Harry Truman

The Top 30 Presidential Cabinet Officers In American History

Presidents do not accomplish their goals and policies on their own, but rather depend on the best advice and counsel of their cabinet members.

Since the Presidential Cabinet idea was formulated by George Washington and the first Congress under the Constitution, we have had the creation over time of 15 Cabinet agencies, and some of those who have held Cabinet posts under Presidents have had a dramatic impact on their times.

Below is a list of what the author believes are those 30 Cabinet officers who have had the greatest effect on American history, without ranking them in any order:

Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington

Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison

John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State under James Monroe

William Seward, Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson

Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State under Ulysses S. Grant

Carl Schurz, Secretary of the Interior under Rutherford B. Hayes

John Hay, Secretary of State under William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt

James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture under William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft

Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior under Woodrow Wilson

Charles Evans Hughes, Secretary of State under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge

Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge

Cordell Hull, Secretary of State under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior under Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman

Henry A. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Henry Morgenthau, Jr, Secretary of the Treasury under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor under Franklin D. Roosevelt

George C. Marshall, Secretary of State under Harry Truman

Dean Acheson, Secretary of State under Harry Truman

Stewart Udall, Secretary of the Interior under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

Robert F. Kennedy, Attorney General under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

W. Willard Wirtz, Secretary of Labor under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford

George Romney, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Richard Nixon

Cecil Andrus, Secretary of the Interior under Jimmy Carter

Elizabeth Dole, Secretary of Transportation under Ronald Reagan

Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton

Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services under Bill Clinton

Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of the Interior under Bill Clinton

Richard Riley, Secretary of Education under Bill Clinton

Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush and Barack Obama

Note that 25 Presidents and 12 of the 15 Cabinet Departments are included in this list. Nine Secretaries of State; three Secretaries of the Treasury; one Secretary of Defense; one Attorney General; six Secretaries of the Interior; two Secretaries of Agriculture; one Secretary of Commerce; three Secretaries of Labor; one Secretary of Health and Human Services; one Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; one Secretary of Transportation; and one Secretary of Education make up the list.

Also note that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had five cabinet members who made the list; Bill Clinton had four; and Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson had three each!

The Do Nothing 113th Congress Worse Than 112th Congress, And Far Worse Than Truman’s 80th Congress In 1947-1948!

History tells us that President Harry Truman ran against the Republican controlled 80th Congress in his election campaign of 1948, calling it a “Do Nothing” Congress.

What he meant was that they were passing laws that he considered counterproductive, including the anti labor Taft Hartley Act, which he vetoed, but passed over his veto by a two thirds vote in both houses of Congress.

But in actuality, that 80th Congress passed over 900 laws, and cooperated with Truman on funding for the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, and also agreed to creation of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council and the Defense Department.

By comparison, the 112th Congress of 2011-2012 became the least productive Congress in history, passing fewer than 300 laws, but now the 113th Congress has passed fewer than 150 laws, making them half as accomplished as the previous Congress.

There is a total refusal of Republicans to cooperate at all with Barack Obama, and they have had the shortest work calendar of any Congress, including the previous one!

Now they are taking a five week break, despite so many crucial issues to deal with, and their public opinion rating is the lowest it has ever been!

But will the American people, with the reality of gerrymandering ruling the House of Representatives, be able to unite and give the Democrats back control of the House? Not likely, and the US Senate is also dangerously in play!

So two more years of stalemate and gridlock are likely!

Eight Presidents Who Had A Major Role In The Military

Many of our Presidents, about two thirds, have served in the armed forces of the United States, but eight were involved in particularly notable roles in the military that stand the test of time.

These are:

George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

Ulysses S. Grant during the Indian Wars, Mexican War, and Civil War.

Theodore Roosevelt during the Spanish American War.

Harry Truman during World War I.

Dwight D. Eisenhower during World War II.

John F. Kennedy during World War II.

Jimmy Carter in the early Cold War years.

George H. W. Bush during World War II.

Other Presidents served of course, and Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, and Zachary Taylor were generals; Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley served in the Civil War; and Hayes and Franklin Pierce (in the Mexican War) and Kennedy were wounded. But these eight listed above particularly stand out in their military service of all of the Presidents who served!

“Sixth Year” Syndrome Of The Presidency From Truman To Obama

Presidents who have won a second term in the White House typically have what could be called the “Sixth Year” Syndrome, meaning it is a downturn in their fortunes, just one year after winning reelection.

Such was Harry Truman, facing the Korean War and the rise of McCarthyism in his sixth year in office.

Such was the case with Dwight D. Eisenhower, who saw a recession undermine his popularity in 1958 in his sixth year.

Such was the case with Richard Nixon, who was facing impeachment in his sixth year in office, due to the Watergate scandal, and ended up resigning in his sixth year in office.

Such was the case with Ronald Reagan, who was facing the Iran Contra scandal revelations in his sixth year.

Such was the case with Bill Clinton, who had to deal with the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the move toward impeachment in his sixth year in office.

Such was George W. Bush, facing two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that were not going well in his sixth year, and coming off the disaster of Hurricane Katrina.

