Franklin D. Roosevelt

President Obama Not Acting Like A “Lame Duck”!

Barack Obama could be said to have suffered a defeat in the midterm elections, when his Democratic party lost control of the US Senate, and the House of Representatives majority became the largest since 1929 for the Republican Party.

And yet, Obama has been on a “tear” since, and it is clear that he is NOT acting like a “lame duck”, and will work to accomplish as many goals as he can, with or without cooperation of the GOP majority in Congress.

Obviously, Obama cannot pass legislation on his own, but he can veto legislation, and prevent destructive behavior by the Republican majority.

So new House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin can wish to gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, but Obama will be able to prevent much, if any damage, to these signature programs promoted into law by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Obama has been able to get judicial appointments approved by the outgoing Democratic Senate majority, and those judges have lifetime tenure.

Obama can, legally, by executive order, promote many changes that do not need Congressional approval, and every President has utilized this power to bring about changes, sometimes good and sometimes bad, but the issue of the authority to use executive orders is a clear cut one!

So Barack Obama still has two years to bring historic change, and he is now liberated to do what he wishes to do that is allowable under our Constitution and history, and he no longer needs to be cautious, but instead can become aggressive and outspoken, knowing that even if he was to be impeached and brought to trial by the Republican Congress, that he is untouchable, as there is no way to gain a two thirds majority in the US Senate to remove him.

Instead, he has the opportunity to make his Presidency more transformative and historic at a time when so much of what he has already done is bearing fruit!

Presidents In Last Two Years In Office: Tradition Of Opposition Congress And Little Legislation Accomplished!

When one looks back at the past century of Presidential history, it is clear that it is common for the President to have to deal with an opposition Congress in the last two years of his tenure, and in two cases, a divided Congress in the last two years in the White House.

This, of course, means little can be accomplished, other than by judicial appointments, and by executive orders, as significant legislation is unlikely.

Look at the list of Presidents who dealt with opposition Congresses in their last two years:

Woodrow Wilson–1919-1920
Dwight D. Eisenhower–1959-1960
Richard Nixon–1973-1974
Gerald Ford–1975-1976
Ronald Reagan–1987-1988
George H. W. Bush–1991-1992
Bill Clinton 1999-2000
George W. Bush–2007-2008
Barack Obama–2015-2016

Add to this list two Presidents who had a divided Congress in their last two years:

William Howard Taft–1911-1912–Democratic House and Republican Senate
Herbert Hoover–1931-1932–Democratic House and Republican Senate

So if all the Presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama are counted, it means ELEVEN Presidents faced a Congress unfriendly to them in the last two years of office, with only TR, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Jimmy Carter having “friendly” Congresses in their last two years, with Warren G. Harding and John F. Kennedy in office too short a term to qualify, since they died in office, unlike Gerald Ford, who actually completed a short term.

So 11 of 17 Presidents, two thirds of the total, have had to deal with the reality of the decline of their ability to control events, other than judicial appointments and executive orders!

Combative President Obama, Ready To Make His Mark In His Last Years In The White House!

President Obama has accomplished so much, but yet it does not show in his public opinion ratings, in the low 40s.

But whoever said that public opinion is knowledgeable, with all of the propaganda that has been unleashed by the right wing, convincing ignorant people that Obama has been a disaster, when he has been anything but that!

Has Barack Obama made mistakes? Of course, he has, and every President does, and every human being who has ever lived does! It is just that if one of us makes a blunder, it does not become public knowledge (thank goodness), and is not beaten to death by critics, who are out to look for the negative, and ignore the positive!

Most of what is wished is that Obama had been more aggressive, more outspoken than he has been, that he unleash the full power of his personality and his goals for the nation, but he has been accused of being too cautious in his approach.

Well, that stage seems to have ended, as Barack Obama is becoming more assertive, demonstrating that he is not going to allow himself to be cowed by critics, that he is determined to promote an activist Presidency in his last two years, and leave a legacy of accomplishment on the level of our great and near great Presidents!

The more he is threatened with lawsuits, with impeachment, with petty threats that he should not be allowed to use Air Force One, or not be allowed to speak before a joint session of Congress, or other demeaning and disrespectful treatment, the more he will fight and challenge his critics, always staying within the Constitution, which he understands far better than his enemies.

