Ronald Reagan

The Misunderstanding Of The Terms “Liberal” And “Progressive”

A new debate is emerging over the use of the terms “Liberal” and “Progressive”.

There are those who think there is a real difference between these two political terms, but this blogger and author wishes to make clear that he sees no difference in reality.

The term “Progressive” became popular with the rise of President Theodore Roosevelt, and Senators Robert La Follette Sr of Wisconsin and George Norris of Nebraska in the early 20th century. This term became notable due to these Republican officeholders and others.

But in the 1930s, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal ushered in a different term, that the reforms of the 1930s were “Liberal”, and for the next half century, “Liberal” was the preferred term, promoted by President John F. Kennedy, and Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota and others in the Democratic Party, and by Republicans including Governor Nelson Rockefeller and Senator Jacob Javits of New York and others.

With the rise of Ronald Reagan to the Presidency, with the attacks on “liberalism” by conservatives, the term “Progressive” returned to favor, and this author chose that term for the title of his blog, when he began it in 2008.

But I consider the terms “Liberal” and “Progressive” to be interchangeable, as both represent the promotion of the virtues of government; the need for economic regulation; the promotion of social reform; and concern for human rights and environmental protection. Additionally, the importance of international alliances and agreements is paramount, and the avoidance of unnecessary wars and military intervention except if truly a threat to national security, is essential.

So for instance, World War II, the Korean War, and the Persian Gulf War were justifiable, while the wars in Vietnam and Iraq were not justifiable, and support of military dictatorships around the world suppressing freedom has always been unethical and immoral.

So as I stated on my Personal Profile page since August 2008, I am proud to call myself a “Liberal” AND a “Progressive”!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social Security Reform Needed Again As In 1983 Between Speaker Of The House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill And President Ronald Reagan

In 1983, Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, a clear cut liberal, negotiated with conservative Republican President Ronald Reagan a path breaking Social Security reform, raising the level of taxation on Social Security; and increasing the retirement age by stages to 66 and 67.

This was long range planning to insure that Social Security, begun in 1935 by Franklin D. Roosevelt, would survive into the long term future.

Ever since 1983, this bipartisan spirit has been hailed, but little action has been taken to insure the future, now that Social Security is in danger again.

Of course, the right wing conservatives would love to see the program die, as they opposed it bitterly at the time of passage in 1935 and ever since.

It is clear that if the Republicans control Congress after the 2020 elections, that they will work to kill the program so it is urgent that Democrats win the Presidency and control of both houses of Congress, and proceed to add one percent taxation to the program, and raise the retirement age by stages over the next 20 years to age 68, and eventually 69, for full benefits. More people than ever before work longer now than in past years.

A combination of both a one percent tax increase and age increases will save the system for the next 75 years until the end of the 21st century, and legislation needs to also force all unearned income from stocks to be taxed, as well as earned income from work.

William Barr, Most Corrupt Attorney General Since John Mitchell Under Richard Nixon

Attorney General William Barr will go down as the most corrupt person in that position since John Mitchell under Richard Nixon.

Earlier Attorneys General who were disastrous include A. Mitchell Palmer under Woodrow Wilson and Harry Daugherty under Warren G. Harding; and after Mitchell, Richard Kleindienst under Richard Nixon; Edwin Meese under Ronald Reagan; Alberto Gonzalez under George W. Bush; and Jeff Sessions under Donald Trump.

Barr was Attorney General in the last year and a half under George H. W. Bush and helped to arrange the pardon of those who had engaged in the Iran Contra Affair; and now has become Donald Trump’s Attorney General, rather than the nation’s Attorney General, with his covering up on the Robert Mueller investigation into wrong doing by Trump.

While all of the above Attorneys General have besmirched the reputation of the Department of Justice, Barr will stand out as ranking with Mitchell as a person who had no issue with engaging in corruption.

Only Nixon and Trump have had two horrible Attorneys General, a sad commentary on the cabinet officer responsible for enforcement of the law and the Constitution.

25 Years Since Richard Nixon Death On Earth Day

It is now a quarter century since President Richard Nixon died, ironically on Earth Day, April 22, 1994.

Nixon has been rightly criticized and attacked for the Watergate Scandal and related illegal actions, which led to his impeachment by the House Judiciary Committee, before his resignation when the Supreme Court ordered he hand over the Watergate tapes to the Special Prosecutor, Leon Jaworski.

But historians regard Nixon as the second best Environmental President of modern times, just behind Theodore Roosevelt, and ahead of Jimmy Carter, as he went along with the Democratic Congress in promoting the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, and could have prevented it by a presidential veto.

Many might say that other Presidents belong that high up in the rankings, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and John F. Kennedy, and Obama’s involvement is still being evaluated as to where he should rank in the listings.

One thing for sure, other than TR and Nixon, no Republican President ranks high, except in the damage done, as for instance, particularly with Ronald Reagan, Warren G. Harding, and more than either of them, Donald Trump.

Barack Obama Fortunate For History That He Is Between George W. Bush And Donald Trump In The Order Of Presidents In Office

In the long run of history, where a President is in the order of attaining the Presidency really matters.

So, for instance, John Adams is between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and while Adams ranks around the middle in ranking of Presidents by historians and political scientists, he is rated much lower than the two Presidents before and after him, who are in the top ten of any listing.

The same goes for William Howard Taft, who is between Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, both of whom are in the top quarter of Presidents, while Taft is rated in the mid 20s.

And the same is true for George H. W. Bush, who is between Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, both of whom are rated higher than Bush, who is rated in the later teens as President.

On the other hand, Abraham Lincoln comes between the two men usually rated the two worst Presidents, James Buchanan before him and Andrew Johnson after him.

And it is now clear that Barack Obama, rated 11th in one poll, 8th in another poll, and 17th in a third poll, all within the two years he has been out of the Presidency, is fortunate to have George W. Bush, rated in the 30s, and Donald Trump rated either at the bottom under Buchanan and Andrew Johnson, or at most just above them, insuring he will, like Lincoln, always be rated much better.

George W. Bush Extolls Benefits Of Immigration In Dallas Naturalization Ceremony

Former President George W. Bush, who pursued comprehensive immigration reform while in office, extolled the benefits of immigration, as “a blessing and a strength” at a naturalization ceremony in Dallas, Texas, this week, adding to his stature of NOT being like typical Republicans now are in Congress and the Trump White House, spewing hatred and prejudice toward immigrants, and using ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) as an agency which has abused both legal immigrants and undocumented immigrants.

Instead of pursuing truly undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes, ICE has destroyed the lives of such individuals who, other than overstaying their visas or entering years ago without proper documentation, have NOT committed crimes, but whole families are being ripped apart by the order of the Trump Administration.

This is not what Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, or Ronald Reagan promoted as their immigration policies.

Instead, Donald Trump keeps on promoting the bald faced lie that “caravans of immigrants” are coming to America illegally, when the facts are not there, and those undocumented immigrants who come in are mostly women and children, not adult males who are criminals.

George W. Bush adds to his stature by his sentiments, and those of former First Lady Laura Bush, and the nativism now being practiced will be condemned in the long run of history, particularly when First Lady Melania Trump was an undocumented immigrant, but from Eastern Europe, who came in, and was fortunate enough to meet her husband, allowing special dispensation for her parents from Slovenia to pass by the normal restrictions for immigrants to come into America!