22nd Amendment

Donald Trump, The “Manchurian Candidate”, And Vladimir Putin: The Downfall Of The Western Alliance System

The idea is finally sinking in that Donald Trump is similar to the main character in the 1962 film, “The Manchurian Candidate”, a candidate for President planted by the enemy of America.

His constant praise of Vladimir Putin of Russia, and his constant criticism of the leaders of Canada, Germany, France, Great Britain, and other allies in NATO makes one come to this conclusion as a rational thought, as the Western alliance system is in danger of disintegration.

His worship of the authoritarian leaders of China, North Korea, Turkey, Egypt and the Philippines among other dictators, is further proof that Donald Trump despises democracy, civil liberties, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the traditions of American history in both domestic and foreign policy.

So for someone to assert that Donald Trump is dangerous to America’s present and future, is not just political hyperbole.

We are in a situation where Russia clearly intervened in the 2016 Presidential election, and is attempting to influence the 2018 Midterm Elections for Congress and the state governments, and is looking ahead to the Presidential Election of 2020.

The thought that Donald Trump might just win a second term, and then challenge the 22nd Amendment, and wish to stay on as President for life, is not just an idle thought, and everyone must work together to insure that such does not happen.

229th Anniversary Of First Presidential Inauguration Of George Washington In 1789: A Moment To Reflect On The Dangers To The Presidency As An Institution

On this day, April 30, in 1789, George Washington was inaugurated, 57 days late, in lower Manhattan in New York City, as the first President of the United States, setting important standards for Presidential actions and behavior over the next two and more centuries.

Washington arrived late due to the need to plant the crops on his Virginia plantation, Mount Vernon, and traveled by horse from Virginia to NYC, being wined and dined along the way.

So Washington was the only President to serve two terms, but less than eight years, due to the loss of those 57 days in his first term, but his second term ending on March 4, 1797.

Two hundred years later, President George H. W. Bush commemorated the bicentennial of that event in New York City.

Now we have a President who challenges the institution of the Presidency in dangerous ways, and wishes he could be President for life, rather than the constitutional limit of two terms or ten years if succeeding during the last half of the term, as set up in the 22nd Amendment, passed through Congress in 1947, and ratified and going into effect in 1951, affecting all future Presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower onward.

Any person with rationality and knowledge of the history of America well knows that the threat of Donald Trump is real, and that the news media, the Congress, and the Judiciary must coordinate their efforts to remove him from office, as he has already done great damage to the institution of the Presidency.

We have not survived the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Cold War, and the danger of Richard Nixon, to allow ourselves to be undermined by the clear and present danger of Donald Trump!

48 Vice Presidents, 45 (44) Presidents?

With the inauguration of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, we now have our 45th (really 44th) President, and our 48th Vice President!

Some reading this are saying: “Huh?”

So let’s explain the difference in numbers.

Donald Trump is the 44th person to become President, but Grover Cleveland served two nonconsecutive terms from 1885-1889 and 1893-1897, although he also won the popular vote in 1888, but Benjamin Harrison won the Electoral College, the third time out of five (with 2000 and 2016 the 4th and 5th cases) where the popular vote loser won the Presidency.

Now, as to the Vice Presidency:

Several Presidents had two Vice Presidents, and one had three Vice Presidents, therefore making for four additional Vice Presidents more than Presidents.

Thomas Jefferson had Aaron Burr in his first term in the Presidency (1801-1805), and George Clinton in his second term (1805-1809).

James Madison had Clinton stay on as Vice President in his first term, but he died in office in 1812, so only served from 1809-1812, instead of to 1813. In his second term, Madison had Elbridge Gerry as his Vice President, but he served less than two years and died in 1814, so only serving 1813-1814.

