Former Sen. George McGovern (D-SD) died this morning. You are supposed to speak kindly of the departed, and McGovern did have an admirable record in World War II. However, during his 18 years in the Senate he represented the worst of the radical left, and always advocated unilateral disarmament.
He does deserve credit for admitting some of his mistakes. His Stratford Inn in Connecticut went bankrupt in 1991 primarily because of excessive government regulations.
McGovern said he understood why people did not like him, and wished he had run a business before he began legislating on things that affected them. He wrote: “After two and a half years with the loss of all my earnings from nearly a decade of post-Senate lecture tours, I gave up on the Stratford Inn. But not before learning some painful and valuable lessons.
“I learned first of all that over the past 20 years America has become the most litigious society in the world. Today Americans sue one another at the drop of a hat — almost on the spur of the moment.”
He said we need to “cut down vastly on the incredible paperwork, the complicated tax forms, the number of minute regulations, and the seemingly endless reporting requirements that afflict American business. Many businesses, especially small independents such as the Stratford Inn, simply can’t pass such costs on to their customers and remain competitive or profitable.
“If I were back in the U.S. Senate or in the White House, I would ask a lot of questions before I voted for any more burdens on the thousands of struggling businesses across the nation.”
Three years ago McGovern again broke with the left when he came out in opposition to the union card check legislation.
April 22nd 1865: The funeral procession for President Abraham Lincoln at Sixth and Chestnut streets in Philadelphia. The catafalque is followed by a crowd of mourners congesting the street and sidewalk. Soldiers are seen holding back the crowd. A recruitment poster advertising enlistment salaries for “Maj. Gen. Hancock’s Army Corps,” adorns a storefront.
Secretary of War Edwin Stanton was at Lincoln’s deathbed in the Petersen house at 7:22 am on April 15th when the doctor said “He is gone.” A minister said a prayer and Stanton was the first to reply, “Now he belongs to the ages,” and lamented “There lies the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen.”
The funeral of former Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), 82, was yesterday, and for 29 years he was one of the vanishing breed of liberal Republicans. Specter left the GOP after the stimulus vote when his own poll indicated he would lose a Republican primary. He should have known better when he cut a deal with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
Reid promised to maintain Specter’s seniority but it never happened. Specter was put on the bottom of all four of his committees when he became a Democrat.
When Specter switched, there were many articles indicating this signaled the end for Pennsylvania Republicans. Fortunately they were wrong. In 2010, the GOP recaptured Specter’s seat, the Governorship and five Congressional Districts.
This September 1980 photo was from a very unusual campaign. It was one of the few times a Democrat ran to the right of the Republican. Specter’s opponent was former Pittsburgh Mayor Pete Flaherty, who had switched from Republican to Democrat, while Specter had switched from Democrat to Republican.
Flaherty had been elected Mayor after criticizing the Democrats unbalanced budget. He attacked labor unions, opposed busing, balanced the budget and was to the right of Specter on social issues. Flaherty cut the city’s payroll from over 7,000 to less than 5,000, and repeatedly cut property and wage taxes.
We know Specter’s vote was needed to ensure the first GOP Senate majority since 1954, but we do wish there more fiscally conservative Democrats like Flaherty.
This cartoon is from 2007 but the point is still valid. Clement Vallandigham (D-OH) was a Member of Congress (1858-1862) and the leader of the pro-South “Copperhead Democrats.” He was the 1864 Ohio Democratic gubernatorial nominee even though he was living in exile in the South.
Vallandigham said the United States under Abraham Lincoln was “the worst despotism on earth,” and he sought the intervention of a foreign power to help the Confederacy. He urged young men not to enlist in the Union Army and attacked “King Lincoln” for waging a war to liberate blacks.
In Illinois the Democratic majority in the state legislature urged Lincoln to withdraw the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves. Indiana’s Democratic majority in the legislature had the same opinion, and they came close to taking over the state militia so it could withdraw from the Civil War.
They presented a serious challenge to the first GOP president, and Lincoln referred to them as “the fire in the rear.” Vallandigham was convicted of treason but was pardoned by Lincoln. He died at age 50 after accidentally shooting himself.
Today we learned economic growth was 2% and 1.5% during the first and second quarters of this year. It made us think of 1992 when the de-facto slogan for Bill Clinton’s campaign was about the economy. Despite a historic record approval rating of 90% for President George H.W. Bush after the 1991 Gulf War victory, within 18 months, it would drop by 60 percentage points.
The economy was clearly improving in 1992 but Americans still remembered the 1990/1991 recession which was mild compared to Obama’s first year. 64% of Americans disapproved of Bush’s job performance in August 1992.
Compared to Obama’s 1.75% for the first six months of 2012, the real GDP for all of 1992 grew 3.4%. This exceeded the average annual growth rate durng Clinton’s first term.
Bush’s average annual increase in jobs did not come close to matching Reagan’s level, but it was far better than Obama.
Because of the economy, Bush was defeated for re-election and received only 38% of the vote.
Over 70 million people have been infected with HIV-AIDS, but only one has been cured. Thanks in large part to the generosity of the United States, over 8 million people world wide are now on life saving antiretroviral therapy.
