Franklin D. Roosevelt

Periods Of Lack Of Diplomatic Relations In American History: Never Productive!

One tactic that has been used in modern American history to “punish” nations who are seen as a threat, as a danger, as an “outlaw” nation, is to suspend diplomatic relations with that nation, thinking that taking that action forces that country to change its policies, but it has never worked, and is a lost cause. It is more done to soothe the sensitivities of certain groups, and is a purely political act, with no real purpose and accomplishing nothing, except to isolate the people of those nations, who if anything, are harmed by American action, while the “outlaw” government goes on violating the human rights of their citizens.

Famous examples of nations we have refused to have relations with over a long period of years include:

Soviet Union, 1917-1933—16 years, ended by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

People’s Republic of China, 1949-1979—30 years, ended by Jimmy Carter, but beginning of ties and interaction under Richard Nixon in 1972 (23 years).

Cuba, 1961-Present—54 years, in the process of being ended by Barack Obama.

Iran, 1980-Present–35 years, possibly ending now under Barack Obama, with the potential nuclear agreement.

Diplomatic relations should NOT be about morals and ethics, as that does not work in international relations, but rather on practical reality, as nations we oppose are not going to collapse and disappear because we condemn their behavior. It is better to have some input into what goes on in those nations, unless, of course, the other nation involved chooses on its own to break off diplomatic relations.

Is It Unusual For Three Or More Consecutive Terms For A Political Party In The White House? NO!

The myth has been promoted that it is “unusual” for a political party to keep control of the White House for more than two terms, eight years, but nothing could be further from the truth!

In the first political party system, the Federalists held power for 12 years (1789-1801) under George Washington and John Adams, although the name “Federalist” did not exist formally until 1794, after the battle between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson created the first party system.

The Democratic Republicans then held power for 24 years (1801-1825) under Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe.

The newly constituted Democratic Party held power for 12 years (1829-1841) under Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren.

The newly constituted Republican Party held power for 24 years (1861-1885) under Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, and Chester Alan Arthur, although Andrew Johnson was never a Republican, but rather a Democrat put on the national ticket for election reasons by Lincoln in 1864, and Johnson having a disastrous relationship with the Republican Congress, and facing impeachment proceedings.

The Republican Party then held power for 16 years (1897-1913) under William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft.

The Republican Party then held power for 12 years (1921-1933) under Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover.

The Democratic Party then held power for 20 years (1933-1953) under Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman.

The Republican Party then held power for 12 years (1981-1993) under Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

So political parties have held control of the White House for more than two terms a total of EIGHT TIMES, ranging from 24 years twice, 20 years once, 16 years once, and 12 years four times!

Also realize that Grover Cleveland and Al Gore won the national popular vote in 1888 and 2000, but lost the electoral college. Had they become President, then there would have been 12 straight years of Democrats from 1885-1897, assuming Cleveland might have gone for a third term in 1892, instead of trying to return to the White House; and if Al Gore had won in 2000, it would have been at least 12 straight years of Democrats from 1993-2005, and potentially a second Gore term in 2004!

Vast Age Differences Of Presidential Opponents In Modern American History

It has become a reality that in many Presidential elections, the age difference between the two competing Presidential contenders is vast.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was 20 years older than Thomas E. Dewey in the Presidential Election Of 1944.

Harry Truman was 18 years older than Thomas E. Dewey in the Presidential Election of 1948.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was 10 years older than Adlai Stevenson in the Presidential Elections of 1952 and 1956.

Richard Nixon was 9 and a half years older than George McGovern in the Presidential Election of 1972.

Gerald Ford was 11 years older than Jimmy Carter in the Presidential Election of 1976.

Ronald Reagan was 13 years older than Jimmy Carter in the Presidential Election of 1980.

Ronald Reagan was 17 years older than Walter Mondale in the Presidential Election of 1984.

George H. W. Bush was 8 years older than Michael Dukakis in the Presidential Election of 1988.

George H. W. Bush was 22 years older than Bill Clinton in the Presidential Election Of 1992.

Bob Dole was 23 years older than Bill Clinton in the Presidential Election Of 1996.

John McCain was 25 years older than Barack Obama in the Presidential Election of 2008.

