Republican Party

Jimmy Carter: The Most Underrated, Unappreciated President Since World War II!

Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary today, a year and a half shorter in duration then George H.W. and Barbara Bush’s marriage, the two longest in Presidential history!

Both George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter have reached the magic age of 90, with Bush 91 on June 8, and Carter to be 91 on October 1.

It is a blessing that both are still with us, but it would seem as if Jimmy Carter is likely to outlive Bush, based on health conditions right now.

Bush is being, properly, appreciated in his 90s, but Carter remains the most underrated, unappreciated President since World War II.

The critics, mostly Republicans, conservatives, and right wing supporters of Israel’s often extremist government, are always on the attack, and this blogger has heard from audience members when he gives lectures, that Jimmy Carter is an anti Semite, which is farthest from the truth!

Jimmy Carter could be said to be anti Israel’s government, when it has been right wing extremist, as for instance, it is now under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But people forget how he managed to bring about the only enduring moment in the Middle East since World War II–the Camp David Accords—which brought together former warriors and enemies, Anwar Sadat of Eyypt and Menachim Begin of Israel, despite their being far apart on the issues of Middle East peace.

This is the most impressive and enduring moment of the Carter Presidency, and is not fully appreciated for what it was and is, even today! And Carter is most certainly NOT an anti Semite, and there are many Jews in America who are not pro Israel automatically when the government there is right wing extremist as it is now!

Carter also brought about the Panama Canal Treaty, an historic event; promoted Human Rights, a fundamental principle of this man of high morality, who would eventually win the Nobel Peace Prize; and worked to free the hostages in Iran peacefully, as frustrating as that was, rather than bomb Iran and see all 52 Americans killed in response, the likely result had he gone “hawkish”.

If the attempted rescue in April 1980 had worked out, it is likely that Jimmy Carter would have had a second term, and Ronald Reagan would be a footnote in history!

Carter also became the third best environmental President in American history, after Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon; promoted free elections, human rights, democracy all over the world through the Carter Center; condemned violence against women and mistreatment of the poor around the world; emphasized the spreading of health care and education to the deprived parts of the world; and even condemned the most extreme right elements of his own Baptist faith.

He became the most activist former President in American history, and has survived longer after his time in office than any President, now going on 34.5 years on July 20. And his Vice President, Walter Mondale, survives at 87.5 years of age, making them the longest lasting Presidential-Vice Presidential team ever in American history!

Jimmy Carter is not perfect, in or out of office, but he is a very decent man, well meaning, brilliant in intellect, and the author of 27 books, including his new book, released today, entitled: “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety”, a worthwhile read!

It is clear that only when he passes from the scene, like Harry Truman, will he come to be appreciated for the great man and human being he is, always trying to do his best, but humble enough to be willing to concede his shortcomings, much of which he expresses in this new book!

Former New York Governor George Pataki: Ignored, Forgotten, But Most Sensible, Centrist Republican In Presidential Race

It used to be that New York Governors, whether Democrats or Republicans, were well respected and regarded in national politics.

Just in the last century, we had Charles Evans Hughes, Alfred E. Smith, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Thomas E. Dewey all Presidential nominees; and Nelson Rockefeller and Mario Cuomo seen as possible Presidential choices.

Such was not the case with George Pataki, Governor from 1995-2007, who did the magical feat of defeating Mario Cuomo, who no one thought could be defeated for a fourth term in 1994; and who was then overshadowed by two New York City Mayors, Rudy Guilani and Michael Bloomberg, who were more exciting personalities.

But Pataki, after being forgotten for nearly a decade, and after a Governorship that looks a whole lot better after the disasters of his successors in the Governorship–Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson—is now back in politics as number 16 out of 16 Republican Presidential contenders, with ZERO chance of being the nominee, and in the bottom of the polls, often not scoring even one percent.

Having said that, Pataki is truly a “profile in courage”, in that he is challenging Donald Trump’s hate filled comments about Mexican immigration, in a way no one else is doing so, and has challenged Trump to a debate on that topic.

Of course, Pataki wants to be seen as significant, and it is clear Trump will not answer the challenge.

But Pataki represents the now dormant “Rockefeller” wing of the Republican Party, the moderate centrist Republican, who actually believes in immigration reform, abortion rights, acceptance of gay marriage, belief in environmental protection. and sensible gun control.

With a candidate such as Pataki, the GOP would have a revival back to its glorious past, instead of teetering on the brink of disaster, and its demise in the near future!

The “Safety Net”: 80 Years Of Social Security, 50 Years Of Medicare, 5 Years Of ObamaCare!

The nation is marking 80 years of Social Security, brought about by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935; 50 years of Medicare, brought about by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965; and five years of ObamaCare, brought about by Barack Obama in 2010.

