Gerald Ford

One Term Presidencies That Mattered: Jimmy Carter, George HW Bush!

President Joe Biden stated at his end of first year press conference yesterday, that he planned to run for a second term in 2024, and that Kamala Harris would again be his running mate.

That is to be expected at this time, but by early 2023, Biden will need to make a final decision on running, so as to open the race to alternative choices if he announces he will retire.

The concept that a President must seek reelection was not the case with three Presidents, who decided not to run–James K. Polk in 1848, James Buchanan in 1860, and Rutherford Hayes in 1880. But Polk, despite not running for another term, is considered to have accomplished his goals, and as it turns out, his health was not good, and he died 105 days after leaving office in 1849.

Buchanan and Hayes are not considered to have had successful terms, and they may have sensed that they could not win reelection.

Other one term Presidents, such as Benjamin Harrison and Herbert Hoover, had horrible depressions to deal with, helping to cause their defeats in 1892 and 1932, and William Howard Taft had a split in his party with former President Theodore Roosevelt, which doomed his campaign for reelection in 1912.

Gerald Ford was a special situation, having not been elected, succeeding Richard Nixon, and having a bad economy, which doomed his desire for election to a full term in 1976, although he is considered in a kind manner at this point, having worked to unite America after the Watergate Scandal and resignation of Nixon.

But the two most recent Presidents defeated for reelection, before Donald Trump, had real accomplishments in office, although they were unable to win a second term, Jimmy Carter in 1980, and George H. W. Bush in 1992.

Clearly, all Presidents since Rutherford Hayes in 1880, who have survived a term, have attempted to be reelected, but since Biden will be 82 years old weeks after the Presidential Election of 2024, he might decide not to run, or his health might be such that he is told he should not run.

First Year In Oval Office Under Most Presidencies Problematical, And Joe Biden Better Than Many!

One could argue that Joe Biden has accomplished a great deal in the first year, while often having disappointments and shortcomings.

Two major pieces of legislation were accomplished (The American Rescue Plan, and the Physical Infrastructure legislation), and the only reason why the Build Back Better bill and voting rights have failed to be accomplished is the opposition of two Democrats–Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema–and the reality of an equally divided Senate for only the third time in American history!

While inflation has become a major problem, the stock market dramatically rose, more jobs were created in the first year of a Presidency than any other administration, and the unemployment rate has dropped to a very low rate.

There are still the issues of the COVID 19 Pandemic, and the disaster of Afghanistan withdrawal, but the first issue was unpredictable as the worst health crisis in a century, and the second would have been the same result had Donald Trump stayed on as President, since he had made a deal with the Taliban without Afghanistan government involvement, to leave in May 2021, NOT as occurred in August 2021!

So some disappointing developments in the first year of a Presidency are not unique to the 46th President!

When one looks back at other Presidencies, it is actually quite common that the first year of a Presidency is a learning curve, and does not reflect on whether such Presidents will be, in the long run, successful, and also have the possibility of successful reelection.

The following Presidents had very successful first years—Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, George H. W. Bush!

Three Presidents had what could be described as mixed records in the first year in office–Dwight D. Eisenhower, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

The following Presidencies in the 20th and 21st century were far from successes in their first year:

Harry Truman 1945
John F. Kennedy 1961
Richard Nixon 1969
Gerald Ford 1974-1975
Jimmy Carter 1977
Ronald Reagan 1981
Bill Clinton 1993
Donald Trump 2017

Among these eight Presidents, four—Truman, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton–won reelection.

So it is not time to say that Joe Biden will fail to succeed, as he already has in many respects, and it is not time to say he cannot win reelection fo a second term!

Comparing Kamala Harris To Mike Pence, Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle, Spiro Agnew!

Kamala Harris has been Vice President for nearly a year, and has faced brutal criticism and attacks, and suggestions by some that she resign, because she has not been assertive in the role of Vice President.

Of course, these suggestions come from Fox News Channel anchors Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham, who are actively involved in attempting a coverup of the events of January 6, 2021, even though they were stunned by the events of that day, and tried to reach Donald Trump to express their dismay.

It is insulting that conservative supporters of the January 6 Insurrection have the gall to attack Kamala Harris, when the major issue is that she is a woman, and of mixed African and Asian American heritage, as her father is from Jamaican origin and her mother of Asian Indian origin.

Who are the critics turning to as models?

Is it Mike Pence, who refused to speak up at all to Donald Trump for four years, but at least had the guts to uphold the Electoral College vote for Joe Biden on January 6, facing the threat of being hanged by rioters? That is his only redeeming quality.

Or is it Dick Cheney, who while qualified by experience, was a dangerous, out of control Vice President, under George W. Bush, who enriched himself by America’s engagement in two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq through leadership of Haliburton, and endorsed the use of torture against war prisoners?

Or is it Dan Quayle, who made everyone nervous for four years about the health of George H. W. Bush, as Quayle demonstrated how dumb and clueless he was?

