Franklin D. Roosevelt

Is Chief Justice John Roberts On Road To Judicial Leadership Of John Marshall, Charles Evans Hughes, And Earl Warren?

Chief Justice John Roberts is clearly a conservative on the Supreme Court, but he is also very much aware of and concerned about the turmoil in American society, and concerned about the long term reputation of the Court, as well as his own historical image, since he has a sense of history.

So Roberts has surprised Court watchers in some of his decisions, and he has emerged as the “swing” vote on the Court, as only he can prevent the Court from going so hard to the Right that it will lose its image of being an institution that promotes fairness and equity under the Constitution.

So expect that John Roberts will become a true judicial leader on the level of John Marshall (1801-1835), Charles Evans Hughes (1930-1941), and Earl Warren (1953-1969).

These three Chief Justices, generally acknowledged as the three greatest of the 16 previous Chief Justices before Roberts came to the Court in 2005, all demonstrated courage and principle, and came into conflict with Presidents.

Marshall had to deal with the strong opposition of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, while Charles Evans Hughes had Franklin D. Roosevelt challenging the Court during the Great Depression, and Earl Warren steered the Court in a direction not always agreed with by Republicans Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon.

Now John Roberts has to deal with Donald Trump, who he has already issued a criticism, when Trump spoke of “Obama Judges”, “Bush Judges”, and “Clinton Judges”, with Roberts asserting there is no such thing as judges based on a President, but rather judges adhering to the Constitution as they see it.

This makes it quite clear to many observers that Roberts is ready to take a more moderate stand than he does typically, as he did in saving the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) in 2012.

Expect Roberts to side, if necessary, with the four “liberals” on the Court (chosen by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama), with the constitutional crisis that has clearly arisen, including trying to convince the four conservatives selected by both President Bushes and even the two Trump judges, to consider how the Court was unanimous in curbing President Richard Nixon in the Watergate Scandal 45 years ago, and Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones lawsuit 22 years ago.

It is the Supreme Court that is being looked to as the ultimate government branch to rein in a President far more abusive than Richard Nixon, and to reassert separation of powers and checks and balances.

Today, May 8, Is The 135th Anniversary Of Harry Truman’s Birth, And The 74th Anniversary Of The End Of World War II In Europe

Today, May 8, is a momentous day, as it is the 135th Anniversary of the birth of President Harry Truman, and also the 74th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.

There are very few veterans left from World War II, as the only survivors would be at least 92 if they had just entered war service in the last months of the war in 1945.

The “Greatest Generation”, as Tom Brokaw called the veterans of World War II, made great sacrifices and we honor them every Memorial Day in May and Veterans Day in November.

And we honor President Truman, who despite much controversy over his actions in office, is ranked in polls of scholars and experts as either number 5 or number 6 among all our Presidents, something no one in his time in office ever imagined he would reach.

Truman proved that an “ordinary man”, the only modern President not to have attended or graduated college, could be an effective President, and a voracious reader, proving that not all education and drive comes from a college degree, but from ambition and motivation to overcome one’s shortcomings.

This author and blogger would rank Truman Number 4, ahead of Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower, now rated in the C Span 2017 Poll of Historians above him, as he faced crises greater than all Presidents except George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. We were blessed to have two exceptional Presidents in a row in FDR and Truman.

Vice Presidency Has Led To Presidential Nominations Multiple Times Since The 1960s

The Vice Presidency was never good breeding ground for Presidential nominations since the Civil War.

Only John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren and John C. Breckinridge were nominated for President before the Civil War, with all winning the Presidency, except for Breckinridge, who had been Vice President under James Buchanan from 1857-1861, and then nominated by Southern Democrats who refused to accept the official Democratic nominee, Stephen Douglas in 1860.

The only Vice President from 1860 to 1960 who was nominated for President was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third term Vice President, Henry A. Wallace, who ran as the Progressive Party nominee for President in 1948 against his own successor in the Vice Presidency, President Harry Truman.

But since 1960, six Vice Presidents have run as Presidential candidates, including;

Richard Nixon in 1960 and 1968

Hubert Humphrey in 1968

Gerald Ford in 1976 (who had succeeded Richard Nixon under the 25th Amendment)

Walter Mondale in 1984

George H. W. Bush in 1988

Al Gore in 2000

Nixon and Bush won the Presidency, while Ford lost a full term after finishing the partial term he succeeded to, and Gore won the popular vote, but failed to win the Electoral College.

