Ronald Reagan

The Age Issue’s Effect On Hillary Clinton, But Also Possibly On Bernie Sanders, Against Younger Republicans in November!

The Iowa Caucuses results demonstrate a major problem that Hillary Clinton faces–the age issue.

A vast majority of young voters, those under 45, but even more so those under 29, supported Bernie Sanders, the oldest candidate ever to seek the nomination of a major political party.

Even John McCain (age 72)and Bob Dole (age 73) were not the same age at the time of the election campaign as Bernie Sanders.

Even Ronald Reagan (age 73) was “younger” when seeking reelection in 1984!

How is it that young voters, who flocked to Barack Obama, age 47 in 2008, now love Bernie Sanders, age 75 by the time of the election?

What is it about Hillary Clinton age 69) that makes young Democratic voters dislike her that much, when young voters back in 1992 liked her husband, Bill Clinton, age 46?

This is a serious issue, as it looks more likely that Hillary, the likely Democratic nominee, will face a much younger Republican candidate in Ted Cruz, age  45, or more likely, Marco Rubio, also 45 but five months younger than Cruz.  It means that the age difference would be almost 24 years.

The argument that either Cruz or Rubio are not “old” enough or experienced enough to be President is an argument that will not work, as John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and particularly Barack Obama, were accused of the same “weakness”, but all became President.

To have the Democratic nominee, either Hillary or Bernie (six years older) as the “old” candidate, against a young Republican such as Cruz or Rubio, is unprecedented in American history.

A difference of 24 years is not the all time difference, as John McCain was 25 years older than Barack Obama in 2008; Bob Dole was 23 years older than Bill Clinton in 1996; and George H. W. Bush was 22 years older than Bill Clinton in 1992, but in each case the Democrat was the younger nominee.

But if it was Bernie Sanders against Cruz or Rubio, the difference would be nearly 30 years!

This time, it will be the opposite, with the Democrat much younger than the Republican, and one has to wonder how it might affect the election results, particularly with younger voters in the Democratic Party gravitating to Bernie instead of Hillary, and possibly younger voters in general going for Cruz or Rubio due to youthfulness!

Personal Attacks On Barack Obama Far Surpass Such Nastiness Toward Any Other Modern President!

Here we are, about to start the eighth and last year of the Barack Obama Presidency, and new evidence of the personal attacks on Barack Obama continues to mount, far surpassing such nastiness toward any other modern President.

We are not talking here about disagreement and attacks on Barack Obama for his viewpoints, his beliefs, his policies, his attitudes, or the results of his effect on the nation.

We are talking about attacks on his appearance, his clothes, his religious views, his wife, his children, his childhood, his close friends, his sincerity when he makes statements or sheds tears or laughs—really anything imaginable that any stupid, ignorant, nasty person could possibly conjure up to demonstrate lack of respect and decency toward an American President!

Yes, comments have been made about John F. Kennedy’s Roman Catholicism; Lyndon B. Johnson’s acquisition of wealth; Richard Nixon’s character; Gerald Ford’s blunders; Jimmy Carter’s ineptness; Ronald Reagan’s ability to promote mythology; George H. W. Bush’s poor communications skills; Bill Clinton’s womanizing; and George W. Bush’s intellectual limits.

But none have had depictions of Obama and his family as chimpanzees; or said Michelle Obama looks like the family dog Bo; or that the children are monkeys; or that Obama is homosexual; or that his wife is really a man; and other outrageous personal attacks, and not by teenagers, but by full fledged adults who believe what the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups preach. No one else has been called the AntiChrist, the devil, the personification of evil, and accused of every immoral action imaginable.

More evidence showed up two days ago when it was revealed that the Presidential dog Bo was subject of a threatened kidnapping by a crazy person, with this blogger posting about this on Facebook, and getting some of the most nasty, sick, abusive responses directed at the First Family and the President.  It is enough to make one furious at the mental illness that many Obama haters clearly have, and makes one realize it is almost a miracle that the President has not been harmed after more threats against him than any President since Abraham Lincoln!

And what other President has been condemned by extremist right wing so called church pastors and talk show hosts with insulting statements that only a person of no character or ethics would ever dream of such attacks?

After seven years of Barack Obama, the level of racism and bigotry is in full pitch, an embarrassment that should not exist, and a sign of just how far we have to go to overcome prejudice and narrow mindedness, as his election twice to the Presidency has not led to an improvement in public decency. until and when such attitudes are wiped from the American psyche!

