Franklin D. Roosevelt

Eleven Foreign Policy Presidential Elections In American History, And Now 2016!

America has had foreign policy affect eleven Presidential elections, overshadowing domestic policy issues. This has usually been centered about military intervention and wars. The list of foreign policy dominated Presidential elections follows:

1812—With the War of 1812 having begun, it became the major issue under President James Madison

1844—With the issue of Texas annexation a major issue, and with James K. Polk running on expansionism and “Manifest Destiny”, the issue of relations with Mexico became a major issue under John Tyler and Polk.

1848—With the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo after the Mexican War under James K. Polk granting so much new territory to the United States, the issue of what to do with these territories became the major issue of the campaign.

1900—With the Treaty of Paris ending the Spanish American War under William McKinley granting new territories to the United States, the issue of what do to with those territories reigned during the campaign, and the Filipino Insurrection was a hot issue as well.

1916–The issue of keeping America out of World War I dominated, with Woodrow Wilson campaigning on the fact that he had kept us out of the war.

1940—The issue of isolationism and World War II in Europe and Asia, and Franklin D. Roosevelt campaigning on keeping us out of war, but offering some assistance to Great Britain, dominated the campaign.

1944—The fact that we were still in World War II, and what to do about the postwar world and the Soviet Union, were key issues of the campaign.

1952—The debate over what to do about the limited nature of the Korean War under Harry Truman was a major factor in this campaign which elected Dwight D. Eisenhower.

1968—The debate over the Vietnam War under Lyndon B. Johnson, and the resulting split in the Democratic Party, and Richard Nixon declaring he had a secret plan to end the war, dominated the discussion in the campaign.

2004—The Iraq War and Afghanistan War under George W. Bush dominated the discussion in this campaign, as September 11 transformed the issue of national security.

2008—The continued intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan became a major issue, along with the Great Recession emerging during the campaign, and benefited Barack Obama, who promised to end the war in Iraq and downgrade the war in Afghanistan.

Now 2016 seems likely to be centered much more than many people want over foreign policy, particularly the threat of Iran in the Middle East, along with the danger of ISIL (ISIS) Terrorism, and the growing menace of the Russian Federation under Vladamir Putin, overall adding to the image of growing threats to national security.

And in these circumstances, one needs a steady hand at the helm, and only Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden have the experience and the judgment needed, along with Jon Huntsman, who, although listed by many as a long shot nominee for the Republicans, has indicated he is not a candidate. In any case, the Republicans are not smart enough to realize that the true treasure in their midst is Jon Huntsman!

Do All Potential Presidential Candidates Represent The Wealthy And Powerful? NO, Not Bernie Sanders And Elizabeth Warren!

What does a person do if he or she is disgusted with our political system, and the growing theory that no matter who we elect, Wall Street and the wealthy gain?

Well, what he or she can do is promote the Presidential candidacy of two United States Senators, who have made it clear in their time in public office that they are enemies of Wall Street and the Establishment!

Those two Senators are Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren!

One problem that Bernie Sanders has is that he will be 75 years old in 2016, and has totally white hair, and he will be a year older than Vice President Joe Biden. He also is a Capital S SOCIALIST, and the vast majority of Americans think Socialism is evil because of their ignorance on the term, while not realizing how much of our social and economic reforms in the Progressive Era, the New Deal, and Great Society years are Socialist ideas! This nation has benefited greatly from “Socialist” programs, but there is a fear of anything which is to the advantage of the middle and lower classes, much of it implanted in the minds of Americans through wrong headed propaganda!

But Bernie Sanders, the longest serving Independent in the history of the Senate and House of Representatives, is the real article, a sincere, genuine, authentic, articulate advocate for the middle class and the poor, and every criticism he makes and every idea he enunciates cannot be refuted if one really examines the facts! But facts often seem not important, as mythology and promotion of fear reign instead!

Bernie Sanders would be a revolutionary President, in the sense that he would truly change the direction of the nation in a positive way, but of course, the conservative right wing and Republican Party would fight him tooth and nail, and accuse him of every sin possibly conceived, and with a viciousness matching Barack Obama in the White House, because, after all, Sanders would be a “real” Socialist, not the phony one painted on Barack Obama, and in the distant past, Franklin D. Roosevelt! Sanders has made it clear that he will not accept large contributions, and will have, therefore, great trouble in raising money, so it is not clear if he will, ultimately, run for President.

