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Fire At George Bush Park In Harris County—Take Steps To Avoid Being The Cause Of Any Fires

There is a wildfire at George H.W. Bush Park in Harris County.

Here is a non-ideological assessment of the presidency of G.H.W. Bush.  Though this is not the main subject of this blog post, it is always the right time to learn about and to think about new things.

Here is a report on the fire from Houston TV station KTRK. 

(Update—9/14/11—Progress was made overnight in figthing the fire.)

The picture above is of smoke from the fire as it was seen a few hours ago. This picture was taken by my friend Ms. Alex Ragsdale.

As you can see, the fire is an urbanized area.

This fire is not surprising as there is an extreme drought in Harris County and in Texas.  There have been many wildfires in Texas in 2011 and in recent weeks.

These fires have been made more difficult to fight than need be, because Rick Perry and the Republican-dominated state legislature have cut funds for the Texas Forest Service and for firefighters in Texas.

Given the extreme drought conditions in the Houston and in Texas, it is best that we take steps to avoid being the cause of any more fires.

While some people may wish to do what is best, often we make mistakes.

Here are some tips from the Houston Fire Department about how you avoid being the cause of any more fires.

HFD recommends the following safety tips during this drought: Continue reading

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

Flag Day Facts—The Flag Waves For All Americans

June 14 is Flag Day in the United States.

The U.S. Flag is a symbol for all Americans.

I’m old enough to recall when Republican George H.W. Bush claimed that his opponent in the 1988 presidential race, Mike Dukakis, did not want to pledge allegiance to the flag.

The suggestion that the flag was more the symbol of one specific political party or political viewpoint was repulsive.

(Above–Betsy Ross knits a flag while a colonial creep leers at her.)

Yet for all the calls for patriotism we’ve heard from conservatives over the years, it was far-right Texas Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry who suggested that Texas might have reason to leave the federal union.

Here is information on Flag Day from USFlag.org.

From that link—

“The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America’s birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as ‘Flag Birthday’. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as ‘Flag Birthday’, or ‘Flag Day’.”

Here is a link to the Betsy Ross House.

Betsy Ross was a successful woman in many respects. Please click here to read about her life.

Is Betsy Ross the mother of the U.S. Flag? Please click here and see what you think.

I can write this blog post, but it is up to you learn the things you would like to know.

If you allow others to define your past, they will most likely use that power to screw-up your future.

Many nations have a flag day. Please click here to see what nations have a flag day and on what day it is observed.

Please click here for a post I wrote on a contest to create a one-world flag.

File:US Flag Day poster 1917.jpg

June 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Galveston Wheelchair Ramp And Americans With Disabilities Act Just Two Ways Government Makes Life Better

Picture Of The Day–Above you see the excellent new wheelchair ramp on the beach in Galveston, Texas. I took this picture a couple of weeks ago.

I don’t know if this ramp is connected to the Americans with Disabilities Act, but it is fine addition in Galveston.

President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.  It was an expansion of the powers of government for the good of all Americans.

Without laws and regulations from government, and the Federal Government most of all, our society would be even more under the control of the rich, and minority groups of all kinds would have few if any protected rights.

Link of The Day— Here is the web home of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Here is a report about the ramp from Houston television station KTRK.

“With a federal grant, the State Land Office, the city, the county, and the Parks Board used $431,000…(to build the ramp.) It’s the first of what could be many ramps along the seawall.”

Government, with the tax dollars we send as citizens, built that ramp so that all people can have access to the beach.

Texas Link Of The Day—Here is the weekly posting of the Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.

The round-up

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is amazed at how much Republicans like John Cornyn hate our Constitution and the freedoms it accords us.

Off the Kuff continued the 2010 interview series with conversations with state representatives Scott HochbergSylvester Turner, and Jessica Farrar. Continue reading

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

I Had A Dream I Was Swimming In Boston Harbor—Would This Be Advisable?

A few nights ago I had a dream that I was swimming in Boston Harbor.

(Above–Boston Harbor and the Boston Skyline from Spectacle Island.)

In this dream, the water I was swimming in was calm and blue. I was near a beach.

Not far away from where I was swimming, was an industrial portion of the harbor with power plants and factories.

Do people swim in Boston Harbor? Is it safe to swim in Boston Harbor? How polluted is Boston harbor?

It does seem that people do swim in Boston Harbor. Here is the link to an event where people swim around the harbor to raise money for charity.

