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Sea Levels Rising Ever Faster—But Don’t Tell Anybody

A new study says that sea levels are rising at the fastest rate in 2000 years.

(Above–The sea is all around us.)

Is this complete proof that global warming is taking place and causing the seas to rise?

You can’t prove it for 100%.

Any bit of doubt allows corporate intrests–and the Republican Party that corporate interests own–to avoid discussing this issue in any serious fashion.

Here is the EPA climate change website.

I know— The EPA website is socialist plot to take away our SUV’s and make us all drive Yugos.

The new sea level study has been completed with funding from the National Science Foundation. 

Here are some facts about the NSF

“The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…” With an annual budget of about $6.9 billion (FY 2010), we are the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.”

If we would just cut all funding for the NSF, than the problem of global warming and rising sea levels would go away.

Here are some details from the NSF sea level study—

“The rate of sea level rise along the U.S. Atlantic coast is greater now than at any time in the past 2,000 years–and has shown a consistent link between changes in global mean surface temperature and sea level…. The team found that sea level was relatively stable from 200 BC to 1,000 AD. Then in the 11th century, sea level rose by about half a millimeter each year for 400 years, linked with a warm climate period known as the Medieval Climate Anomaly. Then there was a second period of stable sea level during a cooler period called the Little Ice Age. It persisted until the late 19th century. Since the late 19th century, sea level has risen by more than 2 millimeters per year on average, the steepest rate for more than 2,100 years.”

Of course, as is often the case, it is not just conservatives that are the problem when it comes to the inability to have a serious discussion over important national issues.

Former Vice President Al Gore recently criticized President Obama for a lackluster approace to global warming concerns.

As it is with so many issues before us in our nation, everyday people are going to have to decide to take the lead and are going to have to pressure political and corporate leaders for more action.

At the moment, we seem unable to even discuss the matter because the Republican Party takes opposition to the idea of climate change as a matter of faith.

But the fact is that faith is faith and science is science. The two are separate for someone who has confidence in their faith and hope for our future.

June 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Will Supreme Court Uphold Access To Health Care Or Will The Court Do Even More Damage To Our Nation?

Nobody knows in the end how the Supreme Court will rule on the Health Care Reform law.

(Above— The Supreme Court. Photo by UpstateNYer.)

Politico has an ideological neutral article on the prospects for the law.

From Politico—

“Chief Justice John Roberts “does not believe the Commerce Clause allows you to do everything and anything,” but he’s not “an adventurer” and therefore might not go so far as to strike down the mandate, according to Charles Fried, a former solicitor general under President Ronald Reagan who testified at Roberts’s confirmation hearings in 2005. “I think there’s a good chance it will be a 6-3 decision in favor of constitutionality,” said Fried, who voted for Barack Obama in 2008……”Other legal experts said all eyes will be on Justice Anthony Kennedy, the most likely swing vote if it really is a 5 to 4 decision. But the constitutionality of the individual mandate — the requirement for everyone to get health insurance starting in 2014 — is a complicated question that might not get decided along predictable ideological lines.”……”Conservative legal scholars say it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where the Roberts court declares that the Obama administration has taken the Commerce Clause too far. “They don’t have to make a stretch to do that. They can just say, `We’ve let the Commerce Clause stretch way beyond its text, and we’re not going to go any further,” said Dave Kopel, an adjunct professor of advanced constitutional law at the University of Denver.”

Read here about the many benefits of the Health Care law. Do you want to go back to lifetime caps on policies and to when you could be kicked off your policy because you get sick? Do you want it to forever be the case that you can be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition?

Of course, we know that in recent years the Supreme Court court has appointed a President in Bush V. Gore, and has significantly undermined democracy with the Citizens United case.

Both Bush V. Gore and Citizens United were decided by a 5-4 margin. In both these cases, Clarence Thomas was in the majority. “Justice” Thomas reached the Court by lying before the Senate and the nation about his conduct involving Anita Hill.

How long until many begin to question the Court’s basic legitimacy?

Hopefully, the Court won’t add denying people health care to the damage it has already done to our poltical and democratic process.

People in the center and on the left have the same option to organize and advocate as was made use of by Tea Party cells across the nation in the 2010 election.

Are we going to have a hopeful future in this country, or are we going to live in a nation where people will forever be denied health care because they can not afford it?

Is the Supreme Court going continue our national descent towards being a second-world nation ruled by an oligarchy, or can at least free citizens have the chance to live decent lives with access to health care?

