Harry Truman

Barack Obama Visit To Hiroshima Reminds Us Of Dangers Of Nuclear War, And Of Unstable Donald Trump Having Nuclear Codes!

Barack Obama’s visit today to Hiroshima, the site of the first atomic bomb attack on August 6, 1945, was a sobering moment.

Obama did not apologize for the attack initiated by the orders of President Harry Truman, but he spoke of the horrors of over 140,000 people dying from that event, and the aftermath of thousands dying from exposure to nuclear radiation there, and at Nagasaki three days later.

He spoke of the concern over the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the threat to the peace and tranquility of the world in the long term future.

While he did not say anything about Donald Trump at Hiroshima, it was clear there is, and should be, great concern over the thought of an unstable, egomaniacal, narcissistic Donald Trump ever having control of the nuclear codes, which would occur if he was elected President in November.

The world faces not only the threat of Kim Jong Un of North Korea and the Iranian government possibly breaking the agreement it has with the United States and five European powers about avoiding the development of nuclear weapons potential, but also that we could face a person in power who would be a threat to the entire world, or own potential future President!

Myth Destroyed About Third Term Of Same Party In White House Being Historically Unlikely! How About 7 Times And 120 Years Of Our History?

This blogger keeps on hearing that it is highly unlikely for a political party to hold the White House for more than two terms. Most recently, Chris Matthews said this on MSNBC on HARDBALL!

This is totally untrue, as witness the facts, a total of 7 times:

1800-1824—Democratic Republicans Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe–Six terms, 24 years

1828-1840–Democrats Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren–Three terms, 12 years

1860-1884–Republicans Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James A. Garfield, Chester Alan Arthur (Andrew Johnson elected with Lincoln on “Union” ticket in 1864 was a Southern Democrat, but was never elected)–Six terms, 24 years

1896-1912–Republicans William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft–Four terms, 16 years

1920-1932–Republicans Warren G. Harding. Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover–Three terms, 12 years

1932-1952–Democrats Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman–Five terms, 20 years

1980-1992–Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush–Three terms, 12 years

This adds up to 30 terms and 120 years from 1789-2008. So that means 30 terms out of 55 terms, more than half the time and 120 years out of 220 years, more than half the time!

And now in 2016, an 8th time, this time the Democrats with Barack Obama and, likely, Hillary Clinton, will add to the record, making it 33 terms out of 58, and 132 years out of 232 years!

Hillary Clinton Best Qualified To Take Oath Of Office Since George H. W. Bush

Presidents come from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences, and some come ill equipped to deal with foreign policy and or domestic issues.

It is often said that learning on the job is the best experience, but that puts the nation at greater risk.

So the question arises: Since World War II, what Presidents came to office fully qualified to take the reigns of power?

This judgment is not one of approval or disapproval of the President and his record, but simply his qualifications when he took the oath of office.

It is clear that three Presidents came to office very qualified to be President, and they would be, chronologically, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and George H. W. Bush!

Harry Truman was ill prepared; Dwight D. Eisenhower had never taken an interest in politics; John F. Kennedy was very challenged in his first year in office; Gerald Ford had years of experience but no real ambition to be President; Jimmy Carter had limited experience in government, as did Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, as being governors of southern states did not prepare them for national leadership; Ronald Reagan had a very narrow view of national government and its importance; and Barack Obama had limited experience in national affairs, having only served four years in the US Senate.

On the other hand, Lyndon B. Johnson had been in government for thirty years and was a master legislative strategist, although foreign policy was certainly not his forte.

Richard Nixon had been Vice President for eight years, as was also with George H. W. Bush, and those years plus foreign policy expertise set them up well to be President.

Hillary Clinton is, without a doubt, the best equipped since the elder Bush to be President, as her years in the White House with her husband; her Senate years; and her four years as Secretary of State, even with problems, made her known worldwide, and she has the respect of foreign governments.  She is likely to be more activist in domestic affairs than her husband, which would also be a plus!

Are We On The Road To A 5th Four Way Presidential Election?

