Richard Lugar

44 Retired US Senators Speak Out On Constitutional Crisis, Including Principled Republicans

The Washington Post published two days ago an op-ed editorial by 44 retired US Senators, calling on the present members of the Senate to show guts and courage and speak up to defend democracy and the Constitution, from the threats presented by President Donald Trump.

Eleven of those 44 were Republicans, of all stripes and beliefs, including Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado; William Cohen of Maine; Alfonse D’Amato of New York;  John Danforth of Missouri; David Durenberger of Minnesota; Chuck Hagel of Nebraska; Richard Lugar of Indiana; Larry Pressler of South Dakota; Alan Simpson of Wyoming; John Warner of Virginia; and Lowell Weicker of Connecticut.

The other 33 were Democrats, including such luminaries as Evan Bayh of Indiana; Bill Bradley of New Jersey; Tom Daschle of South Dakota; Chris Dodd of Connecticut; Russ Feingold of Wisconsin; Bob Graham of Florida; Tom Harkin of Iowa; Gary Hart of Colorado; Bob Kerrey of Nebraska; John Kerry of Massachusetts; Joe Lieberman of Connecticut; Barbara Mikulski of Maryland; Sam Nunn of Georgia; Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia; and Mark Udall of Colorado.

America needs Republicans in the Senate, now 53 of them, to stop defending Donald Trump, and start concerning themselves with the preservation of American democracy.  They need to speak up and challenge and confront Donald Trump and stop accepting his violations of the Constitution.

If they do not, they will  be relegated to the dustbin of history, and the Republican party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan, Ford, and H. W. Bush will die of lack of principle and commitment.

Longest Serving US Senators In American History, Six Terms And More!

25 United States Senators have served six terms or close to 36 years out of 1, 963 individuals who have served in the upper body of Congress.

17 0f these 25 served as Democrats, with 8 serving as Republicans.

11 come from the South, with 9 being Democrats, and only 2 being Republicans.

Longevity does not, necessarily, mean greatness in history, as many of the 25 are far from standouts in their years in the US Senate.

The most memorable in history would include Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, Carl Levin, Richard Lugar and Claiborne Pell.

Others that would stand out for their long range influence would include Robert Byrd, Strom Thurmond, John Stennis, Richard Russell, Russell Long, and James Eastland, but all are seen as primarily negative forces holding back progress on civil rights.

Others with more positive significance but not seen as “stars” would include Daniel Inouye, Carl Hayden, Patrick Leahy, Orrin Hatch, and Warren Magnuson.

Others that are seen as noteworthy but not likely to be remembered much in the long run of  history would include Ted Stevens, Ernest Hollings, Thad Cochran, and Pete Domenici.

The remaining five are all forgettable Senators, dealing with their states’ constituent needs, but having little impact beyond that including Francis Warren, Kenneth McKellar, Milton Young, Ellison Smith, and Allen Ellender.

Also, three from the list of 25 are from Mississippi (Stennis, Eastland, Cochran); three from South Carolina (Thurmond, Hollings, Smith); and two from Louisiana (Long, Ellender).

Additionally, states with small populations and only one Congressman, have Senators on the list, including Vermont (Leahy); Alaska (Stevens); Wyoming (Warren); Delaware (Biden); and North Dakota (Young).

Only two “larger” populated states have a Senator on the list, including Massachusetts (Kennedy) and Michigan (Levin)

Finally, only 8 Senators have served 40 or more years, in order as follows: Robert Byrd, Daniel Inouye, Strom Thurmond, Ted Kennedy, Carl Hayden, John Stennis, Patrick Leahy (still serving), and Ted Stevens, with only Byrd serving more than 50 years!

Historic Leaders Of The Senate Foreign Relations Committee

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is one of the most important of all committees in the history of that body, having begun as early as 1816.

It is one of the most significant committees, with many future potential Presidential seekers wishing to be seen as “experts” on American foreign policy.

It is a committee often in conflict with the President of the United States on strategy and policy toward other nations.

There have been many colorful leaders of the committee, both Democrats and Republicans, who have become famed or notorious for their principles and impact on American foreign policy.

The committee again has become focused on as part of the heated debate over the Iran nuclear deal, and its recent former Chairman, John Kerry, is now the Secretary of State, charged with gaining the support of the committee, which, clearly, however, under Republican control, is a lost cause.

Among its leaders have been Presidential nominees Rufus King, Henry Clay, and John Kerry; President James Buchanan; and Vice Presidents Hannibal Hamlin and Joe Biden.

Such prominent political figures, other than those mentioned above, who served as Chairman of the committee include: Thomas Hart Benton, Charles Sumner, John Sherman, Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr., William Borah, Arthur Vandenberg, J. William Fulbright, Frank Church, Charles Percy, Richard Lugar, Claiborne Pell, Jesse Helms, and present Chairman Bob Corker, with Fulbright serving the longest as Chairman, 16 years from 1959-1975.

