George W. Bush

Hillary Clinton Best Qualified To Take Oath Of Office Since George H. W. Bush

Presidents come from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences, and some come ill equipped to deal with foreign policy and or domestic issues.

It is often said that learning on the job is the best experience, but that puts the nation at greater risk.

So the question arises: Since World War II, what Presidents came to office fully qualified to take the reigns of power?

This judgment is not one of approval or disapproval of the President and his record, but simply his qualifications when he took the oath of office.

It is clear that three Presidents came to office very qualified to be President, and they would be, chronologically, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and George H. W. Bush!

Harry Truman was ill prepared; Dwight D. Eisenhower had never taken an interest in politics; John F. Kennedy was very challenged in his first year in office; Gerald Ford had years of experience but no real ambition to be President; Jimmy Carter had limited experience in government, as did Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, as being governors of southern states did not prepare them for national leadership; Ronald Reagan had a very narrow view of national government and its importance; and Barack Obama had limited experience in national affairs, having only served four years in the US Senate.

On the other hand, Lyndon B. Johnson had been in government for thirty years and was a master legislative strategist, although foreign policy was certainly not his forte.

Richard Nixon had been Vice President for eight years, as was also with George H. W. Bush, and those years plus foreign policy expertise set them up well to be President.

Hillary Clinton is, without a doubt, the best equipped since the elder Bush to be President, as her years in the White House with her husband; her Senate years; and her four years as Secretary of State, even with problems, made her known worldwide, and she has the respect of foreign governments.  She is likely to be more activist in domestic affairs than her husband, which would also be a plus!

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!

 

March 4, 1789–227 Years Without A Tyrant–Not About To Allow It To Happen Now With Donald Trump!

The American Constitution went into effect officially on March 4, 1789, even though the first President, George Washington, was inaugurated belatedly on April 30, 1789.

We so revere the Constitution without realizing that through domestic and foreign crises over the years, we have only come fairly close to danger just once–the lawlessness of Richard Nixon.

But even with Nixon, we were far from Fascism or dictatorship, and the Constitution did work well  in the 1970s.

Despite acts of illegality, and plans for more, Richard Nixon was stopped dead in his tracks, including Alexander Haig telling the Pentagon to ignore Richard Nixon if he ordered martial law!

So when we hear that Donald Trump would order the military to break international law and American law, and return to the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney system of torture through waterboarding that has been banned by Barack Obama; and when we hear that Trump would wish to kill the entire families of suspected terrorists, and have no limit on military engagement as the military would obey him–then we know we have a tyrant in the making.

And when we hear that Trump wishes his crazy followers to beat up anti Trump protesters at rallies, and would plan to curb freedom of speech, press and assembly, including against media critics including the New York Times and Washington Post when he gains power, then we know we have Fascism in our midst, much greater than Huey P. Long, Joseph McCarthy, George C. Wallace, Pat Buchanan, or other lesser demagogues!

We have not had a tyrant for 227 years of our Republic, and we are not about to allow it to happen now with Donald Trump and his ilk!

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.

Most Significant Election Since 1968: Presidency, Senate, And Supreme Court Are In Play!

It is becoming very clear that the Presidential Election of 2016 will become the most significant election since 1968, when we saw the beginning of the Republican resurgence under Richard Nixon, due to the splintering of the Democratic Party under Lyndon B. Johnson, due to the turmoil around the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement.

The Democratic New Deal coalition had lasted 36 years, with only Dwight D. Eisenhower, really a non politician who ran on the Republican line after being briefly considered by Democrats in 1948, breaking the Democratic dominance, which also included Democratic dominance of the Congress, except in 1947-1948 and 1953-1954.

Since 1968, the Republicans controlled the White House for all but for the four Jimmy Carter years up to 1992, and then won a contested election in the Supreme Court, giving the Presidency and the Republican Party control in the early 2000s under George W. Bush.  And the Congress was Republican, except briefly from 1994-2006, and again after 2010 in the House of Representatives and 2014 in the US Senate, after the Senate had been Republican in the first six Reagan years of the 1980s.  And the Court appointments after 1968 have been 13 under Republicans and only 4 under Democrats, but with the death of Antonin Scalia, the possibility of a permanent (for a generation) Democratic and liberal majority is within reach.

Now, after a long period of Republican control of the Supreme Court, it will come to an end if the Democrats can win the Presidency again, and if they can regain control of the US Senate, so this is easily the most transformative election in a half century!

It would transform America IF the Democrats can gain the upper hand in the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the Presidency, and the hope is that the House of Representatives might be different after reapportionment after 2020. with the goal now to create a smaller GOP margin in the lower House in the interim.

