National Journal

Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer Self Destructs His Presidential Campaign!

Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has been hinting very strongly that he plans to run for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, if no one else does, or even if others do run.

Well, Brian, you can forget it after your wild, wooly comments to NATIONAL JOURNAL, which did an interview and detailed article on the former Montana Governor, who actually was quite effective in that position, and can have a charming personality.

But Schweitzer totally unraveled, trying to be funny, but really striking out.

He spoke of California Senator Dianne Feinstein as if she was a street walker when she seemed shocked about government spying, when she well knew such was going on, something one could, rightfully, criticize, but NOT in the way that Schweitzer did. Can you imagine if he were President and had to face Feinstein, a senior Democrat, in meetings at the White House?

But even worse, Schweitzer made the statement that Southern men are effeminate in their moves and gestures, and referred to Eric Cantor, the soon to leave House Majority Leader, stating that Schweitzer’s “Gaydar” made him sense the gayness of Southerners, although he said, apparently, Cantor is not gay.

What kind of comment is that to make about anyone, and to label a whole geographical section of men as being that? This is extremely looney behavior, and not funny at all! And imagine having to deal with Southern members of Congress after saying that!

A President must have diplomacy and tact, which Schweitzer, apparently, does not have at all!

Schweitzer might have made an interesting race, but now it is a joke in concept more than ever, even if he chooses to put himself out there!

The best chance, although highly remote, of a politician from “Big Sky Country” being President is now part of history for sure! Suggestion to Brian Schweitzer, disappear, as you have effectively lost any chance of serving in Washington DC for anything in the future, including an appointment to a Cabinet position by a President Hillary Clinton, or any other Democrat! You have blown any chance you had for national service with your big mouth! Be gone!

Vice President Joe Biden At His Most Charming And Genuine At Senate Swearing In Ceremonies!

There is only one Joe Biden, our Vice President, who is the most genuine and sincere politician on the scene today!

Biden is criticized for his flubs and gaffes, but while no one is perfect, his flubs and gaffes are harmless, and at most, may invoke laughter and embarrassment over the Vice President’s sometimes, slightly inappropriate, comments!

Biden put on quite a show as he went through mock swearing in of Senators yesterday, on opening day of the new 113th Congress. He got to meet the Senators’s wives, children, grandchildren, mothers, cousins, etc, and he was absolutely charming, charismatic, and funny, drawing laughter and smiles from both Democratic and Republican Senators and their family members.

He was flattering to mothers of the Senators; attentive to young children of the Senators; able to relate to teenage and older children of the Senators; and left an overall good feeling to all who gathered for the ceremonies, and caused much laughter and chuckles for those observing the events live on C Span.

Biden is always entertaining, but at the same time, one realizes how brilliant a mind he has; how talented a speaker he is; how effective he is in getting things done for President Barack Obama; how much expertise he has on such a wide variety of subjects; and how he knows how to bridge gaps between differing sides and viewpoints.

He is a tremendous asset to Obama, and as the Atlantic Monthly Magazine and National Journal have declared, there is a case for stating that Barack Obama is the most active, involved, and influential Vice President in American history—more than Richard Nixon under Dwight D. Eisenhower; more than Nelson Rockefeller under Gerald Ford; more than Walter Mondale under Jimmy Carter; more than George H. W. Bush under Ronald Reagan; more than Al Gore under Bill Clinton; and more than Dick Cheney under George W. Bush!

We could do far worse than Joe Biden to be the 45th President of the United States, by election in 2016! Imagine 44 years of service to his country being brought to the forefront as qualifications for the nation’s highest office!

The Vice Presidential Competition: Who Makes Sense For The GOP

Assuming that Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts Governor, is going to be the Republican Presidential nominee, the speculation about who might be his Vice Presidential running mate has begun.

Were Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania Senator, somehow able to pull out a miracle and become the nominee, the list would change, with some of the speculative candidates being eliminated, and others not now mentioned being added to the list.

The present list, as reported by NATIONAL JOURNAL is long, but with certain candidates ranked in order of likelihood of being the nominee.

The list is fascinating, but in the opinion of the author, flawed, with the assumption that Romney wants to have a real chance to win, and many of the choices are just too controversial even for him, in the mind of this author.

So we begin with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, both attractive looking candidates from battleground states, but both highly flawed by recent events, as reported by this author just a short period of time ago. These were the top two on this list provided by NATIONAL JOURNAL.

Their active movement against women and reproductive control of their bodies is a major negative, which did not exist in the same way just a few short weeks ago. Nominating anyone closely associated with this attack on women’s rights would NOT help Mitt Romney to win this crucial voting group!

But third place finisher, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, while applauded by many conservatives, is simply too headstrong and bossy to be anyone’s Vice Presidential nominee, and has a tendency to blow up and say things that are both arrogant and nasty, and would harm the Romney candidacy for President.

