Harry Truman

Jimmy Carter: The Most Underrated, Unappreciated President Since World War II!

Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary today, a year and a half shorter in duration then George H.W. and Barbara Bush’s marriage, the two longest in Presidential history!

Both George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter have reached the magic age of 90, with Bush 91 on June 8, and Carter to be 91 on October 1.

It is a blessing that both are still with us, but it would seem as if Jimmy Carter is likely to outlive Bush, based on health conditions right now.

Bush is being, properly, appreciated in his 90s, but Carter remains the most underrated, unappreciated President since World War II.

The critics, mostly Republicans, conservatives, and right wing supporters of Israel’s often extremist government, are always on the attack, and this blogger has heard from audience members when he gives lectures, that Jimmy Carter is an anti Semite, which is farthest from the truth!

Jimmy Carter could be said to be anti Israel’s government, when it has been right wing extremist, as for instance, it is now under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But people forget how he managed to bring about the only enduring moment in the Middle East since World War II–the Camp David Accords—which brought together former warriors and enemies, Anwar Sadat of Eyypt and Menachim Begin of Israel, despite their being far apart on the issues of Middle East peace.

This is the most impressive and enduring moment of the Carter Presidency, and is not fully appreciated for what it was and is, even today! And Carter is most certainly NOT an anti Semite, and there are many Jews in America who are not pro Israel automatically when the government there is right wing extremist as it is now!

Carter also brought about the Panama Canal Treaty, an historic event; promoted Human Rights, a fundamental principle of this man of high morality, who would eventually win the Nobel Peace Prize; and worked to free the hostages in Iran peacefully, as frustrating as that was, rather than bomb Iran and see all 52 Americans killed in response, the likely result had he gone “hawkish”.

If the attempted rescue in April 1980 had worked out, it is likely that Jimmy Carter would have had a second term, and Ronald Reagan would be a footnote in history!

Carter also became the third best environmental President in American history, after Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon; promoted free elections, human rights, democracy all over the world through the Carter Center; condemned violence against women and mistreatment of the poor around the world; emphasized the spreading of health care and education to the deprived parts of the world; and even condemned the most extreme right elements of his own Baptist faith.

He became the most activist former President in American history, and has survived longer after his time in office than any President, now going on 34.5 years on July 20. And his Vice President, Walter Mondale, survives at 87.5 years of age, making them the longest lasting Presidential-Vice Presidential team ever in American history!

Jimmy Carter is not perfect, in or out of office, but he is a very decent man, well meaning, brilliant in intellect, and the author of 27 books, including his new book, released today, entitled: “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety”, a worthwhile read!

It is clear that only when he passes from the scene, like Harry Truman, will he come to be appreciated for the great man and human being he is, always trying to do his best, but humble enough to be willing to concede his shortcomings, much of which he expresses in this new book!

The 10 Worst, Most Disastrous Supreme Court Justices Since 1900

The Supreme Court has had 58 of its 112 members since 1900, with 9 of them being Chief Justices, and 4 of those also having earlier served as Associate Justices.

It is more fun to discuss the greatest Supreme Court Justices since 1900, as done in an earlier blog post, but here are the 10 worst, most disastrous Supreme Court Justices, listed chronologically,

Willis Van Devanter
James Clark McReynolds
George Sutherland
Pierce Butler
Fred M. Vinson
Tom C. Clark
Lewis F. Powell, Jr.
Antonin Scalia
Clarence Thomas
Samuel Alito

The first four are known as the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”, united against the New Deal, and causing Franklin D. Roosevelt to become engaged in the controversial Court Packing Plan of 1937. Van Devanter was appointed by William Howard Taft; McReynolds by Woodrow Wilson; and Sutherland and Butler by Warren G. Harding.

Vinson and Clark were appointed by Harry Truman, with judicial appointments one area that Truman was rated as poor in selection, despite other areas of strength in his Presidency.

Powell was selected by Richard Nixon; Scalia by Ronald Reagan; Thomas by George H. W. Bush; and Alito by George W. Bush.

