Harry Truman

The Most Significant Dates In Presidential History Related To Four Great Presidents!

Every year as we reach mid April, we are reminded of the most significant dates in Presidential history related to four great Presidents, all of whom represent the best of our history.

April 12 is the anniversary of the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, our greatest President of the 20th century, the promoter of the New Deal to react to the Great Depression, and also the leader through most of the fight against Fascism and Nazism in World War II.

It is also the anniversary of Harry Truman becoming President suddenly, and filling the shoes of FDR with courage and decisiveness, bringing about the end of World War II; confronting the Soviet Union in the Cold War; and promoting the expansion of the New Deal, the beginning of the end of racial segregation; and the recognition of Israel.

April 13 is the anniversary of the birth of Thomas Jefferson, who authored the Declaration of Independence; doubled our territory through the Louisiana Purchase agreement with France; kept us out of war with Great Britain with his understanding that we could not fight them with a chance to be victorious; and was a genius in so many ways, without a doubt the most brilliant person ever to occupy the Presidency.

April 14 marks the sad anniversary of Abraham Lincoln being shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater, and his death the next morning, April 15, but having brought about the victory of the Union over the Confederacy and the enunciation of the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation.

The ranking of these Presidents on the C-Span list of 2009 is Lincoln as number one, FDR as number three, Truman as number five, and Jefferson as number seven.

We are fortunate to have had such great leadership from these four Presidents, who had, overall, a greater effect on American history, than any other Presidents we have had!

Presidential Retirement Years And Constructive Post Presidencies

All of our Presidents, except for eight who died in office, have had periods of retirement after their years in the Presidency.

Some have had very short periods of retirement, periods of less than ten years, including George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James K, Polk, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Chester Alan Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

So fully half of our Presidents either died in office or had periods of retirement less than ten years.

On the other hand, the following Presidents had particularly long periods of retirement of fifteen or more years: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush.

The following Presidents had between ten and fifteen years of retirement: Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Ronald Reagan.

Bill Clinton has had 13 years out of office, and George W. Bush has had five years out of office at this time.

With the retirement periods of all of these Presidents listed above, the question that arises is which Presidents made major contributions in their post Presidency years.

That list is a short one:

John Quincy Adams
Martin Van Buren
Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Herbert Hoover
Richard Nixon
Jimmy Carter
Bill Clinton

Adams served nearly eighteen years in Congress.

Van Buren ran for President on the Free Soil Party line in 1848.

Roosevelt ran for President on the Progressive Party line in 1912, and went on an African safari, and explored the Amazon River basin in Brazil.

Taft served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for nine years.

Hoover wrote books and served as an adviser to President Truman on reorganization of the executive branch of government.

Nixon wrote about ten books and remained an adviser on diplomacy in his nearly twenty years in retirement.

Carter has written nearly twenty books, and engaged in diplomacy, promotion of democracy, fought diseases, and built housing through the Carter Center and Habitat for Humanity.

Clinton has done similar good deeds through his Clinton Initiative, and also worked on relief for the Haitian earthquake and the Pacific Tsunami with George H. W. Bush.

The contributions of these former Presidents have had a major impact on America, and are worthy of remembrance!

Conservative Republicans Want To Repeal Constitutional Amendments And 20th Century Reforms That Make America A Better Nation!

The Republican Party of the second decade of the 21st century, along with the conservative movement, in all of its ramifications, is out to repeal constitutional amendments and numerous 20th century reforms that make America a better, more modern nation, all in their quest to make the corporations ever more dominant and enrich the top one percent more than already is reality!

When one follows, reads, and watches right wing spokesmen, in and out of the party, they have called for the following repeals:

The 16th Amendment–Federal Income Tax
The 17th Amendment–Direct Popular Election Of US Senators
19th Amendment–Woman Suffrage
Antiquities Act–National Parks, Forests, and Monuments Protection
Food And Drug Administration
Clayton Anti Trust Act
Federal Trade Commission
Federal Reserve Act
Social Security Act
Fair Labor Standards Act
Medicare
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Department Of Education
Department Of Health And Human Services
Department Of Housing And Urban Development
Department Of Energy
Environmental Protection Agency
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Occupational Safety And Health Administration
US Post Office
Affirmative Action
Abortion Rights
Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
National Public Radio
PBS
Americans With Disabilities Act
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
ObamaCare–Affordable Care Act

These and other laws and amendments not mentioned here became law under Presidents of both parties, including

Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama

Basically, these right wing groups and the dominant element in the Republican Party in Congress want to repeal everything that is good about America, and bring us back to the 19th century Gilded Age!