Or was it Spiro Agnew, who resigned from office as a felon, after nearly five years a heartbeat away from the Presidency under Richard Nixon?

The only truly reputable Republican Vice President in the past half century was George H. W. Bush under Ronald Reagan! Although it must be said that the abbreviated Vice Presidency of Nelson Rockefeller under Gerald Ford was also decent!

Meanwhile, Democrats could be proud of their Vice Presidents—Walter Mondale under Jimmy Carter; Al Gore under Bill Clinton; and Joe BIden under Barack Obama!

Kamala Harris is in the tradition of decency and dignity of Mondale, Gore, and Biden, and will do a fine job over the next three years, with her excellent qualification as former San Francisco District Attorney, California Attorney General, and US Senator!

Bob Dole, An Historic Figure, And True American Hero, Dies At Age 98!

Former Kansas Senator Bob Dole, the Vice Presidential running mate of Gerald Ford in 1976, and Republican Presidential nominee in 1996 against Bill Clinton, passed away on Sunday at the advanced age of 98!

Dole served nearly 40 years in American national government, including service in the House of Representatives from Kansas, as well as the Senate.

Dole was a true American hero, and suffered immensely when wounded in World War II as the war in Europe neared an end in April 1945, and spent three plus years in a military hospital recovering, and never had the use of his right arm, as a result of grievous injuries.

Dole was an historic figure, who fought hard for his Republican views, but also had humanity and a sense of humor, and often worked across the aisle with Democrats.

Dole served as Senate Majority Leader and Senate Minority Leader, and was also Republican National Chairman at one point, as well as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Dole is a giant figure in the history of the Republican Party, and was well regarded by politicians in both parties, and millions of Americans!

Fareed Zakaria CNN Special From May 2021 Updated: “A Radical Rebellion: The Transformation Of The GOP”

The Welfare State–Secularism—changing racial situation.

Fareed Zakaria on a CNN Special today, updated from May 2021, entitled “A Radical Rebellion: The Transformation of the GOP”, presented an analysis of the disaster that the Republican Party has become:

in an era of conservatism attacking the concept of the Franklin D. Roosevelt New Deal and the Lyndon B. Johnson Great Society;

allowing Right Wing evangelical Christianity and theocracy to take over the party in the name of God;

and working against the reality that the white majority face a future in America of minority racial groups together being a majority of the population in about 2040-2045.

He covers from the John Birch Society in the 1950s;
to William F. Buckley, Jr and the National Review;
to Barry Goldwater and the conservative takeover in 1964, leading to massive victory of Lyndon B. Johnson and the Great Society;
to Richard Nixon and the “Southern Strategy”in 1968;
to Jerry Falwell and the “Christian Coalition” and the “Moral Majority” in the late 1970s and early 1980s;
to Ronald Reagan and the “Reagan Coalition” in the 1980s;
to Pat Buchanan’s challenge of George H W Bush in 1992;
to Newt Gingrich and the “Republican Revolution” of 1994 and after;
to the promotion of right wing propaganda and lies by Fox News Channel starting in 1996;
to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in the 2000s;
to the Tea Party Movement rise under Barack Obama’s Presidency;
to the rise of Donald Trump in 2015-2016;
to the “Big Lie” about the Presidential Election of 2020;
to the January 6, 2021 US Capitol Insurrection;
to the present extremism in the Congressional and State Republican parties in 2021;
to the constant threat to women’s rights, including abortion;
to the right wing rejection of Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney as not conservative enough;
and the growing racism, nativism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, and homophobia that have become alarming realities for the future of American politics!

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy Will Retire At End Of 2022, After Serving As Third Longest Serving Senator!

Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy will retire at the end of his 8th Senate term at the end of 2022, after an amazing 48 years in the upper body of Congress!

He will leave office as the third longest serving US Senator in the 234 years of that historic institution, only behind Democrat Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who served 51.5 years, and Democrat Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who served just short of 50 years.

At the moment, he is fourth longest serving, behind Republican Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, who served 47 years and a bit more than 5 months, which Leahy will pass in June 2022.

Leahy just passed Democrat Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts in total service in late October 2021.

Leahy is the last member of Congress elected in 1974, and the only sitting Senator to have served while Gerald Ford was President, and also to have served while Jimmy Carter was President.

Leahy is the only Democrat ever elected to the Senate from Vermont, as Bernie Sanders always ran as an Independent. Leahy is easily the longest serving Vermont Senator as well.

Leahy has been, in his long career, Chairman of the Agriculture, Judiciary, and Appropriations Committees, and is President Pro Tempore of the Senate, third in line of Presidential succession.

Leahy also presided over the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump in 2021.

Had Leahy chosen to run for an unprecedented 9th term, he would easily have been reelected and in 2026, would have become the longest serving US Senator ever!

Leahy is a premier liberal and progressive throughout his career, and will be nearing the age of 83 when he retires at the beginning of 2023.

Leahy is a great figure in the history of the Senate, and will be missed when he leaves office!

