Presidency

Democratic Party Historical Accomplishments

The Democratic Party has been criticized for the fact that in its 188 year history, it was the party that promoted slavery, segregation, and lynching, being dominated for a long time by its ugly Southern membership.

This cannot be denied, but it is the Democratic Party which has also, in the last century of history, had many historical accomplishments.

Among these are:

First Catholic nominee for President–Alfred E. Smith 1928
First Catholic President elected–John F. Kennedy 1960
First Catholic Vice President elected–Joe Biden 2008
First Jewish nominee for Vice President–Joseph Lieberman 2000
First Jewish Presidential candidate as serious contender–Bernie Sanders 2016
First African American President–Barack Obama 2008
First Woman nominated for Vice President–Geraldine Ferraro 1984
First African American Presidential Contender–Shirley Chisholm 1972
First Woman nominee for President–Hillary Clinton 2016
First woman Secretary of State—Madeleine Albright under Bill Clinton
First Southerner elected President since 1848–Jimmy Carter 1976
Youngest elected President–John F. Kennedy 1960
President who gave us Social Security–Franklin D. Roosevelt 1935
President who gave us Medicare and Medicaid–Lyndon B. Johnson 1965-1966
One Term President who advanced Environmental Causes the most in history–Jimmy Carter 1977-1981
President who gave us ObamaCare–Barack Obama 2010
President who advanced Civil Rights—John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson 1960s
President to appoint first Jewish Supreme Court Justice—Woodrow Wilson 1916 (Louis Brandeis)
President to appoint first woman Jewish Supreme Court Justice—Bill Clinton 1993 (Ruth Bader Ginsburg)
President to appoint first African American Supreme Court Justice–Lyndon B. Johnson 1967 (Thurgood Marshall)
President to appoint first Hispanic-Latino Supreme Court Justice—Barack Obama 2009 (Sonia Sotomayor)
President who promoted Containment Foreign Policy with the Soviet Union—Harry Truman
President who promoted concept of international cooperation—Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt
First Woman Speaker Of The House of Representatives–Nancy Pelosi 2007
Most accomplished Congresses, Democratic controlled—-63rd and 64th (1913-1917) under Woodrow Wilson; 73rd and 74th (1933-1937) under Franklin D. Roosevelt; 89th Congress (1965-1967) under Lyndon B. Johnson; 111th Congress (2009-2011) under Barack Obama
Great Supreme Court Justices appointed by Democratic Presidents—Louis Brandeis 1916 by Woodrow Wilson; Hugo Black 1937 by Franklin D. Roosevelt; Felix Frankfurter 1939 by Franklin D. Roosevelt; William O. Douglas 1939 by Franklin D. Roosevelt; Thurgood Marshall 1967 by Lyndon B. Johnson; Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1993 by Bill Clinton; Stephen Breyer 1994 by Bill Clinton

Central Intelligence Agency Spies On All But Four Nations!

The news has come out that the Central Intelligence Agency, created in 1947, and often under attack for its actions, and its illegal doings much of the time, often without knowledge of the President of the United States, has seen its leader in Germany expelled for spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel, including her cell phone.

This action to expel the CIA leader came about without the knowledge of President Barack Obama, and it has caused an embarrassing incident between a friendly nation and the United States.

But it is nothing new for the CIA to go around Presidential control or awareness, and it has been a constant problem, much of it exposed by the Church Committee (headed by Idaho Senator Frank Church) in the mid 1970s!

The CIA is often seen as a shadow government within our government, not accountable to the White House or Congress or the Supreme Court, all in the name of national security.

Thus the National Security Agency and 15 other spy agencies have a budget that is not public knowledge, and we have learned that they are eavesdropping on ordinary Americans in the quest to keep our nation secure, but worrying civil liberties advocates tremendously.

The most interesting revelation coming out of the expose of the German situation is that only four nations, all English speaking, do not have CIA spying going on in their nations–Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand!

So even such allies as Israel, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, among others, are being spied upon regularly!

Conservative Right Wing Attack On The Constitution: The Threat Of Another Constitutional Convention Wiping Out Constitutional Amendments!

The Founding Fathers gave us a Constitution, admitting in the process that there would always be room for improvements, so made clear that amendments were appropriate over time.

So we have had 27 Amendments, including the first ten that make up the Bill of Rights.

When one looks at the amendments, particularly those that came after the Bill of Rights, one realizes that the vast majority of them were “progressive” in tone, designed to expand democracy in America, or else, amendments dealing with the office of the Presidency.