The False Glamor Of Secession: The “Red” States, Quebec, And Scotland

The concept of secession has become a key word in society when there are discontented people who somehow believe central government in a democracy is evil, because it will not allow them to pursue their prejudices.

So we have, more in the past than right now, the glamor of secession that has been promoted by French speaking Quebec to overcome the English influence in the rest of Canada, although Quebec would be in very poor economic shape if it did secede.

We also have the move for Scotland to secede from the United Kingdom, breaking away from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, but in reality, that would impoverish Scotland.

And then we have the “Red” states, particularly those in the South, but also including the Southwest and the Great Plains, who dream of secession, mourning the failure of secession during the Civil War.

And yet, it is these “Red” states that are, by far, the poorest states in America, and get loads of benefits from the national government that they profess to hate!

It seems more the reality that these people living in the “Red” states who wish secession are purely ignorant, lack education, and have no clue as to how much they benefit from the federal government, so they are spiting themselves with their own stubbornness.

But really, what it comes down to is that they resent the inability to discriminate freely against African Americans, Latinos, women, and gays, due to federal laws and intervention by federal courts.

These states claim to be “devout” and “religious”, but actually are far from being so, as they lack all ethics and morals that true religion teaches!

These states have many people who wish the 19th century was back, when men dominated women, whites dominated over African Americans, and a small plantation elite controlled all government, much of it in the national government, until that “evil” man, Abraham Lincoln, came along and reasserted the basic teachings of the Founding Fathers, that this was a nation of freedom, liberty, and justice, even though many of the Founding Fathers practiced hypocrisy and deception themselves, but knew it was wrong! The Civil Rights Movement had begun with the end of slavery, a long, hard fought battle still being waged!

Lincoln opened up a new concept of America, and he would see leaders in the 20th century, including Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson assert federal authority in the manner of Lincoln, revolutionizing the two political parties. The Democrats would become the Republicans of the Civil War in principle, and the Republicans would become the old, prejudiced Southern Democrats, fighting against equal opportunity and justice.

Meanwhile, the people of the “Red” states became victims, who were appealed to on the basis of fundamentalist religion, which had worked against integration of the races, and wanted to keep women down in a subservient position, and worked against promotion of equality for gays and lesbians, even though they had such people in their own midst, preaching one thing and conducting their lives as the opposite, pure hypocrisy!

Once the struggling people of the “Red” states realize they have been victimized by religious and political propaganda, the Republican Party will be as dead as a doornail, as it is a party based on pure hypocrisy and lack of basic principles of the party they created 160 years ago!

Barack Obama A Class Act: Awarding Medals Of Honor To Overlooked Soldiers From Past Wars Denied Recognition Because Of Race, Ethnicity, Or Religion!

President Barack Obama demonstrated once again today what a class act he is, and that he is different than earlier Presidents, as he knows what prejudice and discrimination are, by personal experience. This is NOT saying that earlier Presidents, such as Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson did not understand what prejudice and discrimination were, but Obama has a more personal involvement, due to the constant attack on him, much of it based on who he is!

So today, he presided over the granting of Medals Of Honor, initiated by those in his administration who recognize that there was past discrimination against African Americans, Hispanics-Latinos, and Jews in the military in World War II. the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. These heroes sacrificed their lives, or demonstrated amazing heroism and courage in the heat of battle, and should have been honored long ago!

Soldiers who deserved medals of honor were denied it, but now the wrong has been corrected, although sadly, 21 of the 24 recipients are dead, some in the war itself, and others by the passing years.

It was a very touching ceremony today from the White House, and gave further indication that this President will not let the racism and prejudice and hate demonstrated by the right wing do anything to stop him promoting recognition and honor to people of diverse heritages.

The time of domination of honors and privileges and recognition to only white male Christians is over, and not too soon!

The Republican Party Battle Has Gone On For A Century!

