Ronald Reagan

The Most Diverse Congress In American History

The 116th Congress, which opened on Wednesday, is the most diverse in American history.

It contains the following in the House of Representatives, “the people’s branch”:

102 women

52 African Americans

39 Hispanic-Latino Americans

20 Asian Americans

34 Jewish Americans

2 Native Americans

2 Muslim Americans

Most of these groups are Democrats, with only a scattering of Republicans among them.

So we have a very diverse Democratic Party, and a heavily white Christian male Republican Party.

The future is in the hands of the Democrats long term, and if the Republican Party does not become more diverse and back away from the cancer of Donald Trump, the party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan, and Bush will end up in the dustbin of history, to be replaced by a moderate conservative party under a different banner and agenda.



The Centennial Of The Death Of Theodore Roosevelt

Today marks the Centennial of the death of the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt.

Although TR passed away at the young age of 60, he had led a life few people, and few Presidents, had led.

He had run for Mayor of New York City at the young age of 28 in 1886. He had been the head of the NYC Police Board in 1895-1897, the equivalent in modern terms of being Police Commissioner. He had been Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897-1898, and then at age 39 had led troops into battle (The Rough Riders) in the Spanish American War in the spring and summer of 1898, becoming a war hero. He had then, immediately after his war service, been elected Governor of New York in the fall of 1898, followed by becoming Vice President at the young age of 42 in 1901.

And then, fate would have it that President William McKinley would be assassinated in September 1901, making TR our youngest President at 42 years and 10 and a half months, with TR being a path breaking President for the next seven and a half years. He would expand the authority and scope of the Presidency, and become a model for many future Presidents.

TR would become the greatest environmental President, and promote the growing role of the federal government in American life, and advocating “progressivism”, proclaiming he was proud to call himself a “progressive”, and ushering in what has become known in American history as the “Progressive Era” years from 1900-1917.

TR would bring America also into world diplomacy and naval supremacy, with his winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for negotiating the end of the Russo Japanese War at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and his manipulation that led to the building of the Panama Canal.

TR was larger than life, and promoted newspapers and periodicals across the nation to send White House correspondents to follow the statements, actions, and antics of the 26th President. He was always the center of attention, in and out of office, as he craved public adulation. He has been regarded by historians and political scientists, on a consistent basis, as a “Near Great” President, as number 4 in scholarly polls over the long haul, just behind three “Great” Presidents–Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

TR’s impact on the nation has been massive and will continue to be so, and only Lincoln is rated higher as a Republican President in American history. And it is clear that TR would be shocked, were he to return and see the conservative swing of the party in the past four decades since Ronald Reagan, and the extremist and dangerous trend of Donald Trump in the past two years. It seems certain that TR would be on the barricades protesting the great damage done to the Presidency by the 45th President, who has set out to destroy everything the 26th President brought about in the early 20th century.

Walter Mondale 91 Years Old, And Adds To Record Of Longest Surviving Retired Vice President, With Longest Surviving Retired President, Jimmy Carter

Today is former Vice President Walter Mondale’s 91st birthday, and he adds to the record daily as the longest surviving retired Vice President, sharing that with the longest surviving retired President, Jimmy Carter. Both will have been out of office for 38 years on January 20.

Mondale is at this point the 5th oldest Vice President in American history, with John Nance Garner (under Franklin D. Roosevelt) having reached the age of 98; Levi Morton (under Benjamin Harrison) dying on his 96th birthday; George H. W. Bush (under Ronald Reagan) reaching the age of 94; and Gerald Ford (under Richard Nixon) reaching the age of 93. Only John Adams (under George Washington) otherwise reached the age of 90, surpassed by Mondale a few months ago.

Mondale also goes down as, in many ways, the most active, involved, and engaged Vice President we have ever had, although it does seem as if Joe Biden may have been as intimately involved with Barack Obama during their two terms of office, with more information on that involvement to follow with future research.