February 1, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Despite Warming Earth, No Real U.S. Debate On Climate Change Takes Place

2010 has tied with 2005 to be the warmest global year on record.

2010 was also the 34th consecutive year that the global average temperature was higher than the  20th century global average.

People can go on debating global warming. Maybe it is so that warming has not been proved 100%. Maybe warming has only been proved to an 80% or 90% certainty.

The real political issue is that the American right won’t accept global warming because of ideological issues and because of economic concerns. The facts don’t matter.

Conservatives, and the corporations that own conservative politicians, don’t want Al Gore and the environmental groups to be proven right. They don’t want any taxes and regulations that might be wisely applied if global warming is indeed real.

These are folks willing to put the future at risk so that they can score political points in the here and now, and so that often quite prosperous industrial concerns can avoid regulation.

For at least this moment in time, no real debate on the question appears possible in our nation.

January 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Let’s End The Year By Asking Oursleves The Big Questions

Here is the last post of 2010.

Let’s end the year by asking ourselves the big questions.

Below is a 17 second video of Admiral James Stockdale, who in 1992 was the running mate of Ross Perot, asking the eternal questions of who we are and why we are here at a Vice Presidential debate with Dan Quayle and Al Gore.

Context gives meaning to life.

I hope that folks get some peace over the holiday weekend ahead to take stock of life, and to think about what they would like to accomplish in the year ahead.

Everyday has value. Every place has a purpose. Almiost all work is honorable. All people matter.

See the big picture and, also, please don’t drive drunk over the holiday.

Good luck to everybody in the year ahead.

December 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

American Politicians Who Have Won Nobel Peace Prize—Maybe Award For Mr. Obama Will Make World A Better Place

  

President Barack Obama has won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

While it is easy enough to ask what Mr. Obama has done to merit the prize, maybe it will serve as a spur for the President to pursue a more peaceful course in world affairs than he otherwise would have. 

Our right-wingers here in America will complain about the prize, but Mr. Obama could cure cancer and they would still complain.

Given the power of the President of the United States in the world, why not roll the dice and see if the Nobel Prize can be used to make the world a somewhat less barbarous place? Mr. Obama certainly seems more open to a peaceful world than did George W. Bush.

Mr. Obama is not the first U.S. President or the first American politician to win the Nobel Peace Prize. He is the first sitting President to win the award since 1919.

Here is a list of American politicians who have won the Nobel Peace Prize—    

In 1906, President Teddy Roosevelt won the Nobel for his role in ending the war between Japan and Russia.

One-term Republican New York Senator Elihu Root won the prize in 1912. As Secretary of State under Teddy Roosevelt, and as Senator, Root help negotiate and arbitrate a number of international disputes.  

Woodrow Wilson  won the Peace Prize in 1919 for his part in creating the League of Nations.   

It was bit more rocky , though with some successes, for the League after the Nobel. As for President Wilson, the fight over the League led to his suffering a stroke and to a bitter end to his Presidency.  

Vice President Charles Dawes was a 1925 co-winner.  Mr. Dawes had done work to ease tensions between Germany and France after WW I. While that clearly did not work out over the longer haul, it made an impression at the time. Mr. Dawes was Vice President under Calvin Coolidge.  

Another one-term Republican Senator, Frank Kellogg of Minnesota, was the 1929 Peace Prize winner. (The photo above is of Mr. Kellogg.)

As Secretary of State under Calvin Coolidge, Kellogg was a force behind the Kellogg-Briand pact. Kellogg-Briand was signed by 64 countries and was about the renunciation of war as an instrument of policy by these nations. It did not have much effect at the time, but why not try?  

1931 co-winner Nicholas Butler, was Teddy Roosevelt’s running mate on the 1912 Bull Moose ticket. Butler won the prize for his international work on behalf of Kellogg-Briand.

Former Tennessee Senator Cordell Hull was the 1945 winner.  Secretary of State under F.D.R, Hull played a major role in creating the United Nations.

Former President Jimmy Carter was the  2002 winner. President Carter has dedicated much of his efforts since leaving the White House in 1981 to conflict resolution, election monitoring and disease eradication 

Al Gore won the prize in 2007 for his work to combat the effects of climate change.

( Below—Al Gore.)

October 9, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 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

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

If Bill Clinton Can Be Forgiven For Years Of Adultery And Harassment, Can’t Obama Be Forgiven For Other People’s Sexism?

I read another story yesterday about Hillary Clinton supporters reluctant to support Barack Obama.