At the same time, Elizabeth Warren, former Harvard Law School professor, became controversial for her advocacy of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s creation, and could not be confirmed to head that agency that was created under Barack Obama’s Presidency, and instead ran for the US Senate. She has become a great favorite of those on the left, and now is being boosted for President by many, including the Boston Globe and MoveOn.org, along with many other groups.

Warren is seen as better than Hillary Clinton, because Clinton is seem as too cozy with Wall Street, and too hawkish in foreign affairs, so Warren is seen as a more ideal choice for the Democratic Party liberals, who worry that Clinton could be a disappointment in the Presidency. Warren has resisted running, however, so just like Sanders, may not be willing or able to run a national campaign, and she knows she would gain vicious attacks as Sanders would, and as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have experienced too often!

But there is no certainty that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren will announce for President, so we may not gain the opportunity to have either of these talented legislators offered to us for the Presidency!

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.

It Is Time For Other Democrats To Start Presidential Campaigns!

It has been a foregone conclusion to many political observers that former First Lady, former New York Senator, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is going to announce for President, and based on polls, is a runaway winner of the nomination, and likely to be our first woman President, and to be our 45th President of the United States!

It has never been a good omen that other Democrats have been reluctant to challenge Hillary Clinton, and are, seemingly, afraid to “test the waters” and announce their own candidacies.

Never in American history, except often when a sitting President or sitting Vice President is running for President, have we seen so many potential party challengers in either party simply stay on the sidelines, and of course, there have been challenges to sitting Presidents and Vice Presidents that make them sharper and insure they are better candidates. Such cases as Richard Nixon in 1960, Hubert Humphrey in 1968, George H. W. Bush in 1988, and Al Gore in 2000 have run better races because of challengers. Presidents such as Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush have had to work harder to gain a nomination for the next term, and they all failed to be elected, but this was part of the political game.

So why anyone, including Hillary Clinton, should expect to have no rivals, is outlandish, and not good for the Democratic Party or democracy.

And frankly, after Hillary Clinton’s poor, unacceptable explanation on her emails on Tuesday, refusing to hand over the server of her email, eliminating thousands of emails by her own decision claiming privacy rights, and basically taking a hard stand on the whole matter, there is a clear cut reason for challengers to her nomination for President. Hillary Clinton has opened up a major wound in her candidacy, and it will not go away, and now it seems highly likely she is a flawed candidate in a major way, and is not anywhere near insured that she could carry enough states and electoral votes to become our 45th President.

The Democratic Party and the nation NEED challengers, instead of putting all their “eggs in one basket”, gambling that Hillary Clinton will be able to overcome the old Clinton image of the 1990s, of cover ups, of deceptions, of victimization claims, of stalling tactics, of creating legal issues, that so soured many people about the Bill Clinton Presidency.

Yes, Hillary is brilliant, and qualified, and talented, and intelligent, but she is not the only man or woman who is such, but to put the future of the Democratic Party in her hands is a tremendous gamble, and the country needs a Democratic President more than they need Hillary Clinton herself!

Added to her stubbornness and secrecy about the emails is her stated refusal to return contributions to the Clinton Foundation from leaders and citizens of nations, many in the Middle East, who abuse women and deny them equal rights, a subject Hillary Clinton is well known for advocating since her time as First Lady, attending the conference in Beijing, China in 1995, and speaking up for equality and fairness for women around the globe. But now, suddenly, that issue is on the back burner, and the millions in contributions are more important, and that shows that, having become wealthy, and having tons of money in the foundation as well, that Hillary Clinton has lost her sense of values and principles, and just wants to be President, because she wants to be President, as Ted Kennedy wanted to be President in 1980, when he challenged President Jimmy Carter, but had no real agenda other than wanting to occupy the Oval Office!

Hillary Clinton is not entitled to be President, any more than any other candidate, but for the good future of the party and the American people, it is time for other Democrats to come out of the woodwork and declare their candidacies, and fight hard for the nomination, and save the American people from a horrific set of alternatives for President in the Republican Party.

At this point, Hillary Clinton could take down the Democratic Party and the nation, crashing in defeat, and as a result, leading to a GOP Supreme Court that would last for the next 30 years; and a repeal of much of the good programs of the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the Great Society, and beyond!

We could see the good work done in domestic affairs by 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, and Barack Obama, destroyed by a right wing Congress, a right wing President, and a right wing Supreme Court.

We could also see the “neoncons” being triumphant, and taking us into more foreign wars, particularly in the Middle East, and leading to the deaths and injuries of tens of thousands of American men and women, sent to fight by a burgeoning defense industry that would make record war profits!

And we might see the end of any sense of what is right and wrong about women’s rights, minority group rights, gay rights, labor rights, and environmental rights.

