US House Of Representatives

Serious Republican Presidential Contenders: Part II—The Importance Of Florida And Ohio

We have, so far, examined 13 of the 16 Republican Presidential contenders, most of whom could be considered a “Clown Bus”!

Only four of the 16 are serious contenders, and so far we have looked at Scott Walker, the Governor of Wisconsin, who President Obama would like to see as the nominee of the opposition party, as he believes Walker’s terrible economic record, his anti labor stance, and his dramatic attack on the University of Wisconsin budget, along with the connection to the Koch Brothers, would make him easy to defeat.

And then there are the three remaining contenders, from crucial swing states Florida and Ohio, so arguably the three best primed to have a real chance to win the Presidency.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush, brother and son of two earlier Presidents named Bush, comes across as more moderate, more mainstream than just about any other contender, but he had a mixed record as Florida Governor, and has been out of office for ten years by 2016, and last ran 14 years ago by 2016. He is, certainly, seen as a man among boys, but he also is too close to the neoconservatives who took us into endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is also exhaustion at having a third President Bush, after the disastrous Presidency of his brother, George W. Bush.

Then we have the youthful, good looking, charismatic Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who is Cuban American, but much more appealing and less extreme than fellow Cuban American Ted Cruz of Texas. But Rubio has come across often as not too bright; has distorted the story of his parents leaving Cuba to make it seem as if it happened under Fidel Castro, when it happened two years earlier; has come across as having no guts on immigration reform; and has had issues with his finances and his connections with Norman Bramam, a South Florida auto dealer and billionaire. Some see him as the equivalent of a Republican Barack Obama or John F. Kennedy, but that is pure illusion.

And then we have the Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, who had 18 years in the House of Representatives, and was House Budget Committee Chairman, and has accepted Medicaid under ObamaCare as Governor of Ohio since 2011. He is very personable, engaging, and experienced, including recently, in a way that no other GOP contender can match him. And he comes from the crucial swing state of Ohio, more crucial than Florida, another swing state. And why is Ohio more important than Ohio? The answer is that every single Republican President from Abraham Lincoln to George W. Bush has won Ohio, so it is an essential state on the road to victory.

While all three of the above are serious contenders for the White House, it is clear that John Kasich would be the strongest, most competitive nominee imaginable, similar to what Jon Huntsman was in 2012. But that is precisely why the Republicans, almost certainly, will NOT select Kasich.

In any case, the Republican Party is on the road to defeat for the White House, and Donald Trump only further complicates that whole situation.

Two Prime Vice Presidential Contenders For Hillary Clinton: Julian Castro And Thomas Perez

IF Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Presidential candidate in 2016, a key factor in helping her to win over any Republican Presidential rival would be selecting a Vice Presidential running mate with good credentials and Latino ancestry.

There are two prime candidates working in President Barack Obama’s cabinet, and either of them would make a great running mate and possible Presidential successor.

The first is Julian Castro, Mexican American and former Mayor of San Antonio, the sixth largest city in America, who is now Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Castro’s twin brother Joaquin is a Texas Congressman, who is often seen as prime material for the US Senate in a race against Senator Ted Cruz in 2018. But Julian Castro, who can speak Spanish, and would be only 42 on Election Day 2016, would be a great candidate to draw widespread Hispanic and Latino support, particularly if Jeb Bush, who can speak fluent Spanish, or Florida Senator Marco Rubio, is the Republican nominee for President.

The second possibility is Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, who speaks fluent Spanish and is of Dominican ancestry, and was part of the administration of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, and will be 55 on Election Day 2016. Perez worked in the offices of the Justice Department and Department of Health and Human Services for many years before being in the O’Malley government in that state’s Labor Department, and then becoming Obama’s Assistant Attorney General, and then chosen to be Secretary of Labor in 2013.

Either Castro or Perez would be able to appeal for an even larger Hispanic-Latino support of the Democratic Party, already over 70 percent for Barack Obama in 2012!

The Clown Bus Group Of Republican Presidential Contenders, Part III: The US Senate

In two earlier entries, we have discussed five “losers”, who were or are Republican Governors, but are not to be seen seriously as qualified to be President for various reasons; and three non office holders who think their medical and business careers make them Presidential material, but only in their deluded minds.

