Andrew Johnson

Is Donald Trump The Third President Without A Party, As Was The Case With John Tyler And Andrew Johnson?

We have had two Presidents who lacked support of a party, and we may now have a third one in Donald Trump.

Two Presidents were elected Vice President as part of a “fusion” team to help elect the Presidential nominee, and then quickly became President upon the death of the President.

John Tyler, a Democrat, ran on the Whig Party line with William Henry Harrison in 1840, and Harrison died of pneumonia 31 days after the inauguration.

Tyler disagreed with the Whig Party principles, and came into conflict with Whig leadership, including Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky and Congressman John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts.

His entire cabinet resigned after a few months, with the exception of Secretary of State Daniel Webster, and Tyler had great troubles with confirmation hearings, with four cabinet appointments and four nominees for the Supreme Court rejected by the Whig controlled Senate. The Congress refused to pass funding for fixing of the White House, which was in disrepair, and an attempted impeachment was prevented only by the Whigs losing the House of Representatives in 1842.

So John Tyler was a man without a party.

The same can be said of Andrew Johnson, a Democrat, who was the Vice Presidential nominee with Republican Abraham Lincoln in 1864, with Lincoln concerned about reelection, so choosing a loyal Southern Democrat to shore up support among some Northern Democrats.

When Lincoln was assassinated 45 days after his second inauguration, Johnson became President but clashed quickly with Radical Republicans over Reconstruction policy, and when he vetoed significant legislation, and went out and campaigned against them in midterm congressional elections in 1866, an open split was clear, and Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act, which prevented the dismissal of any cabinet officer appointed by the President, without majority backing by the majority of both houses of Congress, an unconstitutional action.

Johnson now faced impeachment on flimsy charges, and was found not guilty, but it weakened his ability to govern, and he was unable to gain the filling of a Supreme Court vacancy, and was truly a President without a party.

Now, Donald Trump has alienated many Republicans, who are willing to investigate his Russian ties and possible collusion in the Presidential Election of 2016. He has denounced the Freedom Caucus membership which prevented his health care legislation from passing, and many US Senators, including John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Ben Sasse, and others, have been strong critics. Additionally, he has hinted at working with Democrats, even though he has also antagonized them repeatedly with his utterances and policies. His public opinion rating is the lowest for any new President, since the beginning of polling 80 years ago.

The possibility of impeachment is there, as even top Republican leadership, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have found it difficult to work with a President who is constantly tweeting and criticizing, in a very divisive way.

So Donald Trump could end up being the third President without a party, recalling that for a long time, he was sounding years ago like a liberal Democrat!

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: Barack Obama Is 12th, Highest Ranking In Any Such Poll For Newly Retired President Since Ronald Reagan

The C Span 2017 Presidential Survey of 91 scholars of the American Presidency did true justice by naming Barack Obama the 12th Greatest President.

This is the highest first ranking of a newly retired President since Ronald Reagan in 1989, before there were C Span polls, but instead other polls existed, although not as organized and prestigious as C Span has now done three times–in 2000, 2009, and now 2017.

Obama was only 15 points behind Woodrow Wilson, and only 18 points behind Lyndon B. Johnson, often seen as the third and second, respectively, most accomplished Democratic President, particularly in domestic policy. And Obama was only 23 points behind Ronald Reagan, the conservative icon.

At the same time, Obama is 23 points ahead of James Monroe of the “Era of Good Feelings”; 31 points ahead of James K. Polk, who acquired so much territory in one term of office; and 35 points ahead of his major living competition, Bill Clinton.

Based on the stellar performance of Obama in the first competition, it seems likely he will move up to the top ten the next time this poll is done, or certainly at the least pass Wilson as a minimum, an interesting thought considering Wilson’s sad racial prejudices, despite his being the only earned Ph. D. President.

If Obama had been fortunate enough to have a Democratic Congress regularly, as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson had in their times, his ranking on “Relations with Congress”, rated 39th, would have been much higher, and he would already be in the Top Ten Presidents. Only Franklin Pierce, John Tyler, James Buchanan, and Andrew Johnson rank lower, which seems rather ridiculous in retrospect.

