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Stan Musial—Progressive & Decent

Stan_Musial_1953

I regret the death a few days ago of Hall of Fame baseball player Stan Musial at age 92.

(Above–Stan Musial.)

Mr. Musial was loyal to his wife, loyal to the Midwestern river city of St. Louis and welcoming to Jackie Robinson when he broke into the Major Leagues in 1947.

Mr. Musial campaigned for John Kennedy in ’60, was appointed to LBJ’ s President’s Council on Physical Fitness and supported Barack Obama.

Mr. Musial was active in the Polish-American community.

Mr. Musial had a basic decent progressive conservatism that I have a lot of regard for as an outlook of life. Mr. Musial was not a radical in any sense, but if more folks had his day-to-day commitments and values this would be a better society.

Here is the Associated Press obituary for Stan Musial.

Here is Stan Musial’s lifetime baseball record from Baseball Reference.com.

January 21, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Great Image Of President Obama Trampling The Constitution—Bill Clinton And FDR Are Glad To See It Happen

I really enjoy this image I found on Facebook of Barack Obama trampling on what appears to be a torn-up copy of the Constitution.

There is also money strewn about. I guess that is to indicate Mr. Obama’s carelessness with tax dollars.

Around Mr. Obama are all the Presidents who served before 2009.

The Founding Father Presidents are beside themselves at Mr. Obama’s actions.

They miss the days when the Constitution protected slavery.

Abe Lincoln is mad.

I wonder what Mr. Lincoln would think today about all the states rights appeals we are hearing for the right.

Andy Jackson is engaging in angry finger-pointing.

Ronald Reagan looks a bit confused.

That part at least is true to life.

And Joe Whiteman is despondent and alone on the bench —and no doubt unemployed— as Mr. Obama stomps on our liberties and tosses cash around like it is worthless.

Applauding Mr. Obama’s terrible actions are Bill Clinton, Franklin Roosevelt and what looks to be Teddy Roosevelt.

These folks want to take us back not just before the Great Society and the New Deal, they want to take us back all the way even before the Progresssive Era of Teddy Roosevelt.

That way we can have dead rats in our meat again as Upton Sinclair detailed in The Jungle. 

I think Lyndon Johnson is smiling as well.

Richard Nixon does not seem very glad about this disregard of our Constitution. You’d think Mr. Nixon would be cheering right along.

This illustration made my day.

A great way to learn about the Presidents is from the Miller Center  at the U. of Virginia. 

The National Archives has great web resources to learn about our Constitution.

Many conservatives sure do get into a tizzy over Barack Obama.

July 10, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

State Of The Union Another Reminder That It Is Up To Each Of Us To Act—You Can’t Just Sit And Watch Stuff

I just watched the State of the Union address.

Here is a brief history of the State of the Union address from the website of the U.S. House of Representatives.

(Above–1963 State of the Union. President Kennedy is addressing Congress. Behind Mr. Kennedy is Vice President Lyndon Johnson on the left and House Speaker John McCormack on the right. The Miller Center at the University of Virgina is a great non-ideological resource to learn about all the Presidents from Washington to Obama.)

Anything I write on the topic will be stale by tomorrow afternoon and I want to go watch Elizabeth Warren on The Daily Show. I suppose I can go as far to say that the speech was effective enough as the President seeks reelection and that the most wealthy should indeed pay a fair share of the taxes.

We should also recall that President Obama has raised a lot of money and that he has obligations to his large contributors. It is wishful thinking that the President is a socialist.

Here is a story on the speech from the New York Times.

Here is a transcript of the speech. 

Here is a take on the speech from the great liberal magazine The Nation. 

As a matter of general principle–Here is Occupy Wall Street.

Learn your history, keep up with the present, get involved in whatever way suits your life, take responsibility for the future of our nation and the world, and please forgive my preaching in this run-on sentence.

January 25, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Books About Texas Make Great Holiday Gifts—Everybody You Know Would Like A Book About Texas

What books should you consider as holiday gifts for the Texan in your life, or for someone who would like to learn more about Texas?

I have some suggestions.

As you can see from the picture above, Hamburger Wearing An Astros’ Hat would very much like to learn more about Texas. Hamburger is a member of the Texas Liberal Panel of Experts.