Ohio Senator Rob Portman, number four on the list, is far less controversial than McDonnell, Rubio, and Christie. Not as well known as the first three, Portman is a solid conservative who one can feel supplements Romney in a competent way, with his only negative being that he was the Budget Director under George W. Bush, as the budget went awry in the past decade. But, as much as that seems to be a negative, Portman still is far better as a nominee than the previous three combined. One does not want to forget that a nominee from Ohio, being the most crucial state for a Republican Presidential candidate, makes Portman even more important. Remember that EVERY GOP Presidential winner since Abraham Lincoln, the first, has won Ohio.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is fifth on the list, followed by Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Jindal has become less exciting and impressive as time has gone on, with his main advantage, sadly, is that he is an Indian American, darker skinned than any other Republican, including Hispanic and Latinos possibilities, and might fool people into thinking that he is African American, but if that is the reason to select him, it only highlights the race problem the GOP faces. His home state is not important enough to be a consideration, as it will go Republican anyway, although if the people of one of the poorest states used their head, they would not vote Republican!

Ryan, on the other hand, is very good looking and well spoken, and as head of the House Budget Committee, he would seem a good match, and his home state of Wisconsin is seen as in play. But his plan to change Medicare as we know it, and his overall controversial budget plan, makes him not as good a choice as Rob Portman. Having said that, except for Portman, he seems a better fit of the top group of six possible nominees, ahead of McDonnell, Rubio, Christie, and Jindal.

Of the so called plausible alternatives, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, the next choice, would be an excellent candidate, even though he withdrew early from the Presidential race. A strong supporter of Romney, and a front runner for John McCain’s running mate in 2008, Pawlenty is not dynamic or exciting, but a competent choice with far less controversy than most.

The rest of the list is uninspiring: Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, South Dakota Senator John Thune, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, and Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno..

The mention of Rodgers, Martinez, Sandoval, and Fortuno really brings raised eyes, as simply pandering to women and Hispanics and Latinos, as they remind us too much of picking Sarah Palin for being a woman more than any true qualifying factor.

Only Thune brings any excitement, as he is handsome, dynamic, and comes from the Senate, but his state adds nothing to the electoral base of Romney.

In summary, it seems to the author that the best choices for Romney to consider for Vice President as reputable, qualified, competent, less controversial, and qualified to be President in case of an emergency (not to be ignored), would be Rob Portman, Paul Ryan, Tim Pawlenty, and John Thune.

NONE match Vice President Joe Biden as a competent, qualified person to be next in line to be President of the United States!

Republican Congresswomen: More Conservative Than Republican Congressmen!

It might be shocking to discover that Republican women in the House of Representatives come out statistically more right wing than Republican men in the House, on average.

A National Journal study shows that Republican women in the 111th Congress were a more conservative bloc than the men, and the most ever in modern Congressional history!

The most conservative women, among the top 50 most conservative include Jean Schmidt of Ohio, who just lost her seat in the Ohio primary; Michele Bachmann, who lost out in her quest for the GOP Presidential nomination; Mary Fallin of Oklahoma; Virginia Foxx of North Carolina; Sue Myrick of North Carolina; Lynn Jenkins of Kansas; and Kay Granger of Texas.

Overall, the Republican women voted more conservatively tnan 80 percent of the entire House of Representatives.

One other female representative also continues to be right up there in pride of being very conservative–Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee–who has had the ranking overall in recent years of being the most right wing, although dethroned by Jean Schmidt in 2010.

It is shocking to see how these and other GOP women stand by as women’s rights are being challenged and restricted. It is as if they are not women at all, but aliens from outer space!

The Clash Of The Future Now: Arizona As Ground Zero

The state of Arizona is a perfect example of a right wing state clashing with the future, and it is now Ground Zero.

This is the state of Governor Jan Brewer, just about the most despicable woman politician, not an easy thing to say when one thinks of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, but she fits the bill with her words and actions, including her disrespect shown to the President Barack Obama by pointing her finger at him, and lying about it and many other things.

This is the state of Senator Jon Kyl, thankfully retiring at the end of this year, with his former respectable image destroyed by evidence of bias, prejudice, and loads of stupid statements in the past few years.

This is the state of Senator John McCain, once respectable and moderate, but now old and grouchy and ready to take America into another Middle Eastern war anytime.

This is the state of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, being investigated on charges of violating the rights of prisoners and mistreatment of Hispanics, whether legal or illegal, and not caring about image or violations and abuses, as he promotes a “tough guy” image embarrassing to his state.

This was the state of Russell Pearce, who thankfully was recalled by the voters of his state senate district, but was infamous for anti immigrant and pro gun legislation seen as very extreme.

This is the state of Paul Babeu, Pinal County Sheriff, another “tough guy” and hardline against illegal immigration, who is now shown to have had a sexual relationship with an Hispanic male, which has now become a scandal and will hamper his attempt to serve as a Republican in the next Congress.

This is the state which has a state senate which has banned ethnic studies courses for Hispanics as undermining their “Americanism”, and a state legislature which passed the infamous SB 1070 immigration bill now being challenged by the US government in court.

This is the state which has been judged by NATIONAL JOURNAL to have the second most conservative House of Representatives delegation, only behind, regrettably, my resident state of Florida. Notice that I say “resident”, as this author and blogger still identifies as a New Yorker, the state he lived in, went to school in, and worked in, until moving to Florida in 1989. The fact that New York’s House delegation is rated seventh most liberal, behind only Hawaii and five New England states makes this author proud!