In Part III today, we will look at four figures who have served in the US Senate, three still there, and one who left nearly a decade ago.

First, we have Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a look alike for Joseph McCarthy, the old Communist witch hunter of the 1950s. Cruz had no problem shutting down the government in 2013, and continues to call for every part of ObamaCare to be repealed, despite the fact that Texas has more people who have no health care, including Medicaid. Cruz is a very evil man; a very nasty man; a very dangerous man to give executive power to; a man who thinks he is extremely brilliant, simply based on his Princeton and Harvard Law School degrees; a Senator disliked by just about all of his Republican colleagues; a man who would divide America and the Republican Party with his destructive Tea Party extremism.

Then we have Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who is the son of former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the libertarian champion. The two Pauls have a lot of young people who seem to adore them, as they both hate government, and both are isolationists in foreign policy. Rand Paul is an optometrist, who set up his own association, rather than go through the national organization, and it makes one wonder as to his true skill as an eye doctor. He has blundered on so many issues, and does not come across as very bright; has shown lack of concern for the poor in his own state; has made statements against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as being enforceable; has led filibusters in the Senate that have made one wonder about his ability to get along with others; but at the same time, has shown concern about privacy rights and the issue of minor drug offenses that has imprisoned so many young people, many of them African American. So despite his faults, he has some redeeming values, but he is not highly regarded by the Republican establishment, and to believe a libertarian will be nominated and elected President requires hallucinations by those who imagine such an event happening.

Then we have South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who is the major “hawk” in the Senate, along with his good friend, Arizona Senator John McCain. There is not a war or country that Graham and McCain do not wish to intervene in, and both are diametrically the opposite of Rand Paul on foreign policy. While Graham has some more humane views on some issues domestically, he has no real support that could win him the nomination for the Presidency, and many hold it against him that when in the House of Representatives, he led the move toward impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998.

And then we have former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who lost his Senate seat in 2006 by a landslide; who won the Iowa Caucuses in 2012; but who is a right wing extremist on social issues, and is committed to disobey a Supreme Court decision on gay marriage, which is pending, if he becomes President. Santorum is infamous for outrageous, narrow minded views, as he is the favorite of the Religious Right, and his social views would take back America to many decades earlier. His chances of being the nominee are the lowest of these four Senators, all of whom are embarrassments to the historical traditions of the party of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower!

So we have covered now 12 of 16 potential Republican nominees, and further analysis of the four remaining candidates—one Senator, one former Governor, and two sitting Governors—will be forthcoming soon.

Long Out Of Office Republican Presidential Contenders, Or Never In Office: A Record Number In History!

It is not totally uncommon for politicians who have left office to run for President years later.

Abraham Lincoln had not been in public office for 12 years, after serving one term in the House of Representatives, when he ran for and won the Presidency in 1860.

Richard Nixon had not been in public office for 8 years, although he ran for California Governor two years after leaving the Vice Presidency in 1960, and won the Presidency in 1968.

Ronald Reagan had not been in public office for 6 years, although he ran unsuccessfully for the Presidential nomination of his party two years after leaving the Governorship, and won the Presidency in 1980.

But now, in 2015, we have a whole slew of candidates out of public office for a long time.

Jeb Bush left the Florida Governorship in 2006, so it will be ten years since he held office.

Rick Santorum lost his Pennsylvania Senate seat in 2006, so it will be ten years since he held office, although he ran for the Presidential nomination of his party in 2012.

Mike Huckabee left the Arkansas Governorship in 2006, so it will be ten years since he held office, although he ran for the Presidential nomination of his party in 2008.

George Pataki left the New York Governorship in 2006, so it will be ten years since he held office.

Jim Gilmore left the Virginia Governorship in 2001, so it will be 15 years since he held office, although he ran briefly for the Presidential nomination of his party in 2008, and lost an attempt at a Senate race in 2008, as well.

Bob Ehrlich left the Maryland Governorship in 2006, so it will be ten years since he held office, although he ran for reelection in 2006 and lost, and tried again for the Governorship in 2010 and lost both times to Martin O’Malley.

This is a record number of candidates who have been out of office for so long, 10-15 years in duration.

