Brookings Institution: Governance Studies- Molly Reynolds: Limitations of The Senate Filibuster

The U.S. Capitol dome in Washington

Source: Brookings Institution 

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Warning! This article is only for truly hard-core political and Congressional junkies and people who haven’t slept in days and need to fall asleep real quick. Great bedtime reading for your hard-core insomniacs. Because this is not just about Congress, but the Senate in particular and not just the Senate, but Senate rules and not just Senate rules, but a rule called the filibuster. One of those inside Washington words that people from outside of the beltway might think is from a different language. Let alone able to explain what that word is and what it means.

For people who need to fall asleep real quick I’ll give you a little background and history about the Senate filibuster to explain the current limitations of it today and for those people who see this they might be able to sleep for weeks after reading this.

Before then Senate Leader Harry Read and about 52 or so of his Senate Democratic colleagues nuked the filibuster as it has to do with executive nominations and judicial nominations in the fall of 2013 in the 113th Congress. The Senate Minority Leader (the person who leads the minority party in the Senate) and his party colleagues in the Senate could block almost every piece of legislation on their own. If they had at least 41 seats and votes in the Senate.

The only exceptions having to with the budget and what’s called reconciliation. Which is a Congressional term that has to do with the budget. Meaning that any bill that has to do with spending tax dollars like tax cuts and reforms and expansions of entitlement programs like Medicare, would only need 51 votes including the Vice President to break a tie to pass the Senate. Now for someone who is a Congressional junky like myself and loves studying and reading about Congress especially the history of it, the Senate filibuster and Senate rules in general are fascinating to me and learning any information about it like that would make me so charge up it might keep me awake until the next solar eclipse. But for your average insomniac this kind of material might send them into a coma.

Thanks to former Senate Leader Harry Reid and his Senate Democratic colleagues in the Senate, the majority party only needs 51 votes to not only move to voting on presidential nominations for both the executive and judiciary, but for final passage on those nominations. During the spring this year Senate Democrats lead by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, blocked President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch with the filibuster rule. I think Senate Joe Manchin, Senate Joe Donnelly, and Senate Heidi Heitkamp, were the only three Senate Democrats who voted to cut off any filibuster of then Judge Gorsuch.

And when Senate Democrats blocked Gorsuch, current Senate Leader Mitch McConnell moved to eliminate all filibusters of Supreme Court nominees which passed on a party-line vote. Which means almost everyone in one party votes one way and almost everyone in the other party votes the other way. Not people standing in line to go to some party.

So under current Senate rules the majority party can only eliminate filibusters on legislation if they have 60 votes. Meaning they either have 60 seats in the Senate (which rarely happens) or they get a compromise with the minority party generally the Minority Leader or the minority manager of the bill that is on the floor. And that compromise leads to at least enough minority members of the Senate to cut off any potential filibuster of the current bill.

Or to get back to that crazy arcane word of reconciliation and the Senate majority party brings up some legislation that has to do with the budget. Something that they want as part of the budget that has to be passed that year. And if they’re able to do that they pass tax dollar related legislation with just 51 votes including the Vice President of the United States.

But even reconciliation has it’s limits because that rule has to be passed first and the time for that is limited if a budget is not passed during that year in Congress, then bills can only be passed through reconciliation through September. And then if a budget is still not passed every piece of legislation that is considered in the Senate is subjected to the cloture rule (meaning the filibuster) and needs 60 votes to pass for the rest of that year. Which means again unless the Senate majority party has 60 seats (which rarely happens) the majority party needs cooperation and votes from the minority party to move legislation in the Senate.

I hope these explanations of the Senate filibuster and it’s usage and limitations help people who are interested in learning about Congress, especially the upper chamber which is the Senate. Or at the very least helps people who are in badly need of sleep finally get the sleep that they deserve.

I realize reading about Congressional rules or perhaps reading about anything outside of new technology and celeb culture especially in today’s world reality TV world and overdose of celebrity culture and smartphones which of course is far more important (to too many people) can seem intrusive and time consuming. And reading about how legislation that affects over three-hundred-million Americans as far as what laws we have to do live under and will our civil liberties, property rights, civil rights, will be protected or expanded. Will any of our relatives be sent to war, how much we’re going to have to pay in taxes, or in interest on the national debt and budget deficit. Just to show some examples of how Congress and the Federal Government in general can and does affect our lives.

