George W. Bush

The Dire Need For A Change In The Presidential Succession Act Of 1947

In 1947, the new Republican controlled 80th Congress, the first Congress to have both houses being Republican controlled since 1928, acted in revenge against the memory of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt by changing the Presidential Succession Act of 1886.

That law in 1886 made the succession to the Presidency to be the cabinet officers after the Vice President, including in order, the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War, Attorney General, Postmaster General, Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Interior. The original law in 1792 made the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House next in line before the cabinet members, and after the Vice President.

This was changed to the present situation in 1947, that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and then the President Pro Tempore of the Senate would succeed after the Vice President and before the cabinet officers.

This has  led to people in the line of succession who, much of the time, have been the opposition party to the President, as in 1947-1949 under President Harry Truman; 1955-1961 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower; 1969-1974 under President Richard Nixon; 1974-1977 under President Gerald Ford; 1981-1987 in the House under President Ronald Reagan; 1987-1989 under President Ronald Reagan; 1989-1993 under President George H. W. Bush; 1995-2001 under President Bill Clinton; 2001-2003 in the Senate under President George W. Bush; 2007-2009 under President George W. Bush; and 2011-2017 under President Barack Obama.

This is not proper, to have the opposition party have the potential to take over the Presidency through having a Speaker of the House and/or a President Pro Tempore of the Senate of their party, rather than having the continuity of the administration though the cabinet members chosen by the President.

So 44 years between 1947 and 2017, out of a total number of 70 years, or just about two thirds of the time, the opposition party has been two heartbeats away from the Presidency, undermining continuity of government.

Also, just because someone is Speaker of the House (elected by one Congressional district) or President Pro Tempore of the Senate ( an often very old person in that position, elected from one state, who has longevity of service) does not make such a person qualified to be President, as much as a Secretary of State, Treasury, etc does!

So while it is unlikely to happen anytime soon, there really is a need to change the Presidential Succession Act back to the one passed and in effect from 1886-1947!

Democratic Presidents Create Twice As Many Jobs As Republican Presidents!

Statistics prove that Democratic Presidents have presided over the creation of twice the number of new jobs, as compared to Republican Presidents since 1940.

Under Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, from 1940-2015, 74 million jobs have been created.

Under Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, 35 million jobs have been created over the same 75 year period.

Also, all of the major economic downturns since 1940 occurred under Republican Presidents as follows:

1958 recession–Eisenhower

1974-1975 recession—Nixon and Ford

1981-1982 recession—Reagan

1992 recession—H W Bush

2007-2009 Great Recession–W Bush

These are facts, whether Republicans want to accept them or not as the truth!

Meanwhile, the greatest periods of economic growth since 1940 were under  Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama!


Republican Party History: Key Dates Of 1860, 1912, 1964, 2016—the 52 Year Syndrome!

The Republican has had a long, controversial history since its founding in 1854 as a party opposed to the expansion of slavery, and containing within itself, those opposed to the institution of slavery itself.

After only six years, the Republican Party reached majority control of both houses of Congress and the White House, with Abraham Lincoln.

From then until 52 years later, 1912, the GOP dominated American politics, except in the South, where the Democrats prevailed.

In 1912, the party split between former President Theodore Roosevelt, an extremely popular and path breaking President, the greatest Republican President since Lincoln, and the incumbent President, William Howard Taft, who was supported by conservatives of the time against TR’s Progressive Party challenge, which led to Taft only winning two states and 23 percent of the national popular vote, and putting Democrat Woodrow Wilson in the White House.

While the Republicans recovered in the 1920s, and almost defeated Wilson in 1916 with their nominee, Charles Evans Hughes, the Great Depression decimated the Republican Party, and the Democrats became the majority party, while the Republicans continued to battle between moderates and conservatives, with the moderates winning the nominations for President, until finally, Senator Barry Goldwater defeated the Establishment  forces led by New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1964, 52 years after the earlier collapse.  Goldwater went on to lose the popular vote in a two way race by a larger margin than ever in American history, with Lyndon B. Johnson winning over 61 percent of the national vote.

