James Buchanan

75th Anniversary Of VE Day, And 136th Birthday Of President Harry Truman

Seventy five years ago today, the nightmare of World War II in Europe came to an end with the surrender of Nazi Germany, although the war against Japan continued for four more months until VJ Day on September 2, 1945.

President Harry Truman was in office only 26 days, and VE Day happened to be his 61st Birthday, so today we celebrate a humble man, who met the challenge of ending the war against Japan, and coping with the Cold War threat of the Soviet Union.

The only President since 1900 not to have attended or graduated college, still Harry Truman was a learned man, as he was a reader and interested in gaining knowledge. Unlike Donald Trump, who hates to read and has displayed evidence that he has no knowledge to speak of on any topic imaginable, including as a few: History, Science, Medicine, Math, Spelling, Economics, Foreign Policy, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and common decency, empathy, compassion, and humanity!

Truman came in at a difficult time, with the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 12, 1945, and was a bit overwhelmed, but met the challenge, and demonstrated courage, guts, decisiveness, and principle.

One can be sure that if Harry Truman were alive, he would have choice curse words for the only other President who shares the first four letters of his last name.

Truman ranks as 5th or 6th in rankings of Presidents, while Trump is assured last place for the eternity, below James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson!

Crisis Management: Trump Far Worse Than James Buchanan And Herbert Hoover! Time For Mike Pence To Step In!

Donald Trump will go down as the absolutely worst Crisis Manager in American Presidential history!

Before now, it would be a tie between James Buchanan at the time of the pending Civil War in 1860 and Herbert Hoover at the time of the highest unemployment in the Great Depression in 1932!

But even they were not as undignified and self serving as Donald Trump, who is still more obsessed with his self image, and fails to show any concern about the massive loss of life which is coming to America from the CoronaVirus Pandemic, far more than any other nation, but no real concerted action occurring!

By all rights, Donald Trump has again failed in leadership for the umpteenth time, and should resign and let Vice President Mike Pence take over as the 46th President!

Never has a new President succeeded so late in the term, as Lyndon B. Johnson succeeded near the end of the third year, upon John F. Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963, three weeks less than a year to the election.

But Pence would have the opportunity, if he chose to be a true leader, to change policy, and possibly save the Republican Party, although it is hard to imagine that he could win a full term.

Instead, at this point with seven months to the election, and about nine and a half months to the inauguration, he could gain a reputation as having worked to save the nation, as much as possible, while unable to have his own term.

One has to believe that in his heart of hearts, Mike Pence knows that Trump is a disaster, and should resign!

It is time for Mike Pence to think of the nation, not himself, and pressure Trump to leave, or utilize the 25th Amendment, pushing the cabinet majority to back him, in a last ditch effort to save the nation from the worst that is coming!

Economic Downturns And American Presidential Elections In History

With the sudden, rapid decline in the economy, caused by the CoronaVirus Pandemic, the odds of Donald Trump winning reelection in November 2020 has dramatically declined!

Economic Downturns ALWAYS lead to defeat of Presidents running for reelection, as witness the following examples:

Martin Van Buren–Panic of 1837, loses in 1840.

James Buchanan–Panic of 1857–chose not to run for reelection, but Republican party opposition won in 1860 with Abraham Lincoln.

Ulysses S. Grant–Panic of 1873, Republican successor to Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, lost by massive margin of 250,000 votes in 1876 election, but won a disputed Electoral College vote over Democrat Samuel Tilden.

Benjamin Harrison–Panic of 1893 (evident in late 1892), loses in 1892.

Herbert Hoover–Great Depression (1929 and after), loses in 1932.

Jimmy Carter–Recession of 1980, loses in 1980.

George H W Bush–Recession of 1992, loses in 1992.

John McCain–Great Recession 2008-2009, successor Republican candidate for George W. Bush, loses in 2008.

Donald Trump Insured Of Being Ranked Worst President Ever, As He Totally Fails In Crisis Management!

The issue of Crisis Management is a crucial one in judging Presidential leadership, as what matters more than that in judging a President, or a governor of a state or a mayor of a city, all executive positions where the population depends on the abilities, skills, compassion, and empathy of such leaders.

So on that factor alone, Donald Trump is insured of being ranked the worst President ever, as he totally has failed in the present CoronaVirus Crisis, which may end up considered the greatest crisis since the Great Depression, World War II, and the Civil War!

Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan were unable to handle the issue of division between the North and the South over slavery in the 1850s, helping to lead to the Civil War.

Ulysses S. Grant and Warren G. Harding were totally incompetent in dealing with the issue of political corruption in the 1870s and the early 1920s.

Herbert Hoover was unable to resolve the crisis of the Great Depression in the early 1930s, as economic conditions worsened every month.

Andrew Johnson in the 1860s, Richard Nixon in the 1970s, and George W. Bush in the 2000s presided over governments that were highly inept and corrupt in so many ways.

