Presidential Election of 2012

July 30, 1965 To July 30, 2015: 50 Years Of Medicare!

Today is the 50the Anniversary of Medicare, finally brought about by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965.

An idea originally proposed by Theodore Roosevelt in his Progressive (Bull Moose) Party campaign of 1912; further conceptualized by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the mid 1930s, but thought to be moving too rapidly for Congress, when there was the fight over Social Security in 1935; and promoted by Harry Truman in his promotion of his Fair Deal, it was signed into law with former President Truman sitting next to Johnson at the Truman Museum and Library in Independence, Missouri.

Johnson accomplished what John F. Kennedy wanted to fulfill in his New Frontier agenda, but was unable to do because of the opposition of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Wilbur Mills of Arkansas, but Johnson convinced Mills to move ahead, as part of LBJ’s great “wheeler dealer” abilities to promote his Great Society.

Medicare was a “God send” to millions of senior citizens, who no longer had to go into poverty as a result of medical and health issues, and it made the last years of the elderly a lot less stressful and worrisome.

Of course, the issue of cost overruns and corruption has arisen, and with people living longer, there is a long term problem in Medicare, but careful administration and some tax increases will manage to keep Medicare afloat for the long run, although present House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential running mate in 2012), wants to phase it out over time.

Many Republicans want this, but Democrats will fight tooth and nail to insure the continuation and financial stability of the greatest social program since Social Security, an essential part of the “safety net”, and part of the social justice agenda of liberals and progressives since the time of Theodore Roosevelt!

The Best Republican In 2012: Jon Huntsman! The Best Republican In 2016: John Kasich! But Not An Endorsement!

There is no debate that former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman was the best Republican in the Presidential campaign of 2012. He had the best credentials, including real foreign policy expertise, and unwillingness to take crazy, extremist stands on issues or to make nutty statements. Of course, it got him nowhere, and he gave up running for President again long ago!

Now in 2016, there is no question that out of a horrible group of potential Republican Presidential candidates that Ohio Governor and former House Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich is easily the best potential nominee in 2016.

Kasich was very late in announcing, doing so only this week, and being ignored in all of the hype about Donald Trump, who has taken all of the oxygen out of the room with his rantings and ravings, and insults against anyone who criticizes him, whether fellow Republican contenders or the news media.

But Kasich is the most experienced of all of the potential GOP nominees, and has avoided coming across as a right wing extremist in his statements. He is clearly a conservative, but considered in the “mainstream”, whatever that means.

No one is saying, certainly not this blogger, that he is about to vote for John Kasich if he was the GOP nominee.

And no one is saying that everything he has said and done is endorsed or acceptable. He has shortcomings as everyone else does, but in comparison, he comes across as the best alternative IF the Republicans were to win the Presidential Election of 2016. His stands on immigration, education, and Medicaid make him better than any alternative the Republicans have.

In many ways, John Kasich is the alternative to Jeb Bush, to whom he has been compared, but has much more experience than Bush has had, and avoids the connection to the Bush name.

And lately, Jeb Bush has been making horrible statements of his views, which seem to be catering to the Tea Party crowd, while Kasich so far is seen as less willing to cater.

Having said that, Kasich has just made some terrible statements about climate change (that nothing should be done as it is God’s will) and about military intervention in the Middle East, making one worry that he could be linking up with the neoconservatives, who took us into the Iraq War, similar in that regard to Jeb Bush.

So again, this is not an endorsement, but simply recognition that were the nation forced to accept a Republican President, John Kasich is the best of a terrible crop of candidates!

A Rare Moment Of Courage And True Leadership: Rick Perry Vs. Donald Trump

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, the longest serving in state history, and one of the longest serving Governors in American history with 14 years in office, has had his critics and naysayers, and still does, as he pursues, for the second time, the Republican nomination for President.

Perry made a fool of himself in the 2011 Republican debate, where he could not remember the third agency he wanted to shut down, and he was ridiculed ever after for that, and despite his being the front runner for a short time in that 2012 Presidential race, he collapsed quickly, and it was thought he would never again seek the Presidency.

But then, Perry bought impressive spectacles, and he looks better, and he has chosen to run again, claiming health issues were a factor in his poor performance at that embarrassing debate event.

Perry still seems like a lightweight in many ways, and seems to have little chance to be the Republican nominee.

But in his defense, Perry defended in state tuition to DREAM kids, young people who, technically, are not eligible to be citizens, defending what he had done in challenge to the mean spirit of Mitt Romney, who talked about “self deportation”, which really hurt his cause in 2012.

