Robert Kennedy

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.

Hillary Clinton Shifting Further Left Of Bill Clinton And Barack Obama, Closer To Elizabeth Warren And Bernie Sanders: Great Strategy!

There are doubts that have arisen about Hillary Clinton, over the email controversy and the Clinton Foundation controversy, and certainly, she is far from an ideal choice for President, with her ties to Wall Street, and her hawkish foreign policy background.

Emotion and passion make one wish to see Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders or even Martin O’Malley, but the odds are heavy that Hillary will be the Democratic nominee, with hopes she will stay healthy and safe.

And she is pleasing many progressives with a growing movement to the left, past the policies and viewpoints of her husband, Bill Clinton, who, after all, was President 15-23 years ago, a full generation; AND past Barack Obama, dedicated to further commitment on immigration and expressed doubts about new trade deals that might undermine the environment, labor, and human rights.

Hillary is organizing to be close to Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, a smart move to insure she will be the next President of the United States.

The next President is NOT going to win by being nativist, racist, misogynistic, and homophobic, and the Republican nominee is likely to be all of these!

In a way, for this generation, Hillary Clinton is the leftist version of her husband, as Robert Kennedy was the leftist version of John F. Kennedy.

Let us hope and pray that Hillary Clinton does not face the kind of threats that Robert Kennedy did in 1968, which caused the loss of a potential generation of progressive change in the 1970s!

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute For The United States Senate Opens Today!

A wonderful event takes place today, March 30, 2015!

The opening of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute For The United States Senate today on the University of Massachusetts, Boston campus, adjacent to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, will bring many distinguished political leaders, along with President Barack Obama and his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, together to celebrate the life and career of one of the greatest US Senators in American history.

But it will also celebrate the great institution of the US Senate, and will encourage knowledge and scholarly research on the most fascinating legislative body ever created by free men and women!

Tourists and scholars will love the exhibits, and the full scale replica of the US Senate chamber, as well as the exhibits and documents on the life and career of Ted Kennedy, who served the fourth longest period of time in the history of that body, about 46 years and nine months duration.

Few Senators have had the impact on the Senate and the nation of the brother of the 35th President of the United States, and the nation’s most outstanding Attorney General. It is arguable that Ted Kennedy had the significance that few other Senators have had, and almost on the level of a Presidency!

Ted Kennedy devoted his life to the betterment of average Americans, despite his great wealth, and in that regard, he can be compared to two “aristocratic” Presidents of another family name—Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt!

Promoting study of the US Senate will enrich all of us, and this is definitely on the list for this blogger to make another vacation trip, with the express purpose of spending time in this great new museum!

It Looks As If The Bush Dynasty Is Not Done: Hints That Jeb Bush Will Announce For President!

It now seems clear that Jeb Bush, the former Florida Governor; and brother of the 43rd President, George W. Bush; and son of the 41st President, George H. W. Bush, will soon announce his candidacy for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.

Jeb has not run for political office since 2002, and has not been in political office since 2006, but he is making the rounds of appropriate sites and venues, and speaking out on the issues as he sees them, many of them alienating the Tea Party Movement within the GOP, but soothing the mainstream, “Establishment” Republicans, who tend to control the party machinery when it comes to actual nomination battles, including those of Bob Dole in 1996, John McCain in 2008, and Mitt Romney in 2012.

If Jeb does run, he will run as a hawk in foreign policy, and sympathetic on immigration and “common core” educational standards in domestic policy, all of which will irritate many who are part of the right wing extremists in the party in 2014.

If he runs, it will also make the Bush family a true dynasty covering nearly 40 years of American politics, as his dad was considered as a possible Vice Presidential alternative, instead of Gerald Ford, when Spiro Agnew resigned at the time that Richard Nixon was under fire for Watergate.

Ford also thought of George H W Bush as a possible running mate in 1976, maybe not seriously, but under consideration, and then Bush became a Presidential candidate in 1980, ended up as the runner up, and agreed to join Ronald Reagan as Vice President for two terms. This was followed by one term in the White House, and then a bitter defeat to Bill Clinton in 1992.

But his two oldest sons then ran for the Governorships of Texas and Florida in 1994, and when Jeb lost in Florida by a very small margin, he set his sights on 1998, when he won in Florida, and then served as Florida Governor for two terms, while brother George W. went to the White House for two controversial terms.

Jeb running would create great controversy, but the Bush Family is not afraid of that, and it seems doubtful now that mother Barbara arguing against Jeb running will be listened to anymore.