The point is that Joe Biden would be the 7th Vice President who ran for President after serving as Number 2 in the executive branch.

And Nixon the first time, Mondale, Bush, and Gore all had a jump start on the nomination of their party for the Presidency, with only Humphrey and Ford having major challengers.

So at least by recent history in the past half century plus, being a Vice President gives a leap forward to those who wish to run for President.

Social Security Reform Needed Again As In 1983 Between Speaker Of The House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill And President Ronald Reagan

In 1983, Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, a clear cut liberal, negotiated with conservative Republican President Ronald Reagan a path breaking Social Security reform, raising the level of taxation on Social Security; and increasing the retirement age by stages to 66 and 67.

This was long range planning to insure that Social Security, begun in 1935 by Franklin D. Roosevelt, would survive into the long term future.

Ever since 1983, this bipartisan spirit has been hailed, but little action has been taken to insure the future, now that Social Security is in danger again.

Of course, the right wing conservatives would love to see the program die, as they opposed it bitterly at the time of passage in 1935 and ever since.

It is clear that if the Republicans control Congress after the 2020 elections, that they will work to kill the program so it is urgent that Democrats win the Presidency and control of both houses of Congress, and proceed to add one percent taxation to the program, and raise the retirement age by stages over the next 20 years to age 68, and eventually 69, for full benefits. More people than ever before work longer now than in past years.

A combination of both a one percent tax increase and age increases will save the system for the next 75 years until the end of the 21st century, and legislation needs to also force all unearned income from stocks to be taxed, as well as earned income from work.

25 Years Since Richard Nixon Death On Earth Day

It is now a quarter century since President Richard Nixon died, ironically on Earth Day, April 22, 1994.

Nixon has been rightly criticized and attacked for the Watergate Scandal and related illegal actions, which led to his impeachment by the House Judiciary Committee, before his resignation when the Supreme Court ordered he hand over the Watergate tapes to the Special Prosecutor, Leon Jaworski.

But historians regard Nixon as the second best Environmental President of modern times, just behind Theodore Roosevelt, and ahead of Jimmy Carter, as he went along with the Democratic Congress in promoting the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, and could have prevented it by a presidential veto.

Many might say that other Presidents belong that high up in the rankings, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and John F. Kennedy, and Obama’s involvement is still being evaluated as to where he should rank in the listings.

One thing for sure, other than TR and Nixon, no Republican President ranks high, except in the damage done, as for instance, particularly with Ronald Reagan, Warren G. Harding, and more than either of them, Donald Trump.

March 4 Presidential Inauguration History Significant So Many Times In American History

Today is the original Presidential Inauguration Day through 1933 every fourth year.

Some March 4ths stand out.

1801–Thomas Jefferson is inaugurated, the first time an opposition party takes over the Presidency, and without any bloodshed or violence.

1829–Andrew Jackson is inaugurated, and a mob descends on the White House to celebrate, and windows, glasses, and China are broken.

1841–William Henry Harrison is inaugurated, gives the longest inaugural address in history, and takes sick with pneumonia that evening, and dies after one month in office.

1861–Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated at a time when Southern states have broken away from the Union and declared their independence.

1865–Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated for his second term, and gives the greatest Inaugural Address in American history, calling for peace and reconciliation when the Civil War ends, and his future assassin, John Wilkes Booth is in the crowd and moving toward the inaugural stand as Lincoln speaks.

1913–Woodrow Wilson is inaugurated as the Democrats, after a half century of Republican dominance of national government.

1933–Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated at the worst moments of the Great Depression, and FDR talks of a New Deal for the American people, the second greatest Inaugural Address, and the Congress pushes through the 20th Amendment, setting up future inauguration dates to be on January 20, starting in 1937.

Trump: “Socialism Is Corruption, Exploitation, Decay”. And What Is Unregulated Capitalism And A Trump Presidency?

Donald Trump is being a demagogue when he said recently that the Democratic Party opposition is promoting socialism, which he defines as “corruption, exploitation, and decay”.

The question is what is unregulated capitalism in the Trump Presidency, if it is not “corruption, exploitation, and decay”? Trump has no desire to regulate the worst evils and sins of capitalism.

If Trump is left to his motivations, he wishes to enrich only himself and the top one percent billionaires, and to hell with the quality of life of the rest of the nation.

