Robert Taft

The Inevitability Of Hillary Clinton Is No Longer Active! Doubts Are Rising!

It has been pointed out that any candidate for President who is ahead in public opinion polls in the second year of a Presidential term has never been elected President, since the age of polling became active after World War II.

If it was, Thomas E. Dewey, Robert Taft, George Romney, Edmund Muskie, Ted Kennedy, Mario Cuomo, Al Gore, and Hillary Clinton would have served in the Presidency after elections in 1948, 1952, 1968, 1972, 1980, 1992, 2000, and 2008.

Instead, we had Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama!

So now it is clear that the inevitability of Hillary Clinton as our 45th President is far from certain, due to various factors!

Hillary Clinton is seen as too close to Wall Street billionaires and millionaires, and too close friendships with major corporations, while mouthing the support of overcoming income inequities.

Hillary Clinton is seen as a “hawk” in foreign policy, even a neoconservative to many, having backed the Iraq War and coming across as much more hardline than many Democrats on recent events in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Hillary Clinton has supported the Patriot Act and National Security Agency surveillance and spying.

Hillary Clinton has not been a strong supporter on environmental issues, particularly in supporting fracking.

Hillary Clinton has come across as secretive, and now has the new scandal of having all emails being private, rather than on government emails while Secretary of State for four years.

Hillary Clinton has also allowed foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation, including Arab countries in the Middle East, not a wise or thoughtful idea.

Hillary Clinton has the history of earlier questioning of her ethics, both as First Lady and as Senator and Secretary of State, and many see her marriage to Bill Clinton as a sham, designed to promote her insatiable desire to be the first woman President of the United States.

New Reality: Foreign Policy Will Matter More Than ObamaCare In 2016 Presidential Election!

It is becoming clear, as a result of recent events involving Russia and Ukraine, that the foreign policy issue will matter more in the Presidential Election of 2016 than domestic policy, including ObamaCare.

This is NOT what many progressives and liberals would prefer, as there are many domestic problems that need attention on the agenda, and President Barack Obama has been trying to deal with many of these issues, despite obstructionism and stalemate caused by the Republican control of the House of Representatives.

But national security and defense, and the possibility of armed conflict in Europe, related to NATO and the European Union, may force the hand of President Obama and his successor to focus more on foreign policy in the next Presidential term of office.

In a way, it reminds us of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940, able to run for a third term, and seen as the only legitimate person to be our President in the midst of an international crisis, the victory of the Axis Powers in Europe and Asia, at that time. Alternative possible candidates, such as Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, Vice President John Nance Garner of Texas, and Senator Burton Wheeler of Montana, were all isolationists, the wrong viewpoint at the time. When Wendell Willkie came along as a surprise opponent of FDR, it was clear that on foreign policy, they had an agreement, which was good for the nation as it faced the likelihood of engagement in World War II.

Now, of course, an experienced and wise President in foreign policy, not rushing into conflict, and using his diplomatic skills, is ineligible to be President for another term, so it becomes extremely important that the proper person be elected to succeed Barack Obama.

When one looks at the cast of characters on the Republican side, and the alternatives on the Democratic side, it is clear that ONLY three potential future Presidents meet the need for appropriate foreign policy experience in a delicate and dangerous time, as we may now be entering. Not only is there the threat of war in Europe over Ukraine or other Russian attempt at advancement west, but also the looming threat of Iran and North Korea, as well as the Syrian Civil War and its effect on the entire Middle East, and the growing influence of China.

So reality tells us ONLY Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Jon Huntsman fit the bill to be our Commander in Chief, based on their experiences, expertise, and skills!

There are other Democrats who have positive aspects, but do NOT have the diplomatic experience of Clinton, Biden and Huntsman.

On the GOP side, it is literally horrifying to imagine a Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, or anyone else as Commander in Chief, with many of them purely ignorant, or bullyish, or extreme in their rhetoric, or in the case of Rand Paul, a flaming isolationist! Only Jeb Bush, conceivably, due to his intelligence and connection to his dad, but not his brother, MIGHT be otherwise acceptable, but not with the same sense of confidence in Clinton, Biden and Huntsman!

So the best we can hope for is a Clinton-Huntsman or Biden-Huntsman race for the security and safety of our nation, because we would know that any one of them could perform well as our 45th President, and do the best we can hope for in the area of foreign policy!

What Republican Presidents Have Wrought: The Vietnam War Syndrome And The Iraq War Syndrome!

The Republican Party loves to claim that they are the experts, when it comes to American foreign policy, that they are far better than Democrats in executing foreign policy.