Those who made the most news included Lodge fighting Woodrow Wilson on the Versailles Treaty and League of Nations; Vandenberg playing a crucial role in backing the containment policy of President Harry Truman, despite them being from different parties; Fulbright fighting against the Vietnam War under Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon; and Helms being a major problem for Bill Clinton on many foreign policy issues.

Eric Cantor Not Only Congressional Leader Defeated For Re-election

The defeat of Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader in his Congressional primary in Virginia by David Brat, was stunning and shocking, but not the first time that a Congressional leader was defeated for renomination or reelection.

Other prominent cases include:

Senator Richard Lugar, former Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, of Indiana in 2012 by Richard Mourdock

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota in 2004 by John Thune

House Speaker Tom Foley of Washington State in 1994 by George Nethercutt

Former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois in 1994 by Michael Flanagan

Congressman Emanuel Celler, House Judiciary Committee Chairman of New York, in 1972 by Elizabeth Holtzman

Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas of Illinois in 1950 by Everett Dirksen

Senator Robert La Follette, Jr of Wisconsin in 1946 by Joseph McCarthy

Notice that ONLY Cantor, Lugar and La Follette, Jr. were Republican officeholders defeated, while the others listed were all Democrats.

So it is newsworthy and highly unusual for Congressional leaders and prominent members to lose reelection!

Republican Party Destroys Itself In Mad Dash To The Far Right, In Repudiation Of Chris Christie!

The Republican Party is destroying itself in its mad dash to the Far Right!

It convinced Maine Senator Olympia Snowe to retire, and defeated Indiana Senator Richard Lugar in his quest for another term,

It put former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel through hell, before he finally, with only four Republicans supporting him, won the Senate confirmation to be Secretary of Defense.

Now the party has declared war on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, because he worked alongside President Obama after Hurricane Sandy; criticized House Republicans and Speaker John Boehner; and showed his independent streak, which is anathema to the far Right!

Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and other right wing talk show hosts have also attacked Christie, as if he is a liberal, despite his very conservative record as Governor, but showing a willingness to work across the aisle with the state legislature and the President.

Christie should be applauded as a man who has managed a massive public opinion rating in a strong “blue” state, but instead, he has been slighted, by NOT being invited to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference next month, while all kinds of characters, including Sarah Palin and Herman Cain and numerous others who are an embarrassment to intelligent people, were invited.

So Chris Christie, as unacceptable as he is to anyone on the left, is not good enough to be invited to a right wing conference!

Actually, it helps Christie in his reelection battle for Governor this fall, and makes him able to stand out as NOT being owned by the Far Right of the GOP, and it might just help him in future endeavors for public office, including being a sane alternative for the Republicans in 2016, if he can get past the Tea Party loonies!

Chuck Hagel Confirmed, But Republicans Only Add To Their Bad Image By Refusing To Support Former Colleague!

Former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, arguably one of the most principled, decent Republican Senators of the past twenty years, along with Richard Lugar and Olympia Snowe, was finally confirmed as Secretary of Defense today, but failed to gain the support of his former colleagues, including John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins, who went along with their more right wing colleagues in refusing to give support, without good reason other than a vendetta against an independent minded Republican.

Surprisingly, the four Republicans who supported the Hagel confirmation were Rand Paul of Kentucky (totally inexplicable), Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Richard Shelby of Alabama, and Mike Johanns of Nebraska, the man who replaced Hagel in the Senate in 2009.

It is a sad day when a man who had a decent record of public service is repudiated by “moderates” of his own party, who are afraid to challenge the right wing turn of their party, referring here to Murkowski and Collins, who should have supported their former colleague.

McCain is another story, an example of a man who should, if he had principle, do what the Pope did, and resign in disgrace as a total hypocrite! Here is a man who in 2000 raved about his colleague, and said he would want him in his administration, if he became President. Once Hagel expressed doubt about the George W. Bush “Surge” policy in Iraq in 2007, McCain was so furious, that he exhibited his ugly side, this despite the fact that Bush had trashed McCain’s reputation so often, and Hagel never did!

McCain is now clearly seen as a bitter old man, who should not have run in 2010 for another six year Senate term at age 74, and hopefully will not run at age 80 in 2016, as his time in the Senate is long overdue to end!

McCain is an excellent argument for term limits or, at the least, age limits, with age limits the more sensible concept, in this author’s mind!

Cheers To Former Senator Richard Lugar For Blistering Conservative Talk Radio As Out To Promote Discord For Monetary Gain!

Former Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, one of the few “decent” Republicans left in the GOP, came out yesterday in condemnation of conservative talk radio and other right wing extremists as out to promote discord for monetary gain, in a speech at Duke University.

He also was critical of the attacks on Defense Secretary nominee, former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, by right wing spokesmen, both in the Senate Armed Services Committee (including Ted Cruz of Texas and James Inhofe of Oklahoma), by former Vice President Dick Cheney, and by the usual right wing activists on Fox News Channel and talk radio.