As it is, Obama rated 3rd in “Pursued Equal Justice For All”; 7th in “Moral Authority”;, 8th in “Economic Management”; 10th In “Public Persuasion”; 12th in “Vision:Setting An Agenda”; 15th in “Crisis Leadership” and “Performance Within Context of Time”; and 19th in “Administrative Skills”. In “International Relations”, much of it still unresolved on effect, Obama ranked 24th.

It seems clear that Obama will look even better in the long run, despite the racism, hatred, prejudice, and total obstructionism of the Republican Party and its leadership, which will pay for it in historical memory in the long haul, when these kinds of traits do not improve one’s historical standing!

Congressional Republicans Growing Unease About Donald Trump

Less than two weeks in office, Donald Trump is starting to see growing unease among some Congressional Republicans about his independent, go it alone, style of leadership.

Trump clearly feels he was elected without true party unity, and intends to govern in an authoritarian manner, but there are Republicans who are unhappy with his style and manner.

These include:

Arizona Senator John McCain
Arizona Senator Jeff Flake
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham
Ohio Senator Rob Portman
Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse
Maine Senator Susan Collins

Also, some Congressmen are also speaking out, so Trump may be a President without a party, and to find that, one must go back to the 19th century, where two Presidents, who succeeded a President who died, had massive headaches trying to deal with the party that had accepted them, members of the opposition party, as their Vice President, due to the wishes of the Presidential nominee, but with no expectation that the President wold die in office.

I am referring to Democrat John Tyler, who ran on the Whig Party ticket with William Henry Harrison in 1840; and Democrat Andrew Johnson, who ran on the Republican “Union” Party line with Abraham Lincoln in 1864.

Both Tyler and Johnson would have never ending headaches with their adopted party, with major battles over Supreme Court and Cabinet appointments, and a threat to impeach John Tyler, and an actual impeachment trial for Andrew Johnson.

Could Donald Trump be on the way to similar resistance and possible impeachment? He is alienating Congress by being a “lone wolf”, showing his disdain for Congress and the party line he ran on.

One must recall that his victory for President was the worst ever in popular vote loss to his opponent, and seventh lowest percentage ever, but with all those Presidents with lower percentage of vote, having had two or three opponents who gained electoral votes, instead of just one opponent.

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!

Republican Split Begins, As Several US Senators Indicate They Are Ready To Fight Trump Cabinet Appointments

It is now clear that Donald Trump will NOT work to avoid Republican party splits, but instead will do everything he can to stir division within the party, and within America, as shown with his horrendous Cabinet appointments.

Democrats MUST fight tooth and nail against many of the Cabinet appointments, including the nominees for Attorney General (Jeff Sessions); Health and Human Services (Tom Price); Labor (Andrew Puzder); Education (Betsy DeVos); and Environmental Protection Agency (Scott Pruitt).

But there are Republicans unhappy over issues of foreign policy, including close association between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson: and the proposed nomination of John Bolton to be Deputy Secretary of State, despite his continued belief that the Iraq War was justified, and the opposition of many top Republicans who despise the former United Nations Ambassador by recess appointment under George W. Bush, who could not be confirmed by the US Senate.

Republican Senators, including Marco Rubio, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, Rand Paul, Ben Sasse and Susan Collins, and possibly others, could prevent some of these appointees in committee or on the floor, and in league with Democrats, create more Cabinet turmoil and rejections than any modern President, reminding us of the battles some earlier Presidents, including John Tyler and Andrew Johnson, had with Congress over their choices for the Cabinet and the courts.

Also, even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan are calling for a full investigation of Russian hacking of the Democratic Party campaign in the recent election, and many are alarmed by Donald Trump seemingly cozying up to Putin, and Trump’s denial that he believes the evidence of such hacking as concluded by the Central Intelligence Agency, undermining respect and support of the President Elect for the intelligence agencies. And Trump’s refusal to get intelligence briefings regularly and to show mistrust of the Intelligence community, which is so important for the national security of the nation, is very worrisome and alarms many in his own party, as well as the nation at large.

Barack Obama Becomes Best Presidential Booster Of A Potential Successor In American History

When one looks at American history, it is indeed rare that a President leaving office really goes out of his way to boost and promote his party’s nominee to succeed himself.

