Richard Nixon

Reality: Candidates Ahead In Public Opinion Polls In Third Year Of Presidential Term Never Are The Nominees For President

Public opinion polls have been notoriously inaccurate in the third year of a Presidential term in who would be the Presidential nominees of major parties the following year.

In 2003, Vermont Governor Howard Dean was the front runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination, but John Kerry ended up as the nominee in 2004.

In 2007, New York Senator Hillary Clinton was the front runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination, but Barack Obama ended up as the nominee in 2008.

In 2007, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani was the front runner for the Republican Presidential nomination, but John McCain ended up as the nominee in 2008.

In 2011, Herman Cain was the front runner for the Republican Presidential nomination, but Mitt Romney ended up as the nominee in 2012.

In 2015, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was the front runner for the Republican Presidential nomination, but Donald Trump ended up as the nominee in 2016.

Beyond these examples, in the third year of many Presidential terms, who could have known that the next President would be someone not seriously considered at that time to have a chance to be elected.

Witness John F. Kennedy in 1959; Richard Nixon in 1967; Jimmy Carter in 1975; Ronald Reagan in 1979; Bill Clinton in 1991; Barack Obama in 2007; and Donald Trump in 2015.

Also add the following: Abraham Lincoln in 1859; Woodrow Wilson in 1911; Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1931; and Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1951.

So, to assume that Joe Biden, currently ahead in all polls for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2020, will be the nominee is quite a gamble, based upon history.

CNN’s 39th Anniversary: Changing The Face Of Journalism

Today is the 39th Anniversary of Cable News Network, the first cable news channel, started by Ted Turner in 1980.

It is now hard to recall that before CNN, and later MSNBC in 1996, and the infamous Fox News Channel, also in 1996, the face of electronic journalism was only CBS, NBC, and ABC.

This author and blogger grew up as a devoted fan of CBS and Walter Cronkite and the other great journalists of that channel, with sometimes focusing to a lesser extent on NBC and ABC.

One also recalls how Richard Nixon complained about the “constant barrage” of TV news nationally 22 minutes out of the 30 minute nightly newscast, which was actually only 11 minutes out of 15 before 1963.

Now, we are overwhelmed by so much electronic news on cable channels and the internet, but at the end CNN still stands out as a quality news organization.

CNN has made mistakes and blunders, but it has also educated us mightily in the past 39 years, and has been strengthened by a tyrant named Donald Trump who claims that channel and MSNBC, along with the three major networks are “fake news”. The constant attacks as well on the NY Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times, the three best print papers in America, have only made educated people realize how significant all these and other news sources as well, are in keeping us free and informed.

It is the role of journalism to speak the truth, expose scandal, and insure our freedom and democracy, and they are working hard to overcome the greatest threat to America since World War II, far greater by comparison to that presented by Richard Nixon a half century ago.

No one is trying to give Richard Nixon a pass as a major threat historically, but the present “clear and present danger” of Donald Trump is an alarm bell warning us of the danger of infiltration by a foreign power which has always wished us ill since 1917, and now reconstituted in a different manner but no less dangerous than the old Soviet Union.

So to undermine our foreign policy and our loyalty to our allies in NATO, and in East Asia is a danger to the national security of America and to the world community at large, and CNN, MSNBC and others and the print media are working full time to keep Americans alert and informed.

So Happy 39th Birthday, CNN, and many more!

The Battle In The Democratic Party Over Impeachment Vs. Democratic Goal Of Accomplishment Of Party Agenda

The battle is in full swing now to move the House of Representatives toward impeachment hearings against Donald Trump.

But Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is still reluctant to move ahead, and it is causing a split within the Democratic caucus.

Donald Trump is refusing to cooperate in any fashion, including stonewalling any testimony by anyone connected to Trump, including by subpoena, and going to court to block any investigation of Trump tax returns.

Many Democrats are saying that the main emphasis of the Democratic Party should be to promote their agenda for the upcoming election, including dealing with Health Care, Global Warming, Environmental Protection, Education, the Minimum Wage, Civil Rights, and so much more.

The argument is that Donald Trump, even if impeached, will not be convicted by the Republican controlled US Senate, but the argument for doing what can be done is that it is needed to set a standard for future Presidents, so that never again, hopefully, will we have a lawless President on the level of a Donald Trump.

Despite Democratic desires to accomplish their legislative goals, the reality is that little actual legislation is possible as long as there is a divided Congress, where both parties control one chamber.

