Robert La Follette Sr

The End Of An Era, And The Beginning Of A Dangerous Challenge To Our Nation, Its Past And Its Future!

I am writing this entry on the evening of January 19. In about 15 hours Donald Trump will be inaugurated President of the United States.

We are ending the Obama era, a great period of accomplishment, in about 15 hours, and it feels like a funeral scene.

The only good thing is that both Barack Obama and Joe Biden are alive and will fight along with all of us who are progressives, against the dangerous challenge to our nation, presented by Donald Trump and Fascism!

I will do my part in this struggle, and appreciate my readers and contributors who are there with me over the next few years.

We must be optimistic that the future will work out, although there will be harm to many, particularly those who are sick, weak, poor, gay, and of minority religious, racial, or ethnic heritage.

United we will triumph, and we have overcome the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War II, and the Richard Nixon Watergate Crisis, and Donald Trump will fail in his mission to destroy the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, and the Obama legacy!

I will not post tomorrow, a rare exception, and will not watch or listen to the inauguration, and instead go to the movies with my younger son, but I will, of course, learn what has happened, and comment on it starting on Saturday, January 21.

So, everyone, be confident, as the progressive battle, going on since Theodore Roosevelt, Robert La Follette Sr. and George Norris 116 years ago, will continue and prosper!

The Biggest Landslide Victories In Presidential Election History Since 1900

The biggest landslide victories in Presidential Election history since 1900 would be the following in chronological order:

The Election Of 1904–Theodore Roosevelt vs Alton B. Parker

The Election of 1920–Warren G. Harding vs James Cox

The Election of 1924–Calvin Coolidge vs John W. Davis and Robert La Follette Sr.

The Election Of 1928–Herbert Hoover vs. Alfred E. Smith

The Election of 1932–Franklin D. Roosevelt vs Herbert Hoover

The Election of 1936–Franklin D. Roosevelt vs Alf Landon

The Election of 1964–Lyndon B. Johnson vs Barry Goldwater

The Election of 1972–Richard Nixon vs George McGovern

The Election of 1984–Ronald Reagan vs Walter Mondale

Two Former Democratic Senators On Way To Return To US Senate: Russ Feingold And Evan Bayh!

It seems as if two former Democratic Senators are on their way to a return to the US Senate this November.

Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, one of the very best progressive oriented Senators in all of American history, who lost his seat in the 2010 midterm elections to businessman and Republican Ron Johnson, after serving from 1992-2010, is now way ahead of Johnson, and so we will have a rare rematch. Johnson has been a horrible, extremist right wing Senator, and his leaving the Senate will be a plus for the institution, and re-install the progressive tradition, established by the La Follette father and son, Robert Sr. and Robert Jr. a century ago, and followed up by William Proxmire, Gaylord Nelson and Feingold.

Evan Bayh of Indiana, son of the great liberal Senator Birch Bayh, served in the Senate from 1998-2010, and chose not to run for reelection, but now is coming back to win his Senate seat. Bayh is much more moderate than his dad was, but Indiana is a tough state for a progressive, and Bayh is a plus for the Democrats, as they attempt to win a Senate majority, so important for the Supreme Court future.

The odds of a Democratic takeover of the Senate is growing as we come down to one month to the elections.

Wisconsin Political History: Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde!

The state of Wisconsin, the cheese and dairy state, has had a distinguished history in many respects.

It was the base of the great Mr. Progressive, Governor and Senator Robert La Follette, Sr, who also was the Progressive Party nominee for President in 1924, and had the third best percentage of the vote of any third party nominee in history, with one out of every six voters backing him.

It was the state of his son, Senator Robert La Follette, Jr, and also of his second son, Governor Philip La Follette, both leading Progressives in the 1930s.

It was the state of Senator Gaylord Nelson,  Senator Herb Kohl, Senator William Proxmire, and Senator Russ Feingold, the latter now seeking to regain his Senate seat that he lost to Ron Johnson in 2010, with these two men running against each other again in 2016.  It was also the state of Governor Patrick Lucey and Gaylord Nelson, before the latter became a Senator.

It is the state of Senator Tammy Baldwin, the first lesbian US Senator.

