Posts Tagged Franklin D. Roosevelt
For anyone who wonders when the Presidential Election campaign of 2016 will begin, it is now clear that it has begun this month, May 2013, with the Republican Party unwilling to change its image, policies or beliefs, and setting out to destroy the candidate who is favored by 65 percent of the American people, former First Lady, US Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton!
Hillary Clinton is accustomed to massive assaults on her character, her ethics, her public record, as she became the most attacked First Lady in American History, with possibly the exception of Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who like Hillary Clinton, represented a fundamental set of principles and values that terrified conservatives and Republicans in the 1930s, and again in the 1990s.
So Hillary Clinton, a very tough lady, must decide if she is willing to take the heat, venom, poison, and utter contempt that she will have visited on her over the next three and a half years. Her husband was vilified from DAY ONE, and yet managed to produce a record far superior to earlier or later Bush Presidencies.
Hillary Clinton, if she decides ultimately to run for the White House, will have to deal, also, with the reality that when and if she becomes President, she will not have a restful day, but that is par for the course, as it was for Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and now Barack Obama.
But as long as the American people continue to see her as the first woman President, who see her as a visionary who will fight the good fight against the Right Wing hate machine on Capitol Hill, on Talk Radio, and on Fox News Channel, as well as powerful pressure groups that work against the interests of the masses of the American people, she will triumph and make the Republicans like it, and if they do not, she will have the personality to condemn them openly, and not be as “nice” as Obama has been, to his own detriment!
Maureen Dowd of the NY Times has complained that Barack Obama needs to be more like Lyndon Johnson, and others would say Franklin D. Roosevelt.
This is preposterous, as both LBJ and FDR had MASSIVE majorities in the US Senate, while Obama has to deal with having only 55 members of his party in the Senate, plus a Republican House of Representatives for the past two and a half years, the next year and a half, and likely beyond that!
Johnson had 68 Democrats at the time of the Civil Rights Act, and 64 for the Voting Rights Act, and FDR had 75 Senators at his peak.
It is true that LBJ had to deal with segregationist Southern Senators, but he also had moderate and liberal Northern Republicans he could count on, and FDR had progressive Republicans, including those that this author published about in his monograph, TWILIGHT OF PROGRESSIVISM (1981), who were willing to cross party lines to back him on many issues!
Obama has found the opposition party unwilling, in either house of Congress, to back him on almost anything he promotes, with an occasional few Senators helping out, but with the filibuster requiring 60 votes, the result is a total stalemate, something he has not been able to overcome, even after having lunches and dinners with Republicans, particularly in the Senate, as they are dedicated to prevention of any legislation that might make him look good in history.
But despite that, Obama is accomplishing a record that will make him look good in history, even with the opposition of conservatives and Republicans, and the criticism of Maureen Dowd and other unrealistic liberals and progressives!
Former George W. Bush “brain” Karl Rove is totally delusional, as yesterday, he declared on Fox News Channel that George W. Bush belonged with the “greats” among the Presidency, including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan!
This is the same man who failed to elect most of the Republicans that he supported through his campaign organization, wasting hundreds of millions of dollars from wealthy patrons who believed he knew who to back and could win seats in Congress.
This is the same man who said on Election night that Mitt Romney was going to win, and denied the obvious Barack Obama victory when it was already happening!
Bush will make the list of Presidents as one of the FAILURES of the Presidency, in the company of James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Warren G. Harding, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin Pierce.
Rove has conveniently forgotten Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Thomas Jefferson, Lyndon B. Johnson, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy, all of whom rank better than Ronald Reagan, who might be number 11, but not in the top ten of all Presidents!
And Bill Clinton may eventually rank above Reagan as well, and Barack Obama might also make the top ten to twelve list, when he has left the Presidency, and passions have cooled down!
A very important measurement of Presidential leadership is to evaluate their interest in the advancement of science, and their willingness to support scientific research as a major part of their administrative goals.
Sadly, many Presidents have shown a lack of interest in the advancement of science, and presently, we have a group of KNOW NOTHINGS in the Republican Party who would rather promote religion in government, and deny evolution and global warming, and are generally antagonistic to any suggestion of the advancement of science, such as Barack Obama newly suggesting an investment through the National Institutes of Health to fund $100 million to work on the mapping of the human brain, which could lead to research and advancement in the study of mental illness, and such other major problems as Alzheimers Disease and Parkinson Disease. But in the Sequester environment we are now in, and the push for austerity by the GOP, it will be difficult for the vision of the study of the brain to be understood as a worthwhile and significant investment!
In any case, the Presidents who can be seen as having advanced science include the following,
Thomas Jefferson–arguably the most science oriented of all Presidents, a true genius and intellectual, who sponsored the Lewis and Clark Expedition for its scientific value, as well as the exploration of a large part of the American continent.
John Quincy Adams—a promoter of federal support of the arts and sciences, and helped to promote astronomical studies, and helped to form the Smithsonian Institution, for which he laid the cornerstone in 1846, as well as the US Naval Observatory.
Abraham Lincoln—-promoted the scientific study of agriculture, and signed legislation establishing the National Academy of Sciences.