Happy 91st Birthday, Vice President Mondale, and many more, and the same for President Jimmy Carter, who will become the longest lived President on March 22 of this year; will reach 95 on October 1; and will have the longest Presidential marriage on October 17, with his beloved wife, Rosalynn.

The Biggest Villains Contributing To The Present Political Stalemate: Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell

With a new year beginning, and a new Congress with Democratic control of the House of Representatives, we need to look back and understand who the biggest villains are who have contributed to the present political stalemate that is undermining America in both domestic and foreign policy.

The biggest villain of all is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who set out nearly 30 years ago to create turmoil, disarray, division, and enrich the ruling class at the expense of ordinary Americans. He declared open warfare on civility and cooperation between the parties across the aisle, which had existed much of the time from the Lyndon B. Johnson-Everett Dirksen cooperation in the 1960s through Ronald Reagan–Thomas “Tip” O’Neill cooperation in the 1980s. Gingrich continues to sow hate and guerrilla warfare in the present time.

Rudy Giuliani was seen as a “liberal Republican” as recently as his early campaign for the Presidency in 2007-2008, but now has become a total liar and the epitome of hypocrisy and erratic behavior as the so called “lawyer” for the authoritarian oriented Fascist who is setting out to destroy our domestic and foreign policy. Giuliani was once an honorable spokesman for the law, and now has become totally lawless and violating of all sense of truth and decency.

Ted Cruz was perceived by intelligent, decent people as the biggest threat to American values, even more in many ways than Donald Trump, in the Presidential campaign of 2016. The depth of his sickening persona is shown by the fact that Lindsey Graham once said that if Ted Cruz were to die, none of his colleagues in his own party would mourn him. Another such piece of evidence of his hypocrisy and despicable nature is that Trump trashed Cruz’s own father and wife, and then he and his wife chose to overlook that fact and agreed to have dinner at the White House, a total sellout that only a Ted Cruz could manage.

And then, there is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is a totally amoral leader, who would do anything to avoid confronting Donald Trump, with the reality that McConnell lacks all ethics by the fact that his wife, Elaine Chao, is Secretary of Transportation for Trump. On that fact alone, McConnell should be forced to resign as Majority Leader, or have his wife resign from the Cabinet.

But these four men above have no morals, ethics, scruples or common decency as part of their character. All four should face public disgrace, and all four should face legal prosecution for the damage they have done to the American political system.

Democrats Must Save America From Donald Trump In 2019: Major Challenge Ahead

The year 2019 has arrived, and the newly minted Democratic House of Representatives majority has a major challenge ahead: to confront President Donald Trump, not be bullied by him, investigate and pursue all evidence of illegality and executive abuse of power, and hold him accountable.

This is an urgent matter, as Trump is a threat to constitutional order, economic stability, social justice, and national security.

The various House committees will now be aggressive in finding out the truth about Russian collusion, obstruction of justice, abuse of power, violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, the Trump family corruption, the Trump cabinet and advisers corruption, and human rights violations against immigrants, women, children, and people of color.

The multitude of Democrats pursuing the Presidency must show they are tough and will not wilt under the constant Twitter attack of our bully President, and must hit back as hard as they are pursued by a President who acts more like a Mafia boss, rather than a role model for our children.

Fireworks will be the greatest they have been in our history, and if the Republican Party decides to sit on the sidelines and cooperate with our law breaking President, then the future of the party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan, and HW Bush is sealed as facing a natural death, as voters will not tolerate a party with no guts, who supports an authoritarian minded dictator.

American democracy is at stake, and heroism and courage are demanded, not only from Democrats, but from whatever Republicans have any principle left.

Nancy Pelosi Proves A Woman Can Overwhelm A Bully, A Braggart, A President Who Is Unfit To Be President

Nancy Pelosi was a great, productive leader of the House as Speaker from 2007-2011, and she will be again.