But it’s worth learning and knowing about any institution in America that can have that much power over how any of us live in America. Because we all pay for the government that we get whether we think that government is interesting and worth our time knowing about it or not. Whether we like it or not.

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Source: Discerning History

Discerning History: History of The Filibuster

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BBC: 1999 Jayne Mansfield Documentary

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Source: BBC- Jayne Mansfield

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

I guess in one way Jayne Mansfield was a great actress and not just a great comedic actress and comedian, but a real great actress at least in the sense that she had so many people fooled. She wanted to be seen as the dumb blonde who needed her hot adorable sexy image to pay her bills. But in actuality she always knew what she was doing. An intelligent woman who wanted to be viewed as a bimbo and was such a great actress that she pulled that off. She had people thinking she was exactly as she came off which was as a bimbo.

Marilyn Monroe had the famous quote that it takes a smart woman to play the dumb blonde. Well that was Jayne Mansfield, the smart woman who played the dumb blonde. She knew what Hollywood was and how she could be successful in it and played her talents to the hilt. A hot adorable woman with a great body, but who also had a great sense of humor and comedic timing, who was also an accomplished singer. But knew exactly what people in Hollywood and what the fans noticed first and what they wanted.

Which was to see hot this adorable woman with the great curve appeal and then you add to that which was she was a great entertainer. Someone who should exchange wisecracks with funny people like Tom Ewell, Edmond O’Brien, Merv Griffin, Jack Benny, Cary Grant, and many others. She was better than Marilyn Monroe at least in this sense that Jayne knew she was really good and had made it and deserved what she accomplished. Unlike Marilyn who was battling mental illness and depression and was heavily medicated for a lot of her adult life and had even attempted suicide and been committed at one point.

Jayne had a plan from day one and knew what she needed to do to make it in Hollywood. But unfortunately Jayne Mansfield falls in the class of what could’ve happened if only and ends up dying at 34 in 1967 because of a car crash where she wasn’t even driving because her and her crew were in a big hurry to meet a big appointment that they had in New Orleans the next morning.

By the time Jayne died in 1967 she was woking the nightclub circuit as a singer because her Hollywood career at burned out because the major studios no longer wanted to work with her. Jayne mentally in many ways was just as adorable as she was physically. She came off a little girl both physically and personally. And was fairly immature and developed bad habits like drinking heavily and not able to take criticism very well and work to expand her image so she could get better and bigger parts. Which is why she fell out of Hollywood and down to the nightclub circuit just to pay the bills and keep working.

BBC: 1999 Jayne Mansfield Documentary

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The Baseline Scenario: Opinion- James Kwak- The Importance of Fairness: A New Economic Vision For The Democratic Party

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Source: James Parks- Congressional Democrats

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

Economic fairness and social justice even is a good debate in the Democratic Party and it seems to becoming from two wings in it.

From the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren social democratic wing that believes the problem with the American economy is that rich people have too much money and everyone else simply struggles just to survive and in many cases can’t survive on their own and in some cases don’t even have a job. And are complete dependent on public assistance for their survival. Well, they’re half right about too many Americans simply not having enough in society to live well. And argue that what we should be doing is taking from the rich in high taxes to support the middle class and poor with bigger current Federal social insurance programs and new social insurance programs for the middle class and poor.

And then you have this Cory Booker/Martin O’Malley wing that believes there are too many Americans who struggle and there should be something done about it, but it becomes a question about what should be done. The Center-Left liberal wing of the party that’s still in existent today that John F. Kennedy and many other Democrats did a lot to build don’t take a class warfare approach. And blame rich people for everyone else’s struggles in life. And say the problem is not that there rich people in America but the problem is that there aren’t enough successful people in America. You have very few at the very top. And then you have a lot of Americans who struggle to get by but generally do. And then you have a lot of people at the bottom who simply live in poverty.

I come down with Center-Left of the Democratic Party. If we want to remain a major political party in America we’re going to need to connect to more blue-collar Americans particularly in the Midwest who believe and in many cases are accurate in this belief that they’re already taxed too high. And aren’t looking for more government welfare but instead for an opportunity for them to do well in America. For good jobs and more economic development to return to their communities. Government even the Federal Government can help in seeing that these things happen with more and better infrastructure investment in these communities. Including inner cities and underdeveloped rural communities. As well as tax credits to increase job training and education for adults who simply don’t have enough education to get a good job right now even if the new economic development happens in their communities.