I’m not sure what this tells us because  the people doing this appear to be active swimmers who would swim anywhere for the challenge—Though they do not appear  to die on the spot after they get out of the water. They do serve this guinea pig function.

As for normal people who would like to use the harbor , there is a group called the Boston Harbor Association that has a focus on water quality issues. They say they are for a “Clean, alive, and accessible Boston Harbor.”

Here is some of what the Harbor Association says about the cleanliness of water in the harbor—

“Water quality at Boston Harbor Beaches has improved dramatically over the past decade due to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s Boston Harbor Project and water and sewer projects being implemented by the Boston Water and Sewer Commission. These projects are eliminating long-time bacteria problems associated with wastewater discharged into Boston Harbor and the number of days that beaches are closed due to water quality issues has continued to decline. Most of Boston Harbor Beaches meet swimming standards over 90% of the time.”

If the water is safe to swim in 90% of the time, I guess my chances are nine in ten that I was okay after the swim in my dream.

(Below–Boston Harbor in 1973. Picture taken by Michael Manheim.)

Some of you will recall that the condition of Boston Harbor was an issue in the 1988 Presidential campaign. George H.W. Bush asserted that his opponent, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis had not done enough to clean the harbor. Here is one the ads from the 1988 campaign that attacked Mr. Dukakis.

It sure is something that a Republican could get the edge on an environmental  issue. They must have been laughing it up at the Bush campaign.

Here is the link to the advocacy group Save The Harbor. If you poke around this site you’ll find facts about the harbor and a list of links to news stories involving the harbor.

The Massachusetts Water Resource Authority has many facts about the harbor and about harbor beaches.

Here is a list and some facts about Boston-area beaches.

A book on the harbor that I’ve not read is–Political Waters: The Long, Dirty, Contentious, Incredibly Expensive but Eventually Triumphant History of Boston Harbor—A Unique Environmental Success Story. This book is by Eric Jay Dolin. While the length of the title is a turnoff, I’m sure the book is quite useful. Mr. Dolin wrote a book I’ve read about the history of U.S. commercial whaling and he is well-informed on these New England nautical topics.

I don’t know why I had this dream. It could because I was in Boston two years ago. It could be that my father once told me that he swam in what was then a very dirty Providence River when he was a kid.

Whatever the reason for the dream, it does seem that, in most cases, you can swim in Boston Harbor.

(Below—A 1854 painting called Boston Harbor. The artist was Fitz Hugh Lane.)

July 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oldest Presidential Nominees

Who have been the oldest candidates for President? 

Senator John McCain will be 72 on Election Day 2008. This makes him the second oldest first-time major party nominee in Presidential election history. Here are first-time major party Presidential nominees nominated at age 65 or older. Listed after the name is the candidate’s age on Election Day and the year of the election. At the end of each listing is the lifespan of the candidate.    

( Please click here for a list of the youngest Presidents)

Bob Dole

1. Bob Dole 73,1996–Senator Dole finally got his turn as Republican nominee. Lost to Bill Clinton. ( 1923- )

2. John McCain, 72, 2008—Republican running against man who would be one of our youngest Presidents. (1936-)

3. Ronald Reagan,  69, 1980—Oldest man to win a Presidential election. Renominated at age 73. This Republican beat Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Walter Mondale in 1984. (1911-2004)

Staute of William Henry Harrison in Downtown Cincinnati

4. William Henry Harrison, 67, 1840–Harrison ran as regional nominee of Whigs as part of a failed plan to defeat Martin Van Buren in 1836. In 1840 Harrison was nominee of entire party. He was elected but died one month into his term. Beat Mr. Van Buren. (1773-1841)

Lewis Cass

5. Lewis Cass, 66, 1848—Democrat was longtime territorial Governor of Michigan and a Secretary of War to Andrew Jackson. Lost to Whig Zachary Taylor. (1782-1866)

6. James Buchanan, 65, 1856—A Democrat who would have been a lousy President at any age. Watched helplessly as Union fell apart.  Defeated Republican John Fremont.  (1791-1868)

Others have reached age 65 in the years between a first nomination and a subsequent nomination.

