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Recount! Ted Kennedy Beats Scott Brown

Not long ago, all we heard about is how Scott Brown winning the Senate election in Massachusetts to replace Ted Kennedy meant that Mr. Kennedy’s hope of health care for all was finished.

Well—There has been a recount in this matter. The House had passed the health care bill and it appears that Mr. Kennedy had gotten the better of Mr. Brown.

March 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

I Was Accosted By Angry Weirdo Because I Was Reading Ted Kennedy’s Book

This afternoon I took a walk in Houston’s Memorial Park while reading a book. I often read while I walk when on the Memorial Park walking/jogging trail.

The book I read today was Ted Kennedy’s recently published autobiography. It is called True Compass–A Memoir.

One-third through the book so far, it is a title I can recommend. While an autobiography must often be taken with a grain of salt, there is a measure of candor. The Kennedy story is so well-known that readers can fill in some of the gaps on their own. 

More to the substance of what is gained by reading this title, it is interesting to learn how the Kennedy’s lived as a private family. As I get further along, I’d like to understand better how Senator Kennedy was able to maintain friendships with Republican Senators. Did he do it because it made him more effective as a Senator? Or did he really find a way to look past what in my view are frequent acts of evil by these people?  

Also, it is simply interesting to know what Senator Kennedy thought of the people and events he had seen over his life.

Here is the New York Times review of this book.

As I was walking in the park with my book, another man who was walking asked me what I was reading. This happens sometimes. 

This person was maybe in his 50’s.

I don’t mind talking to people, but what he asked me was—“What are you reading? About sex?”

I looked at him for a moment. I was uncertain why he thought I was walking around reading a book about sex.

When he asked me the question he did not know what I was reading. I think it would have been fine with him if I had been walking around the public park with a sex book of some kind.  

I showed the cover of the book. I said I was reading about Ted Kennedy.

This gentleman sure did go on when I told him this fact. He said “That’s terrible!” He went on about people being murdered for reasons of politics and about election fixing and on and on and on until I walked fast enough and far enough to be out of earshot.

He still might be going on.

I hope I had a hand in ruining this guy’s day.

Again, Senator Kennedy’s book is enjoyable and useful. Today it was useful in annoying a wacko.   

Here is the link to liberal magazine The American Prospect. It is always the right time to learn more about liberalism and to recommit yourself to liberalism.

Here is a post I wrote with links to facts about Senator Kennedy’s life and links to information about some of the causes he supported. 

September 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Show Respect For Others By Communicating In A Clear And Concise Manner About Complex Things

Please take one minute to watch this video I filmed in Houston’s Memorial Park. In this video, I hold up a sheet of paper that reads “Show Respect For Others By Communicating In A Clear And Concise Manner About Complex Things.”

The video has sound. You can hear the motorcycle that passes by and the people talking on the motorcycle. 

I believe all people have the ability to understand complex things. It is a respectful course to follow to make the effort to convey to others what you feel and believe.

Behind me in the video is a flag at half-mast for the death of Senator Kennedy. A flag at half-mast conveys complex ideas of loss, care, loyalty, respect and patriotism. It is a simple symbol that conveys a great deal.

We all have the ability to communicate and to understand. We all merit the respect inherent in the effort to communicate and understand.

September 2, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up With Ted Kennedy Links

File:Barack Obama and Ted Kennedy in Hartford, February 4, 2008.jpg

At the bottom of this post is the latest Texas Progressive Alliance weekly round-up. The Texas Progressive Alliance is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas. Immediately below this paragraph are a number of links I’ve compiled to recall the life and work of Ted Kennedy. These links are from a post I made just a few days ago, but that I feel deserve another go-round.     

The Kennedy links—

Here is the link to Senator Kennedy’s official government website

Tedkennedy.org is a good memorial site.   

Ted Kennedy represented Massachusetts in the Senate for 46 years. Here is the link to the Art & History page of the U.S. Senate web home. If you look around, you’ll learn a lot. It’s a site to bookmark and visit many times.

Health care was Senator Kennedy’s leading cause. Here is the White House Health care reform web home. President Obama and the Democratic majorities in Congress must keep faith with Senator Kennedy’s lifelong work for health care for all. 

Here is the web page of Physicians for A National Health Program.  This group supports single payer national health insurance. This is the public option that has been in the news.

Here is Senator Kennedy’s obituary in the New York Times.

Here is coverage of Senator Kennedy’s passing in his hometown Boston Globe.