It was a Wall Street Journal article about some leading Clinton fundraisers. There is a group of big money Clinton supporters called “Hillraisers” deciding what step to take next.  

Many are still mad about harsh remarks made about Senator Clinton that appeared in the media. From the article —

“The Clinton holdouts are typically most angry about what they say was the media’s sexist treatment of Sen. Clinton during the campaign. And though few, if any, blame Sen. Obama directly, they fault the Illinois senator and other party leaders for what they say was failing to do enough to stop it.

Susie Tompkins Buell, a Hillraiser from San Francisco, said, “What really hurt women the most was to look back and see all this gender bias.” Ms. Buell said she hasn’t decided whether to vote for Sen. Obama and plans to skip the August Democratic convention.”

If Senator Clinton’s people feel they can’t vote for Senator Obama, then that is what they need to do.  

Supporters of Senator Clinton can decide for themselves if anything we saw in the Kentucky and West Virginia primaries had to with reluctance to have a black President.   

Folks need to follow what course they feel is best.

My course will be to support Barack Obama, and be glad I lived to see the day a black person became President of the United States.

Senator Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, has a lifetime record of shameful conduct with women. Yet he had the support of women’s groups as President. Backers of Senator Clinton’s White House effort did not renounce President Clinton’s support for her in the recent campaign.  

It’s not hard to imagine that if President Clinton had been able to restrain himself with Monica Lewinsky, Al Gore would have picked up the few extra votes needed to have kept the 2000 election away from the Supreme Court. 

If Senator Obama has committed some greater offense in people’s minds, they should not vote for him in November. That’s a call for each person to make on their own.

July 8, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

History Of The Mississippi Primary

 

In a state never swift to embrace democracy for all, the Mississippi presidential primary has a brief history.

It was not until 1988 that a real two-party presidential primary was held in Mississippi.

In 2008, the Mississippi primary will be held March 11.

Just over 2.9 million people live in Mississippi.  61% are white and 36% are black. That is the highest percentage of black people of any state in the nation.

Here are some basic facts about Mississippi.

In 2004, George W. Bush won Mississippi 59%-40%.

For many years Mississippi was a one-party Democratic Solid South state that used a whites-only primary.

Here is one link about the white primary.

Here is another.

The great Fannie Lou Hamer  (photo above) led the fight for an integrated Mississippi Democratic Party at the 1964 Democratic convention in Atlantic City.

She had some success, but this was one event of many during the Civil Rights era that led many–though not all–white citizens of Mississippi to join the Republican party.

In 2004, Mississippi whites voted for George W. Bush by 85%-14%. Blacks voted for John Kerry 90%-10%.

( President George W. Bush.)

With the Republican party in control of much of Mississippi–though Democrats still control the state House of Representatives—it could be argued that the Republican primary is an updated white primary.

A difference is that black people are legally allowed to vote in the Republican primary. It’s just that they have little reason to want to do so.

The winner of the first Democratic presidential primary, held on Super Tuesday 1988, was Jesse Jackson. He beat Al Gore 45%-35%. Mike Dukakis ran a distant third.

This was great progress for Mississippi. But it also showed that many Mississippi whites had become Republicans.

(Please click here for a history of Super Tuesday.)

(Jesse Jackson in 1983)

In 1992 George H.W. Bush, and in 1996 Bob Dole, won easy Republican victories over candidates that ran from the right.

Pat Buchanan ran poorly in both ’92 and ’96.

David Duke gave it a shot in 1996.

He was rejected by Republican voters.

Again, on one hand this was progress. Yet on the other hand, it reflected a mainstream Republican party that white voters felt comfortable with on issues of race.

2000 and 2004 produced unremarkable results in Mississippi. Republicans did not hold a primary in 2004 since President George W. Bush was the certain nominee.

Please click here for other political history posts on Texas Liberal. 

(The Largemouth Bass is the official fish of Mississippi.)

March 7, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, History, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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 The Superdelegate

What is a Superdelegate in the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination? What is the history behind the awarding of these delegates?

A  “superdelegate” is a party leader, an elected official or otherwise, who is made an automatic delegate at the party nominating convention. This person is not required to win his or her place in a primary or in a caucus. They have a spot at the convention no matter what. 

The so-called superdelegate was created as a “reform” within the Democratic nominating process for the 1984 elections. Party leaders felt that the process had gotten away from them and was overly geared to primary voters and caucus-goers. 