One period of Democratic dominance was replaced by a period of Republican dominance, and with the GOP splintering around Donald Trump, we might be seeing a return to the concept of the New Deal-Great Society and a new Progressive Era.

It all depends on voter turnout and commitment, and for anyone to be lackadaisical and not vote, is inexcusable in the present circumstances!

First Time Since 1928 That There Has Been No Nixon Or Bush As Part Of A Winning Presidential Race For The Republican Party!

In 1928, Herbert Hoover won the Presidency, the third Republican President in a row in the 1920s.

Ever since, there have been NINE elections for President in which the Republican nominee has won, for a total of 36 years, while the Democrats have won 12 elections for a total 48 years.

In each election in which the Republicans won, there has been a Richard Nixon (4 times) and a Bush (five times) on the ballot, for President or Vice President, and the GOP has never won an election without one or the other name on the ballot!

Nixon was on the ballot for Vice President in 1952 and 1956, and for the Presidency in 1968 and 1972, while George H. W. Bush was on the ballot for Vice President in 1980 and 1984, and for President in 1988, while his son George W. Bush was on the ballot for President in 2000 and 2004.

Of course, Nixon was on the losing side in 1960 and Bush Sr. in 1992.  So since 1952, there have only been five times that a Nixon or a Bush was not on the ballot, all losing years as well, including Barry Goldwater in 1964, Gerald Ford 1976, Bob Dole in 1996, John McCain in 2008, and Mitt Romney in 2012.

But now they will have to overcome that reality, as Jeb Bush is out of the race, and there will be no Nixon or Bush on the ballot.  Can a Non Nixon or Non Bush actually win the Presidency without a running mate named Nixon or Bush?

This will be a challenge for the Republicans, and it will be interesting to see if there is a hex on the Republicans, which will undermine them in the Presidential race!

The “Dynasties” Under Attack: The Bushes Done, The Clintons?

This morning, it is clear that the Bush Dynasty is history, with Jeb Bush’s poor performance in the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary, and his announcement of his withdrawal from the Presidential race.

A year ago, it seemed obvious that he would likely be the GOP Presidential candidate, but the entrance of Donald Trump eight months ago destroyed that possibility, and once Trump called Jeb “low energy”, Jeb was befuddled what to do in response.  It took him a long time to mount a serious attack, and it was too late.

Jeb was supposed to be the Republican nominee in 2000, the favored younger son, smarter and more knowledgeable than his brother George W, and Jeb had avoided being the “black sheep” of the family with the alcoholism and drug use of George W making his parents very unhappy with him.

But Jeb lost the 1994 Florida gubernatorial election by 60,000 votes, most of the margin for Governor Lawton Chiles being in South Florida, while George W,  despite a pitiful debate performance against Texas Governor Ann Richards, was able to win the Texas Governorship in the same year, 1994.

One will always have to wonder whether Jeb would have been able to be elected as George W was in 2000; whether he would have won on his own power in his home state, instead of having a Supreme Court case to win the Sunshine State and the election; and whether he would have acted differently around September 11, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Hurricane Katrina.

Jeb was a lost opportunity, one of many who wanted the Presidency; were considered serious contenders; and yet lost the chance, while lesser candidates won.

In this category, we could, in the past half century, put Hubert H. Humphrey in 1968; Ted Kennedy in 1980; Al Gore in 2000; John McCain in 2000; and Hillary Clinton in 2008, along with Jeb Bush in 2000 and now in 2016.

And now, the question is whether Hillary Clinton can overcome Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Presidential nomination, after failing to overcome Barack Obama eight years ago.  Or will she, like Jeb, expected to win, end up failing, as Jeb has done?

In any case, George H. W.  and Barbara Bush may, very well, live to the next inauguration and beyond, at age 92 and 91 respectively in January 2017, but they will NOT see the inauguration of a second son to the Presidency.

The other question that arises is whether Bill Clinton, age 70 by the time of the inauguration in 2017, see his wife, on her second try, now 16 years, not 8, since he left the Oval Office, become President, or have the ultimate failure, despite all evidence that she would become the first woman President?

We shall see soon enough over the next number of months!

“A New Generation Of Leadership”–Kennedy, Carter, Clinton, Obama, And Now Rubio?

In the past half century, America has, four times, elected a “new generation of leadership” to the White House.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy, 43, replaced Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was 70.

In 1976, Jimmy Carter, 52 replaced Gerald Ford who was 63.

In 1992, Bill Clinton, 46, replaced George H. W. Bush, who was 68.