In American history, we have had four Presidential elections in which there were four candidates who gained a substantial percentage of popular votes.

The first time was 1824, with Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, William Crawford and Henry Clay.

The second time was 1860, with Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, and John Bell.

The third time was 1912, with Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Eugene Debs.

The fourth time was 1948, with Harry Truman, Thomas E. Dewey, Strom Thurmond, and Henry A. Wallace.

The first two times, 1824 and 1860, saw the success of new political parties, the Democrats under Jackson by 1828 and the Republicans under Lincoln in 1860.  The third time brought the success of progressivism at its peak under Wilson with Roosevelt’s indirect contributions, and the fourth insured the forward movement in foreign and domestic policy under Truman.

Now in 2016, we could have four candidates, including Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and potentially Bernie Sanders or Jesse Ventura.  And who can deny that Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney or John Kasich might also be potential candidates?

The first three named above seem almost certain, but there is some speculation that Sanders could run on a independent line, and that Jesse Ventura, the former Governor of Minnesota, might run if Sanders fails to be the Democratic nominee, and decides to avoid an independent run.  If Trump is nominated, the odds of Ryan or Romney or Kasich running as the “Establishment” Republican opponent grows, just as is likely that Trump will run as an independent if he is not the party’s nominee.

Hillary Clinton would win against a split Republican Party, but IF Sanders runs or even Ventura, the potential exists, in a four way race, for anything to happen, including the need to use the 12th Amendment, as occurred in 1824, which would give the Republican nominee the advantage, with the Republican control of the House of Representatives!

Missouri Presidential History, And Poll Showing Clinton Leads Trump! Will Missouri Be Again a Bellwether State?

Missouri, the “Show Me” State, the state of President Harry Truman, has been a bellwether state since 1904.

From 1904 to 2004, Missouri voted with the winner every time except 1956, when Adlai Stevenson defeated Dwight D. Eisenhower by 4,000 votes.

In 2008, like in 1956, they voted for the losing Presidential nominee, John McCain, over Barack Obama, but again by only about 4,000 votes.

In 2012, however, the bellwether reputation was harmed when Mitt Romney won over Barack Obama by 259,000 votes!

Presently, Hillary Clinton is shown as leading Donald Trump for the election in Missouri, so if they end up as the nominees of their parties, and the polls stay consistent, then Missouri will return to being a bellwether state, assuming that Clinton wins the Presidency, which is highly likely!

Missouri is not considered a “swing” state, but it could be part of the winning party’s majority for the 26th out of the last 29 national elections for the Presidency!

Major Historic Splits In Democratic Party

The Democratic Party has existed for 188 years, since the election Of Andrew Jackson in 1828.

In that nearly two centuries, there have been major splits and divisions:

In 1860, the party split, and the Northern Democrats. the official party, nominated Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas for President, while Vice President John C. Breckinridge was the nominee of Southern Democrats.

In 1896,  the “Gold Democrats” refused to back the party nominee, the  “silver tongued orator”, thirty six year old William Jennings Bryan, who promoted “free silver”, and drew support from the rural states in the Midwest and Great Plains and Mountain West, and kept the South loyal to the party.

In 1948, Southern Democrats broke from the convention that nominated Harry Truman for a full term, and ran South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond as the States Rights (Dixiecrats) candidate.

In 1968, Alabama Governor George C. Wallace formed the American Independent Party, and ran against Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey.

Notice that it was the South that caused three of the four splits, with the result being Douglas and Humphrey losing because of the split, while Truman won despite Thurmond’s opposition.

The other time, it was the rural West that revolved against the “Eastern Establishment”, represented by Wall Street, but Bryan, nominated three times for President, was unable to win the Presidency, although he helped to shape the Progressive Era with some of his reform ideas.

 

New CNN Presidential Election Series: “Race For The White House”

CNN has begun a new six part series called “Race For The White House”, which will cover six Presidential elections over the next six weeks, each episode an hour in length, and narrated by actor Kevin Spacey.

On Sunday, the 1960 battle for the White House between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon was covered.

