WITNESS TO HISTORY: Lola Aiken Turns 100


There are several events this weekend to mark the 100th birthday of Lola Aiken on Sunday. She is the widow of the late Governor and Senator George Aiken (R-VT), and was his Chief of Staff for 30 years before their June 1967 wedding. She kept her job after the wedding but was no longer on the payroll.
He was 20 years older and they married after his first wife died. The Senator was often described as a man of few words, but that has never been true of his second wife, who was a major political power in her day.
In October 1974, just two months after he assumed office, President Gerald Ford was the guest speaker at “George Aiken Day” in Burlington. The President acknowledged her influence by saying “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.”
In March of this year she sat in the State Senate balcony as they passed a resolution noting Sunday’s milestone:
“And whereas the members of the legislature wish to pay special tribute to a most endearing and gracious Vermonter whose life has been of historic magnitude.”
They were not exaggerating. Aiken was Governor for four years (1936 to 1940) and then served 34 years in the U.S. Senate (1940 to 1974). His last re-election was 1968 when his total campaign spending amounted to $17.04, enough to pay the postage for mailing in his petitions. She says “He didn’t break his neck to get people to know him.”
The faculty at the state university ranks him as the most influential Vermonter of the 20th century. Senator Aiken died in 1984 at age 92.
He was a moderate Republican who was a fiscal conservative but liberal on social issues. He was pro-abortion before Roe v. Wade. The terms hawk and dove were frequently used during the Vietnam era when the Senator was described as a “wise old owl.”
She has obviously seen many major changes. When she started working for him in the late 1930s there were almost 12,000 dairy farms in Vermont, but they have been reduced to just 900 today.
Vermont was then one of the top five GOP states in the nation. It was one of only two states to vote Republican during the 1936 Roosevelt landslide. Today Vermont is one of the top five Democratic states.
There was no real Democratic Party in Vermont until the 1960s, and to enter politics during Aiken’s formative years, you had to be a Republican.
Democrats controlled the Senate for 30 of Aiken’s 34 years on Capitol Hill, but he was regarded as one of the most powerful and influential lawmakers. A major reason was that everyone knew his best friend was Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-MT).
Lola Aiken said her husband’s friendship with Mansfield was based on comfort and trust: “They could talk to one another about anything, and they never revealed what they talked about. It was wonderful to be around them because they were not trying to get people to notice them.”
Mansfield and Aiken had breakfast every day and went on many trips together. Mansfield’s biographer says Aiken was his only true friend.
The moderate wing of the GOP was far more powerful in those days, and she says “things were not as partisan and there were far fewer single-issue groups”.
She has continued to serve as Honorary Chairman of numerous GOP campaign committees.
Lola and George Aiken were definitely moderates, but they were always loyal Republicans. Aiken opposed the 1964 nomination of Barry Goldwater in the primaries, but he always supported the GOP ticket in the fall.
When veteran Sen. James Jeffords (VT) left the GOP in 2002, Lola told the Rutland Herald he had made a major mistake. She said no provocation would have forced Mr. Aiken to leave the GOP.
She remembers being in the White House when FDR was President and seeing Harry Truman cry soon after he took office. Her stories about Eisenhower reveal he was never a politician.
She says “John F. Kennedy was not the forceful type. He was popular and amiable, but he was not a driver of legislation. Johnson was the operator, and got things done.”
Lola recalls how Aiken was one of just three Senators who were at Andrews Air Force Base when Kennedy’s body arrived from Dallas.
Aiken was also one of the few lawmakers who were invited to the Oval Office after the Gulf of Tonkin attack. Unlike today, none of them spoke to the news media.
She was married to a legendary statesman, but Lola Aiken had a successful and important career in her own right. She was a witness to history and she made a difference.

Stand Up For the USA and Add our Newest Champion to Your Friends List



Tom Salmon (R-VT) did his part defending us in Iraq, and now you should do yours. Add him to your list and let your friends know the importance of his crucial campaign which could easily determine control of the United States Senate, http://www.facebook.com/thomas.m.salmon

The battle is in Vermont but the outcome will significantly impact your home town and your children. Salmon has been elected to three terms as State Auditor and is the son of a former Governor. He today became the GOP’s top 2012 man in the arena. Salmon responded to numerous national pleas and has just filed an exploratory committee to challenge the re-election of the first socialist U.S. Senator in American history.

Conservatives often accuse President Obama and former Speaker Pelosi of advocating a welfare state, but they deny it. On the other hand, Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) openly says that is his goal.  Even though America is at war, the Senator still wants to cut the Pentagon in half.  He frequently praises Fidel Castro’s Cuba, and believes ObamaCare is far too conservative.