You will also please note that Hamburger is trying to use some Republic of Texas currency to buy a book of Texas history.

While many conservative Texans might wish that this currency was still valid, I may have to spot Hamburger a few real dollars to purchase the book.

Here is a list of some fine Texas- themed books I own. There are many others out there that I don’t own and are worthy of your consideration.

Lone Star Nation–The Epic Story of the Battle for Texas Independence by H.W. Brands will tell you all you need to know about how Texans won independence from Mexico.

Texas: A Modern History by David McComb is short and readable history of Texas history all the way up to the current century.

The Texas Almanac is simply one of the best reference books I own on any topic. The Almanac is published by the Texas State Historical Associataion. The most recent edition of the Almanac was released just a few weeks ago.

(The budget of the Texas State Historical Commission was slashed by Governor Rick Perry and Republicans in Texas. Is this how we should honor Texas history?) 

Unprecedented Power: Jesse Jones, Capitalism, and the Common Good by Steven Fenberg. This is a new release that I own, but have not yet read. Jesse Jones of Houston was a very powerful figure of the Franklin Roosevelt era who played a large role in crafting today’s Houston and our whole State of Texas.

The Formation and Future of the Upper Texas Coast by John Anderson may sound dry. But is an accessible title with many pictures that will help you understand the geography and other aspects of the Texas coast from the Sabine Pass, to where the Colorado River flows into the Gulf Of Mexico.

Texas A & M Press has published a variety of titles about life in the Texas portion of the Gulf of Mexico.  I own four of these books and they are all very informative.

Sam Houston–A Biography of the Father of Texas by John Hoyt Williams is a perfectly good biography of the great man. There are other out there on the same subject. Maybe you’d finally like to learn more about Sam Houston after hearing his name so many times over the years.

(Below–Sam Houston)

I’ve read all three Robert Caro books on Lyndon Johnson. There are two more planned with the next one out in the spring of 2012. Here is a link to reviews of the three Johnson books. These books are full of Texas history and are classics of American biography.

Here is a recent post on the blog about two Texas art books that detail painters of the New Deal era.  

A great web resource to learn about Texas is  The Handbook of Texas Online. This site is very comprehensive on aspects of Texas both past and present. The Handbook is also published by the Texas Historical Society.

Learning about Texas will offer a more nuanced understanding of a place that for many—both in and out of Texas—has become little more than a Texas-sized caricature.

December 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

I Need A Haircut—Some Haircutting Links

I’m going to get a haircut today. It has been almost two months since my last haircut.

(Above—An 1880 painting called The Barber. The Barber is the work of Nikolaos Gyzis. I really don’t like that painting at all.)

I’ve been going to the same barber for 13 years. He has no idea what my name is. He always calls me “Young man.”  The barber can call me young man as he is pressing 80.

At the end of his life Lyndon Johnson allowed his hair to grow longer.

I keep my hair short. I’m helped in this preference by not having much hair in the first place.

The barber shop I frequent just had a makeover. New owners bought the place and installed wood paneling on the walls, a flat panel tv on the wall, a book case full of books nobody reads, some art, and even a bottle of whiskey with some glasses so patrons can have a drink if they wish.

They did keep the 80 year old barber who does not know my name after 13 years. He was the previous owner. He no longer wanted the hassles of owning the shop. He always gives me a good haircut. I’ll go to that shop as long as he is still around.

However, I do miss how the shop was before the new owners. There were some framed pictures of trains and old cars. There was a small television on which the barber would play old western movies or dvd’s of bluegrass gospel concerts that had often been recorded in Tennessee or Kentucky. I thought the stuff the barber played on the TV was interesting.

Last year I wrote a post about a song I heard at the barbershop called “You Don’t Love God If You Don’t Love Your Neighbor.”

The barber does not play these things on the big new TV on the wall. Either he does not know how to operate the thing, or they told him not to play his videos anymore.

Here is some history of barbering that goes way back.

Here is some history of black owned barbershops in the United States.

Here is a history of various hairstyles over the years.

Here are pictures and descriptions 0f 25 hairstyles of the past 100 years.