But the facts of history tell us otherwise, as witness:

Before America entered World War II. who were some of the most powerful, most influential people advocating isolationism— Republicans such as Senators Robert Taft of Ohio, Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, Hiram Johnson of California, and Gerald Nye of North Dakota, with the latter two discussed in detail in the author’s book: TWILIGHT OF PROGRESSIVISM: THE WESTERN REPUBLICAN SENATORS AND THE NEW DEAL (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981).

When America entered the escalation stage of the Vietnam War under Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, it was Republicans who backed the President in much greater numbers than Democrats, but even Johnson finally realized the need for America to get out of the war, and decided not to run again in 1968.

Republican President Richard Nixon ran his campaign for the Presidency in 1968, pledging that he would end the Vietnam War expeditiously, and saying he had a “secret plan” to end the war, which soon became evident did not exist, and Nixon made up his plan to end the war as he went along, and it took four long years to end the war, with a heavier loss of soldiers killed and wounded, than had been so under Johnson! Nixon and Henry Kissinger, his National Security Adviser and Secretary of State, misled the American people and lied to them about the plans and strategies to end the war, and it created a feeling of unwillingness to engage in overseas crises as a result, what could be called the Vietnam War Syndrome.

And then under George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the Republican run national government in 2003 lied to us, manipulated us, propagandized us, to begin a war in Iraq, with no plan to get out, and the war dragged on through the second Bush term, and into the Barack Obama Administration. No “weapons of mass destruction” were ever found, and it created an Iraq War Syndrome, which now has made many Americans reluctant to engage in a military action against an outlaw nation, Syria, which has utilized chemical warfare, only the third world leader ever to do so, after Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein!

So the Republican Party and its cynical, corrupt leadership in the 1969-1973 and 2002-2009 periods poisoned the political atmosphere of America, making it more difficult to engage in the shaping of a sane, rational foreign policy that would be in American interests.

And now Rand Paul and his kind, libertarian “Know Nothings”, promote isolationism all over again, back to the image of the GOP in the late 1930s before American entrance into World War II.

The damage that Presidents Richard Nixon and George W. Bush have wrought is massive, and undermining America in 2013 from doing what it must do, react to the massive war crime of the Syrian government!

Presidents Who Did Not Seek The Office

With the recent comment by Tagg Romney that his father, Mitt Romney, did not have a great ambition to be President of the United States, it brings up the issue of actual Presidents who in the past century did not lust after the job, and it was promoted by others, or the job fell into their lap symbolically.

Six Presidents would fit this description as follows:

William Howard Taft (1909-1913) was prodded by his wife and President Theodore Roosevelt to run, with him preferring to be a judge, later becoming the only President to serve also as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (1921-1930), and being much happier in that position.

Warren G. Harding (1921-1923), who also was prodded by his wife and political professionals in a so called “smoke filled room” to run, and actually hated the responsibilities of being President.

Harry Truman (1945-1953), who was drafted for the ticket as the fourth term Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and never imagined himself as President, before he was, suddenly, thrust into the position in the last months of World War II.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was wooed first by the Democrats in 1948, and finally convinced by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. of Masachusetts and other moderate Republicans, that he was needed to be a candidate in 1952 to stop the conservative candidacy of Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, son of President Taft.

Gerald Ford (1974-1977), who was planning on finishing his career in the House of Representatives, with his only desire being to be Speaker of the House some day, but suddenly was thrust into the Vice Presidency when Spiro Agnew resigned, and soon became aware that he was likely to become President due to the Watergate crisis of President Richard Nixon.

Ronald Reagan (1981-1989), whose wife prodded him, along with conservative supporters, to run at the advanced age of 69 in 1980, when he had given up any thoughts of being President after losing the nomination to President Ford in 1976.

So six Presidents of the past century, if the situations had been different, would not be part of the exclusive “Presidents Club”.

Can Hillary Clinton Be Crowned President For 2016? Not Realistically!

As Hillary Clinton gets ready to leave the State Department after four distinguished years, she is being flattered by kudos paid to her brilliance, and public opinion polls that make her, on paper, an easy nominee and winner of the Presidency in 2016!

But hold it, everyone! Our system of government and elections does not permit the nomination and election of anyone without real competition, hard work, and lots of grief and “blood, sweat and tears”!