America is now, in many ways, in a greater crisis than we have had over the future of our Constitution and Bill of Rights since World War II, already seen as far greater than the Presidency of Richard Nixon. Then, many Republicans cooperated in doing what was essential to do, to get Nixon out of office, but sadly that is not the agenda now for a party which can only find one person, Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan, committed to impeachment and punishment for President Trump.

Is Chief Justice John Roberts On Road To Judicial Leadership Of John Marshall, Charles Evans Hughes, And Earl Warren?

Chief Justice John Roberts is clearly a conservative on the Supreme Court, but he is also very much aware of and concerned about the turmoil in American society, and concerned about the long term reputation of the Court, as well as his own historical image, since he has a sense of history.

So Roberts has surprised Court watchers in some of his decisions, and he has emerged as the “swing” vote on the Court, as only he can prevent the Court from going so hard to the Right that it will lose its image of being an institution that promotes fairness and equity under the Constitution.

So expect that John Roberts will become a true judicial leader on the level of John Marshall (1801-1835), Charles Evans Hughes (1930-1941), and Earl Warren (1953-1969).

These three Chief Justices, generally acknowledged as the three greatest of the 16 previous Chief Justices before Roberts came to the Court in 2005, all demonstrated courage and principle, and came into conflict with Presidents.

Marshall had to deal with the strong opposition of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, while Charles Evans Hughes had Franklin D. Roosevelt challenging the Court during the Great Depression, and Earl Warren steered the Court in a direction not always agreed with by Republicans Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon.

Now John Roberts has to deal with Donald Trump, who he has already issued a criticism, when Trump spoke of “Obama Judges”, “Bush Judges”, and “Clinton Judges”, with Roberts asserting there is no such thing as judges based on a President, but rather judges adhering to the Constitution as they see it.

This makes it quite clear to many observers that Roberts is ready to take a more moderate stand than he does typically, as he did in saving the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) in 2012.

Expect Roberts to side, if necessary, with the four “liberals” on the Court (chosen by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama), with the constitutional crisis that has clearly arisen, including trying to convince the four conservatives selected by both President Bushes and even the two Trump judges, to consider how the Court was unanimous in curbing President Richard Nixon in the Watergate Scandal 45 years ago, and Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones lawsuit 22 years ago.

It is the Supreme Court that is being looked to as the ultimate government branch to rein in a President far more abusive than Richard Nixon, and to reassert separation of powers and checks and balances.

The “Imperial Presidency” Of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. in 1973 Is Now Much More Powerful And Abusive Under Donald Trump

A half century after famed historian and scholar Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. published “The Imperial Presidency”, criticizing the growth of Presidential power under Richard Nixon, and tracing how much the Presidency had grown in authority and abuse since the 1930s, we are now faced with a Presidential office much more powerful and abusive than it was back in the time of the Watergate Scandal.

After Watergate and the resignation of Richard Nixon, the Presidency declined in authority under his two successors, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.

But under the Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, abuses and scandals abounded, and many cabinet members and other top personnel were in legal danger, but with many of them pardoned over time.

By comparison, Bill Clinton had sex scandals which led to his impeachment, but otherwise, there was very little indication of scandals and abuse of power, although the Republican Party pursued him as if he was a major criminal.

And under Barack Obama, while there were no scandals or abuse of power, the Republicans did everything they could to undermine many of Obama’s initiatives.

But now under Donald Trump, the Republican Party has gone back to its promotion and endorsement of abusive Presidential power under Reagan and the Bushes, but now at a multiplied rate, endangering the balance of power between Congress and the Oval Office, much greater imbalance than ever before, all in the name of party loyalty to a fault.

We now have a lawless President who has declared he will not answer any subpoenas for materials, or allow any government official in the executive branch to testify before Congressional committees.

Therefore, the whole concept of separation of powers and checks and balances, designed by the Founding Fathers in 1787 to prevent a future King George III under the new Constitution, is now meeting its greatest challenge under a President who elevates the image of Richard Nixon, as by comparison, Nixon is like a “choir boy”, although clearly Nixon was a menace worthy of the attention of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

The American West A Rare Location For Presidential Contenders And Nominees Historically

Historically, the vast majority of Presidential contenders and nominees have come from no further west than the Great Plains.

And only two Presidential nominees, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan, have been elected from the vast area west of the Great Plains. Even Nixon, when he ran for President the second time in 1968, was actually a resident of New York, while Reagan had spent his early life in Illinois, before migrating to Hollywood for an acting career.

Only two Presidential candidates, other than Nixon and Reagan, have made it as the nominees of their party, both from Arizona–Senators Barry Goldwater and John McCain.

