Posts Tagged Harry Truman
Barack Obama is not the first President to gamble to avoid the danger of war.
He is being criticized for the six month agreement with Iran, a nation which has been hostile to the United States for 34 years.
But Harry Truman worked to overcome hate and hostility from nations we fought in World War II–Germany and Japan.
Dwight D. Eisenhower promoted a “thaw” in the Cold War by inviting Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to the United States in 1959.
John F. Kennedy promoted an alternative to war in the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and signed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union in 1963,
Richard Nixon went to China to overcome a generation of mistrust and lack of communication in 1972.
Jimmy Carter arranged for Egypt and Israel to negotiate diplomatic recognition to overcome decades of mistrust and war in 1979.
Ronald Reagan negotiated missile agreements with Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s, helping to end the Cold War.
Statesmanship requires gambles to avoid war and overcome mistrust.
Barack Obama is on the same road as were Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Carter and Reagan.
This is good company to be in!
The Pew Research Center has conducted a unique study of American Presidents, and the results are fascinating.
Presidents have been analyzed in a multitude of ways, but now there is a new one—how narcissistic they are, how much they love themselves and want attention drawn to them by the American people.
At the top of the list are Lyndon B. Johnson, followed by Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton as the top seven.
All seven are regarded as among the best Presidents we have had, and all are highly controversial because of their assertive manner of governing.
But also, a high level of personal insecurity is evident in all seven, including health issues and personal experiences that made them have the personalities they exhibited in the Presidency.
Only a total of 15 Presidents are seen as having more narcissism than the average person has, including modern Presidents such as Woodrow Wilson, George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, as numbers 10, 11 and 15.
Presidents such as Harry Truman, George Washington, Jimmy Carter, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George H. W. Bush, Thomas Jefferson, Gerald Ford, and Abraham Lincoln all rate below average on narcissism from numbers varying from 18 to 32 on the list.
The question is how valuable is such a list, but at least it is food for thought!
Barack Obama has hit a low point in public opinion in his first year of his second term, with the disastrous beginning of ObamaCare, the failure of the website to operate properly. He has also had great trouble getting anything else accomplished in domestic affairs, due to GOP opposition, and is also facing a multitude of troubles overseas.
His Presidency is under assault more than anyone could have imagined after his second election victory just a year ago.
It turns out that what could be called “Second Term Syndrome” has affected Obama, just as it did many of his predecessors who had a second term, including:
George W. Bush
Franklin D. Roosevelt
It makes one wonder if a one term Presidency would be better, but then the President would be, effectively, a “lame duck” the minute he is elected, instead of being such at the beginning of a second term, when everyone knows, since the passage of the 22nd Amendment in 1951, that the President is limited to two elections to the White House.
So there is no happy medium between a one term limit and a two term limit Presidency in reality!
The new book, DOUBLE DOWN: GAME CHANGE 2012, states that Barack Obama’s campaign seriously considered dumping Vice President Joe Biden for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a rumor long believed and promoted.
Would such a change have brought about a different election result? Hardly so, and Obama came to realize that his Vice President was an asset, and that it was best to leave well enough alone.
When one looks at history, it is clear that “dumping” a Vice President is not a good idea, although there have been cases of such situations sometimes being necessary.
This is true of Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, with Burr having tried to take the Presidency away from Jefferson in the Presidential Election of 1800.
It is also true of Andrew Jackson and John C. Calhoun, who were at tremendous odds over the protective tariff in 1832, with Calhoun finally resigning the Vice Presidency with three months left in the term, before being replaced by Martin Van Buren for Jackson’s second term.
Abraham Lincoln’s decision to dump Hannibal Hamlin for Andrew Johnson in 1864 is seen as a mistake, as Johnson ended up being impeached, although not convicted, by Congress when he became President.
Ulysses S. Grant’s first term Vice President, Schuyler Colfax, being involved in scandal, was replaced by Henry Wilson for the second term, a necessary action, due to the Credit Mobilier Scandal revelations.