Future episodes in some order not known yet include chronologically:

1828–Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams

1860–Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas

1948–Harry Truman and Thomas E. Dewey

1988–George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis

1992–Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush

It is not clear why these particular elections were chosen, as there are many others, many more interesting and significant, that were not selected, including:

1896–William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan

1912—Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft

1928–Herbert Hoover and Alfred E. Smith

1932–Franklin D. Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover

1940–Franklin D. Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie

1968–Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, George C. Wallace

1980–Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, John Anderson

2000–George W. Bush and Al Gore

2008–Barack Obama and John McCain

This series is well worth watching, after having seen the first episode last night!

 

How Death “Might” Have Affected American History! Eleven Potential “Turning Points”!

Assassinations and assassination attempts, and threats, have affected American History, as is covered in my book, “Assassinations, Threats, And The American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson To Barack Obama”, Rowman Littlefield, August 2015.

But then there are cases, not covered  in my book, of situations that could have occurred and affected American history, that have nothing to do with assassinations.

Witness the following:

In 1857, newly inaugurated President James Buchanan was extremely ill at the time of the inauguration, and almost failed to deliver his Inaugural Address, and was in bed for a few weeks after the inauguration, until he recovered.  It was believed he might have been poisoned by an unsafe water supply at the hotel he stayed at before his inauguration.  Had he died in office, Vice President John C. Breckinridge would have been President, and would have been only 36 years old, the youngest President in American history, and actually elected in November 1856, when he was still 35!

Stephen Douglas, Senator from Illinois, was the Democratic nominee for President in the Presidential Election of 1860, a four way race won by Abraham Lincoln, but had Douglas won, he would have died in office three months later, two months after the Civil War had begun, transforming the whole era if that had occurred!

In 1872, Democratic and Liberal Republican Presidential nominee Horace Greeley, who lost the Presidential Election of 1872 to President Ulysses S. Grant, died three weeks after the election, and before the Electoral College met.  What if he had won the election?  It would have meant that Vice Presidential nominee, B. Gratz Brown, Governor of Missouri and, earlier, Senator from Missouri, would have been President!

President Chester Alan Arthur  (1881-1885) succeeded President James A. Garfield after his assassination in September 1881, and finished out the term, but was denied nomination for a full term in 1884, which turned out to be fortunate as Arthur died in 1886, and therefore, would have died in office!

President Grover Cleveland, in his second nonconsecutive term in the White House from 1893-1897, had serious surgery for cancer of the jaw in 1894, done in secret on a boat on the Hudson River, and kept secret until after his death in 1908.  Had he died of cancer, Vice President Adlai Stevenson, the grandfather of Democratic Presidential nominee, Adlai Stevenson II in 1952 and 1956, would have been President!

President William Howard Taft (1909-1913)  saw his Vice President, James Sherman, die in office in October 1912, shortly before the Presidential Election of 1912, which Taft lost, in the worst reelection defeat of any President in American history, winning only two states.  But when the Electoral College met, the name of Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler was substituted to count the electoral votes.  However, there was no provision for a replacement Vice President, so had Taft won, he would have had no Vice President for the entire term of 1913-1917!

President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) had a severe stroke in September 1919, and never fully recovered in his last year and a half in the White House, and his wife ran cabinet meetings in his absence, but had Wilson resigned or died, Vice President Thomas Marshall would have become President!

Franklin D. Roosevelt had Henry A. Wallace, his Secretary of Agriculture, as his third term Vice President from 1941-1945, and had he not been lobbied to replace the unpopular Wallace with Harry Truman for his fourth term run for the Presidency, it would have been Wallace who would have succeeded FDR in the Presidency after 82 days of the fourth term in 1945!

FDR’s Republican opponents in the Presidential Election of 1940 were businessman Wendell Willkie for President, and Oregon Senator Charles McNary for Vice President.  Had they won the White House, the nation would have faced losing both of them in the last year of the term–McNary dying in February 1944, and Willkie in October 1944, an unprecedented situation to have had both the President and Vice President in the same term die in office!  And this would have occurred during the height of the battle to win World War II, a very dangerous time for such an occurrence!