He wants to begin with a Canadian-style single-payer health care system, but his real objective is Cuban health care.  Sanders runs as an independent but caucuses with the Democrats, and blames America for every problem in the world.

Salmon wants to go the Senate because “America’s decades long spending binge has reached a tipping point. As an auditor and accountant, I understand that our economic survival is threatened by the massive deficits and debt we are accumulating.” Salmon, 47, is giving up his safe statewide office because the nation needs him.

As the father of four children he didn’t have to go to Baghdad, but he knew the importance of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2010, few people thought conservatives could defeat the worst lawmaker in the U.S. Senate, but now Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) has been retired. Sanders is now the new “worst of the worst.”

Republicans came within one percent of winning the Vermont governorship last November, but this will be a difficult campaign. In 2008, Vermont was the second-bluest state in the nation, giving Obama a 37-point victory. Only Hawaii, the president’s birthplace, saw a bigger margin. In his first Senate campaign in 2006, Sanders raised $5.5 million and defeated Rich Tarrant (R) by a 65-33 margin.

Six years ago Sanders won by emphasizing his opposition to the Iraq war and his pledge not to touch entitlement programs. Now the deficit is a top issue, and even liberals are backing away from Sanders overt socialism. The Senator will also have a difficult time hiding his extremism.

A chart of key national security issues shows the GOP’s Salmon is in agreement with the Bush and Obama policies regarding the war on terror, while Sanders is in complete opposition. Sanders always advocates massive tax increases, which are essential for the establishment of a welfare state. When President Obama agreed to extend the Bush era tax cuts, Sanders launched a one man eight hour filibuster.

Sanders is a master practitioner of class warfare. The focal point of his office is an engraved portrait of Eugene Debs, who was on the ballot in five elections as the Socialist Party’s presidential candidate. The Senator is a former Mayor of Burlington, and served 16 years in the House of Representatives where he was founder of the Progressive Caucus. Sanders says he is socialist rather than a liberal because, “I want to see a more egalitarian society. . . People realize there is a lot to be learned from the democratic socialist models in northern Europe.”

The Senator’s rhetoric is truly monotonous. For two decades on Capitol Hill he has blamed practically every problem on “big business and the wealthy”. The following descriptions are from Sanders most recent fundraising letter: “big money corporate interests, right wing organizations, right-wing reactionaries, the right wing, right-wing Republicans, corporate interests, Republican operatives, big money interests, the right-wing media, reactionary world view, extreme right-wing commentators, the right wing, an extreme right wing, large corporations, the rich, and Wall Street billionaire.”

Sanders standard answer to many of our nation’s problems is protectionism and state ownership of major enterprises. He believes the path to prosperity is by restraining businesses and dismantling free trade.

Even the radical left is getting tired of Sanders. Barney Frank says “Bernie alienates his natural allies. His holier-than-thou attitude — saying in a very loud voice he is smarter than everyone else and purer than everyone else — really undercuts his effectiveness.” The late Rep. Joe Moakley (D-MA), another staunch liberal, spoke for many in saying Sanders “is out there wailing on his own. He screams and hollers, but he is all alone.”

We cannot let Tom Salmon be all alone, please add him to your friends list:http://www.facebook.com/thomas.m.salmon

Democratic Caucus Rejects Minor Spending Cuts: "We Have Got to Stop This Insanity Now" by Congressman John Adler (D-NJ)

Editorial Note: Freshman Congressman John Adler (D-NJ) and three of his colleagues were rebuked yesterday by a unanimous vote in the House Democratic Caucus. Adler was joined by Reps. Gary Peters (D-MI), Jim Himes (D-CT) and Peter Welch (D-VT) and they were seeking to eliminate $1.4 billion in spending which had been placed on top of President Obama’s budget request. Continue reading

Why We Need to Kill The Death Tax

Whitemarsh Hall outside of Philadelphia was constructed in 1921 by J.P. Morgan's partner, Edward T. Stotesbury. It was then America's fifth largest home, and his other residences were "El Mirasol," the first Spanish style mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, and Wingwood House, his 80 room “cottage” in Bar Harbor, Maine. Stotesbury's 150 servants rotated between various residences and maintained his private railroad car, yacht and fleet of luxury automobiles. Whitemarsh Hall was over 100,000 square feet, and it had 147 rooms, 24 fireplaces, three elevators with access to six different levels (three below, three above), a movie theater, barber shop and wine cellar that remained fully stocked through out Prohibition.

The death tax is now back on top of the legislative agenda. As part of George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut, the estate tax was reduced gradually and this year it is zero. The death duties will go back into effect next January unless Congress acts, and the old 55% rate will return. Continue reading