When the Republican Party was founded in 1854, it was an activist liberal oriented party, against the expansion of slavery as an official doctrine, and with many of its founders and followers also being against slavery itself, wishing to abolish it.

Under Abraham Lincoln and Radical Republicans, the Republican Party advocated freedom, citizenship and voting for African Americans, while at the same time promoting the growth of industrial capitalism.

But in the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, the party lost its bearings, becoming a corrupt party, beholden to the top one percent of the nation. There was a need to reform the party, and Theodore Roosevelt came along at the turn of the century, and revolutionized the Presidency and promoted progressivism, and activist government, including labor rights, consumer rights, environmentalism, and the promotion of political reforms to bring direct democracy.

But after he left office, the party lost its bearings again and went into the darkness of the conservative 1920s, as Woodrow Wilson took on much of the progressive reform program, and set the Democratic Party on the road to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson, and a whole slew of domestic progressive and liberal reforms.

The Republican Party, by following the Gilded Age mentality again in the 1920s, helped to cause the greatest economic downturn in American history, and the Great Depression under Herbert Hoover put them in the wilderness, although revived by the moderate progressivism of war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s.

But then, they were again in the minority, and although Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford promoted some substantial reforms in the late 1960s and early 1970s, in the midst of the New Frontier-Great Society mentality. scandal emerged under Nixon, and the Vietnam War sapped the party, and they turned once again to conservatism and Ronald Reagan, who had a better persona than conservative Barry Goldwater, who had been soundly defeated by LBJ in 1964. Reagan appealed to the top one percent, and promoted fear of the white working class toward minorities, and the GOP dominated the next generation and more, with the Jimmy Carter respite very brief, and Bill Clinton being mildly progressive, not really the tradition of FDR, Truman, JFK, and LBJ. But that meant that the Republican Party was backing away from the traditions of Lincoln, TR, and even Ike! The middle class and the working were victims, without realizing it until very recently.

Here they are today in the era of the most progressive Democratic President since LBJ, and the Republican Party is what it was in the Gilded Age and 1920s and since the 1980s, a party that backs away from domestic reform, from compassion, from concern about the environment, from concern about working people, from concern about women and ethnic minorities and the vast majority of Americans. Instead, they are the party of the one percent, as they were in the Gilded Age and 1920s, and the attempt to move the party to the center, and return to the Lincoln–TR–Ike tradition is engaged in what seems clearly a losing battle!

That means that the Republican Party, 160 years old this year, is likely in its death throes, a party which has gone awry, a really tragic set of circumstances!

Reassessing Presidents On Presidents Day

Here we are again, Presidents Day, and time for reflection on Presidential leadership, and there will be much disagreement, but it seems clear certain Presidents will move up in image, while others will move down in the ratings. Except for Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, all of the below are 20th century Presidents, undergoing the greatest change in ratings. In each category, listing is chronological.

Who remains high in ratings?

George Washington
Abraham Lincoln
Theodore Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S Truman
Lyndon B. Johnson
Bill Clinton

Who is moving up in ratings, if one is honest?

William Howard Taft
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Jimmy Carter
Gerald Ford
George H. W. Bush

Who is moving down in ratings?

Woodrow Wilson
John F. Kennedy
Richard Nixon
Ronald Reagan
George W. Bush

Whose rating does not really matter, as insignificant, historically?

Warren G. Harding
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover

And finally, what about Barack Obama? What rating would this controversial occupant of the White House gain, in the mind of this blogger and author?

B to B PLUS—very solid in social policy, solid in foreign policy, more difficulty in economic policy! Of course, on economic policy, the Congressional Republicans have caused a lot of the problem!

Where should he be put in the ratings? With three years to go, Obama is certainly in the top 15 of 43 Presidents, and this author would put him closer to 12-13 in the ratings, but subject to change. And one must realize to ignore the Right Wing whackos, as their judgment will have no long range effect, any more than they had with FDR or Lincoln, both bitterly criticized in their tenure in office!

I welcome comment and debate on this listing!

Republican Party Historically On Corruption And Impeachment: It Speaks For Itself!

The Republican Party has a very interesting history when it comes to corruption on the national level, and to the issue of Presidential impeachment.

