Jimmy Carter

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!

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!

 

Could The 2016 Republican National Convention Repeat The History Of The Democratic National Convention Of 1968?

There is now a growing possibility that the Republican National Convention in mid July of this year will rival the most tumultuous convention of modern times, the divisive Democratic National Convention of 1968, which unfortunately doomed the Democratic Party for a generation on the Presidential level, with the sole exception of Jimmy Carter in 1976.

That convention was split over the Vietnam War, and led to massive demonstrations in Chicago, police brutality, tear gas wafting into the convention hall, and the party so badly split that the liberal hero, Hubert Humphrey, tied to the Lyndon Johnson war policy, left the convention in a greatly damaged state.  This led to Richard Nixon winning the Presidency, and ushering in a generation and more of right wing conservatism, which has done great damage to our nation.

But now, there is a good opportunity to reverse that damage, with a Democratic win of the Presidency and the Senate, a narrowing of the House of Representatives Republican majority, and the return of a Democratic majority on the US Supreme Court!

The Republicans seem likely to have a floor fight over the platform, and attempts to contest delegates who will be seated, and who will be their nominee, if Donald Trump can be prevented from gaining 1, 237 delegates, a majority.

There will be breakaways, revolts, harsh statements, certainly the most colorful and exciting convention in the past 48 years, with long range implications for the nation, and the likely demise of the GOP as we have known it.

Conservatives may break away and refuse to support the GOP nominee if it is Donald Trump, and Trump could still decide to bolt the party if not the nominee, forming his own independent candidacy!

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.

Most Significant Election Since 1968: Presidency, Senate, And Supreme Court Are In Play!

It is becoming very clear that the Presidential Election of 2016 will become the most significant election since 1968, when we saw the beginning of the Republican resurgence under Richard Nixon, due to the splintering of the Democratic Party under Lyndon B. Johnson, due to the turmoil around the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement.

The Democratic New Deal coalition had lasted 36 years, with only Dwight D. Eisenhower, really a non politician who ran on the Republican line after being briefly considered by Democrats in 1948, breaking the Democratic dominance, which also included Democratic dominance of the Congress, except in 1947-1948 and 1953-1954.

Since 1968, the Republicans controlled the White House for all but for the four Jimmy Carter years up to 1992, and then won a contested election in the Supreme Court, giving the Presidency and the Republican Party control in the early 2000s under George W. Bush.  And the Congress was Republican, except briefly from 1994-2006, and again after 2010 in the House of Representatives and 2014 in the US Senate, after the Senate had been Republican in the first six Reagan years of the 1980s.  And the Court appointments after 1968 have been 13 under Republicans and only 4 under Democrats, but with the death of Antonin Scalia, the possibility of a permanent (for a generation) Democratic and liberal majority is within reach.

Now, after a long period of Republican control of the Supreme Court, it will come to an end if the Democrats can win the Presidency again, and if they can regain control of the US Senate, so this is easily the most transformative election in a half century!

It would transform America IF the Democrats can gain the upper hand in the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the Presidency, and the hope is that the House of Representatives might be different after reapportionment after 2020. with the goal now to create a smaller GOP margin in the lower House in the interim.

One period of Democratic dominance was replaced by a period of Republican dominance, and with the GOP splintering around Donald Trump, we might be seeing a return to the concept of the New Deal-Great Society and a new Progressive Era.

It all depends on voter turnout and commitment, and for anyone to be lackadaisical and not vote, is inexcusable in the present circumstances!

“A New Generation Of Leadership”–Kennedy, Carter, Clinton, Obama, And Now Rubio?

In the past half century, America has, four times, elected a “new generation of leadership” to the White House.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy, 43, replaced Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was 70.

In 1976, Jimmy Carter, 52 replaced Gerald Ford who was 63.

In 1992, Bill Clinton, 46, replaced George H. W. Bush, who was 68.

In 2008, Barack Obama, 47, replaced George W. Bush, who was 62, and defeated John McCain, who was 72.

Now, in 2016, we have the possibility of Marco Rubio, 45, replacing Barack Obama, who will be 55 later this year, and being opposed by Hillary Clinton, who will be 69, OR Bernie Sanders, who will be 75.

Rubio seems more likely as the Republican nominee than Ted Cruz, the other “young” Republican left in the race, who would be 46 if he took the oath of office, but it seems that Rubio has a better chance to win a national election.