(Below— A restored barbershop that is part of a pioneer village in Scurry County, Texas. Photo by Billy Hathorn.)

October 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

President Obama To Visit Texas—How Will He Refrain From Laughing When Some Texans Demand More Federal Help?

President Obama will be Texas today.

The President is scheduled to visit El Paso and Austin.

(Above–President Obama at Texas A & M University in 2009. President Obama and Texans get along just fine–Unless some folks would claim that the photo is a fake.)   

Because the Johnson Space Center Houston was not awarded a retired space shuttle, and because the President has not declared a federal emergency over ongoing wildfires in Texas, some feel Mr. Obama does not like Texas.

This article on the President’s visit to Texas written by Maria Recio at McClatchy Newspapers has the following quote–

“You can almost make the case the administration has a vendetta against Texas,” said Republican Rep. Michael Burgess.

Congressman Burgess has also been going around talking about fictitious death panels as a part of Health Care Reform.

Why would anybody not like such a fine person?

The federal government has helped Texas with the wildfires—

“Current federal aid covers 75 percent of Texas’s costs for emergency response work, such as evacuations, equipment, field camps and meals for firefighters, police barricading and traffic control. The agency’s regional office in Denton continues to monitor the situation and work closely with Texas Forest Service and Texas Division of Emergency Management, FEMA officials say. In addition, firefighting teams from more than 30 states have provided state-to-state support for firefighting efforts in Texas.”

Texas Governor Rick Perry has asked why parts tornado ravaged Alabama have been declared disaster zones while  Texas has not been so designated.

From our Governor—

“You have to ask, ‘Why are you taking care of Alabama and other states?’ I know our letter didn’t get lost in the mail…” 

What a decent Christian man.

If it is all about a political grudge, why should President Obama help Alabama anymore than he should assist Texas? Barack Obama won 39% of the vote in Alabama in 2008. He lost Texas with 44% of the vote.

The President is not going to win Alabama in 2012.

Here is the bottom line—

Rick Perry and Texas accepted many billions of dollars of Barack Obama approved federal stimulus dollars. 

The federal government has helped Texas with the wildfires.  Tea Party supporters and other Republicans and others are free to form a battalion citizen volunteers to help Texans deal with the problems presented by wildfires. To this point, though the fires have been going on for some weeks now, I’m not aware of any so-assembled  citizen-volunteers.

* The Lyndon B. Johnson  Space Center was a gift to Texas from a Texas politician who looked up to Franklin D. Roosevelt as a hero. You’d think that conservative Texans would be demanding that the federally operated  Space Center be removed from Texas as an intrusion upon our states rights and sense of self -reliance.

It is not that I view Barack Obama with an uncritical eye, it is just that opposition to him in some quarters of Texas is so extreme that you can’t but help to be glad to see the guy in the Lone Star State. You’ve got to appreciate him for the enemies he has made.

The bad news for Texans is that these enemies, maybe 20% of all Texans, are the people who vote in Republican primaries. This angry minority is doing great harm to public education and public health in Texas.

May 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Despite How Much Texans Say They Love The Federal Government, Space Shuttle Not Landing In Houston

Many in Houston are upset that the Obama administration did not locate one of the three soon-to-be retired space shuttle orbiters at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

(Above–The Space Shuttle Endeavour flying over the Johnson Space Center and Houston. It will not be landing in Houston.)

It is hard to imagine that anybody thought one of these shuttles would come to Texas. Given all the anti-government talk in Texas, you’d think that we would not want anything at all from the feds.

The Johnson Space Center is in Texas in the first place due to the efforts of the New Deal-inspired Lyndon Johnson.

Maybe the federal government has not deserted the space program in Texas, so much as Texas has embraced an extreme politics that rejects the things that have helped Texas grow over the years.

(John Coby at Bay Area Houston says that Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, who represents the Johnson Space Center area, did a poor job working to get the shuttle for Houston.)

April 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is America?—How Should America Be Defined?

What is America? How should America be defined?

America is the idea and the fact of a strong federal government over the lesser powers of the states as written in our United States Constitution. The Constitution was in many ways a response to failure of the Articles of Confederation and the incompetence and corruption of state legislatures.

