Harry Truman

Vice President Joe Biden: What Are You Waiting For? Time To Enter The Presidential Race Now!

With the questions arising over the viability of Hillary Clinton, it is time for Vice President Joe Biden, who has desired to be President now for the past 28 years, to put his “hat in the ring”, as Theodore Roosevelt called it when he announced his Presidential candidacy in 1912.

Joe Biden is one of the most colorful, charismatic, dynamic political figures to arise in a long time. He is more experienced than ANY Presidential candidate in the past, having served 36 years in the United States Senate, and eight years as Vice President by the end of 2016, a total of 44 years, unmatched by any President or nominee in American history.

Joe Biden has been at the center of American history since 1972, when he was elected, days before his 30th birthday, and overcame the personal tragedy of the loss of his wife and daughter in a horrific auto crash just weeks after his victory.

Joe Biden was a leading voice in the Senate on all kinds of issues that are important–civil rights, women’s rights, labor rights, the environment, and as Vice President on gay rights and gay marriage. He has also risen to chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee of the US Senate, and despite what Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton has said, Joe Biden has been correct on most foreign policy issues, including his suggestion in 2003 that Iraq should be divided into Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish sections, so obviously true that Iraq was the false creation that has been a nightmare since after World War I.

Joe Biden is the most genuine, real, authentic person in American politics, and one can feel he is a “regular guy”, a man who was the “poorest” in the Senate, only having his home, his salary and his wife’s salary as a professor as his assets, and truly not being a millionaire many times over, as most members of Congress are.

Yes, Joe Biden has faults and shortcomings, but who does not among us, and particularly among politicians?

Yes, he plagiarized a term paper one time in law school. Yes, he once copied wording of a speech of a British politician. Yes, he acts goofy at times with some of his public utterances, and at times of swearing in of Senators to their new terms of office. And yes, he has been sometimes too “touchy feely” with wives or daughters of other officials, something a bit weird, but he has never been accused or associated with any inappropriate liaisons with other women, and is very dedicated to his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, who has been a great Second Lady! He has never been accused of drunkenness or illegal drug use.

But he is so engaging and charming even when he blunders. Joe Biden does not have an evil bone in his body, and has never been personally nasty to anyone, and is even well liked by Republican opposition leaders, who feel they can work with him even when they seem to detest President Obama.

Joe Biden has been a very loyal and active Vice President, who has added to the office tremendously, and been invaluable in his advice , and he is a great emissary to Capitol Hill, a kinder, gentler version of Lyndon B. Johnson. He has been a tremendous asset to the President and the nation over the past six years, and has restored the dignity of the Vice Presidency after the decline in reputation and likability and trust and respect under the previous Vice President, Dick Cheney.

Joe Biden would bring excitement to the race with his oratory, and would know how to give the Republican Party “hell”, as Harry Truman did seven decades ago. And yet, he would still gain the respect of his opponents which he still has today in 2015 after 42 plus years in American politics, and how many other public figures can say that? And he made mincemeat of Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan in debates for the Vice Presidency in 2008 and 2012, and was one of the best debaters in the 2008 Democratic Party primary debates.

Yes, Joe Biden will be 74 right after Election Day in 2016, but Ronald Reagan was older in his second term, and there is no age limit in the Presidency constitutionally, and many of the other potential candidates will be around the same age, or in their 70s during the next Presidential term. Age is just a number, particularly, with someone as energetic and engaged as Joe Biden is.

If Joe Biden was our 45th President, America would be better for it, and Joe Biden would do his best in dedicating very minute of his time and every bone in his body to the advancement of America to a better position both in domestic policy and in foreign relations.

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!

The Inevitability Of Hillary Clinton Is No Longer Active! Doubts Are Rising!

It has been pointed out that any candidate for President who is ahead in public opinion polls in the second year of a Presidential term has never been elected President, since the age of polling became active after World War II.

If it was, Thomas E. Dewey, Robert Taft, George Romney, Edmund Muskie, Ted Kennedy, Mario Cuomo, Al Gore, and Hillary Clinton would have served in the Presidency after elections in 1948, 1952, 1968, 1972, 1980, 1992, 2000, and 2008.

