Liberal Republicans

Senator Joseph Lieberman Passing Reminds Us Of His Significant Role In American History

Former Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman passed away yesterday at the age of 82, tragically as the result of complications from a fall.

This sad news reminds us of his significant role in American history and politics.

A comparatively conservative Senator for a Democrat, specifically on foreign policy, while quite liberal on most matters of domestic policy, Lieberman became the first Jewish candidate on a national Presidential ticket as the Vice Presidential nominee for Al Gore in the Presidential Election of 2000.

Coming to the Senate after defeating liberal Republican Senator Lowell Weicker in 1988, and backed by conservative advocate William F. Buckley, Jr, who called Lieberman his “favorite Democrat”, he lost the Democratic nomination for his seat in 2006, but ran as an Independent and defeated his Democratic and Republican opponents, serving his fourth and last term until 2012, when he retired.

Lieberman was closely associated with Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham as “hawks” on the Iraq War, and McCain considered him for the Vice Presidency in 2008, before choosing the disastrous Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Lieberman was always highly controversial, but also remembered as very principled and a major factor in American politics for more than a generation.

For a person such as this author who sees himself as “progressive”, Lieberman often irritated with his overly hawkish views on foreign policy, and he did not show adequate support for either Barack Obama or Joe Biden, including engaging in the NO LABELS movement, which seems, fortunately, to be going nowhere in the upcoming presidential election.

The Republican Party Heritage And Principles Are In Death Spiral after 167 Years

The Republican Party was founded in March 1854 as a reform party, with the major principle at its founding being opposition to the expansion of slavery, and including abolitionists within its midst.

It was a Northern party which fought the Civil War and ended slavery, and for a generation, it was a party that inspired the majority of Americans.

Then, in the Gilded Age, it became corrupted by the power and influence of industrial capitalism, and conservatism reigned.

But then, Theodore Roosevelt and others who carried the name “progressive” with pride, promoted reform of the capitalistic system, but after TR’s death, while progressivism still existed in the party, it was taken over by conservatives, and the Great Depression undermined the national power of the party, as the Democrats became the majority party in the 1930s.

The battle for the future of the party was waged in the next half century liberal to moderate Republicans on one side, and hardline conservatives as their opponents, and Ronald Reagan ushered in a hard right conservatism, which became more extreme due to Newt Gingrich and other extreme conservatives since the mid 1990s.

And now we have come to a party that is in a death spiral, as we have conspiracy theorists who are taking over the party, and promoting hate, in the form of racism, nativism, Islamophobia, Antisemitism, and having wacky members who are advocating assassination of opposition Democrats.

So the Republican Party is now the party of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Louie Gohmert, Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley,and many other right wing Fascists, but at the leadership is Donald Trump, and the party represents now:

Family Values gone, with the caging of immigrant children.

Deficit Hawks gone, with added massive deficits of tax cuts to the wealthy.

Free Trade gone, with massive taxes on foreign goods and bailouts of farmers as a result, adding to the national debt and consumer prices.

Limited Federal Government gone, with claims that what state governments report as election results should be ignored by the Congress.

Limiting the Imperial Presidency gone, with obedience by right wing members of both houses of Congress to the whims and desires of Donald Trump, even continuing as this author and blogger writes.

Republican Party History And Reputation Under Attack In Present Constitutional Crisis

The Republican Party was founded in 1854 in opposition to the expansion of slavery, and included many abolitionists within its midst.

The Republican Party became the Party of the Union, and under Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President, the Civil War was fought, and the Confederate States of America was defeated, and slavery was abolished.

The Republican Party then promoted citizenship and the right to vote for African Americans.

Then, the party lost its way and became the party of Big Business in the Gilded Age, and was engaged in widespread corruption.

But in the Progressive Era of the early 20th century, under President Theodore Roosevelt, and Congressional leaders such as Robert La Follette Sr. of Wisconsin and George Norris of Nebraska and many others, the party became one of reform oriented ideas.