She was easily the best Speaker of the House since Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, who was Speaker under Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan from 1977-1987.

She accomplished more under the last two years of George W. Bush and the first two years of Barack Obama than any modern Speaker other than O’Neill in the past 45 years, and makes all Republican Speakers–Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert, John Boehner, Paul Ryan–look pitiful by comparison.

The House of Representatives will have a much more complicated calendar for the first time in 12 years, as she will push and promote the Democratic agenda in the next two years, along with consideration of the possible impeachment of Donald Trump.

Her performance in showing up Trump at an open to the press 17 minute verbal dispute in the Oval Office was masterful, and showed she can best a man who thinks he is smart and brilliant, but was shown to be “an Emperor without clothes”.   Trump was humiliated by how Pelosi portrayed him  and his manhood, and has shown, despite her reaching the age of 80 by 2020, that she is the right person to lead Democrats into a hoped for massive victory in 2020 for the Presidency and the US Senate, and retention of the House majority.

44 Retired US Senators Speak Out On Constitutional Crisis, Including Principled Republicans

The Washington Post published two days ago an op-ed editorial by 44 retired US Senators, calling on the present members of the Senate to show guts and courage and speak up to defend democracy and the Constitution, from the threats presented by President Donald Trump.

Eleven of those 44 were Republicans, of all stripes and beliefs, including Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado; William Cohen of Maine; Alfonse D’Amato of New York;  John Danforth of Missouri; David Durenberger of Minnesota; Chuck Hagel of Nebraska; Richard Lugar of Indiana; Larry Pressler of South Dakota; Alan Simpson of Wyoming; John Warner of Virginia; and Lowell Weicker of Connecticut.

The other 33 were Democrats, including such luminaries as Evan Bayh of Indiana; Bill Bradley of New Jersey; Tom Daschle of South Dakota; Chris Dodd of Connecticut; Russ Feingold of Wisconsin; Bob Graham of Florida; Tom Harkin of Iowa; Gary Hart of Colorado; Bob Kerrey of Nebraska; John Kerry of Massachusetts; Joe Lieberman of Connecticut; Barbara Mikulski of Maryland; Sam Nunn of Georgia; Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia; and Mark Udall of Colorado.

America needs Republicans in the Senate, now 53 of them, to stop defending Donald Trump, and start concerning themselves with the preservation of American democracy.  They need to speak up and challenge and confront Donald Trump and stop accepting his violations of the Constitution.

If they do not, they will  be relegated to the dustbin of history, and the Republican party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan, Ford, and H. W. Bush will die of lack of principle and commitment.

Growing Likelihood Of Challengers To Donald Trump For GOP Presidential Nomination In 2020

With Donald Trump being “individual No. 1”, clearly the center of probes by Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel, and also by the Southern District of New York, the likelihood grows of Republicans, who have just come off a 40 seat loss in the House and control of the lower chamber, being alarmed enough that serious challengers to Donald Trump’s nomination for a second term seem likely.

One can expect the following Republicans to consider challenges to Trump.

Outgoing Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse.

Utah Senator Mitt Romney, the 2012 Presidential nominee.

Outgoing Arizona Senator Jeff Flake.

Former South Carolina Governor and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

There could be others as well, but this list seems quite realistic, although the more that challenge Trump, the less likely there would be success.

It would be much easier if only one challenger took the bait, and went after Trump.

One can think back to 1979-1980, when President Jimmy Carter was challenged by both Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy and California Governor Jerry Brown.  

The one thing about even one challenger to a sitting President is that the result has been that while the President won the nomination, he ended up losing the election, with three of the four times losing massively.

William Howard Taft won only 23 percent in 1912 after being challenged by former President Theodore Roosevelt, and having to deal with TR as the Progressive Party nominee, as well as Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson.