The Mountain States have been particularly lacking in Presidential contenders historically, with only Senator Gary Hart and Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder of Colorado; Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico; Governor Bruce Babbitt of Arizona; and Senator Frank Church of Idaho having ever conducted campaigns for President, along with Senator William Borah of Idaho early in the 20th century.

Now, we have two Coloradans, former Governor John Hickenlooper and Senator Michael Bennet, contending for the Democratic Presidential nomination, and the soon to be contending Governor Steve Bullock of Montana, expected to announce in mid May.

Looking at the Pacific Coast states, we have only had Governor Jerry Brown of California and Senator Henry (Scoop) Jackson of Washington who have contended for the Presidency, along with Senator Hiram Johnson of California attempting a run in the early 20th century.

Now, we have Senator Kamala Harris of California and Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington, and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, all running for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

Other than California, the likelihood of a future nominee or winner of the Presidency from those states west of the Great Plains would seem to be highly unlikely, as the population is much smaller than in the rest of the nation, although growth has been going on in some of those states, particularly Colorado, Arizona, and Washington.

Vice Presidency Has Led To Presidential Nominations Multiple Times Since The 1960s

The Vice Presidency was never good breeding ground for Presidential nominations since the Civil War.

Only John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren and John C. Breckinridge were nominated for President before the Civil War, with all winning the Presidency, except for Breckinridge, who had been Vice President under James Buchanan from 1857-1861, and then nominated by Southern Democrats who refused to accept the official Democratic nominee, Stephen Douglas in 1860.

The only Vice President from 1860 to 1960 who was nominated for President was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third term Vice President, Henry A. Wallace, who ran as the Progressive Party nominee for President in 1948 against his own successor in the Vice Presidency, President Harry Truman.

But since 1960, six Vice Presidents have run as Presidential candidates, including;

Richard Nixon in 1960 and 1968

Hubert Humphrey in 1968

Gerald Ford in 1976 (who had succeeded Richard Nixon under the 25th Amendment)

Walter Mondale in 1984

George H. W. Bush in 1988

Al Gore in 2000

Nixon and Bush won the Presidency, while Ford lost a full term after finishing the partial term he succeeded to, and Gore won the popular vote, but failed to win the Electoral College.

The point is that Joe Biden would be the 7th Vice President who ran for President after serving as Number 2 in the executive branch.

And Nixon the first time, Mondale, Bush, and Gore all had a jump start on the nomination of their party for the Presidency, with only Humphrey and Ford having major challengers.

So at least by recent history in the past half century plus, being a Vice President gives a leap forward to those who wish to run for President.

230th Anniversary Of The American Presidency: Now In Greatest Crisis Of Its Entire History

Today, April 30, 2019, is the 230th Anniversary of the swearing in of George Washington as our first President in New York City in 1789.

Thirty years ago, George H. W. Bush commemorated the bicentennial of that first inauguration two centuries earlier, and the feeling was that the Presidency had finally overcome the crisis and tragedy of Richard Nixon, fifteen years earlier.

Now, however, 30 years later, the Presidency of Donald Trump has set records for its corruption, venality, crudeness, destruction of the American domestic and foreign policy created by earlier Presidents of both parties, and has just passed the 10,000 mark for lies and deception, as reported by the Washington Post.

The American Presidency is a great institution now under massive attack by evil people led by Donald Trump, who are systematically destroying the sense of an American Union, as they work to divide people by race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, and sexual orientation and identity, and take away our basic civil liberties and civil rights and promote an authoritarian dictatorship led by a monarch who has no regard for American history and traditions.

America could be on the verge of a new civil war, as we have gratuitous gun violence, a repudiation of the immigrant tradition which made America the last great hope of mankind, and an ever increasing challenge of climate change that threatens the future of our children and grandchildren and beyond.

It is a time which is hard to have optimism about the future, and the urgency of defeating Donald Trump, and removing him from office peacefully is a mandate!

The next President needs to be a unifier, a man or woman of statesmanship who can promote our better instincts and inspire hope and optimism, who has the character of empathy and human decency to guide him or her through the tough readjustment we will have to experience in the 2020s.

Richard Lugar, A Rare Decent Republican, And True Statesman, Remembered For His Principles, Courage, Bipartisanship

Former Republican Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, who served 36 years in that chamber from 1977-2013, passed away over the weekend at age 87.

Lugar was that rare Republican, considered a moderate, who became highly renowned as a foreign policy expert, and headed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1985-1987 and 2003-2007.