Instead, we had Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama!

So now it is clear that the inevitability of Hillary Clinton as our 45th President is far from certain, due to various factors!

Hillary Clinton is seen as too close to Wall Street billionaires and millionaires, and too close friendships with major corporations, while mouthing the support of overcoming income inequities.

Hillary Clinton is seen as a “hawk” in foreign policy, even a neoconservative to many, having backed the Iraq War and coming across as much more hardline than many Democrats on recent events in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Hillary Clinton has supported the Patriot Act and National Security Agency surveillance and spying.

Hillary Clinton has not been a strong supporter on environmental issues, particularly in supporting fracking.

Hillary Clinton has come across as secretive, and now has the new scandal of having all emails being private, rather than on government emails while Secretary of State for four years.

Hillary Clinton has also allowed foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation, including Arab countries in the Middle East, not a wise or thoughtful idea.

Hillary Clinton has the history of earlier questioning of her ethics, both as First Lady and as Senator and Secretary of State, and many see her marriage to Bill Clinton as a sham, designed to promote her insatiable desire to be the first woman President of the United States.

The Smartest Presidents Based On Intellect, Not Success!

Being smart, being intelligent, being brilliant is something that in no way guarantees success, but can be noticed for what it is, and we have had our share of Presidents who have been among the brightest public figures we have been blessed with.

Chronologically, this select list would include:

John Adams (1797-1801)
Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)
James Madison (1809-1817)
John Quincy Adams (1825-1829)
James A. Garfield (1881)
Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)
Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)
Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
Bill Clinton (1993-2001)

Notice that only three or four of these Presidents are seen as having been successful, including Jefferson, Roosevelt, Wilson and Clinton.

Notice that Hoover, Nixon, and Carter are seen by many as failures or certainly as being in the bottom half of the Presidents.

The two Adamses and Madison are saved by their other massive accomplishments, so are rated in the second ten of our Presidents by most historians.

Garfield, considered the most brilliant between the second Adams and TR is the great unknown, being shot after four months in office and dying after six and a half months in office, but believed to be brilliant and an unknown factor as to his potential for greatness.

Notice that George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John F. Kennedy, all rated very high in rankings of Presidents, do not qualify on intellect or pure brilliance, and yet some, particularly Lincoln, FDR, and Kennedy have long been highly honored and respected, despite not fitting the definition of being part of the most brilliant intellects we have had in the Presidency!

The US And Israel: Support For Israel, But Not Benjamin Netanyahu!

The United States has been a strong supporter of Israel throughout the 67 year history of the Jewish nation, whether it has been Democratic or Republican Presidents in office, and that will not change, and should not change!

But that does not mean that our policies vis a vis Israel must always be in lockstep to every Israeli Prime Minister.

There have been disputes and differences between Israeli governments and American governments throughout the history of the relationship over strategies and tactics, but in all circumstances, when Israel has needed American support, it has been there from Harry Truman to Barack Obama, and that will continue.

Just like relatives, there have been and will be fights, sometimes even public, that are embarrassing, but occur, because that is the nature of families, and Israel and America are like one big family, with certain relatives very annoying in their assertion of their personalities on the overall relationship.

But when crisis arises, when so called “push come to shove”, family is together, and that includes the assurance that America will always be there for Israel at crucial moments. And one must remember that it is Barack Obama who has provided more funding for the IRON DOME system, which has been used by Israel to protect its security with its dangerous neighbors, including Palestinian terrorists.

This moment, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu coming to the US to speak to a joint session of Congress without advanced approval of President Obama, and with Netanyahu long a public and private critic of President Obama, and in cahoots with the Republicans in Congress, is not good. With Speaker of the House John Boehner breaking the Logan Act, which bans private diplomacy of anyone outside the executive branch of government, a law passed in 1798 and updated in 1994, only adds to the problem.