Now, Perry has been very strong in his denunciation of Donald Trump, for his racist and nativist attacks on Mexico and Mexican American immigrants, and has, courageously, spoken about the great contributions that Mexican immigrants and others from Latin America have brought to the United States.

Perry has improved his reputation by doing so, and despite his shortcomings and the high likelihood that he is going nowhere in the Presidential race, this is a time to commend him, praise him, and say he comes across, at the least, as a more decent man, a man of character, than many others, including his own state’s Senator Ted Cruz; Mike Huckabee; Rick Santourm; Bobby Jindal; and many in the Republican Party in the House of Representatives!

Two Prime Vice Presidential Contenders For Hillary Clinton: Julian Castro And Thomas Perez

IF Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Presidential candidate in 2016, a key factor in helping her to win over any Republican Presidential rival would be selecting a Vice Presidential running mate with good credentials and Latino ancestry.

There are two prime candidates working in President Barack Obama’s cabinet, and either of them would make a great running mate and possible Presidential successor.

The first is Julian Castro, Mexican American and former Mayor of San Antonio, the sixth largest city in America, who is now Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Castro’s twin brother Joaquin is a Texas Congressman, who is often seen as prime material for the US Senate in a race against Senator Ted Cruz in 2018. But Julian Castro, who can speak Spanish, and would be only 42 on Election Day 2016, would be a great candidate to draw widespread Hispanic and Latino support, particularly if Jeb Bush, who can speak fluent Spanish, or Florida Senator Marco Rubio, is the Republican nominee for President.

The second possibility is Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, who speaks fluent Spanish and is of Dominican ancestry, and was part of the administration of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, and will be 55 on Election Day 2016. Perez worked in the offices of the Justice Department and Department of Health and Human Services for many years before being in the O’Malley government in that state’s Labor Department, and then becoming Obama’s Assistant Attorney General, and then chosen to be Secretary of Labor in 2013.

Either Castro or Perez would be able to appeal for an even larger Hispanic-Latino support of the Democratic Party, already over 70 percent for Barack Obama in 2012!

The Clown Bus Group Of Republican Presidential Contenders, Part III: The US Senate

In two earlier entries, we have discussed five “losers”, who were or are Republican Governors, but are not to be seen seriously as qualified to be President for various reasons; and three non office holders who think their medical and business careers make them Presidential material, but only in their deluded minds.

In Part III today, we will look at four figures who have served in the US Senate, three still there, and one who left nearly a decade ago.

First, we have Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a look alike for Joseph McCarthy, the old Communist witch hunter of the 1950s. Cruz had no problem shutting down the government in 2013, and continues to call for every part of ObamaCare to be repealed, despite the fact that Texas has more people who have no health care, including Medicaid. Cruz is a very evil man; a very nasty man; a very dangerous man to give executive power to; a man who thinks he is extremely brilliant, simply based on his Princeton and Harvard Law School degrees; a Senator disliked by just about all of his Republican colleagues; a man who would divide America and the Republican Party with his destructive Tea Party extremism.

Then we have Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who is the son of former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the libertarian champion. The two Pauls have a lot of young people who seem to adore them, as they both hate government, and both are isolationists in foreign policy. Rand Paul is an optometrist, who set up his own association, rather than go through the national organization, and it makes one wonder as to his true skill as an eye doctor. He has blundered on so many issues, and does not come across as very bright; has shown lack of concern for the poor in his own state; has made statements against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as being enforceable; has led filibusters in the Senate that have made one wonder about his ability to get along with others; but at the same time, has shown concern about privacy rights and the issue of minor drug offenses that has imprisoned so many young people, many of them African American. So despite his faults, he has some redeeming values, but he is not highly regarded by the Republican establishment, and to believe a libertarian will be nominated and elected President requires hallucinations by those who imagine such an event happening.

Then we have South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who is the major “hawk” in the Senate, along with his good friend, Arizona Senator John McCain. There is not a war or country that Graham and McCain do not wish to intervene in, and both are diametrically the opposite of Rand Paul on foreign policy. While Graham has some more humane views on some issues domestically, he has no real support that could win him the nomination for the Presidency, and many hold it against him that when in the House of Representatives, he led the move toward impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998.

And then we have former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who lost his Senate seat in 2006 by a landslide; who won the Iowa Caucuses in 2012; but who is a right wing extremist on social issues, and is committed to disobey a Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, which is pending, if he becomes President. Santorum is infamous for outrageous, narrow minded views, as he is the favorite of the Religious Right, and his social views would take back America to many decades earlier. His chances of being the nominee are the lowest of these four Senators, all of whom are embarrassments to the historical traditions of the party of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower!

So we have covered now 12 of 16 potential Republican nominees, and further analysis of the four remaining candidates—one Senator, one former Governor, and two sitting Governors—will be forthcoming soon.