While usually considered a conservative, he was the kind of Republican who no longer exists now in that party. He “crossed the aisle” and worked with Democrats, including President Barack Obama, who he had come to be close to in the four years Obama was in the Senate before being elected President. He was co-chairman of the Obama Inaugural Committee.

His major commitment was to work with Georgia Democratic Senator Sam Nunn toward the dismantling of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons around the world after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

His views on immigration, climate change, and Cuban policy were outside the norm of his party. He supported Obama’s two Supreme Court nominees, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, one of a very few Republicans to do so.

He was Mayor of Indianapolis from 1968 to 1976, and gained a reputation as Richard Nixon’s favorite mayor. He was overlooked by George H. W. Bush in 1988, who picked fellow Indiana Senator Dan Quayle, a total lightweight selected for Vice President, and gave America four years of concern were anything to occur to Bush.

The longest serving Senator in Indiana history, and one of the longest serving in American history, his defeat in the primary in 2012 was another sign of the deteriorating nature of the Republican Party. And Lugar in retirement was a critic of Donald Trump, who represented every trait that Lugar was the exact opposite of, as Lugar was a man who fit the image of being decent, reasonable, intelligent, well mannered, principled, and highly respected.

Lugar even challenged President Ronald Reagan on the issues of the Philippines and South Africa policies during the mid 1980s, and never felt he must be slavishly loyal to the party line, and that is what his legacy will be, a remnant of what the Republican Party had once been, but no longer is, a party of principle and mainstream ideas, now lost in the age of Donald Trump.

Can Joe Biden Overcome The Obstacle Course Awaiting Him In 2020?

Former Vice President Joe Biden finally announced his campaign on Thursday, starting off as a front runner in polls.

But can he overcome the obstacle course awaiting him in 2020?

In his long career of 44 years in national office, 36 in the US Senate and eight years as Vice President, the longest public service record of any Presidential candidate in modern history, Biden came across as genuine, sincere, decent, and compassionate, and gained millions of fans, including this blogger and author.

But he also made judgments that are problematical, including being against school busing in Delaware; supporting the credit card industry in his state, and in so doing, undermining the ability of debtors to protect themselves by bankruptcy; his lack of protection of Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991, for which he continues to apologize but in an unsatisfactory manner; his support of an interventionist foreign policy in Iraq; his many gaffes, many of them harmless but still giving him a reputation for loose and thoughtless language; and his habit of being too touchy feely with women and girls, although never accused of sexual improprieties.

Biden also promoted tough crime and drug laws in the 1990s, which are now looked at as blunders that put too many African Americans in prison unjustifiably, and his leadership at different times of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been criticized. His ability to “cross the aisle” and work with many Republicans is seen by some as a weakness, while others see it as a strength.

Biden is a centrist Democrat in 2019 at a time when many progressives are much further to the left than him, and one wonders if he could gain the support of those to his left if he wins the nomination, as he is perceived as too close to the traditional power centers of the party.

Joe Biden has many positive attributes, but his negative side and shortcomings, as seen by many critics, could doom him in a race against Donald Trump, when the most important thing possible is to insure that Donald Trump does not gain a second term, as that would be destructive of every progressive goal in the short run and long run.

This blogger and author has always looked at Joe Biden as a hero of his, as much as earlier, Hubert Humphrey was his model of what a political leader should be like. But Humphrey had the same problem 50 years ago of being admired and praised, but seen by many as not the best choice to oppose Richard Nixon in 1968, against Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy.

So the same quandary of 1968 awaits us in 2020, to find the best person to be successful against the greatest menace, Donald Trump, that we have had in a half century of American political history, far more damaging than Richard Nixon.

And while Hubert Humphrey was 57 at the time he ran for President in 1968, Joe Biden will be 78 shortly after the election, and as in 1960, 1976, 1992, and 2008, Democrats were able to elect a “new generation” leadership of John F. Kennedy (age 43); Jimmy Carter (age 52); Bill Clinton (age 46); and Barack Obama (age 47).

Should that be the direction for 2020 is the ultimate challenge for the Democrats.

And will Joe Biden be able to win the white working class of the Midwest and Pennsylvania? Will he be able to keep the African American community around him? Will he be able to draw moderate independents and alienated Republicans, who do not wish to vote for Donald Trump? Will he be able to win suburban whites, who veered toward Democrats in 2018? Will many seniors who supported Trump come back to the Democrats they once supported? And will enough young voters who have supported Bernie Sanders, who is 14 months older than Joe Biden, extend their allegiance to Biden if he stops the Sanders juggernaut?

These are the questions that will dominate the upcoming Presidential campaign of 2020.