Harry Truman’s Vice President in his full term from 1949-1953 was Alben Barkley, who wished to run for President in 1952, but was pushed aside since he was already in his 70s, and it was felt it was not a good idea to have a President of that age come to office.  It was fortunate that this happened, since Barkley died in April 1956, so would have died in office!

President Gerald Ford replaced Vice President Nelson Rockefeller as his running mate in the 1976 election for Senator Bob Dole, under pressure from conservative Republicans led by Ronald Reagan, and lost the Presidential Election of 1976 to Jimmy Carter.  Had Ford kept Rockefeller on the ticket, some think he would have defeated Carter, and if that was so, then Ford would have lost his Vice President in office, as Rockefeller died in January 1979!

 

Gregarious And “Loner” Presidents Since 1900; And Remaining Presidential Candidates’ Personalities Assessed!

Presidents have different personalities, with some being very gregarious and outgoing, clearly extroverts: and others being more described as “loners”, who could be cordial in public, but did not like being around government leaders very much, and are clearly introverts.

In the first category, we would include

Theodore Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Harry Truman

John F. Kennedy

Lyndon B. Johnson

Gerald Ford

Ronald Reagan

Bill Clinton

George W. Bush

In the second category, we would include

William Howard Taft

Woodrow Wilson

Warren G. Harding

Calvin Coolidge

Herbert Hoover

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Richard Nixon

Jimmy Carter

George H. W. Bush

Barack Obama is a unique case, not really fitting into either category clearly, as he can tend to be very gregarious, but also has difficulty dealing with Congress, with one speculating that he has been scarred by the total obstructionism of the opposition.  He tends to avoid “schmoozing”, although the feeling is that he is basically quite gregarious.

So putting Obama in a separate category, notice that 9 Presidents (5 Democrats, 4 Republicans) are considered gregarious, while 9 Presidents (7 Republicans,  2 Democrats) are considered more “loners”.

63 years we have had gregarious Presidents; 45 years we have had “loner” Presidents, and then we have the 8 years of Obama.

Notice that the gregarious Presidents have, as a group, a more positive image in history, than the “loner” Presidents, and they have more often been reelected!

Among remaining Presidential Candidates as of this date, the “gregarious” candidates would include Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and John Kasich, while the more “loner” types would be Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, and Dr. Benjamin Carson.

The Era Of The Elderly Running For President: Possibility Of Three Candidates Past 70 Competing For White House In 2016!

We may be witnessing an event that has never happened in the history of Presidential elections–three candidates, or even if only two candidates, all over the age of 70!

The only two cases of a President serving in his 70s are Ronald Reagan, who came to office 17 days short of age 70 and left office nearly 78 years old; and Dwight D. Eisenhower, who left office at age 70, three months and six days of age.

We also have had Senator John McCain running at age 72 in 2008, and Senator Bob Dole running at age 73 in 1996.

Now we have the potential for Donald Trump, who would be 70 years seven months and six days old on Inauguration Day; Bernie Sanders, who would be 75 years four months and twelve days old on Inauguration Day; and Michael Bloomberg, who would be 74 years 11 months and six days old on Inauguration Day!

And even if Hillary Clinton were to replace Bernie Sanders, she would be 69 years, nine months and six days old on Inauguration Day, so would reach age 70 after less than three months in office!

With two former Presidents alive at age 91 (Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush); four consecutive Presidents having reached age 90 (Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, additionally); and four former First Ladies since 1963 having reached age 90 (Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush); and with the average American living much longer and in better health, it should not be surprising that we have Presidential candidates in good health, running at an older age than ever in American history.

But one requirement is that younger Vice Presidential nominees be available as backups in case fate occurs, and the older Presidential winner dies in office!

Since World War II, many of the Vice Presidents have been older than their President, as with Harry Truman and Alben Barkley; John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson; George W. Bush and Dick Cheney; and Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

So now the opposite may likely happen.