Then, in the 1920s and through the years of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman, the party became one of opposition to progressive ideas, with a few exceptions of leaders in Congress and in the states.

With the coming of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the rise of the liberal wing of the modern GOP, under Nelson Rockefeller, William Scranton, and George Romney. and many US Senators, the battle was fought against a takeover of the party by the extreme right, headed by Senator Barry Goldwater, but despite his defeat for the Presidency in 1964, the coming of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan ushered in conservative ideas, and the GOP became captive to the myth of Reagan.

The party became captive to a foreign policy of intervention in the Middle East, and promotion of massive tax cuts to the wealthy, and destruction of the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson and the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, but were stopped in their quest by Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Now, however, the Republican Party has become more extremist under the most corrupt President in American history, much more than Richard Nixon.

Donald Trump is for the wealthy elite, and that is why the Republicans in Congress are overlooking the disaster occurring before our eyes daily.

The Republican Party history and reputation are under attack in the present constitutional crisis, while at the time of the Nixon constitutional crisis, many Republicans spoke up and led the struggle against the illegalities of the Watergate Scandal.

The future of the Republican Party is at stake, and this could be the time that we will look back on and realize that it led to the demise of the Republican Party as we know it!

“Non Politicians”–Presidential Winners And A Few Presidential Nominees

With three Republican Presidential candidates for 2016 being “non politicians”, people who have never served in a government position on the city, state or national level, the issue arises: have there been any other such candidates in the past?

It turns out that we have had several military generals who never served in a civilian position, that could qualify as “non politicians”.

This includes the following:

Zachary Taylor 1848 (Mexican War)

Winfield Scott 1852 (Mexican War)

George McClellan 1864 (Civil War)

Ulysses S. Grant 1868, 1872 (Civil War)

Winfield Scott Hancock 1880 (Civil War)

Taylor and Grant were elected, while Scott, McClellan, and Hancock were defeated in their attempts to become President.

McClellan did serve as Governor of New Jersey from 1878-1881, AFTER running for President against Abraham Lincoln.  But Taylor, Scott, Grant and Hancock never ran for public office.

Additionally, Horace Greeley, the New York Tribune publisher, ran for President in 1872, as the candidate of the Democratic Party and the breakaway group in the Republican Party opposed to Grant’s reelection, known as the “Liberal Republicans”.  He served very briefly as an appointed member of the House of Representatives, but not by vote of the people, but rather a choice of Whig Party leaders to fill a short term replacement before the election for the next term in Congress.  He served a total of only three months from December 1848 to March 1849, and did not run for the New York City seat.  Technically, one could say he had that political experience, but so little in time, that he could be seen as basically a “non politician” when he ran for President 24 years later, although being the editor of the New York Tribune was certainly “political” in nature.

Then we have Wall Street industrialist and businessman Wendell Willkie, who ran against Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940, after stirring the Republican National Convention and overcoming much better known Presidential candidates, but while running a good race, he lost, and then supported the World War II effort and cooperated with FDR until Willkie died in late 1944.

And finally, we have billionaire Ross Perot, who ran for President as an independent in 1992 and as the Reform Party candidate in 1996.

So only Zachary Taylor and Ulysses S. Grant were “non politicians” who were elected President.

The odds of Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, or Dr. Benjamin Carson being elected President in 2016, therefore, are astronomical!

Mayoral Experiences Of Three Democratic Presidential Candidates Unique Among Presidential Seekers Over Long Period Of Time!

With the entrance of former Rhode Island Governor and Senator Lincoln Chafee into the Democratic Presidential race a week ago, we now have three of the four announced candidates in that party with a unique experience, rare among Presidential candidates historically—mayoral experience.

Being a mayor, even of a small sized city, is an experience that relates much more to the people than being a Governor or Senator.