America is Emancipation and the victory of freedom over states rights treason in our Civil War.

America is the expanded economic freedoms and opportunity of the New Deal.

America is the hopeful progress of the Great Society and the Civil Rights Movement.

These are the things that define America.

It is a story of progress, of ever-expanding freedom, and of an always widening definition of what it means to be an American.

If America ever becomes something else than the progress we see detailed above, then it will no longer be America.

August 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Barack Obama Turns 49 On August 4—Here Are Our Youngest Presidents

(Blogger’s Note–This is a post from late 2007. With President Obama turning 49 tomorrow, I thought it would be a good time to run the post again.)

With much discussion of the relative youth of Senator Barack Obama, who is 46, here is a list of U.S. Presidents who have taken office in their 40′s with their age and year they were sworn in. Also included are the more notable aspects in the careers of our youngest Presidents before reaching the White House and a very brief account of their time in the White House.

(Above–Birthplace of U.S. Grant in Point Pleasant, Ohio)

The links for the Presidents are to the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. The information on the Presidents is first-rate and well worth taking time to review and study

James Polk, 49, 1845

Polk served  two years in the Tennessee House, two years as Governor of Tennessee and 14 years in the U.S House. For four years Polk was Speaker of the U.S. House.

Polk was an aggressive President in terms of territorial expansion of the United States. He acquired Oregon by treaty and much of Mexico by force in the Mexican-American War. He was not very helpful if you were a slave or a Native American. Some say Polk was too quick to go to war with Mexico.

Franklin Pierce, 48, 1853

Pierce served four years in the New Hampshire House, four years in the U.S. House and five years in the U.S. Senate.

Pierce is considered one of our worst Presidents for his inability to deal effectively with the tensions between the North and South. 65 year old James Buchanan did little better as Pierce’s successor.

Ulysses Grant, 46, 1869

Grant spent 15 years in the army and led the Union army in the Civil War. Grant was also Secretary of War in 1867 and ’68 under Andrew Johnson.

The common view of Grant is that though Grant was not personally corrupt, he led a corrupt administration.

James Garfield, 49, 1881

Garfield spent 17 years in the U.S House from Ohio. He was the chairman of a number of House committees over that time. Garfield saw combat in the Civil War and reached the rank of Major General.

Garfield was shot and killed nine months after becoming President.

Grover Cleveland 47, 1885

Cleveland had been an Assistant District Attorney of Erie County New York, Sheriff of Erie County and Mayor of Buffalo. He was Governor of New York for two years.

Cleveland , in my view, should be known best for his refusal to aid struggling farmers and for his allegiance to Gilded Age politics.

Theodore Roosevelt 42, 1901

The youngest President, Roosevelt had the experience of two years in the New York House, six years on the U.S. Civil Service Commission and two years as Police Commissioner of New York City.  He was also an Assistant Secretary of the Navy under William McKinley, Governor of New York for two years and Vice President for McKinley for just over six months before McKinley was assassinated.

Roosevelt was our first “progressive” President. He expanded the reach of government into health and safety regulation. He also was a major behind-the-scenes player in a revolution in Panama that allowed the United States to acquire the land for the Panama Canal.  Roosevelt was always doped up on his own testosterone so it is hard to know if he ever matured at any point in his life.

John Kennedy 43, 1961

Kennedy served in WW II, was elected to three terms in the U.S. House from Massachusetts and was a member of the U.S. Senate for 8 years.

Kennedy’s Presidency was cut short. he began a number of the liberal reforms that were carried on by Lyndon Johnson.

Bill Clinton 46, 1993

Clinton had been Attorney General of Arkansas for two years and Governor of that state for ten years.

Everybody has their own view of Bill Clinton.

Our youngest Vice President was John Breckinridge of Kentucky. Breckinridge was 36 when sworn-in in 1857 to serve with President Buchanan. After his one term in office, Breckinridge served as a General in the Confederate Army. Before the Vice Presidency, Breckinridge had been an officer in the Mexican-American War and a member of the Kentucky House and the U.S. House.

William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska is the youngest major party nominee for the Presidency. Bryan was 36 when he won the Democratic nomination in 1896. Bryan had served two terms in the U.S. House.

