Harry Truman

Republicans In White House In Six Major Periods Of Corruption!

The Republican Party has the unenviable record of having six of their Presidents leading the nation in major periods of corruption, sometimes with their support, and other times because of poor selection of advisers and cabinet officers.

Chronologically, they are as follows:

Ulysses S. Grant–1869-1877

Warren G. Harding–1921-1923

Richard Nixon–1969-1974

Ronald Reagan–1981-1989

George W. Bush–2001-2009

Donald Trump–2017-2021

The two worst are Donald Trump and Richard Nixon, while the others seem not to have engaged personally in scandals!

But all six Republican Presidents had people in their administrations face indictments and convictions!

While there was minor scandals under some Democrats–Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton—they, in no way, match the horrendous record of the Republican Party!

And two recent Democratic Presidents have a totally clear record of no corruption, no indictments, no convictions—Jimmy Carter–1977-1981, and Barack Obama–2009-2017!

Joe Biden Arguably Has Faced The Worst Set Of Crises Other Than Lincoln And FDR!

Abraham Lincoln faced the breakup of the Union and the Civil War in his Presidency from 1861-1865.

Franklin D. Roosevelt faced the Great Depression, the growing threat of Fascism and Nazism, and World War II, from 1933-1945.

Other than Lincoln and FDR, the question arises which other Presidents faced crises on a level as dangerous and challenging as those two Presidents.

One could say George Washington facing the challenge of making the Constitution work, and the nation able to survive as a republic from 1789-1797.

One could say Harry Truman, facing the challenge of sudden elevation to the Presidency in a time when World War II was not yet resolved, and having to deal with the threat of the Soviet Union during the Cold War years from 1945-1953.

One could say John F. Kennedy, facing the threat of the Soviet Union, including the Berlin Crisis and the Cuban Missile Crisis, which dominated his time in the Presidency, from 1961-1963.

One could say George W. Bush, facing the challenge of the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, and the dual wars fought during his Presidency in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Great Recession which developed in his last year in office, from 2001-2009.

One could also say Barack Obama, facing the challenge of the Great Recession, the worst economic downturn since the 1930s, and the constant domestic resistance from the right wing Tea Party Movement, and the growing extremism of the Republican Party, from 2009-2017.

But one could also argue that Joe Biden, facing the COVID 19 Pandemic; the growing epidemic of mass murders by firearms by domestic terrorists and mentally disturbed people; and the threat of nuclear war in the midst of the greatest foreign policy crisis (The Russia-Ukraine War) since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, is the greatest challenge and crisis other than Lincoln and FDR!

May 8, 1945—VE Day And Harry Truman Birthday In White House

Today is the 77th Anniversary of VE Day, Victory in Europe over Nazi Germany in World War II, and also the birthday of President Harry Truman, who has ascended to the Presidency less than a month earlier, on April 12, 1945, upon the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Truman would go on to serve seven years and nine months, and take us through the end of the war against Japan, and the early days of the Cold War against the Soviet Union, and the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), all relevent to today when the Russian Federation is at war against Ukraine, and has committed horrendous war crimes.

The US and its NATO partners are doing everything possible to combat the Russian military action in Ukraine, and World War III could be coming soon, if Russia invades any NATO nation!

Joe Biden Becomes A Wartime President

Joe Biden has become a wartime President, alongside James Madison, James K. Polk, Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush.

At this point, he looks more like Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, Truman, and George H. W. Bush than the rest of the group.

If fortune goes against him, he might look more like Madison, who saw the nation divide during the War Of 1812 and the White House being burned; like Polk, who caused a split over slavery expansion during the Mexican War that helped to lead to the Civil War a decade later; like LBJ, who divided the nation over Vietnam just as he promoted the Great Society; like Nixon, who continued an unpopular war in Vietnam that ended up in a tragic loss; and like George W. Bush, who started two wars based on poor tactics and planning, and dominated by lies and deception in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Joe Biden Supporting NATO Totally As All Presidents Since Truman, Except For Donald Trump

President Joe Biden is proving he is a genuine statesman, making perfectly clear that the United States backs its NATO partners completely.

He is supporting NATO totally as all Presidents have done since Harry Truman presided over the creation of NATO in 1949, with the glaring exception of Donald Trump.

Trump was rude, nasty, and abusive toward the NATO alliance, and was moving toward breaking America’s bond with its European allies, precisly what Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation wanted him to do.

It is clear that if Trump had still been President, he would not have condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and would have refused to support NATO in opposition to Russian expansion.

So Joe Biden saved the nation and the world by winning the Presidency by the massive margin of 7 million popular votes, and winning five states won by Trump in 2016!