The “self righteous” party, which tries to convince us that they are “holier than thou”, when it comes to corruption and scandal, has been responsible for the four most corrupt Presidencies in American history, and arguably, the fifth most corrupt Presidency as well!

At the same time, it is the Republican Party, in the 19th, 20th, and now the 21st century, that has constantly pursued the idea of Presidential impeachment as a weapon against Presidents of the Democratic Party!

Witness the following:

The Presidency of Richard Nixon, along with that of Ulysses S. Grant, Warren G. Harding, and Ronald Reagan saw widespread corruption on a regular basis, and these are the four Presidents to have been in charge of the worst examples of corruption in American history, bar none!

Nixon is remembered for the Watergate scandal, but there is much more than that to be recognized as corruption.

Grant is remembered for the Credit Mobilier scandal, but there is much more than that to be recognized as corruption.

Harding is remembered for the Teapot Dome scandal, but there is much more than that to be recognized as corruption.

Reagan is remembered for the Iran-Contra scandal, but there is much more than that to be recognized as corruption.

And, by the way, George W. Bush is remembered for numerous scandals and malfeasance, much of it still hidden, but to be uncovered as time goes by, and once the junior Bush leaves us, when documents become much more available.

There is no one among Democrats who can match these five GOP Presidents in corruption, although many make out Bill Clinton and his personal demons as a scandal on the same level. But most of the so called other “scandals” under Clinton are conjured up, are manufactured, just as with Barack Obama and his so called, but not real “scandals” over Benghazi, the IRS, and other controversies which are not indeed “scandals”, but instead part of the plan to undermine him, as was done with Bill Clinton.

Sure, there were personal scandals under John F. Kennedy, and rumors of scandals under Lyndon B. Johnson, and minor scandals under Harry Truman, and accusations of scandals under Jimmy Carter, but none ever worked out to be on the level of scandals under Nixon, Grant, Harding, Reagan and the second Bush! And only Nixon was a justifiable case to bring impeachment charges, as he actually abused the Constitution and the Presidential office, and was, rightfully, in process of being removed from office, had he not resigned in 1974!

Meanwhile, the Republican Party historically has worked to promote impeachment of Democratic Presidents on a regular basis, and have brought unsubstantiated and unjustifiable charges against:

Andrew Johnson in 1868 over attempt to remove Secretary of War Edwin Stanton

Bill Clinton in 1998-1999 on his personal life scandals

Also, they have promoted impeachment threats or attempted moves to remove:

Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934-1935 over the New Deal
Harry Truman in 1951 over the firing of General Douglas MacArthur
Jimmy Carter in general, working to undermine everything he promoted

So the so called party of enforcing the law and the Constitution has been involved in a systematic attempt to promote the cause of big business corporations and personal power grabbing while moving to undermine most of our Democratic Presidents in the past century and a half!

Part of this is also the attempt, constantly, to besmirch the record in office of Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Carter, Clinton and now Obama! Conspiracy theories have been rife in the Republican mind!

Realize that since Abraham Lincoln’s election, our first Republican President, there was constant deterioration after, until Theodore Roosevelt still upheld the good image of the GOP overall. But then there was rapid decline after, with a temporary revival under Dwight D. Eisenhower, and then constant decline after, with a smidgen of decency and class under Gerald Ford, and then much more rapid deterioration up to now. The GOP wishes to be regarded with respect, when it does not deserve it, based on the historical realities!

Also, realize that since 1861 to 2017, a total of 156 years, from Lincoln to Obama leaving office, we have had 18 GOP Presidents from Lincoln to Bush II and only 10 Democratic Presidents from Andrew Johnson to Obama. Republicans have held the White House for 88 years and Democrats for 68 years!

So the historical reality of the Republican Party being the party of corruption and lawlessness, and yet having the gall to threaten three Democratic Presidents with impeachment, two Democratic Presidents with actual impeachment, and on the road to impeaching Barack Obama on flimsy charges, speaks legions as to their lack of ethics and morality!

The Dominance Of Political Family Dynasties

It now seems clear that Hillary Clinton will be running for the Presidency, and that she is very likely to become the 45th President of the United States, and its first woman President.

Every poll imaginable shows her far in the lead against any Democratic challenger, including Vice President Joe Biden, who is the only other Democrat to even score more than a couple of percent in any poll, but about 50-60 points behind the former First Lady, former Senator, and former Secretary of State.