These basic aspects of the “Safety Net” were brought about by courageous Democratic Presidents generations apart, long after many European nations, including Great Britain, France, Germany and several Scandinavian nations had done so.

We are a better country because of these programs, and yet, the Republican Party would love to destroy the guarantees of these programs, and many conservatives have warred on Social Security and Medicare since they were enacted, just as they refuse to accept ObamaCare at a point where it has been upheld twice by the Supreme Court, and is actually working.

Intelligent voters are not going to forget, or be allowed to forget by Democrats, the true history of the passage of the “Safety Net”, and the constant barrage of attacks on these signature achievements by conservatives and the Republican Party!

Donald Trump The Achilles Heel Of The Republican Party: A Nightmare Scenario In The Making

Donald Trump has become the center of attention over his racist, nativist remarks about Mexicans and Mexican Americans, and he has become the Achilles Heel of the Republican Party.

If they could, Republicans would love to kick Trump out of the race, but they cannot do that legally.

All they can do is criticize and attack him, but so far, they have been reluctant to stir up Trump’s temper, as Trump uncontrolled is a scary thing.

Trump is like a bull in a China shop, and he will be the center of attention in the first Republican debate, sponsored by Fox News Channel.

Only ten candidates, not 16, will be allowed on the debate stage, meaning it is likely that such leading party figures as John Kasich of Ohio, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana will not be there, even though the first debate will be in Ohio, and John Kasich, its Governor, and one of the more solid candidates, should be there!

Trump has no limits in his attacks on fellow Republicans, and has started it already, and it will be, certainly, an entertaining event.

The fact that Trump is second in polls is shocking, but not surprising, as it is easy to find at least 12-15 percent of the American people who are clueless about politics, or have a mean spirit which Trump well represents.

The rhetoric will be flying at that first debate and in future debates, and it will be good theater, but not good for the nation, as to imagine Trump being the GOP nominee is a nightmare scenario.

But what is more likely, as attacks mount on Trump, and as he gets more frustrated and furious, that he could mount a third party challenge to both the Republicans and the Democrats.

If that happens, the Republicans will suffer a defeat similar to Ross Perot’s effect on George H. W. Bush in 1992, and potentially similar to Theodore Roosevelt’s effect on William Howard Taft in 1912!

It would be extremely ironic if Hillary Clinton benefited from this, as her husband, Bill Clinton, did so in 1992!

Four Sitting Republican Governors Running For President, Only One Has Positive Support From His State’s Voters!

Four sitting Republican Governors are running for President, despite the fact that three of them have very low public opinion ratings in recent polls.

Lowest in public opinion ratings is Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

Next lowest in public opinion ratings is Chris Christie of New Jersey.

A bit higher but still in negative territory is Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who is expected to announce for President on July 13.

Only John Kasich of Ohio, expected to announce for President on July 21, and the only one of the four Governors who has a solid record accomplishment over a long period of time, ranks high in public opinion ratings.

It is amazing how ego overcomes reality, that a state dislikes its governor, wants him to do his job much better, but all that these people do is promote their own advancement at the expense of the citizens who elected them, and now have second thoughts!

The Odd, Unusual History Of Democratic Presidential Contenders For 2016

It is not well known or recognized, but it is reality that more than half of the Democratic Presidential contenders for 2016 were actually NOT always identified as Democrats.

We have Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the most successful Independent and Socialist in Congress in American history! He has allied with the Democrats in caucuses for years, but only finally declared himself a Democrat when he announced his candidacy for President.

We have Lincoln Chafee, who is the son of a former Republican Senator, John Chafee, who was also a Richard Nixon cabinet member as Secretary of the Navy in the 1970s; succeeded his father in the Senate as a Republican; then became an Independent when he ran for Governor of Rhode Island; and only in 2013 switched his loyalties to the Democratic Party.

We have newly announced former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, who switched from Republican to Democrat before running for the Senate in 2006, but was a Ronald Reagan cabinet member as Secretary of the Navy in the 1980s, just as John Chafee was more than a decade earlier.

And then we have Hillary Clinton, who as a high school student was a supporter of Republican Barry Goldwater for President in 1964, although she never registered as a Republican!

Only Martin O’Malley of Maryland and likely future candidate Joe Biden have an “unblemished” record as Democrats throughout their lives!

Serious Republican Presidential Contenders: Part II—The Importance Of Florida And Ohio

We have, so far, examined 13 of the 16 Republican Presidential contenders, most of whom could be considered a “Clown Bus”!