Lincoln Chafee was Mayor of Warwick, Rhode Island for seven years; Senator from Rhode Island for eight years; and then Governor of Rhode Island for one four year term, giving him a total of 19 years in public office. He started off as a liberal Republican, the last of the old breed that had existed for decades, but no longer exists. Chafee opposed George W. Bush on the Iraq War, the only GOP Senator to vote “No” on the war. After being defeated for reelection by Sheldon Whitehouse in 2006, Chafee became a declared Independent and was elected Governor as such in 2010. Then in 2013, he joined the Democratic Party. His government experience made him fully aware of local urban problems, and he has a reputation of being thoughtful, courageous, and principled, as one of the few people to go from one party to independent to the other major party.

Bernie Sanders was Mayor of Burlington, Vermont for eight years; Congressman from Vermont for sixteen years; and has been Senator from Vermont going on nine years, giving him a total of 33 years in public office. He is also the longest serving Independent member of Congress in American history, as he is a proud Socialist who has allied with the Democratic caucus. He is a man who truly understands urban issues, as well as state and national issues. He has shown great principle and convictions, and everyone knows you get the truth and the whole story from Bernie Sanders when he answers questions.

Martin O’Malley was Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland for seven years and Governor of Maryland for eight years, giving him a total of 15 years in public office. Under his tenure, Maryland became the leading state in education and treatment of the disabled and senior citizens, and O’Malley took the lead on progressive issues both at the city and state level. He is seen as having potential to be a future President, even if he is unable, similar to Chafee and Sanders, to overcome Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton.

So despite Hillary Clinton’s great advantage at this point, she is gaining three rivals who are not to be ignored or ridiculed, as they have solid experience in dealing with the issues of people, and reputations as true progressives!

Two Different Directions: Wisconsin State Republican Party And Nevada State Republican Party

The internal battle over the future of the Republican Party is in full swing, as we come up to the 160th anniversary of the Republican Party in Ripon, Wisconsin, in 1854, which actually took place on March 20. with a formal organization in Jackson, Michigan, on July 6.

For a long time, the Ripon Society has existed as an organization for “liberal,” mainstream Republicans, but of course, there is no such thing anymore known as “liberal” Republicanism. Even those who might consider themselves “liberal,” avoid use of that term like a plague!

The Wisconsin GOP, which once included “Mr. Progressive” Robert La Follette, Sr., and his brilliant sons Robert La Follette, Jr. and Philip La Follette, now, however, has become an extremist group on the far right, under Governor Scott Walker and Senator Ron Johnson, and the proposal is to add to their state party documents the concept of the right of the state to promote “secession’ if felt necessary, a sign of the old, ugly language that led to the Civil War and the loss of two thirds of a million men in combat, the greatest single tragedy in the nation’s history!

At the same time, the Nevada State Republican Party has made the decision to remove from its platform for 2014 two issues that the Christian Right has been promoting since their rise in the party apparatus nationwide since the late 1970s—abortion and gay rights and marriage. No longer will the party promote government intervention in the lives of women and their personal decisions about their bodies and reproductive rights. And no longer will they get in the way of a person’s happiness, as to his or her basic human rights, including marriage, and the right to one’s sexual orientation without any discrimination by government!

In the long run, what Nevada Republicans are doing will, if pursued elsewhere, lead to a long term revival of the GOP, while if Wisconsin is followed, it is the death knell and demise of the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike!

Chris Christie Vs Rand Paul: The Knives Are Coming Out!

It was inevitable that there would be “combat” between New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, and the knives are coming out early!

Christie has distinguished himself by his criticism of his own Republican Party in the House of Representatives, and specifically Speaker of the House John Boehner, for their dragging on relief funds for Hurricane Sandy.

He has also condemned the National Rifle Association for using an ad against President Barack Obama, in which his two daughters are mentioned. Christie said, correctly, that NEVER should children of public figures be used as part of an attack ad.