Powell wrote a memorandum that had a long range influence, promoting the development of right wing think tanks, and forecasting the eventual Citizens United Supreme Court decision of 2010, granting corporations and wealthy individuals the right to engage in politics without any financial limitations. He saw those who wished to regulate business as dangers to unregulated capitalism, and argued for aggressive actions against any regulatory power by governments at all levels. This memorandum was sent before Powell was appointed to the Supreme Court, and was not generally known about until recent years, after his death.

So 3 of the 10 worst Justices were selected by Democrats, and the other 7 by Republicans, a total of 8 Presidents involved in these terrible selections.

Serious Republican Presidential Contenders: Part I–Scott Walker Of Wisconsin

Having looked at 12 Republican Presidential contenders who, together, make up a clown bus, it is time to analyze now the four serious Presidential contenders, and today we will look at Scott Walker.

The Governor of Wisconsin has won three elections for Governor, including a recall vote in 2012. That in itself makes him a formidable candidate.

He is backed by the Koch Brothers, Charles and David Koch, and that means he will have whatever financing is needed for a Presidential campaign.

But in league with the Koch Brothers, Walker has declared war on organized labor, and dramatically weakened the public labor unions in Wisconsin, leading to the recall vote in 2012, which, surprisingly, he won.

Walker has said he hopes to destroy the labor union movement nationally if he is elected President.

He has also presided over widespread corruption and cronyism, which is starting to be investigated by news media and prosecutors, and he could face an indictment anytime, similar to what has happened to former Texas Governor Rick Perry, and might happen to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Already, there are accusations that he gave corporate supporters and campaign donors $124 million in taxpayer money.

The question of why Walker never finished college has not been answered, with the belief he might have been expelled. The idea that he did not have time to return to finish one semester of college is lame, and he would be the first non college graduate in the Presidency since Harry Truman. And Truman was well read and thoughtful, while Walker has shown no signs of such, but only of promoting his own ambitions at the expense of average working Americans in Wisconsin. He has worked to destroy the Wisconsin progressive tradition of Robert La Follette, Sr., Robert La Follette, Jr., William Proxmire, Gaylord Nelson, Patrick Lucey, Russ Feingold and others of both parties in the Badger state!

And considering that such politicians as Dan Quayle, Sarah Palin, and Michele Bachmann, and many others who are not exactly brilliant, DID finish college makes one wonder about Walker and why he did not make it a goal to finish a four year degree!

Yes, it is true that only about one third of adults have finished a four year degree, but the President of the United States is supposed to be better than most of us in his educational attainments.

This does not mean that finishing a college degree guarantees success in life, or even great intellect, but still it seems like it should be a basic requirement that a President and his top advisers, and members of Congress and state legislatures SHOULD have finished a four year degree, at the least, if such person wishes to govern us.

Walker’s anti labor stance; his connection to the Koch Brothers; and his lack of a college four year degree are just the tip of the iceberg, and with corruption charges seemingly likely soon, Scott Walker should NOT be permitted to be the 45th President of the Unites States!

George H. W. Bush On His 91st Birthday!

George H. W. Bush, the 41st President, celebrates today his 91st birthday.

Often ignored since he left office, other than his two sons’ electoral victories as Governors of Texas and Florida; George W. Bush’s Presidency; and Jeb Bush’s nascent campaign for President, to be announced on June 15; the elder Bush looks so much better than his two sons at this point of history.

Bush followed Ronald Reagan and preceded Bill Clinton, two men of great oratorical ability and charismatic presence. Both of them are rated higher in Presidential polls of experts and scholars.

However, a new public opinion poll, rating popularity of former living Presidents, places the elder Bush and Bill Clinton in a statistical tie at 64 percent popularity, an amazing fact when one considers that the elder Bush lost reelection to Bill Clinton in 1992, with the second worst defeat of a sitting President for reelection in American history, only surpassing William Howard Taft in the 1912 election.

But as a former President ages, popularity rising is not unusual, and particularly after a President dies, as with Harry Truman.

More books are being published on George H. W. Bush in the last couple of years, and the volume of publication will continue to grow, as history looks kinder on the elder Bush.

We have had more than 22 years pass since his Presidency, and the elder Bush is remembered for:

Winning the Persian Gulf War against Saddam Hussein, and leading the United Nations coalition brilliantly.

