Paul Ryan

Rapid Decline In Quality From Ronald Reagan-Richard Schweiker In 1976 To Ted Cruz-Carly Fiorina In 2016!

Forty years have passed since Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, in a desperate move to try to derail President Gerald Ford from winning the GOP Presidential nomination in 1976, chose a Vice Presidential running mate, Pennsylvania Senator Richard Schweiker.

It did not help Reagan to win the nomination, but at least Reagan had been two term Governor of California, and Schweiker was a two term liberal Republican Senator, who later was Secretary of Health and Human Services for two years under Reagan.

The rapid decline in quality from Reagan-Schweiker then to Ted Cruz-Carly Fiorina two generations later is alarming, demonstrating how candidates for President and Vice President, at least in the Republican Party, are truly disastrous!

Remember that the GOP is great at choosing terrible Vice Presidential candidates, including Spiro Agnew and Dan Quayle, who served as Vice President, and Sarah Palin!

And even the so called “better qualified” VP candidates such as Dick Cheney, who was Vice President, and Paul Ryan, who did not serve, are wanting in comparison to Democratic Vice Presidential candidates, including Walter Mondale, Al Gore, and Joe Biden, as well as candidates Edmund Muskie, Sargent Shriver, Lloyd Bentsen, and Joe Lieberman!

Can Losers Of Presidential Race Come Back To Win? Yes And No!

Now that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has made clear that he will not accept a draft for the Presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July, speculation is beginning that former 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney might make himself available.

There is no way that seems possible, as Romney has totally alienated Donald Trump supporters, who would refuse to back him at the convention or in November, but the question arises whether or not losers of Presidential elections actually have been able to come back and be elected President at a later time.

The answer is both Yes and No!

Five times, a Presidential loser has come back to win, as follows:

Thomas Jefferson, lost in 1796 and won in 1800.

Andrew Jackson, lost in 1824 and won in 1828

William Henry Harrison, lost in 1836 and won in 1840

Grover Cleveland, lost in 1888 and won in 1892, only President to win (1884), lose, and then win again.

Richard Nixon, lost in 1960 and won in 1968

However, six other Presidential candidates lost more than once as follows:

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney lost in 1804 and 1808.

Henry Clay lost in 1824, 1832, and 1844.

Martin Van Buren lost in 1840 as a Democrat, after having won in 1836, and then again lost in 1848 as the nominee of the Free Soil Party.

William Jennings Bryan lost in 1896, 1900, and 1908.

Thomas E. Dewey lost in 1944 and 1948.

Adlai Stevenson lost in 1952 and 1956.

Additionally, three third party candidates have lost more than once as follows:

Socialist nominee Eugene Debs lost in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920, a total of five times.

Socialist nominee Norman Thomas lost in 1928, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, and 1948, a total of six times.

Reform Party nominee Ross Perot lost in 1992 and 1996, the first time as an Independent.

Speakers Of The House Of Representatives Who Sought The Presidency, And Now Paul Ryan?

The Speaker of the House of Representatives is second in line for the Presidency after the Vice President under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, the third such law.

The first such law, from 1792-1886, put the Speaker third in line for the Presidency, with the Vice President and the President Pro Tempore of the US Senate ahead of him, later reversed in 1947.

The second law, from 1886-1947, did not include the Speaker in the line of succession, but rather the Cabinet officers after the Vice President.

In our history, only one Speaker of the House became President, James K. Polk of Tennessee, from 1845-1849, and he proved to be one of the more significant Presidents, adding more real estate to America than anyone other than Thomas Jefferson.  This was accomplished by treaty with Great Britain over the Pacific Northwest in 1846, and by war with Mexico from 1846-1848, which added the Southwestern United States to the Union.

But seven other Speakers sought the Presidency, including the following:

Henry Clay of Kentucky sought the Presidency in 1824, 1832, and 1844, and is regarded as the greatest single legislator in the history of both houses of Congress.  In 1844, we had the only Presidential election where the two opponents had both been Speaker of the House, Clay and Polk!  Clay lost his three elections to John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Polk.

John Bell of Tennessee was the Constitutional Union Party nominee for President in 1860 on the eve of the Civil War, and lost to Abraham Lincoln.

James G. Blaine of Maine was the Republican nominee for President in 1884 and lost the election to Grover Cleveland, and was also Secretary of State under three Presidents–James A. Garfield, Chester Alan Arthur, and a full term under Benjamin Harrison.

Thomas Reed of Maine lost the nomination of the Republican Party in 1896 to future President William McKinley.

Champ Clark of Missouri lost the nomination of the Democratic Party in 1912 to future President Woodrow Wilson.