We do not crown anyone to be President, and if you believe otherwise, ask such luminaries of the past as Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, William Seward, Charles Evans Hughes, William Borah, Hiram Johnson, Robert La Follette Sr, Al Smith, Henry A. Wallace, Robert Taft, Arthur Vandenberg, Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey, Nelson Rockefeller, George McGovern, Bob Dole, Bob Kerrey, Al Gore, John Kerry, John McCain, and even Hillary Clinton, about the conclusion that they would be President of the United States someday!

Fifty seven percent in a poll want Hillary to be President, but it is a long four years to 2016, and there will be many others who wish to be President, and the question is whether she wants to go through the same hell she went through in 2008!

Don’t be so sure that Hillary will run in 2016!

A Liberal-Progressive Mount Rushmore And A Conservative Mount Rushmore: Who Would Be On Such Mount Rushmores?

Last Friday, Joe Scarborough and MORNING JOE on MSNBC had distinguished historians assess which Presidents might be on a new, second Mount Rushmore, if such a monument were ever built.

This brought to mind the idea of who might be on a Liberal-Progressive Mount Rushmore, and who would be on a Conservative Mount Rushmore, if such were ever constructed anywhere in America.

This is mostly just interesting scholarly speculation, but here goes my suggestions for such honoring on both sides of the political spectrum.

LIBERAL/PROGRESSIVE MOUNT RUSHMORE

Robert La Follette, Sr.–Republican Governor (1900-1906) and Senator (1906-1925) of Wisconsin–Mr. Progressive of the early 20th century and 1924 Progressive Party nominee for President.

George Norris–Republican Congressman (1902-1912) and Senator (1912-1942) of Nebraska–the most creative reform figure and longevity of the first half of the 20th century, a bridge between the Progressive Era of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Hubert H. Humphrey–Democratic Mayor Of Minneapolis (1945-1949), Senator (1949-1964, 1970-1978) of Minnesota, and Vice President of the United States (1965-1969) and Democratic Presidential nominee in 1968, who had the most creative record of promoting reform in the years after World War II throughout the 1960s.

Ted Kennedy–Democratic Senator (1962-2009) of Massachusetts, the fourth longest serving US Senator in American history, and the most creative reformer in the years from the 1970s until his death in 2009.

A possible alternative would be Democratic Senator George McGovern of
South Dakota (1922-2012), who ran for President in 1972, and was a major critic of the Vietnam War, one of the most decent men ever in American politics, serving in the Senate from 1963-1981.

CONSERVATIVE MOUNT RUSHMORE

Arthur Vandenberg–Republican Senator (1928-1951) of Michigan, who opposed the New Deal and was an isolationist in foreign policy through World War II, but then became an internationalist in support of the United Nations and President Harry Truman’s Cold War policy against the Soviet Union after World War II, and potential Presidential candidate twice.

Robert Taft–Republican Senator (1939-1953) of Ohio, son of President and Chief Justice William Howard Taft, promoted the anti labor union Taft-Hartley Act, promoted an isolationist foreign policy, and considered Mr. Conservative by his party, and a potential Presidential candidate numerous times.

Barry Goldwater–Senator (1952-1964, 1968-1986) of Arizona, succeeding Robert Taft as Mr. Conservative, and 1964 Republican nominee for President, becoming the hero of conservatives long term, and having an effect on President Ronald Reagan.

Ronald Reagan–Republican Governor of California (1966-1974), and President of the United States (1981-1989), after a career as a movie actor, influenced by the principles and ideas of Barry Goldwater, who he publicly backed in a famous speech in 1964.

The author welcomes commentary on these selections!

Rick Santorum And Barry Goldwater Would NOT Be Friends!

Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater was the MOST right wing nominee for President we have ever had, and lost in a massive landslide to Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

Barry Goldwater was an economic conservative, who was against the New Deal, wishing Robert Taft, the earlier conservative Republican leader, had become President, because he wished to repeal the New Deal, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower institutionalized the New Deal as the first Republican President since Herbert Hoover. Goldwater wished to make Social Security voluntary, rather than required as part of the tax collection, which it had been for a quarter century.

Barry Goldwater was also a foreign policy conservative, who believed in ultimate confrontation with the Soviet Union and any foreign enemy, including potential use of nuclear weapons.

Barry Goldwater appealed to states rights advocates, and although supportive of the broad concept of civil rights for African Americans, he criticized the civil rights movement and its leaders, and accepted the backing of Southern segregationists.

BUT with all of his faults, one thing Barry Goldwater was NOT–a social conservative a la former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.

Barry Goldwater was NOT a believer in the role of religion in government, and was a major critic in later years of the Christian Coalition, and the Moral Majority, led by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and other evangelical Christian ministers.

