Bill Clinton

The Ultimate Legacy Of American Presidents

American Presidents deal with dozens, if not, hundreds of issues while in office, and they have ups and downs, highs and lows, unavoidably.

But, ultimately, they are remembered for one action in office that either puts them in the great, successful category, or in the disastrous, unsuccessful category, and they may be praised or bitterly criticized for others, but they will always be remembered for one specific policy or event, which has the greatest effect on their legacy.

So when we look at Presidents since FDR, what stands out as their primary legacy?

Franklin D. Roosevelt–his New Deal programs that saved millions of Americans, and gave them hope for the future.

Harry S Truman–his courage in his dealings with the Soviet Union through the Cold War policies.

Dwight D. Eisenhower–the steadfastness of his Civil Rights policies, enforcing court orders and promoting the end of racial segregation.

John F. Kennedy–his forthrightness in dealing with the greatest threat in world history, the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Lyndon B. Johnson–his Great Society programs that advanced civil rights, education, health care, and a war on poverty.

Richard M. Nixon–his paranoia and illegal activities, leading to Watergate and his resignation.

Gerald R. Ford–his appointment of Justice John Paul Stevens, who became a giant on the Supreme Court for 35 years.

Jimmy Carter–his promotion of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, the Camp David Accords, which have brought peace for 35 years.

Ronald Reagan–his tripling of the national debt through excessive military spending and massive tax cuts to the wealthy.

George H. W. Bush–his exceptional conduct of the crisis of the Persian Gulf War.

Bill Clinton–his promotion of the Northern Ireland peace agreement, between Anglicans and Catholics, and with Great Britain.

George W. Bush–the prosecution of the Iraq War, a war that was based on falsehoods, undermining the Middle East and emboldening Iran.

Barack Obama–the promotion of the Affordable Care Act, giving millions of Americans their first time coverage for health care.

The 50th Anniversary Of The Civil Rights Act Of 1964 Commemorated By Four Presidents!

It has been a half century since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the greatest accomplishment of President Lyndon B. Johnson, in his five years in the Oval Office.

This week, four American Presidents are honoring this achievement at the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum in Austin, Texas, including Barack Obama, and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush (the former Presidents, ironically, all Southerners).

This half century old law is one of the massive and historic turning points in American history, and yet the challenge to civil rights, as the Reverend Al Sharpton has stated, is not over, as there continues to be discrimination in many southern and other states governed now by Republican legislatures and governors.

So the battle for civil rights continues for the protection of people based upon race, ethnicity, gender, disability, and sexual orientation, and we cannot sit on just praise of what has been done, but fight for more of the same in the present and the future!

The Dangers Of The Supreme Court Run Amuck In Favor Of Wealthy And Corporations!

The Supreme Court is totally out of control, with its new decision on having no limits on campaign spending by wealthy donors, added on to the Citizens United Case of 2010, and the limitation of voting rights in a 2013 decision.

Chief Justice John Roberts has solidified a five member GOP majority to destroy all attempts to prevent corporate and wealthy people from controlling the political system, an effort pursued from the time of Theodore Roosevelt a century ago through Senator John McCain and Senator Russ Feingold in the 1990s and early 2000s.

That is all for naught now, and shows the dangers of a runaway, reckless, right wing radical Court!

This is what made Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Barack Obama criticize Court power, along with progressive reformers including Senator Robert La Follette of Wisconsin, Senator George Norris of Nebraska, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont!

This is the result of 13 Supreme Court nominees since 1960 by Republican Presidents, to only 8 by Democrats, and with two of those Democratic appointments (Arthur Goldberg by John F. Kennedy and Abe Fortas by Lyndon B. Johnson), only lasting three and four years respectively.

Of course, Republican appointments of Harry Blackmun by Richard Nixon; John Paul Stevens by Gerald Ford; Sandra Day O’Connor by Ronald Reagan; and David Souter by George H. W. Bush, turned out to be major surprises in their rulings, but we also ended up with some of the most reactionary and right wing radical appointments in all of American history with the appointments of William Rehnquist by Richard Nixon and the elevation of Rehnquist to Chief Justice by Ronald Reagan; Lewis Powell by Richard Nixon; Antonin Scalia by Ronald Reagan; Clarence Thomas by George H. W. Bush; and Samuel Alito by George W. Bush. The appointments of Chief Justice Warren Burger by Richard Nixon; Anthony Kennedy by Ronald Reagan; and Chief Justice John Roberts by George W. Bush, have been more of a mixed bag, sometimes good, and sometimes horrible in its effect on constitutional law!