Franklin D. Roosevelt had three Vice Presidents in his four terms, with John Nance Garner refusing to run with FDR when he went for his third term. But Henry A. Wallace was replaced with Harry Truman for the fourth term, due to opposition from Southerners and conservatives who worried about Wallace on the issue of race relations, and his views of the Soviet Union during World War II. Looking back, it was better that Truman, rather than Wallace, became President upon FDR’s death in April 1945.
Gerald Ford is the last President to replace his Vice President, Nelson Rockefeller, with the choice of Bob Dole, but that helped to defeat him in a close race with Jimmy Carter.
Overall, it is best for a President to stick with his Vice President when running for a second term, unless there are extenuating circumstances as with Jefferson, Jackson, Grant and FDR.
Eleven Presidents have faced assassination attempts, but only one, Harry Truman, on this day in 1950, 63 years ago, had a direct attack on his residence. At the time, it was Blair House, where the Trumans were residing due to renovations on the White House that were ongoing.
Two Puerto Rican nationalists attacked Blair House, while the Trumans were inside, and a Secret Service agent was killed in the process.
This assassination attempt, while it never actually reached to Truman personally, is one of the moments when one must recall that our President, whoever he is, is under constant threat of his life being taken by evil forces.
It is believed that President Obama has an average of 30 death threats, known to the Secret Service, every single day, making him the most endangered President we have had.
The sickness of assassination threats should sober all of us, as we commemorate this day in 1950 when we could have lost our 33rd President, Harry Truman, and a dedicated Secret Service agent, Leslie Coffelt, prevented it with his life!
The Republican Party Assault On The Institution Of The American Presidency: Battle For The Past And The Future!
The Republican Party brought about the evils of the Imperial Presidency under Richard Nixon.
The Republican Party expanded the American Presidency further under Ronald Reagan after weakening the office with their conservative attacks on Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter in the White House.
Under Reagan, and the two Bush Presidencies, they expanded their power and influence over the Courts, particularly the Supreme Court, but also lower federal courts.
In the process, however, they forgot the middle class; alienated women; attacked the environment; undermined education; utilized racism and hate against African Americans and Hispanics and Latinos, and even Asian Americans; showed less concern than ever before for children, the elderly, the disabled, and the poor (often including these precise groups); leagued themselves with hate mongers on talk radio, and allied with powerful elite wealthy people to promote right wing propaganda that influenced many who were hurt by their policies and views, but did not realize it. And they set out to destroy Bill Clinton first , and now Barack Obama, including the boldness to attack a federal program (ObamaCare) that was backed by a majority in Congress, the Supreme Court majority, and the second term victory of Barack Obama!
The decision was to bring down the government by promoting economic chaos and anarchy, doing whatever had to be done!
And today, the Republican Party has 70 percent of the American people alienated by their tactics, aims, and practices, and sees the only way to survive is to assault the American Presidency, an office they have not won in the popular vote for five of the past six national elections, and have little hope of winning anytime soon in future Presidential elections!
So their goal is to continue to win state legislatures and congressional districts through gerrymandering, and weaken the Presidency, and stalemate the US Senate, which they also have little hope of winning in the future, with their agenda exposed for all to see through coverage provided by major national newspapers and liberal and progressive media that keep us informed as to the truth of what is going on!
The ultimate goal of the modern Republican Party is to wipe out, eliminate, destroy the great advancements under Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, even Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama!
This is a war for the future and the past of the American Presidency, and we cannot allow the systematic destruction of that office which has made for so much good in America in the past century!
President Barack Obama faces a major crisis and moment next Tuesday, September 10, as he speaks to the nation regarding the Syria Chemical Warfare controversy, at a time when many of his liberal and progressive allies, who should know better, have abandoned him and joined the far Right in calling for no action on this war crime by the Assad regime in Damascus!
It seems clear that not only many Democrats, but also MSNBC, public opinion polls, and town halls are making clear that they wish no action on Syria, because of fear of another Middle East war, with memories of Iraq still fresh as a wound.
But Presidents are not required to follow public opinion, particularly when so often, it is ill informed or just plain wrong!
We do not govern by emotion or mass public opinion, thank goodness, as if we had, we would never have made it through so many crises in our history!