The nation’s future is more important than what happens to Hillary Clinton, as she has had a stellar career in so many ways, but that does not mean that she is automatically entitled to become our next Commander in Chief!

And if the next President is not a woman, so what? That will come in time, but should not be the crucial factor in selecting the next President of the United States!

So, Democratic Presidential “wannabes”, come out of the shadow, show courage, and announce for the Presidency, as time is afleeting!

If Hillary Clinton Flounders, What Then For The Democratic Party?

Behind the scenes, there is growing trepidation that Hillary Clinton might have damaged her candidacy over the private emails issue, and also, the foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation.

So there are whispers about the issue: What then, for the Democratic Party, if Hillary Clinton flounders?

There are those who think it is time for Vice President Joe Biden to decide to enter the race.

There are those who think it is time for Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to stop stating she will not run, and to enter the race.

There are those who think that former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who has been hinting he would run no matter what Hillary Clinton does, to do just that.

There are those who hope that the hints that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders would run are going to lead to his actual candidacy.

There are those who think that former Virginia Senator Jim Webb will offer himself as the more conservative alternative within the Democratic Party, as he has hinted earlier.

But now there are other whisperings, including Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and or New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand thinking of entering the race, with women particularly looking to Gillibrand as the younger version of Hillary Clinton.

And, believe it or not, there is a “blast from the past”, with three former Presidential seekers thought to be considering getting back into the competition for the Presidency: Jerry Brown, John Kerry, and Al Gore!

Imagine a candidate who last ran in 1992 against Bill Clinton, running against his wife 16 years later, and having first run for President in 1976 and 1980 against Jimmy Carter!

Imagine the Democratic Presidential nominee of 12 years ago choosing to leave the State Department and decide to run, possibly against the brother of the man, George W. Bush, that he lost to in 2004!

Imagine the Democratic Presidential nominee of 2000, who won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote in a Supreme Court decision, Bush V. Gore, that gave Bush the Presidency, now coming back nearly a generation, and possibly running against the man, Jeb Bush, whose state gave his brother George W. the Presidency.

Realize that only two Presidential nominees ran for and won the Presidency as long as 12 years after being on the national ballot–Henry Clay in 1844 after 1832, and Franklin D. Roosevelt losing as Vice Presidential nominee in 1920 and coming back to win the White House in 1932!

For history and political junkies, the possible scenarios are totally fascinating!

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.

Scott Walker’s War On Labor: Returning To The 1920s And Gilded Age!

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, for now the leader in some polls for the Republican Presidential nomination, has declared war on labor unions and worker rights in Wisconsin, ramming legislation through the Wisconsin legislature, allowing employers to refuse to deal with labor unions representing private workers, just as he did the same earlier with public employee labor unions.

By warring against labor unions and labor rights, Walker is denying the many benefits that unions brought to Americans workers, beginning in the era of the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is precisely the cause of the rise of the middle class over the next fifty years, followed by a rapid decline in labor union strength beginning with the administration of Ronald Reagan, and his war on the air traffic controllers, which endangered public safety along with encouraging more so called “right to work” laws that undermine worker rights, benefits, and working conditions.

Walker is promoting the idea that we should return to the 1920s and the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, when workers had no rights, and unions were met with National Guard intervention and strike breakers and high levels of violence and bloodshed!

Walker is showing us what a bully he is, and how dangerous his candidacy really is, and he must be bitterly opposed by all who care about the future of working people in this nation!

Reverting nearly a century and more back in time is NOT an option in the 21st century!

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!

The Most Overrated and Underrated Presidents, According To The American Political Science Association Presidential Poll

Further study of the American Political Science Association Presidential poll of 2014 reveals the following:

The most overrated Presidents are John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Andrew Jackson.

The most underrated Presidents are Dwight D. Eisenhower, George H. W. Bush, and Harry Truman.

These consensus judgments seem legitimate, as this author thinks those listed are an accurate assessment.

However, also underrated, and not even making the top 24 Presidents, with a 50 percent rating or above as deserving to be on the list of significant Presidents is Jimmy Carter.

Additionally, Lyndon B. Johnson will, over time, make it to the top ten, above Eisenhower and Bill Clinton, both of whom seem higher than they should be, and also above Jackson.

If any Presidents were to be added to Mount Rushmore, it is clear that Franklin D. Roosevelt is easily the most deserving, and really, no one else qualifies on legitimate grounds, even though there are supporters of Kennedy, Reagan and Eisenhower to join him, if there were additions made, which is, realistically, not going to happen!