The Clown Bus Group Of Republican Presidential Contenders: An Embarrassment To The Republican Party’s History: Part I

With Hillary Clinton having begun her active campaign for the Presidency yesterday, it is time to begin a serious examination of the “Clown Bus” group of Republican Presidential contenders, all of which believe they are qualified to be her opponent in the Presidential Election of 2016. The vast majority are totally pitiful!

We have Chris Christie who faces possible indictment at some point on the “Bridgegate Scandal” about the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey; who has a very low public opinion rating in his state; who has totally messed up the finances of New Jersey; who has a belligerent, bullyish personality; and who would be a health crisis in the making, with his extreme weight matching that of President William Howard Taft, but Christie not having the intelligence and accomplishments of the 27th President.

We have Rick Perry, who is actually under indictment for corruption in Texas, making him the first indicted candidate for President in American history; who was a total disaster in his 2012 Presidential run, not being able to remember which agencies of the federal government he wished to eliminate; who has new glasses in the past year, which make him look intellectual, but still do not make him intellectual in reality; who promoted the idea of Texas secession from the Union a few years ago; and who has prevented more poor people from having health care under Medicaid than any other Republican governor.

We have George Pataki, who is more moderate in his record as New York Governor than any of his opponents, but despite September 11, is hardly remembered, while NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani is still someone noticed and remembered. Pataki, whose most notable accomplishment was to defeat Mario Cuomo’s fourth term bid for Governor in 1994, has absolutely no chance to be the nominee, and one wonders why he did not try for the Presidency closer to his leaving the Governorship in 2006, such as in 2008 or 2012, rather than waiting till now.

We have Bobby Jindal, who has been a total disaster for Louisiana government; has tied himself to right wing evangelical Christianity in an extreme way; has destroyed the public school system in his state; has an extremely low public opinion rating in his state; and has made many reckless statements that one wonders about his sanity at times, including promoting the study of creationism in science classes. He also comes across as extremely mean spirited and intolerant!

We have Mike Huckabee, who won the Iowa Caucuses in 2008 and seemed moderate at the time, but since then, went to Fox News Channel as a talk show host, and it seemed to infect his brain. Huckabee has become a right wing whacko, evoking extremist Christianity; making ridiculous and divisive statements about women, gay rights and marriage; and embracing defense of reality show crazies, along with asserting he would not enforce Supreme Court decisions that he does not agree with, a shocking sense of lawlessness by anyone who would wish to be President!

The author will comment on other contenders in a Part II and Part III over the short haul, and then make clear which candidates have real legitimacy!

Long Out Of Office Republican Presidential Contenders, Or Never In Office: A Record Number In History!

It is not totally uncommon for politicians who have left office to run for President years later.

Abraham Lincoln had not been in public office for 12 years, after serving one term in the House of Representatives, when he ran for and won the Presidency in 1860.

Richard Nixon had not been in public office for 8 years, although he ran for California Governor two years after leaving the Vice Presidency in 1960, and won the Presidency in 1968.

Ronald Reagan had not been in public office for 6 years, although he ran unsuccessfully for the Presidential nomination of his party two years after leaving the Governorship, and won the Presidency in 1980.

But now, in 2015, we have a whole slew of candidates out of public office for a long time.

Jeb Bush left the Florida Governorship in 2006, so it will be ten years since he held office.

Rick Santorum lost his Pennsylvania Senate seat in 2006, so it will be ten years since he held office, although he ran for the Presidential nomination of his party in 2012.

Mike Huckabee left the Arkansas Governorship in 2006, so it will be ten years since he held office, although he ran for the Presidential nomination of his party in 2008.

George Pataki left the New York Governorship in 2006, so it will be ten years since he held office.

Jim Gilmore left the Virginia Governorship in 2001, so it will be 15 years since he held office, although he ran briefly for the Presidential nomination of his party in 2008, and lost an attempt at a Senate race in 2008, as well.

Bob Ehrlich left the Maryland Governorship in 2006, so it will be ten years since he held office, although he ran for reelection in 2006 and lost, and tried again for the Governorship in 2010 and lost both times to Martin O’Malley.

This is a record number of candidates who have been out of office for so long, 10-15 years in duration.

Also, three candidates have NEVER held public office–Carly Fiorina, Dr. Benjamin Carson, and Donald Trump.

So NINE potential candidates out of what are now a potential 18-19 in total have long ago left office, or never held office!

Former Senator Russ Feingold, In LaFollette Progressive Tradition, Attempting Return To Senate In 2016 Election!