Promoting the reunification of Germany, despite many people’s fears that Germany would become a threat to European stability.

Bringing about a dignified end to the Cold War in 1991, by dealing with the falling Mikhail Gorbachev, and his successor Boris Yeltsin in a way that promoted calm in the world.

Advocating a civil rights law for the disabled and handicapped, the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Demonstrating courage in promoting a tax increase after pledging not to raise taxes, as the national and international situation in 1990 required such action.

If Pat Buchanan had not opposed the elder Bush in the Republican primaries in 1992; and if Ross Perot had not run so strongly as an Independent candidate in the Presidential Election of 1992, winning 19 percent of the vote, the elder Bush would have won a second term, and we would not have had Bill or Hillary Clinton as important figures in American history and politics.

So at least, on his 91st Birthday, the elder Bush can feel happy that he has survived long enough to see his popularity soar to 64 percent; to see one son serve as President for eight years, and another son about to try to set a record of three members of the same family serve in the White House.

Imagine if Jeb Bush, somehow, were to become President in 2017. and the elder Bush were to survive another nineteen plus months, and former First Lady Barbara Bush, who just became 90 on June 8, were also to survive!

They would witness two sons becoming President of the United States, surpassing John Adams, who only saw one son, John Quincy Adams, make it to the White House.

Even if one does not like or admire the Bush Family, that would be some magnificent achievement, which would have to be celebrated!

70 Year Anniversary Of End Of World War II, And Honoring Harry Truman On 131st Birthday!

Today marks 70 years since the end of World War II, which ushered in the modern world that the vast majority of Americans live in!

It also marks the 131st Birthday of President Harry Truman, who had come into office less than a month earlier, and became our most courageous and decisive President of modern times, both in domestic and foreign policy over the next eight years, but was unappreciated in his time.

Only once Truman died in 1972, did we realize his greatness, and how he had proved an ordinary man, following a giant figure, Franklin D. Roosevelt, could indeed fill his shoes very well, and do what was right most of the time, and ignored attacks and had confidence that he had gone the right direction. He also knew how to go on the attack against the regressive nature of the opposition Republicans.

America was extremely fortunate to have Harry Truman as our Commander in Chief after FDR, and visiting the Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri, is a trip into the greatness of this man! He dealt with the Cold War, the Korean War, the recognition of Israel, the integration of the military and Washington DC public places, and insuring the continuation and expansion of the New Deal under his domestic programs known as the Fair Deal. He prevented a reversion back to the failed policies of the Republicans under Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover.

While he could not accomplish much of what he wanted to do in domestic policy, he set the standard for Democrats John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Happy 131st birthday, Mr. President!

Third Term Presidents: The Truth And The Historical “Might Have Beens”!

Anyone who studies American history knows that the 22nd Amendment, added to the Constitution in 1951, prevents any future President from serving more than two complete terms by election or a total of ten years by succession in the last two years of the Presidential term.

Only Franklin D. Roosevelt served more than eight years in the Presidency, a total of 12 years and 39 days, having been elected four times (1932, 1936, 1940, 1944), and this fact causing the opposition Republicans, when they controlled the 80th Congress in 1947-48, to pass the 22nd Amendment in 1947, and send it on to the state legislatures for ratification.

However, Ulysses S. Grant in 1876; Theodore Roosevelt in reality in 1912 as a third party (Progressive Bull Moose) candidate; Woodrow Wilson in 1920; and Harry Truman in 1952 considered a third term.

Additionally, it is clear that Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1960, Ronald Reagan in 1988 and Bill Clinton in 2000 would have won a third term if it had been allowed and they had agreed to seek it , with George H. W. Bush being the beneficiary of Reagan in 1988, and Al Gore being the beneficiary of Clinton in 2000, winning a larger margin of popular vote victory than any of the four cases of popular vote victory but Electoral College loss!

Also, if one considers popular vote victories of Andrew Jackson in 1824 and Grover Cleveland in 1888, but in each case losing the Electoral College, that could have meant three terms for Jackson (1824, 1828, 1832) and for Cleveland (1884, 1888, 1892)!