Senator Obama would be 47 on Inauguration Day 2009. He served eight years in the Illinois Senate and by 2009 would have four years in the U.S. Senate.

(Below—Polk’s Tomb in Nashville. Youth is fleeting.)

August 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Austin Area Voting Rights Case Headed To Supreme Court/Idea For Lawsuit Against Democratic Party

A lawsuit that started in the Austin, Texas suburb of Canyon Creek and that will test the limits of the Voting Rights Act is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Please click here to read the Wall Street Journal story on the suit. 

The issue began when a man named Don Zimmerman wanted to move a polling place from one place to another place that he saw as more convenient. Mr. Zimmerman is a lifelong Republican and a fan of libertarian Congressman Ron Paul.  

Moving the polling place required federal approval because Texas is still under the provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Any change in election procedure in a VRA  jurisdiction requires federal approval.

Mr. Zimmerman is suing because he sees this oversight as unfair.

Conservatives in Texas fear losing the state to a coalition of white and minority Democrats. Who knows what they might be up to as Texas (someday soon I’m sure) changes for the better?  

( Below–Former President George W. Bush signing a reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in 2006. Even a bad man can do a good thing.)

File:BUSHSIGN.jpg

You can say that a black man was just elected President of the United States–But most of the places still open to enforcement of the Voting Rights Act did not vote for Mr. Obama. Many whites in these places are still not on board with our future as an open multi-ethnic society. 

These conservatives are my fellow citizens and I would not deny them any rights or legal recourse that we all share. Yet while I do view them as fellow citizens in equal standing with all others, I also see them as people you need to watch like a hawk. 

    

(Here is good information on the Red-Tailed Hawk such as you see in the picture above.)

Below is a map of places still under the jurisdiction of the Voting Rights Act.  

[Map]

The Voting Rights Act was signed into law by Lyndon Johnson in 1965. Here is information on the Voting Rights Act.  Here is information on Lyndon Johnson.

Instead of a lawsuit by this Mr. Zimmerman that has the true intent of weakening the ability of our government to protect the rights of all people, I have a suggestion of my own for a lawsuit.

I propose that minority voters, liberals and all Democrats across the nation sue the Democratic Party and any number of elected Democrats for years of acquiescing, and in many cases tacitly encouraging, low minority turnout.

 The suit could charge that in cities and in majority-minority districts across the nation, the Democratic Party and its elected officials have looked the other way at officeholders racking up millions in campaign dollars from interests at odds with the core constituencies of the Democratic party and at odds with the general interests of the people of  the United States.

As these folks take in the money, they are elected year-after-year in barely contested elections while conditions in America’s cities decline.

Could this have ever been the intent or spirit of the Voting Rights Act?

( Republicans living rural areas could come up with a suit of their own along many of the the same lines.)

Mr. Zimmerman and his allies are bad actors. Yet in opposing Mr. Zimmerman’s efforts we should not lose sight of the damage done from our own side of the aisle.

April 2, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Barack Obama Is Not Martin Luther King

I’m glad Barack Obama will be sworn in as our President tomorrow.

However, today, Martin Luther King Day, we should recall that Barack Obama is not Martin Luther King.

Martin Luther King was a radical who, if alive today, would be happy to see a black American serving as President. However, I believe Reverend King would remain on the street side of the fence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Reverend King would be protesting for our cities, for economic justice, and for the still unmet dream of racial justice for all Americans. He would not let up because a black man was President no more than he let up when the domestic liberal Lyndon Johnson was President. 

We can’t forget that Mr. Obama is a politician. For whatever else he may be, he is a politician representing one of the two mainstream political parties.  I’m hopeful that Mr. Obama is a decent man and will be a competent President. But he will not take the risks of rushing far ahead of mainstream opinion and standing alone, if need be, as Martin Luther King often did.

Mr. Obama’s job as President is very different from the work Martin Luther King was called to do.

There is a place for both a Martin Luther King and a Barack Obama. For both the outsider and the insider. Mr. Obama is very clever in talking about grass roots and a movement on the one hand, while talking the language of full inclusion on the other hand. He seeks to be both the outsider and insider at one time.

