Robert LaFollette Sr

Losing Presidential Candidates Who Should Have Been President: Henry Clay, Charles Evans Hughes, Hubert Humphrey

When one looks back in American history at losing Presidential candidates who should have been President in their times, three names stand out:

Henry Clay of Kentucky, 1824, 1832, 1844

Charles Evans Hughes of New York, 1916

Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, 1968

All three of these Presidential candidates were exceptional public servants.

Henry Clay was the most important legislator of the first half of the 19th century, known as the Great Compromiser, for his promotion of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the Compromise Tariff of 1833, and the Compromise of 1850. He was the youngest Speaker of the House of Representatives, Secretary of State, and also served a number of terms in the US Senate. He stood for a stronger national government, in the Alexander Hamilton model, and had a great impact on many others including Abraham Lincoln, who became a Whig Party member due to the influence of Clay on him.

Charles Evans Hughes was the progressive Republican Governor of New York, in the Robert LaFollette-Wisconsin model in the early 20th century, served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, resigned to run for President against Woodrow Wilson in the closest electoral vote election since 1876, and third closest electoral vote election of all time, and then went on to be Secretary of State. Finally, he became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the 1930s, the New Deal era.

Hubert Humphrey was the Democratic Senator from Minnesota, a leading liberal figure, who had been Mayor of Minneapolis before going to the Senate. He was seen as a premier liberal in Congress, responsible for many of the ideas that became the Great Society. He was Vice President under Lyndon B. Johnson, unhappy in that position and forced to support the Vietnam War in speeches, which undermined his Presidential campaign in 1968 against Richard Nixon. He came back to the Senate after his Presidential defeat, and sadly died at the young age of 66 in 1978.

If these three losing Presidential candidates had won, the history of the United States would have been vastly different.

“Surprise” Presidential Nominees, And Often Winners, In American History

As we are about to enter August, the year before the Presidential Election Of 2016, we find two “surprise” candidates doing very well, if one is to judge by crowds and public opinion polls.

Whether Donald Trump and or Bernie Sanders have a real chance to be the nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties is impossible to know this far ahead.

But in American history, there have been many surprise nominees, and or winners of the Presidency.

The examples of this phenomenon follow—17 Presidents and 6 Presidential nominees in 23 Presidential elections:

In 1844, James K. Polk was nominated by the Democrats on the 9th ballot, and went on to defeat the better known and more famous Henry Clay.

In 1848, Mexican War General Zachary Taylor, with no political experience, and no stands on political issues, was nominated by the Whig Party, and elected over Lewis Cass and Free Soil Party nominee, former President Martin Van Buren.

In 1852, little known Franklin Pierce was nominated by the Democrats on the 49th ballot, and went on to defeat famous Mexican War General Winfield Scott.

In 1860, one term Congressman Abraham Lincoln, not in public office in 12 years, was the choice of the Republican Party, and defeated Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, and John Bell.

In 1868, Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War Union Army hero, with no political experience, was nominated by the Republicans, and defeated Horatio Seymour.

In 1872, the Democrats and a fringe group known as the “Liberal Republicans” nominated well known journalist Horace Greeley, who had never served in public office, losing to President Grant.

In 1892, former President Grover Cleveland, who had lost reelection in 1888 to Benjamin Harrison, came back and defeated Harrison, becoming the only President to win, lose, and then win, and therefore, being listed as the 22nd and 24th Presidents of the United States.

In 1896, a former Nebraska Congressman, only 36 years old, William Jennings Bryan, inspired the Democratic convention and was nominated for President, but lost to William McKinley.

In 1904, an unknown (except in New York) state court judge, Alton B. Parker, was the Democratic nominee against Theodore Roosevelt, but lost.

In 1912, President of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson, nominated on the 46th ballot by the Democrats, defeated President William Howard Taft, former President Theodore Roosevelt (running on the Progressive Party line), and Socialist Eugene Debs.

In 1920, an obscure Senator with no special accomplishments or credentials, Warren G. Harding, was nominated by the Republicans, and defeated Democratic nominee James Cox.

In 1924, the Democrats were deadlocked at their convention for 103 ballots, and finally nominated corporate attorney John W. Davis, who lost to President Calvin Coolidge and Progressive Party nominee Robert LaFollette, Sr.