The Supreme Court Reputation Reaching An All Time Low

The US Supreme Court is in a crisis, as its reputation in public opinion polls, and among Supreme Court “watchers”, is reaching an all time low, not matched since the late 1920s and early 1930s.

The Court has never been as right wing in substance as it is now, since a century ago, and even going further back to the late 19th century Gilded Age era.

The Supreme Court’s reputation was glowing in the time of the Warren Court (1953-1969) and even moving forward to the Burger Court (1969-1986), and still having an image of balance in the era of the Rehnquist Court (1986-2005).

This was due to the reality that many Republican appointees to the Court, including the following, avoided hardline conservativism:

Eisenhower–Earl Warren, William Brennan
Nixon–Warren Burger, Harry Blackmun
Ford–John Paul Stevens
Reagan–Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy
HW Bush–David Souter

These eight Justices made a massive difference in enunication of Supreme Court opinions.

Sadly, George H W Bush’s appointment of Clarence Thomas, and George W. Bush’s selection of Samuel Alito, veered the Court far to the right, and Donald Trump’s three appointments—Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett—have continued that trend.

The fact that Thomas and Kavanaugh have been connected to accusations of sexual harassment, and that Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett were chosen by Presidents who lost the national popular vote, and that Gorsuch took a seat that was meant for Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, and that Barrett was confirmed for the Court less than two weeks before the national election—only adds to the fury and disgust felt about the Supreme Court!

This has, reportedly, disturbed Chief Justice John Roberts (2005- ), whose historical reputation is being damaged, as he has moved, personally, from being conservative to attempts to create a moderate balance on the Court. Sadly, it is not working, so there are some rumors that he might retire from the Court after 17 years as its leader, as that is about the norm for most of the 17 Chief Justices in Amerian history, with the exception of John Marshall (1801-1835) and his successor, Roger Taney (1836-1864).

That would be a major step forward, to retire, and allow Joe Biden to pick a Chief Justice, which has not happened for a Democratic President since Harry Truman in 1946!

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!

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!

The Afghanistan Crisis Likely Insures A One Term Joe Biden Presidency

Only about one of every three Presidents historically (14 of 44) through Inauguration Day 2021 has served two terms:

George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
James Monroe
Andrew Jackson
Ulysses S. Grant
Grover Cleveland
Woodrow Wilson
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Ronald Reagan
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama

Additionally, 7 others served more than one term, but not two complete terms:

Abraham Lincoln
William McKinley
Theodore Roosevelt
Calvin Coolidge
Harry Truman
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon

And only Lincoln, McKinley, and Nixon were actually elected to two terms, so a total of 17 Presidents elected twice, while TR, Coolidge, Truman, and Johnson succeeded after deaths of their predecessor, and were only elected once to the Presidency.

So a total of 21 Presidents served more than four years, although Lincoln and McKinley for just a few months more, and Coolidge, Johnson and Nixon only months more than a year. So only TR and Truman were very close to two complete terms. Ultimately, 16 out of 44 basically served two terms.

Now we can add Joe Biden to the list of those who will not serve two terms or even be elected a second time, as with the Afghanistan debacle, it seems certain that he will not run again in 2024!

The “Ups And Downs” Of Ranking Presidents Over Time

Historically, many Presidents have gone through periods of low esteem, and then, suddenly, high esteem in the minds of public opinion and also, Presidential scholars.

Abraham Lincoln had a very divided nation in response after his assassination, and only in the early 20th century, did the nation decide to honor Lincoln with the construction of the Lincoln Memorial, dedicated in 1922. He has been rated Number One by just about every Presidential scholar and poll, except those right wing Confederate sympathizers and white supremacists

Harry Truman left office in 1953 with a very low public opinion rating, and was regarded poorly in assessments of Presidents, until after he passed away in 1972. In the next five years, as TIME Magazine termed it in the late 1970s, we had “Truman Mania”, as massive research and writing on Truman caused his rise in stature to as high as Number 5 in scholarly polls on Presidents.

Dwight D. Eisenhower left office with an image of a passive, lazy President, and the vitality and youth of his successor, John F. Kennedy, did not improve his image, and he was seen as not an outstanding President. But his historical reputation has risen dramatically to the point that in many scholarly assessments, he is now seen as number 5 or 6 among all Presidents.

Lyndon B. Johnson suffered mightily in assessments due to the Vietnam War, despite his amazing domestic accomplishments of the “Great Society”, and was poorly rated for 20 years. But now, he is somewhere between number 9 and 11 in rankings of Presidents.

Jimmy Carter has never risen from the mid to low 20s in rankings and popularity, but it seems possible to imagine that when the longest lived President eventually passes away, that his rating may go up much more than many might now imagine.