Only four of the 16 are serious contenders, and so far we have looked at Scott Walker, the Governor of Wisconsin, who President Obama would like to see as the nominee of the opposition party, as he believes Walker’s terrible economic record, his anti labor stance, and his dramatic attack on the University of Wisconsin budget, along with the connection to the Koch Brothers, would make him easy to defeat.

And then there are the three remaining contenders, from crucial swing states Florida and Ohio, so arguably the three best primed to have a real chance to win the Presidency.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush, brother and son of two earlier Presidents named Bush, comes across as more moderate, more mainstream than just about any other contender, but he had a mixed record as Florida Governor, and has been out of office for ten years by 2016, and last ran 14 years ago by 2016. He is, certainly, seen as a man among boys, but he also is too close to the neoconservatives who took us into endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is also exhaustion at having a third President Bush, after the disastrous Presidency of his brother, George W. Bush.

Then we have the youthful, good looking, charismatic Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who is Cuban American, but much more appealing and less extreme than fellow Cuban American Ted Cruz of Texas. But Rubio has come across often as not too bright; has distorted the story of his parents leaving Cuba to make it seem as if it happened under Fidel Castro, when it happened two years earlier; has come across as having no guts on immigration reform; and has had issues with his finances and his connections with Norman Bramam, a South Florida auto dealer and billionaire. Some see him as the equivalent of a Republican Barack Obama or John F. Kennedy, but that is pure illusion.

And then we have the Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, who had 18 years in the House of Representatives, and was House Budget Committee Chairman, and has accepted Medicaid under ObamaCare as Governor of Ohio since 2011. He is very personable, engaging, and experienced, including recently, in a way that no other GOP contender can match him. And he comes from the crucial swing state of Ohio, more crucial than Florida, another swing state. And why is Ohio more important than Ohio? The answer is that every single Republican President from Abraham Lincoln to George W. Bush has won Ohio, so it is an essential state on the road to victory.

While all three of the above are serious contenders for the White House, it is clear that John Kasich would be the strongest, most competitive nominee imaginable, similar to what Jon Huntsman was in 2012. But that is precisely why the Republicans, almost certainly, will NOT select Kasich.

In any case, the Republican Party is on the road to defeat for the White House, and Donald Trump only further complicates that whole situation.

Run, Joe, Run! Arguments For Joe Biden To Announce For President!

The death of Joe Biden’s son, Beau Biden, on May 30, seemed to clinch that Joe Biden would NOT run for President, and would decide to spend more time with his family 18 months from now, when his Vice Presidency comes to an end.

Being that he will be 74 by Election Day in 2016, it would seem to make sense that it would be time for Joe to “hang up his cleats”, and end his brilliant 44 year public career.

But now, the hints are strong that Joe Biden will NOT give up on being President, as it is said that his dying son urged him to go for what he has wanted all of his life.

It seems likely now that Joe Biden might announce his candidacy in August, and he seems to have strong support and a “Draft Biden” movement is actively recruiting suppoort.

It might seem surprising that after the loss of his beloved son, that Joe would decide to run, but one must understand that politics is his lifeblood!

One has a feeling that if he decides not to run, that he might still seek a role in the next Democratic administration, most likely that of good friend Hillary Clinton.

Somehow, the thought of Joe and Hillary openly setting out to destroy each other seems unlikely, just as Bernie Sanders has been very careful in his criticism. This is NOT the Republican Party, where everyone has knives out to destroy all opponents. A race of Hillary, Joe and Bernie could be the most civil race imaginable, and do a lot of good for the nation, setting a standard of decent behavior while seeking the Presidency. This is something everyone who has any intelligence and class should wish for and want!

And as much as Hillary has great experiences, and Bernie has great principles and decency, who can argue that Joe is not even better qualified, and has a genuineness, an authenticity that cannot be matched by any other candidate?

After all, Joe has had 44 years of experience, unmatched by ANYONE! He knows how to get along with the opposition, and is well liked and respected by Republicans who may disagree on policy, but really admire the guy! He has been invaluable as Vice President, and has great impact on policy. He is seen as the second most influential Vice President in American history, after Walter Mondale under Jimmy Carter.

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina just voiced the thought of how great a guy Joe is, how it is not possible for anyone not to like and admire him, even if totally disagreeing on policy! And remember that Graham is a potential Presidential opponent!

Joe is a very talented leader who led on the fight against Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork in 1987, causing Anthony Kennedy to be on the Court and be involved in the gay rights and gay marriage cases, which Bork would never have supported. And Biden came out for gay marriage before Barack Obama, pushing him into support that might not have happened otherwise!

Joe is often right on foreign affairs, and told us ten years ago that Iraq should be three nations–Kurds, Shiite, and Sunni areas, and he has been proved right on that.