Meanwhile, John F. Kennedy selected a mostly conservative Justice Byron White; Lyndon B Johnson selected Thurgood Marshall; Bill Clinton selected Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer; and Barack Obama selected Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, but sadly, their influence in the last four of the five names listed, has been mostly in being the opposition, sometimes vehement in nature!

The effect on the future of American democracy is massive, with this right wing Court majority, and the only hope is the eventual retirement of Scalia and Kennedy, and hopefully, continuation of a Democratic Senate and President for the rest of the decade, so that the Court changes direction in the future!

Presidential Retirement Years And Constructive Post Presidencies

All of our Presidents, except for eight who died in office, have had periods of retirement after their years in the Presidency.

Some have had very short periods of retirement, periods of less than ten years, including George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James K, Polk, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Chester Alan Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

So fully half of our Presidents either died in office or had periods of retirement less than ten years.

On the other hand, the following Presidents had particularly long periods of retirement of fifteen or more years: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush.

The following Presidents had between ten and fifteen years of retirement: Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Ronald Reagan.

Bill Clinton has had 13 years out of office, and George W. Bush has had five years out of office at this time.

With the retirement periods of all of these Presidents listed above, the question that arises is which Presidents made major contributions in their post Presidency years.

That list is a short one:

John Quincy Adams
Martin Van Buren
Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Herbert Hoover
Richard Nixon
Jimmy Carter
Bill Clinton

Adams served nearly eighteen years in Congress.

Van Buren ran for President on the Free Soil Party line in 1848.

Roosevelt ran for President on the Progressive Party line in 1912, and went on an African safari, and explored the Amazon River basin in Brazil.

Taft served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for nine years.

Hoover wrote books and served as an adviser to President Truman on reorganization of the executive branch of government.

Nixon wrote about ten books and remained an adviser on diplomacy in his nearly twenty years in retirement.

Carter has written nearly twenty books, and engaged in diplomacy, promotion of democracy, fought diseases, and built housing through the Carter Center and Habitat for Humanity.

Clinton has done similar good deeds through his Clinton Initiative, and also worked on relief for the Haitian earthquake and the Pacific Tsunami with George H. W. Bush.

The contributions of these former Presidents have had a major impact on America, and are worthy of remembrance!

Jeb Bush Suddenly Emerges As GOP Front Runner For 2016!

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has suddenly emerged as the theoretical front runner for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016, after a visit to Las Vegas and kissing the ring of billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

Other present time Governors–Chris Christie, Scott Walker, John Kasich—also saw Adelson, who is willing to spend tens of millions of dollars to back a Republican who will support his causes, including strong support of Israel, and working to overcome the Barack Obama Administration initiatives in many areas of domestic policy.

Jeb Bush has the advantage that he might draw support from a portion of the Hispanic-Latino community, as well as African Americans, and women. He is a favorite of the Establishment Republicans on Wall Street, who are terrified at the horrible Tea Party activists, such as Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio.

But the fact that his brother was unpopular, and in many ways, disastrous, works against Bush, and really, many might say, three Bushes is a bit much!

Once he would actually announce, his record as Florida Governor will be dissected, and while there are some good points one can make about Jeb, he was not universally popular when governor of the Sunshine State!

His own mother, Barbara Bush, has advised against running, and Bush has been out of office for ten years by 2016, making him longer out of office than any Presidential nominee who held an elective office, since Abraham Lincoln, who was out of office for twelve years, when he ran for President in 1860.

Much more could be said about the pluses and minuses of Jeb Bush as a Presidential candidate, and particularly against Hillary Clinton. There is time for that if Jeb actually announces. Could he, for instance, really win the caucuses and primaries in a party that is so right wing now? Does the nation really want a Bush and a Clinton in the same election, with Bushes going back to the 1980s, and Clintons to the 1990s, when now we are in the mid 2010′s?

That discussion can wait until he decides to run, and do not bet on that occurring!

March Of Second Year Of Presidential Term Not Good Time To Assume Presidential Nominees For Next Term, Proved By History!

As March 2014 ends, Hillary Clinton is the runaway favorite for the Democratic Presidential nomination, which is comforting to her, but going by history, no guarantee of her nomination in the summer of 2016.

Witness the following facts:

Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts was the front runner in polls for 1976, 1980, and 1984, in March 1974, March 1978, and March 1982.

Senator Gary Hart of Colorado was the front runner in polls for 1988, in March 1986.

Governor Mario Cuomo of New York was the front runner in polls for 1992, in March 1990.

Former Vice President Al Gore was the front runner in polls for 2004, in March 2002.

Senator Hillary Clinton of New York was the front runner in polls for 2008, in March 2006.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani was the front runner in polls for 2008, in March 2006.

Did anyone ever know of a President Ted Kennedy, a President Gary Hart, a President Mario Cuomo, a President Al Gore (other than the contested Election Of 2000), a President Hillary Clinton for the past five years, or a President Rudy Guiliani?

Who was seriously thinking of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama in 1974 or 1990 or 2006? And who was seriously thinking of Michael Dukakis in 1986 or John Kerry in 2002? The answer is that none of the top five in polling in all these different March second year of the term polls were these five listed in this paragraph, including the last three Democratic Presidents!

So the game of Presidential candidacy is far from resolved at this early point of the battle for the next Presidential nominations in both parties!

Conservative Republicans Want To Repeal Constitutional Amendments And 20th Century Reforms That Make America A Better Nation!

The Republican Party of the second decade of the 21st century, along with the conservative movement, in all of its ramifications, is out to repeal constitutional amendments and numerous 20th century reforms that make America a better, more modern nation, all in their quest to make the corporations ever more dominant and enrich the top one percent more than already is reality!

When one follows, reads, and watches right wing spokesmen, in and out of the party, they have called for the following repeals:

The 16th Amendment–Federal Income Tax
The 17th Amendment–Direct Popular Election Of US Senators
19th Amendment–Woman Suffrage
Antiquities Act–National Parks, Forests, and Monuments Protection
Food And Drug Administration
Clayton Anti Trust Act
Federal Trade Commission
Federal Reserve Act
Social Security Act
Fair Labor Standards Act
Medicare
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Department Of Education
Department Of Health And Human Services
Department Of Housing And Urban Development
Department Of Energy
Environmental Protection Agency
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Occupational Safety And Health Administration
US Post Office
Affirmative Action
Abortion Rights
Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
National Public Radio
PBS
Americans With Disabilities Act
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
ObamaCare–Affordable Care Act

These and other laws and amendments not mentioned here became law under Presidents of both parties, including

Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama

Basically, these right wing groups and the dominant element in the Republican Party in Congress want to repeal everything that is good about America, and bring us back to the 19th century Gilded Age!

The Likelihood Of An Obama Impeachment Grows, But It Will Not Lead To Removal From The Presidency!

With the growing possibility that the Republicans MIGHT win control of the US Senate, and keep control of the House of Representatives by a tight margin, the likelihood of President Obama facing impeachment, as Bill Clinton did in 1998, grows.

But there is no case for impeachment, as Barack Obama has NOT committed high crimes and misdemeanors in office!

He has not even had an illicit love affair as Bill Clinton did, and he has not lied under oath, as Bill Clinton sadly did when asked about his love life by a prosecutor under oath, once the Paula Jones accusations came to light.

Obama has been accused of abusing power, but nothing he has done is any different than what George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, or other Presidents did, without the invective that the 44th President has had to deal with.

Obama has faced a constant assault like no one since Richard Nixon, who deserved it, due to his illegal actions. So much of what is said is outrageous, and disrespectful of the office he holds.

But remember that all that is needed for impeachment is a majority of the House of Representatives to vote on one or more articles of impeachment, and the charges need not be substantial or legitimate, as impeachment is a political action, not based on the law, as it was not based on law with Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.

The likelihood of an impeachment, therefore, is very high, but as stated at other times by this blogger, it will never lead to the removal of the President, since even if the GOP gains the Senate majority, there will never be a situation where enough Democrats, or in fact, any Democrats, would vote to remove him from office!

The effect of an impeachment will be, simply, to besmirch the record of Barack Obama, making him the fourth President to face impeachment charges, but it will only matter as part of his obituary, since it will certainly be one of the key points always remembered if it ends up happening.

The impeachment battle would also cause a dramatic rise in Obama’s popularity, much like Bill Clinton experienced.