Wisconsin, the home of LaFollette progressivism a century ago, and the home of many progressive leaders since “Fighting Bob” LaFollette became the most prominent progressive in America, has had difficult times recently with the election of Scott Walker as Governor and Ron Johnson as Senator, defeating Senator Russ Feingold, one of the finest public servants ever to grace Wisconsin government and the US Senate, in the 2010 midterm elections.

Between Congressman Paul Ryan being the Vice Presidential nominee for Mitt Romney in the Presidential Election of 2012 and being elevated to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman in 2015; and Governor Walker hoping to be the Republican Presidential nominee in 2016; along with the backward, regressive record of Senator Johnson, Wisconsin has been dealt a terrible hand, and it is time to move to return Wisconsin to its proud progressive tradition!

That can be accomplished by working to prevent Scott Walker from being the GOP Presidential nominee, and by bringing Russ Feingold back to the US Senate, kicking Ron Johnson out!

There is great hope for change, now that Feingold has decided to attempt a return to his Senate seat, which he honored with an outstanding record from 1993-2011!

Feingold can be part of the mission of the Democrats to return to control of the US Senate in the 2016 Congressional elections. He has been one of the most outstanding members of the US Senate in the past two decades, and his defeat was a major blow that helped to undermine any chance of Wisconsin continuing its traditional role as a state which led the nation in so many ways!

The Republican Presidential Circus—22 Potential Nominees May Compete In The 2016 Caucuses And Primaries!

The Republican Party is a true circus, with a new potential number of people announcing for President numbering TWENTY TWO—Yes, TWENTY TWO!

If that happens, the debates that will take place in the next year will be a true mockery, a true example of total loss of any respectability of the political process, and will insure that the Republican Party will go down to defeat, probably with a greater electoral vote loss than in 2012, and possibly, greater than 2008! The 206 electoral votes won by Mitt Romney and the 173 won by John McCain might be lower than either number!

The whole idea that TWENTY TWO possible candidates think they are qualified to be President is beyond any reason.

The traditional list that has been drawn up includes:

Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham

Former Senator Rick Santorum

Governors Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Mike Pence, Rick Snyder, John Kasich

Former Governors Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry

Pediatric Surgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson

Former Hewlett Packard Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina

Now add: former New York Governor George Pataki, Businessman Donald Trump, former UN Ambassador John Bolton; New York Congressman Peter King; former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore; former Maryland Governor Bob Erhlich

The potential for such chaos will totally turn off voters, all to the advantage of the Democratic Party!

The Republican “Appeal” To Hispanics/Latinos Of Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz: Greatly Exaggerated!

A lot of propaganda is going around stating that Republicans have a real chance to gain the backing of Hispanics/Latinos in the 2016 Presidential race! Really?

The Republican Party has done everything possible to alienate Hispanics/Latinos, including opposition to the DREAM Act; unwillingness to change immigration policy; insulting statements about Hispanics/Latinos from many Tea Party elements; and hostile policies toward issues that matter to Hispanics/Latinos in states, such as Arizona, Texas, and North Carolina.

So the argument goes that Jeb Bush, brother of former President George W. Bush, can, somehow, win the vote of Hispanics/Latinos because, after all, George W. was able to do so, and also, Jeb’s wife is Mexican-American, and Jeb speaks good Spanish.

Also, it is said that Marco Rubio, who speaks fluent Spanish, can appeal to Hispanics/Latinos; and that Ted Cruz, who does not speak Spanish, can also do so, simply because they are both Hispanics, of Cuban ancestry.

This assumption is totally false, as more than 70 percent of Hispanics-Latinos voted for Barack Obama in 2012, and neither George W. Bush nor John McCain could gain more than 40 percent of their vote, and both George W. and McCain were supportive of, and sympathetic to Hispanic/Latino issues.

What has the GOP done since 2008 to appeal to Hispanics/Latinos? Absolutely nothing, and the assumption, somehow, that the Republicans can, somehow, transform reality, is based on the false assumption that Rubio and Cruz, being Cubans, can appeal to Mexican-Americans, Puerto Rican Americans, and to other Hispanic/Latino groups from other nations of Latin America.

Only Cubans, who are about 3.7 percent of all Hispanics/Latinos have consistently voted Republican, and even their percentage voting Republican has changed over the 55 years since Fidel Castro came to power, with younger Cuban-Americans starting to wander from the commitment to Republicans that their grandparents and parents have had.

Mexican Americans, numbering about 64 percent of all Hispanics/Latinos, have never cared about the Republican Party, and neither have Puerto Rican Americans, who number about 9.4 percent, nor 3.8 percent who are from El Salvador, or 3.1 percent who are from the Dominican Republic, or any of the other smaller numbers of people from other nations in Latin America.