Franklin D. Roosevelt

Businessman Wendell Willkie Chooses Senate Minority Leader Charles McNary 1940—Any Connection To Trump Decision On Vice Presidency This Year?

In 1940, the Republican Party nominated businessman Wendell Willkie, a former Democrat, who had never held public office, and had originally been a supporter early on of the the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 2016, the Republican Party is about to nominate a businessman, Donald Trump, a former Democrat, who has never held public office, and had originally been supportive of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Willkie chose Republican Senate Minority Leader Charles McNary of Oregon to be his Vice Presidential running mate, a very reputable person with a long career in the Senate.

The question is will Trump select a person of McNary’s quality and experience to be his running mate, or will he pick a “bomb thrower” or an incompetent person to be his Vice Presidential choice?

That is a question that will be answered in the coming weeks!

NBC Wall Street Journal Opinion Poll Indicates 61 Percent Worry About Having President With No Government Or Military Experience!

A new NBC Wall Street Journal poll demonstrates the common sense of Americans, their concern and worry about having a President with no government or military experience.

We have NEVER had such a President, and only Wendell Willkie, nominated in 1940 by the Republican Party against Franklin D. Roosevelt, has had the same lack of background.

But Willkie was not the kind of divisive figure, and did not display the ignorance and demagoguery, of Donald Trump.

We have never had a candidate for President quite like Donald Trump, and his recklessness, character assassination, and impulsive nature makes him much too dangerous to give the nuclear codes, along with the basic danger he presents to the whole American constitutional system.

No businessman, certainly from real estate and casinos alone, has the qualifications to run a government and the military, who has never been exposed to the basic facts and knowledge that experience in the government and or the military provides.

This is not reality television, but serious business about heading the government of the most powerful nation on earth in a time of domestic division and foreign terrorist threat.

The fact that terrorist groups hope for Trump’s victory is because they know it will encourage and recruit new terrorists for the future, with Trump’s anti Muslim rhetoric and plan to ban all Muslims being totally counterproductive in dealing with the threat of terrorism.

Trump is a danger to the long term stability of America in both domestic and foreign policy, and must NOT be allowed to gain power based on the ignorance and prejudices of the white working class, non college educated, men, who seem unable to understand that Trump does not give a damn about them as individuals, but is simply on another egotistical, narcissistic trip!

Vice Presidency More Significant Than Ever Before In 2016, With Oldest Presidential Nominees In American History!

The Vice Presidency has been growing in significance and stature in the six decades since Richard Nixon was Vice President and started to grow the office.

We have had outstanding men in the Vice Presidency since then, including Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert H. Humphrey, Gerald Ford, Nelson Rockefeller, Walter Mondale, George H. W. Bush, Al Gore, Dick Cheney, and Joe Biden.

We have also had “lemons”, including Spiro Agnew and Dan Quayle, and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin to scare us at the thought of her being a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.

Now that our Presidential candidates will be the oldest in American history in combination, with average age of past 70, combining Democrat Hillary Clinton at 69 plus and Republican Donald Trump 70 plus on Inauguration Day, it is more essential than ever that we have the best possible men or women placed in that position for the upcoming Presidential election!

But so many of the proposed nominees, that have been bandied about by the news media and the candidates’ campaigns are far from the best possible candidates, and they can cause worry about succession, if the winner of the election dies in office of natural causes or by assassination in the next four years, with the odds growing on each possibly occurring.

The idea of two “senior citizens” competing for the most stressful job in the world is not comforting, and the fact that it has been 53 years since John F. Kennedy was killed, and 71 years since the natural death of a President in office (Franklin D. Roosevelt), as well as 42 years since Richard Nixon resigned.

We need distinguished Senators or Governors ready to come forth and offer a strong backup to the two nominees, but particularly in the case of the Republicans, the odds of such a person arising is not likely!

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!

Speakers Of The House Of Representatives Who Sought The Presidency, And Now Paul Ryan?

The Speaker of the House of Representatives is second in line for the Presidency after the Vice President under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, the third such law.

The first such law, from 1792-1886, put the Speaker third in line for the Presidency, with the Vice President and the President Pro Tempore of the US Senate ahead of him, later reversed in 1947.

The second law, from 1886-1947, did not include the Speaker in the line of succession, but rather the Cabinet officers after the Vice President.

In our history, only one Speaker of the House became President, James K. Polk of Tennessee, from 1845-1849, and he proved to be one of the more significant Presidents, adding more real estate to America than anyone other than Thomas Jefferson.  This was accomplished by treaty with Great Britain over the Pacific Northwest in 1846, and by war with Mexico from 1846-1848, which added the Southwestern United States to the Union.

But seven other Speakers sought the Presidency, including the following:

Henry Clay of Kentucky sought the Presidency in 1824, 1832, and 1844, and is regarded as the greatest single legislator in the history of both houses of Congress.  In 1844, we had the only Presidential election where the two opponents had both been Speaker of the House, Clay and Polk!  Clay lost his three elections to John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Polk.