James A. Garfield—tragically killed early in his term, but a promoter of mathematical studies, devising a mathematical proof of the Pythagorean Theorem, and promoted funding for agricultural research. Garfield was a great intellectual, and in many ways, was a tragic loss of a President whose potential for greatness was lost so quickly!
Theodore Roosevelt—was a great promoter of nature and conservation of natural resources, quadrupling our national parks and national forest lands. He also set up the US Forestry Service, and went on a dangerous trip to map the Amazon River Basin and discover new species of animal and plant life.
Herbert Hoover—a brilliant mining engineer, and elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences, and a great intellectual, who was sadly a disaster in the White House, despite his credentials.
Franklin D. Roosevelt—managed the challenge of the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression, in his promotion of forest conservation, watersheds, and agriculture, and also worked with Albert Einstein and others in development of the atomic bomb to help win World War II.
Harry Truman—signed legislation setting up the National Science Foundation, and saw the need for greater funding of scientific research.
Dwight D. Eisenhower—promoted the beginning of the space program and the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in response to the Russian putting of Sputnik I in space in 1957.
John F. Kennedy—promoted the space program goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s, and was a great promoter of science in other ways as well.
Lyndon B. Johnson—promoted the completion of the moon landing, and encouraged more students to go into science through federal fellowships and grants.
Jimmy Carter—received a Bachelor of Science degree with specialty in nuclear physics from the US Naval Academy, and promoted energy conservation research, with creation of the Energy Department in the cabinet, and signed legislation for the original funding of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Ronald Reagan—promoted the Space Shuttle and a space station, and although flawed, wanted to encourage a system to stop nuclear attack, known as the Strategic Defense Initiative.
Bill Clinton—promoted the Human Genome Project and the International Space Station as important for the advancement of science.
Barack Obama—is now promoting human brain research, and has called for action against global warming, and the importance of the study of evolution in science classes.
The month of April is a particularly historic month in America’s past in so many ways, with 20 significant events listed below.
April 2, 1917—President Woodrow Wilson asks the Congress for a declaration of war against Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Turks.
April 4, 1968—The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
April 6, 1917—Congress votes for entrance into World War I against Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Turks.
April 9, 1865—General Robert E. Lee surrenders to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia, marking the official end of the Civil War.
April 12, 1861—The Civil War begins, with the South Carolina attack on the federal military fort, Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.
April 12, 1945—President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia, and Harry Truman becomes President.
April 13, 1743—President Thomas Jefferson is born in Virginia.
April 14, 1865—President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC, dying the next morning at 722 AM
April 17, 1961—A failed attempt to overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro failed, coming to be known as the Bay of Pigs fiasco, and helped to lead to the later Cuban Missile Crisis, the greatest challenge faced by President John F. Kennedy.
April 18, 1775—The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, inspiring the first armed uprising against British oppression, occurred.
April 18, 1906—The highly destructive San Francisco Earthquake occurred, destroying much of the city, and killing 4,000 people.
April 19, 1775—The American Revolution began, with the Battle of Lexington and Concord outside Boston, Massachusetts.
April 19, 1993—The Waco, Texas tragedy of the death of 82 people in the Branch Davidian religious compound, consumed by fire, after an intervention by armored vehicles and federal agents occurred, inspiring conspiracy theories which led to the event below.
April 19, 1995—The worst domestic terrorist act in American history occurred, when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Oklahoma City Federal Building, killing 168 people and wounding about a thousand others.
April 20, 1914—The Ludlow Massacre of miners by company hired National Guardsmen, killing 19 people, occurred in Colorado over a desire for recognition of the United Mine Workers for the coal miners.
April 20, 1999—The Columbine Massacre in Littleton, Colorado, led to the worst mass shooting of students and teachers in public schools until the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut.
April 21, 1836— The Battle of San Jacinto near Houston, Texas, led to the victory of Texans led by Sam Houston over the Mexican army of General Santa Anna, leading to Texas Independence.
April 22, 1994—President Richard Nixon dies at the age of 81.
April 24, 1800—The national library of America, the Library of Congress, is established in Washington, DC.
April 30, 1789—George Washington is inaugurated as the first American President at Federal Hall in Lower Manhattan.
An interesting phenomenon is the history of post Presidential friendships of former competitors for the Presidency.
Most of the time when candidates, whether in the Presidency or working toward it, compete against each other, there is such “bad blood” that it never dissipates after both of them have left the Presidency.
Examples of “bad blood” remaining are John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson; William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt; Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt; and Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
The only exceptions to this reality had been John Adams and Thomas Jefferson; and Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, with both relationships being well known friendships AFTER the White House years.
But now we can add the developing, strong friendship of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, which was further revealed recently with the publication of letters the elder Bush wrote in praise of Clinton, with the two men becoming very close in their work after the Asian tsunami in 2004. Clinton is clearly seen by Bush as like another son, a part of the Bush family, and the two men have developed a powerful friendship that now can be added to the other two examples of a post Presidential friendship of former competitors.
