Harry Truman

Jimmy Carter “Mania” Will Begin Upon His Passing, As With Harry Truman After His Death In 1972!

The news that former President Jimmy Carter has been diagnosed with cancer, and that it is spreading, brings historians and all decent Americans to react with shock, and recognition that the 39th President has been regularly trashed in news media and by politicians.

There was a past President who faced 20 years of ridicule and dismissive attitudes until his death. Then, all of a sudden, there was recognition that he had been mistreated, and that his historic significance was unappreciated in his lifetime.

That man was Harry Truman, the 33rd President.

Also, when thinking back, similar ridicule and condemnation was visited upon Abraham Lincoln until his tragic assassination.

No one is trying to say that Jimmy Carter will ever rank with Harry Truman and Abraham Lincoln, far from it!

But Jimmy Carter has suffered in reputation for so long, because of the mythology that has been built up around Ronald Reagan, and during an era where politicians have distorted the record and accomplishments of Reagan, at the expense of Carter.

There will be plenty of time to reassess Jimmy Carter, and his historical image will improve dramatically as a result.

One can expect over the next five to ten years, there will be “Carter Mania”, just as there was “Truman Mania” for five to ten years after his death in 1972.

Meanwhile, let us hope for a miraculous recovery for Jimmy Carter, and if that is not to be, that he not suffer with great pain as he leaves us, after the longest retirement of any President of the United States.

Left Handed Presidents On “Left Handers Day”!

Today, August 13, is “Left Handers Day”!

About 10-15 percent of the population, supposedly, is left handed, and it is certainly much more common now than in the past, due to children being forced to learn to be right handed in the past, because of belief that it was a sin to be left handed.

So as far as we know, left handed Presidents have occurred only in the past century, although there are those who think Thomas Jefferson may have been left handed or ambidextrous; and that James A. Garfield was the same, due to the statements that he could write in Latin and Greek with both hands at the same time!

Other than possibly Jefferson, and the case of Garfield, the list of left handed modern Presidents includes:

Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
Harry Truman (1945-1953)
Gerald Ford (1974-1977)
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
George H. W. Bush (1989-1993)
Bill Clinton (1993-2001)
Barack Obama (2009-Present)

This means that for 29 of the past 41 years (since 1974), we have had left handed Presidents, all but Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush!

It also means that 7 of the last 14 Presidents (from Hoover to Obama) have been left handed! This is 41 of the past 86 years!

It is also a fact that in 1992, all three Presidential candidates (Bush Senior, Clinton, Ross Perot) were lefties, and the same with 1996 (Clinton, Bob Dole, Perot)! And in 2008, the two major party Presidential candidates, Obama and John McCain, were also “southpaws”!

70th Anniversary Of Hiroshima Atomic Bombing

Today, August 6, is the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, followed on August 9 by the bombing of Nagasaki, with the total loss of life estimated to be up to 250,000 human beings.

There had been firebombing of Dresden, Germany and Tokyo, Japan earlier, causing even more loss of life, but something about the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima and Nagasaki stood out as the ultimate destructive symbol.

The Atomic Age had begun, and ever since, the world has had to be concerned about the dangers of a nuclear war. First was the danger of conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War, most specifically in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, but generally a problem all along. Then the danger of nuclear proliferation with China, India, and Pakistan getting the bomb; and more recently the threat of North Korea and, presently, Iran, have led to alarm about the future.

Many praise President Harry Truman for utilizing the Atomic Bomb, as it saved many American and British, and possibly, homeland Japanese lives.

But others have seen what Truman did as immoral, unethical, and unconscionable.

This caused a controversy when the Smithsonian Institution canceled an exhibit in 1995 on the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombing, due to protests of veterans.

Now, there are very few veterans of the events of World War II in Asia still alive, and very few survivors of the atomic bombing left to testify on the effect on their lives, although there have been many oral histories and studies done of the subject.

This is a moment to pause and remember the victims; the sacrifices of our soldiers; and to pray that, hopefully, never again will any nation utilize nuclear weapons against any rival, as the monstrosity of nuclear war today is so much greater than the comparatively “small” bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Likelihood Of Oldest Presidential Candidate Race Ever In American History!

As the 2016 Presidential campaign heats up, it looks more and more likely that the two major party nominees will be among the oldest ever nominated or elected.

