Harry Truman

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.

Senator Josh Hawley Of Missouri Making His Mark As Worse Than Even Ted Cruz And Tom Cotton!

Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley, second youngest Senator, and only in his third year in the US Senate, is making quite a name for himself, but all in a negative fashion!

He is one of the villains who incited the January 6 Capitol Insurrection, refusing to accept the victory of Joe Biden over Donald Trump, and even after the insurrection, refusing to accept reality.

He has lost the support of his mentor, former Missouri Republican Senator John Danforth, who once admired him and saw great promise for the young man, but has now repudiated him totally.

Missouri has had a number of distinguished Senators in its past, including:

Thomas Hart Benton
Carl Schurz
Harry Truman
Stuart Symington
Thomas Eagleton
John Danforth
Claire McCaskill

Josh Hawley has the gall to be the only Senator to vote against an Anti Asian Discrimination Bill, beyond understanding!

Even Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and others who are equally despicable in so many ways, ALL voted for this legislation!

Josh Hawley wants to be President, as much as Cruz, Cotton, and other disgraceful Republican Senators, but there is NO rationale for being the lone vote against a basic Civil Rights bill!

The aim must be to insure Josh Hawley goes nowhere in the Presidential competition and is prosecuted for treason and sedition for his involvement in the Capitol Insurrection, and end up forced out of the Senate and into a prison cell!

Mid April: The Loss Of America’s Two Greatest Presidents

Mid April is every year a reminder of the loss of America’s two greatest Presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

It has been 156 years since Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC, shot on the evening of April 14, 1865, and dying the next morning, April 15, 1865. No assassination in American history was more profound in its effect on the nation then and all of the years since. It affected the Reconstruction of the Southern States, and race relations for the long haul.

And then, 80 years later, Franklin D. Roosevelt died of natural causes on April 12, 1945, 76 years ago, with World War II nearing its end in Europe, but the danger of extended war in Asia, but prevented by Harry Truman’s decision to utilize the Atomic Bomb on Japan four months after FDR’s death.

The effects of FDR, his New Deal programs, and his foreign policy still affect all Americans today in 2021.

This is a time annually to commemorate the leadership and deeds of Lincoln and FDR in American history, and their impact on the present!

Foreign Policy Rears Its Ugly Head For Joe Biden

Every President enters office wishing to deal with domestic policy and change.

But invariably, foreign policy rears its ugly head much too often!

Woodrow Wilson came to office in 1913, not expecting the First World War I to break out in 1914, and bring us into that war in 1917.

Franklin D. Roosevelt came to office in 1933, wishing to deal with the Great Depression, but also had to deal with the growing Fascist threat of Japan, Nazi Germany, and Fascist Italy, and eventually, entrance into World War II!

Harry Truman came to office in 1945 to end World War II, but had to deal with the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and send troops to Korea.

John F. Kennedy came to office in 1961, and had to deal with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Lyndon B. Johnson came to office in 1963, wanting to promote the Great Society, but also had to deal with the Vietnam War.

Every other President in modern times has had to face similar issues, and now, Joe Biden must deal with China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran as major headaches, as he tries to resolve the COVID 19 Pandemic Crisis!

Past Bipartisan Actions: Can This Happen Again As Joe Biden Hopes For, Or Is This A Mirage?

In the past, despite political party conflict on beliefs and principles, we saw bipartisan actions and crossing party lines to accomplish major goals.

Here are four examples of such situations since World War II where a President of one party and a Congressional leader of the opposition party cooperated, and brought along other votes from their party to back the President of the opposition party.

When Democratic President Harry Truman was in office, and the Cold War with the Soviet Union was evolving, Truman was able to gain key Republican support from the Republican Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the 80th Congress, Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, for the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan in 1947-1948.

When Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower was in office, he was able to work cooperatively with the Democratic leaders of both houses of Congress from 1955-1961 on many matters. Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn and Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson, both from Texas, worked across the party lines in many situations, particularly on the first Civil Rights Acts (1957 and 1960) since Reconstruction after the Civil War.

When Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson was in office, he was able to gain support of Republican Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois on gaining necessary support on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Medicare passage in 1965.

When Republican President Ronald Reagan was in office, he was able to come to an agreement with Democratic Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill to protect Social Security long term by a bipartisan agreement in 1983.

Since the 1990s and the hardline partisanship of the Republican Party and then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in the Republican Revolution of 1994, we have seen unwillingness by that party to have any willingness to cross party lines, and his early efforts were also pursued by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell right up to the present!

So President Elect Joe Biden’s publicly expressed hopes for bipartisan actions in these disastrous times to be accomplished, is it a mirage? We shall find out soon!

Joe Biden Needs To Use Executive Orders Vigorously To Overcome Stalemate In Congress

Executive Orders have been part of American government, and often are controversial.

It is clear that President Elect Joe Biden will use this authority extensively to backtrack and reverse many of the Executive Orders put forth by outgoing President Donald Trump.

This use of executive orders has been escalating in recent years as Congress has become more difficult and intransigent, forcing Presidents to take action, which sometimes is challenged in the Courts, but often is not successful in negating what Presidents have initiated.

It seems clear that Biden is likely to use executive orders on such matters as

Climate Change
Covid 19 Pandemic
Racial Injustice
Economic Depression
Health Care Reform
Immigration Reform

There will be opposition, but Joe Biden has done better in popular vote support than when Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and George W. Bush were elected, and these are crisis times, which calls for strong leadership by the 46th President!

Joe Biden The Sixth Vice President To Be Elected President

Joe Biden is the sixth Vice President to be elected President.

Four of the six were elected from the Vice Presidency:

John Adams after George Washington 1796
Thomas Jefferson after John Adams 1800
Martin Van Buren after Andrew Jackson 1836
George H. W. Bush after Ronald Reagan 1988

Richard Nixon was elected eight years after losing the Presidency in 1960, and was the first Vice President to be elected President in 132 years.

And now, Joe Biden was elected President four years after leaving the Vice Presidency, not attempting to run due to the death of his son, Beau Biden.

Many have speculated that had Beau Biden not passed away, that Joe Biden would have competed with Hillary Clinton for the 2016 nomination, and might have defeated her, and gone on to win over Donald Trump.

Sadly, if that had happened, the nation would have avoided the horrible tragedy of Donald Trump and the damage he has perpetrated.

But at least, now, Joe Biden can right much of the wrong of Donald Trump, and he will carry on the Barack Obama tradition!

Additionally, four of the nine Vice Presidents who succeeded to the Presidency due to the demise of the President, went on to be elected to a full term—Theodore Roosevelt in 1904, Calvin Coolidge in 1924, Harry Truman in 1948, and Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

The other five Vice Presidents who succeeded to the Presidency were not elected on their own—John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester Alan Arthur, and Gerald Ford, who succeeded Richard Nixon after his resignation, and was the only Vice President not elected to either the Vice Presidency or the Presidency, as he lost to Jimmy Carter for a full term in 1976.