And the concept that the opposition party would condemn such attacks in the name of common decency is not present, and never has been, as Republican leaders remain silent, and in so doing, are endorsing these nasty, outrageous personal attacks that have reached a fever pitch unseen in earlier American history!

The “Lame Duck Presidency” Transformed By Barack Obama As He Enters Last Year Of Presidency!

The standard argument is that once a President is reelected to his second term, his power wanes quickly, particularly after the midterm election of his second term.

That has generally proved to be true, as occurred with Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

But it most certainly has NOT happened with Barack Obama!

The “Lame Duck” Presidency does not exist, as Obama has seen the victories in the Supreme Court on gay marriage and ObamaCare; has seen him move to start relations with Cuba and negotiate an agreement with Iran to prevent nuclear expansion; has led to him speaking openly on the problem of race relations and crime; has led to great initiatives on the environment; and has led to him openly challenging Republicans on a whole host of issues, and when defied, using executive orders as earlier Presidents did to overcome Congressional recalcitrance,

Of course, Obama is helped by the fact that the economy has improved dramatically under his time in office; and by the fact that we are not engaged in a major war with large numbers of troops on the ground, getting killed and wounded; and has no major scandal that saps energy from the office of the Presidency.

So do NOT expect Barack Obama to sit back in his last 12 months in public office, as he has every intention and desire to promote more change in every way he can in the economy, in foreign policy, in executive orders, and in making the Presidency an office of great power and promotion of reform!

Activist Vs. Passive Presidents, 1901 To The Present

There have been 19 Presidents since the accession of Theodore Roosevelt to the Presidency in 1901, upon the assassination of William McKinley.

Some have been activists, hard workers, dynamos, who saw the Presidency as a position that required constant attention, and avoided much vacation time, but even when on vacation, these activist Presidents were always working and alert to changing events.

Among the 19 modern Presidents, the following 11 Presidents would qualify as part of the activist category:

Theodore Roosevelt

Woodrow Wilson

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Harry Truman

John F. Kennedy

Lyndon B. Johnson

Richard Nixon

Jimmy Carter

George H. W. Bush

Bill Clinton

Barack Obama

The other 8 Presidents since 1901 were much more passive, avoided work, were quite frankly lazy, and took lots of vacation time, often were not alert to changing events, and delegated authority to others:

William Howard Taft

Warren G. Harding

Calvin Coolidge

Herbert Hoover

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Gerald Ford

Ronald Reagan

George W. Bush

Note that all eight passive Presidents were Republicans, while only Theodore Roosevelt, Richard Nixon and George H. W. Bush were activist Republicans, joining the 8 Democratic Presidents in that category!

Also, note that the eleven activist Presidents all were highly intelligent and curious about the world around them, while the eight passive Presidents were generally less naturally intelligent, with the exceptions of William Howard Taft and Herbert Hoover, both highly intellectual and accomplished, although both were seen as unsuccessful in office, and defeated for reelection!

Donald Trump: Total Phony, Liar, And “Spoiled Child”! An Authoritarian Demagogue In The Making!

Donald Trump has revealed himself as being a total phony and liar, which makes him no different than some of the politicians he deplores.

Trump tells us how terrible Hillary and Bill Clinton are, what failures they were and are in one moment, but eight years ago he raved about Hillary and Bill Clinton as very smart, very accomplished, very nice people.

Trump tells us that Bill Clinton is a sexist, while demonstrating just how much of a sexist he is himself!  Trump talks about the scandals around Bill Clinton, while having been divorced two times and married three times, something we have never seen in the White House before, with the one exception of Ronald Reagan, who was divorced once and married twice, but had no tone of scandal around it.  Even Adlai Stevenson, Bob Dole, John Kerry, and John McCain were only divorced once, and except for Stevenson who never remarried, married only twice!

Trump tells us how wages are too high, and then tells us that, like Bernie Sanders (who is seen as attracting some voters in New Hampshire by his condemnation of low wages and the power of the top one percent), that wages are too low!

Trump trashes the leading newspapers in Iowa (Des Moines Register) and New Hampshire (New Hampshire Union Leader) because they denounce his lies and phoniness, and endorse someone else, acting like a spoiled child, which he is and was, unable to take any criticism.  It makes one wonder how he would deal with the news media, since he attacks them in a manner unprecedented by any President or Presidential candidate in American history!