This massive defeat did not end the civil war in the GOP, with Gerald Ford just barely winning the nomination over Ronald Reagan in 1976, and losing a very close race to Jimmy Carter.  But Reagan then won the White House, and the right wing felt it was in its glory, although Reagan was, actually, very unpredictable in his policies and views, and would today, probably be rejected by the extreme right wing in control of the GOP in 2015.

The right wing was unhappy with George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney as insufficiently conservative, and now there is full scale civil war in the GOP, including revolts against Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  The rise of Donald Trump, Dr. Benjamin Carson, and Carly Fiorina, all non office holders, demonstrates the right wing desire to fight the GOP establishment, but what it means is certain defeat in 2016.

Likely, no matter who is nominated, the Republican Party is, seemingly, at a 52 year mark, again ready to implode upon itself, and give the Democrats long term control of the Presidency, as the situation now appears!

Criminalization Of Christianity And Kim Davis? Hardly!

A federal court judge appointed by George W. Bush has ordered County Clerk Kim Davis of Rowan County, Kentucky to jail for failing to issue marriage licenses to anyone in her county, due to her “religious” beliefs that do not “allow” her to permit marriage licenses to gays and lesbians.

Kim Davis is a hypocrite, who has been married four times, divorced three times, and had twins with someone not her husband at the time, and then, suddenly, she became “religious”, and therefore, will not fulfill her job duties to which she was elected.

It is not as if she can be summarily fired, as she was elected by the voters last November, but she can be required to do her duties as a public official, or be told to resign, or else, someone else should fulfill her duties on marriage licenses in her stead.

If this is allowed to fester, other county clerks in Kentucky, Alabama, and Texas, and other states can use the excuse to disobey the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage,  or really, we can start having government officials refuse to obey federal law on other matters as well!

The Civil War is long over, and states must obey federal law, whether they like it or not, just as those opposed to Citizens United or the Voting Rights Act  or other conservative decisions have the option of trying for a constitutional amendment if they do not wish to accept the Court decision.

We are a nation of laws and the Constitution, and the Supreme Court, right or wrong, is the final arbiter, as we are not a nation governed by the beliefs of any religious group, and no such group should be allowed to dictate what they will obey when it comes to law.

The concept of criminalization of Christianity is totally baseless, and no one should take it seriously, as there is no persecution of Christians, although there is persecution of Muslims, in some areas Jews, and certainly of Atheists and Agnostics!

We are a nation of many different Christian groups with a variety of doctrines, but we are not a “Christian” nation, a theocracy, and no religion can be allowed to control public policy!

80 Years Of Social Security And Counting: The Most Successful “Safety Net” Program In American History!

On August 14, 1935 the Social Security Act became law during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, with Senator Robert F. Wagner of New York and Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins key figures in promoting its passage.

For the first time, there was the pledge of providing senior citizens with some financial support in their later years.

Additionally, widows and orphans, and the disabled would be covered under the law.

The US was behind Germany, Great Britain, and France, industrialized nations which had enacted such legislation decades earlier.

There was bipartisan support from progressive Republicans and from Democrats, but more conservative Republicans set as their goal to destroy Social Security, as early as the Presidential Election of 1936.

But Social Security has survived eight decades, and has done so much good for the nation, and its most vulnerable citizens.

Even now, there are proposals to change Social Security, as was done in 1983, by a deal between President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, raising the retirement to age 66 and 67 for full benefits, depending on year of birth.

Now there is the call to raise the retirement age further, and cut benefits over the long haul, bitterly opposed by progressives and Democrats. Also, George W. Bush tried to privatize part of Social Security, which failed of enactment in 2005, but again is being promoted by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

The tax base has been raised, but even now, only the first $118,500 is taxed, and many feel there should be no limit on the tax base, as that allows those who make much higher incomes to avoid further taxation, and putting the burden on the average American who does not earn more than $118,500.

