Lyndon B. Johnson

In Defense Of Joe Biden: Some Extremist Progressives Are Trying To Neutralize Him For No Good Reason Other Than His Electability

Former Vice President Joe Biden is not a perfect person, by any means.

Neither is any other potential Democratic Presidential nominee for 2020.

But Joe Biden is NOT a sexual harasser or a sexual assaulter, and to compare him to our President, or a multitude of other public men who ARE such, is outrageous!

Joe Biden is a decent, honorable, genuine, sincere public servant, who has devoted his entire life to public service, and has had more years and variety of experiences of any modern public figure, more than Lyndon B. Johnson or Henry Clay or Daniel Webster.

Biden has made mistakes in his judgment on legislation, and has, at times, been embarrassing in his public utterances, but he is not mean spirited, not desirous of dividing people, not overly materialistic as most politicians are.

In the mind of this blogger and scholar, he is the man in public life I have most admired for his life story and commitments to the public good, since the death of Hubert H. Humphrey forty one years ago.

He will go down in history as a great United States Senator, a great Vice President, and as a great human being.

And yet, there are those extremists on the left of the Democratic Party who are trying to destroy his reputation, and his potential to be the Democratic nominee for President, even though he is one of the most likely potential nominees who can retire Donald Trump, the extreme opposite of what Biden is and represents.

This should not be allowed to happen, and instead, let the voters decide the future of Joe Biden, not preposterous accusations that have no substance!

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 Decision Of Sherrod Brown Not To Run For President Opens Opportunity For Amy Klobuchar Of Minnesota To Be The “Midwest” Candidate

The decision of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown to forego an opportunity to run for President as a Midwesterner in a time when the Midwest is clearly the battleground in the Electoral College in 2020 is a open opportunity for Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar to be the “Midwest” candidate.

Klobuchar is the only Midwesterner likely to run, although Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, a fellow moderate, has hinted at running, but being a United States Senator is an edge over being a House member.

The main point against Klobuchar is the report that she is a nasty, unpleasant person to work for, but even if that is true, the record shows many others also have that reputation, including Presidents ranging from Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, to Donald Trump in the last half century.

Also, it is said she is too ‘moderate” in that she does not believe that everything promoted and promised by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and others is possible in the next term, and that she will not promise what she sees as campaign propaganda, leading to disillusionment when it is not possible to accomplish these massive pledges.

This seems perfectly reasonable to this author and blogger, and Klobuchar has a solid record of accomplishment, and of “crossing the aisle” to gain bipartisan support on legislation. She is in the DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor Party) tradition in Minnesota, the heir of Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Walter Mondale, Paul Wellstone, and even Al Franken (unfairly forced out of the Senate) by bullying over unproved charges of sexual harassment promoted aggressively by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, for whom this author and blogger lost all respect.

Klobuchar will be 60 in 2020, close to the ideal average age of most Presidents taking office, and she would bring to the Presidency a sensible commitment to social justice, avoiding extreme statements that would only assist Donald Trump and Mike Pence in their reelection campaign.

She would also bring a reasonable woman into the Presidency, more cautious and sensible in her rhetoric than the alternative female candidates.

And if she chose Julian Castro of Texas, we would have a Democratic ticket of a woman and a Latino, overcoming two barriers at once, and leaving Castro, who would be age 46 in 2020, open to a future run for President after two terms of President Klobuchar, and be the precise average age of Presidents, mid 50s, in 2028.

Trump: “Socialism Is Corruption, Exploitation, Decay”. And What Is Unregulated Capitalism And A Trump Presidency?

Donald Trump is being a demagogue when he said recently that the Democratic Party opposition is promoting socialism, which he defines as “corruption, exploitation, and decay”.

The question is what is unregulated capitalism in the Trump Presidency, if it is not “corruption, exploitation, and decay”? Trump has no desire to regulate the worst evils and sins of capitalism.

If Trump is left to his motivations, he wishes to enrich only himself and the top one percent billionaires, and to hell with the quality of life of the rest of the nation.

If Trump were to have free reign, we would have the wiping out of the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, the accomplishments of Barack Obama, and the environmental accomplishments of Presidents since Theodore Roosevelt.

If Trump could do just what he wanted, the alliances with Western Europe and Asia would be destroyed, in favor of allegiance to authoritarian dictators such Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Mohammed bin Salman.