It doesn’t work that way.  

The so-called “system” has things to offer. It is only government that can, among many other things, provide universal health care, benefits for the unemployed, and offer the resources to fix our roads and bridges. It is hopeful that our government in Washington now seems to be in the hands of people who are willing to use it for these ends.    

Yet the system always needs a push. This is the work of the outsider.

In one sense tomorrow we start a new era. We have a new President with new priorities and new goals. Yet the world will not magically change tomorrow at noon. The never ending work of justice and peace will remain to be completed.     

(Please click here for a Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List. It is the best of its kind on the web.)

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, Martin & Malcolm, Politics | , , , , | 6 Comments

Blog Readers Demand To Know—How Has Texas Voted In Recent Presidential Elections?

A kind Texas Liberal reader by the name of Kathleen has e-mailed me asking the results of recent Presidential elections in Texas.

You will see that Texas has voted Democratic for President just once since Lyndon Johnson of Texas left the White House. Regretfully, 2008 seems likely to continue that pattern.  

Here is how Texas has voted for President since 1948.

1948

Truman (D) 65.4%

Dewey (R) 24.6%

Thurmond (Dixiecrat) 9.3%

(Below—Harry Truman)

Truman pass-the-buck.jpg

1952    

Eisenhower (R) 53.1%

Stevenson (D) 46.7%

1956

Eisenhower (R) 55.3%

Stevenson (D) 44.0%

1960

Kennedy (D) 50.5%

Nixon (R) 48.5%

(Below–Richard Nixon in World War II.)

1964

Johnson (D) 63.3%

Goldwater (R) 36.5%

1968

Humphrey (D) 41.1%

Nixon (R) 39.9%

Wallace (I) 19.0%

1972

Nixon (R) 66.2%

McGovern (D) 33.3%

(Below—George McGovern)

George McGovern bioguide.jpg

1976

Carter (D) 51.1%

Ford (R) 48.0%

1980

Reagan (R) 55.3%

Carter (D) 41.4%

Anderson (I) 2.5% 

1984

Reagan (R) 63.6%

Mondale (D) 36.1%

1988

Bush (R) 56.0%

Dukakis (D) 43.3%

1992

Bush (R) 40.6%

Clinton (D) 37.1%

Perot (Reform) 22.0%

(Below–Clinton, Bush and Perot in 1992.)

Debates.jpg

1996

Dole (R) 48.8%

Clinton (D) 43.8%

Perot (Reform) 6.7%

2000

Bush (R) 59.3%

Gore (D) 38.0%

Nader (G) 2.2%

2004

Bush (R) 61.1%

Kerry 38.2 %

(Below–George W. Bush)

 

Thanks to Kathleen for the question.

I have many reference sources on politics and would be happy to reply to any question on American political history that you the blog reader might have. Just leave a question in the comment space.

Thank you for reading Texas Liberal.

( Please click here for one of the most popular posts ever on Texas Liberal—Blog Readers Demand To Know What Is Done With Shamu’s Body After He Dies.)

October 29, 2008 Posted by | Political History, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chet Edwards For VP?—Texans Who Have Run For VP On Major & Minor Party Tickets

With Texas U.S Representative Chet Edwards of Waco being considered for a place on the Democratic ticket with Barack Obama, here are other Texans who have run for Vice President on major and minor party tickets.

First the major party candidates—

John Nance Garner

The first Texan on a major party ticket was John Nance Garner of Uvalde. Mr. Garner ran successfully with Democrat Franklin Roosevelt of New York in both 1932 and 1936. Immediately before becoming Vice President, Mr. Garner was Speaker of the U.S. House.   

Vice President Garner was never fully on-board with the New Deal. He offered support for F.D.R in his first term, but was a source of behind-the-scenes opposition in his second term.  

In 1940, Vice President Garner opposed President Roosevelt for the Democratic nomination. Mr. Roosevelt was easily nominated for a third term.

The link above to Mr. Garner, as well as the links to Lyndon Johnson ,George Bush, Martin Van Buren and Dan Quayle will take you to the excellent U.S. Senate page on Vice PresidentsThere are first-rate profiles to be found of all VP’s at the Senate site.)  