But at the end of the day if you want more economic and job growth, you want wages to increase in America, an expanding workforce where most of the jobs that are created are good middle class full-time jobs instead of part-time jobs and you want less poverty in America, then Americans have to continue to be encouraged to do well in America. And that means not taxing everyone so high including the wealthy to the point that they’re wondering why are they working so hard and being so productive when Uncle Sam just takes most of their money from them in taxes and gives it people who aren’t doing well economically.

If you want a definition for economic fairness, I’ll give you one anyway but the same definition for economic fairness is the same definition I have for social justice. And it’s about equality of opportunity. That every American has a quality opportunity to do well in life no matter their race, ethnicity or gender, or where they’re born and how they start off in life. That every kid in America has an opportunity to go to a good school no matter where they live. And aren’t sent to school based on where they live, but instead sent to school based on what’s the best school for them.

And even for adults who didn’t take advantage of that opportunity to go to a good school as a kid and are now a low-skilled adult working multiple jobs and still living in poverty or perhaps not working at all and completely dependent on public assistance, that they are given the opportunity to finish and further their education so they can get themselves a good job and do well in life as well.

The same economic debate in the Democratic Party about what our vision should be what type of party we should be on economic policy I believe gets down to one question. Do we as Democrats believe in equality of opportunity which is where the Democratic Leadership is where every American as an opportunity to do well in life, but what they make of that opportunity is completely up to them. Or are we going to become a party that believes in equality of results which is what Sweden essentially practices as a country. Where the national government essentially collects all the resources of the country and then gives them back equally to everyone in the country in the form of welfare state payments.

Again I come down with the Center-Left wing of the party and I’ll paraphrase Senator Cory Booker here and say we should be a country where we all rise. Where everyone has a quality opportunity to do well in America. But how they do will be based on those quality opportunities. The old cliche that you make the bed that you sleep in. And for people who take advantage of those opportunities those Americans will do very well in America. And get to live of their production and enjoy the fruits of their labor even if they’re very wealthy, but obtain that wealth by getting a good education and being very good at their job and with their investments.

And for the Americans who didn’t take advantage of those quality opportunities they had they won’t do very well. But not because of where they were born, or maybe they only had one parent, or because of their race, ethnicity, gender, or any other circumstances that they couldn’t control. But their lack of success in life will because they didn’t finish their education and perhaps made other mistakes early in life that has weaken their economic outlook.

You need government to see that everyone can do well in life, but not to babysit us and try to take care of us from cradle to grave. But to see that there’s an environment where everyone can do well.

Where everyone is treated equally under law and not denied opportunities in life, because of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or religion. But to see that everyone can go to a good school.

Where the infrastructure system is modernize so everyone can get around and where economic development can be done and good jobs are created.

Where you have tax system where people and business’s are encouraged to do well and aren’t taxed out of business.

A regulatory state to see that consumers and workers are protected from predators but not to try run business’s in a way that big government would run them.

And a safety net for people who truly need it but not to babysit them and instead tries to lift them up so they can rise in America as well.

That will be the debate going into next year when the Congressional mid-terms take place and Democrats fight to win back the House and perhaps the Senate as well. And into the 2020 presidential election and Democrats pick their next party leader. What kind of party are we going to be on economic policy. And it will be between people who want to see more Americans do well and be empowered to create their own freedom and life independently. And Democrats who believe our economic problem is that government is too small and Americans at all levels are undertaxed and that we have rich people at all.

James Parks: House and Senate Democrats On Economic Agenda

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TV Fanatic: The Jayne Mansfield Story 1980- CBS Wednesday Night Movie

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Source: TV Fanatic 

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

At risk of sounding old here, when I was growing up in the 1980s and even when I was in high school in the early 1990s. network original movies that were made and produced by the networks, were actually worth watching. CBS, NBC, and ABC, all had their own movie companies that were part of their entertainment divisions and had one night a week and sometimes multiple nights if they were showing a mini-series where they should show two-hour movie and sometimes longer than that. The networks would produce their own movies and of course would show movies that were from Hollywood and perhaps had been out for a year or so, or longer.