But of course, Rand Paul, a true whacko, loony, nutty Senator, who has never been a Governor, and is an eye doctor without official recognition by the traditional professional organization because he chose instead to form his own organization to give him legitimacy, went on the attack against Christie in an interview with right wing talk show host Laura Ingraham, denouncing Christie as looking only to appeal to Democrats and “liberal” Republicans, and having his hand out for federal largesse. And Paul was critical of Christie attacking the NRA.

Remember that Rand Paul, and his dad, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, are libertarians, who do not believe in federal disaster aid, hate government, and have a viewpoint that will never be accepted by the American people at large!

Neither Christie nor Rand Paul have any real chance of being the next President, but at least Christie has the ability to appeal to other than right wing Republicans, while Paul will not even be able to unite conservatives, since his isolationist foreign policy will turn off many right wing Republicans, and he also comes across as weird and whacky!

But this means the battle for the Presidential nomination of 2016 in the Republican Party is in full swing even before President Obama takes his second oath of office as President on Monday!

The Republican Party Totally Changed From Its Founding: More Southernized Than Ever Before!

The Republican Party started as a party of anti slavery and anti slavery expansion, and became anathema in the South, fighting the Confederacy during the Civil War, and imposing military Reconstruction on the South after the Civil War.

For a century, the South was solidly Democratic in reaction, and the South subjugated African Americans in segregation and discrimination, while the GOP abandoned African Americans after 1877.

In the 1960s, moderate and liberal Republicans supported the passage of the civil rights laws, but southern Democrats started to veer to the Republican Party in reaction to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s advocacy and promotion of civil rights, with Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina leading the march to the GOP.

Richard Nixon pursued a Southern strategy, and after Ronald Reagan became President, the trend to “Southernization” continued, and now it has reached full development, even though we have two Northerners–Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin–on the Presidential ticket.

The Republican Party of 2012, based on its platform and its rhetoric, has hostility toward minorities, promotion of racism against Barack Obama, hatred of national government, belief in exploitation of low wage workers, and promotes religion over science, all reflective of the backward traditions of the Old South, which remains the poorest part of the nation economically, and yet is willing to support the Republican Party out of fear of change and modernization.

But, ironically, this is the last gasp of this trend, as the country is changing to a multi ethnic society, and the white population that is so anti change is rapidly becoming a smaller portion of the nation, and will be so, in a very obvious way, by the time of the Census of 2020 and after, when the Hispanic and Latino population of Texas and Arizona and Florida will likely turn those states “blue”,. from their momentary “red” status.

So the Republican Party is in the death throes of its Southernization, as even Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia are being changed demographically, rapidly before our eyes!

Inevitable Result: Defeat Of Richard Lugar, And The Death Of Bi-Partisanship In The US Senate

The inevitable defeat of Senator Richard Lugar in the Indiana Republican Senate primary by Richard Mourdock, a Tea Party favorite, is a major tragedy for Indiana and for the US Senate,and also, for the Republican Party’s history and future!

Lugar, without question, was one of the most brilliant, insightful, intelligent, and learned members of the US Senate, not just now, but for decades in the past.

Richard Lugar was a man who promoted bi-partisanship and reason, rather than yelling and screaming and gridlock and stalemate, and he will be greatly missed.

And with him being forced out of the Senate, and Maine Senator Olympia Snowe voluntarily leaving the Senate, the Republican Party in the Senate becomes a true disaster area, leaving who is left as easily the most disgraceful group under the party name that we have ever seen in American history, from the beginning of the history of the party in 1854!

The GOP was a party of reform in the Civil War-Reconstruction Era, in the Progressive Era, and in the post World War II period, at least in the Northeast and scattered cases elsewhere in the 1960s and 1970s.

The deterioration of the moderate and liberal Republicans began with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and now is complete!

And to try to understand why Lugar was defeated is enough to make one wonder about the ignorance and stupidity of the voters who defeated him in Indiana.