Joe is perceptive, visionary, and as a person, he is lovable, really caring about people, always ready with a big smile and a kind word! It recently came out that Joe encouraged a young man years ago who had trouble with stuttering, as Joe did when he was young, and now that man is telling all of us the impact Joe had on his life, giving him encouragement, and has published the handwritten letter Joe sent him a long time ago that changed his life! This is very inspirational stuff, no question about it, as Joe is very SPECIAL!

Sure, he has faults, such as sometimes “stupid” statements and too much “hands on” with women in public situations, but the important point is that there is no hint that he is anything but loyal to his wife, Dr Jill Biden. And no one is more devoted to his family, including his children and grandchildren.

No one who meets Joe has ever seen him as other than a “good guy”, and he has the enthusiasm about public affairs and public policy of a Hubert H. Humphrey!

His age is not a factor if we are considering so many others in both parties who are in their 70s or near 70, as Hillary Clinton is, for example.

There is no good argument for Joe against running, and if he loses the nomination, he will be gracious in defeat, and willing to help the next President at, who knows, maybe being Secretary of State or some other important position, as hie knowledge base and his experience make him useful into the future.

Joe Biden is not the past; he is the present and the future, and let us wish good luck in his likely quest for the Presidency, and whatever happens, he will have given it a “good fight”!

The 10 Worst, Most Disastrous Supreme Court Justices Since 1900

The Supreme Court has had 58 of its 112 members since 1900, with 9 of them being Chief Justices, and 4 of those also having earlier served as Associate Justices.

It is more fun to discuss the greatest Supreme Court Justices since 1900, as done in an earlier blog post, but here are the 10 worst, most disastrous Supreme Court Justices, listed chronologically,

Willis Van Devanter
James Clark McReynolds
George Sutherland
Pierce Butler
Fred M. Vinson
Tom C. Clark
Lewis F. Powell, Jr.
Antonin Scalia
Clarence Thomas
Samuel Alito

The first four are known as the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”, united against the New Deal, and causing Franklin D. Roosevelt to become engaged in the controversial Court Packing Plan of 1937. Van Devanter was appointed by William Howard Taft; McReynolds by Woodrow Wilson; and Sutherland and Butler by Warren G. Harding.

Vinson and Clark were appointed by Harry Truman, with judicial appointments one area that Truman was rated as poor in selection, despite other areas of strength in his Presidency.

Powell was selected by Richard Nixon; Scalia by Ronald Reagan; Thomas by George H. W. Bush; and Alito by George W. Bush.

Powell wrote a memorandum that had a long range influence, promoting the development of right wing think tanks, and forecasting the eventual Citizens United Supreme Court decision of 2010, granting corporations and wealthy individuals the right to engage in politics without any financial limitations. He saw those who wished to regulate business as dangers to unregulated capitalism, and argued for aggressive actions against any regulatory power by governments at all levels. This memorandum was sent before Powell was appointed to the Supreme Court, and was not generally known about until recent years, after his death.

So 3 of the 10 worst Justices were selected by Democrats, and the other 7 by Republicans, a total of 8 Presidents involved in these terrible selections.

The 15 Greatest Supreme Court Justices Since 1900

The Supreme Court has become more controversial than ever in recent years, and the decisions of the John Roberts Court in 2015 only added fuel to the fire, regarding who the greatest and worst Supreme Court Justices have been in American history.

We have had 112 Supreme Court Justices, and 17 Chief Justices, including 5 who served as Associate Justice as well.

58 Justices have served since 1900, with a few selected before that date but serving into the 20th century. This includes 9 Chief Justices, including four who had served as Associate Justices of the Supreme Court.

If one had to select the top 15 Supreme Court Justices since 1900, without ranking them specifically, but instead creating a list chronologically, they would be listed as follows:

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Charles Evans Hughes
Louis Brandeis
Harlan Fiske Stone
Benjamin Cardozo
Hugo Black
Felix Frankfurter
William O. Douglas
Earl Warren
William J. Brennan, Jr.
Thurgood Marshall
Harry Blackmun
John Paul Stevens
Sandra Day O’Connor
Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Note that 9 of these 15 Supreme Court Justices were appointed by Republicans—Holmes by Theodore Roosevelt; Hughes by William Howard Taft and then elevated to Chief Justice by Herbert Hoover; Stone by Calvin Coolidge; Cardozo by Herbert Hoover; Warren and Brennan by Dwight D. Eisenhower; Blackmun by Richard Nixon; Stevens by Gerald Ford; and O’Connor by Ronald Reagan.

Democratic Presidents chose the following: Brandeis by Woodrow Wilson; Black, Frankfurter and Douglas by Franklin D. Roosevelt; Stone elevated to Chief Justice by FDR; Marshall by Lyndon B. Johnson; and Ginsburg by Bill Clinton.