Ted Kennedy

Birch Bayh, One Of The Best Senators Of Late 20th Century Dead At Age 91, A Truly Creative Legislator Who Should Have Been President

Former Indiana Senator Birch Bayh, who served in the Senate from 1963-1981, passed away this week at age 91.

Birch Bayh was one of the best United States Senators of the late 20th century, a truly creative legislator who should have been President.

He competed in 1976 for the Democratic Presidential nomination against Jimmy Carter and many others, and he was the favorite of this blogger and author.

This is a man who promoted the passage of the 25th Amendment, providing for an Acting President if the President was incapacitated, and of the appointment and approval of a Vice Presidential replacement when there was a vacancy in that office.

This was the reaction of Bayh and others after John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, and with Lyndon B. Johnson having had a serious heart attack in 1955, and with potential successors being House Speaker John W. McCormack (age 73), and President Pro Tempore of the Senate Carl Hayden (age 86).

Bayh also promoted the 26th Amendment, giving 18 years olds the right to vote, and he also sponsored the unsuccessful Equal Rights Amendment, which failed of passage by enough states.

He also sponsored Title 9 of the amended Civil Rights Act in 1972, ending quotas for women in higher education and giving women equal opportunity to participate in sports.

Additionally, Bayh saved Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy when they were both in a small plane crash in 1964.

Bayh was the father of Indiana Governor and Senator Evan Bayh. He won three close races in Indiana, and then was defeated by future Vice President Dan Quayle in 1980.

The Beginning Of A Challenge To Donald Trump For Renomination: William Weld And Larry Hogan

It seems as if the beginning of a challenge to Donald Trump for renomination by the Republican Party has arrived.

Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld (1991-1997) , also the Libertarian nominee for Vice President in 2016 with Presidential nominee Gary Johnson, has indicated he is planning to challenge Trump. He would be 75 at the time of the inauguration in 2021.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who just won reelection last year by a 12 point margin, has also indicated he plans to compete for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2020. He would be 64 at the time of the next election.

Both are moderate Republicans, seen as centrist and pragmatic, and both won office in heavily Democratic states.

Weld has a distinguished aristocratic background starting with ancestors coming over on the Mayflower with the Pilgrims in 1620. He was a counsel with the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate Impeachment inquiry, and with one of his colleagues being Hillary Rodham, before she married Bill Clinton.

Hogan has the heritage of being the son of a Congressman, with the same name, who, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee in 1974, voted to bring impeachment charges against President Richard Nixon.

Can either of them seriously overcome the advantages of being an incumbent President?

History tells us when incumbent Presidents are challenged for renomination, invariably, the President defeats his opponent, but then loses the election.

So even if Weld or Hogan cannot defeat Trump, hopefully, they can weaken him enough that he will follow in the tradition of William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush, who overcame, respectively, Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Ted Kennedy, and Pat Buchanan, and yet lost the second term as President.

Four Potential New England Democratic Presidential Contenders In 2020: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Chris Murphy, Joe Kennedy III

Four New England Democrats are potential rivals for the 2020 Democratic Presidential sweepstakes.

It is certain that Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will run, but interestingly, they could cancel each other out in the ultimate finals race a year from now, since they are so similar.

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut is a very appealing younger Democrat in his mid 40s, and this author has good vibes about him having a good chance of going far in the Presidential competition.

And Congressman Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts, the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, who looks much like Ted Kennedy, while only 38, is also thought to be considering a run for the White House.

Since there are so many potential contenders, numbering in the high 20s in number, it is simply too early to judge what might happen, and how far these New Englanders might advance.

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”.

Trend Toward Older First Term Members Of Congress–Mitt Romney And Donna Shalala As Examples Of Trend

A trend that has developed lately is that some new members of Congress are older than usually at their swearing in, as compared to previous times.

We have two such examples in the 116th Congress.

Newly minted Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee, will be two months short of age 72 in January. He lost the race for a Senate seat in Massachusetts to Senator Ted Kennedy in the Midterm Elections of 1994, 24 years ago, but now will be in the Senate a quarter century later.

Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001, after being President of Hunter College from 1980-1988 and Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, from 1988-1993, was then President of the University of Miami in Florida from 2001-2015, and President of the Clinton Foundation from 2015-2017. She is now the new Congresswoman in the Miami, Florida district that was occupied by Ileana Ros Lehtinen from 1989 through 2018. It earlier had been the seat of the revered Claude Pepper from 1962-1999.

That seat in South Florida is an especially sacred seat in a sense, and Shalala will be one month short of age 78 when she joins the House of Representatives.

Senator John McCain: Rest In Peace, You Did Your Country Well, And Will Be Well Remembered In The Annals Of American History!

One of the giant figures of the US Senate, a true “Lion of the Senate”, Arizona Senator John McCain, has left us as of last evening, and the nation is in deep mourning for his family, and for the loss to the nation by his passing.