Both Lugar and Hagel are a dying breed, conservative Republicans in a field of right wing loonies taking over the party, led by Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and others. One might not always agree with Lugar and Hagel on every vote, but one could have respect for their intelligence and fair mindedness, and willingness to “cross the aisle”!

It is good that Lugar, despite his defeat last year, is willing to speak up on principle about the extremist turn in his party, and how people are making money off of promoting hate and division!

ONLY when we have future Lugars and Hagels will the GOP rise again to the White House and Senate control, as the Tea Party Movement is the destruction of the party and its future!

Chuck Hagel Will Survive Rough Treatment Of John McCain And Other Republicans On Senate Armed Services Committee, And Be Confirmed As Secretary Of Defense!

Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel will survive his rough handling in the Senate Armed Services Committee and be confirmed to be the next Secretary of Defense, despite the efforts of Arizona Senator John McCain, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, and newly minted Texas Senator Ted Cruz, to derail his nomination, more on vindictiveness than anything else. Here was a basically conservative Republican, who like Richard Lugar, had the nerve to be independent, and be willing to cross the aisle and work with Democrats, and even, in the case of Hagel, endorse Barack Obama in 2008.

Hagel is a man of principle, a man of courage and determination, a man of levelheadedness, a man who has served his country well during his years in the military, a man who has been a successful businessman which makes him able to handle the massive bureaucracy of the Pentagon, and a man who is able to deal with adversity as it already has visited him, with his two Purple Hearts while serving in Vietnam, including his bravery in saving his own brother when both were wounded at the same time.

Hagel has a steadiness about him that will make him an outstanding Secretary of Defense, and his criticism of the “surge” in Iraq in 2007, which killed 1200 soldiers and wounded thousands others will stand the test of time, long after John McCain and his hawkishness, which calls for constant military intervention and invasion, is repudiated, as having been the wrong choice for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, two “chicken hawks”, to make.

John McCain will be looked back upon as a man who, fortunately, we did not elect President of the United States, while we will look back upon Chuck Hagel’s service as Secretary of Defense under Barack Obama as one of the best cabinet choices ever made for the Pentagon, if not the best, since the agency was created in 1947!

The Alleged “RINOS”: Colin Powell, Jon Huntsman, Chuck Hagel. Richard Lugar And Others

Those who call themselves “Republicans”, but promote the Tea Party agenda domestically; the Neoconservative agenda in foreign policy; the social policies of the fundamentalist Christian right, the Radio Talk Show hosts and Fox News Channel; the fanatical gun rights advocates of the National Rifle Association; and other right wing extremists, represent the downfall of the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, and George H. W. Bush.

And it is precisely these groups within the GOP who condemn Colin Powell, Jon Huntsman, Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar and others as being “RINOS”–Republicans In Name Only!

But it is precisely people such as Powell, Huntsman, Hagel and Lugar who represent the moderate conservative approach to government, a mainstream viewpoint which includes understanding that negotiation and compromise is essential to the workings of American democracy.

These people above are thoughtful, rational, accomplished leaders in the party, but they are being swept aside—Powell ignored and pilloried by many; Huntsman quickly being repudiated in the Presidential primaries; Hagel now facing a massive battle to overcome opposition within his own party to be confirmed as Secretary of Defense; and Lugar defeated in a Senate primary by an extremist who then lost the Senate seat that Lugar had held for 36 years.

As Powell said yesterday on a television interview, it concerns him that his party is ignoring the demographic reality of the growth of minorities in the voting population, and they have a problem with skin color and ethnicity. Hard to believe that is is the party that ended slavery and promoted civil rights in the mid 19th century!

Bipartisanship Of The Past: Why Not Now?

When one looks at American history in previous recent decades, one sees so much evidence of bipartisanship between Republicans and Democrats, and one wonders why that is not possible now in the interests of the nation!

Witness the following examples:

1962–John F. Kennedy calls upon Dwight D. Eisenhower for help and counsel during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

1963–Lyndon B. Johnson becomes President after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and calls upon Dwight D. Eisenhower for advice in a moment of crisis.

1964–President Lyndon B. Johnson calls upon Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois to help push through the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

1983—President Ronald Reagan and Democratic Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill work together on Social Security reform and get it passed.

1990s—Democratic Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia works with Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana on arms control legislation, lessening the dangers of nuclear war after the end of the Cold War.

2000s—Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona works with Democratic Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin on passage of campaign finance reform legislation.

2001—Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts works with President George W. Bush on education reform.

Instead of publicly calling for the move to make Barack Obama a one term President, as Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky enunciated in 2009, or Speaker of the House John Boehner to use foul language against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and to say he refuses to have any more private meetings with President Barack Obama, what we need is mutual respect, and willingness to cooperate!

And this includes the idea that both Republicans and Democrats need to “cross the aisle”, and stop vilifying each other as the “devil”, as this prevents doing what is good for the American people!

The country is sick of the partisan wrangling and the lack of respect and dignity displayed, and is calling for Congress to act like adults and to work cooperatively with the President, who always has an open minded attitude toward discussion and compromise within reason!