So the “progressive” amendments included the 13th (ending slavery and involuntary servitude); the 14th (promoting due process and equal protection and making African Americans citizens); the 15th (guaranteeing the right to vote for African Americans and others which had been denied that right); the 16th (providing for a federal income tax to raise revenue to deal with mounting social and economic issues); the 17th (granting the people the right to elect their two United States Senators by popular vote); the 19th (guaranteeing women the right to vote); the 23rd (guaranteeing residents of Washington, DC the right to vote); the 24th (preventing a poll tax for voting); and the 26th (guaranteeing young people 18-21 the right to vote).

So nine of the seventeen amendments after the first ten of the Bill of Rights promote progressive change, while the 12th, 20th, 22nd and 25th deal with the office of the Presidency.

The only amendment that was ever passed to limit the freedom of Americans was the 18th (prohibition of liquor), but later repealed by the 21st Amendment.

Now we have the real threat by right wing conservatives, including the Tea Party Movement, who want a new Constitutional Convention to wipe out these “progressive” amendments!

They do not like voting rights for African Americans, other minorities, women, residents of Washington DC (mostly African Americans) and young people; and they are unhappy that African Americans are considered equal under the law, and if they had the ability to do so, they would love to re-enslave poor people, which by corporate power is occurring in an informal way for many minorities, as well as white lower class people struggling every day to survive!

And they wish they could restore the US Senate elections to the corrupt state legislatures, taking away the popular vote. Finally, they hate the federal income tax, even though many of them avoid substantial taxation by having investments, rather than working for a living like most of us do. So they would prefer a sales tax, which is regressive, and would hurt the middle class and the poor much more than the wealthy elite!

But that is exactly the extremist right wing intention—to restore the “good old days” when they were in charge, and everyone had to kowtow to them!

We must not allow such a threat to develop, so the battle for progressivism is never ending, as a result!

Barack Obama Totally Correct: GOP Will NEVER Win Presidency Again Unless They Return To Political Center!

President Barack Obama has made a statement that cannot be contradicted!

IF the Republican Party moves away, at some point, from the extremist right wing of the Tea Party Movement, and the influence of the old Southern Democratic racists turned Republicans because of the Civil Rights Act of fifty years ago, then they have the opportunity, and even likelihood, of eventually regaining the White House!

But if they insist on alienating women, African Americans, Latino and Asian American citizens and immigrants, labor, gays and lesbians, environmentalists, those who believe in science over religion, poor people, the middle class, educated people, and those who believe government is good rather than evil, then they will, Obama says, NEVER win the Presidency again.

The nation is turning “Blue” over time in Texas, Georgia, Arizona, and North Carolina, and already much of the Midwest has become more definitely “Blue”, as well as Florida and Virginia.

So, as Obama states, it is all up to the Republican Party! Moderate your right wing extremism, or your party is in the dustbin of history, as America is not a mean spirited, racist, nativist nation, just many of those who choose to call themselves Republicans.

The American Presidency Began 225 Years Ago Today, With George Washington Inauguration!

On this day, April 30, in the year 1789, the American Presidency began its history, with the inauguration of George Washington at Federal Hall in New York City, 57 days later than the official Inauguration Day for every President through the first term of Franklin D. Roosevelt!

No one could have known the challenges, the crises, the good and bad moments that every President, all 43 of them, would face over the next 225 years of American history.

This is a day to celebrate, as it is the marking of an important anniversary in the history of the most powerful executive position in any nation which is democratic in nature, whether a President, Prime Minister, or Premier.

We should never forget the sacrifices those 43 men suffered in order to lead us into the future, and to be the leaders of the greatest nation in the world, which must never stop moving toward “a more perfect Union.” We have come a long way from our imperfections, but we still have a long way to go!

Narcissistic American Presidents

The Pew Research Center has conducted a unique study of American Presidents, and the results are fascinating.

Presidents have been analyzed in a multitude of ways, but now there is a new one—how narcissistic they are, how much they love themselves and want attention drawn to them by the American people.

At the top of the list are Lyndon B. Johnson, followed by Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton as the top seven.

All seven are regarded as among the best Presidents we have had, and all are highly controversial because of their assertive manner of governing.

But also, a high level of personal insecurity is evident in all seven, including health issues and personal experiences that made them have the personalities they exhibited in the Presidency.

