Michael Dukakis

The Negative Side Of The Presidency Of George H. W. Bush

As George H. W. Bush lies in state before his funeral on Wednesday and his burial on Thursday, praise and plaudits have been visited on the 41st President.

But as with all Presidents and all government leaders worldwide and historically, there is a negative side.

Among the shortcomings of the 41st President are the following in no particular order:

Bush ignored the AIDS Epidemic crisis, much like his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, allowing the Religious Right Wing to set the agenda on a hate campaign against gays and lesbians.

Bush switched his pro choice views on abortion by picking up the Reagan viewpoint on women, and sacrificing his beliefs, while his own wife Barbara quietly continued to support abortion rights.

Bush ran a nasty, dirty, and despicable campaign for President in 1988 against the Democratic nominee, Michael Dukakis, allowing falsehoods and distortions to be promoted, without any consideration of the damage his campaign manager Lee Atwater was engaged in.

Bush pursued a Mideast policy that led to long term disaster, and placing troops on a permanent basis in the Middle East led to September 11 and the Iraq War and Afghanistan War.

Bush as CIA head backed dictatorships in Latin America, particularly in Chile and Argentina.

Bush promoted a tough war on drugs, as Ronald Reagan had done, and it victimized people of color much more than whites, and caused prison terms that are now seen as a failed policy, that did not really get to the issue of how to treat those addicted to drugs.

Bush was involved in the Iran Contra Scandal under President Reagan, never fully explored, and ended up giving pardons to many who were part of that scandal, right before he left office in 1993.

Bush made a horrible appointment to the Supreme Court when he nominated Clarence Thomas in 1991, and the nation has been burdened with his influence for the past 27 years, including many potential future Supreme Court nominees who worked for Thomas, and are now being put on the Circuit Courts under President Donald Trump, setting up a future Court with even greater Thomas impact than just himself.

Bush also gave us the most ill qualified, incompetent Vice President in modern history, Dan Quayle, and when Bush had medical issues in office, it made the nation worry at the thought of a President Quayle.

These nine points mentioned above make an assessment of the ultimate historical significance of George H. W. Bush much more complicated than the fulsome praise now being promoted at the time of his passing.

New CNN Presidential Election Series: “Race For The White House”

CNN has begun a new six part series called “Race For The White House”, which will cover six Presidential elections over the next six weeks, each episode an hour in length, and narrated by actor Kevin Spacey.

On Sunday, the 1960 battle for the White House between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon was covered.

Future episodes in some order not known yet include chronologically:

1828–Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams

1860–Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas

1948–Harry Truman and Thomas E. Dewey

1988–George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis

1992–Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush

It is not clear why these particular elections were chosen, as there are many others, many more interesting and significant, that were not selected, including:

1896–William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan

1912—Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft

1928–Herbert Hoover and Alfred E. Smith

1932–Franklin D. Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover

1940–Franklin D. Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie

1968–Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, George C. Wallace

1980–Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, John Anderson

2000–George W. Bush and Al Gore

2008–Barack Obama and John McCain

This series is well worth watching, after having seen the first episode last night!

 

House Speaker Becomes A Race: Kevin McCarthy, Jason Chaffetz, Or Daniel Webster? YES, Daniel Webster (Not The Famous One)!

There is now developing a real race for who should be Speaker of the House, in the wake of the resignation of John Boehner.  It will make us miss Boehner, for all of the faults and shortcomings he possesses!

Present House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has flubbed badly in his comment on the House Benghazi Committee investigating the attack in Libya which led to the death of the ambassador and three others on September 11. 2011.  That committee has been in business longer than any special committee in the history of the United States, and is seen as a purely partisan venture. McCarthy made it clear that the committee was formed to weaken  Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton, and now has tried to backtrack that statement, infuriating Jason Chaffetz of Utah, head of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who has decided to challenge McCarthy for the Speakership.

