US Senate

Rapid Decline In Quality From Ronald Reagan-Richard Schweiker In 1976 To Ted Cruz-Carly Fiorina In 2016!

Forty years have passed since Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, in a desperate move to try to derail President Gerald Ford from winning the GOP Presidential nomination in 1976, chose a Vice Presidential running mate, Pennsylvania Senator Richard Schweiker.

It did not help Reagan to win the nomination, but at least Reagan had been two term Governor of California, and Schweiker was a two term liberal Republican Senator, who later was Secretary of Health and Human Services for two years under Reagan.

The rapid decline in quality from Reagan-Schweiker then to Ted Cruz-Carly Fiorina two generations later is alarming, demonstrating how candidates for President and Vice President, at least in the Republican Party, are truly disastrous!

Remember that the GOP is great at choosing terrible Vice Presidential candidates, including Spiro Agnew and Dan Quayle, who served as Vice President, and Sarah Palin!

And even the so called “better qualified” VP candidates such as Dick Cheney, who was Vice President, and Paul Ryan, who did not serve, are wanting in comparison to Democratic Vice Presidential candidates, including Walter Mondale, Al Gore, and Joe Biden, as well as candidates Edmund Muskie, Sargent Shriver, Lloyd Bentsen, and Joe Lieberman!

Ted Cruz-Carly Fiorina “Marriage” Is A Total Joke!

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, arguably the most disliked member of the US Senate, desperately trying to survive until the Republican National Convention as a Presidential candidate, has chosen former rival, and former CEO of Hewlett Packard, Carly Fiorina, to be his running mate, with very little chance that the reality of them being a team will ever occur at the convention!

Fiorina is about as disgusting and obnoxious as Cruz, and does not add anything to Cruz of significance. If this is designed to help Cruz in next week’s Indiana primary, seen by many observers as the last chance for Cruz to survive until the convention as a candidate, then how does Fiorina do that?

And if the purpose was for Fiorina to help in the California primary, how is that possible, when Fiorina lost the US Senate race to Barbara Boxer in 2010 by a literal landslide, and then flopped badly in the 2016 Presidential sweepstakes?

All that Carly Fiorina is good for is as an attack dog against Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, but she was hard to watch during the campaign for the Presidency over this past year, and really has no special expertise, and no experience in government! Who would want her a heartbeat away from the Presidency? And if there was ever a serial liar, it is this woman!

So Ted Cruz has struck out by choosing Carly Fiorina!

Likely Republican Vice Presidential Candidates

Now that Donald Trump “seems” likely to be the Republican Presidential nominee, after last night’s five Northeastern primary victories, it is time to consider who might be his Vice Presidential running mate.

Many of the potential choices could be seen as true horrors, something to be worried about were Trump elected, and something happened to him, requiring the Vice President to succeed the President!

The list would include:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn

Dr. Ben Carson of Maryland

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst

Tom Brady of the New England Patriots football team

Former Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

Florida Governor Rick Scott

Florida Senator Marco Rubio

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

At this point, this blogger would think that Christie, Blackburn, Carson and Huckabee are the most likely choices in that order.

The worst choices in this blogger’s estimation would be Scott, Walker, Palin, and Sessions in that order.

Rubio and Haley would probably be much better choices than anyone on the list, but unlikely that either would be selected.

Tom Brady is just a real long shot, but since his ego is as great as Trump’s ego, it could be possible, but unlikely!

And Joni Ernst–good looking, young, and just as dim witted as Sarah Palin, but if Trump is looking for a Palin clone, it could happen!

Potential White Male Vice Presidential Nominees For Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign In 2016

If Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton decides not to go “radical” and select a woman or a person of minority heritage as her Vice Presidential choice for the upcoming Presidential Election of 2016, she has a long list of potential white males to choose from.

She could go for a Senator from a “swing” state, including the following:

Virginia–Senator Mark Warner or Senator Tim Kaine

Ohio–Senator Sherrod Brown (who I projected on December 31 as the likely choice)

Florida–Senator Bill Nelson

But there are other potential nominees, including:

Incumbent Vice President Joe Biden of Delaware, which I recommended on this blog in February 2015, and was interviewed about it by John Hockenberry of THE TAKEAWAY on National Public Radio on January 21 of this year, which can be found under “Interviews” on the right side of the blog

Senator Al Franken of Minnesota

Former Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut

Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon

Of these nine potential candidates, the most likely would seem to be Brown, Kaine, and Franken in that order.