The point is that by raising the tax base to unlimited income would insure the long term survival of Social Security.

It is essential to insure that the most successful “Safety Net” program in American history continued to survive and prosper!

Left Handed Presidents On “Left Handers Day”!

Today, August 13, is “Left Handers Day”!

About 10-15 percent of the population, supposedly, is left handed, and it is certainly much more common now than in the past, due to children being forced to learn to be right handed in the past, because of belief that it was a sin to be left handed.

So as far as we know, left handed Presidents have occurred only in the past century, although there are those who think Thomas Jefferson may have been left handed or ambidextrous; and that James A. Garfield was the same, due to the statements that he could write in Latin and Greek with both hands at the same time!

Other than possibly Jefferson, and the case of Garfield, the list of left handed modern Presidents includes:

Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
Harry Truman (1945-1953)
Gerald Ford (1974-1977)
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
George H. W. Bush (1989-1993)
Bill Clinton (1993-2001)
Barack Obama (2009-Present)

This means that for 29 of the past 41 years (since 1974), we have had left handed Presidents, all but Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush!

It also means that 7 of the last 14 Presidents (from Hoover to Obama) have been left handed! This is 41 of the past 86 years!

It is also a fact that in 1992, all three Presidential candidates (Bush Senior, Clinton, Ross Perot) were lefties, and the same with 1996 (Clinton, Bob Dole, Perot)! And in 2008, the two major party Presidential candidates, Obama and John McCain, were also “southpaws”!

Political Campaign Debates’ Impact On American History

Do political campaign debates matter?

Absolutely, and the first such case is Abraham Lincoln Vs. Stephen Douglas in the Illinois Senate race of 1858, which helped elevate Lincoln to the Presidency, although losing the Senate seat due to the Democrats controlling the state legislature, and choosing incumbent Democrat Douglas for the new term of office.

Since Presidential debates came about in 1960, and then revived starting in 1976, there have been moments when they really mattered, even if often boring, including:

1960–Richard Nixon sweating and looking tense, while John F. Kennedy smiled, looked tanned, was relaxed.

1976–Gerald Ford says Poland is a free nation, which helps to elect Jimmy Carter in close race.

1980–Ronald Reagan talks about the “Misery Index” and says “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”, and defeats Jimmy Carter.

1984—Ronald Reagan says he will not use age as an issue to show the “youth and inexperience” of opponent Walter Mondale, who he defeats.

1988—Vice Presidential nominee Lloyd Bentsen tells opponent Dan Quayle that he is not another John F. Kennedy, and sets the image of Quayle for all time as an incompetent Vice President, and have no chance to be President when he decides to run in 1996.

1992—George H. W. Bush looks constantly at his watch, during the debate with Bill Clinton, who defeats him, and also Ross Perot.

2000–Al Gore walks over to George W. Bush as he answers question, comes across as a weird action, and also breathes deeply at Bush responses, making Gore seem haughty and condescending.

2008—Sarah Palin does an embarrassing performance in Vice Presidential debate with Joe Biden, harms John McCain campaign.

2012–In Republican Presidential candidate debates, Rick Perry cannot remember the three agencies of government he wishes to eliminate, which ends his candidacy.

2012—Joe Biden laughs at Paul Ryan statements in Vice Presidential debate, weakens Ryan image as Mitt Romney’s running mate.

Also, political campaign debates draw attention to the race, and there will be many Presidential debates starting tonight for the Republicans, and in October for the Democrats.

50 Years Of The Voting Rights Act, And Reluctance To Enforce It By Supreme Court And Many States Now A Sad Reality!

On August 6, it will be 50 years since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, overcoming a near century of the denial of the right to vote to African Americans, despite the passage of the 15th Amendment in 1870.

The Southern states denied African Americans the right to vote through all kinds of methods for three quarters of a century, but finally it was a Southern President and many Congressional Republicans joining with Democrats that caused that denial of democracy to be overcome, finally.

And Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, all Republicans, continued to endorse, promote, hail, and extend the provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

But then the Supreme Court majority under Chief Justice John Roberts weakened enforcement in a Supreme Court decision in 2013 (Shelby County, Alabama V. Holder), effectively giving license to states run by Republican governors and legislatures to pass new restrictions on voting, that would not only hurt African Americans, but also Hispanics, poor whites, the elderly, college students—all being required to make onerous efforts to meet the new restrictions on voting rights, when there was no earlier evidence of voting fraud.

This sad reality has pained John Lewis, Georgia Congressman, who was involved in the movement for voting rights in Alabama (the Selma-Montgomery March), and was seriously beaten, along with others who were killed, fighting peacefully for the basic right to vote.

So while we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this path breaking legislation, we have to hope that the Supreme Court will revisit what it has done by a 5-4 vote in the next term, with the hope that they will reconsider what they have done, based on the discrimination now being practiced in many states across the nation.

25 Years Since The Middle East Crisis Which Led To Persian Gulf War Against Iraq, Led By President George H. W. Bush

It was 25 years ago this week that Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator, invaded Kuwait and incited US intervention by January 1991, in what became the six week Persian Gulf War.

Iraq had even been supported by the United States during the Iran Iraq War in the 1980s, but it now became the major menace of the Middle East, and forced the United States to intervene, with the backing of Saudi Arabia, which feared it would be the next victim of Iraqi aggression.

So President George H. W. Bush created a United Nations coalition, and with the assistance of General Norman Schwarzkopf, Colin Powell, James Baker, and Dick Cheney, and others, the fear that it would be a long war turned out not to be the case.

The UN went into this war, the first since the Korean War, with the understanding that the goal was to force Iraq out of Kuwait, and nothing more, so Saddam Hussein was able to remain in power, cause more trouble, and lead to another Iraq War, which would go on for many years under his son George W. Bush, and be ended under Barack Obama.

The whole mess in the Middle East became much more complex as a result of all of these circumstances, and helped, as we look back, to the rise of ISIL (ISIS), with not only the continued disarray in Iraq, but also with the revolutions in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and the horrific civil war in Syria.

Despite all these circumstances, George H. W. Bush, now 91, is seen as having done the right thing a quarter century ago, and keeping the limits set up by the United Nations coalition that fought the war in true unity with the United States. It is still one of his greatest accomplishments as President.

“Fit” And “Unfit” Presidents In American History

The issue of Presidential health is an important one, as the stresses on the Chief Executive, are, and have been, massive over time, and the job ages all Presidents noticeably.

But separate from general health, there is also the issue of how “fit” or “unfit” Presidents have been while in office, and those who have been active in athletic activities before and during their White House years.

The list of truly “fit” Presidents has favored the younger Presidents over time, but there are also cases of other Presidents who have made being fit an important part of their image as Presidents. These Presidents participated in sports, and even when having health issues over time, they still emphasized the active life.

So the truly “fit” Presidents would include:

George Washington

John Quincy Adams

Andrew Jackson

Abraham Lincoln

Theodore Roosevelt

Dwight D. Eisenhower

John F. Kennedy

Gerald Ford

Ronald Reagan

George H. W. Bush

George W. Bush

Barack Obama

All of the above 12 Presidents did a lot of exercise throughout their lives, and some were in the military as generals (Washington, Jackson, Eisenhower).

Those Presidents that would qualify as particularly unfit would include:

John Adams

Martin Van Buren

James Buchanan

Chester Alan Arthur

Grover Cleveland

William McKinley

William Howard Taft

Warren G. Harding

Lyndon B. Johnson

Bill Clinton

All of the above 10 Presidents had major issues with weight, particularly Taft and Cleveland.

Of course, “fitness” has nothing to do with greatness in the White House, as Franklin D. Roosevelt proves! But FDR also had massive upper body strength, despite the polio that prevented him from walking.