In a way, the Republican victories in the Midterm Elections of 2014 have made clear to Obama that he must use the powers of his office, as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson did, to make life better for America, both in domestic and foreign policy areas! He has been liberated to move toward greatness in the annals of the history of the Presidency!

2014 Best Year For Job Gains Since 1999! But Will Obama Get Credit From Critics?

As it turns out, the year 2014 will be the best year for job gains since 1999, with 321,000 jobs added in November.

The greatest economic recovery in American history is in full swing, but yet Barack Obama will NOT gain credit from critics.

Instead, the right wing ignores the abysmal record of George W. Bush on the economy, even before the Crash in 2008, which led to the Great Recession.

The American people were bamboozled to think that Obama was at fault because the economy did not recover over night, when the reality is that the damage done by the Great Recession would take a few years to overcome, just as in the Great Depression under Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The point to be made is that the Bill Clinton Presidency saw great economic gains, and now the Obama Presidency is showing it after a long hard struggle.

So despite the critics, and the work that must still be done to create new jobs that pay a decent wage, progress has been made, and should be commended!

The Desperate Need For Infrastructure Spending: The Collapse Of America’s Public Works

SIXTY MINUTES on CBS last night drew attention to the desperate need for infrastructure spending, as we are on the brink of the collapse of America’s public works, most of it done in the 1930s to 1960s, but horribly ignored for the past 20 years in particular.

Bridges, tunnels, highways, seaports, airports are in such disrepair that we cannot compete economically with much of the Western world.

We seem unable to realize that not only are lives at danger, but the whole economic system is at risk if a major highway or bridge collapses, making it impossible for millions of people to reach work by automobile, and to have the ability to do the normal every day activities that fuel our economic growth.

We committed to public works projects in the time of the New Deal and Franklin D. Roosevelt; to interstate highway development under Dwight D. Eisenhower; and to all kinds of other projects during the booming economy of the 1960s under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

But in the past 20 years, mostly under GOP Congressional control, we have lost the vision and the recognition of the dire need for investment, and for commitment to rebuilt our infrastructure.

This is ironic, since the two single greatest public works projects in American history were the Transcontinental Railroad under Republican Abraham Lincoln; and the interstate highway system’s inception under Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower.

But then, the Republican Party of the last two decades, and even more right now, is a skeleton of its old self, and the nation is the ultimate loser!

Barack Obama: Who Is Our 44th President?

The attacks on Barack Obama, our 44th President, have reached a point of being totally ridiculous and preposterous in so many ways!

Critics say Obama is a Muslim, even though he never attended services at a mosque, and has called himself a Christian. Meanwhile, he has had America war against terrorist Muslims, and has used drones and troops to kill more Muslims than George W. Bush, including Osama Bin Laden!

Critics say Obama is a weak President, who has been unwilling to confront Vladamir Putin and defend Ukraine, while George W. Bush did not confront Putin on military action in Georgia in 2008; Lyndon B. Johnson did not confront the old Soviet Union on military action in Czechoslovakia in 1968; and Dwight D. Eisenhower did not confront the old Soviet Union on military action in Hungary in 1956.

Critics say that Obama is an “Emperor” or “King” because of action on immigration reform, but this is the same President they have said is “weak”, and when Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and all of the other Republican and Democratic Presidents since Dwight D. Eisenhower took action on immigration, none of them were called “Emperor” or “King”. So Obama is a “weak” President who is also an “Emperor” or “King”?

Critics say Obama is a Socialist, but Obama accepted the Newt Gingrich–Bob Dole–Heritage Foundation–Mitt Romney concept of health care, when he pushed for “ObamaCare”, which gives private insurance companies full control over health care when many Democrats and liberals and progressives really want “Medicare for all”.

Critics say Obama is anti capitalist, but Obama has tied himself to Wall Street much more than many Democrats and liberals and progressives wish he had, and the stock market is at an all time high, up about 250 percent from when he came in.

Critics say Obama is adding more to the national debt than anyone, forgetting he came in at the lowest point in 75 years, and that much of the new debt was an outgrowth of the disastrous George W. Bush economic policies that would have added the same to the national debt if John McCain and Mitt Romney had been elected President.