What were their reasons to defeat him?

He is too old, being 80–totally ridiculous, as Lugar was a spry 80, fully in charge of his physical and mental faculties, more than most Republican Senate colleagues, who have far less ability at their younger ages than Lugar has always had.

Lugar spent most of his time in Virginia, and hardly ever was in Indiana for residence purposes–ridiculous as doing his job requires a Senator to spend most of his time in the DC area. This is such a totally phony issue and excuse to defeat a Senator who devoted his life to his state’s betterment.

Lugar was from Indianapolis, and the rest of the state resented his urban background–preposterous excuse to defeat him, but not uncommon in many states that the rural areas of a state resent the urban areas. But the thought that “country yokels” resent urban areas, and educated, intelligent people is an example of the problem of this country, that the “Know Nothing” hillbillies resent anyone who actually has brains and talent, and instead want a “good old boy”!

Lugar had the gall to do bi-partisan things, even with Barack Obama, when he was in the Senate–idiotic as that is the only way to get things done effectively, and Lugar always used principle over politics in his judgments, and was far from a liberal, but an honest, decent conservative.

Lugar specialized in foreign policy, and many rural people in Indiana hate foreign governments and the outside world in general–another example of the dangers of these”rural folk” having the ability to keep themselves and their fellow citizens out of touch with the “real world” out there. This anti foreign attitude is much too prevalent all over the country, and endangers our future in a complex world.

So the question arises over what Richard Lugar will do in 2013. He could go home to retirement, but does not seem like the type to want to do that. He could become a professor with specialty in international relations, and many universities would grab at the possibility of employing this brilliant statesman. He could write his memoirs, which would be fascinating.

But also, imagine this! As a good friend, and at times, supporter of Barack Obama on some issues, and with their common work on trying to prevent the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons when Obama was in the Senate in 2005-2006, and with Hillary Clinton leaving the State Department next year, there will be a vacancy that Lugar could fill very well!

Would the Republicans in the Senate oppose their long time colleague, with 36 years of experience, much of it in foreign policy, similar to the experience in foreign policy issues of Vice President Joe Biden, if Lugar wished to serve Obama as Secretary of State?

The assumption is that they would back him if Obama was re-elected and asked Lugar to serve his nation in another distinguished way, as Secretary of State.

So Indiana’s loss could be America’s and Barack Obama’s gain in 2013, and Lugar would richly deserve such an opportunity!

Tim Pawlenty Rejects Return To “Rockefeller Republicanism”: Just What Is Needed For America’s Future!

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, on Meet The Press this morning, has made the statement that this is not the time for the return of “Rockefeller Republicanism”, referring to the former “Liberal” wing of the Republican Party led by former NY Governor, Vice President, and perennial Presidential candidate Nelson Rockefeller.

Nelson Rockefeller, even if one could find fault with him personally or on specific issues, represented a viewpoint shared by many Republicans in the 1960s, 1970s, and into the 1980s–of being “mainstream” on economic, social, and foreign policy issues.

It used to be that the Republican Party offered an alternative which one could “live” with, even if one were a Democrat.

The Republican party was seen as center Right, but the emphasis was on CENTER.

A whole generation of Republican Governors and Senators fit this image–among them George Romney, William Scranton, Charles Percy, Clifford Case, Lowell Weicker, Jacob Javits, Charles Mathias, Mark Hatfield, Tom Kuchel, and Bob Packwood.

The Republican Party today represents an extremist group which offers no possibility of restoring confidence in the future of American politics, as they have allowed themselves to be “hijacked” by social conservatives and Tea Party Movement radicals who see no problem in allowing the government to default on its debts, and destroying the social safety net built up by the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson.

Were the Republican Party to return to the views of the “Rockefeller” wing of past decades, the future of the party and of the nation would be vastly improved, but that is highly unlikely, something sad to say!