So the fact that Barack Obama is perceived as “in the doldrums” in his sixth year in the Presidency is not at all surprising, and in many ways, despite the hype of the news media, he is in better shape than his predecessors were, if one looks at the situation objectively!

Quinnipiac Poll On Worst President Since WW II Is Sign Of Total Ignorance And Stupidity!

A new Quinnipiac poll for July 4th rates Presidents since World War II, and comes to the asinine conclusion that Barack Obama, engaged in the typical “sixth year” doldrums, is the worst President since 1945!

Really? Give all of us a break! This demonstrates total ignorance and stupidity of American history, and how quickly people forget past Presidents and the records they have in office.

How could Barack Obama be the worst President since 1945, with:

The highest stock market in history, up 150 percent.
Gaining back of all the millions of jobs lost in the Great Recession, plus more jobs created despite GOP obstructionism.
The deficit falling faster than at any time since Eisenhower.
Hunting down and killing of Osama Bin Laden.
The capture of the perpetrator of the Benghazi deaths in Libya.
The passage of the Affordable Care Act, giving more Americans health care coverage than at any time in American history.
The passage of the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau despite opposition from Wall Street, corporations and Republicans.
The appointment of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.
The advancement of environmental protection on the road to the level of Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon and Theodore Roosevelt.
The promotion of the interests of the middle class against the Republican aim to destroy the middle class by lack of action.

Of course, any person could make a list of programs and policies of Barack Obama which have not worked out to their or our satisfaction, including this author.

But come on, compare Obama to George W. Bush:

Two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both causing trillions of dollars in the national debt, and not accomplishing their goals, and the war in Iraq totally unnecessary, a war of choice.
The poor handling of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and Mississippi and Alabama.
The failed Social Security privatization plan, which would have destroyed the program in 2008.
The Great Recession of 2007-2009, worst since the Great Depression under Herbert Hoover.

And if we are to rate the worst Presidents, how about Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, who both did so much harm in office, even while admitting certain positives for both?

And to rate Mitt Romney a better choice, 45 percent, to be President now, after the failed campaign of 2012–face the facts, the American people made the right choice in rejecting Romney, arguably the worst candidate of the Republican Party since Barry Goldwater in 1964. This was a man who lied, lied, lied, constantly, more than any Presidential nominee in American history!

The fact that the poll participants showed no real knowledge of American history is troubling, as to come to such a ridiculous conclusion demonstrates total lack of understanding of what has gone on in this nation in recent years! All they react to is charisma, so that Reagan, John F. Kennedy, and Bill Clinton rank the highest, simply based on image!

What do these involved in the poll know about Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush, as well as the Presidents that are rated high, and those rated low in the poll? Clearly, NOTHING!

Greatest Domestic Accomplishments Of Presidents Since FDR

So much attention is usually paid to foreign policy during any President’s administration, but domestic accomplishments are something that needs much more attention.

Following is what this author regards as the greatest domestic accomplishment of each President since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Franklin D. Roosevelt—Social Security Act of 1935

Harry Truman–Integration of the military and Washington DC in 1948

Dwight D. Eisenhower–Appointment of Chief Justice Earl Warren in 1953 and Associate Justice William Brennan in 1956

John F. Kennedy—Integration of University of Mississippi by James Meredith, with federal enforcement in 1962

Lyndon B. Johnson—Civil Rights Act of 1964

Richard Nixon–Creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970

Gerald Ford—Appointment of Associate Justice John Paul Stevens in 1975

Jimmy Carter—Environmental Reform and Expansion of Public Lands 1977-1981

Ronald Reagan—Social Security Reform in tandem with Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill in 1983

George H. W. Bush—Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990

Bill Clinton—Appointment of Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1993 and Stephen Breyer in 1994

George W. Bush—Medicare Part D Prescription Law of 2003

Barack Obama—Affordable Care Act of 2010

Discussion and commentary on this list is welcome!

Democratic Presidents Come Out Fighting Against Republican Obstructionism!

The history of American politics is one of Republican obstructionism to Democratic Presidents, and five Democrats in the White House coming out swinging against their opponents, going to the people to gain their backing.

Such was the case with Franklin D. Roosevelt in the midterm Congressional elections of 1934 and the Presidential Election of 1936!

Such was the case with Harry Truman in the Presidential Election of 1948, where he gained the name “Give Them Hell Harry.”

Such was the case with Lyndon B. Johnson in the Presidential Election of 1964 against Senator Barry Goldwater!

Such was the case with Bill Clinton in the Presidential Election of 1996, despite the GOP Congress of 1995-1996.

Such was the case with Barack Obama in the Presidential Election of 2012, and now Obama has come out fighting again, making clear that he will not allow Republican obstructionism to prevent his use of executive orders to accomplish as many of his goals as possible, without legislative action!

This is all to the good, and hopefully, he can rally independents and Democrats to come out and vote, to keep the Republicans from gaining control of the US Senate, and maybe narrow the Democratic deficit, or win control of the House of Representatives!