The Democrats have the following candidates who will be 64 or even beyond 70 as possible nominees:

Hillary Clinton 69
Joe Biden 74
Bernie Sanders 75
Jim Webb 70 (but nearly 71)
Lincoln Chafee 63 (but nearly 64)

The Republicans have the following candidates who will be 64 or beyond as possible nominees:

Jeb Bush 63 (but nearly 64)
Donald Trump 70
John Kasich 64
Rick Perry 66 (but nearly 67)
Jim Gilmore 67
George Pataki 71
Dr Benjamin Carson 65

Between the likely Democratic nominee and the likely Republican nominee, we can expect the oldest combination of Presidential candidates if one for each group above are the chosen nominees.

Right now, the Democratic nominee seems likely to be one of the top three on the list–Clinton, Biden or Sanders; and the Republican nominee likely to be one of the top three on that list—Bush, Trump, Kasich.

However, IF the Republican nominee turns out to be the younger candidates, such as Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, or Marco Rubio, we could have a bigger difference in age than we have rarely had, with only vast differences in age of William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan in 1896 and 1900; Franklin D. Roosevelt and Thomas E. Dewey in 1944; Harry Truman and Dewey in 1948; Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale in 1984; Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush in 1992; Clinton and Bob Dole in 1996; Barack Obama and John McCain in 2008; and Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012.

Note that in the cases of a much older and much younger opponents, the older candidate won with McKinley, FDR, Truman, and Reagan, but the younger candidate won with Clinton twice and Obama twice.

If Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee or Lindsey Graham were the GOP nominee, the average age of the two opponents would still be close to the highest in history, with their average age in the low 60s at inauguration.

Remember that the only Presidents to be 64 or older at inauguration were Ronald Reagan, William Henry Harrison, James Buchanan, George H. W. Bush, and Zachary Taylor.

The only other Presidents over the age of 60 at inauguration were:

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Andrew Jackson
John Adams
Gerald Ford
Harry Truman

So only 10 Presidents out of 43 were 60 or older when taking the oath, while now we are very likely to have both candidates over the age of 60, with 11 out of 17 Republican candidates being over 60, and 5 out of 6 (Martin O’Malley the exception) of the Democratic candidates over the age of 60.

So while we had a “new generation of leadership” three times in the past half century with John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, now we are almost certain to have an “old generation” of leadership coming to power on January 20, 2017.

“Surprise” Presidential Nominees, And Often Winners, In American History

As we are about to enter August, the year before the Presidential Election Of 2016, we find two “surprise” candidates doing very well, if one is to judge by crowds and public opinion polls.

Whether Donald Trump and or Bernie Sanders have a real chance to be the nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties is impossible to know this far ahead.

But in American history, there have been many surprise nominees, and or winners of the Presidency.

The examples of this phenomenon follow—17 Presidents and 6 Presidential nominees in 23 Presidential elections:

In 1844, James K. Polk was nominated by the Democrats on the 9th ballot, and went on to defeat the better known and more famous Henry Clay.

In 1848, Mexican War General Zachary Taylor, with no political experience, and no stands on political issues, was nominated by the Whig Party, and elected over Lewis Cass and Free Soil Party nominee, former President Martin Van Buren.

In 1852, little known Franklin Pierce was nominated by the Democrats on the 49th ballot, and went on to defeat famous Mexican War General Winfield Scott.

In 1860, one term Congressman Abraham Lincoln, not in public office in 12 years, was the choice of the Republican Party, and defeated Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, and John Bell.

In 1868, Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War Union Army hero, with no political experience, was nominated by the Republicans, and defeated Horatio Seymour.

In 1872, the Democrats and a fringe group known as the “Liberal Republicans” nominated well known journalist Horace Greeley, who had never served in public office, losing to President Grant.

In 1892, former President Grover Cleveland, who had lost reelection in 1888 to Benjamin Harrison, came back and defeated Harrison, becoming the only President to win, lose, and then win, and therefore, being listed as the 22nd and 24th Presidents of the United States.

In 1896, a former Nebraska Congressman, only 36 years old, William Jennings Bryan, inspired the Democratic convention and was nominated for President, but lost to William McKinley.

In 1904, an unknown (except in New York) state court judge, Alton B. Parker, was the Democratic nominee against Theodore Roosevelt, but lost.