That is the case, however, with Barack Obama, who is vigorously campaigning for Hillary Clinton in a manner no one would have predicted after the 2008 Democratic primary battle between the two candidates.

Of course, not everyone, and in fact, no one, except Abraham Lincoln, has picked his leading rival for the nomination to the most important cabinet post, Secretary of State.

Lincoln selected Senator William Seward of New York, who turned out to be a great Secretary of State under Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. And despite attacks, Hillary Clinton did a good job as Obama’s first term Secretary of State.

It is rare in modern times that a President gets his chosen successor to be elected, and none spent the time or effort that Obama has done and will do through the election, as he sees the victory of Hillary as a way to promote his own legacy.

Ronald Reagan backed George H. W. Bush as his successor, but did not go out of his way in the same way that Obama is for Clinton.

And Dwight D. Eisenhower was far from enthusiastic about his Vice President, Richard Nixon, succeeding him.

And Bill Clinton was not allowed by Al Gore to campaign for him, because of Gore’s belief that Clinton’s sex scandal and impeachment trial made him someone to avoid during the election campaign, a mistake that probably helped to defeat Gore, ironically, as the nation overall embraced Clinton despite the scandal, with Clinton keeping high popularity ratings.

Myth Destroyed About Third Term Of Same Party In White House Being Historically Unlikely! How About 7 Times And 120 Years Of Our History?

This blogger keeps on hearing that it is highly unlikely for a political party to hold the White House for more than two terms. Most recently, Chris Matthews said this on MSNBC on HARDBALL!

This is totally untrue, as witness the facts, a total of 7 times:

1800-1824—Democratic Republicans Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe–Six terms, 24 years

1828-1840–Democrats Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren–Three terms, 12 years

1860-1884–Republicans Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James A. Garfield, Chester Alan Arthur (Andrew Johnson elected with Lincoln on “Union” ticket in 1864 was a Southern Democrat, but was never elected)–Six terms, 24 years

1896-1912–Republicans William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft–Four terms, 16 years

1920-1932–Republicans Warren G. Harding. Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover–Three terms, 12 years

1932-1952–Democrats Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman–Five terms, 20 years

1980-1992–Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush–Three terms, 12 years

This adds up to 30 terms and 120 years from 1789-2008. So that means 30 terms out of 55 terms, more than half the time and 120 years out of 220 years, more than half the time!

And now in 2016, an 8th time, this time the Democrats with Barack Obama and, likely, Hillary Clinton, will add to the record, making it 33 terms out of 58, and 132 years out of 232 years!

Front Runners In Delegates At National Conventions Who Failed To Become The Nominee Of Their Party: William Henry Seward, Champ Clark, And Martin Van Buren!

Senator William Henry Seward of New York was the front runner in delegates at the Republican National Convention in 1860, but Abraham Lincoln won the nomination on the 3rd ballot, and went on to become the greatest President in American history!

Speaker of the House Champ Clark of Missouri was the front runner in delegates at the Democratic National Convention in 1912, but Woodrow Wilson won the nomination on the 46th ballot, and went on to become one of the most significant President in American history, and took us through World War I.

Former President Martin Van Buren of New York was the front runner in delegates at the Democratic National Convention in 1844, but James K. Polk won the nomination on the 9th ballot, and went on to gain more territory, by peace treaty with Great Britain and war with Mexico, than any President except Thomas Jefferson!

Seward went on to become Lincoln’s and Andrew Johnson’s Secretary of State, and helped to prevent Great Britain or France from recognizing the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, and was able to arrange the purchase of Alaska from Czarist Russia in 1867.

Champ Clark remained Speaker of the House, and served eight years, from 1911-1919, one of the longer lasting Speakers in American history, with only five Speakers serving longer than him.

Martin Van Buren could have been the first Grover Cleveland, to have served two non-consecutive terms in the White House, but instead ran for President once again in 1848 as the candidate of the Free Soil Party, and in so doing, undermined the Democratic Party nominee, and helped indirectly to elect Whig nominee Zachary Taylor.  Van Buren became the first former President to run on a third party line, and the Free Soil Party was the first significant third party, winning 10 percent of the national popular vote, and being a forerunner of the modern Republican Party, which formed six years later, in 1854.