Yes, the threat of Iran is present, but it is not an imminent threat, and the attempt of the US, along with Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China to negotiate on nuclear issues is worthy of follow through to see if Iran is willing to accept the idea of no nuclear weapons development.

If Iran reneges on such an agreement, then Israel would be backed in any potential confrontation with Iran. But the need to TRY to avoid another Middle East War, which would lead to more deaths and destruction in Israel, and make the area ever more dangerous, is worth a try to avoid war, before committing to a war that would be devastating to the entire area.

The US would be engaged in another major war, and not an easily won war, but the world would see the reality of Iran, if they reject an agreement with the six major powers.

Netanyahu has been known to lie and exaggerate, so it is worth a chance for peace, and avoidance of war, and that is why many Jewish Democrats in Congress are boycotting this speech on Tuesday, and it is why many Jewish organizations and spokesmen are condemning the speech, and calling for its delay until after the elections in Israel in two weeks.

A good solution to all this would be the defeat of Netanyahu and his Likud Party, much too ready to go to war, when peace should be tried first!

American Presidents And Wealth Estimates In 2015!

An update on the net worth of America’s Presidents, their total wealth at time of death, or for the living Presidents, what it is as of 2015, including inflation as a factor, reveals the following:

John F. Kennedy was the wealthiest President, worth within the range of $125 million to possibly $1 billion!

Due to this uncertain range, George Washington might be the wealthiest at $525 million.

The other Presidents over $100 million in net worth are:

Thomas Jefferson $212 million

Theodore Roosevelt $125 million

Andrew Jackson $119 million

James Madison $101 million

Five Presidents over $50 million up to $98 million include:

Lyndon B. Johnson $98 million

Herbert Hoover $75 million

Franklin D. Roosevelt $60 million

Bill Clinton $55 million

John Tyler $51 million

The next six Presidents are worth between $20 million and $27 million, as follows:

James Monroe $27 million

Martin Van Buren $26 million

Grover Cleveland $25 million

George H. W. Bush $23 million

John Quincy Adams $21 million

George W. Bush $20 million

The next five Presidents are worth $10 million to $19 million, as follows:

John Adams $19 million

Richard Nixon $15 million

Ronald Reagan $13 million

Barack Obama $12 million

James K. Polk $10 million

The next ten Presidents are worth between $2 million and $8 million, as follows:

Dwight D. Eisenhower $8 million

Gerald Ford $7 million

Jimmy Carter $7 million

Zachary Taylor $6 million

William Henry Harrison $5 million

Benjamin Harrison $5 million

Millard Fillmore $4 million

Rutherford Hayes $3 million

William Howard Taft $3 million

Franklin Pierce $2 million

The remaining 11 Presidents are worth between under $1 million up to less than $2 million, in the following order:

William McKinley

Warren G. Harding

James Buchanan onward are each worth less than $1 million downward, with Truman the poorest.

Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S. Grant

James A. Garfield

Chester Alan Arthur

Woodrow Wilson

Calvin Coolidge

Harry Truman

Many of the early Presidents were landowners and slave owners, and were, therefore, extremely wealthy.

The Presidents of the middle and late 19th century were mostly quite poor, including those who were military generals.

Presidents since 1929 have been generally much wealthier in most cases.

Many Presidents in modern times have become wealthy through speeches and writings.

Bill Clinton has the potential to become of the wealthiest Presidents in American history as time goes by, and more so, if his wife, Hillary Clinton, becomes President! The long term potential for Barack Obama is also for great wealth over his lifetime, leaving office at age 55!

The Most Overrated and Underrated Presidents, According To The American Political Science Association Presidential Poll

Further study of the American Political Science Association Presidential poll of 2014 reveals the following:

The most overrated Presidents are John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Andrew Jackson.

The most underrated Presidents are Dwight D. Eisenhower, George H. W. Bush, and Harry Truman.

These consensus judgments seem legitimate, as this author thinks those listed are an accurate assessment.

However, also underrated, and not even making the top 24 Presidents, with a 50 percent rating or above as deserving to be on the list of significant Presidents is Jimmy Carter.