Were he to win and serve two terms, Jeb would add to the fact that the Bush Dynasty would have lasted longer than any other, even more than the Adamses (John and John Quincy, and with THREE Presidents, not two. And the theoretical Kennedy dynasty would look quite insignificant, since only John F. Kennedy had the opportunity to serve as President, despite the desires of many that Robert and Ted Kennedy might do the same.

So although the Bush dynasty might not seem as glamorous as the Kennedy dynasty has often been seen, it is still making history!

Pope Francis An Inspiration, But Like Barack Obama, He Will Have Major Critics Who Fear Change And Reform

Pope Francis is a true inspiration to anyone who believes in the true teachings of Jesus Christ, concern for the poor, compassion for the sick, condemnation of materialism, and the understanding that all people, of whatever race, religion, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation, deserve equality and justice!

In so many ways, Pope Francis can be compared to Barack Obama, and just like Obama, he will engender hate and condemnation because he fights against prejudice and the evils of wealth, and the selfishness and greed which has arisen yet once again, on the basis of laissez faire capitalism and Social Darwinism, prevalent in the Gilded Age (late 19th century), the age of Imperialism, and resisted by the forces of change and reform in many nations in the 20th century.

But now, those evil forces have reared their ugly head again, and so the battle for progressivism is engaged in a great fight to combat those forces, within the Catholic Church, within organized religion in general, within the capitalistic economy which, in America, has no apparent problem , with the mounting acquisition of wealth by the top one percent, as poverty and the collapse of the middle class continually occur, with no conscience or concern by those who have the stack decked in their favor.

So the right wing forces, that include those who wish death on Barack Obama, will now focus also on the Pope, just as has always happened for those who promote reform and change, including in America, Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, and also Senator Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We should give thanks for the courage and compassion of our President, and even if we are not Catholic, the Pope, and pray for both men, that they will not fall before any attempted assassination threats of which Obama faces dozens every day!

We live in an age of great hate, and so much of it coming from so called “religious” people, who have no clue as to the true teachings of their faith, and are only out to enrich themselves!

Right Wing Obscenity: Trying To Claim John F. Kennedy As One Of Their Own On 50th Anniversary Of His Assassination!

The right wing has no shame, as it is now claiming, on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, that he would be one of their own, and as stated by lunatic Glenn Beck, that JFK would be a Tea Party Movement radical! The nerve of Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and other right wing promoters of lies and deceit, to sully the good name of our 35th President!

John F. Kennedy stated publicly that he was proud to be a liberal.

John F. Kennedy moved toward the idea of ending the Cold War in his last year in office, through promotion of diplomacy and ending the arms race.

John F. Kennedy spoke up for civil rights, planned a war on poverty, advocated the creation of Medicare, and the promotion of federal aid to education.

John F. Kennedy wanted to create a department of urban affairs to deal with the growing problems of the cities, while trying to promote racial equality and justice.

John F. Kennedy promoted the space program and the advancement of science.

John F. Kennedy advocated helping the third world nations through the establishment of the Peace Corps.

John F. Kennedy was out to promote the expansion of the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Fair Deal of Harry Truman.

John F. Kennedy had brothers who promoted liberalism in his memory–Robert Kennedy and Ted Kennedy–and they knew, better than anyone, what he was all about.

In this, and a multitude of other ways, John F. Kennedy was a proud Democrat and liberal, and would have repudiated everything the Republican Party of 2013 represents, and would have condemned the right wing, which hated his guts in his lifetime, and he would have fought against the backwardness, the racism, and the promotion of hate and division that the Tea Party Movement represents!

Hatred Of JFK Much More In Reality Than Recalled Today

As we come up to the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, it is easy to imagine that JFK was popular, and that the country was united around him.

In reality, there was a lot of hate of our 35th President.

Southern segregationists were furious with him for having taken a strong civil rights stand.

Kennedy was still being attacked for his Catholic faith by many evangelical Christians, who even today do not show any respect for the Pope and the Vatican.

Corporations were furious with JFK for having taken a strong stand against the steel industry price increases in 1962, and the oil industry in Texas was particularly condemnatory of him.

Organized crime was angry with the pursuit of the Mafia by Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

Cuban exiles were angry with JFK over the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and unhappy with the survival of Fidel Castro after the resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

There was discontent within the FBI and CIA, as to the handling of issues by the Kennedy White House, which was challenging the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower talked about in his Farewell Address, after JFK had allowed himself to be influenced early on by these agencies and their agendas.

This is not to say that JFK was killed due to these opposition forces and hatred, but the point is that the nation was not one of unity around Kennedy, and he faced a daunting task to be reelected.