Trump is a danger to American democracy, a true Fascist authoritarian figure, who draws support from blue collar working class white men, who want to blame the problems in their lives on Mexicans, Muslims, women, immigrants, and people of other minority backgrounds.  These disillusioned citizens are being misled by demagoguery of the most dangerous kind imaginable!

Tom Brokaw, the former anchor of NBC News, has called Trump Hitler like in his appeal to voters, a very dangerous man, and for Brokaw to do that is a sign of how stable, intelligent people are truly worried about a possible Trump candidacy!

 

Republican Implosion: 1912, 1964, 2016—Each 52 Years Apart After Lincoln And First Republican Victory In 1860!

The Republican Party was born in 1854 in opposition to the expansion of slavery, and also included abolitionists, those who wanted the end of slavery, in its membership.

Six years later, the Republicans won the majority of the Congress,and in a four way Presidential face, Abraham Lincoln won the Presidency with less than 40 percent of the total national vote.

Within  six weeks of the Presidential inauguration, the Civil War had begun.

For the next half century, the Republicans dominated national politics, winning control of the Presidency for 44 of 52 years (with only Democrat Grover Cleveland winning two nonconsecutive terms in 1884 and 1892), and usually held the Congressional majority with a few exceptions.

But then in 1912, 52 years after the Republicans became the national majority, the party had a “civil war” between President William Howard Taft and his predecessor in the White House, Theodore Roosevelt, leading to the formation of the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party, and TR ending up second and Taft third in popular and electoral votes.  Democrat Woodrow Wilson became President, and promoted a great era of reform, known as the New Freedom, and also adopted TR’s reform platform, known as the New Nationalism.

Despite many shortcomings of Wilson, the domestic reform programs was the greatest in substance in American history.

The Republicans returned to national power in the Presidential Election of 1920 and kept it until Herbert Hoover and the coming of the Great Depression, and Franklin D. Roosevelt then brought Democratic dominance in 1932 and after, with his New Deal, a much greater reform period than that under Wilson.

The Republican Party was only able to win back Congressional majorities in the midterm election of 1946 and again in the Presidential Election of 1952, when Dwight D. Eisenhower won the Presidency, but two years later, the Democrats regained the majority in both houses for the next quarter century.

The more conservative wing of the GOP lost their chance to gain a Presidential nomination when Wendell Willkie, Thomas E. Dewey, Eisenhower, and Richard Nixon won the nominations for President from 1940-1960, but the conservatives overcame the Eastern Establishment, as it was known, and soared to the Presidential nomination with right wing Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater in 1964, 52 years after 1912.

But now we had “civil war” again, as Eastern Establishment Republicans who had competed against Goldwater, including most notably Nelson Rockfeeller, refused to support Goldwater in 1964, and some just sat on their hands, while others backed Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson.  This led to a massive defeat for the GOP in 1964, and LBJ went on to a landslide victory and the promotion of the Democratic Party’s Great Society.

The battle for the future began when Ronald Reagan sought the Presidency against incumbent President Gerald Ford in 1976, but going on to triumph in 1980, creating what conservatives considered a “Golden Age”.  However, after Reagan, the Establishment returned with President George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, President George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney from 1988 to 2012.

As the GOP became ever more conservative and right wing extremist, and was hijacked by the Tea Party Movement after 2009, the party has reached a point where the Establishment, including some of the 2016 Presidential candidates, but also much of Republicans Congressional leadership, was seen as unacceptable, and we have now witnessed a rebellion against “office holders”, and the rise of Donald Trump, Dr. Benjamin Cason, and Carly Fiorina.

It seems as if the GOP is on the way to another “civil war” 52 years after 1964, wh8ich could be the final implosion of the Republican Party as we know it, and lead to a massive Democratic victory, including the possibility yet again of a third age of reform, spurred on in the past by Wilson and LBJ, and maybe now, either Hillary Clinton, or who can say, maybe even Bernie Sanders!

Silly Season: Comparing Donald Trump To Ronald Reagan Is Preposterous!

With Donald Trump  having led public opinion polls for the Republican Presidential nomination for six months now, “silly season” is beginning, as we are starting to have Trump compared to former Presidents, when he is not at all like any former President!

The most preposterous is the comparison of Donald Trump to Ronald Reagan.

One does not have to be a Reagan fan, which this blogger most certainly is not, to consider such a comparison totally crazy!

