Ted Kennedy

Toughest Democratic Race To Take Sides: Ed Markey Vs. Joe Kennedy III In Massachusetts

The toughest Democratic race for Congress is coming to a conclusion on Tuesday, September 1, when Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts faces Congressman Joe Kennedy III for the nomination for the US Senate.

Both are clearly progressives, but Markey is seen as more Left than Kennedy.

Markey has been endorsed by Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, former Vice President Al Gore, former Democratic Presidential nominee (1988) Michael Dukakis, documentary creator Ken Burns, Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, Carole King, Tom Steyer, many environmental groups, and the Boston Globe Editorial Board, as well as most Massachusetts mayors and many Democrats in the state legislature. and half the Congressional delegation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has endorsed Kennedy, and the Kennedy Family is, of course, behind Kennedy, and also many Congressmen, including the late John Lewis and Joaquin Castro, but he has alienated many who think he should have waited until Markey retired, or Warren ended up in a potential Joe Biden cabinet.

The seat is guaranteed to whoever wins the primary on Tuesday, as Republicans have not won state wide except with the first African American Senator since Reconstruction (Edward Brooke) decades ago, and Scott Brown, who succeeded Ted Kennedy and then was defeated by Elizabeth Warren.

Markey has served since 1976, 44 years in Congress, starting when he was 30 years old, with 37 in the US House of Representatives, and then he took over John Kerry’s Senate seat when Kerry became Secretary of State under Barack Obama in 2013. In so doing, Markey set a record as the longest serving Congressman, who then ended up in the US Senate at age 67.

Markey is just about the most liberal Democratic Senator, while Kennedy in eight years in the House, and now nearing 40, is also liberal, but it could be argued not as much, whatever that means!

So two men, who started off at 30 and 32 in Congress, now face each other, as the old guy with the long record, and the young guy, who is a Kennedy, but seems likely to lose the primary, based on recent polls, which show Markey 12 points ahead of Kennedy!

This might mean the end of all Kennedys in Massachusetts always winning, and it could be that Joe Kennedy III might not get another chance to go to the Senate, and might not be able to run again for the House of Representatives.

This is quite a gamble by a Kennedy, and it seems likely to be a lost cause!

The inclination of this blogger and author is that if I lived in Massachusetts, I would vote for Markey, but not be happy about rejecting a talented Joe Kennedy III!

This race should not have happened, as Joe III should have waited for either Markey or Warren to leave the Senate, without this pitched battle now coming to its end on Tuesday!

The Alternative Vice Presidential Choices For Joe Biden, And The Likely 47th President In The Future

Former Vice President Joe Biden has formed a committee to consider 12 Vice Presidential potential choices, apparently all women, based on his pledge to select a female running mate.

While the list has not been made public, it would seem clear, subject to a surprise of course, that there would be five women at the top of the list.

They would include

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts

Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota

Senator Kamala Harris of California

Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan

Former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams of Georgia

Harris and Abrams are of minority background, with Harris having both Jamaican and Indian ancestry, so therefore multiracial from African and Asian heritage, while Abrams is African American.

So the question arises as to who would be the best choice to be Vice President, and potentially become the 47th President if Joe Biden is unable to finish his term as the 46th President.

The view of this blogger is that two choices should be eliminated immediately, not because they are not good people, but for other reasons.

The first is Elizabeth Warren, due to her age, only six and a half years younger than Joe Biden, making for the oldest Presidential ticket in American history, not a good idea. Also, the likelihood is that the Democrats could, at least temporarily, lose a Senate seat, with a Republican governor in Massachusetts, able to make an appointment, as occurred in 2009 when Scott Brown was appointed to replace Ted Kennedy, upon his death. The Democrats cannot afford to lose a seat in a state with a Republican Governor.

The second is Stacey Abrams, who simply does not have the experience to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. It is true that the Georgia gubernatorial race of 2018 was corrupt, and that Abrams might have been the person who should have been inaugurated.

