William Cohen

44 Retired US Senators Speak Out On Constitutional Crisis, Including Principled Republicans

The Washington Post published two days ago an op-ed editorial by 44 retired US Senators, calling on the present members of the Senate to show guts and courage and speak up to defend democracy and the Constitution, from the threats presented by President Donald Trump.

Eleven of those 44 were Republicans, of all stripes and beliefs, including Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado; William Cohen of Maine; Alfonse D’Amato of New York;  John Danforth of Missouri; David Durenberger of Minnesota; Chuck Hagel of Nebraska; Richard Lugar of Indiana; Larry Pressler of South Dakota; Alan Simpson of Wyoming; John Warner of Virginia; and Lowell Weicker of Connecticut.

The other 33 were Democrats, including such luminaries as Evan Bayh of Indiana; Bill Bradley of New Jersey; Tom Daschle of South Dakota; Chris Dodd of Connecticut; Russ Feingold of Wisconsin; Bob Graham of Florida; Tom Harkin of Iowa; Gary Hart of Colorado; Bob Kerrey of Nebraska; John Kerry of Massachusetts; Joe Lieberman of Connecticut; Barbara Mikulski of Maryland; Sam Nunn of Georgia; Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia; and Mark Udall of Colorado.

America needs Republicans in the Senate, now 53 of them, to stop defending Donald Trump, and start concerning themselves with the preservation of American democracy.  They need to speak up and challenge and confront Donald Trump and stop accepting his violations of the Constitution.

If they do not, they will  be relegated to the dustbin of history, and the Republican party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan, Ford, and H. W. Bush will die of lack of principle and commitment.

John McCain In Death Unifies Many People Of Different Persuasions

Senator John McCain may have died, but his death and upcoming funeral unites people of many different persuasions, Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives.

Actor Warren Beatty, a liberal Democrat, will be one of the pallbearers at the funeral this coming Saturday, along with former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Senators Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Gary Hart of Colorado, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, and former Homeland Security Secretary and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge.

Tributes will be offered by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, former Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, former Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and members of McCain’s family.

McCain’s body will be interred at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he graduated fifth from the bottom of his class, but still led a distinctive career despite his partying and lack of seriousness while there.

One has to wonder who would be at Donald Trump’s funeral, since he has so alienated so many people and groups.

Joint Party Tickets A Good Idea? History Tells Us NO!

Recently, there has been some discussion of a “fusion” ticket as the way to stop Donald Trump.

One such scenario is to have Hillary Clinton run with John Kasich as her running mate.

That is totally preposterous, and history tells us that when the Vice President is of a different party than the President, it does not work out well.

The first contested Presidential election led to Thomas Jefferson as Vice President under his opponent, John Adams from 1797-1801, and that did not work out well, and in fact, helped to promote the 12th Amendment in 1804.

Then we had John C. Calhoun as Vice President under John Quincy Adams in the years 1825-1829, and that did not work out well.

William Henry Harrison was elected in 1840 with this Whig candidate having a Democrat, John Tyler, as his Vice President.  Within a month, Harrison was dead, and Tyler had constant battles with the Whig Congress, because he did not wish to follow Whig platform ideas.

Abraham Lincoln chose Andrew Johnson as his second term Vice President, despite the fact that Johnson was a Democrat in a Republican Presidency, and when Lincoln was assassinated six weeks later, we had one of the worst struggles in American history, as Johnson fought and resisted the Republican Party which had put him into the Vice Presidency, albeit briefly.

With these four examples, none of them working out well, we have never had such a situation arise again since, but we have had suggestions of doing what has never worked out well.

There were suggestions that Hubert Humphrey select Nelson Rockefeller in 1968, and that John McCain choose Joe Lieberman in 2008.

It simply will not work, and it undermines party loyalty and commitment to a President and his administration, if the next in line, in case of tragedy, transforms the power base in the Presidency.

As it is, we have had top cabinet members who are of the other party, particularly in the War Department as it was known before 1947, and the Defense Department, as it has been known since then., including:

Henry Stimson under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1940-1945

Robert McNamara under John F. Kennedy, beginning in 1961, and continuing under Lyndon B. Johnson until 1968.

William Cohen under Bill Clinton from 1997-2001

Robert Gates under Barack Obama from 2009-2011

But the Vice President needs to be “on the team”, not a rival of the President in office!

 

“Crossing The Aisle”: BiPartisanship Of America’s Presidents From FDR To Obama

A common theme in American history is the “crossing of the aisle”, the bipartisanship encouraged by just about every American President, and the utilizing of leaders of the opposition party to help make his administration successful.

Franklin D. Roosevelt had Henry Stimson as his Secretary of War from 1940-45, with Stimson having served as Secretary of State under Herbert Hoover. He also had Frank Knox as Secretary of the Navy from 1940-1944, who had been the Republican Vice Presidential nominee in 1936.

Harry Truman had Warren Austin as his United Nations Ambassador from 1947 to 1953.

Dwight D. Eisenhower had Robert Anderson in various roles, as Secretary of the Navy, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of the Treasury, during his eight years in office from 1953 to 1961.

John F. Kennedy had Robert McNamara as his Secretary of Defense and D. Douglas Dillon as his Secretary of the Treasury and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (who he had defeated for the Senate in 1952, as his Ambassador to South Vietnam.

Lyndon B. Johnson kept on McNamara, Dillon and Lodge as close advisers in his administration, after he succeeded to the Presidency upon Kennedy’s death.

Richard Nixon had Sargent Shriver as Ambassador to France, John Connally as Secretary of the Treasury, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan as Ambassador to India.

Gerald Ford had Moynihan stay on as Ambassador to India, and then as Ambassador to the United Nations.