Also, three candidates have NEVER held public office–Carly Fiorina, Dr. Benjamin Carson, and Donald Trump.

So NINE potential candidates out of what are now a potential 18-19 in total have long ago left office, or never held office!

Bernie Sanders Reminds Many Of Robert Kennedy And Eugene McCarthy In 1968

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont announced his candidacy yesterday in Burlington, Vermont, in a more formal way than his original announcement several weeks ago.

It was an exciting event, with about 5,000 people showing up in the city that Sanders once governed as Mayor in the 1980s.

Sanders was inspiring in his rhetoric, and reminded many of the candidacies of Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy in 1968, tragically ending in the assassination of RFK in June, 1968.

RFK and McCarthy gave people hope in so many ways, just as Sanders does that today, in a much more complex time, when we have billionaires dictating much of the agenda; when we are engaged in foreign turmoil in many ways worse than even the Vietnam War, as the threat to the homeland is real; and when there is cynicism similar to that in 1968.

Bernie Sanders is highly unlikely to have any real opportunity to be the Democratic nominee for President in 2016, but he can push Hillary Clinton to the left in ways that will benefit her and the nation, and help to lead to Democratic control of the Presidency and the US Senate, and gains in the House of Representatives.

Bernie Sanders can be the conscience of the nation, appealing to our better side and instincts, something sorely needed in a time of many people no longer motivated to get involved in politics. It is likely that he will have many people, who never had an interest in government, suddenly be galvanized into action, which is all to the good for the nation and its future!

Jewish American Heritage Month And Barack Obama Commitment To The Jewish Community And To Israel

President Barack Obama gave a brilliant speech this week at a Washington DC synagogue, commemorating Jewish American Heritage Month.

Obama, an accomplished orator, celebrated the Jewish American influence on American history and culture; reminded us that he has hosted Passover Seders every year at the White House; and made clear his total commitment to the survival and stability of Israel.

This comes at a time when there has been debate and conflict about the difficulties between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is openly supportive of the Republican Party, and allowed himself to be used by Speaker of the House John Boehner before the Israeli parliamentary elections. Netanyahu should not have come to the US for a Congressional visit without the approval and support of the President, and John Boehner purposely set up the situation, which dramatized the personal animuus between him and the President, and Netanyahu and the President.

But despite these differences, Obama made clear that the stalwart support for Israel, no matter who leads the government, and the continued employment of the IRON DOME security system, shows that personal differences will NOT stand in the way of protection of Israel.

But at the same time, Obama continues to push the idea of two states in the area, Israeli and Palestinian, and the need for dialogue and progress on the issue of recognition, and limitation of new settlements in the West Bank.

The Republican Jewish Coalition is active in undermining Obama, and the Presidential campaign will sharpen differences, but the Jewish people in America, by about 65 percent, KNOW that Obama will do nothing to harm Israel, and that Israel has our back in any crisis or emergency, as always since the founding of the Jewish state in 1948.

Former Senator Russ Feingold, In LaFollette Progressive Tradition, Attempting Return To Senate In 2016 Election!

Wisconsin, the home of LaFollette progressivism a century ago, and the home of many progressive leaders since “Fighting Bob” LaFollette became the most prominent progressive in America, has had difficult times recently with the election of Scott Walker as Governor and Ron Johnson as Senator, defeating Senator Russ Feingold, one of the finest public servants ever to grace Wisconsin government and the US Senate, in the 2010 midterm elections.

Between Congressman Paul Ryan being the Vice Presidential nominee for Mitt Romney in the Presidential Election of 2012 and being elevated to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman in 2015; and Governor Walker hoping to be the Republican Presidential nominee in 2016; along with the backward, regressive record of Senator Johnson, Wisconsin has been dealt a terrible hand, and it is time to move to return Wisconsin to its proud progressive tradition!

That can be accomplished by working to prevent Scott Walker from being the GOP Presidential nominee, and by bringing Russ Feingold back to the US Senate, kicking Ron Johnson out!

There is great hope for change, now that Feingold has decided to attempt a return to his Senate seat, which he honored with an outstanding record from 1993-2011!