John Nance Garner of Texas, after being Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt for two terms from 1933-1941, lost the nomination of the Democratic Party to his boss, President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940

Newt Gingrich of Georgia lost the Republican nomination for President to eventual nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

So four Speakers were nominated for President, with only Polk winning; and four other Speakers lost the nomination when they sought the Presidency.

Now we may have a ninth such Speaker seeking the Presidency, Republican Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, whose name is being promoted, despite Ryan’s denial of any interest in running for President.

Are We On The Road To A 5th Four Way Presidential Election?

In American history, we have had four Presidential elections in which there were four candidates who gained a substantial percentage of popular votes.

The first time was 1824, with Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, William Crawford and Henry Clay.

The second time was 1860, with Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, and John Bell.

The third time was 1912, with Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Eugene Debs.

The fourth time was 1948, with Harry Truman, Thomas E. Dewey, Strom Thurmond, and Henry A. Wallace.

The first two times, 1824 and 1860, saw the success of new political parties, the Democrats under Jackson by 1828 and the Republicans under Lincoln in 1860.  The third time brought the success of progressivism at its peak under Wilson with Roosevelt’s indirect contributions, and the fourth insured the forward movement in foreign and domestic policy under Truman.

Now in 2016, we could have four candidates, including Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and potentially Bernie Sanders or Jesse Ventura.  And who can deny that Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney or John Kasich might also be potential candidates?

The first three named above seem almost certain, but there is some speculation that Sanders could run on a independent line, and that Jesse Ventura, the former Governor of Minnesota, might run if Sanders fails to be the Democratic nominee, and decides to avoid an independent run.  If Trump is nominated, the odds of Ryan or Romney or Kasich running as the “Establishment” Republican opponent grows, just as is likely that Trump will run as an independent if he is not the party’s nominee.

Hillary Clinton would win against a split Republican Party, but IF Sanders runs or even Ventura, the potential exists, in a four way race, for anything to happen, including the need to use the 12th Amendment, as occurred in 1824, which would give the Republican nominee the advantage, with the Republican control of the House of Representatives!

Wisconsin Political History: Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde!

The state of Wisconsin, the cheese and dairy state, has had a distinguished history in many respects.

It was the base of the great Mr. Progressive, Governor and Senator Robert La Follette, Sr, who also was the Progressive Party nominee for President in 1924, and had the third best percentage of the vote of any third party nominee in history, with one out of every six voters backing him.

It was the state of his son, Senator Robert La Follette, Jr, and also of his second son, Governor Philip La Follette, both leading Progressives in the 1930s.

It was the state of Senator Gaylord Nelson,  Senator Herb Kohl, Senator William Proxmire, and Senator Russ Feingold, the latter now seeking to regain his Senate seat that he lost to Ron Johnson in 2010, with these two men running against each other again in 2016.  It was also the state of Governor Patrick Lucey and Gaylord Nelson, before the latter became a Senator.

It is the state of Senator Tammy Baldwin, the first lesbian US Senator.

However, it was also the state of Senator Joseph McCarthy, the infamous Red Scare leader in the 1950s.

It is also the state of the disgraceful Governor Scott Walker; Senator Ron Johnson; and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, all very willing to work against the interests of the middle class and the poor.

How a state with a progressive tradition can often “go off the rails” is hard to understand.

But the progressive-liberal tradition remains a significant part of the Wisconsin historical story!

Now it is becoming the center of attention again, after Scott Walker endorsed Ted Cruz in the Republican primary to be held next week, with Cruz leading Donald Trump in polls; and Bernie Sanders leading Hillary Clinton in polls for the Democrats.

Paul Ryan Boomlet For President Begun By John Boehner: Really?

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has now been endorsed and promoted to be the Republican Presidential nominee by former Speaker John Boehner.

Boehner does not exactly have great popular support in the Republican Party, and the Tea Party Movement and other right wing extremists do not wish to give Boehner “the time of day”, having, basically, forced him out of the Speakership.

Ryan had said he did not want to be Speaker, but caved in to pressure.  The question is whether he can now be pressured to promote a revolt against front runner Donald Trump.

The Republican establishment wants Ryan to run, feeling that John Kasich has little chance of success in his quest to stop both Trump and Senator Ted Cruz, who no one in the Republican Establishment can tolerate!

If Ryan, who is the presiding officer at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, were to lead a revolt, it will likely cause turmoil on the scale of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968, which doomed the chances of the Democrats to elect their nominee, Hubert Humphrey in that election year.

It is clear, as this blogger has stated for awhile, that the Republican Party, as we know it, is done, and that Ryan cannot stop that demise.

If a third party movement starts, it insures that the Democrats and Hillary Clinton will win the Presidency, the Senate, a slight chance to gain the House majority, and transform the Supreme Court, in a truly “wave” election.