So if things had been different, instead of only FDR having a third and fourth term, we could have had Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton having third terms in the Presidency!

Is It Unusual For Three Or More Consecutive Terms For A Political Party In The White House? NO!

The myth has been promoted that it is “unusual” for a political party to keep control of the White House for more than two terms, eight years, but nothing could be further from the truth!

In the first political party system, the Federalists held power for 12 years (1789-1801) under George Washington and John Adams, although the name “Federalist” did not exist formally until 1794, after the battle between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson created the first party system.

The Democratic Republicans then held power for 24 years (1801-1825) under Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe.

The newly constituted Democratic Party held power for 12 years (1829-1841) under Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren.

The newly constituted Republican Party held power for 24 years (1861-1885) under Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, and Chester Alan Arthur, although Andrew Johnson was never a Republican, but rather a Democrat put on the national ticket for election reasons by Lincoln in 1864, and Johnson having a disastrous relationship with the Republican Congress, and facing impeachment proceedings.

The Republican Party then held power for 16 years (1897-1913) under William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft.

The Republican Party then held power for 12 years (1921-1933) under Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover.

The Democratic Party then held power for 20 years (1933-1953) under Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman.

The Republican Party then held power for 12 years (1981-1993) under Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

So political parties have held control of the White House for more than two terms a total of EIGHT TIMES, ranging from 24 years twice, 20 years once, 16 years once, and 12 years four times!

Also realize that Grover Cleveland and Al Gore won the national popular vote in 1888 and 2000, but lost the electoral college. Had they become President, then there would have been 12 straight years of Democrats from 1885-1897, assuming Cleveland might have gone for a third term in 1892, instead of trying to return to the White House; and if Al Gore had won in 2000, it would have been at least 12 straight years of Democrats from 1993-2005, and potentially a second Gore term in 2004!

Vast Age Differences Of Presidential Opponents In Modern American History

It has become a reality that in many Presidential elections, the age difference between the two competing Presidential contenders is vast.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was 20 years older than Thomas E. Dewey in the Presidential Election Of 1944.

Harry Truman was 18 years older than Thomas E. Dewey in the Presidential Election of 1948.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was 10 years older than Adlai Stevenson in the Presidential Elections of 1952 and 1956.

Richard Nixon was 9 and a half years older than George McGovern in the Presidential Election of 1972.

Gerald Ford was 11 years older than Jimmy Carter in the Presidential Election of 1976.

Ronald Reagan was 13 years older than Jimmy Carter in the Presidential Election of 1980.

Ronald Reagan was 17 years older than Walter Mondale in the Presidential Election of 1984.

George H. W. Bush was 8 years older than Michael Dukakis in the Presidential Election of 1988.

George H. W. Bush was 22 years older than Bill Clinton in the Presidential Election Of 1992.

Bob Dole was 23 years older than Bill Clinton in the Presidential Election Of 1996.

John McCain was 25 years older than Barack Obama in the Presidential Election of 2008.

Mitt Romney was 14 years older than Barack Obama in the Presidential Election of 2012.

Now in 2016, we are very likely to have a vast difference in age between the two major party nominees, assuming Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders or Jim Webb is the Democratic nominee. But 11 of the 13 elections mentioned, the Republican nominee was the much older candidate, but that is likely to be different this time.

If Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie or Scott Walker is the Republican nominee, the difference will be vast, as much as 24 or more years in some of these cases. All of these six were born later than Barack Obama, and a few others, including Rick Santorum. Mike Pence or Jon Huntsman, all born before Obama but still have a double digit age difference from the various Democrats mentioned above.

So far, eight times, the older nominee for President won, and five times, the younger nominee for President won. So the question is what will happen in 2016!

70th Anniversary Today Of Greatest 20th Century President’s Passing: Franklin D. Roosevelt!

On this day, April 12, 1945, 70 years ago, the greatest 20th century President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, died in Warm Springs, Georgia, after 12 years and 39 days in office. Many Americans could not recall any other President, as FDR had played a dominant role in the lives of Americans and in world affairs, through the two greatest crises since the Civil War under Abraham Lincoln—the Great Depression and the Second World War!