McCarthy comes across as incompetent and a poor candidate to be two heartbeats away from the Presidency, and his inability to use good judgment on what to say publicly, plus his lack of experience (only nine years), lack of accomplishments, and his use of words such as “Hungria” for the nation “Hungary”. and making up a new word for Hillary Clinton (untrustable) instead of “untrustworthy”, raises intelligent people’s eyes.

But Chaffetz himself, while better spoken, has only seven years in the House, two fewer than McCarthy, and he was a former Democrat, who actually campaigned for Democrat Michael Dukakis for President in 1988, before meeting former President Ronald Reagan in 1990, seemingly transforming his  life.

To top it off, Florida Congressman Daniel Webster from central Florida, a distant relation of the famous Massachusetts Senator of the same name before the Civil War, but no match for his ancestor, is also in the race, and is seen as a Tea Party candidate for the Speakership.

This whole embarrassment of the battle between McCarthy, Chaffetz, and Webster makes clear that the nation is in trouble, having to look at any of these three men as being two heartbeats away from the Presidency, and it will make us wish John Boehner had not resigned.

And the job to make the House Republicans be united and responsible, with the Tea Party element of 40 or so members the balancing act, means tough times ahead for the GOP, and gives a glimmer of hope that the Democrats might, maybe, be able to squeak out a majority of seats in the 2016 elections, but considered highly unlikely!

Vast Age Differences Of Presidential Opponents In Modern American History

It has become a reality that in many Presidential elections, the age difference between the two competing Presidential contenders is vast.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was 20 years older than Thomas E. Dewey in the Presidential Election Of 1944.

Harry Truman was 18 years older than Thomas E. Dewey in the Presidential Election of 1948.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was 10 years older than Adlai Stevenson in the Presidential Elections of 1952 and 1956.

Richard Nixon was 9 and a half years older than George McGovern in the Presidential Election of 1972.

Gerald Ford was 11 years older than Jimmy Carter in the Presidential Election of 1976.

Ronald Reagan was 13 years older than Jimmy Carter in the Presidential Election of 1980.

Ronald Reagan was 17 years older than Walter Mondale in the Presidential Election of 1984.

George H. W. Bush was 8 years older than Michael Dukakis in the Presidential Election of 1988.

George H. W. Bush was 22 years older than Bill Clinton in the Presidential Election Of 1992.

Bob Dole was 23 years older than Bill Clinton in the Presidential Election Of 1996.

John McCain was 25 years older than Barack Obama in the Presidential Election of 2008.

Mitt Romney was 14 years older than Barack Obama in the Presidential Election of 2012.

Now in 2016, we are very likely to have a vast difference in age between the two major party nominees, assuming Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders or Jim Webb is the Democratic nominee. But 11 of the 13 elections mentioned, the Republican nominee was the much older candidate, but that is likely to be different this time.

If Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie or Scott Walker is the Republican nominee, the difference will be vast, as much as 24 or more years in some of these cases. All of these six were born later than Barack Obama, and a few others, including Rick Santorum. Mike Pence or Jon Huntsman, all born before Obama but still have a double digit age difference from the various Democrats mentioned above.

So far, eight times, the older nominee for President won, and five times, the younger nominee for President won. So the question is what will happen in 2016!

Two Experienced National Presidential Campaigners Who Could Challenge Hillary Clinton For Democratic Presidential Nomination: Al Gore And Jerry Brown!

The basic belief that goes around in political circles is that Hillary Clinton has the Democratic Presidential nomination for the asking, and has more experience and background than anyone who could possibly run against her in the primaries, with the major exception of Vice President Joe Biden!

But it is also noted that, actually, there are two very experienced Democrats who have run for President before, along with Hillary and Joe, and yet few are paying any attention to these two men!

I am talking about former Vice President Al Gore, who lost the Presidency in 2000 to George W. Bush, despite having won the national popular vote by about 540,000, but losing the contested election in Florida in the Supreme Court case of Bush V. Gore. Also, Gore sought the Presidency in 1988, before losing the nomination to Michael Dukakis.