Only a total of 15 Presidents are seen as having more narcissism than the average person has, including modern Presidents such as Woodrow Wilson, George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, as numbers 10, 11 and 15.

Presidents such as Harry Truman, George Washington, Jimmy Carter, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George H. W. Bush, Thomas Jefferson, Gerald Ford, and Abraham Lincoln all rate below average on narcissism from numbers varying from 18 to 32 on the list.

The question is how valuable is such a list, but at least it is food for thought!

The Battle For The Dignity And Respect For The Office Of The American Presidency!

President Barack Obama has made it clear that he is NOT going to cave in to the Republican hostage takers on the subject of ObamaCare, and all power to him!

ObamaCare is Obama’s signature accomplishment, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, and every other President who has had a major domestic accomplishment would react the same way Obama is reacting—no bargaining on something already in the law and approved by the Supreme Court!

But Obama has also made it clear that the office of the Presidency deserves dignity and respect, and he will not bargain away the power of that office to a group of radical anarchists known as the Tea Party Movement!

This is not just for the Obama legacy that Obama is fighting, but also for the future of the office, as the Congress, or a radical part of it, cannot be permitted to undermine the powers and prerogatives of that office, whether we have a Republican or Democratic President in the near and far future!

Only the President is voted on by the entire population, and only he, or a future she, truly represents the nation at large!

Congress must know its place in the constitutional system, and if they are, or a faction of them are, ready to allow the full faith and credit of the American government to be breached by a failure of Congress to raise the debt limit in the next two weeks, then the President, and really any President, in the future must take executive action!

The 14th Amendment allows the President to intervene and guarantee payment of all debts, and the raising of the debt limit, and if Congress does not do it, then the President, by executive order, can and MUST do do, and let the chips fall where they may, which might, very well, include a movement by the Republican Party in the House of Representatives to impeach the President!

Obama may provoke such reckless actions by what he does, but there would never be a conviction in the US Senate, even if the GOP won a majority and controlled the chamber.

So it would be another example of what the Republicans did to Bill Clinton, which may have besmirched his historical record and his future obituary, but also greatly harmed the GOP brand.

It is time for Barack Obama to throw down the gauntlet, and say to the GOP, “Bring It On!”

“Natural Born Citizens” And The Issue of George Romney, John McCain, And Ted Cruz

With Texas Senator Ted Cruz angling to run for President, showing up in Iowa this past weekend, the question arises as to whether he is a “natural born citizen” and eligible to be our President.

The thought of Cruz being the nominee of the Republican Party, and a possible occupant of the White House, is literally horrifying, as the Texas Senator is like a bull in a china shop, out to antagonize and confront Democrats, progressives, the news media, and anyone who is not a believer, as he is, in the Tea Party Movement.

So Cruz has been criticized by John McCain and other Senate Republicans, as well as the Republican “Establishment”, as he represents a radical right wing extremism, who has no problem in making enemies, and showing a level of arrogance and hubris rare in a first term, first year Senator.

In many ways, Cruz would be worse than Barry Goldwater represented in his right wing views in the Presidential Election of 1964, showing just how far right the GOP has gone in recent years.

It seems clear to most observers that Cruz could not unite the GOP, and would be likely to be an electoral disaster against Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, or any other Democrat, but one can never be too confident or too cocky to believe that the world could not turn inside out and upside down in a time of difficult economic conditions.

This author will spend a lot of time on Cruz as we get closer to the 2016 primaries and caucuses, as he is certainly going to be an important factor in the Presidential campaign of 2016.

But right now, the question is whether Cruz, born in Canada of a US citizen mother and a Cuban immigrant father, is even eligible to run for President in the first place.

This will be the third time this issue has arisen, as Michigan Governor George Romney, a likely candidate in the Presidential Election of 1968, was born in Mexico of American Mormon parents, and John McCain, who was the GOP nominee in the Presidential Election of 2008, was born in the Panama Canal Zone.

Romney never got that close to the nomination, and not much was made of his Mexican birth at the time, while McCain had little challenge on his birth, as he was born to a military family in what was then US territory in the Panama Canal Zone.

While one might wish that Cruz was ineligible to run for President, there is unlikely to be a serious challenge to his candidacy for the Presidential Election of 2016.

It is also ironic that these three cases all involve Republicans, and yet a person born in Hawaii, Barack Obama, two years after it became the 50th state, still faces challenges from “Birthers” who contend he was born in Kenya! This would be unlikely to be an issue were Obama not a Democrat, but rather a Republican, and of course, if he was white, instead of African American! What a sad state of affairs!