And if, somehow, Ryan ends up taking the GOP Presidential nomination, it will bring back memories of the 2012 Presidential election, when Ryan was “conquered” by Vice President Joe Biden in their VP debate.

Yes, Ryan has a handsome face, and youth, but he is also a flawed candidate, which this blogger emphasized four years ago, causing for awhile a major right wing attack on this blogger, including in THE BLAZE, the media creation of talk show host Glenn Beck.  How dare I attack Paul Ryan, showing his many faults and shortcomings!

Also, were Ryan to be the Presidential nominee, it would be only the second time that a sitting member of the House has been the nominee of a major political party for President, with the only  time being Ohio Congressman James A. Garfield, who was elected in 1880, and then, sadly, was mortally wounded by an assassin, Charles J. Guiteau,  which is covered in Chapter 3 of my new book, ASSASSINATIONS, THREATS, AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: FROM ANDREW JACKSON TO BARACK OBAMA (Rowman Littlefield Publishers, August 2015).

So the track record on a Congressman going to the Presidency is not a good marker for success!

Long Term Political Projections For 2016 And Beyond!

As 2016 arrives tomorrow, some long term projections for the upcoming year politically.

Next December, we can see how accurate these projections are:

Donald Trump will NOT be the Republican Presidential nominee, and he will lose both the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary.  He will be a sore loser there, and will announce a third party movement, but will win NO states in November, but take away votes from the Republican nominee, similar to Ross Perot in 1992.

The Republican nominee for President will be Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who will select Ohio Governor John Kasich as his Vice Presidential running mate.

Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic Presidential nomination, and will select Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown as her running mate for Vice President to blunt the effect of Ohio Governor John Kasich as the Republican Vice Presidential nominee.  And remember Ohio is the crucial state historically in the Electoral College, as NO Republican has won the White House without Ohio!

Hillary Clinton will become the 45th President of the United States , and Sherrod Brown will become the 48th Vice President of the United States, winning by a substantial margin in the Electoral College, keeping the 242 electoral votes of 18 states (Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii) and the District of Columbia, PLUS the following “swing states”—Ohio (18); Virginia (13)–thus insuring an Electoral College majority of 273 when 270 are required;  but also, in addition, the following:  Colorado (9); Iowa (6); Nevada (6); New Mexico (5); New Hampshire (4)–a total of 25 states and 303 electoral votes.

The only loss for the Democrats will be Florida, which will go to Rubio, a home state favorite, and taking away 29 electoral votes, from the 332 of Barack Obama in 2012 to the 303 of Hillary Clinton.  So Hillary Clinton will win 25 states, instead of the 26 that Obama won in 2012. The final electoral vote will be 303-235.

Hillary Clinton will name Vice President Joe Biden her Secretary of State.

Hillary Clinton will gain the opportunity to select FOUR Supreme Court nominees in her four year term, as follows:  Ruth Bader Ginsburg,  Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer–but of course, this cannot be proved to be correct until that next four year term is completed!

The US Senate will go back to the Democrats, gaining the seats up in Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire, Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Missouri, going from 44 seats plus two Independents (Maine, Angus King; and Vermont, Bernie Sanders) to 51 plus 2, effectively 53 seats to 47 for the Republicans, from the present 54 seats for the GOP.  Senator Chuck Schumer of New York will be the Senate Majority Leader as a result.  The President Pro Tempore position will go back to Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, the longest serving Senator with 42 years and another elected term beginning in 2017.

The US House of Representatives will go from 247 Republicans to 188 Democrats, to a gain of 17 seats, and a new total of 205 Democrats and 230 Republicans.  Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin will remain Speaker of the House of Representatives.

So the line of succession will be President Hillary Clinton; Vice President Sherrod Brown; Speaker of the House Paul Ryan; Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy, followed by the cabinet officers, beginning with Joe Biden.

We shall see in a year how accurate my prognostications are!  Happy New Year 2016!

Top 10 Political Stories Of 2015

As the year 2015 ends, we look back on the major political stories of this eventful year.

The ten major stories of the year are as follows:

The rise of Donald Trump, and the threat he represents to the Republican Party, the conservative movement, and to the American people in general. He is promoting a Fascist agenda, including nativism, racism, misogyny, and a belief spreading among white working class men that somehow he is the new Messiah, who will solve all of the problems brought about by the failings of the George W. Bush Administration.  These  include the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, which fueled terrorism; and the Great Recession of 2008, which is still reverberating among those less educated and more suspect to demagoguery. And also,those who refuse to accept Barack Obama as a legitimate President find Donald Trump appealing.

The surprise appeal of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is gaining support among the millennial generation, and men and women under 45, who are more educated than average Americans, and find his democratic Socialist ideas appealing.  There is no question that the younger generation is much more liberal than other Americans, and this bodes well for the Democratic Party, if Hillary Clinton continues her move to the left, pushed that way by Sanders’ agenda.