The Presidency And Native Americans

A recent article on History News Network has rated Presidents on “Integrity and Humanity in Dealing with Native American Nations”, a significant analysis of how the “original” Americans have been treated by American government.

It is not a positive picture overall, and we have had Presidents who were particularly horrid in their treatment of native Americans, and others who had a more open minded and considerate reaction to the plight of native Americans.

The list of Presidents who are seen as villains includes:

Thomas Jefferson
Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
Andrew Johnson
James Garfield
Theodore Roosevelt
Donald Trump

The list of Presidents who are seen as reformers includes:

John Quincy Adams
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Bill Clinton
Barack Obama

Overall, sadly, native Americans were treated with violence, disrespect and paternalism, with their lands stolen, and forced out of their ancestral lands!

Supposed Unpopularity Of Vice President Kamala Harris According To Conservatives: Preposterous!

It is laughable how conservative websites and Republicans are promoting the view that Vice President Kamala Harris is the most unpopular Vice President since Spiro Agnew in the 1970s.

Think about the Vice Presidents since who are seen as positive forces—Gerald Ford, Nelson Rockefeller, Walter Mondale, George H. W. Bush, Al Gore, Joe Biden.

Two of these–Ford and Bush became President, while Mondale and Gore lost Presidential races, and Biden has now become President.

Who has been left out?—-Dan Quayle, Dick Cheney, Mike Pence.

Dick Cheney was certainly competent in a basic sense, but evil in his abuse of the office, promoting torture in the War on Terror, making money through Haliburton, and being a basic nasty individual, who many thought was really President instead of George W. Bush in the latter’s first term, until Bush finally asserted his authority over Cheney, and their relationship deteriorated.

Dan Quayle was a basically not too bright VP, who scared people at the thought that he might become President, when George H. W. Bush had some health scares.

But compared to Cheney and Quayle, the absolutely worst Vice President in modern times since Spiro Agnew was Mike Pence, who fawned all over Donald Trump, never spoke up when it was appropriate and necessary to do so, and now we learn, he was considering NOT keeping his oath that required him as Vice President to announce the Electoral College vote on January 6, 2021!

Of all people, it was Dan Quayle who convinced Pence he had no choice. And Pence was under threat caused by his own boss, Donald Trump, and yet refuses to condemn him and speak out on the January 6, 2021 US Capitol Insurrection!

Instead, his rabid desire to be President, which will never happen, makes him live in an alternative world, and to think his so called “good Christian” image will propel him to the White House in 2024!

No sane or decent person would call Mike Pence someone who would be “popular” or “decent”, but delusional Republicans and conservatives instead lie about history of Pence, and also, Cheney and Quayle!

The fact is that the “best” Vice Presidents since the 1970s are Walter Mondale, Al Gore, and Joe Biden! And Al Gore won the national popular vote over George W. Bush, but as we all know, lost the Electoral College!

Kamala Harris, the first woman, first biracial, first African American and Asian American Vice President, will survive the vicious attacks on her character and capability, and will join the list of outstanding Vice Presidents!

Her background as District Attorney of San Francisco; California Attorney General; and US Senator makes her perfectly capable and qualified, and her character, empathy, decency, and compassion match that of President Joe Biden!

And if fate has it that Harris might become President in this term or in a future term by election, the nation will be in good hands!

Tragic First Year Foreign Policy Nothing New In American Presidency!

The tragic events in Afghanistan continue a tradition that in most Presidencies, first year, there are events which affect the historic role of Presidents in American history.

We have the Bay of Pigs Fiasco (Cuba) in 1961 under President John F. Kennedy.

We have the conquest of South Vietnam by North Vietnam, and the sudden tragic exit from the embassy in Saigon in 1975 under President Gerald Ford.

We have the attack on the World Trade Center, and the tragic exit from terrorism in Somalia in 1993 under President Bill Clinton.

We have the September 11, 2001 Al Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon under President George W. Bush.

And now we have the horrifying situation in Kabul, Afghanistan going on under President Joe Biden, similar in many ways to the exit from Vietnam in 1975.

47th Anniversary Of Richard Nixon Resignation, And Gerald Ford Becoming The 38th President!

Today, August 9, in 1974, the nation and the world witnessed Richard Nixon resigning the Presidency.

The event also elevated Gerald Ford to become the 38th President, and the only one NOT elected Vice President or President, due to the 25th Amendment, which saved the nation after Vice President Spiro Agnew had earlier resigned in October 1973, due to corruption charges.

If there were no 25th Amendment, ratified in 1967, Speaker of the House Carl Albert, a Democrat, with no desire to be President, and having a well known liquor problem, would have been the successor to the Oval Office.

Certainly, Albert would have been preferable to Spiro Agnew.

But despite controversy over Ford pardoning Nixon on September 8, 1974, which was a major factor in his defeat to Jimmy Carter in the 1976 Presidential election, Ford has been perceived in recent decades as the “right” person in a time of turmoil.

One can criticize President Ford, but also, one can see that Ford calmed the nation and in many ways, has been perceived in a better light over the decades.