Abraham Lincoln

Who Should Have Been President? The Following List Of 12 Great Political Leaders

A high percentage of the 43 American Presidents are looked upon as having been inferior, disappointing, and in some cases, clearly unqualified to be President.

And then there is a list of both Presidential nominees, and also Presidential seekers, who are looked upon as those who SHOULD have been President, but never were.

First the list, which numbers 12,and then an explanation of each case.

Henry Clay
Daniel Webster
William Seward
Samuel Tilden
Charles Evans Hughes
Robert LaFollette Sr
Adlai Stevenson
Hubert Humphrey
Nelson Rockefeller
Bob Dole
Al Gore
Hillary Clinton

Two of the above (Clay and Webster) were Whigs; five of the above (Seward, Hughes, LaFollette, Sr., Rockefeller, and Dole) were Republicans; and the remaining five of the above (Tilden, Stevenson, Humphrey, Gore, and Clinton) were Democrats.

Henry Clay ran three times for President, in 1824, 1832, and 1844, and is regarded by many experts as the absolutely most outstanding Senator in all of American history, who made many contributions in government, including being Speaker of the House, an influential Senator (Kentucky) , and Secretary of State.

Daniel Webster is the other most outstanding Senator (Massachusetts) before the Civil War, and was seen as being as much of a statesman as Clay, and also served as Secretary of State.

William Seward lost the Presidential nomination to Abraham Lincoln, but was considered the leading Republican in his time as a Senator from New York, and also served as Secretary of State.

Samuel Tilden was the reform Governor of New York, who lost the Presidency despite a major lead, which in percentage, was greater than Al Gore, the other person who won the popular vote, but lost the election, and never became President.

Charles Evans Hughes was a giant figure in American government, as Progressive Governor of New York; Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; Secretary of State; and then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Robert LaFollette Sr. was “Mr. Progressive”, the best state Governor (Wisconsin) in all of American history, and rated one of the top five Senators of all time, and actually tied Henry Clay in a scholarly poll as the best US Senator ever in American history.

Adlai Stevenson was a brilliant intellectual, who could not defeat President Eisenhower, but was regarded as an “egghead”, and served as Ambassador to the United Nations, years after he served as a Governor of Illinois.

Hubert Humphrey was one of the greatest Senators (Minnesota) to grace the upper chamber in American history, and introduced much of what became the Great Society, and he served as Vice President of the United States.

Nelson Rockefeller never was nominated for President, but was seen as a very capable and wise four term Governor of New York, one of the best in American history, served as Vice President, and having the potential to have been a great President, but could not gain the support of his party.

Bob Dole was a masterful Senator (Kansas) with a long career in Congress, and the ability to get things done, and regarded as the second greatest Senate Majority Leader, after Lyndon Johnson, in American history.

Al Gore won the Presidency in popular votes by more than a half million, but lost the contested state of Florida in a Supreme Court vote, based on party line, rather than the principle that the Court had no right to intervene in the state of Florida’s Supreme Court judgments. Gore served as Vice President, after service in the House of Representatives and the US Senate (Tennessee).

Hillary Clinton was one of the most outstanding First Ladies; Senator from New York; Secretary of State; and now had the opportunity, potentially, to come off this list, IF she is able to win the Presidency in 2016 and become our first woman President.

The nation would have been much better if any or all of these 12 political figures had gained the opportunity to serve in the White House!

Civil Liberties And The Presidency: From John Adams To Barack Obama

When it comes to the issue of the Presidency and the Bill of Rights, many Presidents have scored at an alarmingly low rate, often despite many other virtues that these Presidents have possessed.

John Adams set a terrible standard when he signed into law the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

Andrew Jackson forcibly decreed the removal of five Native American tribes (The Trail Of Tears) from their ancestral lands and relocation in Oklahoma, supposedly forever, but with the discovery of oil in Tulsa, the territory was opened to whites in 1889, and reservation life became the norm.

John Tyler, through negotiation to add Texas to the Union, and accepting its institution of slavery, helped to create the slavery expansion issue as one which would divide the nation and lead to Civil War, and Tyler was part of the Confederate government and gave up his American citizenship.

James K. Polk further promoted the expansion of slavery through war with Mexico, and had no issue with slavery anywhere and everywhere.

Millard Fillmore, signing the Compromise of 1850, allowed the South to pursue fugitive slaves in the North.

Franklin Pierce, signing the Kansas Nebraska Act in 1854, made the expansion of slavery develop into the Kansas Civil War, which led to the Civil War.

