South Dakota

George McGovern Birthday, What Would Have Been His 95th: A Moment To Remember

Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, the 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee against President Richard Nixon, would have been 95 today, a moment to remember this great man, who passed away five years ago on October 21, 2012.

McGovern may have been an historic loser, winning only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia in his race against Nixon 45 years ago.

But McGovern was, in many ways, the most principled man ever to run for President.

He ran as an anti Vietnam War candidate, who had been a fighter pilot in World War II.

He ran as a person committed to the hungry, the poor, the disadvantaged in our society. He worked across the aisle with Bob Dole of Kansas to take action to help the most deprived in our society.

He ran as a principled and decent political leader who wanted to bring America back to its purpose, to promote equality, justice and compassion.

Americans instead voted for the most unprincipled and corrupt President in American history, until Donald Trump came along.

George McGovern was my idol, my hero, as a young man in graduate school, inspired by the fact that he had, like myself, pursued a PH. D. in American history, and had taught on the college level before entering politics.

What is it about America that too often they vote for the candidate who is far less principled, decent, and compassionate–as with Richard Nixon and Donald Trump as two examples?

Why is it that we have, as a nation, too often made the wrong choice?

This is something that will be repeated until the better side of our nature finally returns to the basic principles of America, and steers away from those who exploit our fears and insecurities and worsens the American condition!

Small States’ (One House Member And Two Senators) Influence In Congress Since 1945

There are seven states that have had only one member of the House of Representatives, along with two US Senators, in the past 70 years. but despite their small populations, these states have had a massive impact on American politics and history!  In addition, for the first few decades since 1945, Nevada also had one House member until growth caused two, and then, three seats in the House.

The seven states are Vermont, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska!

But North Dakota, South Dakota,and Montana had two members of the House until recent decades when reapportionment caused them to lose a second seat.

So only Vermont, Delaware, Wyoming, and Alaska (since 1959) stand alone as consistently having one House member and two Senators per state.

But look at their influence:

Vermont had George Aiken (R) (1941-1975) and has Patrick Leahy (D) for 41 years (1975 to Present) and counting now, and Bernie Sanders since 1990,  who  was the lone House member for 16 years before election to the Senate in 2006,making him the longest serving Independent in the history of both houses of Congress.  Also, Howard Dean, former Governor of the state, was a leading contender for the Democratic nomination in 2004, and then became head of the Democratic National Committee, and helped the rise of Barack Obama with a “50 state” strategy between 2004-2008.

Delaware had Joe Biden as Senator for six terms from 1973-2009, and now as Vice President.  He became one of the longest serving Senators of all time, and sought the Presidency in 1988 and 2008.

Wyoming had Dick Cheney as its lone Congressman for ten years from 1979-1989, before he ended up as Secretary of Defense under the first Bush Presidency, and Vice President in the second Bush Presidency.  Also, Alan Simpson served in the Senate from 1979-1997 as  a Republican, and Gale McGree from 1959-1977 as a Democrat.

Alaska had Ted Stevens in the Senate for 40 years from 1968 to 2009, the longest serving Republican Senator in American history.  Also, Sarah Palin , while Governor, was the Vice Presidential nominee for the Republicans in 2008.

And if one looks at the other states which had one Congressman at least for the last few decades, we have South Dakota and Senator George McGovern (1963-1981), the 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee; Montana, with Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D) (1953-1977) from 1961-1977; Nevada with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) (1987-Present) from 2007-2015; and North Dakota Senators Kent Conrad (1987-2013) and Bryan Dorgan (1992-2011).

So the “small” states have really had a major role in American politics, despite their small populations!

Political Correctness Gone Mad: The Attack On Historical Figures’ Monuments And Statues Because Of Their Racism And Bigotry!

Face the facts, racism and bigotry is part of human history, whether we like it or not!

Many great leaders in government were racists, bigots, and should be denounced for that part of their historical record!

But to say that Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and innumerable others who have been important figures in American history should, therefore, be wiped out of history–have all statues removed, all monuments destroyed, all buildings renamed, all streets and schools no longer reflect their historical significance, much of it good,— is CRAZY and distorting history!