Critics say that Obama refused to work with the opposition party, but NO President EVER had such obstructionism as Barack Obama has had, and Republican Presidents, in particular, have found that opposition Democrats, while challenging them, NEVER promoted total lack of cooperation as the extremist right wing Republicans, led by the Tea Party Movement, have done over the past six years. Despite that, Obama has presided over a long list of accomplishments.

Critics blame Obama for the loss of seats in Congress in midterm elections, when ALL Presidents have faced that, except Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934. Harry Truman in 1946, Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954, Bill Clinton in 1994, George W. Bush in 2006, and now, Barack Obama in 2014, have seen the opposition party gain control of both houses of Congress. Also, FDR in 1938, Truman in 1950, Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, John F. Kennedy in 1962, Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966, Richard Nixon in 1970, Gerald Ford in 1974, Jimmy Carter in 1978, Ronald Reagan in 1982, George H. W. Bush in 1990, and Barack Obama in 2010 lost seats, and in the case of Obama, control of the House of Representatives.

These are just eight ways in which the critics of Obama are manipulating the truth and the facts, and despite all these attacks, Barack Obama stands tall and will look much better in history than his critics wish to concede!

Midterm Elections, Second Term, A Political Disaster From Woodrow Wilson To Barack Obama!

The issue of midterm elections, second term of a President, has become one of great interest, as invariably, it weakens the President in his last two years, and inevitably, puts the opposition party in power.

This happened with Ronald Reagan in 1986, George W. Bush in 2006, and now, Barack Obama in 2014.

The second term midterm election also led to stronger opposition support in the time of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, although the Democrats already had control of both houses, gained in the first term midterm elections of 1954.

In the time of Harry Truman, while his Democratic Party kept control in the second term midterm elections of 1950, his party lost 28 seats in the House and 5 in the US Senate, after having lost the first term midterm election and control of both houses to the Republicans in 1946.

In the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt, while his party continued to control both houses of Congress, the second term midterm election in 1938 saw weaker Democratic support than his first six years, with FDR actually gaining seats in the first term midterm election of 1934, the only time until 1998 under Bill Clinton.

In the time of Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic Party lost control of both houses in the second term midterm elections of 1918, just as Wilson was about to go to Versailles to negotiate the end of the First World War, and this insured that the Treaty of Versailles and League of Nations would be rejected by a Republican controlled Senate. Wilson had already suffered heavy losses in the first term midterm elections of 1914 in the House of Representatives, although not in the Senate.

The only modern President to avoid second term midterm doldrums was Bill Clinton, who still saw the opposition Republicans in control in 1998, but with the same balance in the Senate and a five seat gain by Clinton’s Democratic Party. However, Clinton and his party had suffered massive losses and control of both houses of Congress in his first term in 1994.

Media Distortion Of Presidential Approval Ratings Undermine Obama And Democrats In Midterm Elections!

The news media has done a terrible job in reporting and analyzing Presidential approval ratings of Barack Obama.

We constantly hear that Obama has very low approval ratings, when the present approval rating is 43 percent.

Of course, 53 percent say they disapprove of the President’s performance, which is not a good thing for the administration.

But what the media do not tell us is that even with his all time low rating a few months ago of 39 percent approval, the facts are that Barack Obama has the highest rating for lowest approval of any President since John F. Kennedy!

With all of the attacks on Obama that have come, incessantly, from conservatives and the Republican Party, Obama’s 39 percent low rating ever in office can be compared to the following lowest ratings of other Presidents:

George W. Bush 19
Harry Truman 22
Richard M. Nixon 23
Jimmy Carter 28
George H. W. Bush 29
Lyndon B. Johnson 35
Ronald Reagan 35
Bill Clinton 36
Gerald Ford 37

Only Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower had higher lowest approval ratings of 48 and John F. Kennedy had 56.

Additionally, Richard Nixon with 67, Ronald Reagan with 68, Bill Clinton with 73, Gerald Ford with 74, and Jimmy Carter with 75, all had lower highest approval ratings than Obama with 76. The other Presidents since FDR had higher highest approval ratings, with Dwight D. Eisenhower with 79, John F. Kennedy with 80, Lyndon B. Johnson also with 80, Franklin D. Roosevelt with 84, Harry Truman with 87, George H. W. Bush with 89, and George W. Bush with 92.