James Buchanan endorsed the Dred Scott Decision, which allowed expansion of slavery everywhere in the nation, if a slave owner chose to move to the North with his slaves.

Abraham Lincoln suppressed press freedom; allowed preventive detention; and imposed a military draft that one could escape only by paying a fee that only wealthy people could afford.

Andrew Johnson wanted to restrict the rights of African Americans after the Civil War, and was an open racist, much more than anyone.

Grover Cleveland promoted the reservation life and adaptation to white culture for Native Americans through his signing of the Dawes Act in 1887.

Theodore Roosevelt spoke and wrote often about superior and inferior races, seeing only intellectual accomplishment and military strength as the basis to admire individuals of other races, but believing in white supremacy and the “Anglo Saxon” race.

Woodrow Wilson backed restrictions on citizens during World War I, and presided over the Red Scare under Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer after the war, as well as showing racist tendencies toward African Americans and Japan. He signed the Sedition Act of 1918, and issued an executive order segregating African Americans in Washington, DC.

Franklin D. Roosevelt interned Japanese Americans under executive order during World War II, and did little to deal with the racial problem in the South.

Richard Nixon arranged for bugging and wiretapping of his “enemies”; arranged break ins and “dirty tricks”; and became engaged in obstruction of justice and abuse of power, leading to moves toward impeachment and his eventual resignation from the Presidency, due to the Watergate Scandal.

Ronald Reagan cut back on civil rights enforcement, and showed insensitivity on the issue of apartheid in South Africa.

George W. Bush pushed through the Patriot Act, and the government engaged in constant civil liberties violations as part of the War on Terror.

Barack Obama also promoted violations of civil liberties, as part of the continued threat of international terrorism.

So 17 Presidents, at the least, have undermined our civil liberties and civil rights, often overlapping.

The Shame Of Alabama, The Republican Party And the Supreme Court On The 50th Anniversary Of The Selma To Montgomery March!

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March of 1965.

On this significant anniversary, three things are clear.

Alabama has NOT shed its image of bigotry!

The Republican Party, many of whose members supported the Voting Rights Act of 1965, is not sending anyone to commemorate this event. Late news reports indicate that former President George W. Bush and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy are to show up, but few other Republicans, and none other than McCarthy in the leadership of the GOP.

And the Supreme Court has contributed to the withering away of the Voting Rights Act by its 2013 decision permitting new voting rights restrictions!

Not only is racial discrimination still very obvious in Alabama and much of the South, but now Alabama is the center of a so called states rights struggle over gay marriage, with the state Supreme Court, headed by George Wallace like Chief Justice Roy Moore ordering that gay marriage be stopped, after a federal judge ordered it go forward, and with the Supreme Court poised to consider the case, which will be decided by June.

So prejudice, discrimination, and the false argument of states rights still reigns in the original home of the Confederate government!

And for the GOP to bypass major representation at this premier civil rights anniversary is to the shame of the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike!

And for the Supreme Court and African American Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Chief Justice John Roberts to promote a weakening of the Voting Rights Act two years ago, and see what it has wrought on voter suppression, is to the shame of the top Court of the land, which has not done its job to uphold the Constitution of the United States!

The Smartest Presidents Based On Intellect, Not Success!

Being smart, being intelligent, being brilliant is something that in no way guarantees success, but can be noticed for what it is, and we have had our share of Presidents who have been among the brightest public figures we have been blessed with.

Chronologically, this select list would include:

John Adams (1797-1801)
Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)
James Madison (1809-1817)
John Quincy Adams (1825-1829)
James A. Garfield (1881)
Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)
Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)
Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
Bill Clinton (1993-2001)

Notice that only three or four of these Presidents are seen as having been successful, including Jefferson, Roosevelt, Wilson and Clinton.

Notice that Hoover, Nixon, and Carter are seen by many as failures or certainly as being in the bottom half of the Presidents.

The two Adamses and Madison are saved by their other massive accomplishments, so are rated in the second ten of our Presidents by most historians.

Garfield, considered the most brilliant between the second Adams and TR is the great unknown, being shot after four months in office and dying after six and a half months in office, but believed to be brilliant and an unknown factor as to his potential for greatness.

Notice that George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John F. Kennedy, all rated very high in rankings of Presidents, do not qualify on intellect or pure brilliance, and yet some, particularly Lincoln, FDR, and Kennedy have long been highly honored and respected, despite not fitting the definition of being part of the most brilliant intellects we have had in the Presidency!

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!