However, it was also the state of Senator Joseph McCarthy, the infamous Red Scare leader in the 1950s.

It is also the state of the disgraceful Governor Scott Walker; Senator Ron Johnson; and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, all very willing to work against the interests of the middle class and the poor.

How a state with a progressive tradition can often “go off the rails” is hard to understand.

But the progressive-liberal tradition remains a significant part of the Wisconsin historical story!

Now it is becoming the center of attention again, after Scott Walker endorsed Ted Cruz in the Republican primary to be held next week, with Cruz leading Donald Trump in polls; and Bernie Sanders leading Hillary Clinton in polls for the Democrats.

Serious Republican Presidential Contenders: Part I–Scott Walker Of Wisconsin

Having looked at 12 Republican Presidential contenders who, together, make up a clown bus, it is time to analyze now the four serious Presidential contenders, and today we will look at Scott Walker.

The Governor of Wisconsin has won three elections for Governor, including a recall vote in 2012. That in itself makes him a formidable candidate.

He is backed by the Koch Brothers, Charles and David Koch, and that means he will have whatever financing is needed for a Presidential campaign.

But in league with the Koch Brothers, Walker has declared war on organized labor, and dramatically weakened the public labor unions in Wisconsin, leading to the recall vote in 2012, which, surprisingly, he won.

Walker has said he hopes to destroy the labor union movement nationally if he is elected President.

He has also presided over widespread corruption and cronyism, which is starting to be investigated by news media and prosecutors, and he could face an indictment anytime, similar to what has happened to former Texas Governor Rick Perry, and might happen to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Already, there are accusations that he gave corporate supporters and campaign donors $124 million in taxpayer money.

The question of why Walker never finished college has not been answered, with the belief he might have been expelled. The idea that he did not have time to return to finish one semester of college is lame, and he would be the first non college graduate in the Presidency since Harry Truman. And Truman was well read and thoughtful, while Walker has shown no signs of such, but only of promoting his own ambitions at the expense of average working Americans in Wisconsin. He has worked to destroy the Wisconsin progressive tradition of Robert La Follette, Sr., Robert La Follette, Jr., William Proxmire, Gaylord Nelson, Patrick Lucey, Russ Feingold and others of both parties in the Badger state!

And considering that such politicians as Dan Quayle, Sarah Palin, and Michele Bachmann, and many others who are not exactly brilliant, DID finish college makes one wonder about Walker and why he did not make it a goal to finish a four year degree!

Yes, it is true that only about one third of adults have finished a four year degree, but the President of the United States is supposed to be better than most of us in his educational attainments.

This does not mean that finishing a college degree guarantees success in life, or even great intellect, but still it seems like it should be a basic requirement that a President and his top advisers, and members of Congress and state legislatures SHOULD have finished a four year degree, at the least, if such person wishes to govern us.

Walker’s anti labor stance; his connection to the Koch Brothers; and his lack of a college four year degree are just the tip of the iceberg, and with corruption charges seemingly likely soon, Scott Walker should NOT be permitted to be the 45th President of the Unites States!

Two Different Directions: Wisconsin State Republican Party And Nevada State Republican Party

The internal battle over the future of the Republican Party is in full swing, as we come up to the 160th anniversary of the Republican Party in Ripon, Wisconsin, in 1854, which actually took place on March 20. with a formal organization in Jackson, Michigan, on July 6.

For a long time, the Ripon Society has existed as an organization for “liberal,” mainstream Republicans, but of course, there is no such thing anymore known as “liberal” Republicanism. Even those who might consider themselves “liberal,” avoid use of that term like a plague!

The Wisconsin GOP, which once included “Mr. Progressive” Robert La Follette, Sr., and his brilliant sons Robert La Follette, Jr. and Philip La Follette, now, however, has become an extremist group on the far right, under Governor Scott Walker and Senator Ron Johnson, and the proposal is to add to their state party documents the concept of the right of the state to promote “secession’ if felt necessary, a sign of the old, ugly language that led to the Civil War and the loss of two thirds of a million men in combat, the greatest single tragedy in the nation’s history!