If Trump were to have free reign, we would have the wiping out of the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, the accomplishments of Barack Obama, and the environmental accomplishments of Presidents since Theodore Roosevelt.

If Trump could do just what he wanted, the alliances with Western Europe and Asia would be destroyed, in favor of allegiance to authoritarian dictators such Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Mohammed bin Salman.

If what FDR, LBJ, Obama, TR and so many others have done to make life better in the nation and in the world is to be considered “socialism”, then ok, we are a “socialist” nation, and need to keep on that track, as that brings out the best of American ingenuity and compassion and basic moral and ethical values.

The “Achilles Heel” Of Ten Presidents: What Harms Their Historical Reputation

When one studies the Presidency, it always comes down to one issue that can undermine their historical reputation.

So for John Adams, for example, it is the passage and enforcement of the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

For James Madison, it is the burning of the White House and Capitol Hill in 1814 by the British during the War of 1812.

For Andrew Jackson, it is the forced removal of five Indian tribes to Oklahoma in the 1830s, the so called “Trail of Tears”.

For Franklin Pierce, it is the signing of the Kansas Nebraska Act in 1854, bringing the nation closer to the Civil War of the future.

For Woodrow Wilson, it is the violation of civil liberties during the First World War, and immediately after, during the Red Scare of 1919-1920.

For Franklin D. Roosevelt, it is the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

For Lyndon B. Johnson, it is the escalation of the Vietnam War in the mid 1960s.

For Richard Nixon, it is the engagement in the Watergate Scandal in the early 1970s.

For George W. Bush, it is the provoking of the Iraq War in 2003 and after.

And for Donald Trump, it is the collusion with the Russian government Vladimir Putin, which is going to bring down his Presidency.

Latest Presidential Ranking Survey For Presidents Day Changes Ratings Of Several Presidents Upward And Downward

The game of Presidential rankings is one always changing, and the newest survey of scholars, including this author as a participant, does not disappoint in that regard.

The Siena College survey, now done six times since 1982, once for each new President being considered in the rankings, has some surprises.

157 experts, questioned by the Siena College Research Institute, raised two of the Founding Father generation to the top ten, with James Madison number 7 and James Monroe, his successor at number 8. In so doing, two modern Presidents were dropped out of the top ten, with Ronald Reagan at number 13 and Lyndon B. Johnson at number 16.

A rare occurrence was that Abraham Lincoln was number 3, when usually he is on top, although in earlier Siena College surveys, Franklin D. Roosevelt had been number one, now number two, with George Washington moving up to number one.

Barack Obama, number 8 in the American Political Science Association survey in 2018, and number 12 in the C Span 2017 survey, ended up number 17 in the Siena College survey, so below such Presidents as Woodrow Wilson, James K. Polk, John Adams, and Bill Clinton.

And Donald Trump, who was dead last in the APSA poll, was number 42, above James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson, with Johnson ending up below Buchanan, the opposite of both the C Span and APSA surveys.

Of course, the game of Presidential ranking is a never ending and highly debatable one, and the way that Presidents are ranked is purely in the eyes and expertise of the beholder.

Should a great man, such as Madison or Monroe, but not as accomplished as more modern Presidents, such as Reagan or LBJ, be higher in the ratings?

That is left up to how people perceive Presidents, and whether they include the whole life, or just the actual years of the Presidency, in their judgments.

America Will Never Be A “Socialist” Country, But We Have “Socialist” Ideas Americans Want To Keep: Social Security, Medicare, Environmental, Labor, Consumer, Health Care, Education, And Civil Rights Laws, All Which Make Capitalism Work Better!

Donald Trump attacked “Socialism” in the State of the Union address, knowing full well that is simply a code word to attack progressive reforms that have become part of the American tradition and system of social justice.

“Socialism” in America is Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Federal Environmental Laws, Federal Labor Laws, Federal Consumer Laws, Federal Health Care, Education and Civil Rights Laws.

These laws are the hard, years fought for, efforts of primarily Democrats and some moderate Republicans over the century since Theodore Roosevelt, including Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and even contributions of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and innumerable Senators and Congressmen and state governors who saw these laws as essential for American advancement.

We are a nation of capitalism but with “socialism” mixed in, due to the promotion of such legislation by the Socialist Party of the 20th century, and its leaders, including Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, and most Americans support and see the need for the laws we have.

We are not going to go back to the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, as the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the 1960s, and the Obama era have made our nation better, and the right wing attack on all these reforms will be fought bitterly and defeated!