The Growing Democratic Party Suburbs: The Death Knell Of The Republican Party!

Traditional views of American politics tell us that the cities, the urban areas, are overwhelmingly Democratic in loyalty; that the suburbs, which blossomed after World War II, are Republican, as people escape the city and urban problems, and are heavily white; and that the exurbs, those areas much further away from the cities, are Republican, along with the widespread land we consider rural areas.

So as long as the Republican Party wins the suburbs, the exurbs, and the rural areas,a they can be competitive and win national elections.

But it is now apparent by statistics that the suburbs are rapidly turning Democratic, as they have become no longer white “flight” havens, but instead have become a mix of Americans of all races and religions and cultures, and sadly, poverty has come to the suburbs, in some ways almost as badly as in the cities, due to the Great Recession.

The Republican refusal to accept that poverty is not the fault of citizens, but of circumstance, and rejection of the concept that everyone should be entitled to health care, is having a long range effect on Americans living in the suburbs.

It is not just economic factors, but also social factors, such as the issues of gay marriage, abortion rights, labor rights, concern about the environment, education, and the recognition of the need to adjust to a changing American society, which is also helping the Democrats, as the Republicans come across as mean spirited, biased, prejudiced, uncaring about anyone except the wealthy, and refusing to recognize the demographic changes that have developed in suburbs, as well as the cities.

So a political party that thinks it can survive and prosper on the basis of winning the exurbs and the rural areas is a party in total denial, as while there are massive land areas where these people live, the percentages of population living in those areas is miniscule, compared to the larger population numbers in the suburbs, as well as the cities.

While many Congressional districts can be gerrymandered and give the Republicans greater influence than they should rightfully have in the House of Representatives, their agenda and public persona of their leadership insures that the cities and the suburbs will be majority Democratic for a long time, giving the Presidency and the Senate to the Democrats. In the long run, this guarantees that the future Supreme Court , and even the lower courts, will be heavily influenced by Democratic Presidential appointments, which are considered and approved by the Senate, where Democrats need to fight to keep control so that they can promote the agenda of Democratic Presidents, and resist a Republican House majority based on artificial conditions, that can eventually be turned over to a Democratic Party majority over time.

Multiple Times On National Ballot Of Presidents, And Total Popular Vote Combined!

The question arises as to how many times a candidate has been on the Presidential ballot in American history, and how many total popular votes any President has received historically.

The all time record for times on the Presidential ticket, either for President or Vice President, is shared by:

Franklin D. Roosevelt–five times–1920, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944
Richard Nixon–five times—1952, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972.

John Adams was on the ballot four times–1789, 1792, 1796, 1800.

Martin Van Buren was also on the ballot four times—1832, 1836, 1840, 1848.

George H. W. Bush was also on the ballot four times–1980, 1984, 1988, 1992.

Others who have been on the ballot three times include:

Thomas Jefferson–1796, 1800, 1804
Andrew Jackson–1824, 1828, 1832
Grover Cleveland–1884, 1888, 1892
Theodore Roosevelt–1900, 1904, 1912

Additionally, several Presidential nominees who lost were on the ballot multiple times:

Henry Clay—1824, 1832, 1844
William Jennings Bryan–1896, 1900, 1908

And which President had the MOST popular votes in total for all of the elections that he was on the ballot for either President or Vice President?

One would assume Franklin D. Roosevelt or Richard Nixon, who were on the ballot more times than anyone.

Realizing there was no counted popular vote for John Adams, and a small population for Martin Van Buren’s time, the only other candidate for the most total popular votes, of these three people who were on the ballot four times, would be George H. W. Bush.

So which one of these choices—FDR, Nixon or Bush I has the distinction of the most total popular votes in American history?

The answer is, surprisingly to many, George H. W. Bush who benefited from the massive reelection victory of Ronald Reagan in 1984, followed by Nixon and FDR, realizing far fewer people were voting in the time of FDR, and more so for Nixon, but fewer in his time than in the 1980s and early 1990s, when Bush was running for national office.

So the totals for Bush were, in round numbers, a total of 192 million popular votes in two elections where he ran for Vice President, and two for President.

Richard Nixon was next, with 182 million popular votes in two elections where he ran for Vice President, and three for President.

And finally, Franklin D. Roosevelt is third, with 112 million popular votes in one election where he ran for Vice President, and four for President.