The American Prospect and The Nation are good liberal magazines. These magazines are strong resources to learn about many of the causes Senator Kennedy fought for and to renew your own commitment to political liberalism. 

To win the fights still to come, we need leaders like Senator Kennedy and we need the hard work of average citizens.  

The TPA round-up—

From TXsharon at Bluedaze, EPA testing has now confirmed wells are contaminated with various substances connected with gas drilling–proof that hydraulic fracturing contaminates our drinking water. Even Motley Fool supports the FRAC Act and says industry is “crying wolf.”

Should Texans care about NJ? The Texas Cloverleaf examines why the GOP thinks we should.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme says a ‘Wise Latina‘ kicks Republican butt once again.
Continue reading

August 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 5 Comments

Links To Learn About Ted Kennedy And The Causes He Supported

Here are links to help recall the life of Senator Ted Kennedy and to look ahead to the battles still to be fought and won.

(Above–Ted Kennedy running for the Senate in 1962.)

Here is the link to Senator Kennedy’s official government website

Tedkennedy.org is a good memorial site.   

Ted Kennedy represented Massachusetts in the Senate for 46 years. Here is the link to the Art & History page of the U.S. Senate web home. If you look around, you’ll learn a lot. It’s a site to bookmark and visit many times.

Health care was Senator Kennedy’s leading cause. Here is the White House Health care reform web home. President Obama and the Democratic majorities in Congress must keep faith with Senator Kennedy’s lifelong work for health care for all. 

Here is the web page of Physicians for A National Health Program.  This group supports single payer national health insurance. This is the public option that has been in the news.

Here is Senator Kennedy’s obituary in the New York Times.

Here is coverage of Senator Kennedy’s passing in his hometown Boston Globe.

The American Prospect and The Nation are good liberal magazines. These magazines are strong resources to learn about many of the causes Senator Kennedy fought for and to renew your own commitment to political liberalism. 

To win the fights still to come, we need leaders like Senator Kennedy and we need the hard work of average citizens.  

( Below–Senator Kennedy in the 1990’s.)

August 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Three Candidates For Houston Mayor Are Democrats—Where Is Comment On Senator Kennedy And Health Care Reform?

All three leading candidates for Mayor of Houston are Democrats. These candidates are Annise Parker, Gene Locke and Peter Brown.

Despite the fact that these candidates are all Democrats, none I’m aware of have yet to comment on the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. None have offered any support to health care efforts that might well help many uninsured citizens of Houston get coverage. Health care reform was a lifetime concern of Senator Kennedy.

Health care reform is an issue with a direct impact on Houston.

These three candidates have actively sought out the support of local Democrats in Houston. I hope that these Democrats running for Mayor see party affiliation as more than simply something to be used when it suits them and ignored when inconvenient.

Not one serious Republican in Houston thought his or her city was worth putting forth a Republican vision for the future of Houston. Democrats should fill this void with strong leadership that puts the values of the Democratic Party at the center of where Houston should move in the years ahead.    

The lie is that our Houston city elections are non-partisan. The fact is that candidates for city office can and often do make note of their party affiliation. It is time for the Democratic Party in Houston and Harris County to assert control of Houston City Government that voters of Houston seem prepared to allow at the ballot box.  

(Update–Gene Locke has made a Twitter comment on Senator Kennedy’s death. That’s a small start.)

August 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Death Of Senator Kennedy Should Be Spur To Renew Fight For Public Option In Health Care Debate

A renewed push for a public option in the health care reform fight would be a fitting tribute to the memory of Ted Kennedy. I’ve called the White House to express this view.

Here is information on contacting the White House. The phone number is 202-456-1111.

It is time to take the debate back from the far right and to use last year’s Democratic election victory to implement lasting and meaningful health care reform.

August 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

How Many Senators Are 75 Or Older?

News was made at a lunch for new President Barack Obama yesterday when Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts suffered a seizure and had to be taken to the hospital.  Senator Kennedy has brain cancer. Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia also left the lunch. First reports said that Senator Byrd also had a medical issue. His staff later said this was not the case.

(Above you see Mr. Byrd being sworn in by former Vice President Richard Cheney for his most recent term. Mr. Byrd will up for reelection next in 2012The big guy is West Virginia’s other Senator. He is Democrat Jay Rockefeller.)

Mr. Kennedy is 76 years old. Mr. Byrd is 91. This got me wondering how many Senators are 75 or older.

