Lyndon B. Johnson

The What Ifs Of Recent American History

History short term and long term are affected by events that no one can predict.

There are so many “What Ifs” just in the past generation since 2000!

For example, if Al Gore had won the 2000 Presidential Election, it is debatable whether the September 11 attacks would have succeeded, and whether America would have gone to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, both engagements not fully ended, and causing the loss together of more than 7,000 American soldiers.

If the Democrats had been able to keep control of both houses of Congress in the last six years of the Barack Obama Presidency, so much more could have been accomplished in legislation, instead of by executive orders by President Barack Obama, and Obama might have been able to be as significant as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson, who had massive margins in both houses of Congress throughout their time in office.

If Joe Biden had not lost his son, Beau Biden, in 2015, it is thought possible that he might have defeated Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016, and might have defeated Donald Trump, saving America from the literal nightmare of the Trump Presidency in so many ways.

Finally, despite all of the horrors of the Trump Presidency, if it had not been for the COVID 19 Pandemic and the incompetent and uncaring handling of that crisis, it is possible to believe that Trump might have won reelection, and that would make the one term nightmare so many times worse!

Major Opportunity For Advancement Of Biden Initiatives Through “Reconciliation”!

The US Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that “Reconciliation”, the idea that the Senate can pass legislation by a 51 vote margin, is allowable, already for the COVID 19 legislation that was passed in March, but also now other Joe Biden initiatives, including the infrastructure legislation, and hopefully, other important Biden administration initiatives.

This is a true blessing, and might mean that the idea of ending the filibuster might not need to occur on much important legislation.

This makes it possible for Joe Biden to be more “liberal” and “progressive” a President than any Democrat since Lyndon B. Johnson six decades ago.

For all the good that Democratic Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama did while in office, Joe Biden MIGHT indeed surpass them in accomplishments!

The future looks very exciting, but there is a long way to go, but the hope is there!

The Senate Filibuster Designed For Obstruction, And Historic Denial Of Basic Civil Rights

The US Senate is the greatest deliberative legislative body in the world, but also condemned in history for promoting denial of civil rights for people of color, particularly, but not only for African Americans.

The filibuster was used to prevent federal anti lynching laws in the years after Reconstruction and through to the 1950s by Southern Democrats, and then it was used to prevent basic civil rights laws, until Lyndon B. Johnson showed great courage, and used various tactics to overcome the denial of civil rights, and accomplish the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Now, the Republicans have used it in the past decade to stop progress under President Barack Obama, and now are threatening the same under Joe Biden, and specifically in areas including voting rights, and inhumane treatment of various minorities, including people of color, women, gays and lesbians, disabled people, and immigrants from Latin America, Asia and Africa.

They claim the mantle of “minority rights”, but only for their narrowminded effort to promote white supremacy, and refuse to accept the reality of a multi ethnic and multi racial and diverse future America in the next 25 years.

The Senate has been an obstructionist legislative body, where Senators who represent far less than a majority of the population are able to prevent what a clear majority of the population wishes to see in the promotion of human rights and work against racism, nativism, misogyny, homophobia, antisemitism, and Islamophobia!

So a change, requiring a “spoken” filibuster, which used to be the norm, needs to be revived, and that will bring about the ability to overcome the filibuster in a short period, and allow for progress on so many important issues the Senate needs to address to advance American democracy!

Foreign Policy Rears Its Ugly Head For Joe Biden

Every President enters office wishing to deal with domestic policy and change.

But invariably, foreign policy rears its ugly head much too often!

Woodrow Wilson came to office in 1913, not expecting the First World War I to break out in 1914, and bring us into that war in 1917.

Franklin D. Roosevelt came to office in 1933, wishing to deal with the Great Depression, but also had to deal with the growing Fascist threat of Japan, Nazi Germany, and Fascist Italy, and eventually, entrance into World War II!

Harry Truman came to office in 1945 to end World War II, but had to deal with the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and send troops to Korea.

John F. Kennedy came to office in 1961, and had to deal with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Lyndon B. Johnson came to office in 1963, wanting to promote the Great Society, but also had to deal with the Vietnam War.

Every other President in modern times has had to face similar issues, and now, Joe Biden must deal with China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran as major headaches, as he tries to resolve the COVID 19 Pandemic Crisis!

Voting Rights Act 1965, And Now The Same Battle Again, This Time Caused By Republicans, NOT Southern Democrats!

On this day, 56 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson spoke before Congress, and called for a Voting Rights Act to insure all Americans could vote.

This marked the South leaving the Democratic Party, and becoming Republicans, and now Republicans are working to deny African Americans and Latinos the right to vote all over again.

This is because the Supreme Court in 2013 allowed much of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to be repealed by the conservative Court, in Shelby County V. Holder, and opened up massive efforts to limit voting.

The new bills HR 1 and HR 4, now introduced in Congress, are trying to prevent state legislatures from bringing back the old days of voter suppression.

The Republican Party, rather than broaden their base, are trying to insure that only white voters, the Trump voters, will be able to control government, but it is a losing strategy long run, as nothing will prevent the white majority from declining to less than 50 percent of all Americans in the next quarter century.