At the same time, the Nevada State Republican Party has made the decision to remove from its platform for 2014 two issues that the Christian Right has been promoting since their rise in the party apparatus nationwide since the late 1970s—abortion and gay rights and marriage. No longer will the party promote government intervention in the lives of women and their personal decisions about their bodies and reproductive rights. And no longer will they get in the way of a person’s happiness, as to his or her basic human rights, including marriage, and the right to one’s sexual orientation without any discrimination by government!

In the long run, what Nevada Republicans are doing will, if pursued elsewhere, lead to a long term revival of the GOP, while if Wisconsin is followed, it is the death knell and demise of the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike!

The Dangers Of The Supreme Court Run Amuck In Favor Of Wealthy And Corporations!

The Supreme Court is totally out of control, with its new decision on having no limits on campaign spending by wealthy donors, added on to the Citizens United Case of 2010, and the limitation of voting rights in a 2013 decision.

Chief Justice John Roberts has solidified a five member GOP majority to destroy all attempts to prevent corporate and wealthy people from controlling the political system, an effort pursued from the time of Theodore Roosevelt a century ago through Senator John McCain and Senator Russ Feingold in the 1990s and early 2000s.

That is all for naught now, and shows the dangers of a runaway, reckless, right wing radical Court!

This is what made Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Barack Obama criticize Court power, along with progressive reformers including Senator Robert La Follette of Wisconsin, Senator George Norris of Nebraska, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont!

This is the result of 13 Supreme Court nominees since 1960 by Republican Presidents, to only 8 by Democrats, and with two of those Democratic appointments (Arthur Goldberg by John F. Kennedy and Abe Fortas by Lyndon B. Johnson), only lasting three and four years respectively.

Of course, Republican appointments of Harry Blackmun by Richard Nixon; John Paul Stevens by Gerald Ford; Sandra Day O’Connor by Ronald Reagan; and David Souter by George H. W. Bush, turned out to be major surprises in their rulings, but we also ended up with some of the most reactionary and right wing radical appointments in all of American history with the appointments of William Rehnquist by Richard Nixon and the elevation of Rehnquist to Chief Justice by Ronald Reagan; Lewis Powell by Richard Nixon; Antonin Scalia by Ronald Reagan; Clarence Thomas by George H. W. Bush; and Samuel Alito by George W. Bush. The appointments of Chief Justice Warren Burger by Richard Nixon; Anthony Kennedy by Ronald Reagan; and Chief Justice John Roberts by George W. Bush, have been more of a mixed bag, sometimes good, and sometimes horrible in its effect on constitutional law!

Meanwhile, John F. Kennedy selected a mostly conservative Justice Byron White; Lyndon B Johnson selected Thurgood Marshall; Bill Clinton selected Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer; and Barack Obama selected Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, but sadly, their influence in the last four of the five names listed, has been mostly in being the opposition, sometimes vehement in nature!

The effect on the future of American democracy is massive, with this right wing Court majority, and the only hope is the eventual retirement of Scalia and Kennedy, and hopefully, continuation of a Democratic Senate and President for the rest of the decade, so that the Court changes direction in the future!

Senator Ted Cruz Praises The Late Senator Jesse Helms, Adding To The Image Of Cruz As The Most Dangerous And Divisive US Senator Today!

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a freshman, is like a bull in a China shop, still in his first year, but laying waste to his party establishment, and making enemies along the way, and thoroughly enjoying the attention he is getting, and unconcerned about the enemies which are piling up in the process!

Cruz, who looks eerily like the infamous Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, and is the same age as McCarthy was when he became noticed (42), has already gained infamy by claiming that Harvard Law School professors were Communists, and advocating the Tea Party Movement desire to destroy ObamaCare, and go to war against everything Barack Obama stands for!

Now, Cruz has hit a new low, praising former Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina as a model for the Republican Party.

Helms, who died in 2008 at the age of 86, served thirty years in the US Senate, from 1973-2003, and “took no prisoners”, using racist tactics in his election campaigns, opposing a Martin Luther King national holiday, and being rude and nasty toward the first African American woman Senator, Carol Mosley Braun of Illinois, among other horrible actions!

Helms was a full scale segregationist in the age of civil rights, non apologetic for upholding the Confederate heritage, and never reformed in any form, unlike Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Governor George Wallace of Alabama, who both mellowed and reformed somewhat in their later careers.