According to Congressional Quarterly’s Guide To U.S. Elections

“This reform had two main goals. First Democratic leaders would participate in the nomination decision at the convention. Second, they wanted to ensure that these uncommitted party leaders could play a major role in selecting the presidential nominees if no candidate was a clear front-runner.”

Isn’t is great that Democratic party leaders had to be given a free pass instead of earning a place to take an active part in the nominating process?

The superdelegate idea was in in many ways a roundabout response to a process set in motion by liberal party activists who felt shut out at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. Vice President Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota in 1968 was the last major party nominee to win the nomination without entering most of the primaries.

A commission was set up led by Senator George McGovern of South Dakota that led to an opening of the process and to more primaries. This openness was the trend in the 1972 and 1976 nominating races for the Democrats and Senator McGovern benefited from these new rules in his own successful 1972 nomination bid.    

For 1984, the party leadership reasserted some authority with superdelegates. It was a “reform” that was really a step backwards.   

Superdelegates in 2008 are Democratic members of the House and Senate, Democratic Governors, and members of the Democratic National Committee. Al Gore and Bill Clinton are also superdelegates. 

There are approximately 800 superdelegates of the 2125 delegates needed to win the nomination.

In 1984, four of five superdelegates supported Walter Mondale of Minnesota (photo below) over Senator Gary Hart of Colorado. This despite the fact Vice President Mondale won 37.8% of all primary votes in 1984 against the 36.1% won by Senator Hart. The party establishment was beyond Mr. Mondale regardless of how people were voting in the primaries.

 

Since 1984, the percentage of superdelegates has increased. It was 14% of all delegates in 1984 and is nearly 20% today.

As I write this in February, more superdelegates are pledged to Senator Hillary Clinton of New York than to Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.   

Superdelegates can change their minds if they wish. They can do anything they want.

It’s like some sort of House of Lords. ( Illustration below.)

This process is undemocratic. Delegates should be elected by rank-and-file members of the party. If a sitting Governor or Senator can’t win a spot in a primary or a caucus, what type of legitimacy as a popular leader does such a person have?   

I hope that at the least, superdelgates will reflect the wishes of the district or state they represent, or, for those not currently holding any political office, the state or local area they come from. 

2008 Democratic Convention Watch is a blog doing a good job tracking who superdelegates are supporting.  

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

February 7, 2008 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

The Clintons Get What They Want And We Get The Damage

  

 Hillary Clinton and, also, the Clintons as a team make me mad.

They get what they want and others deal with the damage.

In 1992 Bill Clinton was elected President. This brought relief among Democrats after 12 years of Reagan and the first Bush.

Okay so far.

President Clinton put Mrs. Clinton in charge of health care reform. She did not get the job done despite the fact Democrats controlled both branches of Congress at the time.

Because of this and other political missteps early in the Clinton Presidency, Republicans in 1994 won control of both Houses of Congress for the first time since the election of 1952. 

It would not be until 2006 that Democrats would win back full control of Congress.

Republicans did an immense amount of harm to the nation in those 12 years.

In 1996, President Clinton was re-elected.

In his second term, Mr. Clinton decided to engage in a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

Much of what Mr. Clinton might have been able to accomplish in the second term, even with the Republican Congress that was in large part his doing, was lost because of this avoidable scandal.

In 2000, Al Gore was uncertain how to make use of President Clinton politically because of the scandal. This cost Mr. Gore votes in one of the closest Presidential elections in American history.

America got 8 years of George W. Bush.

Hillary Clinton got a Senate seat from New York.

Now we are looking at the prospect of Mrs. Clinton winning the Democratic Presidential nomination and, possibly, facing John McCain.    

Given the history and Mr. McCain’s strengths, I’m concerned Mrs. Clinton will take the nomination and lose the General Election. Mrs. Clinton is just the candidate who can mobilize Republicans to support even the slightly more moderate by Republican standards—but still conservative—Mr. McCain.

I’ve said before that if Mrs. Clinton is the nominee, I’ll vote for her. I feel our problems are so great that we can’t have another Republican President. I want to give our political system one more chance to prove it is up to the challenge of climate change and the global economy.

I’ll vote for Mrs. Clinton, but it does not have to come to that.

The Clintons get what they want and others get the damage. 

Giving Mrs. Clinton the nomination and looking at the prospect of yet another Republican Presidency is a chance we can easily avoid taking by supporting Barack Obama for President.             

January 31, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

History Of Super Tuesday Primary Day

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

The Super Tuesday Primary Day has a relatively modern history. The first Super Tuesday took place in 1988.