The President has to have guts and courage and principle, and take action, and the reaction of the people be considered, but not be decisive, as, after all, he has more knowledge, gathered intelligence, and understanding of events around the world than anyone else, other than his close advisers!
Our great Presidents did what they had to do, no matter what was popular opinion, and they were pilloried for it, but in the long run of history, they have turned out quite well, to say the least!
These courageous Presidents include Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry Truman, who are listed in the 2009 C Span poll of Presidents, judged by historians and political scientists, as Numbers 1, 3 and 5 among our 43 Presidents!
So Obama needs to take action, no matter what Congress, the news media, and ill informed and overly emotional public opinion feel, and worry about the consequences later!
He needs to make an appeal to reason and reality, but whatever happens, he will be criticized, and better to be on the side of what is ethical and moral!
Yes, he might face impeachment for taking action against public opinion, but really, that will simply be an excuse, since radical Right elements of the loony party called the Republicans, are looking for an excuse to do so, but it is all an exercise in futility, as it was for Bill Clinton in 1998-1999, when everyone knew impeachment would not succeed, and that the GOP would suffer for it, as totally unjustified.
No way will Obama ever be removed by impeachment charges and trial, so go for it, enemies and haters, and Obama will stand strong in any case!
So Barack Obama needs to show “cajones”, and prove he can be a President who will do what is right, and take whatever punishment is needed, as in history, he will be looked upon kindly if he does, and poorly if he caves in on this most important moment of his Presidency!
Obama Brilliant: Call For Congressional Vote Will Gain Public Support And Rent Asunder The Republican Party Big Time!
President Barack Obama, in the midst of what may be his biggest foreign policy crisis, the planned bombing of Syria over the use of chemical weapons on innocent civilians, has displayed wisdom, coolness, and good judgment in calling for a Congressional discussion and vote, even though he has the authority as Commander in Chief to take action in the name of international law and common decency, morality, and ethics!
The Congress should be called back by Speaker of the House John Boehner immediately to meet on Tuesday, the day after Labor Day, six days early, as this is a crisis which requires debate and vote as soon as possible!
But even if it goes another week, until debate begins, this move by Obama insures that no one can say he took reckless action in a hasty manner!
Of course, the Congress COULD decide NOT to back military action, but that is extremely unlikely, as the Senate is controlled by Democrats, and there are Republicans, a lot of them, who will back Obama, including John McCain and Lindsey Graham in the leadership, but others as well, even if some Democrats refuse to do so!
And in the US House, most Democrats will back the Commander in Chief, and not all that many Republicans, certainly not a majority, are necessary to back Obama!
But what will occur out of this controversy is that the Republican Party, already engaged in its own “civil war” between the so called “establishment” and the Tea Party lunatics, will now see the party rent asunder, cracking into pieces, which will affect the 2016 nomination battle, and the long term future of both groups within the party, with a good chance the GOP, as we know it, will NOT survive!
It will be fun to see the McCain-Graham and other mainstream conservatives fighting against libertarian Rand Paul, and likely Ted Cruz and others of the Tea Party group, and will force Marco Rubio to show if he has “cajones”!
The rhetoric will fly fast and thick, and will show up the Tea Party as dangerous, reckless, lunatic, delusional, and other colorful adjectives, and Rand Paul will see his isolationism, his naivete, his stupidity, his delusional nature, demonstrated for all to see!
And the nation and Barack Obama will come out looking intelligent, knowledgeable, courageous, principled, and we will thank ourselves for the fact that Barack Obama is our Commander in Chief in tough times, as was the case with Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, Truman, JFK, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Clinton before him!
America has seen 47 Vice Presidents, all a heartbeat away from the Presidency, and nine of them—John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester Alan Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Gerald Ford—have succeeded to the Presidency during their term, and the fifth through eighth of these nine being, subsequently, elected to the Presidency.
What has not been investigated, studied, or thought about much, is the record of Vice Presidents dying in office, since most Vice Presidents have been in the shadows, relatively unknown and forgotten.
But when one investigates the issue of the death of Vice Presidents in office, one discovers that a total of seven Vice Presidents have died in office, beginning in 1812 and finishing precisely one century later in 1912. So no Vice President has died in office for the past hundred years.