Very similar to what HBO, Showtime and others do on cable. Probably watched 5-6 of James Bond series of movies in the summer of 1992 alone on ABC. The networks did this because they were good at it and knew what movies to pick and how to promote them and what kind of cast they could put together and so-forth. But also because cable wasn’t as dominant in the 1980s as it became in the 1990s. CBS, NBC, and ABC, were worried about each other. And not so much what HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, TNT, USA, etc, were doing on cable. Because the cable networks simply didn’t have the resources that the broadcast networks had back then. And to certain extent today as well, but cable networks are much powerful and influential today than they were back then.

I only mention all of this because I’m trying to bore you into a coma. Especially if you weren’t even born yet in the 1980s. Actually, because the Jayne Mansfield Story was a TV network movie that CBS put together with the producers, directors, creators, and writers of the movie. And The Jayne Mansfield Story and I’m only 4 years old when it came out in October, 1980 so I didn’t see it and only finally heard about it a year or so ago and saw a video for it on YouTube and the finally got to see the whole movie on cable (of course) on Get-TV last February and saw it again a few months after that.

And this was a network movie where you have Loni Anderson as the lead actress playing Jayne Mansfield and Arnold Schwarzenegger playing her husband and long time lover Mickey Hargitay. (The father of Mariska Hargitay) Loni was already a star at this point with her guest appearances on Threes Company in the late 1970s playing Jack Tripper’s love interest. And then she lands WKRP in Cincinnati in 1978. (One of the best sitcoms of all-time) Arnold wasn’t a star as an actor yet, but he was a superstar professional bodybuilder and already well-known at this point. Mickey Hargitay ws a superstar bodybuilder before become an actor as well.

This is a very good and funny movie and a lot of that has to do with Loni Anderson. Who has great comedic ability and one of the top comedic actresses of her generation at least. And she happens to playing a very funny woman in Jayne Mansfield who was very funny in real-life both intentionally and unintentionally, because she was so adorable and very immature and then add her comedic timing and you had a very funny woman who might still be working today had it not had been for her tragic car accident in 1967.

The movie covers Jayne’s life from when she became star in the early 1950s looking for work and basically forcing herself on her future agent Bob Garrett (played by Ray Buktenica) and he tells her if he’s going to represent Jayne that she’s going to have to change her hair and a few other things. But sees potential in her as a comedian. And the movie goes from Jayne being discovered in the early 1950s where Hollywood wasn’t ready for her alway up to her fall and struggling to find work in the early and mid 1960s, to her tragic death in 1967.

Loni Anderson is just plain hot, sexy, adorable and funny as Jayne Mansfield. She’s as cute as a little girl with personality to match, but with body of a goddess with those legs, curves, chest and everything else, as well as the face. Arnold playing Jayne’s wife is also great as a very loving and caring husband of Jayne who tries to look out for her best interests and tries to manage her immatureness and irresponsible behavior, but fails at both and they split up in the movie.

I believe Jayne Mansfield in real-life would have been proud for how Loni played her and at least give her credit for doing such a great and accurate job. Because I think knew herself real well and didn’t try to be anyone other than herself even if she seemed overly adorable and even childish to even the people who loved and cared about her like Mickey Hargitay and her business people. This is a very entertaining movie that covers the struggles as Jayne making it as a great comedic actress, but someone who also wanted to be taken seriously in Hollywood and get serious parts with more meaning.

TV Fanatic: The Jayne Mansfield Story 1980- CBS Wednesday Night Movie

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The Washington Post: Opinion- Sheri Berman- ‘ Some Argue That The West Should Limit Democracy To Save Liberalism: Here’s Why They’re Wrong’

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Source: The Washington Post

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

America and to a certain extent Europe, has a long history of subsidizing authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and Africa (specifically) for their own national interests. The thinking being that if they don’t subsidize these authoritarians whether they’re monarchs, theocrats, or Nationalists and let those regimes collapse with democracy taking over, that the opposition would be worst for Western interests than the current regime. The thinking being that the current regime is the best that they can do as far as the West. And at least the West would be able to work with these authoritarians on issues relating to terrorisms and combating other states where they share mutual enemies.

Well, anyone familiar with the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis and what led up to that Iranian authoritarian monarchy under the Shah of Iran knows that subsidizing dictators and authoritarians has it’s limits. The 1979 takeover of the American embassy in Tehran was partially to the American and British subsidization of an unpopular authoritarian regime in Iran.

