression and the Second World War, and changed the relationship of the federal government with the population of the nation, promoting a safety net that would help those most needy. He also created a large federal government that would never become smaller again, due to the Great Depression and the Second World War, and then the Cold War.

Once we go beyond Washington, Lincoln, and FDR, ranking gets much more difficult, but this author thinks the rest of the top ten would be as follows from number four to number ten:

Theodore Roosevelt, who would revive the Presidential office from slumber and use the “bully pulpit” to accomplish reform and federal government regulation of the economy, and started America’s role in world affairs.

Lyndon B. Johnson, who would promote the passage of massive reforms, including civil rights laws, Medicare, and a War on Poverty.

Woodrow Wilson, who would promote major reforms domestically and involvement in world affairs, taking America out of isolationism as a policy during the First World War.

Ronald Reagan, who changed the direction of the nation to Conservatism after a half century of Liberalism, and negotiated arms agreements with the Soviet Union, and helped to bring down the rival super power.

Barack Obama, who brought about health care coverage for most Americans; avoided a massive war; promoted social change in many areas; presided over a major revival of the economy only matched by FDR; and became a major environmental supporter.

Harry Truman, who responded to the Cold War with the Soviet Union in an effective way and determined the direction of foreign policy for a half century, and institutionalized the New Deal of FDR.

James K. Polk, who accomplished the great expansion of American territory by treaty with Great Britain and war with Mexico, creating the continental United States.

Notice that Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton do NOT make this list!

Commentary on this analysis is welcomed!