Barry Goldwater never believed it was the business of government to interfere in private life of individuals and their families, so did not support the Pro Life Movement against abortion rights for women.

Barry Goldwater never believed it was anyone’s business to condemn or vilify people because of their sexual orientation, and so supported the rights of gay men and women.

Barry Goldwater believed that all Americans should be allowed to serve in the military, so was against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” interfering with the right of gay men and women to serve our nation, asserting that he did not care what one’s sexual orientation was, as long as he or she could “shoot straight!”

Barry Goldwater would have been mortified to see a candidate who condemned sexual relations except for procreation purposes, and to observe a candidate speak out against the use of contraception by couples for their family planning and the health and welfare of women.

It is clear that were Barry Goldwater alive and active today, he would repudiate Rick Santorum as a social totalitarian, an extremist, a dangerous man to give power to, as there is nothing worse than a “Puritan” trying to promote morality by force!

Conclusion: Barry Goldwater and Rick Santorum would NOT be friends!

Barry Goldwater came across as whacky, extreme, untrustworthy to be our President, and he often “shot from the lip”, getting himself into major troubles that could be exploited by Democrats and President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. IF Rick Santorum ends up as the GOP nominee in 2012, the same weaknesses will get him in major troubles that could be exploited by the Democrats and President Barack Obama!

Time For TRUE Conservative Republican Nominee So That Conservatism Can Be Exposed For What It Is: A Plea For Rick Santorum’s Nomination For The Presidency!

Conservatism has been said to be a dominant factor in the Republican Party for a long time, and conservatives in Congress and on talk radio and Fox News Channel have been spewing forth their poison, whether it is to go to war as a first resort, rather last last resort; putting women, African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, gays and lesbians, labor, poor people, environmentalists, public service workers, consumer advocates, and anyone who promotes progressivism, in their place; and promoting corporations, the wealthy, and religion and the military as dominant parts of American power to make our nation a militaristic, religiously based plutocracy, only advocating the interests of the few, rather than the many!

But the frustration of these conservatives is that, somehow, it never seems to work out quite like they expect. Witness: Dwight D. Eisenhower defeats Robert Taft in 1952 and does “unconservative” policies in office; Richard Nixon also disappoints in many areas; Gerald Ford and his wife Betty actually promote social progressivism; even Ronald Reagan shows that he can be moved away from hard line conservative ideas; George H. W. Bush is clearly too moderate and centrist; George W. Bush follows certain aspects of conservatism, particularly following the “neocons” in foreign affairs, but too involved in “compassionate conservatism” in domestic affairs and government spending; and even Bob Dole and John McCain, losing GOP Presidential nominees, are insufficiently conservative, and actually come across as “moderates”, a hated term.

And now Mitt Romney cannot be trusted to be hard line conservative, despite his own efforts at protestations. And even Barry Goldwater, thought to be in 1964, the “ideal” conservative, later revealed his social progressivism and condemned the role of religion in the Republican Party! What is a frustrated conservative to do?

The answer is back and nominate former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who wants to bomb Iran on Day One in office; wants a very hard line social conservatism, putting women “back in their place”; wants no regulation of business or corporations that interferes with “free enterprise”; wishes to wipe out by any means the rights of gays and lesbians; wishes to take away all of the federal entitlement programs of the New Deal and Great Society; return America back to the 1950s in some ways, the 1920s in other ways, and the Gilded Age of the late 19th century in other ways!

Conservatives want to bring back the “good old days” of white male domination over society, and corporate influence, joined with the military and religious control over our foreign and domestic policies.

Let’s hope, even pray, that Rick Santorum is nominated, and watch as he is obliterated in November, and his support by conservatives sets them back for at least a generation, and give mainline Republicans the opportunity to rebuild the party as what it once was, a centrist party, a good competition for the Democratic Party. And if the GOP refuses to reform itself, then it should be replaced by a new moderate centrist party in the mainstream of 21st century America!

Of course, notice that the author said a “generation” would pass of conservative decline, as sadly, to believe conservatism will leave our shores forever, is not going to happen, as it is like a recurring cancer on the body politic–it WILL return eventually, and the battle for control of government and politics is, therefore, a never ending battle of American history!

The Republican Culture: Death, Hate, Selfishness, Lack Of Compassion!

The Republican Party, in its mad dash to the far Right with Texas Governor Rick Perry in the lead, is demonstrating its ugly side, arguably the most despicable agenda since the creation of the party in the Civil War era!