15 Senators are at least 75 or will turn 75 in 2009.  The average Senator is 63 as we begin the 111th Congress.

Strom Thurmond of South Carolina was the oldest Senator ever. He served in the Senate until he was 100 years old.  He was rotten to the end

Here is some interesting  U.S. Census data on the age of the American people.  According to a three-year sample taken between 2005 and 2007, 6.1% of the American people are 75 or older. In the Senate, that number will be 15%  who are 75 or older by the end of 2009.

Here is the list of 75 + Senators listed from the oldest on down —

Robert Byrd  D-West Virgina 11/20/17

Frank Lautenberg D- New Jersey  1/23/24

Daniel Inouye D-Hawaii 9/7/24

Daniel Akaka D-Hawaii 9/11/24

Arlen Specter R-Pennsylvania 2/12/30

(Below—Senator Specter, standing, advocating for the single bullet theory in the death of President Kennedy. Mr. Specter worked as a lawyer for the Warren Commission.)

Jim Bunning R-Kentucky 10/23/31

Ted Kennedy D-Massachusetts 2/22/32

Richard Lugar R-Indiana 4/4/32 

( Below–Richard Lugar with Ashley Judd.)

Diane Feinstein D-California 6/22/33

(Below–Senator Feinstein when she was Mayor of San Francisco.)

Chuck Grassley R-Iowa 9/17/33

Robert Bennett R-Utah 9/18/33

Jim Inhofe R-Oklahoma 1/23/34

(Below you see a famous moment from the Senate career of Mr. Inhofe. He is showing a picture of his family and saying that none of them are gay or have been divorced.) 

Orrin Hatch R-Utah 3/22/34

Richard Shelby R-Alabama 5/6/34

Carl Levin D-Michigan 6/28/34

Here is the web home of the U.S. Senate.

January 22, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

As Ford Did Not Offer VP Spot To Reagan in ’76, Obama Had No Obligation To Any Defeated Candidate

Taken as a general matter, since the current primary-heavy process of selecting nominees began in 1972, victorious Presidential nominees have not selected their nearest rival in contested nomination fights as the Vice Presidential nominee. 

Only twice in contested nomination battles beginning with 1972 has the Vice Presidential nominee been the second place finisher in total primary votes. The Democratic ticket in 2004 and the Republican slate in 1980 are the two.

The 2008 Democratic race was the closest in vote totals, but the ideological fight for the Republican nomination in 1976 (Convention photo above) may have been the more intense struggle.  

In 2008, Barack Obama of Illinois and Hillary Clinton of New York each won just over 48% of the popular vote in the primaries with Mr. Obama winning a few more votes than Mrs. Clinton. For Republicans, John McCain of Arizona took around 45% of the total with Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas each in the low 20’s.  

In going with Joe Biden of Delaware, Senator Obama has made his call. Senator McCain will do the same next week.

Here is some history on this matter—

John Kerry of Massachusetts won 61% of Democratic primary voters in 2004. His closest competitor, John Edwards of North Carolina, won 19% of all such voters and got a spot on the ticket. 

In 2000 Al Gore of Tennessee (76% of Democratic primary voters) did not pick Bill Bradley of New Jersey (20%). Nor did George W. Bush of Texas (63% of Republican primary voters) select Mr. McCain (30%). 

In 1996, Bob Dole of Kansas (61%) left Pat Buchanan of Virginia (24%) off the ticket.

In 1992, Bill Clinton  of Arkansas (52%) selected neither Jerry Brown of California (20%) or Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts (18%).

In 1988, George H.W. Bush  of Texas (68%) did not make Mr. Dole (19%) his running mate. Mike Dukakis of Massachusetts (43%) did not offer the spot to Jesse Jackson of Illinois (29%).

The 1984 Democratic race was hard fought. Still Walter Mondale of Minnesota (38%) denied Gary Hart of Colorado (36%) a place on the ticket. This was a race almost as close as 2008.

In 1980, incumbent Vice President Mondale stayed on the slate after President Jimmy Carter of Georgia (51%) beat Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts (37%) for the nomination.

In the 1980 Republican race, the second place finisher did get the second spot. Ronald Reagan of California (61%) picked Mr. Bush (23%) as his number two.  

In 1976, Mr. Carter (39%) did not offer the job to Mr. Brown (15%), George Wallace of Alabama (12%) or Morris Udall of Arizona (10%),

In the fiercely fought Republican race in 1976 , President Gerald Ford of Michigan (53%) did not offer the Vice Presidency to Mr. Reagan (46%). Senator Dole was President Ford’s choice.