1.7 million people died of an AIDS related illness last year. The International AIDS Society Conference is in Washington this week for the first time in 22 years, and Laura Bush will be speaking to the gathering.
AIDS prevention is a major focus for rockstar Elton John. He says the president who did the most for AIDS victims was George W. Bush: “He was an amazingly informed about AIDS. I had so much respect for him, especially when the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was announced when he gave $15 billion to AIDS.
“He knew what he was talking about. One of the old adages in life is never judge someone until you meet them. I didn’t like his policies but I have to say when I met him, I found him well informed and determined to do something about the AIDS situation so I changed my opinion of him. I learned a lesson.”
The Bush initiative was largest amount of funding by any nation to fight a single disease. The major issue facing prevention efforts today is not a lack of technology or funding, but the social stigma associated with HIV, which deters individuals from accessing both education and treatment programs.
Bush was well known for his Freedom Agenda and says “One aspect of freedom is for people to be free from disease.” He has made three trips to Africa since leaving office.
Why weren’t even more jobs created during the Bush years? Because we were at full employment for 5.5 years. John Merline of Investor’s Business Daily says “A key attack line in President Obama’s campaign stump speech these days is to claim that the country has tried Mitt Romney’s economic policies already, and they were a dismal failure. ‘The truth is,’ Obama says, ‘we tried (that) for almost a decade, and it didn’t work.’ . . .
“The month after Bush signed that 2003 law, jobs and the economy finally started growing again. From June 2003 to December 2007, the economy added 8.1 million jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“The unemployment rate fell to 5% from 6.3%. Real GDP growth averaged close to 3% in the four-plus years after that, and the budget deficit fell steadily from 2004 to 2007.
“What’s more, the rich ended up paying a larger chunk of the federal income tax burden after Bush’s tax cuts went into effect. . . Obama is correct that the country has tried a combination of deregulation and tax cuts before. That took place under President Reagan.
“Reagan aggressively deregulated entire industries, while putting the brakes on new federal rules. As a result, regulatory compliance costs fell 8% during his time in office, and staffing dropped almost 7%. At the same time, Reagan’s tax cuts knocked taxes as a share of GDP down by 6%.
“The result was an almost eight-year economic boom in which real quarterly GDP growth averaged 4.3%. That’s nearly double the average growth rate Obama’s economic policies produced during the 3-year-old recovery.”
On this date in 1969, a car driven by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) plunged off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island near Martha’s Vineyard. Kennedy’s 28 year old passenger Mary Jo Kopechne died by drowning.
The Senator waited 10 hours before reporting the accident, but was never able to give a convincing explanation of his strange behavior. His license was suspended for six months. At the time of the incident, Kennedy was the nation’s most prominent potential Democratic presidential candidate.
If it had not happened, he may have still passed on a 1972 campaign against President Richard Nixon. He was only 40 that year. 1976 would have been a more realistic time for him, and it was an excellent year for Democrats.
When he did try to deny Jimmy Carter’s 1980 renomination, the Chappaquiddick incident haunted him and helped destroyed his chances. Writing in his book “True Compass,” which was published a week after his death, Kennedy described his actions as “inexcusable” and said that at the time he was afraid, overwhelmed “and made terrible decisions.”
Kennedy said he had to live with the guilt of his actions for four decades but that Miss Kopechne’s family had to endure far worse. “Atonement is a process that never ends,” he wrote.
The news media was relatively easy on Kennedy in 1969, and he was not forced to answer many difficult questions. That would not be allowed today. Kennedy’s popularity obviously declined, but even after Chappaquiddick, he still had a 58% approval rating in 1969, and was easily reelected in 1970
The Democratic convention in Charlotte will be held during the week of September 3, and the President is expected to receive the traditional bounce in the polls. Conservatives should not panic.
On July 26, 1988, the Gallup Poll for Newsweek was published. It was Gov. Michael Dukakis (D-MA) 55% vs. Vice President George H.W. Bush 38%. This was the first survey after the Democratic convention. Before the convention Dukakis was leading 47% to 41%, and this would be his peak.
Bush would carry 40 states, and was the last Republican to win many “blue states” that favor the Democratic Party. These states were Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois and California.
His victory percentage, 53.4%, has not yet been surpassed in any subsequent presidential election, and he was the last candidate to get a majority of the popular vote until his son’s 2004 election. This was also the last election in which a Republican nominee won a majority of Northern electoral votes.
In 1984, Walter Mondale’s (D-MN) standing rose 12 points after the Democratic convention that year, but the improved performance dissipated within ten days.
WHO WILL IT BE? Today’s New York Times is claiming the Romney vice presidential choice may be announced this week. Reporter Jeff Zeleny says, “Romney has reached a decision, his friends believe, and he may disclose it as soon as this week.”
Zeleny believes former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) is the frontrunner with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) as the backup.
Jim Geraghty of National Review says the best way to get a scoop on Romney’s decision is to watch his campaign plane.
Geraghty remind us that John Kerry’s 2004 selection of then Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) was broken by the U.S. Aviation Network website. Their members made the announcement after witnessing the repainting of the Kerry aircraft.