I am also referring here to three time Democratic Presidential seeker, California Governor Jerry Brown, who sought the nomination in 1976 and again in 1980 against Jimmy Carter, and against Bill Clinton in 1992!

Both are tested, although both are from “long ago” in many people’s minds, since Gore has never tried for public office since 2000, and sixteen years is a very long time in politics. One could say that Hillary and Joe are also from “long ago”, but they have continued to hold public office consistently since the new century began, with Hillary only “retiring” in 2013 to write her memoir on her years as Secretary of State!

Jerry Brown goes back much further having been Governor of California at age 35, serving from 1975 to 1983; then later being Oakland Mayor and California Attorney General; and then returning to the Governorship 28 years after leaving it, and becoming the oldest Governor in the history of the state in 2011, and now running for a second term at age 76.

There have been rumors that Brown would love to run again, and dog the Clintons, as he did Jimmy Carter. It would be ironic if he was to challenge Hillary as he did her husband in 1992!

Of course, Brown would be nearly 79 were he to become President in 2017, and Al Gore would be nearly 69, just five months younger than Hillary Clinton, while Joe Biden would be 74 at the time of the inauguration!

One might say that having all these “old folks” running or considering the Presidency is disturbing, and add to that mix, two liberals who are rumored to run, If Hillary chooses not to run, or possibly even if she does—Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who would be 67 on Inauguration Day, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (technically a Socialist), who would be 75.

While we are at it, why not add Secretary of State John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic Presidential nominee, to the list, with him being 73 if elected to the Presidency in 2016!

These people, all seven of them, represent a lot of talent and experience and brilliance, but ranging from 67 to 79 is NOT a good trend, particularly with the strong likelihood that the Republican Party will nominate someone much younger, probably by a full generation, or close to it, in years!

March Of Second Year Of Presidential Term Not Good Time To Assume Presidential Nominees For Next Term, Proved By History!

As March 2014 ends, Hillary Clinton is the runaway favorite for the Democratic Presidential nomination, which is comforting to her, but going by history, no guarantee of her nomination in the summer of 2016.

Witness the following facts:

Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts was the front runner in polls for 1976, 1980, and 1984, in March 1974, March 1978, and March 1982.

Senator Gary Hart of Colorado was the front runner in polls for 1988, in March 1986.

Governor Mario Cuomo of New York was the front runner in polls for 1992, in March 1990.

Former Vice President Al Gore was the front runner in polls for 2004, in March 2002.

Senator Hillary Clinton of New York was the front runner in polls for 2008, in March 2006.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani was the front runner in polls for 2008, in March 2006.

Did anyone ever know of a President Ted Kennedy, a President Gary Hart, a President Mario Cuomo, a President Al Gore (other than the contested Election Of 2000), a President Hillary Clinton for the past five years, or a President Rudy Guiliani?

Who was seriously thinking of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama in 1974 or 1990 or 2006? And who was seriously thinking of Michael Dukakis in 1986 or John Kerry in 2002? The answer is that none of the top five in polling in all these different March second year of the term polls were these five listed in this paragraph, including the last three Democratic Presidents!

So the game of Presidential candidacy is far from resolved at this early point of the battle for the next Presidential nominations in both parties!

Age Vs Youth: Will The Republicans And Democrats Be Switching On Their Presidential Nominees In 2016?

When one analyzes the two major political parties in the past forty years, it has been a general reality that the Republican Party has run Presidential candidates who tend to be much older than the Democratic Party nominees for President.

