Abraham Lincoln

March 4th: A Day Which Will Live In Presidential History!

March 4th is an historic day, the day every fourth year was the Presidential inauguration date through the inauguration of 1933, and then superseded by the 20th Amendment, which changed the inauguration ceremonies every fourth year to January 20, beginning in 1937.

So March 4, 1789, was the inception of our Constitution, but George Washington was not present in New York City, and was not to arrive until April 30, 57 days late, therefore making his two terms in office short of eight years, being approximately two months less than that!

March 4, 1801, was the inauguration of our first opposition president, with Thomas Jefferson succeeding his election rival, John Adams, who he had served as Vice President, and the beginning of peaceful transition from an “in’ party to an “out” party.

March 4, 1829, was the inauguration of the “people’s President”, Andrew Jackson, who represented the voice of the “common man” of the times.

March 4, 1861, was the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln to his first term, in the midst of a crisis that soon led to the Civil War.

March 4, 1865, was the second inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, about a month before the Civil War ended, and this was the greatest inauguration speech yet devised. And today marks exactly 150 years since that fantastic speech of reconciliation.

March 4, 1905, was the inauguration to an elected term of Theodore Roosevelt, who had succeeded the assassinated William McKinley, and was the first Vice President succeeding to the Presidency who was elected to his own term, and had the greatest popular vote percentage in election history up to that date.

March 4, 1913, was the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson, who would accomplish more domestic reform in his first term than any President before him, and only surpassed by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson after him.

March 4, 1933, saw the last inauguration on that date, and it was the coming to power of Franklin D. Roosevelt, in the worst days of the Great Depression, and his inauguration speech was the greatest since Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address in 1865.

American Presidents And Wealth Estimates In 2015!

An update on the net worth of America’s Presidents, their total wealth at time of death, or for the living Presidents, what it is as of 2015, including inflation as a factor, reveals the following:

John F. Kennedy was the wealthiest President, worth within the range of $125 million to possibly $1 billion!

Due to this uncertain range, George Washington might be the wealthiest at $525 million.

The other Presidents over $100 million in net worth are:

Thomas Jefferson $212 million

Theodore Roosevelt $125 million

Andrew Jackson $119 million

James Madison $101 million

Five Presidents over $50 million up to $98 million include:

Lyndon B. Johnson $98 million

Herbert Hoover $75 million

Franklin D. Roosevelt $60 million

Bill Clinton $55 million

John Tyler $51 million

The next six Presidents are worth between $20 million and $27 million, as follows:

James Monroe $27 million

Martin Van Buren $26 million

Grover Cleveland $25 million

George H. W. Bush $23 million

John Quincy Adams $21 million

George W. Bush $20 million

The next five Presidents are worth $10 million to $19 million, as follows:

John Adams $19 million

Richard Nixon $15 million

Ronald Reagan $13 million

Barack Obama $12 million

James K. Polk $10 million

The next ten Presidents are worth between $2 million and $8 million, as follows:

Dwight D. Eisenhower $8 million

Gerald Ford $7 million

Jimmy Carter $7 million

Zachary Taylor $6 million

William Henry Harrison $5 million

Benjamin Harrison $5 million

Millard Fillmore $4 million

Rutherford Hayes $3 million

William Howard Taft $3 million

Franklin Pierce $2 million

The remaining 11 Presidents are worth between under $1 million up to less than $2 million, in the following order:

William McKinley

Warren G. Harding

James Buchanan onward are each worth less than $1 million downward, with Truman the poorest.

Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S. Grant

James A. Garfield

Chester Alan Arthur

Woodrow Wilson

Calvin Coolidge

Harry Truman

Many of the early Presidents were landowners and slave owners, and were, therefore, extremely wealthy.

The Presidents of the middle and late 19th century were mostly quite poor, including those who were military generals.

Presidents since 1929 have been generally much wealthier in most cases.

Many Presidents in modern times have become wealthy through speeches and writings.

Bill Clinton has the potential to become of the wealthiest Presidents in American history as time goes by, and more so, if his wife, Hillary Clinton, becomes President! The long term potential for Barack Obama is also for great wealth over his lifetime, leaving office at age 55!

College Education And The Presidency In 21st Century America: Is It Necessary? YES!

