George Washington

Commemorating Death Of George Washington To Impeachment Of Donald Trump: How Far We Have Fallen!

Today, December 14, marks the 220th anniversary of the death of President George Washington, who set such a great standard for Presidential leadership.

Washington could have stayed in office until his death, as many idolized him, but he believed in a term limit, and set standards for Presidential behavior in the way he conducted his office, that benefited America for the long term.

But now 220 years after his death, we have a President who has abused power more openly than even Richard Nixon, and far more than Bill Clinton or Andrew Johnson, and has wished he could be President for life. He has also hinted that he will refuse to accept defeat or leave office whether in 2021 or 2025, now a constitutional limit as a result of the 22nd Amendment, ratified in 1951.

This moment of impeachment of Donald Trump is one when the nation must unite to rid us of the cancer of this evil, corrupt man, and if not by trial in the Senate, by massive defeat in November 2020!

Donald Trump Donation Of Salary Not Unique: Herbert Hoover And John F. Kennedy Also Donated Their Salary To Charity

Donald Trump once again showed he was a liar, more than 13,000 times in less than three years, when he asserted yesterday, that he was the first President since George Washington to donate his salary to charity.

First point to make is if he did donate his salary, which one can highly doubt, who gained the benefit is the question. Trump has claimed he has given to the National Park Service (hard to believe); the Department of Education; the Department of Veterans Affairs; the Small Business Administration; the Surgeon General’s Office; and the Department of Agriculture. I would think there should be some proof beyond his statement, with his consistent habit of lying about everything imaginable.

Secondly, the record shows two Presidents, both super wealthy for their times, regularly donated their salaries. These were the 31st President, Herbert Hoover (1929-1933), and the 35th President, John F. Kennedy (1961-1963).

Finally, even if Donald Trump is donating his salary, by playing golf, he has spent at least 83 years of his salary on his hobby, at taxpayer expense. And he has spent more on golf in less than three years in office than Barack Obama spent on vacations over eight years.

Today, May 8, Is The 135th Anniversary Of Harry Truman’s Birth, And The 74th Anniversary Of The End Of World War II In Europe

Today, May 8, is a momentous day, as it is the 135th Anniversary of the birth of President Harry Truman, and also the 74th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.

There are very few veterans left from World War II, as the only survivors would be at least 92 if they had just entered war service in the last months of the war in 1945.

The “Greatest Generation”, as Tom Brokaw called the veterans of World War II, made great sacrifices and we honor them every Memorial Day in May and Veterans Day in November.

And we honor President Truman, who despite much controversy over his actions in office, is ranked in polls of scholars and experts as either number 5 or number 6 among all our Presidents, something no one in his time in office ever imagined he would reach.

Truman proved that an “ordinary man”, the only modern President not to have attended or graduated college, could be an effective President, and a voracious reader, proving that not all education and drive comes from a college degree, but from ambition and motivation to overcome one’s shortcomings.

This author and blogger would rank Truman Number 4, ahead of Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower, now rated in the C Span 2017 Poll of Historians above him, as he faced crises greater than all Presidents except George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. We were blessed to have two exceptional Presidents in a row in FDR and Truman.

230th Anniversary Of The American Presidency: Now In Greatest Crisis Of Its Entire History

Today, April 30, 2019, is the 230th Anniversary of the swearing in of George Washington as our first President in New York City in 1789.

Thirty years ago, George H. W. Bush commemorated the bicentennial of that first inauguration two centuries earlier, and the feeling was that the Presidency had finally overcome the crisis and tragedy of Richard Nixon, fifteen years earlier.

Now, however, 30 years later, the Presidency of Donald Trump has set records for its corruption, venality, crudeness, destruction of the American domestic and foreign policy created by earlier Presidents of both parties, and has just passed the 10,000 mark for lies and deception, as reported by the Washington Post.

The American Presidency is a great institution now under massive attack by evil people led by Donald Trump, who are systematically destroying the sense of an American Union, as they work to divide people by race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, and sexual orientation and identity, and take away our basic civil liberties and civil rights and promote an authoritarian dictatorship led by a monarch who has no regard for American history and traditions.

America could be on the verge of a new civil war, as we have gratuitous gun violence, a repudiation of the immigrant tradition which made America the last great hope of mankind, and an ever increasing challenge of climate change that threatens the future of our children and grandchildren and beyond.

It is a time which is hard to have optimism about the future, and the urgency of defeating Donald Trump, and removing him from office peacefully is a mandate!

The next President needs to be a unifier, a man or woman of statesmanship who can promote our better instincts and inspire hope and optimism, who has the character of empathy and human decency to guide him or her through the tough readjustment we will have to experience in the 2020s.

Barack Obama Fortunate For History That He Is Between George W. Bush And Donald Trump In The Order Of Presidents In Office

In the long run of history, where a President is in the order of attaining the Presidency really matters.