If what FDR, LBJ, Obama, TR and so many others have done to make life better in the nation and in the world is to be considered “socialism”, then ok, we are a “socialist” nation, and need to keep on that track, as that brings out the best of American ingenuity and compassion and basic moral and ethical values.

The “Achilles Heel” Of Ten Presidents: What Harms Their Historical Reputation

When one studies the Presidency, it always comes down to one issue that can undermine their historical reputation.

So for John Adams, for example, it is the passage and enforcement of the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

For James Madison, it is the burning of the White House and Capitol Hill in 1814 by the British during the War of 1812.

For Andrew Jackson, it is the forced removal of five Indian tribes to Oklahoma in the 1830s, the so called “Trail of Tears”.

For Franklin Pierce, it is the signing of the Kansas Nebraska Act in 1854, bringing the nation closer to the Civil War of the future.

For Woodrow Wilson, it is the violation of civil liberties during the First World War, and immediately after, during the Red Scare of 1919-1920.

For Franklin D. Roosevelt, it is the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

For Lyndon B. Johnson, it is the escalation of the Vietnam War in the mid 1960s.

For Richard Nixon, it is the engagement in the Watergate Scandal in the early 1970s.

For George W. Bush, it is the provoking of the Iraq War in 2003 and after.

And for Donald Trump, it is the collusion with the Russian government Vladimir Putin, which is going to bring down his Presidency.

Latest Presidential Ranking Survey For Presidents Day Changes Ratings Of Several Presidents Upward And Downward

The game of Presidential rankings is one always changing, and the newest survey of scholars, including this author as a participant, does not disappoint in that regard.

The Siena College survey, now done six times since 1982, once for each new President being considered in the rankings, has some surprises.

157 experts, questioned by the Siena College Research Institute, raised two of the Founding Father generation to the top ten, with James Madison number 7 and James Monroe, his successor at number 8. In so doing, two modern Presidents were dropped out of the top ten, with Ronald Reagan at number 13 and Lyndon B. Johnson at number 16.

A rare occurrence was that Abraham Lincoln was number 3, when usually he is on top, although in earlier Siena College surveys, Franklin D. Roosevelt had been number one, now number two, with George Washington moving up to number one.

Barack Obama, number 8 in the American Political Science Association survey in 2018, and number 12 in the C Span 2017 survey, ended up number 17 in the Siena College survey, so below such Presidents as Woodrow Wilson, James K. Polk, John Adams, and Bill Clinton.

And Donald Trump, who was dead last in the APSA poll, was number 42, above James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson, with Johnson ending up below Buchanan, the opposite of both the C Span and APSA surveys.

Of course, the game of Presidential ranking is a never ending and highly debatable one, and the way that Presidents are ranked is purely in the eyes and expertise of the beholder.

Should a great man, such as Madison or Monroe, but not as accomplished as more modern Presidents, such as Reagan or LBJ, be higher in the ratings?

That is left up to how people perceive Presidents, and whether they include the whole life, or just the actual years of the Presidency, in their judgments.

Losing Presidential Candidates Who Should Have Been President: Henry Clay, Charles Evans Hughes, Hubert Humphrey

When one looks back in American history at losing Presidential candidates who should have been President in their times, three names stand out:

Henry Clay of Kentucky, 1824, 1832, 1844

Charles Evans Hughes of New York, 1916

Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, 1968

All three of these Presidential candidates were exceptional public servants.

Henry Clay was the most important legislator of the first half of the 19th century, known as the Great Compromiser, for his promotion of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the Compromise Tariff of 1833, and the Compromise of 1850. He was the youngest Speaker of the House of Representatives, Secretary of State, and also served a number of terms in the US Senate. He stood for a stronger national government, in the Alexander Hamilton model, and had a great impact on many others including Abraham Lincoln, who became a Whig Party member due to the influence of Clay on him.

Charles Evans Hughes was the progressive Republican Governor of New York, in the Robert LaFollette-Wisconsin model in the early 20th century, served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, resigned to run for President against Woodrow Wilson in the closest electoral vote election since 1876, and third closest electoral vote election of all time, and then went on to be Secretary of State. Finally, he became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the 1930s, the New Deal era.