But that is theory, not reality, and then there is the issue that if Abrams had now been Governor of Georgia, with the CoronaVirus Pandemic raging, should a governor in the midst of the crisis be running for Vice President, and the answer is no!

This also brings Gretchen Whitmer under question, as she is Governor of a state, Michigan, which has had much more severe problems with the CoronaVirus Pandemic than even Georgia. Should she be taking on the campaign for Vice President when Michigan is in crisis?

She is already highly controversial, with the strong reaction in her state by some against her restrictions and quarantine she has imposed, rightfully, but still highly divisive. She served as Minority Leader of the State Senate, after first serving in the Michigan House, so has a similar background as Abrams, with a major difference being that she was successfully elected Governor in 2018.

Both Abrams and Whitmer lack long range national experience, and one wonders if a Governor is the best fit.

And for the Democrats, the Vice Presidential choice for a Presidential campaign has always been a member of the US Senate, except in 1972 and 1984, and both years, the Democrats lost 49 states!

So we come down to two choices—Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar.

Harris is 56 and Klobuchar is 60, and Harris’s seat in California is safely Democratic, as is Klobuchar’s seat in Minnesota, with both states having Democratic Governors who would appoint a Democrat to the seat, not true in Massachusetts.

The one advantage of Klobuchar is that she is from the Midwest, a battleground area, while California is insured to be Democratic.

Either one would be a fine choice to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency, and possibly become the 47th President of the United States!

11,037 House Members And 1,983 Senate Members Since 1789

In the 230 plus years that Congress has been in existence since March 4, 1789, we have had 11,037 people serve in the House of Representatives, and 1,983 people serve in the US Senate.

10,360 members served only in the House of Representatives, while 1,306 members served only in the US Senate, and 677 members have served in both bodies of Congress.

29 members of the House of Representatives have served 40 or more years, with John Dingell of Michigan serving the longest, 59 years from 1955 to 2015.

16 Women in the House of Representatives have served 25 or more years, with Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, having served 36 plus years since 1983, the longest of any woman, and still serving, with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, being the third longest serving at nearly 32 years and counting from California since 1987.

25 US Senators have served 35 and a half years or more, with Robert Byrd of West Virginia serving nearly 51 and a half years from 1959 to 2010. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii served nearly 50 years from 1963 to 2012, while Strom Thurmond of South Carolina served 47 and a half years and was past age 100 when he left the Senate. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts served 46 years and more than 9 months from 1962 to 2009. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, still in the Senate, is 5th longest serving at 44 plus years since 1975.

The Potential Exists For A Latino Presidential Dynasty Long Term With The Castro Brothers, Julian And Joaquin

With the potential that former San Antonio Mayor and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro might end up as the Democratic Presidential nominee in the Presidential Election of 2020, we could witness a new long term Presidential dynasty.

Castro is a very impressive and intelligent Presidential candidate, and being from Texas, he and his identical twin brother, Congressman Joaquin Castro, could have a revolutionary effect on Texas and American politics.

His brother is expected to announce for the Texas Senate seat of Republican John Cornyn, with a good chance to win, and if both brothers are on the election ballot in 2020 in Texas, it could make Texas go Blue, and that would insure a Democratic victory.

And once Julian would be President, and him being only 46, months younger than Bill Clinton, making Castro the third youngest President, and second youngest elected President, with the potential to be President until he was 54, what would prevent a Senator Joaquin Castro, at age 54, after eight years in the Senate from the second largest state, from deciding to try to succeed his brother?

This could be the Latino version of the plan to have Robert F. Kennedy or Ted Kennedy becoming President to fulfill the family hope of a Kennedy dynasty.

And with Latinos being the largest minority in America, with two thirds of all Hispanics being Mexican, it is appropriate to say it is time for a Latino President, now that we have had an African American President, Barack Obama.

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!