Today, in 2015, approximately 31 percent of adults over 25 have at least a four year college degree as part of their credentials. This is an all time high.

In American history, all but eleven Presidents have had at least a four year college degree, much of the time when only a sliver of Americans had such a degree.

A college education does NOT guarantee success; does NOT guarantee excellence in one’s occupational pursuits; does NOT make any person automatically “better” than those without a college education!

What does a college education do that is beneficial?

It promotes the growth of critical thinking skills; it promotes empathy and compassion for those less fortunate; it promotes ability to analyze and evaluate materials; it promotes intellectual inquiry and curiosity, which is a good thing; it promotes ability to interpret events and happenings with a background of knowledge; it promotes tolerance and open mindedness!

Should not one, therefore, expect that a President of the United States have, at the least, a four year degree that has promoted these values?

Yes, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln did not have a college education, but that was 225 and 150 years ago, in a much less complex world than we have now!

Yes, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and Harry Truman did not have a college education, but they all were highly motivated to learn, to read books, to have intellectual curiosity.

Would not Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, and Zachary Taylor, all military figures, have gained a more tolerant attitude if they had had more education, and maybe not killed as many Native Americans?

Would not Andrew Johnson have learned to work better with people and been more tolerant toward African Americans if he had had some more education?

Would not Martin Van Buren and Millard Fillmore have gained, also, by some more education? Ironically, despite lack of education, Fillmore founded the State University of NY Buffalo institution, which at least demonstrated his understanding of the value of higher education!

So with this background on Presidents and education, should it matter that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker dropped out of college at Marquette University in Milwaukee, in his senior year, and never finished his college degree, all for a job opportunity?

The answer is YES, as just because one takes on a job, does not mean one cannot finish a college degree, as many millions of others have done!

It is an issue of steadfastness, of dedication, of the old adage: “Finish what you start!” The extra effort required to finish is always worth it, as finishing a degree is a major accomplishment! If a politician wishes to be President, therefore, it should be expected that he shows persistence and commitment to follow through on any commitment he makes in life! He is not just one of us, where two thirds have not gone to or finished college. He is supposed to be the “best among us”, a figure we can look up to, and our children can see as a model!

Under those parameters, Scott Walker should not become President, without even mentioning his innumerable shortcomings, otherwise! He has failed a basic test of Presidential leadership!

New Presidential Poll Of Scholars Of Political Science Changes Rankings Substantially, And Puts Barack Obama 18th!

A 2014 poll of 162 Political Science scholars, members of the American Political Science Association, is the latest rankings of our 43 Presidents, and it is eye opening.

The top four are the standard four Presidents–Lincoln, Washington, FDR, and TR, no surprises there.

But then the debate begins, with Jefferson, Truman, Ike, Clinton, Jackson, and Wilson finishing out the top ten list.

Truman slips and Jefferson moves up, and Eisenhower reaches the highest he has ever been in a poll.

Andrew Jackson makes it back to the top ten, but should he be in the top ten, considering his entire record in office?

Wilson slips further, to the bottom of the top ten, having gained more critics in recent years on his civil rights and civil liberties record, major issues for Jackson as well, but to put Jackson above Wilson is odd.

But then, Bill Clinton number eight? Really? This is easily the highest Clinton has ever been, and most observers on the outside would think that he is way overrated, by putting him n the top ten.

Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson follow, both being knocked down a peg from earlier rankings, and then, inexplicably, James Madison ends up 13th, even though his Presidency was far from great, although he was a great man!

Kennedy being rated fourteenth brings him down to a reasonable perch, after having, crazily, been listed as high as sixth in the C Span poll of 2009.

The next four are John Adams, Monroe, George H. W. Bush, and then Barack Obama. How Madison ended up above Monroe is hard to fathom. Bush Senior seems in a fair place, a bit higher than before, and John Adams seems about the right spot.

But Obama, in midstream in 18th place? Recently, he had been ranked 15th, and it seems to this blogger that he should NOT be knocked down, and might be worthy of being above Adams, Monroe and Bush Sr.

The next six, all still above 50 percent in rating are, in order, Polk, Taft, McKinley, JQ Adams, Cleveland, and Ford. It seems to many that Polk and McKinley might be rated higher, while the rest of this group seem in the proper places on the list.