Hostile Relationship Of Former Presidents With Incumbent Presidents

The question of the relationship of former Presidents with incumbent Presidents is an interesting one, with usually the former Presidents avoiding open criticism of their successors, even if they are of a different political persuasions, and did not support the nomination or election of their successors.

There are only a few cases of open criticism and attack, including:

John Quincy Adams highly critical of Andrew Jackson, and returning to Washington, DC as a Congressman to “keep watch” over his policies and actions. Adams was also a sharp critic of the slavery and expansionist policies of John Tyler and James K. Polk.

Martin Van Buren being a major critic of the expansionist policies of John Tyler and James K. Polk in the 1840s, and of the slavery policies of Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan in the 1850s.

John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan all critical of the policies of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.

Grover Cleveland being a sharp critic of Benjamin Harrison, who he had lost to, and then ran against again and defeated in 1892, and then opposed William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt on the issue of imperialism and expansion.

Theodore Roosevelt very critical of his successor William Howard Taft, who he ran against on the Progressive Party line in 1912, and then against Woodrow Wilson’s policies toward World War I, after losing to him in 1912. Also, TR was resentful that Wilson “stole” some of his progressive ideas, and enacted them as President in his first term.

Herbert Hoover harshly critical of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policies during the Great Depression and World War II.

Harry Truman very critical of Richard Nixon for years before he became President, and never really making peace even when Nixon gave the Truman library the piano in the White House that Truman had played. Also, Truman was critical of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the two men only resolved their differences at the funeral of John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Jimmy Carter very critical of the policies of his successor, Ronald Reagan, and at times, of George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

Otherwise, the tendency has been to sit on the sidelines and avoid open criticism of one’s successors to the Oval Office!

On The Brink Of A Record Not Attained Since 1825–Three Presidents With Eight Years In Office!

We are on the brink of accomplishing a record in the Presidency which has not occurred since the early days of the Republic–three Presidents in a row finishing eight years in office over 24 years!

The one and only time this happened was the administrations of Democratic Republicans Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809), James Madison (1809-1817), and James Monroe (1817-1825).

With all of the controversies, divisions, emotions involved in the past two plus decades, IF Barack Obama can avoid any assassination threats in the next two and a half years, God willing, he will have done what Bill Clinton (1993-2001) and George W. Bush (2001-2009) did before him, finish two complete terms of office!

We have not even had two Presidents in a row finish two terms of office otherwise, an amazing record, demonstrating the trials and tribulations of the Presidency!

The only other Presidents to finish two consecutive terms of office include: Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan. Of course, FDR was also elected to a third and fourth term in office.

George Washington started his first term 57 days late, so did not complete a full eight years in office, and Grover Cleveland’s two terms were non-consecutive.

Abraham Lincoln and William McKinley were elected President twice, but both were assassinated early in the second term.

Theodore Roosevelt and Harry Truman inherited most of a term, but were only elected President once.

Richard Nixon was elected twice, but resigned early in his second term due to the Watergate Scandal.

So this is a record, three straight Presidencies over 24 years completed, worthy of note!

Barack Obama And Executive Orders: The Truth, Rather Than Myths!

Conservatives and the Republican Party constantly lie about Barack Obama’s use of executive orders, stating that he has issued more than 1,000 such orders!

Obama has made it clear that he will override Congressional inaction where he can, and he is absolutely correct in such assertions, but he is far from overusing the concept of executive order.

Somehow, when a Republican President uses executive orders aggressively, that is seen as alright, and even positive!

The fact is that any President will use executive orders to promote his agenda, and he has a constitutional right to do just that, and it has been done by all Presidents!

News in the past two days that Obama will use executive orders to promote LGBT employment rights, and to declare a large area of ocean off limits to mining and fishing, therefore protecting the environment, is in support of goals that Congress has been unwilling to take action on, after five years, so Obama is asserting his Presidential authority to do what should be done!

In reality, Obama has issued approximately 180 executive orders up to this point, while George W. Bush used 291 in eight years; Bill Clinton a total of 364 in eight years; and Ronald Reagan a total of 381 in eight years. At the same time, Gerald Ford used 169 executive orders in just two years and five months in office; Jimmy Carter a total of 320 in four years; George H. W. Bush a total of 166 in four years; Richard Nixon a total of 346 in five and a half years; Lyndon B. Johnson a total of 325 in five years; John F. Kennedy a total of 214 in three years; Dwight D. Eisenhower a total of 484 in eight years; Harry Truman the very high total of 907 in almost eight years; and Franklin D. Roosevelt the overwhelming total of 3,522 in twelve years!

But even Theodore Roosevelt used a total of 1,081 in seven and a half years in office; William Howard Taft a total of 724 in four years in office; Woodrow Wilson a total of 1,803 in eight years in office; Warren G. Harding a total of 522 in two years and five months in office; Calvin Coolidge the high number of 1,203 in five and a half years in office; and Herbert Hoover the high total of 968 in four years in office.

So both conservatives and progressives, Republicans and Democrats, have used executive order in large numbers, and Barack Obama is definitely on the low side of usage after five and a half years in office!

But do conservatives and Republicans care to speak the truth? The reader knows the answer to that question!