1972 was the last time the nominee was not the top vote getter in the primaries. Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota won 26% of the vote against 25% for George McGovern of South Dakota and 24% for George Wallace. The nominee, Mr. McGovern did not offer the VP spot to either gentleman.

( Governor George Wallace stands in the schoolhouse door blocking integration in Alabama. Neither George McGovern or Jimmy Carter thought it best to run with Mr. Wallace in a Presidential election.)

August 24, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

History Of The Pennsylvania Primary

The Pennsylvania presidential primary has a history that goes back to the Progressive Era origins of presidential nominating primaries.

In 2008, the Pennsylvania primary will be held April 22. Here is a selected history of the Pennsylvania primary, and, at the end of the post, some basic facts about Pennsylvania.

( Texas Liberal is leading the way in political history blogging in 2008. Please click here for other political history posts.)

1912—The Republican fight between President William Howard Taft of Ohio and former President Theodore Roosevelt of New York, was a test between the more conservative wing of the party, represented by Mr. Taft, and Mr. Roosevelt’s progressives. Mr. Roosevelt won 60%-40%.

Pennsylvania was at the time the second largest state in the nation and an anchor of Republican support in general elections. But primaries were not as important as they are today, and Mr. Taft won the Republican nomination despite a string of losses to Mr. Roosevelt. Mr. Roosevelt on the Bull Moose ticket won Pennsylvania in November of 1912.

1916Henry Ford of Ford Motor fame won 7.5% of the Republican vote as a write-in. Mr. Ford had already won his home state of Michigan and finished strong in Nebraska. Though in the end his campaign stalled.

1920-–The terrible Mitchell Palmer won the Democratic primary. Mr. Palmer had been a Congressman from Pennsylvania and Attorney General under Woodrow Wilson. As AG, he rounded up American Communists and others on the left during a World War I “Red Scare.” He did this with a frequent disregard for the basic rights of Americans. Mr. Palmer did not win the 1920 nomination.

(Photo is of former steel plant in Bethleham, Pennsylvania that has closed and has been replaced with a casino in the same location.)

1932—Governor Franklin Roosevelt of New York scored an important  57%-43% win over 1928 Democratic nominee former Governor Al Smith of New York. Mr. Smith had been the first Catholic to win the nomination of a major political party.

On the same day in 1932, April 26, Mr. Smith beat Mr. Roosevelt in Massachusetts. Irish-Catholic Democrats in Boston carried the day for Mr. Smith in Massachusetts. Mr. Roosevelt was the winner just about everywhere else in 1932.

1948—Governor Harold Stassen of Minnesota was the 32%-30% winner over Governor Thomas Dewey of New York in the Republican primary. Many know of Mr. Stassen as a perennial candidate who would announce a White House bid every four years until the 1990’s. He was at one time a serious candidate. Not serious enough though. Mr. Dewey was the 1948 Republican nominee.

( Below is a photo of Mr. Stassen from his service in WW II.)

1964—Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton was the 52%-20% winner over Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona. This was part of a fight within the Republican party, as seen in 1912 and to some degree in 2008, between more moderate conservatives and the red meat types. After Senator Goldwater’s 1964 win, the red meat types would hold an edge they’ve yet to give up.

1972—Senator and former Vice President Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota won 35% against 21% for Governor George Wallace of Alabama and 20% Senator George McGovern of South Dakota. Senator McGovern’s anti-war liberalism was not a good match for Pennsylvania Democrats. 1972 was a long time ago, but you get a sense of the challanges faced by Senator Barack Obama of Illinois as he competes in Pennsylvania.

1976–-Former Governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia took 37% against 25% for Senator Scoop Jackson of Washington and 19% for Congressman Morris Udall of Arizona. This win was a big step in Mr. Carter’s nomination fight. While the late entries of Governor Jerry Brown and Senator Frank Church of Idaho gave Mr. Carter a bit more trouble down the road, Pennsylvania turned out in retrospect to have ended the process.

1980—Both the Republican and Democratic primaries produced interesting results. For Republicans, the more moderate George H.W. Bush of Texas beat former Governor Ronald Reagan of California 51%-43%.  This in a year that Mr. Reagan won 61% of all Republican primary votes against 23% for Mr. Bush. Pennsylvania was a late arrival to the Reagan Revolution.

Among Democrats, Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts beat President Carter by the small margin of 45.7% to 45.4%. Any time an incumbent President loses a primary, he has trouble. Mr. Kennedy , like Senator McGovern in 1972, was the more liberal candidate. And as was Mr. Smith in 1932, he was  Catholic. Yet unlike those two men, he won the Pennsylvania primary.  This reflected a changing Democratic electorate, a tough economy in 1980, and the political weakness of President Carter.

