Lyndon B. Johnson

First Year In Oval Office Under Most Presidencies Problematical, And Joe Biden Better Than Many!

One could argue that Joe Biden has accomplished a great deal in the first year, while often having disappointments and shortcomings.

Two major pieces of legislation were accomplished (The American Rescue Plan, and the Physical Infrastructure legislation), and the only reason why the Build Back Better bill and voting rights have failed to be accomplished is the opposition of two Democrats–Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema–and the reality of an equally divided Senate for only the third time in American history!

While inflation has become a major problem, the stock market dramatically rose, more jobs were created in the first year of a Presidency than any other administration, and the unemployment rate has dropped to a very low rate.

There are still the issues of the COVID 19 Pandemic, and the disaster of Afghanistan withdrawal, but the first issue was unpredictable as the worst health crisis in a century, and the second would have been the same result had Donald Trump stayed on as President, since he had made a deal with the Taliban without Afghanistan government involvement, to leave in May 2021, NOT as occurred in August 2021!

So some disappointing developments in the first year of a Presidency are not unique to the 46th President!

When one looks back at other Presidencies, it is actually quite common that the first year of a Presidency is a learning curve, and does not reflect on whether such Presidents will be, in the long run, successful, and also have the possibility of successful reelection.

The following Presidents had very successful first years—Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, George H. W. Bush!

Three Presidents had what could be described as mixed records in the first year in office–Dwight D. Eisenhower, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

The following Presidencies in the 20th and 21st century were far from successes in their first year:

Harry Truman 1945
John F. Kennedy 1961
Richard Nixon 1969
Gerald Ford 1974-1975
Jimmy Carter 1977
Ronald Reagan 1981
Bill Clinton 1993
Donald Trump 2017

Among these eight Presidents, four—Truman, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton–won reelection.

So it is not time to say that Joe Biden will fail to succeed, as he already has in many respects, and it is not time to say he cannot win reelection fo a second term!

Sad 44th Anniversary Of The Passing Of Hubert Humphrey, My Original Political Hero!

On this day, January 13, 1978, 44 years ago, my original political hero, Senator, Vice President, and Presidential nominee Hubert H. Humphrey passed away from cancer at the young age of 66.

When I was young, Humphrey became my political hero, with his strong liberal championship of views on civil rights, and introducing many ideas that became part of Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society in the mid 1960s.

Not well utliized by Johnson, Humphrey became the nominee of the Democratic Party for the Presidency in 1968, a divided party that had elements rallying around Senator Robert F. Kennedy before his tragic assassination, and also those who backed fellow Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy.

In a three way Presidential race, Humphrey would fall short, losing to Richard Nixon, and with George Wallace being a strong third party candidate.

Humphrey, who had been Mayor of Minneapolis, and then a US Senator from 1949-1965, returned to the Senate in 1971, replacing the retiring Senator McCarthy, and competed unsuccessfully for the Presidential nomination in 1972, and remained a major figure until his untimely death in 1978.

This author and blogger literally wept when Humphrey died, as I was drawn to his humanity, empathy, decency, and compassion.

And once he passed away, I looked around the US Senate for a successor leader I could believe in, and found the young Delaware Senator Joe Biden, still in his first term at age 35.

I feel fortunate that although there were many barriers to Joe Biden’s advancement to the Presidency, that after serving in the Senate for 36 years, and as Vice President under Barack Obama for eight years, that four years later, on his third try for the Oval Office, Biden finally won, and saved the nation from the menace of Donald Trump.

Neither Humphrey nor Biden were or are perfect, no such situation exists, but the two men shared characteristics that caused me to fall in love with them as political leaders.

I am sure that Humphrey would be very proud of Joe Biden, and the two men stand out as uncommonly models of leadership!

Birthday Of Joe Biden And Robert F. Kennedy November 20, And The Issue Of Age!

Yesterday, November 20, was the 79th Birthday of President Joe Biden, our oldest President in office.

It was also the birthday of Robert F. Kennedy, who Biden perceives as a hero, with Biden having a bust of RFK always in every photo on his left side when Biden is at his desk in the Oval Office.

Biden is working so hard to accomplish the greatest social change legislation in the past 55 years since Lyndon B. Johnson accomplished the massive reforms of the Great Society in the mid 1960s, something RFK wished to build on if he had lived and become President in the Presidential Election of 1968.

The issue of age constantly is brought up as Joe Biden will be 82 years old weeks after the Presidential Election of 2024.