So the purposeful negative portrayal of Obama’s lowest approval rating has contributed to the negativism that the Democrats face, and may, very well, undermine the Democrats two days from now in the midterm elections.

The Coming War On The 17th Amendment By Conservatives!

The right wing in America has a planned strategy to conduct war on the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, one of the greatest of all amendments added since the first ten were enacted as the Bill of Rights!

The 17th Amendment, added to the Constitution in 1913, came as the outgrowth of the Progressive Era, and occurred at its peak, the vigorous campaign for progressive reform promoted by Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson in the Presidential Election of 1912. It was also endorsed by the incumbent President, William Howard Taft, who had elements of progressivism in him despite his general reputation as a conservative, which led to his disastrous third place finish in 1912, despite being the Republican nominee.

The 17th Amendment developed in reaction to “muckraker” David Graham Phillips’ path breaking non fiction exposure, “THE TREASON OF THE SENATE”, which demonstrated the corruption of the US Senate, and its leading figure, Senator Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island, and led to direct popular election of the US Senate from 1913 onward.

One could argue that even with popular vote, the US Senate often disappoints us, and there are Senators who are an embarrassment and a disgrace to that legislative body.

But now, conservatives are promoting the idea of the repeal of the 17th Amendment, returning us to the method in the Constitution adopted in 1787, to have the often corrupt state legislatures choose the Senators, and deny the population the popular vote involvement in selecting the members of the upper body of Congress.

The theory has developed that all the laws passed to promote political, social and economic reform since 1913, including the massive reforms of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, and all other Presidents might be repealed as illegitimate if the Senate method of election returned to the pre 1913 system.

This is an alarming development, and joined with the desire to get rid of the 16th Amendment (federal income tax) and the 19th Amendment (woman suffrage), all of these “Progressive” amendments, could, if enacted take us back to the 19th century Gilded Age!

Presidential Succession Law Of 1886-1947 Needs To Be Renewed!

In 1947, the Republican controlled 80th Congress, in a fit of partisanship and anti FDR sentiment, changed the Presidential Succession Law of 1886, enacted during the first term of President Grover Cleveland.

That law made the succession for the Presidency beyond the Vice President to be as follows: Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War, Attorney General, and then other cabinet agencies, including Interior and Agriculture.

That law made sense, as it meant that in case of tragedy hitting the President and Vice President, that members of  that President’s cabinet, people loyal to him, knowledgeable in  foreign and defense policies, and domestic policies, would be next in  line, in case of an emergency.

But the Republicans after World War II were furious that Franklin D. Roosevelt had been elected four times, so not only added the 22nd Amendment, limiting any future President to two elected term, or a maximum of ten years if he succeeded during a term, but also decided to make the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate second and third in line behind the Vice President.  That, of course, meant, that if anything had happened to President Harry Truman, and with no Vice President for the remainder of that term of office, that Speaker Joseph Martin, a Republican, would have succeeded him.

The idea of having the opposition party gain the Presidency during a term due to a tragedy was not based on what was good for the nation, but pure partisanship by the GOP.

But now, the extremism in the GOP, including the Tea Party Movement right wing whackos, makes the idea of John Boehner, or some other Republican gaining power of the executive branch under a Democratic administration totally reprehensible, as that would mean a dramatic turn to the far Right, although the people voted in a Democratic administration.  Also, the President pro tempore of the Senate, a position which is honorary based on seniority in the majority party in the Senate, brings the danger, not only of partisanship, but also the reality of a very old Senator, unfit to serve, being third in line for the Presidency, and at the time of Truman, second in line to be President!

That is why there is a need to repeal the 1947 law and return to the 1886 law, which makes the most sense, as the Speaker of the House, while elected, is only chosen by one Congressional district out of 435, and is therefore NOT representative of the nation, as much as a cabinet member, selected by the President but subject to Senate confirmation, is representative of the policies and ideals of the elected President!

The likelihood of this happening short term is near zero, but it is worthy of consideration for the near future!