John Bell of Tennessee was the Constitutional Union Party nominee for President in 1860 on the eve of the Civil War, and lost to Abraham Lincoln.

James G. Blaine of Maine was the Republican nominee for President in 1884 and lost the election to Grover Cleveland, and was also Secretary of State under three Presidents–James A. Garfield, Chester Alan Arthur, and a full term under Benjamin Harrison.

Thomas Reed of Maine lost the nomination of the Republican Party in 1896 to future President William McKinley.

Champ Clark of Missouri lost the nomination of the Democratic Party in 1912 to future President Woodrow Wilson.

John Nance Garner of Texas, after being Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt for two terms from 1933-1941, lost the nomination of the Democratic Party to his boss, President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940

Newt Gingrich of Georgia lost the Republican nomination for President to eventual nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

So four Speakers were nominated for President, with only Polk winning; and four other Speakers lost the nomination when they sought the Presidency.

Now we may have a ninth such Speaker seeking the Presidency, Republican Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, whose name is being promoted, despite Ryan’s denial of any interest in running for President.

Sixth Anniversary Of ObamaCare, The Third Great Social And Economic Reform, Alongside Social Security And Medicare!

It was six years ago on March 23, 2010, that the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare, was signed into law by President Obama, after a year long fight, with only three Republican Senators early on giving any support, and no House members.

The fact that ObamaCare was just like the Heritage Foundation–Newt Gingrich–Bob Dole program of 1993, designed as an alternative to HillaryCare, was ignored.

Also, the fact that Mitt Romney accomplished much the same thing in Massachusetts as RomneyCare was denied, even by Romney himself when he ran for President in 2012!

The hypocrisy and pure obstructionism of Republicans and conservatives was so obvious, and is obvious, to anyone who looks at the subject dispassionately!

Today, six years later, ObamaCare, while having its definite quirks and shortcomings, is a success, in the sense that it covers 20 million people who did not have health care before; has lowered the uninsured from 14 percent to 9 percent of the population; and has saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives of people who, without coverage, would have died in the past six years!

This is the ultimate Pro Life movement, the acceptance of the idea that ALL Americans should be entitled to health care as a basic human right, especially considering that every other modern industrial nation in Europe, along with Canada, Australia and New Zealand have it, and all of them way ahead of us!

So this is a time to salute Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, for having accomplished one of the three greatest economic and social reforms of the past century, alongside Franklin D. Roosevelt and Social Security (now 81 years old), and Lyndon B. Johnson and Medicare (now 51 years old)!

Try to imagine America in 2016 without Social Security and Medicare, and yet, if left up to the right wing Republican Party, they would not only repeal ObamaCare without any replacement for the 20 million Americans who have gained health care coverage, but also would repeal both Social Security and Medicare, “privatizing” both of them, and giving useless “vouchers” to millions of elderly, poor, and disabled people!

This is why the Republican Party, as it now is constituted, is doomed to be in the dustbin of history!

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!

 

New CNN Presidential Election Series: “Race For The White House”

CNN has begun a new six part series called “Race For The White House”, which will cover six Presidential elections over the next six weeks, each episode an hour in length, and narrated by actor Kevin Spacey.

On Sunday, the 1960 battle for the White House between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon was covered.

Future episodes in some order not known yet include chronologically:

1828–Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams

1860–Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas

1948–Harry Truman and Thomas E. Dewey

1988–George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis

1992–Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush

It is not clear why these particular elections were chosen, as there are many others, many more interesting and significant, that were not selected, including:

1896–William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan

1912—Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft

1928–Herbert Hoover and Alfred E. Smith

1932–Franklin D. Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover

1940–Franklin D. Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie

1968–Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, George C. Wallace

1980–Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, John Anderson

2000–George W. Bush and Al Gore

2008–Barack Obama and John McCain

This series is well worth watching, after having seen the first episode last night!

 

How Death “Might” Have Affected American History! Eleven Potential “Turning Points”!

Assassinations and assassination attempts, and threats, have affected American History, as is covered in my book, “Assassinations, Threats, And The American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson To Barack Obama”, Rowman Littlefield, August 2015.

But then there are cases, not covered  in my book, of situations that could have occurred and affected American history, that have nothing to do with assassinations.

Witness the following:

In 1857, newly inaugurated President James Buchanan was extremely ill at the time of the inauguration, and almost failed to deliver his Inaugural Address, and was in bed for a few weeks after the inauguration, until he recovered.  It was believed he might have been poisoned by an unsafe water supply at the hotel he stayed at before his inauguration.  Had he died in office, Vice President John C. Breckinridge would have been President, and would have been only 36 years old, the youngest President in American history, and actually elected in November 1856, when he was still 35!