Additionally, Lyndon B. Johnson will, over time, make it to the top ten, above Eisenhower and Bill Clinton, both of whom seem higher than they should be, and also above Jackson.

If any Presidents were to be added to Mount Rushmore, it is clear that Franklin D. Roosevelt is easily the most deserving, and really, no one else qualifies on legitimate grounds, even though there are supporters of Kennedy, Reagan and Eisenhower to join him, if there were additions made, which is, realistically, not going to happen!

American Political Science Association Presidential Poll Substantially Different Than 2009 C Span Poll

It has been nearly six years since the last C Span poll on Rating Presidents took place in 2009, and now we have the American Political Science Association Poll of 162 Professors, scored late in 2014, and the differences between the two polls is startling.

First, the number of Presidential experts questioned is two and a half times as many now than in 2009.

But more than that difference is the ranking of many on the list, as for instance:

John F. Kennedy fell from 6th place to 14th place.

Andrew Jackson went from a tie for 12th place up to 9th place.

Dwight D. Eisenhower reached the highest he has ever been polled, up to 7th place.

Bill Clinton shot up from 15th place to 8th place.

Harry Truman fell to 6th place from 5th place, and Thomas Jefferson went from 6th place to 5th place.

Woodrow Wilson fell from 9th place to 10th place.

Barack Obama, not part of the 2009 poll, but ranked in 15th place in an early poll in 2011, ended up in 18th place.

James Madison (13th) moved ahead of James Monroe (17th) in the ranking, which seems odd when one looks at their Presidencies, with Monroe being 14th and Madison 20th in the C Span poll.

James K. Polk slipped from tied for 12th to 19th, which seems really strange.

Ronald Reagan and Lyndon Johnson slipped one each, from 10th and 11th places, to 11th and 12th places.

This author disagrees greatly with this poll in many ways, including:

Kennedy being dropped eight places seems acceptable, except that to put Jackson, Clinton, and Madison ahead of him seems not very sensible.

Jackson is back in the top ten, but it seems wrong to move him up.

Clinton being in the top ten may help Hillary Clinton, but realistically, this author thinks he is much too high, and will eventually slip out of the top ten back to mid teens where he was. He has risen fast, being 21st in the 2000 C Span Poll and 15th in the 2009 poll.

Truman should have remained ahead of Jefferson, and in fact, should be moved up to 4th ahead of Theodore Roosevelt and Jefferson, due to his crisis leadership, and will end up there in time in this author’s belief.

Wilson has been slipping constantly, from 6th in 2000 to 9th in 2009 to 10th now, but this author would put him a bit higher and ahead of Jackson, Clinton, and Eisenhower.

Obama slipped from an early 2011 poll of 15th down to 18th, but this author would put him back at about 13th, ahead of Jackson, Madison, and Monroe.

Madison being ahead of Monroe seems ridiculous for his Presidency, although Madison was a great man, but not very successful as President.

Polk being an “imperialist” is a negative image to many, but no one term President was as successful, and he should not end up behind many of those ahead of him, and should remain about 12th or 13th.

Reagan and Johnson dropping one position each is not a big difference, but this author would put Johnson ahead of Reagan.

The debate on ranking Presidents will go on, but these are my thoughts on the topic, and I welcome commentary and analysis on this issue of ranking Presidents in 2015!

College Education And The Presidency In 21st Century America: Is It Necessary? YES!

Today, in 2015, approximately 31 percent of adults over 25 have at least a four year college degree as part of their credentials. This is an all time high.

In American history, all but eleven Presidents have had at least a four year college degree, much of the time when only a sliver of Americans had such a degree.

A college education does NOT guarantee success; does NOT guarantee excellence in one’s occupational pursuits; does NOT make any person automatically “better” than those without a college education!

What does a college education do that is beneficial?

It promotes the growth of critical thinking skills; it promotes empathy and compassion for those less fortunate; it promotes ability to analyze and evaluate materials; it promotes intellectual inquiry and curiosity, which is a good thing; it promotes ability to interpret events and happenings with a background of knowledge; it promotes tolerance and open mindedness!