In 1928, the Democrats nominated the first Catholic Presidential candidate, Alfred E. Smith, but he lost to Republican nominee Herbert Hoover.

In 1932, the Democrats nominated Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had been judged as having “no particular qualifications” for the Presidency, and he went on to defeat President Herbert Hoover.

In 1940, the Republicans nominated a businessman with no political experience, Wendell Willkie, after he inspired their convention, but he lost to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 1948, President Harry Truman shocked the political world by winning a full term over Republican Thomas E. Dewey, States Rights nominee Strom Thurmond, and Progressive Party nominee, former Vice President Henry A. Wallace. He had been shown to be way behind Dewey in every political poll taken that year.

In 1952, a World War II general, Dwight D. Eisenhower, never having been involved in politics, was finally convinced to run for President, and defeated Democratic nominee Adlai E. Stevenson.

IN 1960, the second Catholic nominee for President, John F. Kennedy, was able to overcome the religion barrier, and be elected over Republican Richard Nixon, the well known and experienced Vice President under Eisenhower.

In 1968, former defeated Presidential candidate Richard Nixon came back eight years after having lost, and he won the Presidency over Hubert Humphrey and American Independent Party nominee George Wallace.

In 1976, a one term Governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, considered unknown to most and given little chance for the Democratic Presidential nomination, surprised everyone and was elected over President Gerald Ford.

In 1980, an aging two time candidate for President, Ronald Reagan, ended up winning the Republican nomination, and was elected over President Carter.

In 1992, despite a sex scandal, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton won the Democratic nomination, and was elected over President George H. W. Bush and Independent nominee Ross Perot, even with Bush having enjoyed a 91 percent public opinion poll rating during the Persian Gulf War 18 months earlier.

In 2008, an African American first term Senator, with an Islamic middle name of Hussein, Barack Obama, overcame former First Lady Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, and defeated Republican nominee John McCain for the Presidency.

So anything can happen in 2016, with further coverage of the upcoming election being resumed when the Iowa Caucuses take place on February 1.

Until then, this blogger will focus on the promotion of his new book on Presidential Assassinations and Threats. He will give information on the interviews that he will have on radio, tv/cable, the internet, and print media, so that my readers will have an opportunity to investigate my activities over the next six months.

When he has time, he will look at American political, diplomatic and constitutional history solely, as there is much fascinating material that can and should be discussed and analyzed. It will make a look at the future much more significant, as a result of the historical analysis of the Presidency, elections, political parties, the Congress, and the Supreme Court.

Theodore Roosevelt And Gifford Pinchot Turning Over In Their Graves At Republican Party War On National Parks And Other Environmental Concerns!

The Republican Party a century ago had leaders who cared about the environment, and promoted conservation as a basic national policy.

Governor and later Senator Robert LaFollette, Sr. of Wisconsin; Senator George Norris of Nebraska; US Forestry Service Director and later Governor of Pennsylvania Gifford Pinchot; and President Theodore Roosevelt, all of them progressive Republicans in domestic affairs, made the promotion of national and state parks and monuments a priority. They set a standard for Democrats who followed their lead, including Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and now Barack Obama, who just announced three new national park designations in California, Nevada, and Texas. Obama has added 260 million acres and 19 national monuments in office, making him one of the great leaders on that endeavor. We should also mention Republican President Richard Nixon, who despite many faults and shortcomings, did enough to be rated number two among Presidents on the environment, by a conservation group.

Additionally, we were fortunate to have such outstanding Secretaries of the Interior as Harold Ickes under FDR; Stewart Udall under JFK and LBJ; Walter Hickel under Nixon; Cecil Andrus under Carter; and Bruce Babbitt under Clinton to emphasize the importance of the environment in all of its manifestations.

But the Republican Party of present times is anti conservation, anti environment, fights the concept of global warming and climate change, and has allowed itself to come under the influences of wealthy energy interests that would love to mine uranium in the Grand Canyon; destroy native American and paleontological sites; and conduct fracking for natural gas, despite the vast dangers to health and safety, including water pollution and greatly increased earthquake activity, as in Oklahoma, for instance. The Koch Brothers have had a particularly deleterious effect on the issue of the environment. And Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma is the worst possible enemy of the environmental movement in Congress, and is head, by seniority, of the Senate committee that deals with the subject.