Jimmy Carter had James Schlesinger as Secretary of Energy, and Lawrence Eagleburger as Ambassador to Yugoslavia.

Ronald Reagan has Mike Mansfield at Ambassador to Japan, Jeane Kirkpatrick as Ambassador to the United Nations, William Bennett as Secretary of Education, and Paul Volcker as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

George H. W. Bush had Richard Stone as Ambassador to Denmark, and Robert Strauss as Ambassador to the Soviet Union.

Bill Clinton had Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Federal Reserve and William Cohen as Secretary of Defense.

George W. Bush had Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation.

And Barack Obama has had Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, Ray LaHood as Secretary of Transportation, Jon Huntsman as Ambassador to China, John McHugh as Secretary of the Army, Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and now has pending the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense.

Notice that Obama has had more members of the opposition party in his administration than any President!

Best Team For America’s Future Security: John Kerry For Secretary Of State, And Chuck Hagel For Secretary Of Defense

In the midst of the “Fiscal Cliff” battle, President Obama is also deep into Cabinet selection, and it was heartening to hear that former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican who served in Vietnam and became an acknowledged expert on foreign policy in his years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been at the White House, and is a hot candidate for Secretary of Defense.

This author has long raved about the credentials of Hagel, and suggested him for the cabinet in the first term, and it now seems more likely that he might become the head of the Pentagon when Leon Panetta leaves soon.

This would be continuing the tradition of past Democratic Presidents to decide to choose reputable Republicans for the Defense Department, and it even goes back to when it was called the War Department before 1947.

The historical record shows Franklin D. Roosevelt having Henry Stimson, former Secretary of State under Herbert Hoover, as his Secretary of War, along with Frank Knox, who had been the Republican Vice Presidential nominee in 1936, being named Secretary of the Navy, both in 1940, when Great Britain was being attacked by the German Air Force in World War II, and the threat to America was seen as dire by many as a result.

John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson utilized Robert McNamara as Secretary of Defense in the 1960’s.

Bill Clinton had former Maine Senator William Cohen, a responsible and reputable Republican Senator, as his Secretary of Defense in the second term, and he received kudos for his performance.

And Robert Gates, George W. Bush’s second Secretary of Defense, became Barack Obama’s first Secretary of Defense, and did a wonderful job for more than two years.

So the reasoning to pick Hagel is clearly there, but to make the foreign policy-defense team complete, the President also needs to choose Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, a Vietnam War veteran too, and 2004 Democratic Party Presidential nominee, to replace Hillary Clinton at the State Department, after 28 years of service in the US Senate, and chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Kerry has had a distinguished career, and would be an excellent choice, and the team of Kerry and Hagel would be sensational.

In a time of trouble and turmoil, America needs its strongest team on national security, and Kerry and Hagel fit the bill, without any question or doubt.

Susan Rice, the UN Ambassador, is also outstanding in many ways, but quite frankly, is not on the same level as Kerry, and her nomination would cause unnecessary turmoil over the issue of Libya, a sad commentary, but a distraction which should not be allowed to continue by choosing her, when Kerry is really a better choice!

So, Mr. President, pick John Kerry for State and Chuck Hagel for Defense, and America will be very well served at Foggy Bottom and the Pentagon!

Maine, The Independent State Politically! Angus King Likely Replacing Olympia Snowe

Maine, a state which has had independent minded Senators and Governors, is about to have an Independent as the likely successor to independent minded Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, who has announced her retirement after a long career, due to frustration over the total stalemate and deadlock in the US Senate.

Former Governor Angus King, who had served as a legislative aide to Senator William Hathaway in the 1970s, has only run for office as an Independent, and was one of two Independent Governors in the late 1990s and early 2000s, along with Governor Jesse Ventura of Minnesota.

In the 1970s, Maine had Independent Governor James Longley, making them an extremely unusual state, in having had two Independents serve in that office in modern times.

King was Governor from 1995-2003, and now will be his own man, while if he wins, probably caucusing with the Democrats, as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman do now. Major Democrats have decided not to challenge him, as his public opinion ratings are high, and the Republicans are almost certain to lose that seat that Snowe is vacating.

Three way races are not uncommon in Maine, as even the Governor’s race in 2010 was three way, leading to Tea Party favorite Paul LePage being elected Governor over a second place Independent and a third place Democrat.

Maine has had distinguished US Senators who have been independent minded if not actually running as Independents, including Margaret Chase Smith, Edmund Muskie, George Mitchell, William Cohen, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins.

So the likelihood of at least two Independents in the next Senate, King and Sanders, is extremely certain, with Lieberman retiring from the Senate.

Wise Men Expressing Doubts About Afghanistan

As the Afghanistan debate rages, wise men are expressing doubt about further commitment of troops to that war.

Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the 2004 Democratic nominee for President, and the Chairman now of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has warned against going down the same road we did in Vietnam.

Former Defense Secretary William Cohen, who served under Bill Clinton in his second term, and was earlier a Republican senator and congressman from Maine, also has demonstrated his doubts of the wisdom of commitment of more troops in a war where we have no faith in the leader of that nation, President Karzai.

These men may soon be joined by Al Gore, former Vice President and 2000 Democratic nominee for President, who will be expressing his views on Larry King Live on Thursday evening. It will be interesting to hear what his advice is, and I would be very suprised if he endorsed commitment of more troops to the Afghan War.

The distinguished citizens who are speaking out against this escalation include many Democratic senators and representatives not specifically mentioned here, and it is important that President Obama listen to this advice, and not just to the generals and cabinet members who advocate escalation.

This may be the most important decision the President will make during his time in office, and we have to hope he makes the proper decision!