Should not one, therefore, expect that a President of the United States have, at the least, a four year degree that has promoted these values?

Yes, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln did not have a college education, but that was 225 and 150 years ago, in a much less complex world than we have now!

Yes, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and Harry Truman did not have a college education, but they all were highly motivated to learn, to read books, to have intellectual curiosity.

Would not Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, and Zachary Taylor, all military figures, have gained a more tolerant attitude if they had had more education, and maybe not killed as many Native Americans?

Would not Andrew Johnson have learned to work better with people and been more tolerant toward African Americans if he had had some more education?

Would not Martin Van Buren and Millard Fillmore have gained, also, by some more education? Ironically, despite lack of education, Fillmore founded the State University of NY Buffalo institution, which at least demonstrated his understanding of the value of higher education!

So with this background on Presidents and education, should it matter that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker dropped out of college at Marquette University in Milwaukee, in his senior year, and never finished his college degree, all for a job opportunity?

The answer is YES, as just because one takes on a job, does not mean one cannot finish a college degree, as many millions of others have done!

It is an issue of steadfastness, of dedication, of the old adage: “Finish what you start!” The extra effort required to finish is always worth it, as finishing a degree is a major accomplishment! If a politician wishes to be President, therefore, it should be expected that he shows persistence and commitment to follow through on any commitment he makes in life! He is not just one of us, where two thirds have not gone to or finished college. He is supposed to be the “best among us”, a figure we can look up to, and our children can see as a model!

Under those parameters, Scott Walker should not become President, without even mentioning his innumerable shortcomings, otherwise! He has failed a basic test of Presidential leadership!

New Presidential Poll Of Scholars Of Political Science Changes Rankings Substantially, And Puts Barack Obama 18th!

A 2014 poll of 162 Political Science scholars, members of the American Political Science Association, is the latest rankings of our 43 Presidents, and it is eye opening.

The top four are the standard four Presidents–Lincoln, Washington, FDR, and TR, no surprises there.

But then the debate begins, with Jefferson, Truman, Ike, Clinton, Jackson, and Wilson finishing out the top ten list.

Truman slips and Jefferson moves up, and Eisenhower reaches the highest he has ever been in a poll.

Andrew Jackson makes it back to the top ten, but should he be in the top ten, considering his entire record in office?

Wilson slips further, to the bottom of the top ten, having gained more critics in recent years on his civil rights and civil liberties record, major issues for Jackson as well, but to put Jackson above Wilson is odd.

But then, Bill Clinton number eight? Really? This is easily the highest Clinton has ever been, and most observers on the outside would think that he is way overrated, by putting him n the top ten.

Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson follow, both being knocked down a peg from earlier rankings, and then, inexplicably, James Madison ends up 13th, even though his Presidency was far from great, although he was a great man!

Kennedy being rated fourteenth brings him down to a reasonable perch, after having, crazily, been listed as high as sixth in the C Span poll of 2009.

The next four are John Adams, Monroe, George H. W. Bush, and then Barack Obama. How Madison ended up above Monroe is hard to fathom. Bush Senior seems in a fair place, a bit higher than before, and John Adams seems about the right spot.

But Obama, in midstream in 18th place? Recently, he had been ranked 15th, and it seems to this blogger that he should NOT be knocked down, and might be worthy of being above Adams, Monroe and Bush Sr.

The next six, all still above 50 percent in rating are, in order, Polk, Taft, McKinley, JQ Adams, Cleveland, and Ford. It seems to many that Polk and McKinley might be rated higher, while the rest of this group seem in the proper places on the list.

Notice that Jimmy Carter is not in the top 24, which seems surprising, as one would think he would rank near the bottom of this list of 24, but his rating is, apparently, below 50 percent support, the reason he is not rated higher.

And notice neither Nixon nor Bush Jr have any real chance of making this list of 24, basically the top 60 percent of the 43 Presidents, and are unlikely to have a realistic chance of ever reaching that level!