A total of  nine times in American history, we have seen the front runner in delegates fail to win the party’s nomination–three times for the Democrats, five times for the Republicans, and once for the Whigs, so if Donald Trump were to be denied the Republican nomination  in 2016, it would be far from unique or unusual!

Joint Party Tickets A Good Idea? History Tells Us NO!

Recently, there has been some discussion of a “fusion” ticket as the way to stop Donald Trump.

One such scenario is to have Hillary Clinton run with John Kasich as her running mate.

That is totally preposterous, and history tells us that when the Vice President is of a different party than the President, it does not work out well.

The first contested Presidential election led to Thomas Jefferson as Vice President under his opponent, John Adams from 1797-1801, and that did not work out well, and in fact, helped to promote the 12th Amendment in 1804.

Then we had John C. Calhoun as Vice President under John Quincy Adams in the years 1825-1829, and that did not work out well.

William Henry Harrison was elected in 1840 with this Whig candidate having a Democrat, John Tyler, as his Vice President.  Within a month, Harrison was dead, and Tyler had constant battles with the Whig Congress, because he did not wish to follow Whig platform ideas.

Abraham Lincoln chose Andrew Johnson as his second term Vice President, despite the fact that Johnson was a Democrat in a Republican Presidency, and when Lincoln was assassinated six weeks later, we had one of the worst struggles in American history, as Johnson fought and resisted the Republican Party which had put him into the Vice Presidency, albeit briefly.

With these four examples, none of them working out well, we have never had such a situation arise again since, but we have had suggestions of doing what has never worked out well.

There were suggestions that Hubert Humphrey select Nelson Rockefeller in 1968, and that John McCain choose Joe Lieberman in 2008.

It simply will not work, and it undermines party loyalty and commitment to a President and his administration, if the next in line, in case of tragedy, transforms the power base in the Presidency.

As it is, we have had top cabinet members who are of the other party, particularly in the War Department as it was known before 1947, and the Defense Department, as it has been known since then., including:

Henry Stimson under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1940-1945

Robert McNamara under John F. Kennedy, beginning in 1961, and continuing under Lyndon B. Johnson until 1968.

William Cohen under Bill Clinton from 1997-2001

Robert Gates under Barack Obama from 2009-2011

But the Vice President needs to be “on the team”, not a rival of the President in office!

 

The Demeaning Of The Presidency: Let Us Not Lose The Class, Dignity, Grace Of Barack Obama And Most Other Presidents!

Barack Obama has added so much class, dignity and grace to the office of the Presidency.

He has withstood constant attack and obstructionism with equanimity and a calm demeanor, and in so doing, has added distinction and honor to the office.  Most of the other Presidents also added their stature to the image of the office, with the exception, maybe, of Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, and Richard Nixon!  And even they were not as outrageous as Donald Trump! And all three of them had a substantial record in public life and government and the military, unlike Donald Trump!

But now we are faced with the possibility of a school yard bully, a braggart, a person of great egotism and narcissism, who loves to brag about his “package”, uses foul language, insults everyone and everything, boasts about his prowess in everything without any substance in reality, and demeans the image of the Presidency in the midst of this Presidential campaign.

And yet, the most common folk among us, the low lifes, revel at everything he utters and does, and in the process, undermines the image of the Presidency in a very detrimental manner.

What kind of role model does Donald Trump present to the younger generation?  It is one of disgrace and one of promoting braggadocio, aggression, hostility and hate, all designed to gain power and undermine our civil liberties and social discourse, and to provoke bloodshed and violence in both domestic and foreign policy!

It is clear that Donald Trump is a dangerous sociopath, and a threat to American values and decency, and he should be committed for observation, and the mental health of his followers is subject to one’s concern about their stability, that they cannot see the phony and the fraud that he is.

This is exactly what 2012 GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney said yesterday, and one does not have to admire Romney to agree on what he says about Trump.

So to hear that the remaining GOP Presidential candidates, in their outrageously insulting debate last night, agree they would back Trump if he won the GOP nomination, is disheartening, and further cements the demise of the party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, and even Ronald Reagan!