Democracy has it’s limits and everyone familiar with democracy knows that. Which is why democracy in itself is not a strong form of government, because it would always be held hostage to the popular will of the time and people would have a very hard time governing and making tough decisions for fear of losing their jobs. Which is why I don’t believe in majoritarian or social democracy, with no set constitutional rights that can be thrown out simply because one person no longer believes in them or supports one of them, more than the people who do support those constitutional rights.

Which is why I’m instead a Liberal Democrat who of course believes in free and fair democracy to choose our leaders, but that goes along with the rule of law and checks and balances that protects our liberal individual rights and liberty in general. Liberal democracy and social democracy, are not the same thing. Once you put basic constitutional and individual rights at the will of the current majority, is when those rights can be put in jeopardy. Especially when there’s a rise of populism from either the Far-Left with Socialists who do don’t believe in the rule of law and checks and balances, because it limits their big government agenda. Or Nationalists who don’t believe in the rule of law either and oppose individuals rights and the ability for people to protest their politics and policies.

The rise of right-wing authoritarian nationalism whether it’s the Donald Trump movement in America , or with Vladimir Putin in Russia and other nationalist government’s in Eastern Europe like in Hungary and Poland, doesn’t mean that liberal democracy and liberalism in general is failing. Or with the Neo-Communist rule in Venezuela and the liberal democratic opposition there just goes to show you that liberalism and liberal democracy is still strong and people still want it. Especially after watching the illiberal Socialists there destroy the economy in Venezuela. A country that is energy independent by the way.

What America should being doing instead is taking a stand against authoritarianism, whether it comes from the Far-Left or Far-Right and stand with the people in those countries that simply want their freedom, as well as check and balances and the rule of law. Instead of having a strongman and regime with most of the power in the country and be held accountable. With the nationalist Donald Trump Administration in Washington, don’t expect America to do that anytime soon. But that is what America and Europe could be doing to expand liberal democracy and liberalism. And not watch leftist and rightist populist Nationalists, try to takeover once democratic Western countries.

Back to the old argument of who America should be backing with the choice being the devil that we know as far as authoritarian regimes that can work with us on national security issues and help us against terrorists and other authoritarian states, or the people on the ground who want the current regime out-of-power and a chance to form a democratic government.

America is supposed to be the beacon on the hill that stands up for individual rights and liberal democratic values. “The city on the shining hill’, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan. And I’m not a Neoconservative looking to replace every authoritarian regime that I don’t like. And again democracy has limits and you could literally end up replacing one authoritarian regime with another, which is what happened in Iran in 1979.

But once you go down the road of subsidizing authoritarians over the people that have to live under that form of authoritarianism, you put yourself at the mercy of those people there. And then they rise up and perhaps replace the authoritarian regime that you’re backing.

Which is why America should be pushing for democracy, but pushing for liberal democracy that comes with rule of law, checks and balances, and individual rights. And backing oppositions and government’s that believe in those liberal democratic values as well.

Salvester: 11 Aspects of a Liberal Democracy

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ABC News: Hillary Clinton’s Full Concession Speech- Election 2016 Finally Comes to an End

“I’m going to start with Hillary Clinton’s speech here and then go through the election. As Senator Tim Kaine put it, no one ever thought…”

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

I’m going to start with Hillary Clinton’s speech here and then go through the election. As Senator Tim Kaine put it, no one ever thought for a second whether or not Hillary Clinton would concede if she lost the election. (Not a partisan statement, just a fact) Because Secretary Clinton respects and loves American liberal democracy. Secretary Clinton said she hopes that Donald Trump is a successful president. And whether you like that fact or not and I and over fifty-million people who voted against Mr. Trump including Republicans, we hate this fact, but if he turns out to be a bad president which a lot of the country fears, it won’t be just President Trump who suffers, but America will suffer. If the country goes into recession, sure President Trump will take a hit. But he’ll still have a job at least until January, 2021, but millions of Americans will be out of their job wondering what they will do now. If he makes any foreign or national security policy blunders, the country will suffer not just President Trump. So I believe Secretary Clinton had the perfect tone here.