(Above is a person voting in Poland. It would be fun to have such a big tall ballot box where I voted. Please also note the ballot box is decorated with a plant and that the voter seems quite happy. Voting can indeed be fun. )

Super Tuesday resulted from concerns about the nominating process before 1988, and has evolved—if we take the word “evolve” to not mean the same as “improve”—from smaller regional primaries held in the 1970’s and 80’s.

And whatever it’s process-driven roots, the real purpose has been to enhance the influence of the states taking part in Super Tuesday.

(Look at all the choices the people have in whatever election is represented on the ballot sheet below. Still, having many choices does not mean folks have true alternatives).

In short, there is a good measure of silliness and state-against-state competition in the Super Tuesday concept.

Objections to the way the nominating process took place before Super Tuesday were the long gap between New Hampshire and other primaries in which candidates fell out of the daily news, the expense of the nominating campaign, the physical strain on candidates, and the length of the campaign with the primaries extending into May and June.

Objections to the current process are that the nomination is locked up before voters know the candidates, the money it requires run in many states at once and –of course–that the campaign season is so long.

( If you see Fred Thompson’s name on your ballot, please recall he has quit the race. Nobody wanted him.)

In 1980 and ’84, Alabama, Georgia and Florida voted on the same day in the second week of March. That smaller regional primary day is the foundation of the current Super Tuesday.

On March 8, 1988 16 states, 10 from the south, all held primaries.

Voila! Super Tuesday was born.

(People value the ballot all across the world.)

In 1992, Super Tuesday was termed “March Madness” with an 8 state primary on March 3 and an increasing number of states holding primaries in March.

In 1996, March brought on successive Tuesdays a “Junior Tuesday” of ten states—including five in New England—, a Super Tuesday with seven mostly Southern states and, finally, a “Big Ten” Tuesday of ten states with a focus on the industrial Midwest. There was also a three state western primary that included California on March 26. ( Please click here for a Texas Liberal history of the California Primary.)

In 2000, 11 states held primaries on March 7. This was the earliest date allowed by Democrats for states other than Iowa or New Hampshire to hold a primary or caucus. On March 14, another big Southern-dominated  primary day was held.

In 2004, a national Super Tuesday was held with California, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Georgia and five other states voting on the first Tuesday in March.

( Sometimes voting forces us to view a complex world in black and white.)

For 2008 the dam has broken. 24 states will be holding a primary or caucus on the very early date of February 5.

In each election cycle Super Tuesday, or one of its close cousins, has basically ended the race.

For Republicans, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole and George W. Bush wrapped it up on the big day(s). The same has been true for Democrats Mike Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry.

Will the nomination fight in at least one of the parties survive past Super Tuesday 2008?

For the sake of blog traffic, I very much hope so.

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

(This person cared about voting and thought Woodrow Wilson should support the right of women to vote.)

January 25, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

American Politicians Who Have Won The Nobel Peace Prize

  

( Update–10/09/09—This post has been updated for Mr. Obama’s award of the Peace Prize.)

Al Gore and Jimmy Carter are not the only two American politicians to have won the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1906, President Teddy Roosevelt won the Nobel for his role in ending the war between Japan and Russia.

One-term New York Senator Elihu Root won the prize in 1912. As Secretary of State under Teddy Roosevelt, and as Senator, Root help negotiate and arbitrate a number of international disputes.  

This does not seem like something the current administration would support. They have a different approach to resolving disputes. 

President Woodrow Wilson won the Peace prize in 1919 for his part in creating the League of Nations.   

It was bit more rocky, though with some successes, for the League after the Nobel.   

Another one-term Senator, Frank Kellogg of Minnesota, was the 1929 winner. (The photo above is of Mr. Kellogg.)

As Secretary of State under Calvin Coolidge, Kellogg was a force behind the Kellogg-Briand pact. Kellogg-Briand was signed by 64 countries and was about the renunciation of war as an instrument of policy by these nations. It did not have much effect at the time, but why not try?  

1931 co-winner Nicholas Butler, was Teddy Roosevelt’s running mate on the 1912 Bull Moose ticket. Butler won the prize for his international work on behalf of Kellogg-Briand.

Former Tennessee Senator Cordell Hull was the 1945 winner.  Secretary of State under F.D.R, Hull had a part in creating the United Nations.

And finally, much more recently, Jimmy Carter in 2002 and Al Gore for the current year.

October 15, 2007 Posted by | History, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments