Eleanor Roosevelt

Presidential Family Members And The American Presidency

The growing influence of Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, is a significant factor in Donald Trump’s approach to the Presidency.

His reliance on and loyalty to his daughter and son in law demonstrates the power of family.

Other Presidents have also utilized family members as follows:

John Adams relied on John Quincy Adams as Ambassador to Prussia.

Woodrow Wilson had his second wife, Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, conduct cabinet meetings after he had a stroke in October 1919.

Franklin D. Roosevelt relied on his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, for advice on so many domestic and foreign policy issues, and in his last two years, his daughter, Anna, also was available to assist him.

Dwight D. Eisenhower used his son John Eisenhower as a staff aide in the White House.

John F. Kennedy had the most prominent relative in his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, serving as Attorney General of the United States for the entire time of the Kennedy Presidency.

Lyndon B. Johnson leaned on his wife, Lady Bird Johnson, for much advice.

Ronald Reagan followed the advice of his wife, Nancy Reagan, on a host of issues, including developing a relationship with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Bill Clinton utilized his wife, Hillary Clinton, on a proposed national health care program, as well as a host of other issues.

Barack Obama capitalized on the advice of wife Michelle Obama, as they were a very close couple.

But notice how mostly it was First Ladies who were engaged in helping their husband, with only John Quincy Adams, Anna Roosevelt, John Eisenhower (children) and RFK (brother) as important aides to the President, and Ivanka and Jared are in many ways unique in their growing role, with only RFK being of an equal or greater significance.

Time To Confront Newt Gingrich And Rudy Giuliani On Media For Their Invoking Bill Clinton, When Their Own Behavior Is Equally Horrible!

One of the most obnoxious developments of the Presidential campaign is Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, and Rudy Giuliani, former NYC Mayor, both with scandalous private lives, clear womanizers, extreme misogynists, speaking up to defend Donald Trump’s obscene statements and behavior regarding women.

All three have been married three times and have cheated on their wives while married, and most likely, are still cheating on their present third wives.

All three are the lowest of the low, breaking up families, harming their children no matter how much the children might deny it, while Bill Clinton, despite his totally reprehensible behavior, kept his family together, and remains, despite his terrible behavior, in love with his wife.

In many ways, the Bill and Hillary Clinton marriage reminds us of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt marriage, with its ups and downs, but real basic love for each other very obvious.

For Gingrich and Giuliani in 2012 and 2008, respectively, to have run for President with their disgraceful private life, as Trump has now, and yet to criticize Hillary Clinton, is the height of hypocrisy.

Kudos to Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly for NOT allowing Gingrich to bully her, but of course, Trump went ahead and applauded Gingrich for attacking her, and the effect is to make a mass movement of women abandoning the Republican Party this November, and possibly, for the long term, until and when the GOP no longer endorses misogyny and bad personal behavior in its candidates and its members in the Congress and in the states.

More media people need to openly confront Gingrich, Giuliani,and Trump directly about their behavior, and put them on the defensive. Kudos to Anderson Cooper of CNN for already doing so!

We cannot allow bullies to get away with their actions and behavior, and the American people would salute media personalities, like Cooper, who challenge openly the hypocrisy of these characters!

Historic Changes In American Currency A Great Movement Forward!

It is very inspiring to see recognition of race and gender on American currency for the first time in modern American history!

It is appropriate that Harriet Tubman be on the front of the $20 bill, with Andrew Jackson moved to the back.

It is also great that Alexander Hamilton remains on the front of the $10 bill, with Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, and Sojourner Truth put on the back as a group, to mark their importance in the women suffrage movement.

And the back of the Abraham Lincoln $5 bill will have Marian Anderson, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King. Jr on it.

The only truly controversial part is Jackson being switched from front to back on the $20 bill, but realize that Jackson destroyed the National Bank; condemned abolitionists working against slavery and was a slave owner himself; and forced the removal of five native American tribes to Oklahoma, the infamous “Trail of Tears”, which caused the death of more than 10,000.

So he is not being removed, but instead being placed on the back, with Harriet Truman, the heroic former slave who saved hundreds of slaves, being given recognition that is proper.

It is important that we give tribute to more than just white males on our currency, and show our appreciation of the sacrifices of these heroes and heroines!