The failure to see the importance of preserving our natural treasures is mind boggling, and those groups involved in promoting the environment know they have a massive challenge to keep what was given to us, and until the 20th century, was being gutted by rapacious capitalists in the oil, coal, natural gas, uranium, and lumber industries who only saw, and still see, only the almighty profit motive, including lack of concern for danger to wildlife!

Former Senator Russ Feingold, In LaFollette Progressive Tradition, Attempting Return To Senate In 2016 Election!

Wisconsin, the home of LaFollette progressivism a century ago, and the home of many progressive leaders since “Fighting Bob” LaFollette became the most prominent progressive in America, has had difficult times recently with the election of Scott Walker as Governor and Ron Johnson as Senator, defeating Senator Russ Feingold, one of the finest public servants ever to grace Wisconsin government and the US Senate, in the 2010 midterm elections.

Between Congressman Paul Ryan being the Vice Presidential nominee for Mitt Romney in the Presidential Election of 2012 and being elevated to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman in 2015; and Governor Walker hoping to be the Republican Presidential nominee in 2016; along with the backward, regressive record of Senator Johnson, Wisconsin has been dealt a terrible hand, and it is time to move to return Wisconsin to its proud progressive tradition!

That can be accomplished by working to prevent Scott Walker from being the GOP Presidential nominee, and by bringing Russ Feingold back to the US Senate, kicking Ron Johnson out!

There is great hope for change, now that Feingold has decided to attempt a return to his Senate seat, which he honored with an outstanding record from 1993-2011!

Feingold can be part of the mission of the Democrats to return to control of the US Senate in the 2016 Congressional elections. He has been one of the most outstanding members of the US Senate in the past two decades, and his defeat was a major blow that helped to undermine any chance of Wisconsin continuing its traditional role as a state which led the nation in so many ways!

Who Should Have Been President? The Following List Of 12 Great Political Leaders

A high percentage of the 43 American Presidents are looked upon as having been inferior, disappointing, and in some cases, clearly unqualified to be President.

And then there is a list of both Presidential nominees, and also Presidential seekers, who are looked upon as those who SHOULD have been President, but never were.

First the list, which numbers 12,and then an explanation of each case.

Henry Clay
Daniel Webster
William Seward
Samuel Tilden
Charles Evans Hughes
Robert LaFollette Sr
Adlai Stevenson
Hubert Humphrey
Nelson Rockefeller
Bob Dole
Al Gore
Hillary Clinton

Two of the above (Clay and Webster) were Whigs; five of the above (Seward, Hughes, LaFollette, Sr., Rockefeller, and Dole) were Republicans; and the remaining five of the above (Tilden, Stevenson, Humphrey, Gore, and Clinton) were Democrats.

Henry Clay ran three times for President, in 1824, 1832, and 1844, and is regarded by many experts as the absolutely most outstanding Senator in all of American history, who made many contributions in government, including being Speaker of the House, an influential Senator (Kentucky) , and Secretary of State.

Daniel Webster is the other most outstanding Senator (Massachusetts) before the Civil War, and was seen as being as much of a statesman as Clay, and also served as Secretary of State.

William Seward lost the Presidential nomination to Abraham Lincoln, but was considered the leading Republican in his time as a Senator from New York, and also served as Secretary of State.

Samuel Tilden was the reform Governor of New York, who lost the Presidency despite a major lead, which in percentage, was greater than Al Gore, the other person who won the popular vote, but lost the election, and never became President.

Charles Evans Hughes was a giant figure in American government, as Progressive Governor of New York; Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; Secretary of State; and then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Robert LaFollette Sr. was “Mr. Progressive”, the best state Governor (Wisconsin) in all of American history, and rated one of the top five Senators of all time, and actually tied Henry Clay in a scholarly poll as the best US Senator ever in American history.

Adlai Stevenson was a brilliant intellectual, who could not defeat President Eisenhower, but was regarded as an “egghead”, and served as Ambassador to the United Nations, years after he served as a Governor of Illinois.

Hubert Humphrey was one of the greatest Senators (Minnesota) to grace the upper chamber in American history, and introduced much of what became the Great Society, and he served as Vice President of the United States.