But Donald Trump has been horrendous in all these way—inability to unite the nation in a crisis as with Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan; personally engaged in corruption in a wider way than Ulysses S. Grant, Warren G. Harding, and Richard Nixon; disastrous policies on so many issues as with George W. Bush; and total ineptitude in a difficult time in national life, as with Andrew Johnson and Herbert Hoover.

So Trump, without any debate possible, will rank as the absolute worst President we have ever seen in American history! Let us hope that the nation will overcome the CoronaVirus epidemic in decent shape, without too much loss of life, and that no foreign foe takes advantage of our weaknesses to present a threat on the scale of September 11. 2001 or December 7, 1941!

The Twelve Smartest and Twelve Dumbest Presidents In American History

America has been fortunate in having a large number of smart, intelligent Presidents in its history.

This author would judge the twelve smartest Presidents, chronologically, to be as follows:

John Adams

Thomas Jefferson

John Quincy Adams

Abraham Lincoln

James A. Garfield

Theodore Roosevelt

Woodrow Wilson

John F. Kennedy

Richard Nixon

Jimmy Carter

Bill Clinton

Barack Obama

Who would be the smartest of all? Probably a tie between Jefferson and John Quincy Adams!

And who are the 12 dumbest Presidents in chronological order?

Andrew Jackson

William Henry Harrison

Zachary Taylor

Franklin Pierce

James Buchanan

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S. Grant

Benjamin Harrison

Warren G. Harding

Calvin Coolidge

George W. Bush

Donald Trump

And who is the dumbest President in American history? Probably a three way tie among Harding, George W. Bush, and Trump!

Vice Presidency Has Led To Presidential Nominations Multiple Times Since The 1960s

The Vice Presidency was never good breeding ground for Presidential nominations since the Civil War.

Only John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren and John C. Breckinridge were nominated for President before the Civil War, with all winning the Presidency, except for Breckinridge, who had been Vice President under James Buchanan from 1857-1861, and then nominated by Southern Democrats who refused to accept the official Democratic nominee, Stephen Douglas in 1860.

The only Vice President from 1860 to 1960 who was nominated for President was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third term Vice President, Henry A. Wallace, who ran as the Progressive Party nominee for President in 1948 against his own successor in the Vice Presidency, President Harry Truman.

But since 1960, six Vice Presidents have run as Presidential candidates, including;

Richard Nixon in 1960 and 1968

Hubert Humphrey in 1968

Gerald Ford in 1976 (who had succeeded Richard Nixon under the 25th Amendment)

Walter Mondale in 1984

George H. W. Bush in 1988

Al Gore in 2000

Nixon and Bush won the Presidency, while Ford lost a full term after finishing the partial term he succeeded to, and Gore won the popular vote, but failed to win the Electoral College.

The point is that Joe Biden would be the 7th Vice President who ran for President after serving as Number 2 in the executive branch.

And Nixon the first time, Mondale, Bush, and Gore all had a jump start on the nomination of their party for the Presidency, with only Humphrey and Ford having major challengers.

So at least by recent history in the past half century plus, being a Vice President gives a leap forward to those who wish to run for President.

Barack Obama Fortunate For History That He Is Between George W. Bush And Donald Trump In The Order Of Presidents In Office

In the long run of history, where a President is in the order of attaining the Presidency really matters.

So, for instance, John Adams is between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and while Adams ranks around the middle in ranking of Presidents by historians and political scientists, he is rated much lower than the two Presidents before and after him, who are in the top ten of any listing.

The same goes for William Howard Taft, who is between Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, both of whom are in the top quarter of Presidents, while Taft is rated in the mid 20s.

And the same is true for George H. W. Bush, who is between Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, both of whom are rated higher than Bush, who is rated in the later teens as President.

On the other hand, Abraham Lincoln comes between the two men usually rated the two worst Presidents, James Buchanan before him and Andrew Johnson after him.

And it is now clear that Barack Obama, rated 11th in one poll, 8th in another poll, and 17th in a third poll, all within the two years he has been out of the Presidency, is fortunate to have George W. Bush, rated in the 30s, and Donald Trump rated either at the bottom under Buchanan and Andrew Johnson, or at most just above them, insuring he will, like Lincoln, always be rated much better.

Donald Trump Defends And Believes Murderous Authoritarians Mohammed Bin Salman, Kim Jong Un, And Vladimir Putin: The Degrading Of The Moral Authority Of The Presidency

Donald Trump is the most despicable President in American history, not because he negotiates with authoritarian dictators in the hope of avoiding conflict, but because he, publicly and privately, will take their word, and believe what they say, when they deny murderous activities against Americans and against journalists.

So we have Mohammed bin Salman who was well aware and responsible for the horrific murder of American journalist and Saudi Arabian national Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018.