Women On Currency: Replace Andrew Jackson Or Alexander Hamilton? Jackson, Definitely!

Six weeks ago, this blogger wrote of the move to have a woman on American currency, with the move being to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. In an online competition, abolitionist and runaway slave Harriet Tubman won out over Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosa Parks.

All well and good, but now the Treasury Department is proposing to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, rather than Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

Such an action would be totally wrong, as Hamilton is the founder of our national banking system, the most important economic figure in American history, and also the founder of a viewpoint in government—a belief in a strong national government, and a broad interpretation of the Constitution—-which in his time was considered to be “conservatism”, but in the past century since Franklin D. Roosevelt, has been seen as the view of government of the modern Democratic Party, namely “liberalism.”

Liberalism, and the alternative word “progressivism” has been the backbone of all of the major political, social and economic reforms of the past century, and Hamilton’s philosophy is something that needs to continue to be honored.

On the other hand, Andrew Jackson, while regarded as one of the more significant Presidents, destroyed the Second National Bank of the United States, a major mistake; promoted slavery and condemned abolitionists; and promoted the death of thousands of native Americans in the despicable action, known as the “Trail of Tears”, the forced removal of five Indian tribes to Oklahoma, later taken away from native Americans, when oil was discovered in Tulsa in 1889.

Ben Bernanke, the former head of the Federal Reserve, has called for just what this blogger is proposing: leave Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill, and replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill!

Divorce And The Presidency: Adlai Stevenson To The Present

The news of the death of Happy Rockefeller, the second wife and widow of former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, brings to mind the issue of “domestic bliss” or the lack of it in our politicians, past and present.

Rockefeller was thought to be the leading Republican candidate for President in 1964, but when he divorced his first wife and married his second wife, his chances for the nomination evaporated very quickly.

Only Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic Presidential nominee in 1952 and 1956, had been a nominee and been divorced before Rockefeller’s situation came along a decade later.

This did not mean that there were never liaisons and love triangles before, as Warren G. Harding had been cheating on his wife, but never had thought of divorce.

And Franklin D. Roosevelt had stayed with Eleanor Roosevelt, knowing that if he divorced her, his chances for a political career were over.

There was plenty of sexual “hanky panky” throughout American history, without any thought of divorce, including, besides Harding and FDR the following: Franklin Pierce, James A. Garfield, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton, and others.

But none of them ever considered divorce seriously, and Stevenson was hurt by his divorce, as was Rockefeller.

But that changed when Ronald Reagan ran in 1980, and had been divorced more than 30 years earlier.

And since Reagan, we have had Bob Dole, John Kerry, and John McCain, all divorced, but nominated by their parties, although no other divorced person has been elected President.

So divorce, so common in politics now, is no longer an issue, as it was throughout our history!

The Proposal To Have A Woman Replace Andrew Jackson On The $20 Bill

A movement has developed to place a woman on the $20 bill, in place of Andrew Jackson, our 7th President, who is highly controversial for his support of slavery; condemnation of abolitionists; participation in gun duels that killed several rivals; and his mass forced migration of Native Americans from the Southeast to Oklahoma, infamously known as the “Trail of Tears” in the 1830s.

A contest was held on line, on the website womenon20s.org, and the result was that the following women were selected as possible candidates to replace Jackson:

Eleanor Roosevelt (First Lady and wife of FDR)
Harriet Tubman (Runaway slave and abolitionist)
Rosa Parks (Montgomery Bus Boycott)
Wilma Mankiller (Chief of Cherokee Nation)

The author would select Eleanor Roosevelt, although an alternative idea would be a portrait of both Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, as FDR was the second or third greatest President in American History, and is only memorialized on the dime.

A portrait of the two Roosevelts would be an excellent way to commemorate the greatest First Couple in the history of the nation!

PS–Since this entry yesterday, the organization has counted the votes, and Harriet Tubman is the winner, instead of Eleanor Roosevelt, so congratulations on that, and Tubman would represent the idea of a woman on the $20 bill very well, but it is up to the Treasury Department if such a change in our currency takes place!

The “Power Couples”: Presidents And First Ladies

Only a few of our Presidents and First Ladies can be seen as “power couples” who had an impact on their times and after the Presidential years.