Biden and Nelson will both be 74 this year, five years older than Hillary Clinton, while O’Malley opposed Hillary in the early primaries and Merkley is the only US Senator to have endorsed Bernie Sanders, making them less likely.

Warner seems less likely than Kaine from Virginia, due to his close race for reelection in 2014, one he almost lost, and Murphy, one of the brightest young liberals, is more of a “dark horse”, not mentioned by many, but a possible surprise choice.

The Likelihood Of An Historic Vice Presidential Nomination For The Democrats: A Woman Or A Person Of Minority Heritage

Speculation has begun about who Democrat Hillary Clinton’s potential choices for Vice President might be, but it seems more and more likely that it will be an historic choice, likely NOT to be a white male, but rather a woman or a leader of minority heritage.

It is true that Democrat Walter Mondale selected New York Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, and that Republican John McCain selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in 2008, but this time around, the possible candidates for a woman are much stronger choices.

If one is considering a woman, which some think is “radical” to do, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is seen as the most likely choice, but her fame and her age work against her, and it would make more sense to pick a woman who is substantially younger, and could be a potential successor eight years from now–such as Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota or Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington State.

If Hillary wants to select someone from a minority heritage, the best would be Latinos, such as former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, presently Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; or Secretary of Labor Tom Perez of Maryland; and if African American, the best would be New Jersey Senator Cory Booker or former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

In another blog entry forthcoming tomorrow, we will consider white males as potential Vice Presidential nominees, with quite a long list of such candidates!

Richard Nixon And The Environment: Looking Back On Earth Day

Richard Nixon is rated very low in rankings of Presidents, and in many ways, rightfully.

But it was Nixon who promoted the environment more than any President until his time, except for Theodore Roosevelt.

It was Richard Nixon who promoted and signed into law the Environmental Protection Agency, and backed and signed into law the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Endangered Species Act. He also had Walter Hickel in his cabinet as one of the greatest Secretaries of the Interior in American history.

Nixon may have done some of this for purely political reasons, but the legacy he left is still massive in the area of the environment.

When one looks at the Republican Party today, we know that if it was left up to them, they would set out to weaken and, if they could, destroy federal involvement in the environment, with most of them even denying global warming and climate change!

Ironically, the first Earth Day was started by Wisconsin Democratic Senator Gaylord Nelson on April 22, 1970, and we saw Richard Nixon die on Earth Day in 1994!

The Possibility Of An All Female Presidential-Vice Presidential Team To Lead America: Hillary Clinton And?

America could be on the brink of seeing the first all female Presidential ticket!

It is rumored that Hillary Clinton might pick one of the following female running mates:

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar

Washington Senator Patty Murray

Washington Senator Maria Cantwell

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow

The most exciting is Elizabeth Warren, but the long range future possible female President, after a theoretical eight years as Vice President, would be Amy Klobuchar or Maria Cantwell, both from safe blue states, and likely to be replaced by another Democrat.

The problem with Warren or McCaskill or Murray or Stabenow is their age, and the future in eight years!

Meanwhile, the Republicans might have South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as a potential Vice Presidential running mate. Another possibility would be New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez.

Lawless Donald Trump Challenged On Plans, If Elected, To Use Waterboarding, By Director Of CIA And Former Director Of CIA And NSA!

A very alarming development is Donald Trump’s announced plans, if elected President, to utilize waterboarding and other torture techniques which were used in the Iraq War against terrorists, but have been banned since then.

Senator John McCain, who suffered from torture while a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and many others. have made it clear that torture does not work in gaining intelligence that helps win a war or to fight terrorism, but Trump is claiming that he will revive it.

But now, CIA Director John Brennan and former CIA Director and former NSA director Michael Hayden have come out strongly against such revival of waterboarding or other such torture techniques, with both making it clear that they would resist a President’s orders to implement such directives!