So, for instance, John Adams is between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and while Adams ranks around the middle in ranking of Presidents by historians and political scientists, he is rated much lower than the two Presidents before and after him, who are in the top ten of any listing.

The same goes for William Howard Taft, who is between Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, both of whom are in the top quarter of Presidents, while Taft is rated in the mid 20s.

And the same is true for George H. W. Bush, who is between Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, both of whom are rated higher than Bush, who is rated in the later teens as President.

On the other hand, Abraham Lincoln comes between the two men usually rated the two worst Presidents, James Buchanan before him and Andrew Johnson after him.

And it is now clear that Barack Obama, rated 11th in one poll, 8th in another poll, and 17th in a third poll, all within the two years he has been out of the Presidency, is fortunate to have George W. Bush, rated in the 30s, and Donald Trump rated either at the bottom under Buchanan and Andrew Johnson, or at most just above them, insuring he will, like Lincoln, always be rated much better.

Latest Presidential Ranking Survey For Presidents Day Changes Ratings Of Several Presidents Upward And Downward

The game of Presidential rankings is one always changing, and the newest survey of scholars, including this author as a participant, does not disappoint in that regard.

The Siena College survey, now done six times since 1982, once for each new President being considered in the rankings, has some surprises.

157 experts, questioned by the Siena College Research Institute, raised two of the Founding Father generation to the top ten, with James Madison number 7 and James Monroe, his successor at number 8. In so doing, two modern Presidents were dropped out of the top ten, with Ronald Reagan at number 13 and Lyndon B. Johnson at number 16.

A rare occurrence was that Abraham Lincoln was number 3, when usually he is on top, although in earlier Siena College surveys, Franklin D. Roosevelt had been number one, now number two, with George Washington moving up to number one.

Barack Obama, number 8 in the American Political Science Association survey in 2018, and number 12 in the C Span 2017 survey, ended up number 17 in the Siena College survey, so below such Presidents as Woodrow Wilson, James K. Polk, John Adams, and Bill Clinton.

And Donald Trump, who was dead last in the APSA poll, was number 42, above James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson, with Johnson ending up below Buchanan, the opposite of both the C Span and APSA surveys.

Of course, the game of Presidential ranking is a never ending and highly debatable one, and the way that Presidents are ranked is purely in the eyes and expertise of the beholder.

Should a great man, such as Madison or Monroe, but not as accomplished as more modern Presidents, such as Reagan or LBJ, be higher in the ratings?

That is left up to how people perceive Presidents, and whether they include the whole life, or just the actual years of the Presidency, in their judgments.

The Wealthiest And The Poorest Presidents

The American Presidents have varied greatly in wealth acquired or inherited in their lifetimes.

Some were born poor, such as Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, due to family circumstances, with Clinton and Nixon acquiring wealth in their lifetimes, but Johnson would still be the seventh poorest President at death, according to statistics.

Materials gathered by scholars have led to conclusions on the net worth of our 44 Presidents, including their post Presidential years.

Easily, at least by the knowledge we have now, Donald Trump is likely the wealthiest President, although subject to change by further Congressional investigation of Trump’s finances, sure to come in the 116th Congress by congressional subpoenas. By estimate, Trump is wealthier than all the other 43 men who have been President of the United States.

After Trump, probably John F. Kennedy, had he not been assassinated, would have inherited close to $1 billion later in his life.

Other than Trump and Kennedy, George Washington would be considered the wealthiest President, in modern terms, around $580 million.

Behind him would be Thomas Jefferson ($234 million); Theodore Roosevelt ($138 million); Andrew Jackson ($131 million); James Madison ($112 million); and Lyndon B. Johnson ($108 million), with all those numbers being estimates.

Other Presidents who had substantial estimated wealth would include Herbert Hoover ($82 million; Bill Clinton ($75 million); Franklin D. Roosevelt ($66 million); and John Tyler ($57 million). Clinton acquired most of his wealth post Presidency by speeches and authored books, and will likely rise much higher if he lives a long life.

At the other end of the scale, we had 13 Presidents who had $1 million or less wealth by all estimates, in 2016 dollars, including in ranked order:

William McKinley

Warren G. Harding

James Buchanan

Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S. Grant

James A. Garfield

Chester Alan Arthur

Woodrow Wilson

Calvin Coolidge

Harry Truman

Notice that the bulk of these Presidents served in the years from Buchanan to McKinley, the last half of the 19th century, a total of seven out of eleven Presidents.

The three Presidents from Wilson through Coolidge also are on this list, and Harry Truman ends up as the least prosperous President at his death, as compared to Andrew Johnson the poorest at birth.

Barack Obama is rated just below John Tyler at number 13 on the wealth list at an estimated $40 million, with potential over a long lifetime to become one of the top few wealthiest Presidents by speeches, books, and other activities due to the stature and prestige of being a former President in modern times.