In 1912, President of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson, nominated on the 46th ballot by the Democrats, defeated President William Howard Taft, former President Theodore Roosevelt (running on the Progressive Party line), and Socialist Eugene Debs.

In 1920, an obscure Senator with no special accomplishments or credentials, Warren G. Harding, was nominated by the Republicans, and defeated Democratic nominee James Cox.

In 1924, the Democrats were deadlocked at their convention for 103 ballots, and finally nominated corporate attorney John W. Davis, who lost to President Calvin Coolidge and Progressive Party nominee Robert LaFollette, Sr.

In 1928, the Democrats nominated the first Catholic Presidential candidate, Alfred E. Smith, but he lost to Republican nominee Herbert Hoover.

In 1932, the Democrats nominated Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had been judged as having “no particular qualifications” for the Presidency, and he went on to defeat President Herbert Hoover.

In 1940, the Republicans nominated a businessman with no political experience, Wendell Willkie, after he inspired their convention, but he lost to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 1948, President Harry Truman shocked the political world by winning a full term over Republican Thomas E. Dewey, States Rights nominee Strom Thurmond, and Progressive Party nominee, former Vice President Henry A. Wallace. He had been shown to be way behind Dewey in every political poll taken that year.

In 1952, a World War II general, Dwight D. Eisenhower, never having been involved in politics, was finally convinced to run for President, and defeated Democratic nominee Adlai E. Stevenson.

IN 1960, the second Catholic nominee for President, John F. Kennedy, was able to overcome the religion barrier, and be elected over Republican Richard Nixon, the well known and experienced Vice President under Eisenhower.

In 1968, former defeated Presidential candidate Richard Nixon came back eight years after having lost, and he won the Presidency over Hubert Humphrey and American Independent Party nominee George Wallace.

In 1976, a one term Governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, considered unknown to most and given little chance for the Democratic Presidential nomination, surprised everyone and was elected over President Gerald Ford.

In 1980, an aging two time candidate for President, Ronald Reagan, ended up winning the Republican nomination, and was elected over President Carter.

In 1992, despite a sex scandal, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton won the Democratic nomination, and was elected over President George H. W. Bush and Independent nominee Ross Perot, even with Bush having enjoyed a 91 percent public opinion poll rating during the Persian Gulf War 18 months earlier.

In 2008, an African American first term Senator, with an Islamic middle name of Hussein, Barack Obama, overcame former First Lady Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, and defeated Republican nominee John McCain for the Presidency.

So anything can happen in 2016, with further coverage of the upcoming election being resumed when the Iowa Caucuses take place on February 1.

Until then, this blogger will focus on the promotion of his new book on Presidential Assassinations and Threats. He will give information on the interviews that he will have on radio, tv/cable, the internet, and print media, so that my readers will have an opportunity to investigate my activities over the next six months.

When he has time, he will look at American political, diplomatic and constitutional history solely, as there is much fascinating material that can and should be discussed and analyzed. It will make a look at the future much more significant, as a result of the historical analysis of the Presidency, elections, political parties, the Congress, and the Supreme Court.

July 30, 1965 To July 30, 2015: 50 Years Of Medicare!

Today is the 50the Anniversary of Medicare, finally brought about by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965.

An idea originally proposed by Theodore Roosevelt in his Progressive (Bull Moose) Party campaign of 1912; further conceptualized by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the mid 1930s, but thought to be moving too rapidly for Congress, when there was the fight over Social Security in 1935; and promoted by Harry Truman in his promotion of his Fair Deal, it was signed into law with former President Truman sitting next to Johnson at the Truman Museum and Library in Independence, Missouri.

Johnson accomplished what John F. Kennedy wanted to fulfill in his New Frontier agenda, but was unable to do because of the opposition of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Wilbur Mills of Arkansas, but Johnson convinced Mills to move ahead, as part of LBJ’s great “wheeler dealer” abilities to promote his Great Society.

Medicare was a “God send” to millions of senior citizens, who no longer had to go into poverty as a result of medical and health issues, and it made the last years of the elderly a lot less stressful and worrisome.

Of course, the issue of cost overruns and corruption has arisen, and with people living longer, there is a long term problem in Medicare, but careful administration and some tax increases will manage to keep Medicare afloat for the long run, although present House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential running mate in 2012), wants to phase it out over time.