Andrew Jackson had John C. Calhoun as Vice President in his first term, but he resigned with three months to go in the term, after being dumped from the ticket for the 1832 election, so served from 1829-1832. Martin Van Buren served in the Jackson second term (1833-1837), and became the last Vice President to succeed directly to the Presidency by election for 152 years, when George H. W. Bush succeeded President Ronald Reagan in the 1988 Presidential election.

Abraham Lincoln had two Vice Presidents–Hannibal Hamlin (1861-1865) who he decided to replace for his second election, and Andrew Johnson for six weeks in 1865 until Lincoln was assassinated, and Johnson became President.

Ulysses S. Grant had two Vice Presidents–Schuyler Colfax (1869-1873) who came under investigation for corruption and did not run for reelection; and Henry Wilson (1873-1875) who died in office.

William McKinley had two Vice Presidents–Garret Hobart (1897-1899), who died in office; and Theodore Roosevelt, for six and a half months in 1901, until McKinley was assassinated, and TR succeeded him to the Presidency, and then won a four year term of his own in 1904.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, being elected four times to the Presidency, and prevented from occurring again by the passage and adoption of the 22nd Amendment in 1951, had John Nance Garner (1933-1941) in his first two terms; Henry A. Wallace (1941-1945) in his third term; and Harry Truman for 82 days of his 4th term in 1945, before FDR died, and Truman succeeded him, and then won a full term in 1948.

Finally, Richard Nixon had two Vice Presidents–Spiro Agnew (1969-1973), his first full term and nine months of his shortened second term, until Agnew was forced to resign due to corruption charges, and being replaced two months later by Gerald Ford (1973-1974) under the 25th Amendment, allowing for an appointed Vice President subject to majority approval by both the House of Representatives and the US Senate, with Ford serving nine months before he succeeded to the Presidency upon the resignation of Nixon, due to the Watergate scandal.

Realize that George Clinton served under two Presidents (Jefferson and Madison), and the same for Calhoun, who had served as Vice President to John Quincy Adams (1825-1829), before serving as Vice President under Jackson for all but three months of that term. So as a result, Jefferson, Madison and Jackson only had one DIFFERENT Vice President to add to the total number!

Also, realize that Grover Cleveland, in his separate terms, had two different Vice Presidents, Thomas Hendricks for 8 months in 1885, and Adlai Stevenson I (1893-1897).

Also realize that John Tyler (1841), Millard Fillmore (1850), Andrew Johnson (1865), and Chester Alan Arthur (1881), all succeeded to the Presidency because of the deaths of William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, and James A. Garfield, and never had a Vice President, since there was no 25th Amendment until passage in 1967, allowing Gerald Ford to pick Nelson Rockefeller as his Vice President in 1974. And the other four Presidents who had been Vice President, and succeeded due to the deaths of the Presidents in office (Theodore Roosevelt after William McKinley; Calvin Coolidge after Warren G. Harding; Harry Truman after Franklin D. Roosevelt; Lyndon B. Johnson after John F. Kennedy) all were elected in the next term and had a Vice President.

So only 40 men (plus Cleveland in two terms, so called the 22nd and 24th President) in the Presidency chose a Vice President, and only Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, McKinley and Nixon had two Vice Presidents who were unique (not shared with another President), and FDR had three Vice Presidents with his four terms in office. So if you count 41 due to Cleveland’s unique situation, and add seven extra Vice Presidents, you get a total of 48 men who have served as Vice President of the United States!

Could Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Or Bernie Sanders Have Won In 2016?

President Barack Obama has opined that had he been able to run for a third term, which is forbidden by the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution since 1951, that he would have defeated Donald Trump.

That brings to mind the issue whether if Vice President Joe Biden had been the nominee, whether he could have won over Donald Trump.

And also, the issue arises whether Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had overcome Hillary Clinton in delegates, could he have won.

The gut feeling of this author and blogger is that either Obama or Biden would have been able to win enough additional support to overcome the Clinton deficit in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and also possibly in Florida and Ohio as well.