We can condemn the fact that many Presidents were slave owners; that Lincoln had a mixed record on racial matters; that Confederate leaders were out to defend slavery; that many 20th century Presidents had a prejudice toward various religious, racial and ethnic groups in American society; and recognize there is much to do to overcome racism and bigotry.

But all of the people mentioned are an important part of history in ways and on issues other than negative ones!  They had positive contributions that affected the long run of history!

So should the effect of Woodrow Wilson on Princeton University be wiped out; and should the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials and Washington Monument; and should Stone Mountain in Georgia and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota; and endless other monuments and sites named after imperfect people— be destroyed because some people are affronted about our past?

The answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT, and instead use the truth of the past as a teaching moment, and strive to make America a better place now and in the future!

Christmas Day: 15 States Refuse To Promote ObamaCare Or Expand Medicaid To Their Poorest Citizens!

Today is Christmas, and one would think it is a day when caring about others less fortunate than ourselves would be at the top of the agenda.

But not true in 15 of the states, heavily Southern and Great Plains–the rabidly Republican areas with a political establishment that does not care about the plight of the poor one iota, and have refused to promote ObamaCare or a Medicaid expansion!

These states should be embarrassed at the lack of concern over health care, which should be a human right, as much as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as one cannot be very happy if one is unable to afford health care and, therefore, is certain to die earlier rather than later!

The list of states that make up this infamous list include: Maine and Wisconsin, who have two horrific Tea Party Governors, Paul LePage and Scott Walker; Missouri, with a Democratic Governor, Jay Nixon, who has not distinguished himself with his handling of the Ferguson controversy over the death of an unarmed black teenager; the Great Plains states of South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, with some of the worst Governors in the nation; and the Southern states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

Think about it: Besides Paul LePage and Scott Walker, other Governors who are seen by progressives in a negative light, include Sam Brownback, Mary Fallin, Nikki Haley, Rick Scott, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Perry (soon to be succeeded by Greg Abbott)!

Only Missouri has a Democratic Governor, and yet not a good one, in Jay Nixon. Otherwise, these states, overall, have a record of being among the worst states in so many economic statistics, with the exception of Wisconsin, often a progressive state, but now under the control of a despicable Governor who wants to be President, but is, hopefully, going to fail in that mission!

The Republican “Insane Asylum” Rears Its Ugly Head!

The Republican Party is reveling in its midterm victories, but the victory will be short lived, as already, the GOP is self destructing in its reaction to the expected move of President Obama on immigration reform sometime soon.

Talk of impeachment of President Obama is rampant, along with threats to shut down the government once again, even though that was harmful to the Republicans, and hurt the American economy.

Obama is also infuriating right wingers with his plan to veto the Keystone XL Pipeline, if the Senate approves the construction of this environmentally damaging project, which will create few jobs, and contradict treaties with native American tribes, including the Rosebud Sioux of South Dakota.

And potential Presidential candidates are acting as if they are patients in the “insane asylum”!

One example is former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who advocates that we promote the kind of racial harmony that existed when Jerry Falwell and Jesse Helms were alive! Falwell, leader of the Moral Majority and then the Christian Coalition, and Helms, Republican Senator from North Carolina, did just the opposite of what Santorum claims, and makes us realize that Santorum is from a parallel universe!

Another example is former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who was perceived as moderate conservative in 2008, but then sold his soul by going to Fox News Channel, and has said reckless and dangerous things since. He is now on a speech tour stating that America is moving toward becoming Nazi Germany under Barack Obama!

Interesting and crazy statement, as it is precisely people like Santorum and Huckabee, and Fox News Channel, the Heritage Foundation, and the Tea Party Movement, who are moving us closer to Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy, with their reckless attacks on Obama.

And yet we thought that Obama was a Communist, a Socialist, a Kenyan, an Indonesian, a black power racist–and now, suddenly, he is on the other side of the political spectrum with Nazism and Fascism, even though he is African American, and Nazis and Fascists would be out to kill people of so called “inferior” races!

This demonstrates how nuts and looney the GOP is becoming, and they will discover that their extremism, racism, nativism, misogyny, and homophobia will destroy their Senate majority and chances for the Presidency in 2016 and beyond!

Family Names May Not Help Democratic Senators In Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, But Senate Will Remain Democratic With Margin of 53-47 Or 52-48!

Three Democratic Senators with famous family names and moderate conservative records in office seem likely to be victims of the Republican opposition, and to lose their seats in November.

Mark Begich’s father was a Congressman from Alaska, but Begich seems likely to lose his seat to Dan Sullivan, the GOP nominee for his seat.

Mark Pryor’s father was a Senator from Arkansas, but Pryor seems likely to lose his seat to Republican Congressman Tom Cotton.

Mary Landrieu’s father and brother were Mayors of New Orleans, but although she is known for winning tight races, it seems likely she will lose her seat in the Senate to Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy.

However, these losses are likely to be matched by victories in Kentucky, Georgia, and Kansas, which will make it an even balance, and Virginia, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Colorado, and Oregon are highly likely to remain Democratic. It is also clear that Montana and West Virginia are likely to switch from Democratic to Republican.

So the one seat left to be mentioned is South Dakota, with its four way race of Republican former Governor Mike Rounds; former Republican, now Independent Larry Pressler; and Democrat Rick Weiland, with even a fourth candidate, another Independent, Gordon Howie, making it highly likely that either Weiland or Pressler (who voted for Barack Obama twice despite his earlier GOP service in the Senate) might win this donnybrook of a race and join the Democratic caucus in the US Senate.

So this blogger predicts a final Senate of either 52 or 53 Democrats and Independents, and 47 or 48 Republicans, depending on South Dakota’s final results. That would be a 2 to 3 seat gain in the Senate for the GOP, but control of the Senate continuing for the Democrats!

Washington Post 95% In Belief Republicans Will Win Senate In November: Totally A Delusion!

It is amazing that the Washington Post is predicting by a percentage of 95 percent that the Republicans will win the six seats needed to control the US Senate in 2015-2016.

Even if they do, which is highly unlikely, with two thirds of the seats in 2016 having incumbent Republicans, it is certain that the Democrats, if they lose control will regain it with a major margin in 2016!

But to believe that the Republicans will gain six seats is belied by the likely defeat of Pat Roberts in Kansas and Mike Rounds in South Dakota, both which no one had thought possible to go to the Democrats.

And those who think Mary Landrieu is not going to win her seat in Louisiana forget her ability to survive, as the only sane major figure in a state which includes Bobby Jindal and David Vitter, both disgraces in every possible manner!

And Mitch McConnell in Kentucky is not going to win his seat this time around against Allison Lundergan Grimes, and Georgia will go Democratic as well with Michelle Nunn, which means even if the Republicans win six seats, they will lose three in those those two states and Kansas, and will not win one of the so called three “guaranteed” states of South Dakota, Montana, and West Virginia!

North Carolina with Kay Hagan seems safe, while admittedly, Arkansas, with Mark Pryor, is in more danger.

Expect overall a three seat Senate gain for the Republicans, with the Senate going from 55-45 to 52-48, including a likely four independents, from Maine, Vermont, South Dakota (or Democrat Rick Weiland winning instead of Independent Larry Pressler), and Kansas!

Imagine The Possibility: FOUR Independents In US Senate In 2015-2016, All Allied With The Democratic Party Caucus!

An amazing development is now seen as possible, if not likely, at this point, 26 days before the Midterm Elections of 2014!

We already have two Independent Senators, both of whom ally with the Democratic Party caucus: Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Angus King of Maine.

A third one seems likely now, with Independent Greg Orman seen as likely to defeat long serving Kansas Republican Senator Pat Roberts, which would mark the first non Republican Senator elected in that state since 1932. It is believed that Orman would then ally with the Democrats.

That is itself is a surprise, but with no Democrat in the race, Orman is seen as ten points ahead of Roberts.

Suddenly, a fourth Independent Senator seems possible, in another state considered Republican territory, South Dakota, another Great Plains state!

There we have a three way race, of former Republican Governor Mike Rounds; Democrat Rick Weiland; and former Republican Senator Larry Pressler, who served 18 years in the Senate from 1979-1997, after two terms in the House of Representatives from 1975-1979, and who also was, briefly, a GOP Presidential candidate in 1980.

Right now, the race is very close, with Rounds in a slight lead, but Pressler not much behind, and Weiland a few points behind Pressler in public opinion polls.

In a three way race, anything is possible, and it seems possible and plausible that Pressler could come back, 18 years after leaving the Senate, to his old seat, an amazing development.