Many Republicans want this, but Democrats will fight tooth and nail to insure the continuation and financial stability of the greatest social program since Social Security, an essential part of the “safety net”, and part of the social justice agenda of liberals and progressives since the time of Theodore Roosevelt!

Historic Leaders Of The Senate Foreign Relations Committee

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is one of the most important of all committees in the history of that body, having begun as early as 1816.

It is one of the most significant committees, with many future potential Presidential seekers wishing to be seen as “experts” on American foreign policy.

It is a committee often in conflict with the President of the United States on strategy and policy toward other nations.

There have been many colorful leaders of the committee, both Democrats and Republicans, who have become famed or notorious for their principles and impact on American foreign policy.

The committee again has become focused on as part of the heated debate over the Iran nuclear deal, and its recent former Chairman, John Kerry, is now the Secretary of State, charged with gaining the support of the committee, which, clearly, however, under Republican control, is a lost cause.

Among its leaders have been Presidential nominees Rufus King, Henry Clay, and John Kerry; President James Buchanan; and Vice Presidents Hannibal Hamlin and Joe Biden.

Such prominent political figures, other than those mentioned above, who served as Chairman of the committee include: Thomas Hart Benton, Charles Sumner, John Sherman, Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr., William Borah, Arthur Vandenberg, J. William Fulbright, Frank Church, Charles Percy, Richard Lugar, Claiborne Pell, Jesse Helms, and present Chairman Bob Corker, with Fulbright serving the longest as Chairman, 16 years from 1959-1975.

Those who made the most news included Lodge fighting Woodrow Wilson on the Versailles Treaty and League of Nations; Vandenberg playing a crucial role in backing the containment policy of President Harry Truman, despite them being from different parties; Fulbright fighting against the Vietnam War under Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon; and Helms being a major problem for Bill Clinton on many foreign policy issues.

A “Nice”, “Authentic” Person, Not A Mean Spirited, Uncaring Person: What People Want For Their Next President!

Americans are confused and upset about the uncertainties facing the nation, due to the political split in Congress and in the state legislatures. They might seem to cheer on a nasty, bullyish candidate who, momentarily, appears to vent their frustrations. But when emotions calm, that is not what the American people are looking for!

They want someone who is a “nice guy”, “authentic”, “real”, “truly concerned” about the issues and problems, confident and sure of himself, and a good debater who can overcome his opponents with his facts, knowledge, and charm, and convince the American people he is the right person for the Presidency! Joe Biden fits that description precisely, and even his opponents in the Republican Party, including Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and many others, respect and like him personally!

No Republican Presidential candidate fits that bill, not one of them.

Neither does Hillary Clinton fully evoke that feeling, and Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley simply do not have the ability to go all the way, and Sanders has the issue that most Americans are totally ignorant of the word “Socialism” and its meaning, and that harms his candidacy!

Face it, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Dr Benjamin Carson, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina—all of these come across as mean spirited and uncaring.

Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Marco Rubio come across in a somewhat better fashion, as does George Pataki and Jim Gilmore, but none of them have the personality and genuine nature of Joe Biden!

We have never elected a President since World War II, with the exception of Richard Nixon, who was not likable when elected. Lyndon B. Johnson, while not that likable, was in office before he faced election, as was Harry Truman, so they are not included. But all the others, despite whatever shortcomings they had, were likable when they were elected, except for Nixon.

We want to “like” our President, and the Republican Party has a major problem with “likability”, which guarantees they will lose, even to a candidate such as Hillary Clinton, who is not seen as particularly “likable”, while Sanders, O Malley and Joe Biden are all very “likable”. But Biden stands out over O’Malley and Sanders!

The Top Ten Transformational Presidents

The issue of “transformational” Presidents has revived lately, as it is clear that we are living through a “transformational” Presidency of Barack Obama, with still a year and a half to go in his tenure in the Oval Office.

With all of the controversy that surrounds Barack Obama, there is no doubt now that Obama has been a transformational President in so many ways.

So the question arises, who among our Presidents has been “transformational”? And in what order would Presidents on this list be ranked?