On the other hand, this author feels that Bernie Sanders, despite his inspiring campaign and support from millennials, and seen as the protest candidate as much as Donald Trump to many, would NOT have won, and the reasons are sad and unpleasant.

Sanders being Jewish, although he is not at all religious in any sense, would have worked against him, as anti Semitism is still an ugly reality in America.

Also, the fact that Sanders calls himself a Socialist, although far from scary or terrifying in reality, would likely have been used by Donald Trump against him, as Trump actually did call Sanders a “Communist” once or twice during campaign rallies, and the ignorant, clueless people who backed Trump would not be intelligent enough to understand the difference, and that Sanders is more like a Scandinavian Socialist from Norway or Sweden, and is no danger in any sense to American traditions.

So the best judgment of this author is that Obama or Biden could have won, but not Sanders.

Dr. Jill Biden Expresses Regret And Wistful Feelings Over Her Husband Not Running For President, And Many Share Such Feelings!

The Second Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, today expressed regrets and wistful feelings over her husband, Vice President Joe Biden, not running for President.

This is a thought and feeling shared by millions of Americans, including this blogger and author, who shares that sentiment!

Joe Biden is certainly not perfect, and no candidate is, but somehow, the feeling is that the Presidential race would have been dignified by his presence, and it might have changed the whole nature of the Presidential campaign.

Dr. Jill Biden, a community college professor, said that her husband would have been good at promoting compromise and progress, as that is his forte in politics, which is so true. The Vice President has helped President Barack Obama so much, as he gets along well with Republican leaders.

So this blogger will again say that the best possible Vice Presidential choice that Hillary Clinton could make, once she is the Democratic Presidential nominee, is to ask Joe Biden to run for a third term as Vice President, perfectly legal under the Constitution, although a President is limited to two elected terms by the 22nd Amendment.

Who would be better at helping a President Hillary Clinton to get things done than Joe Biden? And Hillary Clinton would have the blessing of both Biden and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who would become “First Gentleman”, to assist her in making crucial domestic and foreign policy decisions!

This blogger backed the idea of a third term as Vice President for Joe Biden back in February of 2015, and John Hockenberry of “The Takeaway” on National Public Radio interviewed me on January 21 of this year regarding my promotion of Biden, and the eight minute interview is on the right side of the blog under “Interviews”!

There could be no better team than Hillary and Joe to be the top two people running our government starting January 20, 2017, and it would allow the nation to utilize the talents of a man who has served the nation for 44 years on the national level, and could now add four more to his amazing record of service!

Third Term Presidents: The Truth And The Historical “Might Have Beens”!

Anyone who studies American history knows that the 22nd Amendment, added to the Constitution in 1951, prevents any future President from serving more than two complete terms by election or a total of ten years by succession in the last two years of the Presidential term.

Only Franklin D. Roosevelt served more than eight years in the Presidency, a total of 12 years and 39 days, having been elected four times (1932, 1936, 1940, 1944), and this fact causing the opposition Republicans, when they controlled the 80th Congress in 1947-48, to pass the 22nd Amendment in 1947, and send it on to the state legislatures for ratification.

However, Ulysses S. Grant in 1876; Theodore Roosevelt in reality in 1912 as a third party (Progressive Bull Moose) candidate; Woodrow Wilson in 1920; and Harry Truman in 1952 considered a third term.

Additionally, it is clear that Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1960, Ronald Reagan in 1988 and Bill Clinton in 2000 would have won a third term if it had been allowed and they had agreed to seek it , with George H. W. Bush being the beneficiary of Reagan in 1988, and Al Gore being the beneficiary of Clinton in 2000, winning a larger margin of popular vote victory than any of the four cases of popular vote victory but Electoral College loss!

Also, if one considers popular vote victories of Andrew Jackson in 1824 and Grover Cleveland in 1888, but in each case losing the Electoral College, that could have meant three terms for Jackson (1824, 1828, 1832) and for Cleveland (1884, 1888, 1892)!