So the score is now 4-3, still a case of rivalry and distaste by four sets of former Presidential competitors, but now demonstrating three examples of warm relationships when the heat and fire of a campaign wears down, and leads over time to a sense of shared experiences that bring two Presidents close together!
Three American Presidents in the last hundred years have been faced by foreign crises leading to war, and disrupting their domestic intentions for their second term of office. All three hoped to accomplish much more internally, but were distracted and diverted by major wars they could not avoid.
Woodrow Wilson had accomplished the most domestic reform in American history of any President until his time, but then World War I intruded, and his second term was dominated by the war and its aftermath.
Franklin D. Roosevelt had surpassed Woodrow Wilson in domestic accomplishments in his first term with his New Deal, but his second term became one of growing concern over the threat of the Japanese Empire to our territories (Hawaii, Guam, The Philippines) in the Pacific, plus the growing threat of Fascism and Nazism represented by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany in Europe—leading to concern of its effect on our traditional European friends if not formal allies, Great Britain and France. Although America would not enter World War II until FDR’s third term, the threat of war was ever present, and divided this nation in a massive way between internationalists and isolationists.
Harry Truman had a much more difficult time domestically, and had to deal with the Cold War with the Soviet Union, but hoped to promote a Fair Deal in his second term, but instead had to deal with the Korean War.
Now, Barack Obama faces the growing threat of real war with two nations who have lunatic leadership, and are capable of provoking major wars, emboldened by their nuclear intentions—Iran and North Korea.
Iran moves ahead on nuclear development, unaffected by the major nations bringing pressure and economic sanctions on them, and still seen as potentially able to threaten the survival of Israel, and cause a major cut off of oil in the Straits of Hormuz. While President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is leaving in June, it is clear that the Ayatollah Khamenei and the extremist Shiite Muslim leadership really dictates policy, and that anything is possible, including war.
North Korea, under its new young (30) leader, Kim Jong Un, has now declared that the truce agreement which ended the Korean War sixty years ago is null and void; has been testing nuclear weapons against international outcry, including China; and has threatened this past week that it might launch a pre-emptive nuclear attack on South Korea and the United States. This all seems bluster, but who can say for sure?
So our need as a nation to face the possibility of war with two international outlaws makes the whole budget issue much more complex, and makes the odds of more domestic reform activities all the harder to accomplish.
Much like Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry Truman, Barack Obama may face being a war President against his will, and his Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will be sorely tested over the next four years in their hope to avoid a war, just as we are trying to exit a war in Afghanistan, after having done just that in Iraq!
On this day 80 years ago, Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated President on the last March 4 Inauguration Day, taking the oath at the worst time since Abraham Lincoln took the oath on this day in 1861.
The economy was never worse, spurred on by Republican policies of the 1920s, primarily under Calvin Coolidge, but made worse by Herbert Hoover’s slow, inadequate response to the Great Crash on Wall Street in 1929.
FDR brought confidence, hope, and dignity to millions of Americans, and despite great opposition, brought about a series of programs that came to be known as the New Deal. FDR experimented, improvised, and admitted failures when necessary, but he was notable for never letting faults and shortcomings in programs to deter him from a great transformation of the role of the federal government.
FDR was a true savior, and became a model for future Democratic Presidents, and Barack Obama today faces much the same intense opposition, as he continues to deal with the worst economic situation since the Great Depression, making his time in office the third most challenging in American history, after Lincoln and FDR!
As this week is the Presidential week, celebrated this past Monday as Presidents Day, let us do one more entry, this one on Presidential trivia, specifically on the oddities and quirks of Presidential Names.
Four Presidents are remembered for the use of their middle names with their first and last names:
John Quincy Adams
William Henry Harrison
Chester Alan Arthur
William Howard Taft
Thirteen Presidents are usually referred to with their middle initial included:
James K. Polk
Ulysses S. Grant
James A. Garfield
Warren G. Harding
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard M. Nixon
Gerald R. Ford
George H. W. Bush
George W. Bush
Notice that Truman’s middle initial is also his name, as his family could not agree on what name to use, just the letter S, so there is no period after the initial.
Two Presidents use a nickname as their name:
Four Presidents switched names, and preferred to be known by their middle name:
Hiram Ulysses Grant
Stephen Grover Cleveland
Thomas Woodrow Wilson
David Dwight Eisenhower
Two Presidents had their name changed as children
Leslie Lynch King Jr.—Gerald Ford
William Jefferson Blythe III–Bill Clinton
Also, many Presidents are also known by other names or titles, including: Andrew Jackson as “Old Hickory”, Martin Van Buren as “The Little Magician”, William Henry Harrison as “Old Tippecanoe”, James K. Polk as “Young Hickory”, Zachary Taylor as “Old Rough And Ready”, Franklin Pierce as “Handsome Frank”, Calvin Coolidge as “Silent Cal”, Dwight D. Eisenhower as “Ike”, John F. Kennedy as “Jack”, Richard M. Nixon as “Dick”, Gerald R. Ford as “Jerry”, Ronald Reagan as “Ronnie”, and Barack Obama as “Barry”.
That is it for Presidential names!