These men are—

George H.W. Bush—68 when renominated in 1992. Lost to then Governor Clinton  ( 1924- )

Henry Clay—67 at time of final failed attempt in 1844. Lost to James Polk. (1777-1852)

Dwight Eisenhower 66 when winning second term in 1956 . Beat Adlai Stevenson. (1890-1969)

Andrew Jackson—65 for second term win in 1832. Beat Henry Clay. ( 1767-1845)

John Adams—65 in failed 1800 reelection bid. Lost to Thomas Jefferson. (1735-1826)

(Please click here for a list of the best popular vote totals in a Presidential election.)

July 28, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, History, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Should Senator Obama Contest Texas Or Is It A Dry Well?

Should Barack Obama contest Texas?

Senator Obama should strongly contest Texas only if he has a real chance to win Texas.

It takes a lot of money to mount even the appearance of an effort in a big place like Texas.

In 2004, George W. Bush won 61.1% of the Texas vote.

While Mr. Bush was a home state candidate, this number is consistent with Republican statewide majorities in Texas in recent years.

The last time a 60% or higher state flipped parties in one election cycle was Arkansas in 1980.

Jimmy Carter won 65% in Arkansas in 1976. Ronald Reagan carried the state with 48% in 1980.

This had a lot to do with President Carter’s decision to place Cuban refugees in Arkansas and later rioting by these refugees. All that did not sit well with many Arkansans.     

Georgia was 59.8% state for George H.W. Bush in 1988. Bill Clinton won Georgia with 43.5% in 1992 in a three-way race. (Though, contrary to myth, Governor Clinton would have won that race even if Ross Perot had not run.)   

Many Southern states flipped from 60% for Richard Nixon in 1972 to wins for Jimmy Carter in 1976. But that involved a very weak Democratic ticket in 1972, and the unsual, for Democrats, Southern strength of Governor Carter.  

It is hard to see how Mr. Obama wins Texas. Or, should he prove viable in Texas, it will likely mean he has easily won the election elsewhere and Texas is not essential.

As things stand today, Senator Obama might do best to focus his attentions outside of Texas.

Texas is likely a dry well for Barack Obama.

June 18, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Political History, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Alaska In The 2008 Presidential Election—Views, Facts & History

Alaska, though in many ways a creature of the federal government, is a strong Republican state in Presidential elections.

Alaska is very likely to vote Republican again in 2008.

( Above is a section of the Alaska Pipeline. Click here to learn about the Alaska Pipeline.) 

The roads and railroads of Alaska come from the federal government. There is a significant military presence in Alaska and that is the federal government as well.

But Alaskans resent federal restrictions on land use in Alaska and limits on oil drilling in Alaska.

The premise seems to be that 670,000 people occupying 16% of the nation’s land should have full control over the national resources that exist in Alaska. 

Another significant factor in the Republican leanings of Alaska is the libertarian bent of many Alaskans. 

In 1980, Libertarian nominee Ed Clark won 11.7% is Alaska. This is the best statewide showing ever by a Libertarian.

   

It’s not hard to figure that anybody willing to live in a distant place like Alaska is somebody who wants to live as they see fit.

Okay.

But do these folks refuse the money coming from Washington?

Nope–They want the money

(Wouldn’t it be great to get a few hundred thousand of your most screwball friends together and be allowed to select two United States Senators and get billions of dollars of federal money?)   

With only three electoral votes, far away from much else, and almost certain to go Republican, Alaska may not be heard from much in the 2008 Presidential election. 

About Alaska—

2006 Population—671,000, 48th of the 50 states, 68% white, 15% Native, 4% Asian, 4% Hispanic, 3% black. 

Here is basic information and history for Alaska.

Recent Winners—2004 G.W Bush–61%, 2000–G.W Bush 59%, 1996–Dole 51%, 1992–G.H. W. Bush 40%, 1988–G.H.W Bush 60% 

( The first Bush won with only 40% in 1992 because Ross Perot won 28%. Alaska was Mr. Perot’s best state in 1992. It was also Ralph Nader’s best state in 2000. Mr Nader won 10% of the vote.)

Last (And Only) Democrat To Carry Alaska—Lyndon Johnson, 1964. ( 1960 was the first time Alaska voted in a federal election.) 

Presidents From Alaska—None  

Vice Presidents From Alaska—None

Significant Presidential General Election Candidates From Alaska—None

The Alaska Report has a lot of news and perspective on Alaska

Barrow ( Photo below.) is the northernmost town in America. 4,500 people live in Barrow. Click here to learn about this town.

