Presidential Power

The Record And Views Of Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Could Determine Constitutional Law To 2050!

Tomorrow, the contentious hearings on the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will begin in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

These will be the most controversial set of hearings since 1987 and Robert Bork, and 1991, with Clarence Thomas.

On both of those occasions, the Democrats controlled the Senate, and Bork was rejected by a vote of 58-42, while Thomas was confirmed by a vote of 52-48.

The effect of Justice Clarence Thomas for the past 27 years has been profound, with many future potential Circuit Court or Supreme Court candidates having clerked for him.

Thomas has been trying to take us back to the Articles of Confederation in many ways, but also admiring Presidential power at the same time.

This is the danger of Brett Kavanaugh, that he would take America domestically back to the Gilded Age, wiping out the New Deal, Great Society, and everything Barack Obama changed.

He comes across on the surface as a pleasant, nice man, but it is all very misleading.

This is a man who worked for Ken Starr in the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and now Kavanaugh has changed his view of Presidential power 180 degrees.

This is a man who worked in the White House for George W. Bush, and helped to plan the idea of an anti gay marriage amendment, that was part of the campaign of Bush in 2004. And now, Donald Trump has used executive privilege to prevent 100,000 documents from Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House from being made available, which is another controversy now created, as why should the Senate be unable to examine all pertinent material about a nominee?

This is a man who worked to deny September 11 victims the ability to sue for damages, limiting unsuccessfully that intent.

This is a man who in his Circuit Court decisions has come out against abortion rights, against ObamaCare, against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, against labor union rights, and willing to support limitations on voting rights.

This is a man who might be able to vote on whether Donald Trump can be indicted or prosecuted, and should recuse himself on any such matters as a conflict of interest, but likely will not do so. Justice William Rehnquist, when new on the Court as an Associate Justice, recused himself from the US Vs. Richard Nixon case in 1974 (after which Richard Nixon resigned), because Rehnquist had worked in the Justice Department under Nixon. So that famous and significant case was 8-0, not 9-0 or 8-1, and at the least, a Justice Kavanaugh should recuse himself from any case involving possible legal action against Donald Trump.

Kavanaugh could affect future decisions on campaign finance, climate change, election gerrymandering, and travel bans, and regulation of guns.

He would also create a right wing conservative Court, unlike any since 85 years ago.

And being only 53, he could be on the Supreme Court until 2050, when he would reach 85 years of age.

This would be the most long range effect of Donald Trump, no matter how much longer he remains in the Presidency, along with the 26 and more Circuit Court confirmations already accomplished by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

The Democrats’ only hope would be IF all 49 Democrats hold fast (highly unlikely); Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowksi (both pro choice on abortion) abandoning the party ties on this vote (highly unlikely); and the person who replaces John McCain in the Senate (maybe Cindy McCain) joining the two women Republican Senators in voting against Kavanaugh (highly unlikely).

Republican Party, The Party Of Conservatives Abraham Lincoln And Ronald Reagan: Really, Lincoln A Conservative?

As the Republican Party is imploding, we are hearing Florida Senator Marco Rubio and others talk about how Donald Trump is not a conservative, like Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, and that Trump cannot be allowed to inherit their conservatism.

Really?  Abraham Lincoln  a conservative?  Give us all a break!

Lincoln was NOT a conservative, as he challenged the Establishment of his time in so many ways, including opposing any expansion of slavery!

Lincoln waged war on the South, to prevent their successful secession from the Union, and that is NOT conservatism!

Lincoln moved to promote freedom of the slaves, via the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment, and that is NOT conservatism!

Lincoln promoted a major national government commitment to a transcontinental railroad, and that is NOT conservatism!

Lincoln promoted creation of a national banking system; a national currency; the first federal income tax; the first land grant colleges; the Department of Agriculture added to the Presidential cabinet; the Homestead Act; and set up the first military draft; and all of this list is NOT conservatism!

Lincoln was a Liberal, a Progressive, who believed in the use of Presidential power and authority!

Lincoln became the inspiration for another Republican President, Theodore Roosevelt, who is condemned by conservatives, because he believed, as Lincoln did, in in expansion of federal authority, and assertion of Presidential authority and Social Justice, a la Abraham Lincoln!

That is why it is two Liberals, two Progressives, Lincoln and TR, on Mount Rushmore, because they were NOT conservatives!