Nelson Rockefeller never was nominated for President, but was seen as a very capable and wise four term Governor of New York, one of the best in American history, served as Vice President, and having the potential to have been a great President, but could not gain the support of his party.

Bob Dole was a masterful Senator (Kansas) with a long career in Congress, and the ability to get things done, and regarded as the second greatest Senate Majority Leader, after Lyndon Johnson, in American history.

Al Gore won the Presidency in popular votes by more than a half million, but lost the contested state of Florida in a Supreme Court vote, based on party line, rather than the principle that the Court had no right to intervene in the state of Florida’s Supreme Court judgments. Gore served as Vice President, after service in the House of Representatives and the US Senate (Tennessee).

Hillary Clinton was one of the most outstanding First Ladies; Senator from New York; Secretary of State; and now had the opportunity, potentially, to come off this list, IF she is able to win the Presidency in 2016 and become our first woman President.

The nation would have been much better if any or all of these 12 political figures had gained the opportunity to serve in the White House!

With Mitt Romney Out Of Race, Scott Walker Vs. Jeb Bush Seems Like The Presidential Race Leaders For The GOP!

With Mitt Romney out of the race; with his statement that a new generation of leadership (a knock against Jeb Bush) should lead the Republican Party to victory; and with Scott Walker seen as impressive at the Steve King promoted Iowa Conference of Tea Party and Right Wing forces; and new polls showing Walker gaining by Romney’s dropping out, it seems clear that the frontrunners for the moment, at least, in the Republican Presidential race are Jeb Bush as the Establishment figure; and Scott Walker as the Koch Brothers-Tea Party-New generation inspired alternative.

The situation will, probably, change often over the next year, until the Iowa Caucuses on February 1 and the New Hampshire primary later that month, but for now, we seem to have a choice between another Bush, who is clearly competent but turns many people off on the fact alone that he is a Bush; and the arrogant, cocky, egotistical Governor Scott Walker, who now has declared his desire to destroy the “Wisconsin Idea” concept of higher education developed under Governor Robert LaFollette Sr a century ago, and pursued for the past century by both Republican and Democratic Governors, and supported by most Wisconsin members of Congress and the state legislature, putting Wisconsin in the forefront of educational standards nationally.

Instead, Walker wants liberal arts education to be dropped, and instead promote “work force” education only, a system that would fulfill the Koch Brothers desire to move young people away from an education that promotes thinking, analysis, interpretation, evaluation, tolerance, and open mindedness. This is the equivalent in many ways of the thought control process in the old Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, and must be opposed with every last ounce of strength by those who see the danger to education presented by Scott Walker and his cronies!

Even if one finds Jeb Bush objectionable in many ways, the goal must be, IF the choice is between Bush and Walker for the Republican Presidential nomination, to defeat Walker at all costs, as a man dangerous to our future, and totally unqualified in foreign policy, as proved in a recent interview. The man is a menace to our future political system!

Scott Walker, The New “Glamour Boy” Of The GOP: A Lightweight Candidate For President!

The new “glamour boy” of the Republican Party, being touted by many observers, is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who wowed many at the Iowa Conservative Conference, hosted by Tea Party Congressman Steve King.

Walker is a favorite of the Koch Brothers, who helped Walker to survive the recall attempt in 2012, and helped him win the gubernatorial race in 2014.

Since this third victory in four years, Scott Walker has been very cocky, arrogant and egotistical, bragging about having had three victories for Governor in four years, and how he is the “new face” that the Republican Party needs to win the Presidency.

The argument is that he can carry the Midwest and gain his home state for the Republicans, a claim that no serious political analyst believes to be true.

YES, a Governor who is Republican can win many states, but winning a Presidential election is something very different!

Walker has zero foreign policy expertise and knowledge, and demonstrated it on ABC’s This Week, in an interview with Martha Radditz. He showed the same lack of knowledge and smarts as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin showed in 2008.

Walker has done great damage to labor; to education; to health care for the poor and disadvantaged; and is being investigated for his connections to Tea Party and outside corporate interests.

Walker has taken the state of Robert LaFollette, Sr.; Robert LaFollette, Jr.; William Proxmire; Gaylord Nelson; Patrick Lucey; and Russ Feingold, and brought corruption and undermining of good government to the Badger State.