Getting back to Arizona, the state, despite these disgraceful “public servants” and legislative record of discrimination and prejudice, is rapidly changing demographically, and can best be described as having two groups migrating to the state over time—older white retirees, and young Hispanics and Latinos, which guarantees continued clashes, but with young Hispanics and Latinos having the advantage for the future.

Thirty percent of Arizona is now Hispanic, compared to 58 percent white, and over the next decade, it is possible that whites will become less than the majority of Arizonans, and this will affect its politics dramatically.

Some think Arizona could go to Barack Obama, in the Presidential Election of 2012, although that still seems unlikely. But by 2020 and after, the Democrats will have a great advantage, as will be the case in Texas as well.

So the white population is facing a future in which it will NOT control the agenda, the state legislature, or the House delegation or the Senate seats. This is the clash of the future, already displaying itself now, as Arizona is becoming Ground Zero in the recognition of the transformation of America that will be national in the next generation!

Jon Huntsman Comes Through In Republican Foreign Policy Debate!

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman performed admirably last night in the GOP Foreign Policy debate in South Carolina, sponsored by CBS News and National Journal.

Sadly, he is not being taken seriously by news media, because of his low public opinion poll ratings, but in the three opportunities he had to speak up on his expertise, foreign policy, he waxed brilliant and principled.

He told the audience and the moderators that it is time for us to leave Afghanistan and focus on dealing with domestic problems.

He also said that waterboarding was torture, and unacceptable under our American value system of freedom and democracy, in this agreeing with 2008 Republican Presidential nominee John McCain.

Huntsman also said we should not consider a trade war with China, that China policy needed to be more sophisticated, and was more complex than what everyone else in the Republican race either said or has stated during the campaign.

Huntsman is the only sensible, common sense, and rational person, other than Ron Paul, among the eight competitors for the GOP nomination, when it comes to foreign policy, and some of them–particularly Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry–are absolutely horrifying in their stated views of the world.

Ron Paul was rational and reasonable in his few opportunities to answer questions, and if only his domestic views were less weird and looney as a result of his libertarian views, he might be considered acceptable by those who do not want America to be constantly hawkish in foreign policy.

The shame is that too much time was spent on the reckless rhetoric of Cain, Bachmann, Perry, and Gingrich, and not enough time given to Huntsman and Paul.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney was barely acceptable in his answers, but again seemed unprincipled as usual, while Rick Santorum was Rick Santorum!

But it is clear that in foreign policy, Huntsman still presents by far, the best credentials, and we cannot afford to have a reckless, ignorant hand on the power given to an individual as Commander in Chief!

Fascinating “Presidential Freshness” Test: The 14 Year “Window”

National Journal writer Jonathan Rauch has brought up an interesting point about American history and the Presidency.

What he calls the “Presidential Freshness” Test demonstrates that for someone to be elected President, that person must NOT have been in high public office more than 14 years when he or she runs for the White House.

High public office means the office of Governor or Senator, and under the Presidential Freshness concept, only three announced candidates fit within it–Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman, and Mitt Romney, although Sarah Palin and Rick Perry, both unannounced and unlikely to run, also fit within the limits.

Being a member of the House is no help, as none have ever been elected President, with the exception of James Garfield in 1880, and he was assassinated after only six months in office in 1881.

So therefore, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul are not considered to have any chance under this test, and Newt Gingrich has a double whammy, being a House member and Speaker in the past, and also having much more than 14 years since his first election.

So every President of the past century has met the maximum of 14 years experience, with the exception of Lyndon B. Johnson who succeeded upon the death of John F. Kennedy, and then was elected for a full four year term.

What it comes down to is that a Presidential candidate can wear out his welcome and be seen as “stale” if he has been on the scene more than 14 years when running for President, so too much experience in years is NOT a plus!

It will be interesting to see if the Presidential Freshness test works in this upcoming election contest!

National Journal Rankings: Liberals And Conservatives In The Senate

A new rating of the Senate by National Journal reveals the following.

The most liberal senators are Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Roland Burris of Illinois, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, both of Rhode Island, with all of them in a five way tie. Interestingly, all are in their first term in the Senate, with the exception of Reed, and Burris will be leaving the Senate after a two year appointment.

The most conservative Senators are in order as follows: James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Jim Bunning of Kentucky and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Bunning, thankfully, is leaving at the end of this year. Obviously, the name Jim is very much connected for now to the right wing! πŸ™‚

So Oklahoma has the distinction of having two of the most conservative senators, and Rhode Island two of the most liberal senators.

The big problem revealed by this survey is that the moderate center in both parties is becoming more than ever an “endangered species”, which makes it likely that the future Senate will be as intransigent and uncooperative as it presently is. This is not good for the American system of government, when there is no give and take, no compromise spirit, that exists in the upper chamber.

The nation needs a new version of Henry Clay or Lyndon Johnson to promote compromise and action in the Senate, but sadly there is no one obvious on the horizon to fill the shoes of these two great senators of the 19th and 20th centuries in the 21st century! πŸ™