Jimmy Carter won only 41 percent in 1980 after being challenged by Ted Kennedy and Jerry Brown, and having to deal with an independent nominee, John Anderson, as well as Republican nominee Ronald Reagan.

George H. W.  Bush won only 37 percent in 1992 after being challenged by Pat Buchanan, and having to deal with independent nominee Ross Perot and Democratic nominee Bill Clinton.

At this point, before we begin the new year, it would seem as if John Kasich would have the upper hand on a challenge over others, and that Ben Sasse, representing a new generation of conservative leadership, would be an additional major challenge to Trump, were Sasse willing to mount a campaign.

Of course, any challenge to Trump would also be indirectly a challenge to Vice President Mike Pence as the “heir apparent”.

The Fourth Period Of Six Living Presidents Ends With Death Of George H. W. Bush

We have just seen the end of the fourth time in American history that we have had six living Presidents.

The first time was in 1861-1862, from March to January, a total of about 10 and a half months, when we had President Abraham Lincoln, and former Presidents Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan, until John Tyler died in January 1862.

The second time was 1993-1994 from January to April, a total of about 15 months, when we had President Bill Clinton, and former Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, until Richard Nixon died in April 1994.

The third time, the longest time, was 2001-2004, from January to June, a total of about 40 and a half months, when we had President George W. Bush, and former Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, until Ronald Reagan died in in June 2004.

And now, the fourth and last time, was 2017-2018, from January to November, a total of about 22 and a half months, the second longest time, when we had President Donald Trump, and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, until George H. W. Bush died on the last day of November 2018.

The odds of having a fifth period of six Presidents anytime soon seems unlikely, as Jimmy Carter, at age 94, would seem unlikely to have much more life longevity, but if Donald Trump were to be forced out of office, in the next two years, or be defeated, and Carter stayed in good health, it could happen.

The Negative Side Of The Presidency Of George H. W. Bush

As George H. W. Bush lies in state before his funeral on Wednesday and his burial on Thursday, praise and plaudits have been visited on the 41st President.

But as with all Presidents and all government leaders worldwide and historically, there is a negative side.

Among the shortcomings of the 41st President are the following in no particular order:

Bush ignored the AIDS Epidemic crisis, much like his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, allowing the Religious Right Wing to set the agenda on a hate campaign against gays and lesbians.

Bush switched his pro choice views on abortion by picking up the Reagan viewpoint on women, and sacrificing his beliefs, while his own wife Barbara quietly continued to support abortion rights.

Bush ran a nasty, dirty, and despicable campaign for President in 1988 against the Democratic nominee, Michael Dukakis, allowing falsehoods and distortions to be promoted, without any consideration of the damage his campaign manager Lee Atwater was engaged in.

Bush pursued a Mideast policy that led to long term disaster, and placing troops on a permanent basis in the Middle East led to September 11 and the Iraq War and Afghanistan War.

Bush as CIA head backed dictatorships in Latin America, particularly in Chile and Argentina.

Bush promoted a tough war on drugs, as Ronald Reagan had done, and it victimized people of color much more than whites, and caused prison terms that are now seen as a failed policy, that did not really get to the issue of how to treat those addicted to drugs.

Bush was involved in the Iran Contra Scandal under President Reagan, never fully explored, and ended up giving pardons to many who were part of that scandal, right before he left office in 1993.

Bush made a horrible appointment to the Supreme Court when he nominated Clarence Thomas in 1991, and the nation has been burdened with his influence for the past 27 years, including many potential future Supreme Court nominees who worked for Thomas, and are now being put on the Circuit Courts under President Donald Trump, setting up a future Court with even greater Thomas impact than just himself.

Bush also gave us the most ill qualified, incompetent Vice President in modern history, Dan Quayle, and when Bush had medical issues in office, it made the nation worry at the thought of a President Quayle.

These nine points mentioned above make an assessment of the ultimate historical significance of George H. W. Bush much more complicated than the fulsome praise now being promoted at the time of his passing.