The victories by Mr. Bush and Mr. Kennedy in 1980 were the last time Pennsylvania primary voters did not support the eventual nominee for either party. The Pennsylvania primary has taken place late in the process after the nominations have been wrapped up and not been important since 1976 and 1980.

Jesse Jackson won 18 % in 1984 and 27% in 1988 in Pennsylvania. These were showings consistent with his national showings in Democratic primaries.

In John McCain’s previous run on the Pennsylvania primary ballot in 2000, he lost to George W. Bush by 74%-23%. Mr. Bush had clearly won the nomination by that point.

12.4 million people live in Pennsylvania. It has the 6th largest population. Just under 10% of its people are black and just over 3% are Hispanic. John Kerry won Pennsylvania 51%-48% in 2004. Here is some more basic information about Pennsylvania.

Here is some information about presidential politics in Pennsylvania from the 2008 Almanac of American Politics—

For the last 70 years Pennsylvania has been a swing state in every close presidential election and even in some that were not close. Yet it is not typical of the country. With its older, deeply-rooted population, it tends to be culturally more conservative than the rest of the country; with its long-dying blue-collar communities, it tends to be economically more liberal—though both tendencies have been muted with time. But it does present a problem for political strategists of both parties: Combinations of issue positions which work for Democrats on the East and West Coasts or for Republicans in the South and the Heartland do not work well here. 

Here is a history of Pennsylvania.

The Field Negro is my favorite Pennsylvania blogger.

April 7, 2008 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A History Of The Ohio Primary

Going back the Progressive Era origins of nominating primaries, the Ohio Presidential primary has a nearly century long history.

( Here are some basic facts and a brief history of Ohio. The population of Ohio is approximately 11.5 million. George Bush carried the state 51%-49% in 2004.)

Here is a history of some notable results from Ohio since the first primary in 1912.

The first Ohio primary featured something modern political observers can grasp—An ideological fight among Republicans.

Progressive challenger, former President Theodore Roosevelt, defeated incumbent President William Howard Taft, a more conservative figure, by a 55%-40% margin. President Taft was from Cincinnati. This outcome shows the bent of the Ohio Republican electorate at the time and offers a clue why the progressive reform of the primary was embraced early in Ohio.

On the other side, Ohio Governor Judson Harmon defeated Woodrow Wilson.

Judson had defeated Warren Harding in 1910 to become Governor.

(In November of 1912 in Ohio it was Wilson  41%, Roosevelt 27% and Taft 22%.)

In 1920, Ohioans had the chance to vote for locals in both primaries. The Republican winner was Senator Warren Harding who beat General Leonard Wood by an unimpressive 47%-41%. ( Maybe Ohio voters knew from experience that Senator Harding would be a bad President. He was in fact terrible President.)

Democrats in 1920 supported Ohio Governor James Cox with 98%.

However, despite the lack of unity in the primary, Harding beat Cox 59% -39% in November.

( The only time since 1920 that both major party nominees were from the same state was 1944 when Franklin Delano Roosevelt beat New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey.)

Ohio Republicans in 1932 gave incumbent Herbert Hoover only 6%. The winner was Favorite Son Jacob Coxey.

Hoover was easily renominated despite winning only 33% of all primary votes in 1932.  It would not be until the 1970’s that primaries would begin consistently influential in the nominating process.

Coxey had been involved in politics since leading poor people’s protests in Washington in the 1890’s. He is interesting to read about.  

(Jacob Coxey)

President Taft’s son, Senator Robert Taft, was the 99% winner of the 1940 Ohio Republican primary. This was the beginning of a series of Taft efforts to reach the White House. Seen as a father of modern conservatism, and an author of the terrible Taft-Hartley Act, Taft was the choice of an “unpledged” slate of delegates that won the 1948 Republican primary. Taft also won the 1952 primary.

(Robert Taft)

For 1956, ’60 ’64 and ’68, Favorite Son candidates were the winners in both party primaries in Ohio. The only exception to this outcome was Richard Nixon’s nearly uncontested win in 1960.

The 1964 and ’68 Republican favorite son choice in Ohio was Governor James A. Rhodes. An outspoken so-called “law-and-order” politician, it was Governor Rhodes who ordered the troops in at the killing of anti-war protesters at Kent State in 1970.

The Democratic primary was sharply contested in 1972. Party establishment choice Hubert Humphrey was the 41%– 40% winner over liberal Senator George McGovern.