For that, he cannot be forgiven, and the goal must be to undermine his potential front runner status, mostly coming about as a “fresh face”, instead of retreads, such as Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Mike Huckabbee; and more extreme right wingers, including Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal.

Scott Walker is bad news, and he is starting to be exposed for the phony he is, and the lack of intellect that he clearly demonstrates!

The Politics Of Genuine Personality: Few And Far Between!

To find a politician past or present who was a genuine personality, a REAL person, who gave or gives a damn about the American people, not his or her own agenda, has always been difficult, and the list of national leaders who fit this description, are, indeed, few and far between!

There is so much cynicism about politics, and the thought that there are no decent political leaders, who truly care about the welfare of their constituents and the betterment of the nation is common, BUT there are politicians who, through their actions and words, have proved how genuine they really are!

A selected list of such political leaders follows:

Senator Robert LaFollette Sr. of Wisconsin (1906-1925) (R) (Progressive)

Senator George Norris of Nebraska (1913-1933) (R)

Senator Robert Wagner, Sr. of New York (1927-1949) (D)

Senator Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota (1949-1964, 1971-1978) also Vice President (1965-1969) (D)

Senator George McGovern of South Dakota (1963-1981) (D)

Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota (1991-2002) (D)

Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin (1993-2011) (D)

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont (2007- ) (Socialiat)

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (2013- ) (D)

Senator Joe Biden (1973-2009) also Vice President (2009- ) (D)

Wisconsin And The Future Of American Politics: A Turning Point For 2012!

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the Republicans in the State Senate may have won the struggle with public workers over collective bargaining in the state of Robert LaFollette, Sr. for the moment, by their dastardly legislative “trick”, which allowed them to take away labor rights without a quorum in their legislative body!

But it has aroused liberals, labor, the young, moderates and independents who recognize what Wisconsin represents: an attack on the basic human rights of workers to be able to have a “fair shake” at the bargaining table with their employers, whether the government or private corporations!

A recall movement is beginning against Republican State Senators, and some will be coming up for such elections within a few months. Early next year, the recall campaign will begin against Governor Walker.

The Wisconsin battle will also reverberate in the national campaign of 2012, including the Presidency and Congress, as well as the state governments. Public opinion polls already indicate heavy opposition to what happened in Wisconsin, both inside the state and throughout the nation!

It will mobilize many citizens to get actively involved in the political campaign, and to contribute financially to the Democratic Party, because it is more clear than ever before that the Republican Party continues to work against the interests of the working man and woman, whether blue collar or highly educated white collar workers!

This is a battle for the future! Will America’s future be one of billionaires, such as the Koch Brothers, dictating and mandating working conditions and promoting what is good only for the top two percent and the corporations and banks?

Or will it be one of the promotion of the interests of the rapidly dwindling middle class, and compassion for those less fortunate, who are not born to wealth and privilege and just want a “fair shake” from their government?

This is not just a political battle; it is also a moral battle for decency and social justice, and if it is lost in 2012, the long range implications are horrendous for the future of American democracy!

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Scandal: Resign, Be Impeached, Or Face Recall Vote!

Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker has been shown today to be a complete fraud, a liar, under the control and influence of corporate interests including the Koch Brothers, and having delusional ideas comparing himself to Ronald Reagan.

In a fake phone call, a person supposedly David Koch, communicated with Walker who discussed the goal of destroying the labor movement and collective bargaining, willing to do the bidding of the Koch brothers, ready to trick the 14 State Senate Democrats who have boycotted the legislature and are staying in Chicago, considering setting up confrontations between thousands of demonstrators and corporate supporters, and comparing what he is doing to Reagan firing 11,000 air traffic controllers in 1981.

He also showed he is totally warped on history, as he claims that the air traffic controllers firing in 1981 led to the Berlin Wall’s collapse in 1989 and the downfall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Walker’s behavior requires one of the following: either withdraw the destructive labor legislation from consideration, or resign as a scandalous governor, or face impeachment, or utilize the Recall mechanism devised by Governor Robert LaFollette, Sr. a century ago to remove this disgraceful power grabber.

And while we are at it, let’s work to remove all of the “bully” Governors, including Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Rick Scott, all of whom are setting out to destroy state government and make for the most corrupt series of Governors we have seen in many generations!