And every poll also shows that NO Republican comes anywhere near Hillary Clinton, with the only one who seemed to compete, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, rapidly collapsing in the midst of the “Bridgegate ” and associated scandals, with the issue of funding of projects with federal money for Hurricane Sandy the more dangerous scandal for Christie and his future.

Hillary Clinton enters the 2016 campaign almost as if she was an incumbent, and really, no one has ever been in as enviable a position as she seems to be. But this means that she must not take anything for granted, run hard and vigorously and not assume victory as Republican nominee Thomas E. Dewey thought in 1948, before he lost in an upset victory by President Harry Truman.

Hillary Clinton must be able and willing to take as much flak and attacks on everything imaginable in her record and life story, and she does seem to be tough enough to deal with that, plus the inevitable death threats which will be visited upon her at a rate probably at least equivalent to Abraham Lincoln, and possibly at the same astronomical rate of President Barack Obama, who faces, approximately, 30 death threats in some form per day!

Many might think that a person who will be 69 and three months of age at the time of the inauguration, making her the second oldest inaugurated President in American history, after Ronald Reagan, who was about eight months older at his first inauguration, would think twice about spending the next ten years of her life, until age 77 and three months, if she served two complete terms, with the pressure cooker and stresses of running for President, and dealing with an increasingly complex and troubled world and nation. But she seems game for the challenge, and would certainly come into office more experienced and better equipped for the Presidency than almost any occupant of the Oval Office we have seen.

But her likely accession to the Presidency, with the full team support and financial backing of many Obama Administration and campaign functionaries, is a true sign that Vice President Joe Biden should give up the quest for the White House, as he is about five years older, and would be the oldest first term President, and if he were to serve two terms, would be past 82 at the end. This author is a great Joe Biden fan, but it does seem time for party unity, in the midst of Republican chaos and anarchy, for him to accept reality, and as soon as Hillary Clinton announces, to be gracious and announce he will not challenge her for the nomination.

There is no likelihood of any Democrat bothering to challenge her, particularly if Biden drops out, and the long range shot by former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer would only be like a Don Quixote battling a windmill!

If Hillary Clinton succeeds in her quest, she will have made the Clinton dynasty the most dominant in modern American history, without any debate. Consider that her husband, Bill Clinton affected the nation from the time he ran in 1992 until he left in 2001, followed by Hillary as Senator from New York for eight years, and then four years as Secretary of State, making for a total of 21 years, now followed by two years in private life, but ten years into the future of campaigning, and possible two terms in the Presidency, which would make for a grand total of 31 years of national influence. And even these two years of private life, Hillary Clinton remains a national figure of great respect and renown, so one could say 33 years, a third of a century, the Clintons may have been the dominant influence in American history–between 1992 and 2025!

The dominance of the Clintons is only matched recently by the Bushes, with father George H. W. on the political radar from his 1980 challenge to Ronald Reagan until his forced retirement in 1993, after losing to Bill Clinton. Then, his son George W. came on the scene as Texas Governor in 1995 and son Jeb as Florida Governor starting in 1999. When George W. ran in 2000, and then won two terms, leaving in 2009, it meant a total of 14 years of senior Bush, followed by 14 years of junior Bush, for a total of 28 years. Ironically, if Jeb were now to run, which his mother does not advise him to do, and which Speaker of the House John Boehner thinks he should do, and were he to win, he could surpass the potential Clinton family record!

Compared to the Clintons and the Bushes, no other family dominates, as the Kennedy generation of John and Robert only lasted 8 years, and after Ted Kennedy lost his only real chance for the Presidency in 1980 against Jimmy Carter in the primaries, it meant a total of maybe 20 years of Kennedy dominance, although Ted did stay as an influential Senator until his death in 2009.

The only other family worthy of mention are the Roosevelts, if one counts Teddy and Franklin as part of the same dynasty, although different parties and generations completely. But even TR and FDR were only dominant for a total of 20 years combined, although TR remained a national figure for the ten years after his Presidency until his death.

It would certainly be ironic if we ended up with Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush opposing each other in 2016, as a battle of the titans, the two families who have more dominated American politics than any other in American history!