The 2008 Clinton–Obama fight seems an echo of the ’72 race to some degree.

While conservatives Taft and Rhodes had found favor with Ohio Republicans in the World War II and post-war era, a more moderate wing of the party prevailed in 1976. In ’76, incumbent President Gerald Ford beat Ronald Reagan 55%-45%. Not strong for an incumbent, but better than W.H Taft or Hoover had done in the Ohio primary.

The 1980 Democratic primary, contested in June when the race had already been decided, gave President Jimmy Carter a 51% 44% over Ted Kennedy. Another weak showing for an incumbent who would go on to lose.

Democrats in 1984 though went for the challenger to the party establishment. Senator Gary Hart defeated Walter Mondale42%-40%. The wonkish high-tech Hart’s win over a lunch-bucket union regular like Mondale in a state like Ohio showed the weakness of the Mondale campaign.

(Gary Hart)

In 1988, ’92 and ’96, the Ohio primary took place late in the process. Voters in each party primary voted for the eventual nominee of the party.

For 2000, Ohio moved it’s primary up to Super Tuesday March 7. ( Please click here for a history of Super Tuesday.)The George W. Bush/John McCain battle was still alive at that point. The more conservative Bush won a 58%-37% victory. This confirmed again the dominance of the right in Ohio Republican politics.

In March of 2004, John Edwards won 34% against 51% for John Kerry. This was one of Edwards’ strongest showings outside the South.

Texas Liberal is leading the way in political history blogging in 2008.

(Post card is of Youngstown in 1910’s. Please click here for a history of Youngstown. )

March 1, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Cincinnati, History, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Huckabee Victories Against McCain Similar To Kennedy’s Late Wins Against Carter In 1980

 

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (above) has been scoring victories against likely Republican nominee John McCain of Arizona. 

Over the last weekend, Governor Huckabee was the winner of the Kansas caucus and the Louisiana primary. Senator McCain was declared the winner in the Washington caucus, but this outcome is being disputed by Mr. Huckabee. 

The Republican race is presumed to be over, yet people keep voting for Mr. Huckabee.

Governor Huckabee’s support among some Republicans is reflective of an ideological split within that party. Many Evangelical Christians see Mr. Huckabee was one of their own.  On the other hand, Mr. McCain has never been a favorite of that substantial wing of the Republican Party.

Republicans are not fully ready to hand the nomination to Mr. McCain.

This fight is analogous in some respects to the nomination fight in 1980 between incumbent President Jimmy Carter and challenger Senator Ted Kennedy ( photo below.) of Massachusetts. 

Senator Kennedy was leading a liberal insurgency against President Carter. While Governor Huckabee’s campaign is not so-much directed at Senator McCain, he has become the final voice of more conservative Republicans.     

Through mid-March of 1980 President Carter had won 7 of 8 primaries, losing only in Mr. Kennedy’s Massachusetts, and had a large delegate lead.   

After President Carter seemed secure in the nomination, Senator Kennedy won primaries in the big states of New York, Pennsylvania, California and New Jersey.  Mr. Carter won a number of primaries as well. In fact, just as Senator McCain remains formidable, Carter won 17 of the 27 primaries after mid-March.    

But President Carter could not nail down a significant segment of his party. 

Just as President Carter did, Senator McCain will likely end up with the nomination. Yet even as Democrats fight amongst themselves, Senator McCain  can look back to Jimmy Carter’s troubles in 1980 to get a sense of the fight ahead.       

Texas Liberal is leading the way in political history blogging in 2008.

February 11, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

History Of The Texas Primary

The Texas Presidential Primary, to be held March 4, is a big deal.

Democrats Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton are working to the take the largest share of the 228 delegates to be awarded.

( Photo above is of Galveston at sunset. If you live near the Texas coast, this might be your concept of Texas.)

Mike Huckabee hopes Evangelical Christians in Texas will help him add to a number of Southern victories gained so far against John McCain. 140 delegates are up in the Republican race.

32 of the Democratic delegates will be superdelegates. (Please click here for a Texas Liberal history of the superdelegate idea. )

I maintain that the superdelegate idea is undemocratic and goes against the idea of an open and fair Democratic Party.

( The process by which Texas delegates are selected is mind-numbing and not the province of this post. Here’s a link to part one and part two of an explanation of this system by the Texas political blog Burnt Orange Report.)

Not surprisingly, given the lack of enthusiasm for democracy found historically among the Texas political class—-and from many of the Anglo voters who have dominated Texas politics—the Texas Presidential primary does not have a long history.