Helms would go down as one of the most negative characters ever to serve in the US Senate, and yet, now, Ted Cruz has said that we should have 100 Jesse Helmses in the US Senate, and it would be a far better body!

What is going on in the mind of this man, Ted Cruz? Why is he declaring war on common decency and humanity, insulting both Democrats and fellow Republicans on a daily basis?

Well, Cruz wants to be President, and he will stop at nothing to achieve his goal, no matter how many victims he leaves in his wake!

Many Republicans are afraid, literally, of him and his tactics and personality, reminding too many of Senator McCarthy, which again, Cruz has an uncanny resemblance to, in facial features and aggressive personality!

McCarthy was eventually, and rightfully, censored by the US Senate, including most of his own colleagues, and it may come to a time where an action like that will be required to tone down this threat to order and stability in the Senate, and the nation at large!

While we are on this idea of needing “100” of a particular person, this author has better suggestions, although the concept of “100” is actually ridiculous!

But if we are to do so, how about 100 Bernie Sanders; 100 Elizabeth Warren; or going back to past Senators, how about 100 Robert La Follette, Sr; 100 George Norris; 100 Hubert Humphrey; 100 Ted Kennedy; 100 George McGovern; 100 Paul Wellstone; 100 Joe Biden?

90 Years Ago Today, The First Conservative President Of The 20th Century, Calvin Coolidge, Became President!

On August 2, 1923, the short, tragic, scandal ridden Presidency of Warren G. Harding came to an end with the death of Harding in San Francisco, and Calvin Coolidge, his Vice President, became the sixth Vice President to succeed to the Presidency, due to the death of the incumbent.

Coolidge went on to an easy victory over John W. Davis and Robert La Follette, Sr. in the Presidential Election of 1924, and then chose not to run in 1928, therefore avoiding the oncoming Great Depression faced by his successor, Herbert Hoover.

The five and a half years of Coolidge’s Presidency, the first conservative President of the 20th century (with Ronald Reagan being the second one), has been judged by most scholars as mediocre at best, including scholars Donald McCoy, Robert Sobel, Robert Ferrell, and David Greenberg.

But just this year, Amity Shlaes has published a massive biography of Coolidge, attempting to redeem him as a reform oriented President, who has been overlooked and misjudged by historians.

What seems clear for sure is that Coolidge was a different President in his first year, much more activist and outgoing, than in his full term, and it seems as if the death of his son Calvin, Jr, of a blood infection from a leg blister while playing tennis, a truly tragic event, created a sense of depression and sadness in Coolidge, which he never really overcame, and within four years of his leaving the Presidency, he died at the young age of 60, probably of a broken heart.

Coolidge certainly deserves more historical analysis, but to make him out to be a reform oriented President seems a bit of a stretch, but the old quest for further interpretation of any President, his life, and his impact on the nation will always continue, and might be spurred further by Shlaes’s book and the 90th anniversary of Coolidge becoming President!

Longest Filibusters In US Senate History

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s nearly 13 hour filibuster this week drew attention to that tactic which has been used to delay or prevent Senate action, or to protest something the government is engaged in.

Paul’s filibuster turns out to be the ninth longest filibuster, according to Senate records, by any individual.

The list of the top nine all time is as follows:

Senator Strom Thurmond, Democrat, South Carolina, 1957—24 hours 18 minutes

Senator Alfonse D’Amato, Republican, New York, 1986, 23 hours, 30 minutes

Senator Wayne Morse, Independent, Oregon, 1953, 22 hours, 26 minutes

Senator Robert La Follette, Sr,, Republican, Wisconsin, 1908, 18 hours, 23 minutes

Senator William Proxmire, Democrat, Wisconsin, 1981, 16 hours, 12 minutes

Senator Huey Long, Democrat, Louisiana, 1935, 15 hours, 30 minutes

Senator Alfonse D’Amato, Republican, New York, 1992, 15 hours, 14 minutes

Senator Robert Byrd, Democrat, West Virginia, 1964, 14 hours, 13 minutes

Senator Rand Paul, Republican, Kentucky, 2013, 12 hours, 52 minutes