And Rubio’s endorsement by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who would be a great running mate and age 45 on Inauguration Day next year, makes for a very attractive team, eight months apart, both 45, and both photogenic, against an “old timer”, either Hillary or Bernie.

So the question is whether the nation would be willing to elect a young Republican team, with the exact opposite view of government, than Democrats Kennedy, Carter, Clinton and Obama had!

And also, can Rubio defeat the “oldest” Republican potential nominee, Donald Trump, age 70 this June?

Will youth win out over age is the question of the campaign!

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.

Hillary Clinton Campaigning As A “Progressive”, Against Husband Bill Clinton’s “Moderate” Presidency!

Hillary Clinton is campaigning as a “progressive”, but her husband, while in office as the 42nd President, was far from progressive!

Many would say that Bill Clinton (1993-2001) was a “raging moderate” in so many ways.

Despite being attacked by Republicans incessantly, and being impeached by them as well, Bill Clinton actually cooperated with them on many issues, and was also often quite critical of liberals in his own party.

Witness:

He signed into law the end of the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1995.

He signed into law the end of the federal guarantee of welfare in 1996, leaving it to the states to decide levels of support of single mothers and children, and the elderly and disabled.

He signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, which was a big step back from the idea of gay equality.  Earlier in 1994, he had promoted “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military, backing away from equality for gays.

He signed the Omnibus Crime legislation in 1994, which was a major crackdown on crime, and that allowed the arrest and incarceration of many young people, many of them African American and Latino, on minor drug charges, filling up America’s prisons.

He signed NAFTA into law in 1993, which undermined labor, and caused an influx of foreign goods, due to the low tariffs, now opposed by his wife.

He signed into law a repeal of much of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1998,  which led to bank expansion of loans and mortgages, and much larger banks that helped to lead to the Great Recession of 2008-2009.

He called himself a “New Democrat” in 1992, criticized liberalism often, and was involved in the centrist Democratic Leadership Council group.

This does not mean that Bill Clinton did not have some really positive aspects domestically to his Presidency, but he was certainly considered by many to be a “Republicrat”, rather than a Democrat.

He, along with Jimmy Carter, were the least progressive Democratic Presidents, when compared to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson, and also Barack Obama, after Carter and Clinton.

This might be because Carter and Clinton were Southern Democrats, but the point is that Bill Clinton, while good on some issues, was not a progressive, as his wife now is campaigning on against Bernie Sanders!

Does it mean that Hillary Clinton cannot have “learned” from the mistakes  of the 1990s, honestly?  NO, but the point is she is very different as a campaigner than her husband was!

Of course, when one thinks about it, Hillary is running for the Presidency a full generation after her husband won his second and last term, the last time he was facing the voters!

 

If Hillary Clinton Loses Iowa Caucuses, Full Panic Mode Is In Effect, And Joe Biden, John Kerry, Or Al Gore Might Enter Presidential Race!

If Hillary Clinton loses the Iowa Caucuses tonight, full panic mode is in effect, and one of the following might enter the Presidential race belatedly:

Vice President Joe Biden; Secretary of State John Kerry; Former Vice President Al Gore

It is claimed that Hillary will not be in panic mode if she loses tonight, but to lose tonight AND New Hampshire next week, if it happens, will be a major blow no matter what future states might do!

Bernie Sanders has great ideas, but despite polls that show him beating Donald Trump and other Republicans, it is hard to believe that will happen, as Sanders’ background as a democratic Socialist will be made to look as if he is a Communist, with the hammer and sickle emblem to be planted on all commercials and in all speeches by Trump or any other GOP Presidential nominee!

Sanders is, sadly, reminiscent of South Dakota Senator George McGovern, a wonderful human being with great ideas, who defeated Establishment favorite Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine in 1972, and then was smashed by a landslide of epic proportions, 49 states, by flawed President Richard Nixon, soon forced out of the Presidency due to the Watergate scandal.  But the Nixon campaign was able to make McGovern out to be an extreme leftist, and the Democrats went into eclipse, and moderation took over with Jimmy Carter in 1976.

It is very sad, but already Trump is labeling Sanders a Communist, and for the ignorant population of much of America, that will be enough to make it impossible for Sanders to win the White House!

And as said before many times, the Supreme Court future is at stake, so we may yet see other Democrats enter the race in the near future, IF Hillary has major troubles in the next eight days!