Other Presidents are rated in the middle on wealth, such as George W. Bush at $39 million; George H. W. Bush at $26 million; John Quincy Adams at $23 million; John Adams at $21 million; Richard Nixon at $17 million; Ronald Reagan at $14 million; Dwight D. Eisenhower at $9 million; and Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter at $8 million each.

The Centennial Of The Death Of Theodore Roosevelt

Today marks the Centennial of the death of the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt.

Although TR passed away at the young age of 60, he had led a life few people, and few Presidents, had led.

He had run for Mayor of New York City at the young age of 28 in 1886. He had been the head of the NYC Police Board in 1895-1897, the equivalent in modern terms of being Police Commissioner. He had been Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897-1898, and then at age 39 had led troops into battle (The Rough Riders) in the Spanish American War in the spring and summer of 1898, becoming a war hero. He had then, immediately after his war service, been elected Governor of New York in the fall of 1898, followed by becoming Vice President at the young age of 42 in 1901.

And then, fate would have it that President William McKinley would be assassinated in September 1901, making TR our youngest President at 42 years and 10 and a half months, with TR being a path breaking President for the next seven and a half years. He would expand the authority and scope of the Presidency, and become a model for many future Presidents.

TR would become the greatest environmental President, and promote the growing role of the federal government in American life, and advocating “progressivism”, proclaiming he was proud to call himself a “progressive”, and ushering in what has become known in American history as the “Progressive Era” years from 1900-1917.

TR would bring America also into world diplomacy and naval supremacy, with his winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for negotiating the end of the Russo Japanese War at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and his manipulation that led to the building of the Panama Canal.

TR was larger than life, and promoted newspapers and periodicals across the nation to send White House correspondents to follow the statements, actions, and antics of the 26th President. He was always the center of attention, in and out of office, as he craved public adulation. He has been regarded by historians and political scientists, on a consistent basis, as a “Near Great” President, as number 4 in scholarly polls over the long haul, just behind three “Great” Presidents–Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

TR’s impact on the nation has been massive and will continue to be so, and only Lincoln is rated higher as a Republican President in American history. And it is clear that TR would be shocked, were he to return and see the conservative swing of the party in the past four decades since Ronald Reagan, and the extremist and dangerous trend of Donald Trump in the past two years. It seems certain that TR would be on the barricades protesting the great damage done to the Presidency by the 45th President, who has set out to destroy everything the 26th President brought about in the early 20th century.

Walter Mondale 91 Years Old, And Adds To Record Of Longest Surviving Retired Vice President, With Longest Surviving Retired President, Jimmy Carter

Today is former Vice President Walter Mondale’s 91st birthday, and he adds to the record daily as the longest surviving retired Vice President, sharing that with the longest surviving retired President, Jimmy Carter. Both will have been out of office for 38 years on January 20.

Mondale is at this point the 5th oldest Vice President in American history, with John Nance Garner (under Franklin D. Roosevelt) having reached the age of 98; Levi Morton (under Benjamin Harrison) dying on his 96th birthday; George H. W. Bush (under Ronald Reagan) reaching the age of 94; and Gerald Ford (under Richard Nixon) reaching the age of 93. Only John Adams (under George Washington) otherwise reached the age of 90, surpassed by Mondale a few months ago.

Mondale also goes down as, in many ways, the most active, involved, and engaged Vice President we have ever had, although it does seem as if Joe Biden may have been as intimately involved with Barack Obama during their two terms of office, with more information on that involvement to follow with future research.

Happy 91st Birthday, Vice President Mondale, and many more, and the same for President Jimmy Carter, who will become the longest lived President on March 22 of this year; will reach 95 on October 1; and will have the longest Presidential marriage on October 17, with his beloved wife, Rosalynn.

George H. W. Bush And John Adams: Comparisons

With the death of George H. W. Bush, we can make many comparisons with John Adams.

Both were born in Massachusetts.

Both served as Vice President under their Presidents for eight years, John Adams under George Washington, and George H. W. Bush under Ronald Reagan.

Both only had one term as President, defeated for reelection.

Both are seen as lower in ranking than their predecessors, George Washington and Ronald Reagan, who served two terms in office.

Both had the President elected after them rank higher in rankings of Presidents, and both Thomas Jefferson and Bill Clinton served two terms in office.

Both outlived their wives.

Both had a son become President, and live to see that occur.

Both reached to the age of 90, with Adams being the longest lived until Ronald Reagan, then Gerald Ford, then George H. W. Bush, and then Jimmy Carter surpassed his age.

Bush died at the oldest age of any President, although Jimmy Carter could surpass Bush if he lives to March 22, 2019.

Both died after 25 plus years in retirement.

Both have been rated higher than their son, John Quincy Adams and George W. Bush, in rankings of historians and political scientists, and it is unlikely that their sons will ever surpass them.