So the Republican Party is in its death knell, unless and until they realize the future, and adapt to it soon!

The American Rescue Plan Act Of 2021 Hearkening Back To Strong Actions Of FDR And The New Deal!

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is seen by many observers as hearkening back to the strong actions of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal nine decades ago.

For sure, the present COVID 19 Pandemic and the economic collapse that has occurred due to this crisis, has created the most dangerous and worrisome moment in American government since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Before this, the Great Recession of 2008-2009 was the worst economic moment, with Barack Obama accomplishing the greatest economic revival over his eight years, that we have seen in American history.

But now, his Vice President, Joe Biden, is moving ahead to promote structural changes in the American economy and work to promote a major attack on poverty, unseen since the Great Society War On Poverty of Lyndon B. Johnson, six decades ago!

Joe Biden Perceived By Many Observers As Potentially Transformational, As Was FDR And LBJ

It may be hype, but many political observers, impressed with President Joe Biden’s fast start in his first 50 days, are speculating that the 46th President could be a transformational President, in the mold of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson.

One such viewpoint is expressed by NY Times Columnist David Brooks, who is a conservative, but sees elements in Joe Biden to unite the nation, as has occurred with the just signed COVID 19 $1.9 Trillion legislation today, which is seen as a law that will have a great effect on taking many people, including children, out of poverty, along with essential aid to small businesses, state and local governments, and the rapid availability, now said to be on May 1, of COVID 19 vaccine for all adults.

Joe Biden has surprised many in his ability to draw Republican registered voters to be totally supportive of assistance this legislation provides, even as Republicans in Congress refused to support the legislation, but are already claiming credit for some of the programs and aid being distributed rapidly, starting this weekend.

There certainly is great optimism, on this anniversary of the declaration of the COVID 19 Pandemic a year ago today, after the horrible loss of 525,000 Americans, the greatest loss in one year in American history!

Time To Modify The Senate Filibuster So That Direct Action On Many Issues Can Be Taken!

The filibuster is a anti democratic tactic used for many decades to prevent progress.

For a long time, the requirement was 67 Senators, two thirds of the Senate, to overcome a filibuster.

Lyndon Johnson was famous for fighting the filibuster, and overcoming the barrier in 1964 to pass the landmark Civil Rights Act of that year.

In 1975, the barrier of the filibuster was lowered to 60 Senators to end debate, and allow for a vote on legislation and appointments.

With the Republican Party refusing to cooperate at all on the COVID 19 Pandemic legislation, after almost all House and Senate members of both parties did so twice in 2020, it is time to move, at least, to lower the threshold from 60 to 55 Senators, in order to be able to make progress.

Joe Biden Becomes Third President (After Ulysses S. Grant And Lyndon B. Johnson) To Emphasize Racial Equity In First Months Of His Presidency

President Joe Biden has made racial equity a landmark moment of his Presidency from the beginning, and already is perceived as being the third President to make civil rights a major goal immediately upon taking the oath.

The first President to do this was Ulysses S. Grant in 1869, promoting the concept of the 15th Amendment, granting the right to vote to African American men, and being added to the Constitution in 1870.

Also, Grant promoted better treatment of Native Americans in his Inaugural week, and is seen as the most tolerant and open minded on that issue of any President in the post Civil War years.

The second President to make civil rights a key issue immediately was Lyndon B. Johnson upon becoming President after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963. Johnson made the push for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which had been floundering in Congress after it was introduced by Kennedy in the summer of 1963. And Johnson went on to promote also the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as the 15th Amendment had been denied for many decades in the Southern states, as Jim Crow segregation reigned.

And now, Joe Biden is pushing and promoting action, as a result of the well known discrimination in criminal justice; and in dealing with the endemic poverty in minority communities; the lack of adequate health care including in the COVID 19 Pandemic; problems of education and work opportunities and housing that persist; the need to clean the environment where often there is massive pollution in areas ignored before now; and also the difficulties faced by women, transgender citizens, the gay community, and the disabled. The purpose is to get rid of systemic discrimination against all the above groups.

One can hope that major progress on these areas of policy can be accomplished!

An Inauguration Day Of Relief, Optimism, And Accomplishment, And Joe Biden’s “Heroes”

Inauguration Day 2021 was a day of a sense of relief that Donald Trump is gone, and a sense of optimism reigns and it is clear Joe Biden intends to be extremely activist on the level of a Lyndon B. Johnson or a Franklin D. Roosevelt!

This is perfectly understandable, as we face a series of crises unmatched since FDR, but in some ways as dangerous as Abraham Lincoln faced with the seditionists that started the Civil War 160 years ago.

Now we have a new group of seditionists, with the reality that party politics has been switched dramatically, as in the Civil War, the Republican Party was for the Union and African American freedom, while now the Republican Party is acting like the Confederate Democrats of the Civil War, displaying their treason and racism!

Meanwhile, President Biden has a group of “heroes” in the Oval Office to inspire him, and it says legions about the 46th President.

There are portraits of Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

Also, there are busts of Martin Luther King, Jr, Robert F. Kennedy, Cesar Chavez, Daniel Webster, Rosa Parks, and Eleanor Roosevelt.