Notice that Jimmy Carter is not in the top 24, which seems surprising, as one would think he would rank near the bottom of this list of 24, but his rating is, apparently, below 50 percent support, the reason he is not rated higher.

And notice neither Nixon nor Bush Jr have any real chance of making this list of 24, basically the top 60 percent of the 43 Presidents, and are unlikely to have a realistic chance of ever reaching that level!

133rd Anniversary Of FDR’s Birth: A Celebration Of Our Greatest President Since Abraham Lincoln!

Today, January 30, is the 133rd anniversary of the birth of our 32nd President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, our greatest President since Abraham Lincoln.

It is impossible to imagine America in 2015 without realizing the significance and impact of FDR, who led us through the worse moments of the Great Depression, and the most total war we have ever engaged in, the Second World War!

FDR’s New Deal still affects 320 million Americans every day of their lives in so many ways, and yet, there are right wing forces in the conservative movement, the Republican Party, the Tea Party Movement, and conservative talk radio and Fox News Channel, which would wish to revert to the way the national government was before 1933, and therefore, wiping out Social Security, labor rights, environmental protection, corporate and bank regulations, and so many government agencies and institutions that have become part of our daily lives.

The New Deal of FDR was not perfect in every detail, but it saved capitalism; it saved democracy at a time when many looked to the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy as models; it gave the American people faith in their government and hopes for the long term future, and a sense of self dignity, an intangible factor.

FDR encouraged, inspired, motivated, and united average Americans, that their government was concerned about their welfare, and repudiated the power and influence of the elite wealthy, who therefore hated FDR with a passion, and plotted much of the time how to overthrow his Presidency by insidious means. FDR was under constant threat from internal demagogues, as well as foreign totalitarian forces for the 12 years and 39 days that he occupied the White House.

FDR’s death 70 years ago this coming April 12 was a tragedy of massive proportions, and most Americans could not recall any earlier President when he died before the Second World War ended several months later.

NO matter what sustained attacks the right wing has launched against FDR and his legacy, and recognizing he was not perfect, FDR remains our greatest President after Abraham Lincoln, and this is a day to celebrate his birthday!

Mean Spirited, Nasty, Uncaring Republican Presidential Candidates!

The Republican Party of 2015 is, amazingly, a mean spirited, nasty, uncaring bunch, and this includes many potential Presidential candidates.

The potential nominees who stand out for these ugly traits include:

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin

Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana

Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin

Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania

Former Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas

Former Governor Rick Perry of Texas

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas

Retired Pediatric Surgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson of Maryland

At the same time, there are a few Republicans who might run for President, who do NOT come across with these ugly traits, including:

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida

Former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida

Governor John Kasich of Ohio

Former Governor Jon Huntsman of Utah (if only he could be convinced to enter the race, highly unlikely at this point)

If any of the first group becomes the nominee of the GOP, it will make the most extremist right wing nominee in the 160 year history of the party that had such luminaries as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, and George H. W. Bush. And it is an insurance that the GOP would suffer a massive defeat and repudiation in the Presidential race of 2016!

Barack Obama After Six Years In The Presidency: On Way To Top Ten Of Our 43 Presidents!

As 2014 ends, Barack Obama is finishing his sixth year in the Presidency, and will officially mark that milestone on January 20, when he delivers the State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress, controlled by the Republican Party, which has stood in his way, has been a constant barrier to anything Obama proposes, and hates the ground he walks on. Conservative talk radio and Fox News Channel, and conservative think tanks, would not be happy no matter what Barack Obama does or says. And there is a strong level of venal hate, very dangerous, that puts the President in the cross hairs of a potential threat to his life on a daily basis.

But despite all that, President Barack Obama has a record in office to be proud of, not perfect in any sense, but still outstanding enough to have a chance to end up in the top ten of our Presidents, if not immediately after leaving the White House, over a generation or more as time passes, and passions calm down, and particularly after Obama has passed away, an opportune time to reconsider the legacy of any President, particularly one so much maligned in his time!

The list of Obama accomplishments is endless, but key points include:

The adoption of ObamaCare, which will be seen as transformative over time, as much as Social Security and Medicare.

The successful tracking down and elimination of Osama Bin Laden, the perpetrator of September 11, 2001.