Stephen Douglas, Senator from Illinois, was the Democratic nominee for President in the Presidential Election of 1860, a four way race won by Abraham Lincoln, but had Douglas won, he would have died in office three months later, two months after the Civil War had begun, transforming the whole era if that had occurred!

In 1872, Democratic and Liberal Republican Presidential nominee Horace Greeley, who lost the Presidential Election of 1872 to President Ulysses S. Grant, died three weeks after the election, and before the Electoral College met.  What if he had won the election?  It would have meant that Vice Presidential nominee, B. Gratz Brown, Governor of Missouri and, earlier, Senator from Missouri, would have been President!

President Chester Alan Arthur  (1881-1885) succeeded President James A. Garfield after his assassination in September 1881, and finished out the term, but was denied nomination for a full term in 1884, which turned out to be fortunate as Arthur died in 1886, and therefore, would have died in office!

President Grover Cleveland, in his second nonconsecutive term in the White House from 1893-1897, had serious surgery for cancer of the jaw in 1894, done in secret on a boat on the Hudson River, and kept secret until after his death in 1908.  Had he died of cancer, Vice President Adlai Stevenson, the grandfather of Democratic Presidential nominee, Adlai Stevenson II in 1952 and 1956, would have been President!

President William Howard Taft (1909-1913)  saw his Vice President, James Sherman, die in office in October 1912, shortly before the Presidential Election of 1912, which Taft lost, in the worst reelection defeat of any President in American history, winning only two states.  But when the Electoral College met, the name of Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler was substituted to count the electoral votes.  However, there was no provision for a replacement Vice President, so had Taft won, he would have had no Vice President for the entire term of 1913-1917!

President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) had a severe stroke in September 1919, and never fully recovered in his last year and a half in the White House, and his wife ran cabinet meetings in his absence, but had Wilson resigned or died, Vice President Thomas Marshall would have become President!

Franklin D. Roosevelt had Henry A. Wallace, his Secretary of Agriculture, as his third term Vice President from 1941-1945, and had he not been lobbied to replace the unpopular Wallace with Harry Truman for his fourth term run for the Presidency, it would have been Wallace who would have succeeded FDR in the Presidency after 82 days of the fourth term in 1945!

FDR’s Republican opponents in the Presidential Election of 1940 were businessman Wendell Willkie for President, and Oregon Senator Charles McNary for Vice President.  Had they won the White House, the nation would have faced losing both of them in the last year of the term–McNary dying in February 1944, and Willkie in October 1944, an unprecedented situation to have had both the President and Vice President in the same term die in office!  And this would have occurred during the height of the battle to win World War II, a very dangerous time for such an occurrence!

Harry Truman’s Vice President in his full term from 1949-1953 was Alben Barkley, who wished to run for President in 1952, but was pushed aside since he was already in his 70s, and it was felt it was not a good idea to have a President of that age come to office.  It was fortunate that this happened, since Barkley died in April 1956, so would have died in office!

President Gerald Ford replaced Vice President Nelson Rockefeller as his running mate in the 1976 election for Senator Bob Dole, under pressure from conservative Republicans led by Ronald Reagan, and lost the Presidential Election of 1976 to Jimmy Carter.  Had Ford kept Rockefeller on the ticket, some think he would have defeated Carter, and if that was so, then Ford would have lost his Vice President in office, as Rockefeller died in January 1979!

 

Gregarious And “Loner” Presidents Since 1900; And Remaining Presidential Candidates’ Personalities Assessed!

Presidents have different personalities, with some being very gregarious and outgoing, clearly extroverts: and others being more described as “loners”, who could be cordial in public, but did not like being around government leaders very much, and are clearly introverts.

In the first category, we would include

Theodore Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Harry Truman

John F. Kennedy

Lyndon B. Johnson

Gerald Ford

Ronald Reagan

Bill Clinton

George W. Bush

In the second category, we would include

William Howard Taft

Woodrow Wilson

Warren G. Harding

Calvin Coolidge

Herbert Hoover

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Richard Nixon

Jimmy Carter

George H. W. Bush

Barack Obama is a unique case, not really fitting into either category clearly, as he can tend to be very gregarious, but also has difficulty dealing with Congress, with one speculating that he has been scarred by the total obstructionism of the opposition.  He tends to avoid “schmoozing”, although the feeling is that he is basically quite gregarious.

So putting Obama in a separate category, notice that 9 Presidents (5 Democrats, 4 Republicans) are considered gregarious, while 9 Presidents (7 Republicans,  2 Democrats) are considered more “loners”.

63 years we have had gregarious Presidents; 45 years we have had “loner” Presidents, and then we have the 8 years of Obama.

Notice that the gregarious Presidents have, as a group, a more positive image in history, than the “loner” Presidents, and they have more often been reelected!

Among remaining Presidential Candidates as of this date, the “gregarious” candidates would include Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and John Kasich, while the more “loner” types would be Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, and Dr. Benjamin Carson.