That is startling, but comforting, and it shows just how dangerous Donald Trump is, that he would become a truly lawless President, far worse than Richard Nixon!

And it would be great to hear other Republicans agree with the intelligence agency leaders, but do not count on it.

More reason to repudiate Donald Trump and the party which is against him, but seems unwilling to condemn his threat of an abuse of Presidential power!

Speakers Of The House Of Representatives Who Sought The Presidency, And Now Paul Ryan?

The Speaker of the House of Representatives is second in line for the Presidency after the Vice President under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, the third such law.

The first such law, from 1792-1886, put the Speaker third in line for the Presidency, with the Vice President and the President Pro Tempore of the US Senate ahead of him, later reversed in 1947.

The second law, from 1886-1947, did not include the Speaker in the line of succession, but rather the Cabinet officers after the Vice President.

In our history, only one Speaker of the House became President, James K. Polk of Tennessee, from 1845-1849, and he proved to be one of the more significant Presidents, adding more real estate to America than anyone other than Thomas Jefferson.  This was accomplished by treaty with Great Britain over the Pacific Northwest in 1846, and by war with Mexico from 1846-1848, which added the Southwestern United States to the Union.

But seven other Speakers sought the Presidency, including the following:

Henry Clay of Kentucky sought the Presidency in 1824, 1832, and 1844, and is regarded as the greatest single legislator in the history of both houses of Congress.  In 1844, we had the only Presidential election where the two opponents had both been Speaker of the House, Clay and Polk!  Clay lost his three elections to John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Polk.

John Bell of Tennessee was the Constitutional Union Party nominee for President in 1860 on the eve of the Civil War, and lost to Abraham Lincoln.

James G. Blaine of Maine was the Republican nominee for President in 1884 and lost the election to Grover Cleveland, and was also Secretary of State under three Presidents–James A. Garfield, Chester Alan Arthur, and a full term under Benjamin Harrison.

Thomas Reed of Maine lost the nomination of the Republican Party in 1896 to future President William McKinley.

Champ Clark of Missouri lost the nomination of the Democratic Party in 1912 to future President Woodrow Wilson.

John Nance Garner of Texas, after being Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt for two terms from 1933-1941, lost the nomination of the Democratic Party to his boss, President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940

Newt Gingrich of Georgia lost the Republican nomination for President to eventual nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

So four Speakers were nominated for President, with only Polk winning; and four other Speakers lost the nomination when they sought the Presidency.

Now we may have a ninth such Speaker seeking the Presidency, Republican Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, whose name is being promoted, despite Ryan’s denial of any interest in running for President.

Hillary Clinton Best Qualified To Take Oath Of Office Since George H. W. Bush

Presidents come from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences, and some come ill equipped to deal with foreign policy and or domestic issues.

It is often said that learning on the job is the best experience, but that puts the nation at greater risk.

So the question arises: Since World War II, what Presidents came to office fully qualified to take the reigns of power?

This judgment is not one of approval or disapproval of the President and his record, but simply his qualifications when he took the oath of office.

It is clear that three Presidents came to office very qualified to be President, and they would be, chronologically, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and George H. W. Bush!

Harry Truman was ill prepared; Dwight D. Eisenhower had never taken an interest in politics; John F. Kennedy was very challenged in his first year in office; Gerald Ford had years of experience but no real ambition to be President; Jimmy Carter had limited experience in government, as did Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, as being governors of southern states did not prepare them for national leadership; Ronald Reagan had a very narrow view of national government and its importance; and Barack Obama had limited experience in national affairs, having only served four years in the US Senate.

On the other hand, Lyndon B. Johnson had been in government for thirty years and was a master legislative strategist, although foreign policy was certainly not his forte.

Richard Nixon had been Vice President for eight years, as was also with George H. W. Bush, and those years plus foreign policy expertise set them up well to be President.

Hillary Clinton is, without a doubt, the best equipped since the elder Bush to be President, as her years in the White House with her husband; her Senate years; and her four years as Secretary of State, even with problems, made her known worldwide, and she has the respect of foreign governments.  She is likely to be more activist in domestic affairs than her husband, which would also be a plus!