May 20, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, History, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

How Will Alabama Vote In The 2008 Presidential Election—Views, Facts & History

How will Alabama vote in the 2008 Presidential election?

The odds are good that this deeply misguided state will cast its nine electoral votes for the Republican candidate. 

( Above you see a marker with the state motto of Alabama. Make of it what you will.)

It is not for me to give up on people. I don’t have any final call on who can be redeemed and who can not.

But I must say that Alabama is a place I have largely given up on.

This is because of a 2003 statewide referendum in Alabama.

In this vote, the people rejected a proposal by conservative Republican Governor Bob Riley to provide more funding for education, bring about a more equitable state tax scheme, and raise taxes on some people, though not all people, in Alabama. The initiative was also supported by Alabama Democratic Party.

Governor Riley cited a New Testament instruction to “take care of the least among us” as part of the reason he supported this measure.  

The plan was rejected 67% -33%. 

Do you imagine that Alabama has good educational results and a fair tax structure?  

What can you do with such a place? The people made the call about how that want to live and what values they have.

There are many good people in Alabama I am sure. I am sure these folks are tying their best.

Still, Alabama it’s John McCain territory all the way.

For many years Alabama voted Democratic as part of the “Solid South” of former Confederate states.

Alabama switched to supporting Republicans in seeming response to the Civil Rights movement.   

In 2004, whites in Alabama voted 80% 19% for George W. Bush while blacks voted 91%-6% for John Kerry.

It’s a clear and unfair simplification to say all whites who voted for Mr. Bush in Alabama are racist.

Yet the history of this state is there for all to consider.

Here are some basic facts about Alabama in Presidential elections—

2006 Population Of Alabama—4.599 Million, 23rd in population, 70% white, 26% black, 2% Hispanic, 1% Asian.

Here are some basic facts and history about Alabama.  

Recent winners— 2004–G.W. Bush 62%, 2000– G.W. Bush 56%, 1996– Dole 50%, 1992– G.W.H. Bush 48%, 1988– G.W.H. Bush 59%.

Last Democrat To Carry State—Jimmy Carter 1976.  

Last Non-Southern Democrat To Win State-John Kennedy 1960. This was at the end of the days of the Democratic Solid South.

Presidents From Alabama—None. 

Vice Presidents From Alabama—William King. (Above) Served only in 1853 as he died the year he was inaugurated. Vice President King was the running mate of Franklin Pierce.  Mr. King’s profile on the U.S. Senate web page shows a long career in the Senate. He was not a major player, but he saw a lot of history. The profile also hints at what I’ve read elsewhere. That Vice President King was gay and that he was involved with his one-time roommate and future President James Buchanan.     

Candidates For President From Alabama Winning At Least 3% Of The Popular Vote In A General ElectionGeorge Wallace,1968. Governor Wallace won 13% of the vote and carried five Southern states. His third-party states rights campaign is seen by some as a bridge for white Southerners from longtime allegiance to Democrats to the current Republican status quo.  

The house below is part of the de Tonti Historic District in Mobile.

  

May 12, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, History, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 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

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

As G.H.W. Bush Endorses McCain, Here Is Bush’s Poor Record As A Texas Candidate

 

Former President George H.W. Bush has endorsed John McCain for President.

( Story here.  Picture is of Mr. Bush with Dwight Eisenhower.)

Will this endorsement help Senator McCain as he campaigns for the March 4 Texas primary against Mike Huckabee

It can’t be taken as a given.

Polls show Mr. McCain and Mr. Huckabee running close in Texas.   

Let’s look at the electoral record for Mr. Bush in Texas going back to 1964.     

In the 1964 Republican primary for the U.S. Senate nomination to run against the great liberal Ralph Yarborough, George Bush needed a run off to win the nomination. He took 44% in the three candidate first round. 

In the 1964 General Election, Senator Yarborough beat Mr. Bush 56%-44%. This even though John Tower had already claimed the other Texas Senate seat for Republicans.

In 1970, Mr. Bush was again the Republican nominee for the Senate. He lost this race to Lloyd Bentsen 54%-46%.

Mr. Bush was next on the Texas ballot in the 1980 Republican primary. Ronald Reagan won 51%-47%.

At the top of the ticket, Mr. Bush did win Texas in 1988 and 1992. Though in 1992 he won his home state with only 40% of the vote against Bill Clinton and Ross Perot. This was the worst showing for a Republican presidential candidate in Texas since 1968. 