Witness Richard Nixon, nine years older than George McGovern in 1972; Gerald Ford eleven years older than Jimmy Carter in 1976; Ronald Reagan thirteen years older than Jimmy Carter in 1980; Reagan seventeen years older than Walter Mondale in 1984; George H. W. Bush eight years older than Michael Dukakis in 1988; Bush twenty two years older than Bill Clinton in 1992; Bob Dole twenty three years older than Clinton in 1996; John McCain twenty five years older than Barack Obama in 2008; and Mitt Romney fourteen years older than Obama in 2012. Only in 2000 and 2004 did we see George W. Bush older than Al Gore by only two years and in 2004 actually younger than John Kerry by three years.

This phenomenon is maybe just a coincidence, but it has often been said that the Democrats go for youth and the Republicans for experience in their Presidential nominees.

Well, if that is the case, it is about to be switched dramatically in 2016 if one assumes that either Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden are the likely front runners for the Democratic Presidential nomination, as Hillary will be 69 in 2016, and Joe will be 74 in 2016. Clinton would be the second oldest first time nominee, behind Ronald Reagan, and Biden would be the oldest first time nominee.

The Republicans are certain to nominate a candidate decades younger, such as Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, or Ted Cruz, all born in the early 1970s, being therefore mid 40s in 2016. If you consider Chris Christie, Scott Walker, or John Thune, they were born in the 1960s, so would be in the mid 50s. Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann all were born in the 1950s, so would be in their late 50s or in the 60s. There is no candidate born in the 1940s seriously mentioned, unless one expects Newt Gingrich to try again for the Presidency, being just a year younger than Joe Biden and four years older than Hillary Clinton.

The Democrats have alternative possible candidates in Martin O’Malley and Amy Klobuchar born in the early 1960s, so either would be mid 50s in 2016, but Andrew Cuomo and Mark Warner, born in the mid 1950s would be nearing or at the age of 60 when running in 2016, and Elizabeth Warren, born in 1949, would be 67 in 2016, only about two years younger than Hillary Clinton.

So we are seeing a likely switch from an older to younger Republican nominee, and a younger to an older Democratic nominee, and the difference in years could be massive, as it was in the past forty years in most Presidential elections.

A final thought: In the nine elections between 1972 and 2012 when the GOP nominee was always older than the Democratic nominee, the Republicans won the election four times, and the Democrats five times, so basically, trying to determine whether age or youth are an advantage is clearly a pure guessing game!

Losing Major Party Presidential Nominees And Their Futures: A Summary

Losing Presidential nominees usually go on to a future public career, with a few exceptions.

William Jennings Bryan, three time nominee in 1896, 1900, and 1908, went on to become Secretary of State for two years under President Woodrow Wilson.

Alton B Parker, the losing candidate in 1904, went on to become temporary chairman and keynote speaker at the 1912 Democratic National Convention.

Charles Evans Hughes, the losing nominee in 1916, went on to become Secretary of State under Presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court under Presidents Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

James Cox, the losing nominee in 1920, built up a newspaper empire, Cox Enterprises, which would become very influential in the world of journalism, and still is, as the publisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Palm Beach Post, as well as cable television and internet enterprises under his heirs.

John W. Davis, the losing 1924 nominee, had a distinguished career as a lawyer who argued cases before the Supreme Court, including being in the losing side of the famous school integration case, Brown V. Board Of Education Of Topeka, Kansas in 1954, and the Youngstown Steel Case of 1952, ruling against President Truman’s seizure of the steel mills during the Korean War. He was on the side opposing school integration and Presidential power, being a true Jeffersonian conservative throughout his life.

Alfred E. Smith, the 1928 losing nominee, became head of the corporation which built the Empire State Building in 1931, and was an active opponent of Franklin D.Roosevelt and his New Deal.

Al Landon, the losing 1936 nominee, spoke up on foreign policy issues as World War II came on, but spent his life in the oil industry, playing a very limited role in public life after the war.

Wendell Willkie, the losing 1940 nominee, proceeded to write a book about his vision of the postwar world, and was thinking of running again in 1944, but died early in that year.

Thomas E. Dewey, the losing nominee in 1944 and 1948, continued to serve as Governor of New York, and was a power player in the Republican Party after his time in office.