It seems clear that the top of the list would have to be George Washington, for having established standards and traditions that would be long lasting; and Abraham Lincoln, for keeping the Union together during the Civil War, and ending slavery.

Following Washington and Lincoln would be Franklin D. Roosevelt, who took America through the Great Depression and the Second World War, and changed the relationship of the federal government with the population of the nation, promoting a safety net that would help those most needy. He also created a large federal government that would never become smaller again, due to the Great Depression and the Second World War, and then the Cold War.

Once we go beyond Washington, Lincoln, and FDR, ranking gets much more difficult, but this author thinks the rest of the top ten would be as follows from number four to number ten:

Theodore Roosevelt, who would revive the Presidential office from slumber and use the “bully pulpit” to accomplish reform and federal government regulation of the economy, and started America’s role in world affairs.

Lyndon B. Johnson, who would promote the passage of massive reforms, including civil rights laws, Medicare, and a War on Poverty.

Woodrow Wilson, who would promote major reforms domestically and involvement in world affairs, taking America out of isolationism as a policy during the First World War.

Ronald Reagan, who changed the direction of the nation to Conservatism after a half century of Liberalism, and negotiated arms agreements with the Soviet Union, and helped to bring down the rival super power.

Barack Obama, who brought about health care coverage for most Americans; avoided a massive war; promoted social change in many areas; presided over a major revival of the economy only matched by FDR; and became a major environmental supporter.

Harry Truman, who responded to the Cold War with the Soviet Union in an effective way and determined the direction of foreign policy for a half century, and institutionalized the New Deal of FDR.

James K. Polk, who accomplished the great expansion of American territory by treaty with Great Britain and war with Mexico, creating the continental United States.

Notice that Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton do NOT make this list!

Commentary on this analysis is welcomed!

Presidents And Difficult Diplomacy: TR, FDR, Truman, JFK, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Obama

Presidents have to deal with recalcitrant nations in diplomacy, including nations that are our adversaries.

The key is to promote agreements, with the ability to verify and hold nations accountable, under international agreement. It is not an issue of trust, as many nations see other nations as rivals, but rather the ability to come to agreements with the understanding that violations can lead to a confrontational situation if they are not kept.

Presidents have regularly taken bold steps in diplomacy with other nations, whereby they suffered from strong criticism as being naive and weak, but history tells us they actually demonstrated courage and principle, that international agreements could be upheld if both sides wish to avoid military confrontation.

So we have President Theodore Roosevelt negotiating agreements with a newly ambitious Japan after the Russo-Japanese War.

So we have President Franklin D. Roosevelt deciding to establish diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union after 16 years of non recognition.

So we have President Harry Truman deciding to recognize Israel, and in so doing, alienating Arab nations in the Middle East.

So we have President John F. Kennedy agreeing to the Nuclear Best Ban Treaty in 1963 with the Soviet Union, and it is still in effect today. This came after the Cuban Missile Crisis, which many believed the result would not be obeyed by the Soviet Union, but they did precisely what was required under the settlement.

So we have President Richard Nixon, who made arms limitation agreements (SALT I) with the Soviet Union, and opened the door to contacts with the People’s Republic of China, both moves that are now hailed, although criticized at the time.

SO we have President Jimmy Carter accomplishing something no one would have believed, an agreement between Israel and Egypt, and mutual recognition, in what became known as the Camp David Accords. Additionally, Carter decided to recognize the Communist government in China as being China, rather than Taiwan.

So we have President Ronald Reagan, after calling the Soviet Union an “evil empire”, negotiate arms agreements with Mikhail Gorbachev.

So we have President Bill Clinton bringing about peace between the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, an event that seemed impossible of achievement, known as the Good Friday Agreements of 1998. He also established diplomatic relations with Vietnam, a generation after the end of the divisive war in Vietnam was lost.

So now we have President Barack Obama negotiating an agreement to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons, with five other nations engaged in the process, and to prevent war, while guaranteeing the security of Israel and Arab nations. Like all the others, it is a gamble, as no one can be sure of Iran’s ultimate actions, but it has worked out in all of the other cases. He also has established diplomatic relations with the government of Fidel and Raul Castro in Cuba.

And yet, nothing is a panacea, as Russia and China still present a challenge, but progress was made to avoid war, and that is happening again now, with the understanding that if the agreement is broken, war is always an ultimate alternative!