Biden certainly has aged since he was Vice President under Barack Obama, but he is still capable and alert, although his annual physical shows his gait has slowed a bit.

But when one compares Biden to Donald Trump or Ronald Reagan at the end of their terms, and even Trump now a year later, Biden is far more mentally capable than either of them.

And the idea that Donald Trump at age 78 and a half at the time of inauguration three years hence would magically be much more mentally and physically capable than Joe Biden, when already it is clear that Trump is a danger with his reckless rhetoric, and promotion of hate, sedition and treason, makes one have to wonder about the mental stability of Donald Trump followers, who see him as a God like figure!

Joe Biden might decide one term is enough, considering his age, and that would be perfectly understandable, as only one third of our Presidents have served two terms.

Joe Biden is a transformative figure in the Presidency, who is having an historical impact, and this is just his first year in office!

A new generation can follow him and continue the good works, and common decency, that would make Robert F. Kennedy proud, if he was alive, on his 96th birthday!

A Year After Joe Biden Election, Major Economic Advancements In Midst Of COVID 19 Pandemic!

A year since Joe Biden was elected President, the nation has seen major economic advancements in the midst of the COVID 19 Pandemic.

We have seen 5.6 million jobs created, the greatest of any President in nine months in office.

We have seen 531,000 jobs created in October alone.

We have a 4.6 percent unemployment rate, similar to what Barack Obama left the nation when he finished his Presidency in January 2017.

The Stock Market is at an all time high as I write this!

We have seen major Pandemic relief legislation, and now a massive Physical Infrastructure bill ready to be signed by Joe Biden.

The Social Infrastructure legislation is making progress, at a lower rate than originally planned, but still in the range of $1.75 trillion.

We are seeing greater progress than was possible by Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and even Barack Obama in their first year.

Joe Biden is on the way to being the most successful domestic President since Lyndon B. Johnson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

This is the time to promote and publicize the great advancements, and make the case for the Democrats to have expanded majorities in both houses of Congress in 2022 and beyond.

Desire Vs Reality: Democrats At This Point Must Settle For Half Social Infrastructure Ambitions!

Sadly, it is now clear that Joe Biden and progressive Democrats have no choice to but accept a Social Infrastructure bill worth about half of the originally planned $3.5 trillion to help make life better for everyday Americans.

This author and scholar is furious about the impact of West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, as well as some moderate Democrats in the House of Representatives.

But this is the reality when we have an evenly divided US Senate and a House of Representatives with a narrow margin of six votes.

But consider that IF Georgia had not elected two Democratic Senators in January—Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff–the first elected African American and first Jewish senators in Georgia history—the Republicans would be running the Senate under Mitch McConnell.

So the goal now is to accomplish what can be done, and try to work in the first half of 2022 for more, or make it the key campaign issue for the Congressional elections coming up next November.

Right now, celebrating what can be done, which advances the American nation, is still a major positive for Democrats, and it still will be the major domestic initiative, along with the financial assistance to deal with the COVID 19 Pandemic, that we have seen since Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society nearly sixty years ago.

So let us be happy for what can be done, and work to accomplish more Democratic Senators in the midterms, as there are more Republican seats up for election, and five Republicans are leaving, and more extreme nominees are likely, which, hopefully, will cause a major Democratic edge, despite historical trends, as this is a crisis situation for American democracy!

Theodore Roosevelt 163rd Anniversary Of His Birth At Time Of Destruction Of His Reform Efforts

Theodore Roosevelt, the second greatest Republican President (after Abraham Lincoln), born on this day in 1858, represented progressive reform, the use of the federal government to promote and monitor political and economic reform.

He saw the danger of unbridled capitalism, and the need to recognize labor rights.

He saw the need for political reforms, bringing government closer to its citizens, through the utilization of direct primaries, initiatives, referendums, the recall method, women’s suffrage, and proposals to modify the powers of the Supreme Court and the life term of its membership.

He wanted limits on outside groups spending on political campaigns, which he saw as undermining American democracy.

He was the heroic promoter of the environment, regarded as the greatest President on conservation of natural resources, and the promotion of the expansion of national parks and monuments.

He was the first President to suggest the need for a national health care program, and so much of his agenda on social and economic reform came about with the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, and now, Joe Biden wishes to extend what TR first promoted more than a century ago!