Lyndon Johnson

Lyndon Johnson ran with Democrat John Kennedy of Massachusetts in 1960. Immediately before becoming Vice President, Mr Johnson was Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate.   

As Vice President, Mr. Johnson was placed in charge of America’s manned spaceflight program.

With the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, Mr. Johnson became the first Texan to serve as President of the United States.    

George H.W. Bush

George H.W. Bush  of Houston was the first Texas Republican to run for, and serve as, Vice President. He ran with Ronald Reagan of California in 1980 and 1984. Mr. Bush held a variety of political jobs before his selection as Mr. Reagan’s Vice President.

Despite suspicions that Mr. Bush had knowledge of the Iran-Contra affair, he went on the become the first sitting Vice President since Martin Van Buren to win election as President.

Lloyd Bentsen    

Lloyd Bentsen, of Hidalgo County and Houston, ran with Mike Dukakis of Massachusetts in 1988. Mr. Bentsen had been a U.S. Senator since 1971.

Governor Dukakis had been tricked by early polls suggesting he had a chance to carry Texas in the general election. He did not win Texas in the fall.   

The Dukakis/Bentsen ticket lost to George Bush and Dan Quayle of Indiana in 1988. This was the first time that two of the four candidates at the top of the ticket in a Presidential election were from Texas. Mr. Bensten had defeated future President Bush in the 1970 U.S. Senate race in Texas.

Mr. Bentsen later served as Treasury Secretary for Bill Clinton.  

There have also been Texans who have run for Vice President with minor party tickets. 

In 1880, Benjamin Chambers ran with future Populist Party founder James Weaver of Iowa on the Greenback Labor ticket. This slate won a decent 3.3%  of the national vote that year. Greenback Labor ran on an economic agenda to the left of the major parties. Greenbacks favored an income tax and the vote for women. I think I might have voted Greenback in 1880.

James Britton Cranfill  from Parker County was the Prohibition Party running mate in 1892.  George Carroll ran on the second spot of the Prohibition ticket of 1904. While Mr. Carroll never became Vice President, he did serve two terms as an alderman from Beaumont.

(The profiles of Mr. Cranfill and Mr. Carroll are from The Handbook of Texas Online and are very good. I cannot find any information on Mr. Chambers.) 

The 2004 Prohibition running mate, Howard Lydick of Richardson, is a Texan.

July 10, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, History, Political History, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Best Popular Vote Results In Presidential Election History

Who has had the best vote totals in the history of Presidential elections?

There have been 46 Presidential elections where the popular vote was tabulated and used to allocate electoral votes.

( Lyndon Johnson won many votes in his 1964 election.)

The first popular vote for President was held in 1824. Andrew Jackson won the popular count but lost the election in the House of Representatives to John Quincy Adams. This was the election of the so-called Corrupt Bargain.

Here are ten highest percentages won by a candidate for President since 1824 along with the number of votes tabulated for all candidates.—( The links to the University of Virginia’s Miller Center for Public Affairs are very good.)

1. 61.1%—Lyndon Johnson, 1964, 70.6 million votes.

Four years ahead of the rise of the right.

2. 60.8%—Franklin Roosevelt, 1936, 45.7 million votes

A New Deal for Democrats after years of Republican domination.

3. 60.7%—Richard Nixon, 1972,  77.7 million votes.

“Nixon’s The One” until his resignation less than two years later.

( Warren Harding)

4. 60.3%—Warren Harding, 1920, 27.8 million votes

In the first year women could vote, a return to “normalcy.”

5. 58.5%—Ronald Reagan, 1984, 92.6 million votes

Mourning in America—for 41.5% of voters at least.

6. 58.2%—Herbert Hoover, 1928, 36.8 million votes

Republican fortunes would soon crash.

7. 57.4%—Franklin Roosevelt, 1932, 39.7 million votes

Any port in a storm.

8. 57.4%—Dwight Eisenhower, 1956, 62.0 million votes

His Vice President would do even better 16 years later.

9. 56.4%—Theodore Roosevelt, 1904, 13.5 million votes

Bully for the bully.