The final acceptance of gay marriage and the advancement of gay rights on all fronts, including the rights of transgender people, but with much discrimination still evident by those who resist change.

The disappearance of John Boehner and the rise of Paul Ryan to the Speakership of the House of Representatives, and the issue of whether Ryan can be any more effective in dealing with the Tea Party Movement, which helped to bring Boehner to the point of resignation.

The growing racial tensions in the nation, due to increased examples of police abuse toward African American men, and even women, along with Latinos, and the growing militarization of law enforcement, a dangerous trend.

The rise of more domestic terrorism, including in Charleston, San Bernandino and elsewhere, some of it inspired by ISIL (ISIS), but also by right wing Christian extremism.

Barack Obama’s changed foreign policy, including opening up to Cuban diplomatic relations; making a deal with Iran’s government on nuclear weapons; attempts to cooperate with other nations to deal with Islamic terrorism, meaning ISIL (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria; and trying to work with a hostile Israeli government, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, who made life more difficult for Obama by openly consorting with Republicans over the President.

The growing impact of social issues on American politics, including not only gay rights and gay marriage, but also abortion, gun control, immigration reform, and climate change.  All of these controversies will impact politics in a dramatic fashion in 2016 and beyond.

The issue of individual rights to privacy, and the growing role of intelligence gathering and government snooping, including the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency, and other government agencies, who feel that they must intrude and investigate all social media and phones and computers, to protect us.  This is seen by many critics as a violation of our civil liberties.

The evident deterioration of the effectiveness and competence of the Secret Service, in its role as protector of the President and his family; the Vice President; the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and all Presidential candidates, as the Presidential Election year of 2016 awaits us.  The last thing we need is any incident that affects the health, safety, and lives of any of the candidates or the top leadership of government.  If such were to happen, it would undermine our whole political system and stability in massive ways!

 

Right Wing Christian Zealots Back Donald Trump While Establishment Republicans Condemn Trump On Anti Muslim Stand!

The Republican Party is in a quandary as to how to deal with Fascist demagogue Donald Trump, who is still leading the polls and is gaining the backing of a plurality, if not a majority, of registered Republicans, in polls, on the issue of banning all Muslim immigration to the United States.

The fact that Trump is a clear cut racist, nativist, and Islamophobe does not perturb those Republicans being polled, and yet we have seen condemnation by all Republican candidates of Trump’s demagogic proposal, with the exception of Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum.  So we have seen Republican Congressional leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, along with many other leading Republicans, even including former Vice President Dick Cheney, take a stand opposing that displayed in the polls.

What we have seen is despicable characters such as: Michele Bachmann, Ann Coulter, Franklin Graham, Alex Jones, Pam Geller, Bryan Fischer, Pat Robertson, Frank Gaffney, and David Duke endorse Trump on this issue, despite their shady image as advocates of civil liberties and civil rights long term.

So the Republican Party and the conservative movement are at a crossroads, as they are trying to evade the damage being done to their brand by Trump and his ilk, but there is no question that the Trump phenomenon, the promotion of a modern Fascism, will not come to power, despite the ignorance and narrow mindedness of a portion of the American people.

Instead, it looks as if the Republican Party is about to implode, as it desperately attempts to overcome Trump, and we can expect the possibility of a brokered convention next July, which would be the most tumultuous Republican convention since the Gerald Ford-Ronald Reagan battle in 1976, and the even more tumultuous Democratic convention of 1968!

The Ten Longest Serving Speakers Of The House Of Representatives

Paul Ryan is the 54th Speaker of the House, but the top ten longest serving have dominated in the 226 years of history of Congress.

The ten longest serving have been in the Speakership for 81 of the 226 years, more than one third of the time!

They are, in order,with time rounded off:

Sam Rayburn  17 years

Thomas “Tip” O’Neill   10 years

John W. McCormack  9 years

Dennis Hastert  8 years

Champ Clark  7 years

Henry Clay  7 years

Carl Albert   6 years

Joseph Cannon  6 years

Thomas Foley   6 years

James G. Blaine  5 years

Six of these ten (Rayburn, O’Neill, McCormack, Clark, Albert, and Foley) were Democrats for a total of 55 years.

Three of these ten (Hastert, Cannon, and Blaine) were Republicans for a total of 19 years.

One of these ten (Henry Clay) was a Democratic Republican for a total of 7 years, later becoming a Whig as a United States Senator.

Clay, Blaine and Cannon were in the years from 1811-1911; Clark and Rayburn were in the years from 1911-1961, and McCormack, Albert, O’Neill, Foley and Hastert in the years from 1962-2007!

So modern Speakers on the average have served much longer periods than earlier Speakers!