So we have Kim Jong Un who was well aware and responsible for the mistreatment, torture and death of American student Otto Warmbier in 2017.

So we have Vladimir Putin who has arranged the death of journalists and other critics who have been murdered outside the Kremlin and in foreign nations by chemical agents, and also denies involvement in the 2016 Presidential election in the United States in favor of Trump over Hillary Clinton.

By publicly accepting these three liars and their denials, Trump adds to his reputation as a massive liar, who has no concern for human rights and common decency.

In so doing, Donald Trump degrades the moral authority of the American Presidency, and besmirches the office.

For that, he will be condemned in history, and it will cement his last place status among Presidents, below James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson.

Latest Presidential Ranking Survey For Presidents Day Changes Ratings Of Several Presidents Upward And Downward

The game of Presidential rankings is one always changing, and the newest survey of scholars, including this author as a participant, does not disappoint in that regard.

The Siena College survey, now done six times since 1982, once for each new President being considered in the rankings, has some surprises.

157 experts, questioned by the Siena College Research Institute, raised two of the Founding Father generation to the top ten, with James Madison number 7 and James Monroe, his successor at number 8. In so doing, two modern Presidents were dropped out of the top ten, with Ronald Reagan at number 13 and Lyndon B. Johnson at number 16.

A rare occurrence was that Abraham Lincoln was number 3, when usually he is on top, although in earlier Siena College surveys, Franklin D. Roosevelt had been number one, now number two, with George Washington moving up to number one.

Barack Obama, number 8 in the American Political Science Association survey in 2018, and number 12 in the C Span 2017 survey, ended up number 17 in the Siena College survey, so below such Presidents as Woodrow Wilson, James K. Polk, John Adams, and Bill Clinton.

And Donald Trump, who was dead last in the APSA poll, was number 42, above James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson, with Johnson ending up below Buchanan, the opposite of both the C Span and APSA surveys.

Of course, the game of Presidential ranking is a never ending and highly debatable one, and the way that Presidents are ranked is purely in the eyes and expertise of the beholder.

Should a great man, such as Madison or Monroe, but not as accomplished as more modern Presidents, such as Reagan or LBJ, be higher in the ratings?

That is left up to how people perceive Presidents, and whether they include the whole life, or just the actual years of the Presidency, in their judgments.

The Wealthiest And The Poorest Presidents

The American Presidents have varied greatly in wealth acquired or inherited in their lifetimes.

Some were born poor, such as Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, due to family circumstances, with Clinton and Nixon acquiring wealth in their lifetimes, but Johnson would still be the seventh poorest President at death, according to statistics.

Materials gathered by scholars have led to conclusions on the net worth of our 44 Presidents, including their post Presidential years.

Easily, at least by the knowledge we have now, Donald Trump is likely the wealthiest President, although subject to change by further Congressional investigation of Trump’s finances, sure to come in the 116th Congress by congressional subpoenas. By estimate, Trump is wealthier than all the other 43 men who have been President of the United States.

After Trump, probably John F. Kennedy, had he not been assassinated, would have inherited close to $1 billion later in his life.

Other than Trump and Kennedy, George Washington would be considered the wealthiest President, in modern terms, around $580 million.

Behind him would be Thomas Jefferson ($234 million); Theodore Roosevelt ($138 million); Andrew Jackson ($131 million); James Madison ($112 million); and Lyndon B. Johnson ($108 million), with all those numbers being estimates.

Other Presidents who had substantial estimated wealth would include Herbert Hoover ($82 million; Bill Clinton ($75 million); Franklin D. Roosevelt ($66 million); and John Tyler ($57 million). Clinton acquired most of his wealth post Presidency by speeches and authored books, and will likely rise much higher if he lives a long life.

At the other end of the scale, we had 13 Presidents who had $1 million or less wealth by all estimates, in 2016 dollars, including in ranked order:

William McKinley

Warren G. Harding

James Buchanan

Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S. Grant

James A. Garfield

Chester Alan Arthur

Woodrow Wilson

Calvin Coolidge

Harry Truman

Notice that the bulk of these Presidents served in the years from Buchanan to McKinley, the last half of the 19th century, a total of seven out of eleven Presidents.

The three Presidents from Wilson through Coolidge also are on this list, and Harry Truman ends up as the least prosperous President at his death, as compared to Andrew Johnson the poorest at birth.

Barack Obama is rated just below John Tyler at number 13 on the wealth list at an estimated $40 million, with potential over a long lifetime to become one of the top few wealthiest Presidents by speeches, books, and other activities due to the stature and prestige of being a former President in modern times.

Other Presidents are rated in the middle on wealth, such as George W. Bush at $39 million; George H. W. Bush at $26 million; John Quincy Adams at $23 million; John Adams at $21 million; Richard Nixon at $17 million; Ronald Reagan at $14 million; Dwight D. Eisenhower at $9 million; and Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter at $8 million each.