The first Texas presidential primary was held in 1980.

( Here is a concept of Texas some might have—An oil rig in the middle of town.  I’ve never seen this in my nine years in Texas. Though I have seen oil rigs within the city limits of Houston.)

Texas was for many years part of the one-party “Solid South” that anchored Jim Crow segregation in America.

This system had multiple parts.

The two-thirds rule at the Democratic National Convention assured that the South would have a veto over any presidential candidate who threatened progress on Civil Rights. It took two-thirds of all delegates to ratify a nominee.  That rule is now gone.

On Election Day in November, the South, including Texas, would almost always vote for the Democratic nominee.  A Texas exception to this was in 1928 when Republican Herbert Hoover defeated Catholic Al Smith. (Some Texans  must have sat around the dinner table deciding if they disliked Catholics or black people the most.)

( Here is Al Smith with Babe Ruth. You can likely figure out who is Smith and who is Ruth. )

This Southern unity prevented the Democratic nominee from pushing Civil Rights during the campaign (If he had any inclination to do so to start with.) since he could not alienate such a large block of states.

In Congress, Southern Democratic Senators and Representatives, often reelected without opposition, built seniority and gained control of important committees. This also stopped any progress on Civil Rights.

Here is a link to a history of the “Whites Only” Democratic primary used in Texas for many years to determine nominees–and certain November winners in a one party state–for the great majority of Texas offices.

In the U.S. Senate, the filibuster rule allowed Southern Senators to block Civil Rights legislation.  This may all seem a bit off the topic of the Texas Primary, but it gets at the political climate in Texas for many years and how it was that the Progressive-era reform of the presidential primary did not reach Texas until 1980.

Today Texas, along with Hawaii, California and New Mexico, is a state where the majority of people are not white. That’s amazing when you think of the John Wayne/roughneck image of Texas.

Many of these non-white folks are immigrants.

(The Port of Houston is immense and it connects Houston and Texas to the world. Many immigrants come to Texas today and they are–for the most part so far–accepted.)

Most of these immigrants are accepted. Even undocumented immigrants from Mexico and elsewhere have not  been disturbed much as of yet. If this has to do with the role these immigrants play in the Texas economy, or the possible–mostly unrealized– political clout of Hispanic voters in Texas, I could not fully say.

Roughly one-third of Texans are Hispanic. Though many are not legally here. And of those that are here legally, many do not vote. Texas is just over 11% black. Almost 24 million people live in Texas. Here is a link to some basic facts about Texas.

(Below is the border between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. Hard to see any distinctions between people from this perspective.)

George W. Bush won Texas with 61% of the vote in 2004. Republicans are in firm control of Texas politically.

That first presidential primary in 1980 produced an interesting result. Ronald Reagan of California defeated George H. W. Bush of Houston, Texas by a 51%-47% margin. This was on May 3, 1980.

Mr. Reagan had mostly wrapped up the nomination by that point, but it still shows the strength conservative in the Texas Republican party against a strong home-state candidate.

On the other side, President Jimmy Carter beat Ted Kennedy 56%-23%. I think today the liberal would do somewhat better.

Texas was a Super Tuesday battleground for Democrats in 1988. Mike Dukakis rook first place with 33% against 25% for Jesse Jackson and 20% for Southerner Al Gore. This win helped confirm Mr. Dukakis as the front-runner, though it would take another round of primaries to make it more certain. (Please click here for a Texas Liberal history of Super Tuesday.)

Vice President Bush was an easy home state winner in 1988.

Though as an incumbent President, Mr Bush’s 69% against 24% for Pat Buchanan in 1992 was not so impressive.

The son, George W. Bush, beat John McCain 88% to 7% in 2000. Not a close call. Mr. McCain may do better this time.

In 2004, while Bush was unopposed among Republicans, John Kerry won two-thirds of the vote on his way to the nomination.

2008 promises to be the most interesting and most relevant Texas presidential primary yet held.

Texas Liberal is leading the way in political history blogging in 2008.

February 9, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Elections, History, Houston, Immigration, Political History, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

History Of California Presidential Primary

Texas Liberal live blogging of Super Tuesday  results is up and running. 

The California Presidential nominating primary, which will be held for 2008 on February 5, has a history that goes back to the Progressive Era. The first California primary was held in 1912.

The Presidential nominating primary, however regressive it may seem at times today, was a Progressive reform. It was step away from the smoke-filled rooms.