So if things had been different, instead of only FDR having a third and fourth term, we could have had Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton having third terms in the Presidency!

70th Anniversary Today Of Greatest 20th Century President’s Passing: Franklin D. Roosevelt!

On this day, April 12, 1945, 70 years ago, the greatest 20th century President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, died in Warm Springs, Georgia, after 12 years and 39 days in office. Many Americans could not recall any other President, as FDR had played a dominant role in the lives of Americans and in world affairs, through the two greatest crises since the Civil War under Abraham Lincoln—the Great Depression and the Second World War!

FDR had initiated a massive set of domestic reforms, known as the New Deal, which had changed the lives of millions of Americans in a positive way, and give the nation hope and confidence in the future, at a time when we had a higher unemployment rate, 25 percent, than we would ever have again. FDR transformed the role of the federal government, and brought about such permanent reform programs as Social Security; Unemployment Compensation; Minimum Wage; Labor Union recognition; the accomplishment of massive public works projects; federal insurance on bank deposits; agricultural subsidies; regulation of banks, the stock market and corporations; public housing; aid to the disabled and dependent children; conservation of natural resources; and so many other programs and ideas.

Then, FDR faced the dangers of Nazism in Germany, Fascism in Italy, and the aggression of Imperial Japan, when it looked as if democracy would be snuffed out worldwide, including in the United States. The greatest military effort since the Civil War created many problems in the postwar world, as the Soviet Union rose out of the war to become the new challenger to freedom in what became known as the Cold War, something FDR was trying to figure out how to deal with, when he died suddenly of congestive heart failure in the early months of an unprecedented fourth term, prevented from happening again by the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution.

One has to wonder how the nation would have fared had FDR been forced to leave office in January 1941 by term limits, as there was no obvious good alternative leader to FDR at that time. The challenge of overcoming isolationist sentiment, and then the Axis Powers aged FDR and caused his premature death at a delicate time when the war in Europe was one month from ending, and the war against Japan seemed likely to go on for several years. Fortunately, Harry Truman took up the mantle and handled the crisis of ending the war and the postwar world, as well as could be expected, as one looks back 70 years.

FDR had his shortcomings as all Presidents do, but the United States was blessed with a great, dynamic leader that we remember today on the 70th anniversary of his passing!

Vice President Joe Biden For A Third Term: A Wonderful Idea!

Vice President Joe Biden seems likely to have little chance of being the 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee, trying to overcome the vast advantages of Hillary Clinton, and he happens to be very good friends with the former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady. They fully trust and respect each other.

No one is better qualified to be President, with Biden’s 44 years of government service by the end of the second Barack Obama term. Joe Biden has been brilliant throughout his career, including stints as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the worst thing one can say about him is that he is prone to silly gaffes, that make him look silly, but have never done any real harm.

Joe Biden comes across as human, a person who can blunder on unimportant matters or utterances, but a man truly genuine and sincere, and easy going and real in the way he deals with everyone he meets.

Joe Biden has been a tremendous asset to Barack Obama, and their relationship is the closest there has been since Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale bonded in the late 1970s. He has been an important emissary on Capitol Hill, and has done a great deal behind the scenes to try to smooth over differences, and is well liked by everyone, because he is exceptional in dealing with adversaries, as well as friends.

Joe Biden is a national treasure, who should not be retiring, and does not need to in 2016 IF Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, decides that keeping Biden on is a major asset to her candidacy and Presidency, which it most certainly would be.

There is no limitation on a Vice President serving a third or more terms, as that is not covered by the 22nd Amendment, which sets limits only on the Presidency. George Clinton served under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and John C. Calhoun served under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, so Joe Biden serving under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has a precedent twice in the past.

The nation would be well served if Hillary Clinton would make a deal with Joe Biden now, and that would create the strongest possible Democratic ticket for 2016.

And if something untoward were to happen to Hillary Clinton, there is the most experienced man possible next in line, no matter what his age, to take over the Presidency.