There is no comparison between the two men that makes sense other than that Reagan was considered a long shot for the nomination and the Presidency, as Trump is right now.

But otherwise, there are no similarities, except maybe the fact that both Reagan and Trump were formerly Democrats.

But what advantages did Reagan have?

Reagan had been Governor of California for eight years, while Trump has never been in public office.

Reagan had developed strong conservative convictions, while Trump has no strong beliefs other than his own ambitions.

Reagan was never a narcissist, while Trump is the personification of narcissism.

Reagan was always charming as a person, hard not to like, even if you did not agree with him, while Trump is obnoxious and disgusting as a person.

Reagan was widely read on political principles, while Trump never has any connection to the facts and truth and is a massive liar unseen in modern history.

Reagan set out to unite the nation around nationalism in a safe, civilized manner, while Trump loves to incite his audiences through disgusting examples of racism, nativism, and misogyny.

Reagan never trusted the Soviet Union and avoided praise of Russian leadership, while Trump has endorsed the leadership of Vladimir Putin, and doubts the violations of human rights that are clearly going on in present day Russia.

Reagan promoted immigration reform, while Trump exploits the anti immigrant extremism of much of the Republican Party in 2015.

Reagan was able to unite Republicans around his leadership, while Trump would be unable to unify the party and would be more polarizing in the White House than any President, bar none.

Reagan knew how to conduct diplomacy, and never set out to insult foreign leaders and governments, while Trump revels in insults and bad behavior toward the outside world.

Reagan may have had mental lapses starting to develop in his second term, but Trump is clearly mentally unbalanced now, and would be a danger as to his rhetoric and actions, were he to become President.

So any comparison of Trump and Reagan is purely ridiculous!

America’s Fascist Demagogues In History: Huey P. Long, Joseph McCarthy, George C. Wallace, Patrick Buchanan!

The United States has had its Fascist demagogues in the past nearly hundred years of our history, but luckily, they “burned out” very quickly.

We had Democratic Governor and Senator Huey P. Long, who condemned the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the early 1930s era of the Great Depression.  He had a big following on radio; drew large public crowds; preached “Every Man A King” and “Share The Wealth” as he attacked Wall Street; had his own group of “storm troopers” to protect him;  and made clear that he hoped to come to power on a national level, having alienated his Senate colleagues and the President by his tactics and showmanship.

His potential threat disappeared, however, when he was assassinated in the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge in September 1935, a mystery that still exists today, as covered in Chapter 7 of my book, ASSASSINATIONS, THREATS, AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: FROM ANDREW JACKSON TO BARACK OBAMA (Rowman Littlefield Publishers, August 2015).  He reminded many of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, both of whom had not yet become as aggressive and warlike as they would become in the mid to late 1930s and early 1940s.

Then we had evil personified in Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin, who stirred fear and insecurity in America in the early 1950s, when he accused Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower and many government and other public figures of being Communists, or “soft on Communism”.

He ruined thousands of people’s lives, caused their deaths or complete destruction of their lives, but it was all a ploy backed by right wing conservatives, who continue to honor him, even after his political downfall in December 1954 when the US Senate condemned him, and his early death of alcoholism in May 1957.  This despicable man was a true Fascist demagogue with too many people ready to back him, but his cockiness and arrogance and false charges finally brought him down.

Then we had Democratic Governor George C. Wallace of Alabama, who sowed racism in America as he stood in the door of the University of Alabama in 1963 to attempt to block integration of the state university, and allowed police brutality in Birmingham and elsewhere, leading to the bombing of a black church and the death of young girls in the explosion.

A true Fascist demagogue of the worst kind, he actually gained five states and 46 electoral votes as a third party candidate for President in 1968.  Then, while running in 1972 again, he was shot and paralyzed for life by an assassin, a tragic event for sure, but brought on by his notoriety and demagogic nature.  Wallace’s story is well covered in Chapter 11 of my new book mentioned above.

And then we had Patrick Buchanan, an aide to President Richard Nixon and President Ronald Reagan, who promoted nativism and racism and antisemitism, including Holocaust denial,   as he campaigned against President George H. W. Bush in the 1992 primaries; against Bob Dole in the 1996 primaries;  and then ran as a third party candidate of the Reform Party in 2000.