America was not a nation that was united anymore then, than it is now. We remember JFK fondly more for his tragic death than his ability to unite the American people and various interest groups.

The 15 Greatest Speeches In American History

Trying to come up with a list of great speeches in American history is a difficult assignment, as our Presidents and other public figures have given us great riches in their oratory, but here the author will attempt to give a list of 15 speeches that impacted American history, and have stood the test of time! There is no ranking order possible, so they will be listed chronologically.

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address 1863
Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address 1865
Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points Address 1918
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address 1933
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms Speech, State of the Union Address, 1941
John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address 1961
John F. Kennedy’s Berlin Speech 1963
John F. Kennedy’s Civil Rights Speech 1963
Martin Luther King, Jr’s I Have A Dream Speech 1963
Robert Kennedy’s Speech After Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassination 1968
Ronald Reagan Challenger Disaster Speech 1986
Ronald Reagan Berlin Wall Speech 1987
Bill Clinton Oklahoma City Speech 1995
Barack Obama Speech at Democratic National Convention 2004
Barack Obama’s Theodore Roosevelt Speech in Osawatomie, Kansas 2011

Debate and discussion on this is welcome!

50th Anniversary Of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” Speech And The March On Washington!

It is hard to believe that this weekend, and specifically next Wednesday, four days from now, marks the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington by a crowd estimated at a quarter of a million people, calling for racial equality and justice.

It was a peaceful march, with a crowd of people of all races, an historic moment on the way to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

It was a time of the greatness of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther, King Jr, and his brilliant “I Have A Dream” speech, one of the few greatest speeches ever given by any American in our entire history!

It was a time of hope and optimism, before the tragedy of the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr himself, as well as the tragic war in Vietnam, which took 58,000 lives!

It was a time of optimism and a sense of progress, and now, sadly, the same battles fought over race and voting rights haunts us, as the Supreme Court majority, created by Republican Presidents who represent a desire to move backwards on the subject of race, seem to believe that denial of voting rights and the issue of race no longer is of importance in America, when it continues to be a divisive matter that prevents the full development of justice and equality in this nation!

This is a sad time when the Republican Party, which in large measure supported the civil rights legislation of the mid 1960s, now has adopted the old Southern Democratic racist policies that the national Democratic Party repudiated fifty years ago, and the GOP seems unembarrassed that they have become the “poster boy” for racial prejudice and nativism!

So while we celebrate the anniversary, we are still having to fight the battles won, and then lost, due to the party that once boasted of Lincoln, TR, and Ike, and now boasts of despicable leaders who have no shame, including Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, et al, and their ilk!

The Kennedy Half Century Began 53 Years Ago Today!

On this day in 1960, John F. Kennedy was nominated for President by the Democratic Party at their national convention in Los Angeles. He went on to a very tight and much debated close victory over Richard Nixon, including widely accepted accusations that his election was fixed in Chicago by Mayor Richard J. Daley!

Kennedy’s impact on the nation was massive, and made greater by the fact that he was assassinated, and even though we learned about his controversial sex life in the White House, and he has faced growing criticism on his policies and actions in office as the years have gone by, it is still a reality that he is adored by vast numbers of the American people, and made out to be an icon!

His brother, Robert Kennedy, was also martyred after a controversial career as Attorney General under his brother, a short Senate career, and his assassination while seeking the Presidency in 1968 to finish the work of his brother.

And then, there was Ted Kennedy, the youngest brother, who was first seen as a lightweight in the Senate, had the scandalous Chappaquiddick incident in which a woman died in his car as it was being driven by a drunk Kennedy, and was totally defeated in his later attempt to take the 1980 Presidential nomination of his party away from President Jimmy Carter.

But Kennedy went on to a distinguished, record setting career of 47 and a half years in the Senate, honored as the “Lion” of the Senate, and regarded as one of the greatest Senate giants in its more than two century history as an institution.

And then there was Joseph Kennedy II, son of Robert Kennedy, who served in the US House of Representatives from Massachusetts for 12 years; Patrick Kennedy, son of Ted, who served in the House from Rhode Island for 16 years; and now Joseph Kennedy III, grandson of Robert Kennedy and son of former Congressman Joe, who serves in the House of Representatives from Massachusetts since the beginning of this year.

And there have been other Kennedys or Kennedy relatives who have been in public office, including Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, daughter of Robert Kennedy, who served as Lieutenant Governor of Maryland; and JFK brother in law Sargant Shriver, who headed the Peace Corps, the War On Poverty, and was Ambassador to France.

So the Kennedy half century of influence is marked today by the JFK nomination for President in 1960, and it continues in politics and in history!