Hopefully, Hillary Clinton will realize the virtues of offering the Vice Presidency to Joe Biden in the next few months, and the deal that is struck will insure the election of the Democrats to the White House in 2016!

22nd Amendment In Effect In Second Half Of Presidential Term Of Office

When the 22nd Amendment was added to the US Constitution in 1951, after being passed by Congress in 1947, it limited Presidents to two complete terms of office, or eight years, OR if becoming President by succession during a term, allowing any successor who came to the Presidency in the last two years of the term, to be elected twice, but if succeeding during the first half of a Presidential term, such person could only be elected once.

Therefore, when Lyndon B. Johnson succeeded John F. Kennedy with one year and two months left of the term, he was eligible, in theory, to be elected twice, although he withdrew from running for a second full term in 1968.

No one else has had that opportunity, and since Richard Nixon resigned, and was replaced by Gerald Ford with two years and five months left in the term, no vacancy in the Presidency has occurred, now for the past 40 years, the longest such period since the first Presidential replacement in 1841.

Now that the second half of the second term of Barack Obama has passed its midpoint at 12 noon two days ago, Vice President Joe Biden has the situation, whereby IF he succeeded to the Presidency at any time from this point forward, he could, in theory, serve up to 10 years in the White House, from ages 72 to 82.

While this is highly hypothetical, it could happen, with the constant death threats against President Obama, with many of these reported threats discussed in my forthcoming book on Presidential Assassinations and Threats.

The point to be made is that IF Joe Biden suddenly became President before the 2016 primaries, caucuses and elections take place, this scenario could occur, and no one should do what is so common—to underestimate the potential of Vice President Joe Biden, who has added so much to the Vice Presidential office’s history in his six years as number 2 man in American Government.

Presidential Succession Law Of 1886-1947 Needs To Be Renewed!

In 1947, the Republican controlled 80th Congress, in a fit of partisanship and anti FDR sentiment, changed the Presidential Succession Law of 1886, enacted during the first term of President Grover Cleveland.

That law made the succession for the Presidency beyond the Vice President to be as follows: Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War, Attorney General, and then other cabinet agencies, including Interior and Agriculture.

That law made sense, as it meant that in case of tragedy hitting the President and Vice President, that members of  that President’s cabinet, people loyal to him, knowledgeable in  foreign and defense policies, and domestic policies, would be next in  line, in case of an emergency.

But the Republicans after World War II were furious that Franklin D. Roosevelt had been elected four times, so not only added the 22nd Amendment, limiting any future President to two elected term, or a maximum of ten years if he succeeded during a term, but also decided to make the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate second and third in line behind the Vice President.  That, of course, meant, that if anything had happened to President Harry Truman, and with no Vice President for the remainder of that term of office, that Speaker Joseph Martin, a Republican, would have succeeded him.

The idea of having the opposition party gain the Presidency during a term due to a tragedy was not based on what was good for the nation, but pure partisanship by the GOP.

But now, the extremism in the GOP, including the Tea Party Movement right wing whackos, makes the idea of John Boehner, or some other Republican gaining power of the executive branch under a Democratic administration totally reprehensible, as that would mean a dramatic turn to the far Right, although the people voted in a Democratic administration.  Also, the President pro tempore of the Senate, a position which is honorary based on seniority in the majority party in the Senate, brings the danger, not only of partisanship, but also the reality of a very old Senator, unfit to serve, being third in line for the Presidency, and at the time of Truman, second in line to be President!

That is why there is a need to repeal the 1947 law and return to the 1886 law, which makes the most sense, as the Speaker of the House, while elected, is only chosen by one Congressional district out of 435, and is therefore NOT representative of the nation, as much as a cabinet member, selected by the President but subject to Senate confirmation, is representative of the policies and ideals of the elected President!

The likelihood of this happening short term is near zero, but it is worthy of consideration for the near future!