As far as the election 2016 itself, CNN commentator Van Jones who has taken a lot of heat today about the so-called whitelash in the country as he put it, I believe he had the best comment for why Hillary Clinton lost last night. I’m going to paraphrase here but what Mr. Jones said was essentially that the Clinton Campaign was expecting Donald Trump himself would bring African and Latin-Americans to the polls himself against him. And vote overwhelmingly with a huge turnout against the Trump Campaign simply because of the campaign that he ran. And not what the Clinton Campaign offered them and a positive vision for why they should vote for her. That they didn’t do a major investment in Latino and African-American turnout. Unpopular president’s can drive the other party to the polls against them during Congressional elections and vote for whoever the opposition party candidate or incumbent is for House or Senate. If you don’t believe me, just ask GW Bush and Barack Obama. But when it comes to the presidency, Americans have to have positive reasons why they should vote for someone. And saying the other guy is horrible is not a good enough reason.

So this election to me is about turnout. The Trump Campaign found whatever is left of the Reagan Democrat coalition in Pennsylvania and the Midwest and that is how they won Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. States where Secretary Clinton had clear leads pre-election day. And the Clinton Campaign didn’t get their African and Latino-American base to the polls, as well as Millennial’s. That great get-out-the-vote operation that the Clinton Campaign supposedly had, apparently took the night off or fell asleep, perhaps because of how long election 2016 felt. It just wasn’t there. 2016 looks like 2004 to me with the Kerry Campaign expecting millions of Gen-Xers and Millenia’s, to come to the polls and vote against President Bush. Which was how they expected to win Ohio. But President Bush won Ohio with a hundred-thousand plus votes. When 2016 could have easily had been 1988 where Americans by enlarge thought things were going well and weren’t ready to take a chance on a governor with no Federal experience in Mike Dukakis. And stuck with the status-quo in H.W. Bush.

ABC News: Hillary Clinton’s Full Concession Speech

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Sharon Kauffman: ABC News’s 20/20 First Episode- 6/06/1978

“As the lead in to this video said ABC News, was a small player if not joke in the network news business in the 1970s. Th…”

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

As the lead in to this video said ABC News, was a small player if not joke in the network news business in the 1970s. They basically remained that way until the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979-80 that launched Nightline with Ted Koppel and their nightly newscast World News Tonight started drawing real ratings then, This Week With David Brinkley emerged in 1981, 20/20 became a hit when Barbara Walters and Hugh Downs, became the anchors of it. ABC Sports with their NFL coverage with Monday Night Football and their MLB coverage with Monday Night Baseball and their college football coverage and a handful of entertainment shows that they had especially in daytime, were really the only hits that the ABC network had. Back then America had two great broadcast networks in CBS and NBC, as far as entertainment, sports and news. With ABC giving you same type of programming, but without the hits and affiliates that the big two had in the 1970s. And being a distant third to CBS and NBC when it came to news, but entertainment as well.

I sort of look at ABC in the 1970s the way I look at Fox today, but with ABC putting a lot more emphasis on news. Fox still doesn’t have much if any impact on network news other than their Sunday morning talk show. ABC was trying to be CBS and NBC at least as far as influence and in size, but until Roone Arledge took over ABC Sports in the 1970s and then later ABC News in the 1980s, they were a distant third. Rooney Arledge with Monday Night Football and then Monday Night Baseball and ABC Sports college football, 20/20 World News Tonight, Nightline, This Week With David Brinkley, is responsible for making ABC the powerhouse it is today. With the ability to compete with CBS and NBC, when it comes to entertainment, news and sports. And have the affiliates to be able to do that. Whatever you think of this version of 20/20 and I’ll get to that later, this was the start of ABC becoming a force in network news.

It’s a damn good thing that Barbara Walters and Hugh Downs, became the anchors of 20/20. Even for 1978 the layout of this first show with two no-name anchors and one of them not even being an American and the other making his living as a writer and not a broadcast journalist and the cheesy music (even for 1978) and covering stories like how greyhounds are treated, just showed you that ABC News wasn’t quite ready for prime-time. CBS’s 60 Minutes even though they had already been around for ten years at this point, looked so much better and more professional. It looked like a network news magazine show. And not some weekend morning show that mixes in soft stories with a few real news stories and interviews, to make the show look serious. But they were trying and got much better again when Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters, took over the show in 1979-80. And were together for twenty years and made 20/20 the hit that it still is today.

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