His 1912 Progressive (Bull Moose) Party had a platform that makes it seem more like 2012, and he still represents the Republican Party at its best since the time of Abraham Lincoln, and particularly as compared to now. The Republicans have become a Fascist authoritarian party that is undermining American democracy, and working to limit the right to vote despite the various constitutional amendments (15, 19, 23, 24, 26) to insure that right, along with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

TR was certainly imperfect, as he promoted white supremacy typical of his time, and was imperialistic in his treatment of Latin America, as well as his promotion of an expansion of the military, but it is clear he would repudiate the Republican Party of the 2020s.

And notice how the Republican Party glorifies Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, NOT Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt!

The Presidency And Native Americans

A recent article on History News Network has rated Presidents on “Integrity and Humanity in Dealing with Native American Nations”, a significant analysis of how the “original” Americans have been treated by American government.

It is not a positive picture overall, and we have had Presidents who were particularly horrid in their treatment of native Americans, and others who had a more open minded and considerate reaction to the plight of native Americans.

The list of Presidents who are seen as villains includes:

Thomas Jefferson
Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
Andrew Johnson
James Garfield
Theodore Roosevelt
Donald Trump

The list of Presidents who are seen as reformers includes:

John Quincy Adams
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Bill Clinton
Barack Obama

Overall, sadly, native Americans were treated with violence, disrespect and paternalism, with their lands stolen, and forced out of their ancestral lands!

Voting Rights Extension 2006: 98-0 In Senate! Voting Rights Extension 2021–Rejected By Republicans!

Today is the 10th Anniversary of the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington DC.

It is very clear what Martin Luther King Jr. would say if he was alive today–total anger at what the Republican Party, the party of Abraham Lincoln, has done–to work to destroy the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 under Lyndon B. Johnson, and reaffirmed as recently as 2006, under President George W. Bush, when the US Senate voted 98-0 to renew it, with full backing of the Republican President and his party unanimously.

But now, in the age of Donald Trump and a Republican Party morphing into the old segregationist Southern Democratic Party from Reconstruction times to the 1960s, we are stunned to see not one Republican Senator—not even Mitt Romney, nor Ben Sasse, nor Lisa Murkowski, nor Susan Collins—willing to vote to overcome the filibuster tactic. This vote was just to consider and discuss and debate a Voting Rights Act to restore the damage done by the US Supreme Court in 2013 in Shelby County V Holder, and by many Southern and Western states legislatures since then, to restrict the right to vote, the bedrock of a democracy!

The Republican Party has lost its credibility completely as a serious alternative conservative party, and now is just a bunch of power seeking, phony so called “religious’ people, who are out to promote white supremacy, nativism and misogyny! They are out to promote election subversion and voter suppression and deny the right to vote to millions of Americans!

The party will not recover long term if it does not abandon Donald Trump now, and there is no sign of that occurring!

Medicare Expansion Crucial Part Of Social Infrastructure Legislation, Needs To Be Promoted By Democrats!

The Democratic Party leadership needs to do a real promotion of Medicare expansion, which would encourage older people to vote Democratic in the 2022 Midterm Elections.

If left to Republicans, there would be the end of Medicare, passed under Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, and the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care), passed under Barack Obama in 2010.

It is time to lower the Medicare eligible age to 60, and to provide senior citizens with dental care, vision care, and hearing coverage!

There are aspects of the Social Infrastructure proposal that may not be possible to accomplish, but this portion of the expansion under consideration is essential, and would be politically a winner!

The Public Utterances Of Larry Elder, Potential California Governor, After Recall Election On September 14!

Larry Elder, the right wing talk show host, and an African American, seems likely to be the major threat to the tenure of California Governor Gavin Newsom in the upcoming Gubernatorial Recall election on Tuesday, September 14.

What is his record of beliefs and statements?

He is an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, regularly praising him on Twitter.

Elder has argued Trump is not responsible for the January 6, 2021 Insurrection.

In a 2000 book, he called for:

abolishing the Internal Revenue Service
creating a national sales tax
reduce government by 80 percent
end welfare and entitlements
abolish the minimum wage
eliminate corporate taxes

Also, he has condemned Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty”; thinks the ideal minimum wage is ZERO; has condemned labor unions, and said many teachers are incompetent and should be fired; and prefers charter and private schools to public schools.

Elder also is anti abortion; anti gay; thinks California is “soft on crime”; and is a denier of climate change and the dangers of second hand tobacco smoking.

He is also against mandates on COVID 19 and masks; and sees no problem with mass rallies held by Donald Trump. Additionally, he has made highly controversial remarks on women, very misogynistic in nature.

So Elder would be a nightmare for California, and could gain the power to select the replacement for Dianne Feinstein, who might leave soon due to dementia, and that would change the political balance in the US Senate!