In 2008, Barack Obama, 47, replaced George W. Bush, who was 62, and defeated John McCain, who was 72.

Now, in 2016, we have the possibility of Marco Rubio, 45, replacing Barack Obama, who will be 55 later this year, and being opposed by Hillary Clinton, who will be 69, OR Bernie Sanders, who will be 75.

Rubio seems more likely as the Republican nominee than Ted Cruz, the other “young” Republican left in the race, who would be 46 if he took the oath of office, but it seems that Rubio has a better chance to win a national election.

And Rubio’s endorsement by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who would be a great running mate and age 45 on Inauguration Day next year, makes for a very attractive team, eight months apart, both 45, and both photogenic, against an “old timer”, either Hillary or Bernie.

So the question is whether the nation would be willing to elect a young Republican team, with the exact opposite view of government, than Democrats Kennedy, Carter, Clinton and Obama had!

And also, can Rubio defeat the “oldest” Republican potential nominee, Donald Trump, age 70 this June?

Will youth win out over age is the question of the campaign!

Many Presidents Have Made Court Appointments In Last Year Of Term Or Presidency

The Republican Party is making the preposterous argument that a President, in his last year in office, should not be able to make an appointment to the Supreme Court, when history tells us otherwise.

Just because a President is finishing his time in office does not mean that he has no authority to do his job, which includes appointing judges and Justices!

And what about Presidents running for reelection, with the possibility that he might not be reelected?  Does that mean every President in the last year of any Presidential term should lose his powers to make appointments to the federal judiciary?

History tells us otherwise as witness the following:

George Washington 1796 –two appointments

Thomas Jefferson 1804–one appointment

Andrew Jackson 1836–two appointments, including Chief Justice Roger Taney, who remained on the Court for 28 years

Grover Cleveland 1888–two appointments, including Chief Justice Melville Fuller, who remained on the Court for 22 years

Benjamin Harrison 1892–one appointment

William Howard Taft 1912–one appointment

Woodrow Wilson 1916—two appointments, including the controversial, longest battle, to put Louis Brandeis on the Supreme Court

Herbert Hoover 1932–one appointment (Benjamin Cardozo)

Franklin D. Roosevelt 1940–one appointment  (Frank Murphy)

Ronald Reagan 1988–one appointment (Anthony Kennedy)

Additionally, Presidents have made appointments to the federal district and circuit courts when in the last year in office (Reagan 26 and 7; Clinton 37 and 9; Bush II 26 and 6; Obama 4 and 4).

And from 1947 to 2014, 416 District Court and 79 Circuit Court appointments have been made in Presidential election years.

So the Republican Party has no case for why Barack Obama should not be able to make an appointment, other than that they do not want a liberal replacing a conservative, and bringing the end of the 44 year conservative and Republican dominance on the Court.

But the answer to that is to stop being a crybaby and accept that your reign of dominance is coming to an end, and not too soon.

It is time to move into the 21st century of constitutional law, rather than dwell in the 19th century Gilded Age mentality of the conservatives on the Supreme Court!

 

 

The Era Of The Elderly Running For President: Possibility Of Three Candidates Past 70 Competing For White House In 2016!

We may be witnessing an event that has never happened in the history of Presidential elections–three candidates, or even if only two candidates, all over the age of 70!

The only two cases of a President serving in his 70s are Ronald Reagan, who came to office 17 days short of age 70 and left office nearly 78 years old; and Dwight D. Eisenhower, who left office at age 70, three months and six days of age.

We also have had Senator John McCain running at age 72 in 2008, and Senator Bob Dole running at age 73 in 1996.

Now we have the potential for Donald Trump, who would be 70 years seven months and six days old on Inauguration Day; Bernie Sanders, who would be 75 years four months and twelve days old on Inauguration Day; and Michael Bloomberg, who would be 74 years 11 months and six days old on Inauguration Day!

And even if Hillary Clinton were to replace Bernie Sanders, she would be 69 years, nine months and six days old on Inauguration Day, so would reach age 70 after less than three months in office!

With two former Presidents alive at age 91 (Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush); four consecutive Presidents having reached age 90 (Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, additionally); and four former First Ladies since 1963 having reached age 90 (Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush); and with the average American living much longer and in better health, it should not be surprising that we have Presidential candidates in good health, running at an older age than ever in American history.

But one requirement is that younger Vice Presidential nominees be available as backups in case fate occurs, and the older Presidential winner dies in office!

Since World War II, many of the Vice Presidents have been older than their President, as with Harry Truman and Alben Barkley; John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson; George W. Bush and Dick Cheney; and Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

So now the opposite may likely happen.