10. 56.0%—Andrew Jackson, 1828, 1.1 million votes

No corrupt bargain this time around. No candidate would win a higher percentage for 76 years.

June 17, 2008 Posted by | History, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

History Of Florida Nominating Primary

The Florida Presidential primary has a long history. 

In 2008, it is a big contest for Republicans with all the major candidates in the mix for the first time in the nominating season. For Democrats, a silly dispute over the timing of the vote means there will be no meaningful Democratic primary competition in the fourth-largest state.    

Here is the U.S Census Florida quick facts page.  Just over 18 million people live in Florida.

The first contested Florida primary took place way back in 1932. This before primaries had the decisive role they have today in selecting nominees. In 1932 Governor Franklin Roosevelt of New York won 88% of the vote against Governor William H. (Alfalfa Bill ) Murray of Oklahoma. (Photo Below)    

Governor Murray was just the piece of work he appears to be in the photo. 

The next contested Florida primary was in 1952. This was again on the Democratic side.

Senator Richard Russell of Georgia won 55% of the vote against Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee. Neither of these men would win the nomination. The honor of losing to General Eisenhower would go to Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois with Mr. Kefauver as his running mate.

Richard Russell (photo below) is seen by some as a “Giant of the Senate.” What he really was though was a segregationist who held up progress and freedom for millions of Americans.

In 1956, Mr. Stevenson contested Florida and beat Mr. Kefauver 52-48.

In 1960, “favorite son” candidate Senator George Smathers was the only name on the Democratic Florida ballot. A “favorite son” candidate is one favored almost exclusively in his or her own state. That candidate will then often have a great say in how that state’s delegates will vote at the convention. In 1960, Florida’s first-ballot delegates went to Smathers’ fellow Southerner Lyndon Johnson of Texas.

The Florida Republican primary was the one of greater interest in 1964. Here a slate of uncommitted delegates won 58% of the vote against Barry Goldwater. That suggests that even as late as May 26, when the primary was held, Florida Republicans were not yet sold on Mr. Goldwater. No doubt many Florida Republicans were ex-New Yorkers who did not flock to Mr. Goldwater. ( Ex-New Yorkers are part of Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 strategy in Florida.) 

Also interesting in 1964 was the respective vote totals in the two party primaries.  An unchallenged Lyndon Johnson won 393,339 votes.The Republican primary drew 100,704 votes. This long-standing Democratic partisan advantage would not last.     

Another thing that would change was the date of the primary. The Florida primary had always been held late in the process and did not much effect the outcome. For 1972,  just at the time when primaries began to take a larger role in the nominating process, Florida moved the primary up to March 14. This made it the second primary—One week after New Hampshire.

The primary has kept an early date ever since.  

This change did not change the party. The segregationist wing of the Democratic party took the day as George Wallace  of Alabama won the ’72 primary with 42%. (Wallace is shown here with James Webb of NASA –center–and Wernher Von Braun hugging the rocket. No matter how much Southerners say they hate the federal government, they are always willing to take the federal money) 

However, by 1976 things had changed for the better. (Putting aside the national regression of Reagan 80′s and beyond.) Jimmy Carter beat Governor Wallace 35% 31% in Florida. This marked a New South and a switch in control of the Democratic Party.

In the legendary Ronald Reagan-Gerald Ford (photo of Ford below) race of 1976, President Ford won Florida 53-47%.  The “Reagan South” would arrive a few years later.  Governor Reagan beat the first George Bush 56-30 in the 1980 primary.

After 1980, the Florida primary became part of the Super Tuesday and large Southern regional primaries and did little to alter the outcome of the nominating races.

Gary Hart beat Walter Mondale in 1984–Though that did Mr. Hart little good.  

2000 was the first time there were more Republican voters in a Florida Presidential primary than Democratic voters. Though Republicans had been doing quite well in Florida long before this point. 

John Kerry was the easy 2004 Florida Democratic winner. The Republicans did not bother with a primary in an uncontested race.

Below is a Florida Scrub Jay. This bird is found only in Florida.

Texas Liberal is going to be your leading source for political history blogging in 2008.  Please click here for a history of the South Carolina primary.  Please click here for a variety of political history posts on this blog.  

January 22, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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