Always a major backer of corporations and the rich upper class, the party always maintained some sanity, and while not promoting the social safety net as a principle, we saw members of the party in different northern states and in Congress who worked in unison with Democrats to support the Progressive Era reforms, the New Deal, and the Great Society, and reforms under Richard Nixon.

The one time the party went this far to the Right, they suffered a massive defeat under Barry Goldwater a half century ago. When Ronald Reagan became President on much of the Goldwater agenda, he managed to work across the party lines and take away the rough edges of the right wing, mouthing support but not pursing much of their agenda.

But now with the advent of the Tea Party loonies, the party is adopting a new culture, that should sicken any civilized, decent American citizen!

Unfortunately, as witnessed at the recent Republican debates in California and Florida, there are many Americans who fail to act and believe in a dignified manner of behavior!

Now death, in the form of capital punishment endorsement and advocacy of letting people without health insurance die, has been endorsed enthusiastically by right wing Republican whackos!

Now, hate of illegal immigrants and their children, and wishes to deny them basic education, health care and ability to work and contribute to American society, is endorsed wholeheartedly!

Now, selfishness, including desire to destroy labor organizing, and lack of respect and appreciation of the contributions of public workers, including police officers, firefighters, prison guards, teachers, nurses, librarians, social workers and others is endorsed!

Lack of compassion for the poor, the sick, the disabled, the elderly, and for minority groups in America is hailed as a virtue!

One day, when this sickness in the psyche of the Republican Party is finally expunged, we will look back on this period with shock and regret, and wonder why a major political party would allow itself to engage in such insane behavior!

The great Republican heroes of the past–Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan–would be shocked and embarrassed by what the party has allowed itself to become!

But even the lesser Republican Presidents–William Howard Taft, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush–would, and in the case of the two Bushes, are very disturbed at what their party has become. This is the reason why Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney are seen as mainstream by the Bush family, and why they are clearly against the horrible message of Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann!

Even the great heroes of the conservative Republican movement in the past–Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater–were not as ugly as these Tea Party Republicans are today!

Hopefully, this poison in the political debate going on, will be soundly defeated in 2012, by sane, intelligent people, who realize what the Tea Party control of the GOP has done is to make America far worse off than it was just nine months ago when they took power in the House of Representatives and declared war on basic values of decency!

The Trivialization Of Ronald Reagan On His 100th Birthday This Sunday! :(

President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday will be celebrated this coming Sunday, and the government will be giving extra attention to the historical significance of the 40th President over the next year.

It is understandable that such recognition would be given, as Reagan, for good and for bad, was indeed a very significant President in the years from 1981-1989.

But, unfortunately, much misinformation is being spread as to the record of the Reagan Presidency, which is indeed much more complex and often contradictory than the supporters of Reagan want to believe!

The dispute between his two sons from different marriages–Michael and Ron, Jr.–are telling, as they see their dad in different ways, but historians already see the complexity of Reagan, that not everything conservatives, Republicans and even Tea Party people say about Reagan, is the true and complete story!

So in the midst of debate about the legacy of Ronald Reagan, the Young America’s Foundation, is sponsoring two days of festivities at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, California this Friday and Saturday, February 4 and 5.

That is all fine and good, but the decision of this organization to invite former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to give the keynote speech on February 4 is a true distortion of the whole concept of Ronald Reagan! πŸ™

Her presence, with the thin, unaccomplished record she possesses in public life, and her constant display of lack of knowledge or insights on ANY topic, makes one wonder about the political motivations of the group. Do they REALLY believe that Sarah Palin is the true successor to the man they love and admire? Would Reagan look at Sarah Palin as his heir apparent? πŸ™

To make Sarah Palin a star of this event this coming weekend is to trivialize Ronald Reagan and to embarrass anyone who has any knowledge about Reagan and the conservative movement in America, as it is clear “Sarah Palin ain’t no Ronald Reagan!” πŸ™

It can also be said that Sarah Palin “ain’t no Barry Goldwater” and that she “ain’t no Robert Taft”, earlier icons of the conservative movement! One wonders if she even knows of their contributions to the Republican Party and conservatism in America! πŸ™

Sarah Palin could not walk in the shoes of Reagan, Goldwater or Taft, or really anyone else of substance, and it is a shame that Reagan’s memory, for good and for bad of his record, is being sullied by the involvement of this woman who proves that one does not need qualifications or education or intelligence to be a public figure! πŸ™

The Founding Fathers are crying loudly in mourning, and the author suspects, so is Ronald Reagan in the after life! πŸ™