It was difficult for the public to relate to either Presidents or First Ladies before the age of modern communication, so therefore the true “Power Couples” can be seen as five in number:

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt 1933-1945

John and Jacqueline Kennedy 1961-1963

Ronald and Nancy Reagan 1981-1989

Bill and Hillary Clinton 1993-2001

Barack and Michelle Obama 2009-Present

Each of these Presidents had a great impact on their times, but also their wives played a major role in the success and accomplishments of their husbands.

If one were to rank these five “Power Couples”, the order that makes most sense are the Roosevelts first; the Clintons second; the Kennedys third: and then the debate of who is fourth and fifth can be argued between the Reagans and the Obamas!

The PBS “Roosevelts” Series Inspires Need For Progressive Leadership To Stop New “Gilded Age”!

The Ken Burns PBS series, “The Roosevelts”, started on Sunday night and continues through Saturday night, a 14 hour event, and is easily the best documentary presented on PBS in many years!

Seeing the story of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt  and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt inspired a desire in this author and blogger of the need for Progressive leadership of the type that TR and FDR and Eleanor represented, now in the 21st Century, to stop the abuses and damage that right wing conservatism has done, creating a new “Gilded Age’, and seeing wealthy billionaires wield power, and attempt fix elections, similar to JP Morgan and other millionaires at the time of TR in the White House.

But TR used the Presidency and federal power to crack down on unregulated capitalism, in what became known as the Progressive Era, and future Presidents of both parties, including Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama followed suit, but except for FDR and JFK, not in the same exciting vein and dynamic leadership that TR represented!

We now desperately need a new “Progressive Era”, but the right wing Supreme Court, picked by conservative Republicans, has done great damage, and the Congressional Republicans have made it very difficult for President Obama to accomplish many of his goals, although he has done a great deal that can be commended, despite strong obstructionism!

But to recognize the democratic nation that TR and FDR promoted, we need a massive change, and this series could have such an effect on the American psyche in the future, and we should all pray for that as the only way to advance democracy, justice, and true freedom in America in the future!

“THE ROOSEVELTS” 14 Hour Documentary Series For Seven Straight Nights, September 14-20, By Brilliant Documentarian Ken Burns!

One of the greatest documentarians of the modern era is Ken Burns, who has done magnificent and brilliant work on such topics as “The Civil War”, “Baseball”, “The Dust Bowl”, “Jazz”, and many other wonderful topics, is now taking on a massive challenge with his 14 hour series over seven nights on “The Roosevelts”, an in depth study of Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Eleanor Roosevelt.  The series is on for seven straight nights from September 14-20 on PBS.  And why September 14?  Because that is the day 113 years ago, that TR succeeded to the Presidency upon the death of William McKinley, from an assassin’s bullet eight days earlier!

This blogger, who in 1981 published a book on the New Deal, has always found FDR his favorite President, and has also admired TR, and really appreciative of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

This is a must series for all Presidential “junkies”, and considering that the two Roosevelts are in the top five of any legitimate Presidential poll of scholars at number 2 for FDR and number 4 for TR, this is a series any intelligent and interested person should watch, and it will also be available for DVD sale immediately.

This is a premiere series, unlikely to be surpassed in quality and excellence any time soon!

The Death Of Famed Political Scientist And Historian James MacGregor Burns At Age 95

Sad news has come, that famed political scientist and historian James MacGregor Burns, of Williams College, has passed away at the advanced age of 95.

A professor at Williams College for nearly a half century, and then at the University of Maryland, Burns was the author of some twenty books, as well as a famed textbook in the field of American government, which this author used in his classes over the years, in several different editions.

The first to write a study of his friend, Senator John F. Kennedy, as he was running for President, Burns became most noted for his three volume history of the United States; his two volume study of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1956 and 1970 (which had a profound effect on this author); a study of the three Roosevelts (Franklin, Eleanor, and Theodore); studies of Congress; and also analysis of the Supreme Court. He won the Pulitzer Prize in History and the National Book Award for his second volume on FDR (The Soldier of Freedom) in 1971.

There are few scholars in political science and history who have had the massive effect on those fields that Burns had, so he will be missed, but also remembered for his tremendous contributions.