The ending of US military engagement in both Iraq and Afghanistan, two wars that were unwise to conduct in the first place.

The revival of the American economy, with 11 million jobs created; the unemployment rate below six percent; the greatest economic expansion since the Bill Clinton Presidency; the smallest increase in the deficit for the past decade; the 150 percent increase in the stock market; the lowest gas prices in five years; and the revival of the domestic auto industry.

The appointment of two Supreme Court Justices–Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, and some exceptional cabinet appointments, plus the best Vice President in American history, Joe Biden.

The promotion of gay rights and gay marriage, insuring the end of discrimination based upon sexual orientation.

The advancement of environmental concerns, including dealing with global warming and climate change.

The promotion of a tolerant attitude toward immigration reform.

The establishment of a new relationship with Cuba after 50 years of a failed policy.

The promotion of labor rights in a time when labor has been under attack.

The protection of women’s rights against right wing attempts to undermine the advancement of women in all spheres of American life.

The avoidance of engagement in new wars, which the right wing is always itching for.

The courage of Obama to go after terrorists in a way that limits US military involvement, but effectively has killed more terrorists than George W. Bush.

President Barack Obama was the the right person for his time, and will be seen as that in history. He has met racist attacks by refusing to show anger, but instead class and dignity! He has admitted failure, but also has confidence in the morality of his cause. Considering the extreme opposition he has faced, what he has accomplished is miraculous beyond belief.

Despite having presided over the rapid decline of Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress by vicious attacks and massive spending by right wing billionaires, he has made it clear that he will use executive orders to do what he feels must be done in the last two years of his Presidency. The right wing Supreme Court, with its Citizens United Case in 2010, and the lackadaisical attitude on voting of many Democratic constituent groups, has contributed to this decline in Democratic Party strength, but Obama has reacted by making clear that it will not deter his plans to make the nation a place better for the middle class and the poor.

President Barack Obama will NOT allow the prevention of further improvement of the New Deal and Great Society, and he is much to be admired, as a credit to the office he holds!

Combative President Obama, Ready To Make His Mark In His Last Years In The White House!

President Obama has accomplished so much, but yet it does not show in his public opinion ratings, in the low 40s.

But whoever said that public opinion is knowledgeable, with all of the propaganda that has been unleashed by the right wing, convincing ignorant people that Obama has been a disaster, when he has been anything but that!

Has Barack Obama made mistakes? Of course, he has, and every President does, and every human being who has ever lived does! It is just that if one of us makes a blunder, it does not become public knowledge (thank goodness), and is not beaten to death by critics, who are out to look for the negative, and ignore the positive!

Most of what is wished is that Obama had been more aggressive, more outspoken than he has been, that he unleash the full power of his personality and his goals for the nation, but he has been accused of being too cautious in his approach.

Well, that stage seems to have ended, as Barack Obama is becoming more assertive, demonstrating that he is not going to allow himself to be cowed by critics, that he is determined to promote an activist Presidency in his last two years, and leave a legacy of accomplishment on the level of our great and near great Presidents!

The more he is threatened with lawsuits, with impeachment, with petty threats that he should not be allowed to use Air Force One, or not be allowed to speak before a joint session of Congress, or other demeaning and disrespectful treatment, the more he will fight and challenge his critics, always staying within the Constitution, which he understands far better than his enemies.

In a way, the Republican victories in the Midterm Elections of 2014 have made clear to Obama that he must use the powers of his office, as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson did, to make life better for America, both in domestic and foreign policy areas! He has been liberated to move toward greatness in the annals of the history of the Presidency!

Right Wing Hate For Barack Obama Far Surpasses Any Criticism Of Any Earlier President!

The right wing hate, led by the Tea Party Movement, for President Barack Obama, has reached the point of no return, and has FAR surpassed any criticism of any earlier President!

Whether it is talk radio, with Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage and others of their ilk; or Fox News Channel spewing poison and lies consistently; or the right wing think tanks, headed by the Heritage Foundation and others who distort facts and have an agenda to promote an oligarchy; or the super wealthy, such as the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and others who are trying to destroy the middle class and promote their own profits at the expense of the entire nation; or the conservative journals of opinion, such as the Weekly Standard and the National Review, which promote their extremist agenda; or the lunatic House members, such as Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, Steve King and others; or the right wing extremist Senators, including Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, newly elected Thom Tillis and Joni Ernst and others; as well as the leadership of many corporations and other special interests—there is a concerted campaign to destroy Barack Obama, with many wishing for his demise, meaning his death by whatever means possible.