FDR had initiated a massive set of domestic reforms, known as the New Deal, which had changed the lives of millions of Americans in a positive way, and give the nation hope and confidence in the future, at a time when we had a higher unemployment rate, 25 percent, than we would ever have again. FDR transformed the role of the federal government, and brought about such permanent reform programs as Social Security; Unemployment Compensation; Minimum Wage; Labor Union recognition; the accomplishment of massive public works projects; federal insurance on bank deposits; agricultural subsidies; regulation of banks, the stock market and corporations; public housing; aid to the disabled and dependent children; conservation of natural resources; and so many other programs and ideas.

Then, FDR faced the dangers of Nazism in Germany, Fascism in Italy, and the aggression of Imperial Japan, when it looked as if democracy would be snuffed out worldwide, including in the United States. The greatest military effort since the Civil War created many problems in the postwar world, as the Soviet Union rose out of the war to become the new challenger to freedom in what became known as the Cold War, something FDR was trying to figure out how to deal with, when he died suddenly of congestive heart failure in the early months of an unprecedented fourth term, prevented from happening again by the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution.

One has to wonder how the nation would have fared had FDR been forced to leave office in January 1941 by term limits, as there was no obvious good alternative leader to FDR at that time. The challenge of overcoming isolationist sentiment, and then the Axis Powers aged FDR and caused his premature death at a delicate time when the war in Europe was one month from ending, and the war against Japan seemed likely to go on for several years. Fortunately, Harry Truman took up the mantle and handled the crisis of ending the war and the postwar world, as well as could be expected, as one looks back 70 years.

FDR had his shortcomings as all Presidents do, but the United States was blessed with a great, dynamic leader that we remember today on the 70th anniversary of his passing!

Eleven Foreign Policy Presidential Elections In American History, And Now 2016!

America has had foreign policy affect eleven Presidential elections, overshadowing domestic policy issues. This has usually been centered about military intervention and wars. The list of foreign policy dominated Presidential elections follows:

1812—With the War of 1812 having begun, it became the major issue under President James Madison

1844—With the issue of Texas annexation a major issue, and with James K. Polk running on expansionism and “Manifest Destiny”, the issue of relations with Mexico became a major issue under John Tyler and Polk.

1848—With the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo after the Mexican War under James K. Polk granting so much new territory to the United States, the issue of what to do with these territories became the major issue of the campaign.

1900—With the Treaty of Paris ending the Spanish American War under William McKinley granting new territories to the United States, the issue of what do to with those territories reigned during the campaign, and the Filipino Insurrection was a hot issue as well.

1916–The issue of keeping America out of World War I dominated, with Woodrow Wilson campaigning on the fact that he had kept us out of the war.

1940—The issue of isolationism and World War II in Europe and Asia, and Franklin D. Roosevelt campaigning on keeping us out of war, but offering some assistance to Great Britain, dominated the campaign.

1944—The fact that we were still in World War II, and what to do about the postwar world and the Soviet Union, were key issues of the campaign.

1952—The debate over what to do about the limited nature of the Korean War under Harry Truman was a major factor in this campaign which elected Dwight D. Eisenhower.

1968—The debate over the Vietnam War under Lyndon B. Johnson, and the resulting split in the Democratic Party, and Richard Nixon declaring he had a secret plan to end the war, dominated the discussion in the campaign.

2004—The Iraq War and Afghanistan War under George W. Bush dominated the discussion in this campaign, as September 11 transformed the issue of national security.

2008—The continued intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan became a major issue, along with the Great Recession emerging during the campaign, and benefited Barack Obama, who promised to end the war in Iraq and downgrade the war in Afghanistan.

Now 2016 seems likely to be centered much more than many people want over foreign policy, particularly the threat of Iran in the Middle East, along with the danger of ISIL (ISIS) Terrorism, and the growing menace of the Russian Federation under Vladamir Putin, overall adding to the image of growing threats to national security.

And in these circumstances, one needs a steady hand at the helm, and only Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden have the experience and the judgment needed, along with Jon Huntsman, who, although listed by many as a long shot nominee for the Republicans, has indicated he is not a candidate. In any case, the Republicans are not smart enough to realize that the true treasure in their midst is Jon Huntsman!