Due to confusion in Palm Beach County, Florida, Buchanan gained 4,000 votes that were intended by voters for Al Gore, but mistakenly, these elderly, mostly Jewish voters punched the wrong hole on the “butterfly” ballots, and by doing so, caused the election of George W. Bush statewide, officially by a total of 537 votes, sadly denying Al Gore the Presidency, despite his national popular vote lead of 540,000!

Buchanan clearly was and is a Fascist demagogue, who, however, has become someone ignored, and no longer has a major media presence in his later years, as he once did on cable television as a political commentator on MSNBC and CNN, although he still is on Fox News Channel and PBS.

And now we have, at the least, two Fascist demagogues, now considered the front runners in the Republican race for President—Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz!  Again, the fight against right wing Fascism and its elements–racism, nativism, misogyny, antisemitism—remain a battle decent people must fight with every ounce of their energy!

9 Of Last 10 Economic Recessions Under Republican Presidents Since 1953!

It is a fact of history that nine of the ten economic recessions since 1953, when Dwight D. Eisenhower became President, have come under Republican Presidents as follows:

July 1953 to May 1954–Eisenhower

August 1957 to April 1958–Eisenhower

April 1960 to February 1961–Eisenhower

December 1969 to November 1970–Nixon

November 1973 to March, with un 1975–Nixon/Ford

January 1980 to July 1980–Carter (Democrat)

July 1981-November 1982–Reagan

July 1990-March 1991—HW Bush

March 2001-November 2001–W Bush

December 2007-June 2009–W Bush/Obama–last five months under Democrat

The longest recessions were under W Bush and Obama; Reagan; and Nixon/Ford, with the unemployment rate reaching 10 percent, 10.8 percent, and 9 percent respectively in those recessions.

The shortest recession was under Jimmy Carter, six months in 1980, but the only Democrat to have a recession begin while in office, and  suffered at the polls partially on that fact, that it was in an election year!

Eisenhower had three recession periods, while Nixon had two, and W. Bush had two.

This is an issue that Democrats need to emphasize in the upcoming campaign, the tremendous economic revival under President Barack Obama!

Finally, the John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Bill Clinton administrations saw great economic growth as under Obama after his first five months in office, so Democrats have an exceptional record on the economy over the last 62 years of American history!

 

The Iowa Caucuses: Historically Insignificant, And Worth Ignoring!

We have seen the state of Iowa getting an inordinate amount of attention in the Presidential Election race of 2016, as we have seen since 1976. But when one looks at history, we should understand that the Iowa Caucuses are a pure waste of time, that  Iowa is not representative of the nation, and the smart candidate would not put so much effort into the Hawkeye state!

The idea of a Presidential caucus is really very anti democratic, and a primary is a much better representation of the true feelings of the population of a state.  Ideally, ALL states should have primaries, not caucuses.

But since Iowa has a Presidential caucus, the facts are that much  of the time, it has had little or no effect on the Presidential elections.

The record shows that four out of ten times, the Republican caucus in Iowa has chosen a candidate who did not go on to be the GOP nominee–George H. W. Bush in 1980, Bob Dole in 1988, Mike Huckabee in 2008, and Rick Santorum in 2012.  Three other times, the incumbent President had no opposition–Ronald Reagan in 1984, George H. W. Bush in 1992, and George W. Bush in 2004.  And in 1976, in a contested caucus, President Gerald Ford edged out over Ronald Reagan.  Only in 1996 and 200 were the candidates who won the nomination (Bob Dole and George W. Bush) able to win the Iowa Caucuses.  And only the second Bush winning Iowa in 2000 led to the Presidency!

The Democrats have had the Iowa Caucuses be more successful, with the nominee of the party being the winner of the Caucuses seven out of ten times, all but 1976, with “Uncommitted” winning; Dick Gephardt in 1988, and Tom Harkin in 1992, but realizing that Gephardt was from neighboring Missouri, and Harkin was an Iowa ‘favorite son”!  Jimmy Carter in 1980, Bill Clinton in 1996, and Barack Obama in 2012 all won second term support, with Walter Mondale, Al Gore, John Kerry and Barack Obama winning contested primaries when they ran in 1984, 2000, 2004 and 2008 respectively.  And only Obama winning Iowa in 2008 led to the Presidency!

The conclusion is that it really does not matter who wins Iowa as only two Presidents winning Iowa have gone on directly to become President, and that New Hampshire’s Primary is much more accurate and representative in the long run of history as to who will be the party nominees!