In 1992, President Bush finished third in his other home state of Maine. Maine is where the Bush family keeps a second home. Mr. Perot, as well as Mr. Clinton, beat Mr. Bush in Maine in 1992.

The last major party nominee to finish third or worse in a state had been Harry Truman in Alabama in 1948. Though this was because Mr. Truman was not even on the Alabama ballot that year as the forces of Dixiecrat Candidate Strom Trurmond had taken over the Alabama Democratic Party. 

Will Mr. Bush’s endorsement help Mr. McCain in Texas or with conservatives?  

Well, based on these facts and on his lousy 37% national showing as a reelection candidate in 1992, it does not seem that to know Mr. Bush as a public figure is to have have full regard for his views. 

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

February 18, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Political History, Politics, Texas, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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

Texas Liberal Super Tuesday Live Blogging–Still Worth Reading Even Though The Day Is Done

Texas Liberal Live Blogging Of Super Tuesday Is Up & Running—(And Now That The Day Is Done, It Is Still Worth Reading!)   

Huckabee Wins W.V.—-6:00 PM 

Mike Huckabee got his Super Tuesday started right by winning the West Virgina Republican convention. He takes all 18 delegates from West Virginia.

What a shock that Republicans have winner take all primaries and conventions!

West Virginia was one the most Democratic states until George W. Bush won it in 2000 and 2004. It seems 71% of West Virginians live in a gun-owning household. I wonder if gun ownership entitles those folks to health insurance? 

John Kennedy’s 1960 primary win in West Virgina over Hubert Humphrey proved a Catholic could win an overwhelmingly Protestant state.    

Obama Takes Georgia—6:00 PM

Barack Obama has been called as the winner of the Georgia Democratic primary.

Georgia is 29% black. This means the Democratic electorate in Georgia has many blacks.

President Bush won Georgia with 58% in 2004. That means Georgia whites vote strongly Republican.

If Mr. Obama is nominated, by how much will Southern black turnout increase? Will Southern whites be open to a black candidate? CNN says Mr. Obama won 40% of the white vote in Georgia. But a Democratic primary is different from a General Election. 

Wrong To Bribe Voters, But Okay To Give Them Alcohol—6:15 PM 

Today I was reading America’s Three Regimes—A New Political History by Morton Keller.  

Here is what this book says about 18th Century Southern elections—

“…there was much treating of voters to drinks on Election Day—“swilling the planters with bumbo”—just as in English towns. But there appears to have been little overt vote buying of the sort common in 18th century English parliamentary elections.”

Seems like progress. I would not refuse a drink at the polls.

McCain Best In Connecticut—7:00 PM

John McCain has won Connecticut.

Mr. McCain had the endorsement of Connecticut Senator Joe Liberman. Mr. Liberman’s endorsement might help Mr. McCain with so-called “Independent” voters in November. It seems less clear this endorsement will help with the more conservative voters Mr. McCain is struggling to win.  

Unlike G.W.H Bush In 1980, Romney & Obama Win Home States—7:17 PM

Mitt Romney has won his home state of Massachusetts and Barack Obama has won his home state of Illinois.

It’s reassuring to win your home state

The first George Bush lost his home state of Texas to Ronald Reagan in the 1980 Texas Republican primary. The margin was 51–47%. 

Hillary Clinton Projected In Oklahoma–Oklahoma 2nd Best State For Socialist Eugene Debs In 1912—7:25 PM

Hillary Clinton is the projected winner in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma is one state Democrats will be avoiding in the general election campaign. President Bush won the Sooner State 60-38 in 2000 and 66-34 in 2004.

Oklahoma voters were not always so misguided. The great Socialist Eugene V. Debs won 16.4% of the Oklahoma vote for President in 1912. Nevada was the best Debs’ state that year. His national total was 6%. 

I have faith in the people of Oklahoma and I know they will wake up someday soon. 

McCain Winner In Tiny Delaware—He Could Be A Threat In Some Northeastern & Middle Atlantic States—7:50 PM

John McCain has won Delaware. This goes with wins already tonight in Connecticut and New Jersey. All three of these Atlantic seaboard states have voted for Democrats for President in recent elections.

If there is any Republican who could make a run at these places next fall it would be Mr. McCain.

Delaware was the only state to vote for the winner in every Presidential election between 1952 and 1996.  In 2000 and 2004 Democrats carried Delaware. 