Let me make it clear, that I did not vote for Senator McCain in 2008, but I have always had deep respect for him as a human being.

I did not always agree with his views on issues either, but I knew his viewpoints were sincere and based on his conservative values.

Ironically, McCain died on the same day that his good friend and also rival, Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, passed away nine years ago.

McCain worked well across the aisle, and was particularly close with Democratic Senators Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, Joe Biden of Delaware, John Kerry of Massachusetts, and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, along with Ted Kennedy. McCain promoted campaign finance reform with Feingold, something we desperately need in 2018. And probably his closest friendship was with South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

He thought of creating a bipartisan Presidential ticket with Joe Lieberman, and who knows, if he had done so, would the Presidential Election of 2008 ended up differently?

He knew he had made many mistakes in his life, and did not deny that, but he was always a decent man, who while so many were attacking Sarah Palin in 2008 and ever since, he never said he had made a mistake in selecting her as his running mate, even though he certainly knew that was the case.

He fought bitterly with George W. Bush for the GOP nomination in 2000, and against Barack Obama for the Presidency in 2008, and often disagreed with both Presidents’ policies, but he asked both of them to give eulogies for him at his upcoming funeral.

At the same time, Donald Trump never showed any respect for McCain, and the suffering he went through as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five and a half years, and could not show any common decency toward McCain in his declining days. So rightfully, McCain ordered that Trump NOT attend his funeral, which was his right to assert that. For what Trump has done regarding McCain, as well as the innumerable sins Trump has visited toward everyone imaginable, the 45th President will pay the price in the after life, and his funeral one day will not have the deep mourning that we are witnessing for John McCain.

McCain will be best remembered for his defense of Barack Obama at that campaign rally in 2008, when that crazy woman was saying Obama was an Arab. This was a moment that stands out for the ages, when we need unity, and not racism and nativism.

Also, in his last appearance on the Senate floor, John McCain, who had voted against ObamaCare, saved ObamaCare from Donald Trump and the evil Republican leadership and membership, which wanted to destroy it in 2017, without any alternative for millions of Americans. That showed the true statesmanship of the Arizona Senator.

John McCain will go down in the annals of American history as one of the small number of US Senators who made a real difference in a positive way in the evolution of American history.

And unbelievably, his mother Roberta is still alive at past the half way point from 106 to 107 in age, making her one of a very small number of Americans still alive who were born in the year of the most dramatic election of the 20th century, 1912, when McCain’s favorite President, Theodore Roosevelt, ran as a “maverick” against President William Howard Taft. And McCain was proud to be called a “maverick”.

It seems likely that Cindy McCain, now a widow, will replace her husband by appointment for the next two years, and it is believed she is a moderate, and could have a dramatic effect on the Senate if she indeed moves toward shifting the momentum of the party in votes, whether the Republicans remain the majority, or end up in the minority in the next two years.

God bless John McCain, rest in peace, as you did your country well, and will be well remembered and honored in the annals of American history!

Families Of Presidents: Any “Bad Apples” Before Donald Trump Family?

With the growing likelihood of federal prison in the future for Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and maybe even Ivanka Trump, with all engaged in serious corruption, the question arises if this has ever happened before.

That is, have family members been involved in criminal activities, which undermined or embarrassed the President in their family line?

The answer, as far as can be researched, is a negative.

Yes, Roger Clinton, half brother of Bill Clinton, was pardoned by his brother for cocaine possession and drug trafficking when the President left office in 2001, and had served some time in federal prison, and also had two DUI arrests in 2001 and 2016.

Yes, Billy Carter, brother of Jimmy Carter, was a drunkard, who had a loose mouth, and became too close to Libyan dictator Muammar Gadaffi, eventually registering as an agent of a foreign government. The President separated himself from his brother, and claimed he had no influence on him, clearly an embarrassing time for Jimmy Carter.

Yes, Ted Kennedy, brother of John F. Kennedy, was involved in the Chappaquiddick incident, which led to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, undermining the possibility of the Massachusetts Senator being able to be nominated and run for President in 1980.

Relatives of some Presidents were known to be alcoholics, and some committed suicide, and some were engaged in corrupt business dealings, but none made it to the front pages and major attention, and are hard to track.

So Donald Trump’s family is unique in its scandalous and corrupt nature, in a manner which will condemn the Trump relatives in history.

Joe Trippi, Campaign Manager For Many Democrats, Able To Promote Great Victory For Doug Jones In Alabama, A Turning Point For 2018

One of the key figures who brought about the election of Doug Jones in Alabama was his masterful campaign manager, Joe Trippi.

Trippi managed to run a campaign that was brilliant in execution.

Trippi is well versed in Democratic campaigns for office, not successful on a regular basis as with Jones, but he is well regarded for his campaign strategies.

Among those he assisted in various campaigns for public office are:

Minnesota Senator and Vice President Walter Mondale and his Presidential campaign in 1984.

Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy and his Presidential campaign in 1980.

Colorado Senator Gary Hart and his Presidential campaign in 1988.

California Governor Jerry Brown and his Presidential campaign in 1992 and gubernatorial campaign in 2010.

North Carolina Senator John Edwards and his 2008 Presidential campaign.

Missouri House Minority Leader and Congressman Dick Gephardt and his Presidential campaign in 1988 after Gary Hart dropped out.

Trippi also was campaign manager for Vermont Governor and 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate Howard Dean.

Additionally, he assisted Senate elections of California Senator Alan Cranston, Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden.

Hopefully, the Doug Jones election in a “Red” state will be a turning point nationwide in the midterm Congressional Elections of 2018.

Magnificent Victory For Doug Jones In Alabama: Its Meaning

Last night’s magnificent victory in Alabama for Doug Jones in the special election to replace Jeff Sessions in the US Senate has so many meanings.

It is a total repudiation of the despicable former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

It is a total repudiation of Donald Trump, who now has lost twice in Alabama, after doing so well in that state in 2016. He lost with Luther Strange and now with Roy Moore.

It is a total repudiation of Steve Bannon, and his continued assault on the “Establishment” in the Republican Party, and is likely to lead to a Democratic House and Senate in the 2018 Midterm Congressional elections.

It is a total repudiation of disgraceful talk show host Sean Hannity on Fox News Channel, who could end up possibly implicated in the Trump Scandals being investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

On a positive vein, it demonstrates that the forces of good are there, even in Alabama, as African Americans, Latinos, women, and young people came out and voted in an off year special election at much higher rates than projected.

It is also a tribute to conservative mainstream Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, who refused to endorse and support Roy Moore, and told his supporters that he had voted a write in candidate, and that they could do so as well. As it turns out, if all of the write in votes had gone to Moore, it would have been a victory for the combative former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

It was also a sign of just how good and decent Doug Jones was and is, as a prosecutor who, almost 40 years later, was able to gain convictions of Ku Klux Klansmen who killed those four young African American girls in that despicable church bombing in Birmingham in 1963. It was wonderful seeing African Americans on the stage with Jones at his victory celebration, showing the race issue does not have to divide Alabama or America.

It is also a sign of the significance of campaign adviser Joe Trippi, who earlier had worked for Walter Mondale, Gary Hart, Jerry Brown, Dick Gephardt, Ted Kennedy, and John Edwards in their various campaigns. What a great adviser Joe Trippi is!

This blogger was emotional about this great victory last night, and more so than even the great victories in New Jersey and particularly Virginia in the November off year elections.

Now it is time to move forward and force Donald Trump, who has divided America in so many hateful ways, to face the punishment he deserves, which is potential impeachment, with moral turpitude to be added to Russian Collusion, Obstruction of Justice, Abuse of Power, and Violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

It is also time for the top people around Trump to show they have courage and to demand he resign or they resign en masse. This includes John Kelly, H. R. McMaster, James Mattis, Rex Tillerson, and Nikki Haley.

The time for the cancer of Donald Trump to be excised has come, and the Democrats must use Trump against the Republicans, if they refuse to take responsibility for the dangers and authoritarianism that he represents.

It is time for the Republicans to put nation over party.

The Sickening Sexual Harassment Scandals

The last few weeks have seen the destruction of the public reputations of many prominent people in Hollywood and in politics.

Being a public figure, and with great power, influence, and financial assets, many well known men have exploited women, and in some cases, men, in a disgraceful way over the years.

It was an unspoken secret that this was going on for a long time, with few individuals being exposed.

The attention was primarily on Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy, but also many Republicans, including Newt Gingrich and Strom Thurmond, plus Dennis Hastert, Henry Hyde, Mark Foley, Rudy Giuliani, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Cosby, and now in the last month, Harvey Weinstein, and numerous others who became infamously involved in sex scandals.

But now the list of exposed public figures continues to mount, with resultant disillusionment by many that such people as George Takei, Dustin Hoffman, Richard Dreyfuss, Kevin Spacey, and Al Franken, all much admired, have been engaged in sexual harassment and abuse, including children and boys, as well as girls, women, and men.

And now, Bill Clinton, who went through impeachment and disbarment twenty years ago, is again being pilloried, along with his wife, Hillary Clinton for covering it up, but somehow, Donald Trump, the ultimate sexual harasser and abuser, seems able to escape accountability, along with Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

The only good aspect of the present revelations is that women are now more engaged in doing something momentous about it, unlike the failure to move ahead on this after the Clarence Thomas scandal of 1991.

Women must insist on full disclosure of misbehavior, and do whatever is necessary, to change the situation in Hollywood, politics, sports, and the corporate business community.