Pressler, while a Republican in his past, endorsed and campaigned for Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012, so were he to win the Senate seat, it is seen as likely that he would caucus with the Democrats, and has criticized his party as one that has moved away from his beliefs toward the extreme Right!

So imagine a scenario where four Independents would all ally with the Democrats and insure their continued hold on the US Senate, something never having happened in the history of that legislative body!

Barack Obama Becomes Fourth Sitting President To Visit Indian Reservation!

President Barack Obama yesterday became the fourth sitting President to visit an Indian reservation, an acknowledgement of his respect and concern for the plight of native Americans, who remain the most oppressed minority group in America.

Earlier Presidents to visit Indian reservations while in office were Calvin Coolidge, who visited the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota in 1927; Franklin D. Roosevelt, who visited the Cherokee nation in North Carolina in 1936; and Bill Clinton, who visited the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota in 1999.

Obama visited the Standing Rock Sioux Indian reservation in North Dakota. Obama has taken more action on Native American issues than any President, including:

Hosting a Tribal Nations Conference annually at the White House

Used Executive Orders on American Indian and Native Alaskan Education improvements

Launched a campaign against childhood obesity on Indian reservations

Signed the Tribal Law and Order Act to give more law enforcement authority to tribal law enforcement authorities

Reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act to allow prosecution of non native Americans who assault native American women on the reservations

Promoted disaster assistance by direct application of native American tribes

Allowed health care coverage under ObamaCare to the tribal reservations

Obama has shown an in depth awareness of the issues facing native Americans, and a willingness to do more than make a speech!

The tribe that Obama is visiting, sadly, has 79 percent unemployment, and a myriad of economic, social, and educational issues, including high child mortality, suicide, and dropout rates.

So much more needs to be done for native Americans, and at least, a good start has been made by Barack Obama!

Do Not Believe Polls Which Predict GOP Senate Majority!

So many polls are now predicting that the Republican Party will win control of the US Senate. But polls have been proved wrong before, and the Democrats should not run scared, just run aggressively against the Do Nothing Republicans, similar to what Harry Truman did in 1948!

The Republican Party is wrong on immigration reform; is wrong on the right of workers; is wrong on the treatment of women at work and in their private lives; is wrong on the environment and climate change; is wrong on the need for gun regulation; is wrong on the use of the race card; is wrong on its refusal to promote infrastructure spending; is wrong on its decision to oppose more expenditures on veterans; is wrong in its opposition to ObamaCare; is wrong in its attacks on Social Security and Medicare; is wrong in its efforts to deny voting rights; is wrong in its advocacy of wars everywhere, rather than pursuing diplomacy and peace; is wrong in their anti intellectual, anti science agenda; is wrong in its promotion of theocracy, rather than separation of church and state; and is wrong in its planned strategy to obstruct all judicial and executive nominations and therefore to cripple operation of the courts and government agencies.

The Democrats are likely to keep the following Senators–Mark Pryor of Arkansas; Mary Landrieu of Louisiana; Kay Hagan of North Carolina; Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire; Mark Warner of Virginia; and Mark Begich of Alaska.

They have a good chance of defeating Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, with their nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes; win the open Senate seat in Georgia with Michelle Nunn; win the open Senate seat in Iowa with Bruce Braley; win the open Senate seat in Michigan with Gary Peters; and an even chance to win the open West Virginia seat with Natalie Tennant over Republican Shelley Moore Capito.

The only seats seen likely to switch from D to R are: South Dakota and Montana; while the Democrats have a good shot at winning Kentucky and Georgia. With West Virginia possibly going Republican with Capito, and Maine having a chance that Republican Susan Collins loses to Democrat Shanna Bellows, if such happens, it is no gain by the Republicans.

The best prediction is that the Republicans MIGHT gain two seats, falling four states short of the six needed to make Mitch McConnell Majority Leader, with him likely to lose to Grimes in Kentucky, in any case.

The worst case scenario for the Democrats is the loss of South Dakota and Montana; and the loss of West Virginia, therefore meaning a Republican gain of three seats!

And in 2016, with two thirds of the seats being Republicans, the Democrats are sure, in an election where their Democratic Presidential nominee will be heavily favored, to win a large number of additional seats, nearing up to 60 from a possible low of 52 in 2014!