California was a big part of the Progressive Era. Progressive Bull Moose candidate Teddy Roosevelt carried California in the 1912 general election and the great Progressive Hiram Johnson was Governor of California from 1911 until 1917 and Senator from 1917 until his death in 1945.  Johnson was Teddy Roosevelt’s running mate in  1912.

(Here is an article from USA Today about the 2008 primary.)

(Here are some basic demographic facts about California.  )

Over 36 million people live in California. John Kerry won California 54%-44% in 2004.

In that first 1912 primary, Roosevelt defeated incumbent President William Howard Taft of Ohio among Republicans by a 2-1 margin. That gives you a sense of where the Republican electorate of California stood at that point in time.

For Democrats, House Speaker Champ Clark of Missouri beat Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey 72%-28%.

1912 was long before primaries had the decisive role they do today. It would be 1972 and the years after 1972 that primaries took on the role they play today.

In 1920, California Senator Johnson took the Republican primary over Herbert Hoover.  Hoover also has California connections as a Stanford graduate. Senator Johnson objected to Hoover’s position in favor of U.S. entry into the League of Nations and worked hard to deny Hoover the nomination.

Senator Warren Harding of Ohio won the 1920 nomination at a deadlocked Republican convention.

Senator Johnson was asked to be Harding’s running mate. He said no. Harding died in 1923 and Calvin Coolidge of Massachusetts became President.

Incumbent President Coolidge beat Senator Johnson in the California republican primary of 1924.

The Democratic primary of 1932 was of some note. Reflecting the Southern origins of many California Democrats, House Speaker John Nance Garner of Texas won the primary over New Yorker’s Al Smith, the 1928 Democratic nominee and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Very different from the results you would get today.

Roosevelt selected Garner as his first of his three Vice Presidents.

In 1936, Democratic voters gave the novelist Upton Sinclair 11% of the vote against FDR. Mr. Sinclair had run a left-wing campaign for governor in 1934 and almost won.

Mr. Sinclair is most famous for writing The Jungle.

(San Diego is closely contested between the two parties.)

In 1936, 1948 and 1952, Earl Warren was the winner of the California Republican primary.

Try to imagine Mr. Warren as  a Republican today!

The future liberal Chief Justice was Governor of California from 1943 until 1953, He was also the running mate of Thomas E. Dewey of New York in 1948.

Warren never won the Republican nomination. Though arguably he got the only job better than President.

For all this time and beyond—from 1912 until 1992— the California primary was held late in the process. Often favorite son candidates, such as Mr. Warren, were the winners.

A favorite son candidate is a  statewide figure who runs in the primary and then passes on his delegates at the convention in exchange for an office or for influence.

The 1964 Republican primary brought a clear test of ideological strength within the party. Much like in 1912.

This time though, the right-wing won.

Conservative Senator  Barry Goldwater of Arizona defeated Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York. Rockefeller was a liberal Republican and the party was badly split in the early 60’s between these competing wings of the party.

The future was with the conservatives as the 1966 election of Ronald Reagan as Governor of California established.

It was on the night of his California 1968 Democratic primary win that Senator Robert Kennedy of New York was assassinated.

The 1972 California democratic primary was significant. Senator George McGovern of South Dakota defeated former Vice President Humbert Humphrey by 44%-39%. Mr. McGovern’s win gained him delegates and momentum that made a difference in taking the nomination.

(The Sacramento area is inclined towards Democrats.)

In 1976, home state candidate Ronald Reagan won a big victory over President Gerald Ford. But the 65%-35% win was not enough for Reagan to win the nomination.

California Democrats in 1980 voted for a slate of delegates committed to liberal Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts over incumbent President Jimmy Carter of Georgia. This provided a sense of what ideological tint held sway among California Democrats.

In 1992, California was the only one of 7 states voting on June 2 that came close to rejecting Bill Clinton of Arkansas. Former California Governor Jerry Brown, fighting to the end, lost 45%–40%. Mr Clinton had pretty much wrapped up the nomination before California.

In 1996, California finally moved its’ primary up to March. ( Please click here for a Texas Liberal history of Super Tuesday Primary Day.) Though all voters did was ratify the foregone conclusions of Bob Dole of Kansas and President Clinton.

California moved up its primary to March 7 for 2000 and March 2 in 2004.

In neither case did the California result make a difference.

(Texas Liberal is leading the way in political history blogging in 2008. Please click here for much more. Thanks for reading the blog! )

(No voting in Death Valley)

January 29, 2008 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, Elections, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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