Feingold can be part of the mission of the Democrats to return to control of the US Senate in the 2016 Congressional elections. He has been one of the most outstanding members of the US Senate in the past two decades, and his defeat was a major blow that helped to undermine any chance of Wisconsin continuing its traditional role as a state which led the nation in so many ways!

The Road Ahead For Marco Rubio: Many Barriers To The Republican Presidential Nomination In 2016

When one examines the field of candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016, Florida Senator Marco Rubio seems, clearly, to be one of the top candidates.

Rubio has many positives, including:

Young, handsome, charismatic

From the ultimate “Swing” state, with the third highest number of electoral votes

An Hispanic (Cuban American)

Representative of a “new generation”

A “fresh face”

Seen by many as the Republican Barack Obama, but also seen as the Republican equivalent of a Bill Clinton or John F. Kennedy in age and charisma

A person with a substantial state government legislative experience, including being Florida House Speaker

But, Rubio also has many negatives, including:

He has to compete against fellow Floridian, former Governor Jeb Bush, his mentor

The Cuban American members of Congress from Florida (Lincoln Diaz Balart and Ileane Ros Lehtinen) support Bush over their fellow Cuban American

Rubio’s support of comprehensive immigration reform, alienating many conservatives, but then backing away from it, alienating other groups, including Latinos who are not Cuban American

Rubio’s being seen as too close to former Miami Congressman David Rivera, who has been seen as involved in corrupt, questionable activities

Rubio being questioned about spending habits while Florida House Speaker, regarding expenditures paid by the state party that were personal expenditures

Rubio being too close to billionaires including Miami’s Norman Braman, and Nevada gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson, and being often in financial difficulties in which Braman has helped him with financial support

Rubio being seen as a Tea Party leader, but trying to separate himself from the extremists of the movement

Rubio seen as not fully understanding foreign policy, where he often seems ignorant of facts and favoring false realities

Rubio seen as not aggressive enough, as compared to rivals, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckebee, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Jeb Bush’s Long Pre-Campaign: A Sign Of Second Thoughts, Maybe?

It has been nearly five months since Jeb Bush began the 2016 Presidential race with an indication that he was “considering” running for President.

Jeb has been raising money and making some appearances, but seems no closer to announcing his candidacy, making his “pre-campaign” just about the longest ever in American history!

There are hints that Jeb will have a lot of trouble when, and if, he chooses to announce, and ironically, the greatest challenge might come from fellow Floridian Senator Marco Rubio.

Interestingly, most Florida Republicans are backing Jeb over Marco, including Cuban American Congressman Lincoln Diaz Balart and Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen, but many see Rubio as the new generation, and Jeb as the past, and as a Bush, which is not in his favor.

The indications that Jeb seems to plan to lean on brother George W. Bush, the former President, as his main advisor on Middle East matters, and would use the foreign policy aides of his brother as his own, is also very alarming to many in his party, as well as to Democrats.

Some are wondering if Jeb might just decide NOT to run, ultimately, which would help Rubio a great deal.

The mystery continues, and what Jeb does either way, will have a great impact on the Republican Presidential race!

The Republican Presidential Circus—22 Potential Nominees May Compete In The 2016 Caucuses And Primaries!

The Republican Party is a true circus, with a new potential number of people announcing for President numbering TWENTY TWO—Yes, TWENTY TWO!

If that happens, the debates that will take place in the next year will be a true mockery, a true example of total loss of any respectability of the political process, and will insure that the Republican Party will go down to defeat, probably with a greater electoral vote loss than in 2012, and possibly, greater than 2008! The 206 electoral votes won by Mitt Romney and the 173 won by John McCain might be lower than either number!

The whole idea that TWENTY TWO possible candidates think they are qualified to be President is beyond any reason.

The traditional list that has been drawn up includes:

Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham

Former Senator Rick Santorum

Governors Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Mike Pence, Rick Snyder, John Kasich

Former Governors Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry

Pediatric Surgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson

Former Hewlett Packard Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina

Now add: former New York Governor George Pataki, Businessman Donald Trump, former UN Ambassador John Bolton; New York Congressman Peter King; former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore; former Maryland Governor Bob Erhlich

The potential for such chaos will totally turn off voters, all to the advantage of the Democratic Party!