 

Theodore Roosevelt’s 157th Birthday A Moment To Celebrate His Great Influence On American Political Reform!

Today marks the 157th anniversary of the birth of our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt.

TR was one of our greatest Presidents, usually ranked number four or or five on most scholarly lists of Presidents, seen as “Near Great” right behind the top three, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and George Washington.

TR transformed the Presidency and started its modernization, and he believed the President could assert his authority over Congress and the courts, and use the news media to appeal to the American people, using his so called “Bully Pulpit”.

TR believed in the federal government intervening socially and economically, and he promoted new government agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration and labor reforms.

TR also supported political reforms, including the direct primary, limitation of Supreme Court terms, and the breaking of the two term tradition for the Presidency, when he ran for President on the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party line in 1912, four years after completing nearly two full terms as President as a Republican.

TR loved to call himself “Progressive”, and he promoted the Progressive Era with the power of his personality.

TR believed in the environment, and the protection of our natural resources through quadrupling of our national parks and forests, and worked to end corporate monopolies.

TR was a breath of “fresh air” in  the Presidency, which had declined in significance and quality of leadership from the time of Abraham Lincoln.  He believed in giving America a “Square Deal.”

TR has been attacked by many right wing conservatives in the Republican Party for “grabbing power”, but he had a dramatic effect on many future Presidents of both parties, setting a standard for Presidential power.

TR remains more controversial in foreign policy, where he made America a world power, but gained an image in Latin America and in Asia of being a “bully” and an imperialist, but even in that area of policy, despite controversy, it is clear that TR dramatically moved America toward its world role.

TR is also one of the most interesting personalities in the White House, a fascinating figure who has had a long range impact on the future of America, both domestically and foreign.

Controversy will remain, but TR will continue to be ranked as a Near Great President in the future!

 

 

“Turning Point” Presidencies: Those With The Greatest Impact!

With Presidents Day coming up on Monday, this author has, already, made clear which Presidents were transformative in the areas of foreign policy and diplomacy, and in domestic affairs.

Now, it is appropriate to make clear which Presidents have been the true “turning points” in American history, in the sense of changing the dynamics of Presidential leadership.

This author would say that there have been EIGHT Presidents who transformed America by their actions in office. In chronological order, they are:

Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809), who was the first President to transition from opposition leader to one who united the country in his inaugural address, adopted many ideas of the opposition as his views, and doubled the size of the nation, and kept America away from a war with Great Britain.

Andrew Jackson (1829-1837), who added greatly to Presidential power, and was the symbol of the spread of democracy to all white men, rather than just the aristocracy, and became the father of the Democratic Party.

Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865), who saved the Union by fighting the Civil War against the Confederacy, brought about the end of slavery, promoted nationalism over states rights, made the Republican Party the majority party in America, and greatly increased Presidential power

Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), who revived and expanded the Presidential office, promoted government intervention in the economy, advocated for the environment and for labor rights, and became a model for later Presidents of both parties.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945), who helped bring America out of the Great Depression by massive federal government intervention and programs through his New Deal, and took America through another great crisis (World War II), all the time greatly increasing Presidential authority.

Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969), who greatly expanded federal authority beyond beyond the New Deal through his massive Great Society domestic programs, becoming the image of modern American liberalism at its peak.

Ronald Reagan (1981-1989), who promoted a conservative “Revolution”, reversing the direction of the previous fifty years, and helped to bring about the end of rhe Cold War and the demise of the Soviet Union.

Barack Obama (2009-2017), who brought about the greatest domestic reforms, including ObamaCare, since the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, and moved to change the direction of foreign policy and fight terrorism effectively, with of course, his final record of accomplishments still in process.

These eight Presidents all ushered in a generation or more of their political party’s dominance, with the exception of TR and LBJ, who saw what they represented repudiated or replaced by the opposition party within a short span of time.

And of course, the long range effect of Barack Obama is still questionable, although at the moment, it looks likely that his agenda will be pursued by a stronger Democratic coalition seen as likely to keep the Presidency in 2016 and beyond, with either Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden as the standard bearer and inheritor of the Obama legacy!

Also, notice that these “Turning Point” Presidencies occur within a 16-40 year range from one President to another, with most within a generation of earlier such Presidents by the end of each of these Presidencies!

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.