The list of Vice Presidents who died in office, and the President they served under follows:
1812—George Clinton under James Madison
1814—Elbridge Gerry under James Madison
1853—William King under Franklin Pierce
1875—Henry Wilson under Ulysses S. Grant
1885—Thomas Hendricks under Grover Cleveland
1899—Garret Hobart under William McKinley
1912—James Sherman under William Howard Taft
The most interesting case is Hobart, who, if he had not died, likely would have run with McKinley in 1900, and succeeded him in the Presidency in 1901, instead of the very famous and influential Theodore Roosevelt!
Also notable is that both King and Hendricks died in the first year of the Presidential term, leaving no Vice President to succeed for the remainder of the term, with Gerry dying in the second year of the Presidential term, and and Wilson and Hobart in the third year of the Presidential term. Only Clinton and Sherman died in the last full year of the Presidential term, with Sherman dying just weeks before the election defeat of Taft, and his name being replaced on the Electoral College ballot by Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler, for the measly eight electoral votes of Utah and Vermont, which Taft won, as the worst defeated President running for another term in American history!
Also of interest is that only Madison lost both of his Vice Presidents in office!
So this is the record of Vice Presidents who died in office, with also mention to be made that John C. Calhoun and Spiro Agnew are the only Vice Presidents to resign from the Vice Presidency, in 1832 and 1973, during the administrations of Andrew Jackson and Richard Nixon!
When one looks at the Supreme Court in recent decades, it is clear that it has been a conservative Supreme Court, dominated by Republican appointments, and it has shown in such decisions as the Citizens United Case of 2010, and the partial repeal of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, along with numerous other such cases tilted to the right side of the political spectrum.
So for progressives and Democrats, it has been a difficult time, wondering how the Supreme Court can be returned to the glorious era of the Warren Court and Burger Court from 1953-1986.
But there is the reality that the Supreme Court’s future for the Democratic Party and progressivism is very bright over the next decade, assuming what seems highly likely, that Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden or some other Democratic Presidential nominee will have the electoral college advantage for 2016, and likely for the following 2020 Presidential election.
If indeed the Democrats keep the White House beyond 2016, time and age will turn the Court into a majority Democratic Party appointed Court for sure!
History tells us this fact: If a party keeps control of the White House for an extended period of time, the Court becomes more than ever reflective of that political party.
So, for example, from 1933-1953, we had 20 years of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman in the White House, and a total of 13 Supreme Court appointments, all by these two Democratic Presidents, helping to shape the future Court, with a few “liberal” appointments by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower (Earl Warren and William Brennan), insuring a continuation of that trend.
But it can be said that from 1953-2013, sixty years of history, the Republicans held the White House for a total of 36 years to the Democrats’ total of 24 years.
In those 60 years, the Republican Presidents made 18 appointments to the Supreme Court, to the Democratic total of just 8 appointments, more than a 2-1 majority. While Republican appointments included Warren, Brennan, Harry Blackmun, John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, and David Souter, all quite liberal appointments, even so it still meant that 12 Republican appointments were quite conservative or VERY conservative, so the Supreme Court represents a strongly Republican flavor.
But now, we have four aging Supreme Court Justices–Ruth Bader Ginsberg (80 this year), Antonin Scalia (77 this year), Anthony Kennedy (77 this year), and Stephen Breyer (75 this year), and to believe that by 2020, that any or all of these members of the Court will be still serving, seems quite unreasonable, as they would be ranging between 82 and 87 by the year 2020!
And Justice Clarence Thomas, although claiming he will stay on the Court for 43 years, until age 86, would be 72 in 2020, and Samuel Alito would 70 in 2020.
No one is saying that either Thomas or Alito will have left the Court, but if the four elderly Justices have left, they would all be Democratic Party appointments if the Democrats keep the White House, highly likely, and that would mean SIX of the nine members of the Court would be Democratic appointments, including Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
Only Thomas, Alito, and Chief Justice John Roberts would be Republican appointments in the year 2020 under this scenario!
So, for Democrats and Progressives, there is hope for a very different Court over the next decade and beyond!