Mitt Romney was 14 years older than Barack Obama in the Presidential Election of 2012.

Now in 2016, we are very likely to have a vast difference in age between the two major party nominees, assuming Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders or Jim Webb is the Democratic nominee. But 11 of the 13 elections mentioned, the Republican nominee was the much older candidate, but that is likely to be different this time.

If Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie or Scott Walker is the Republican nominee, the difference will be vast, as much as 24 or more years in some of these cases. All of these six were born later than Barack Obama, and a few others, including Rick Santorum. Mike Pence or Jon Huntsman, all born before Obama but still have a double digit age difference from the various Democrats mentioned above.

So far, eight times, the older nominee for President won, and five times, the younger nominee for President won. So the question is what will happen in 2016!

70th Anniversary Today Of Greatest 20th Century President’s Passing: Franklin D. Roosevelt!

On this day, April 12, 1945, 70 years ago, the greatest 20th century President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, died in Warm Springs, Georgia, after 12 years and 39 days in office. Many Americans could not recall any other President, as FDR had played a dominant role in the lives of Americans and in world affairs, through the two greatest crises since the Civil War under Abraham Lincoln—the Great Depression and the Second World War!

FDR had initiated a massive set of domestic reforms, known as the New Deal, which had changed the lives of millions of Americans in a positive way, and give the nation hope and confidence in the future, at a time when we had a higher unemployment rate, 25 percent, than we would ever have again. FDR transformed the role of the federal government, and brought about such permanent reform programs as Social Security; Unemployment Compensation; Minimum Wage; Labor Union recognition; the accomplishment of massive public works projects; federal insurance on bank deposits; agricultural subsidies; regulation of banks, the stock market and corporations; public housing; aid to the disabled and dependent children; conservation of natural resources; and so many other programs and ideas.

Then, FDR faced the dangers of Nazism in Germany, Fascism in Italy, and the aggression of Imperial Japan, when it looked as if democracy would be snuffed out worldwide, including in the United States. The greatest military effort since the Civil War created many problems in the postwar world, as the Soviet Union rose out of the war to become the new challenger to freedom in what became known as the Cold War, something FDR was trying to figure out how to deal with, when he died suddenly of congestive heart failure in the early months of an unprecedented fourth term, prevented from happening again by the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution.

One has to wonder how the nation would have fared had FDR been forced to leave office in January 1941 by term limits, as there was no obvious good alternative leader to FDR at that time. The challenge of overcoming isolationist sentiment, and then the Axis Powers aged FDR and caused his premature death at a delicate time when the war in Europe was one month from ending, and the war against Japan seemed likely to go on for several years. Fortunately, Harry Truman took up the mantle and handled the crisis of ending the war and the postwar world, as well as could be expected, as one looks back 70 years.

FDR had his shortcomings as all Presidents do, but the United States was blessed with a great, dynamic leader that we remember today on the 70th anniversary of his passing!

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute For The United States Senate Opens Today!

A wonderful event takes place today, March 30, 2015!

The opening of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute For The United States Senate today on the University of Massachusetts, Boston campus, adjacent to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, will bring many distinguished political leaders, along with President Barack Obama and his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, together to celebrate the life and career of one of the greatest US Senators in American history.

But it will also celebrate the great institution of the US Senate, and will encourage knowledge and scholarly research on the most fascinating legislative body ever created by free men and women!

Tourists and scholars will love the exhibits, and the full scale replica of the US Senate chamber, as well as the exhibits and documents on the life and career of Ted Kennedy, who served the fourth longest period of time in the history of that body, about 46 years and nine months duration.

Few Senators have had the impact on the Senate and the nation of the brother of the 35th President of the United States, and the nation’s most outstanding Attorney General. It is arguable that Ted Kennedy had the significance that few other Senators have had, and almost on the level of a Presidency!

Ted Kennedy devoted his life to the betterment of average Americans, despite his great wealth, and in that regard, he can be compared to two “aristocratic” Presidents of another family name—Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt!

Promoting study of the US Senate will enrich all of us, and this is definitely on the list for this blogger to make another vacation trip, with the express purpose of spending time in this great new museum!

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!