It would also help to undermine, ever further, any legitimacy that the Republican Party has with the American people at large, and it would further insure that a Democratic President will be elected in 2016.

Impeachment would be seen as petty, vindictive, and unfortunately, racist, and it would reflect badly on Republicans who wish to run for President.

No good could come out of such an action, but it would be a high moment for those who wish to divide America ever further, but with no satisfaction of their desire for blood.

And the true beneficiary of all this, if by some miracle, Obama was forced out, would be Vice President Joe Biden, who by becoming President with less than half the term left, would have a step up for the Presidency in 2016 and 2020, thus destroying the last opportunity for Hillary Clinton or any Republican to become President before 2025!

And anyone who thinks Joe Biden is a “joke”, who is not to be taken seriously, will have their comeuppance when they discover they might have created the monster of a President Biden for the next decade!

The Loss Of A Classic Great Governor: Reubin Askew Of Florida (1971-1979)

When one examines the history of state Governors throughout American history, one discovers that a very large percentage of them have performed horribly, with many mediocre at best, and very few standing out as exceptional in their performance in office.

We often say that the best place to look for Presidential candidates is to go to the states, and find effective Governors, who have proven their ability to govern.

But when we look, even at the present group of 50 Governors in the United States, it is hard to find many who give one a sense of optimism, as to their honesty, concern for the average citizen, and commitment to good government.

So when we do find such a Governor, he is to be treasured, although often not recognized adequately in his own lifetime.

Such a case is former Florida Governor Reubin Askew, easily rated the greatest Governor in Florida history.

But Askew is much more than that, as he is rated by scholars in one study as one of the top ten all time Governors in the history of all states since 1789!

Askew came out of obscurity in the Florida State legislature to serve two achievement filled terms as Governor of a state with a long list of mostly mediocre Governors. He was the first Florida Governor able to have two terms in office, due to a change in the state Constitution in 1967.

Askew was one of the NEW SOUTH Democratic Governors who came out of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, and Arkansas Governors Dale Bumpers and Bill Clinton. Sadly, the Republican Party did NOT produce forward minded Governors then or since, and we see the product of it in such Governors as Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and other disastrous Southern Governors given their states by the GOP!

Askew was a liberal on racial issues, in a state not known for open mindedness and tolerance, in the years before 1970. He was able to overhaul the tax laws of the state, and to promote open government through “sunshine” laws, and also advocate environmental protection. Additionally, he promoted streamlining of the state government and courts, and also pushed ethics laws.

Askew had tremendous accomplishments, but was always very humble and decent as a human being, not letting his power to go to his head, a rare thing among state governors, past and present.

Askew was so highly regarded that he was offered the chance to be the Vice Presidential nominee with George McGovern in 1972, but turned it down. He also had a brief run for the Presidency in 1984 and for the Senate in 1988, but disliked having to work to raise campaign funds.

He was born to a poor family, worked his way through school, and never forgot the common touch, which in itself, made him a great man!

Florida and the nation have lost a true giant, a model for others, but not many are following in his footsteps, either in Florida or in other states around the nation, something to be mourned, as we mourn his death!

New Assertiveness By Barack Obama A Great Development!

President Barack Obama is not allowing obstructionist Republicans and conservatives to stop him in his determination to use his Presidential authority to bring about necessary change and social justice.

So Obama is declaring new national parks to add to the legacy of our environment, and prevent exploitation by private industry that would lead to mining and other destructive activities that undermine nature, just as Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton did when they were in the White House.

Obama is also moving to force many corporations, which have been skirting the rules on pay, to make them fork up overtime pay to workers who deserve it, but have been denied it by manipulative companies wishing to cheat them of their deserved compensation.

Obama has also taken action to promote a better future for young people, including working to convince them that they need to sign up for ObamaCare, as they are not immune from injury and illness, although young people tend to think they are indestructible, and do not understand that one illness or accident could put them into a total negative credit situation long term.

And Obama is trying to provide hope and opportunity for a particularly endangered species, young black males, who have had a far greater likelihood of a life cut short by violence, a life more likely to lead to prison and drug addiction, but lives that can be turned around by appropriate intervention by those who value every person as one who should be given equal chance for success and happiness.

This is the kind of President we need, one who cares about us, not about powerful, wealthy interests, who are never satisfied, no matter how much wealth and power they already have! This is a country and government of, by and for the people, not just the elite, powerful, and wealthy!