Obama is more threatened now than any President since Abraham Lincoln, and in many respects, more than Lincoln, since the population is ten times what it was during the Civil War 150 years ago!

The venom, disrespect, racism, hatred, and accusations against Barack Obama have not had any limits. He has been accused of being a Muslim, a Kenyan, an Indonesian, anti Semitic, a racist against whites, a person who is bisexual, a gay man, an illegal drug abuser, having a mother who was a whore, having a different father who was a black nationalist, and much more.

Obama has been called an Emperor, a King, an abuser of Presidential power, but at the same time, he is weak and wimpy.

Sensible people see Obama as a moderate Republican of twenty to thirty years ago, not at all extreme, as Bruce Bartlett who worked for Ronald Reagan has said, who also says in many ways Obama is a traditional conservative, who has not done what liberals and progressives have wanted him to do.

On issues of human rights, Obama has been more aggressive, such as labor rights, civil rights, and gay and lesbian rights. On issues of importance to the future beyond our own time, he has supported the need for an aggressive policy on environmental protection.

But Obama has pushed a health care plan that the Heritage Foundation and Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole backed twenty years ago, giving health care companies control over health care, not exactly radical in nature, although depicted as such.

Obama has been attacked and criticized for every sin and fault imaginable, including wearing a tan suit; going on vacation (actually less than any recent President); using a veto power that he has only used twice; using executive orders less than any recent President; being unwilling to engage us in more wars and interventions, etc.

Through all the personal and policy attacks, Obama has always acted with dignity and calm, annoying the hell out of his critics, who want him to be the “angry black man”, and the leaders of the Republican Party, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, give him no respect at all.

And now, the idea is being suggested by the despicable editor Richard Lowry of the National Review, that John Boehner decide not to invite the President to give his State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress!

Go ahead, right wingers, do exactly that, and the President will speak instead from the Oval Office, and will win public opinion, and show once and for all what the right wing nuts represent! If he chooses to denounce, finally, his right wing critics, who have gone beyond the pale in so many ways, it will boost his public opinion rating, just as Bill Clinton’s ratings went up after the impeachment effort against him in 1998-1999!

Expect that Obama will face impeachment by this right wing crowd, but he will come out shining as a result, and will not be removed from office. All it will do is show the Republican Party and the right wing for what they are–despicable hate mongers who will stop at nothing to destroy the 44th President of the United States!

The greatest fear is not impeachment, or not being invited to speak before a joint session of Congress, but the dangers against his life that Barack Obama faces every day, encouraged on in spirit, if not in direct statements publicly, by the opposition, which, again, is more hateful and vehement than any time since at least the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln!

The Desperate Need For Infrastructure Spending: The Collapse Of America’s Public Works

SIXTY MINUTES on CBS last night drew attention to the desperate need for infrastructure spending, as we are on the brink of the collapse of America’s public works, most of it done in the 1930s to 1960s, but horribly ignored for the past 20 years in particular.

Bridges, tunnels, highways, seaports, airports are in such disrepair that we cannot compete economically with much of the Western world.

We seem unable to realize that not only are lives at danger, but the whole economic system is at risk if a major highway or bridge collapses, making it impossible for millions of people to reach work by automobile, and to have the ability to do the normal every day activities that fuel our economic growth.

We committed to public works projects in the time of the New Deal and Franklin D. Roosevelt; to interstate highway development under Dwight D. Eisenhower; and to all kinds of other projects during the booming economy of the 1960s under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

But in the past 20 years, mostly under GOP Congressional control, we have lost the vision and the recognition of the dire need for investment, and for commitment to rebuilt our infrastructure.

This is ironic, since the two single greatest public works projects in American history were the Transcontinental Railroad under Republican Abraham Lincoln; and the interstate highway system’s inception under Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower.

But then, the Republican Party of the last two decades, and even more right now, is a skeleton of its old self, and the nation is the ultimate loser!