Adlai Stevenson, the 1952 and 1956 losing nominee, went on to serve as United Nations Ambassador under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Barry Goldwater, the losing 1964 nominee, went back to the US Senate, and served three more terms in office.

Hubert Humphrey, the losing 1968 nominee, went back to the Senate and served seven more years in that body.

George McGovern, the losing 1972 nominee, went on to serve eight more years in the US Senate, and kept active in work for the United Nations in various agencies.

Walter Mondale, the losing nominee in 1984, went on to serve as Ambassador to Japan under President Bill Clinton.

Michael Dukakis, the losing nominee in 1988, went back to two more years as Governor of Massachusetts, and also has served as a professor at various institutions, including Northeastern University and Florida Atlantic University.

Bob Dole, the losing 1996 nominee, has engaged in much public activity, including fighting hunger with fellow former nominee George McGovern, and is seen as an elder statesman who is greatly respected.

Al Gore, the losing 2000 nominee, went on to become an advocate for action on climate change and global warming, and also created the cable channel called CURRENT.

John Kerry, the losing 2004 nominee, has continued his distinguished career in the Senate, and may be tapped to join President Obama’s cabinet as Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense.

John McCain, the losing 2008 nominee, has continued his career in the Senate, being last reelected to a six year term in 2010.

The question is what, if any role, Mitt Romney will have in public life, with no hint at this point that he intends any, even after his White House meeting this week with President Barack Obama.

Mitt Romney Destined To Be Forgotten In History As Have Been Alton B. Parker, James Cox, John W. Davis, And Alf Landon

Only actual historians, who love to study trivia as part of their trade, have a real memory of numerous Presidential candidates who lost, including Alton B. Parker, who lost to Theodore Roosevelt in 1904; James Cox, who lost to Warren G. Harding in 1920; John W. Davis, who lost to Calvin Coolidge in 1924; and Alf Landon, who lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936.

But it seems that Mitt Romney, who lost to Barack Obama in the 2012 Presidential Election, will be quickly forgotten, with his Republican Party quickly repudiating him, and him distancing himself from them, and seen as a bad nightmare, who should never have been nominated in the first place.

His impact on the party will be very little, and he will not be in public office again, similar to the four men mentioned earlier.

He is not going to be a public figure such as William Jennings Bryan, Charles Evans Hughes, Alfred E. Smith, Wendell Willkie, Thomas E. Dewey, Adlai Stevenson, Barry Goldwater, Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bob Dole, Al Gore, John Kerry, and John McCain proved to be.

So goodbye to Mitt Romney in public life!

Barack Obama: The First Democratic Presidential Noninee Since 1964 To Have The Edge On Foreign Policy In A Presidential Campaign!

The Republican Party has often been seen as stronger on foreign policy, particularly in a Presidential year.

The last time that a Democrat had the edge on foreign policy in a Presidential campaign was in 1964, before the major escalation of the war in Vietnam, with Lyndon B. Johnson making Barry Goldwater look like a danger to world peace.

Richard Nixon had an edge on strength in foreign policy over Hubert Humphrey and George McGovern, in 1968 and 1972, just as Gerald Ford had an edge over inexperienced Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Ronald Reagan was seen as stronger than Carter and Walter Mondale in 1980 and 1984; and George H. W. Bush had significant foreign policy experience, as compared to Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton in 1988 and 1992.

Bob Dole was seen as tougher on foreign policy than Clinton in 1996, and George W. Bush somehow came across as stronger in 2000 because of his running mate, Dick Cheney, and kept that edge over John Kerry in 2004.

And finally, John McCain was seen as far more knowledgeable than Barack Obama in 2008.

But now, with the respect Obama has around the world, his active drone attack on terrorists. and the removal of Osama Bin Lade and Moammar Gaddafi, it is tough for Mitt Romney, who has no background in foreign affairs, to look stronger in foreign policy.