Italy Moves Towards Elections—Rest Of The World Continues To Exist– 8:15PM

The center left government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi has lost its governing majority and an election seems likely within the next two months. Regretfully, conservative Silvio Berlusconi may return yet again as Prime Minister. Based on the last few Italian elections, it will be close.

No matter how focused we are on ourselves, the rest of the world still exists.   

Obama Is Alabama Winner–2nd Black Man To Win That Primary— 8:35 PM

Between 1932 and 1944, Franklin Roosevelt won at least 81% of the vote in the one-party Solid South state of Alabama.

In 1948, after Harry Truman desegregated the army, Strom Thurmond, running on a States Rights ticket, won 80% of the vote.

Now Barack Obama has won the Alabama Democratic primary. He is in fact the second black man to do so. Jesse Jackson won it in 1988.  

Obama Winner In Kansas—Governor There Possible VP, But She Most Likely Could Not Deliver Her State—9:24PM

Senator Obama has won Kansas. That state’s governor, Kathleen Sebelius, has been out working for Mr. Obama and has been mentioned as a possible running mate. But Kansas is so Republican that I don’t think she deliver Kansas on Election Day.

That would be just as John Edwards did not help in North Carolina in 2004, or Lloyd Bentsen did not help Democrats in Texas in 1988.

With the Electoral College map so tight, a potential running mate needs to be able to put a state in play. Kansas is not such a state for Democrats.

Romney says losing is “fun and exciting.”—9:38PM

Well, he did say “fun and exciting” and he was referencing the campaign—But I am paraphrasing to a degree. Romney said he is going to stay in the race past tonight. 

Governor Romney’s father, former Governor George Romney of Michigan, won exactly 3,830 Republican primary votes when he ran for President in 1968. So there is at least one threshold the son has surpassed.    

Obama First In Minnesota Caucus—I Think Paul Wellstone Would Have Been Pleased—10:09 PM

I can’t know for a fact, but I think the great liberal Paul Wellstone of Minnesota would have taken to the campaign of Senator Obama. Here is the link to Wellstone Action! They do a lot of good work for the liberal and progressive side of the debate. 

McCain Makes Lousy Surrender Comment—10:30 PM

I had the misfortune of watching Senator McCain on CNN today. He was saying that Democrats who favored a times withdrawal from Iraq were advocating “surrender.”

What does “surrender”mean here? Does Senator McCain think that Democrats advocate American troops in Iraq turning over their weapons to the militants and asking for mercy? That’s what surrender is.

Would a real man of honor make such a comment? No Democrat supports any type of surrender.      

Huckabee Somewhere Between George W. Bush and Pat Robertson–11:00 PM

Mike Huckabee has won Georgia, Arkansas, West Virginia and Alabama this evening. He says he is in the race to stay.

Governor Huckabee has the string support of Evangelical Christians. Evangelicals played a large role in the nomination of George W. Bush in 2000. But Bush also had the support of low-tax conservatives and the Republican establishment. Governor Huckabee is no George Bush.

On the other hand, he is more of a candidate than was Pat Robertson in 1988. Mr. Robertson never won a primary and as a “message candidate” won only 9% of primary voters. Running the same year on the other side, Jesse Jackson won 29% of Democratic primary voters. 

So Mr. Huckabee is more than Pat Robertson was in 1988–Though that will not be nearly enough.

McCain in California And Missouri– Can Schwarzenegger Make McCain Viable In California This Fall? 11:36 PM 

All night we’ve been hearing McCain had not made the knock-out punch. Well, it seems to me he at least has everybody else on the ropes pretty good. These two late night wins are most helpful to Mr. McCain.

An even bigger question than who will win the California primary tonight, will be is the more moderate Westerner McCain viable in California in November. You can bet that subject is already on the Republican radar. Just forcing the Democratic nominee to campaign in California this fall will be a Republican victory.

I’m certain McCain supporter Arnold Schwarzenegger is already thinking it out. (While his wife Maria Shriver will no doubt continue her work for Senator Obama.)   

Signing Off With Obama’s Alaska Win—The Race Now Moves On Texas, Ohio & Other Points–12:08 AM

Barack Obama is the winner is Alaska.

  

The race now moves on to Texas, Ohio, and other points.

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

February 6, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Books, Campaign 2008, History, Political History, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 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