Hubert Humphrey was the Democratic Senator from Minnesota, a leading liberal figure, who had been Mayor of Minneapolis before going to the Senate. He was seen as a premier liberal in Congress, responsible for many of the ideas that became the Great Society. He was Vice President under Lyndon B. Johnson, unhappy in that position and forced to support the Vietnam War in speeches, which undermined his Presidential campaign in 1968 against Richard Nixon. He came back to the Senate after his Presidential defeat, and sadly died at the young age of 66 in 1978.

If these three losing Presidential candidates had won, the history of the United States would have been vastly different.

Losing Vice Presidential Candidates Who Should Have Been President: Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. (1960) And Edmund Muskie (1968)

A category of political leaders very easily forgotten are Vice Presidential candidates on a losing Presidential ticket.

Many of them are seen in history as disastrous for one reason or another, including William E. Miller, who ran with Barry Goldwater in 1964; Geraldine Ferraro, who was the running mate of Walter Mondale in 1984; John Edwards, who was John Kerry’s Vice Presidential nominee in 2004; and Sarah Palin, who was John McCain’s running mate in 2008.

On the other hand, we can find at least two Vice Presidential running mates who were true giant figures in American political history.

One was Richard Nixon’s Vice Presidential choice in 1960, former Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr of Massachusetts, who lost his seat to John F. Kennedy in 1952, but was United Nations Ambassador under President Dwight D. Eisenhower; and later Ambassador to South Vietnam under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson; and also sought the Republican Presidential nomination in 1964. Lodge was a true star figure, the only one of the four candidates in 1960 not to become President, and there are scholars who think he might have been a better President, than Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. He was certainly a solid figure in American foreign policy, and had 16 years service in the US Senate.

The other Vice Presidential running mate who was a star figure was Maine Senator Edmund Muskie, who was Hubert Humphrey’s choice in 1968. Muskie ran a dignified campaign that year, and later sought the Presidency in 1972, but derailed by the “Dirty Tricks” of the Richard Nixon reelection campaign, and lost the nomination to Senator George McGovern, seen as an easier candidate to defeat, which indeed he turned out to be. But Muskie served 21 years in the Senate, and then was Secretary of State under President Jimmy Carter in 1980.

Both men would have been exceptional choices for the Oval Office, but never had the opportunity, but their legacy needs to be honored and remembered.

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!

95th Anniversary Of Woodrow Wilson’s Death: The Decline In Historical Reputation, Although Still In Top Quarter Of All Presidents

On February 3, 1924, Woodrow Wilson, who had been in retirement only for nearly three years, died in his home, the Woodrow Wilson House, in Washington DC, at the age of 67.

Wilson had never fully recovered from the massive stroke he suffered on October 2, 1919, and he was unable to gain support of the US Senate for the Versailles Treaty and American membership in the League of Nation that he had fought for when he attended the Peace Treaty negotiations in France, the first President to travel overseas as America’s diplomat.

Wilson had accomplished much domestic legislation that was memorable, including the Federal Reserve Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, and the first federal labor laws.

But his record on racial segregation was horrendous, and he opposed the woman suffrage movement for a long time. He also presided over massive attacks on civil liberties during the First World War, totally intolerant of dissent.

And his mission to the Versailles Peace Conference ended in failure, as America did not join the League of Nations, and ratified its own peace treaty with Germany and the other nations on the losing side of the war.

Wilson’s reputation for his accomplishments kept him in the top ten of all Presidents for many decades, but lately he has come under fire, and his spot in the Presidential polls of scholars has declined. He is now out of the top ten at number 11 in the C Span Presidential Poll of historians conducted in 2017, after having earlier been number 6 in 2000, and number 9 in 2009. The American Political Science poll of Political Science professors had pegged Wilson at number 10 in 2014, and in 2018, he slipped to number 11, the same as the most recent C Span poll.

The troubling part is that Wilson fell behind Ronald Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson in the recent polling, and is only 15 points ahead in the C Span 2017 poll over number 12, Barack Obama, just as he left the Presidency.

So do not be surprised that Wilson will likely slip to number 12 in the next polling, with Obama surging ahead of him, as Obama looks ever better in comparison to Donald Trump, who ended up at the bottom of the APSA 2018 poll as number 44 out of 44.