John Adams

Presidential Family Members And The American Presidency

The growing influence of Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, is a significant factor in Donald Trump’s approach to the Presidency.

His reliance on and loyalty to his daughter and son in law demonstrates the power of family.

Other Presidents have also utilized family members as follows:

John Adams relied on John Quincy Adams as Ambassador to Prussia.

Woodrow Wilson had his second wife, Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, conduct cabinet meetings after he had a stroke in October 1919.

Franklin D. Roosevelt relied on his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, for advice on so many domestic and foreign policy issues, and in his last two years, his daughter, Anna, also was available to assist him.

Dwight D. Eisenhower used his son John Eisenhower as a staff aide in the White House.

John F. Kennedy had the most prominent relative in his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, serving as Attorney General of the United States for the entire time of the Kennedy Presidency.

Lyndon B. Johnson leaned on his wife, Lady Bird Johnson, for much advice.

Ronald Reagan followed the advice of his wife, Nancy Reagan, on a host of issues, including developing a relationship with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Bill Clinton utilized his wife, Hillary Clinton, on a proposed national health care program, as well as a host of other issues.

Barack Obama capitalized on the advice of wife Michelle Obama, as they were a very close couple.

But notice how mostly it was First Ladies who were engaged in helping their husband, with only John Quincy Adams, Anna Roosevelt, John Eisenhower (children) and RFK (brother) as important aides to the President, and Ivanka and Jared are in many ways unique in their growing role, with only RFK being of an equal or greater significance.

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: Presidents Who Dropped In Stature Include Five Democrats, One Republican, One Democrat Who Became A Whig

The CSpan 2017 Presidential Survey saw several Presidents who dropped dramatically in stature and reputation over the history of the three polls in 2000, 2009, and 2017. This is defined as four or more slots in decline.

Woodrow Wilson (D) dropped from 6 to 9 to 11.

Andrew Jackson (D) dropped from 13 in 2000 and 2009 to 18 in 2017.

Grover Cleveland (D) dropped from 17 to 21 to 23.

Jimmy Carter (D) dropped from 22 to 25 to 26.

Rutherford B. Hayes (R) dropped from 26 to 33 and then up slightly to 32.

Martin Van Buren (D) dropped from 30 to 31 to 34.

John Tyler (D to W) was 36, went up to 35 and then dropped to 39.

At the same time that five Democrats dropped in the polls, 8 of the top 15 in the poll were Democrats (FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Wilson, Obama, Polk, Clinton), to 4 Republicans (Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan), 2 Democratic Republicans (Jefferson, Monroe), and 1 Federalist (Washington).

With only four Republicans in the top 15 (all in the top 10), the only other Republicans in the top 20 are McKinley (16) and Bush Senior (20), with the other three in the top 20 being Democratic Republican Madison (17), Democrat Andrew Jackson (18), and Federalist John Adams (19).

Presidents Judged On Compassion And Empathy: Few And Far Between

The traits of compassion and empathy are not automatic parts of any person’s makeup and character, but rather needs to be cultivated from childhood on by a family environment that emphasizes commitment to others, rather than exploitation of others for one’s own gain.

Difficult childhood experiences can, of course, affect personality, and often cripple any sense of compassion and empathy for others.

So one could argue that any President who had owned slaves, as ten Presidents did, are lacking in compassion and empathy, as they were able to separate their willingness to exploit others for personal gain.

One could also say that anyone who grew up in an environment that overlooked the human rights of native Americans, or displayed racism and nativism toward people of other races, nationalities, and religions, also would be seen as lacking in compassion and empathy.

So by this standard, the number of Presidents with elements of compassion and empathy are few and far between. However, there are some who have background that would seem to eliminate them from this category, but who, in reality, demonstrated growth and recognition of shortcomings and overcame them in the Presidency. In other words, they changed over time.

So who would fit on the list of compassion and empathy in office?

In the 19th century, we would place John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, and James A. Garfield in his few short months in office before the tragedy of assassination shortened his life.

In the 20th century and since, we would include Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Obama.

This does not mean that one cannot find criticism of these ten Presidents’ policies, for surely one can.

But even with elements that can be seen as shortcomings, these ten Presidents in general can be seen as the most compassionate, empathetic Presidents we have had.

Which Presidents would be seen as having the least compassion and empathy in American history?

This author would say Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Richard Nixon and Donald Trump, with Trump at the head of the list.

What America Is Losing In 13 Days: The Best, Most Elegant, Most Dignified POTUS And FLOTUS In Modern Times!

In just 13 days, America is losing its best, most elegant, most dignified President of the United States and First Lady of the United States in modern times!

This is not to attack the Presidents and First Ladies who came before Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, as many of them had talents and abilities worthy of commendation, and many contributed in a good way to the nation.

But really, the Obamas are the most glorious couple in the White House since the Kennedys (John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy) in the early 1960s.

There were many times when one had to wonder whether Barack Obama would survive his time in the Presidency, as the number of death threats and plots against the 44th President were the greatest since Abraham Lincoln, and twenty such cases were documented in my chapter on Assassination threats, Chapter 16, of my Assassinations book, which will be out in paperback on March 8, 2017.

The level of hatred and refusal to show respect was greatest under Obama since Lincoln, and many still wish his personal demise, including former NY Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Palladino, as just one example.

The level of hate and disrespect displayed by Donald Trump is unmatched in the relationship between any two Presidents, and yet Obama has done everything possible to cooperate with the transition, or as Michelle Obama has said, “when they go low, we go high!”

Let us wish the Obamas a long, productive, and healthy retirement, and let us hope that they will be with us in their 90s, as four Presidents (Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush have reached), along with earlier Presidents John Adams and Herbert Hoover; and also five First Ladies (Bess Truman, Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush), with Rosalynn Carter reaching 90 in August of this year.

Trump Security Costs In Trump Tower To Require 100 Secret Service Agents Involved And $1 Million Cost Per Day, Or $1.5 Billion Over Four Years, At Taxpayer Expense!

With Donald Trump’s insistence that he plans to spend a lot of time in Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan over the next four years, rather than being full time at the White House and sometimes at his Palm Beach, Florida estate, the security costs for him, his wife and his son Barron, will be astronomical, with taxpayers footing the bill, and many of the estimated 100 Secret Service agents and support staff staying at Trump hotels, with Trump gaining profit from it all!

This is outrageous, as never has any President not desired to live full time in the White House, since John Adams first inhabited it in the fall of 1800. And the idea that his wife and son will be in Manhattan until at least the end of the school term in June 2017, is another added cost because of their constant presence there.

The cost will be at least $1 million per day, meaning about $1.5 billion over the next four years, and if Trump, when traveling abroad, decides he will only stay at Trump properties in foreign nations, that will increase the cost of his security detail, as it means many of the usual locations for Presidents to stay at overseas will be bypassed. And of course, the support staff costs at these Trump properties will be making money for Trump while he is President.

Anyone who is fair minded would argue this is unacceptable, but when and how will anyone tell the President that what he wants is not acceptable?

This is abuse of power, and it will magnify in so many ways over the next four years, including his present refusal to take himself out of his properties and their management and earnings through a blind trust, as Trump says he sees no issue, and only a Republican Congress could mandate otherwise, and that looks highly unlikely. There is more chance of an asteroid hitting the earth soon than Trump being prevented from doing what he wants.

In a way, he is not the incoming President, but instead an Emperor in his own mind!

Ten Most Divisive And Polarizing Elections In American History

As we near the end of an extremely divisive and polarizing election, it is a good time to look back and judge what were the ten most divisive and polarizing elections in American history.

Chronologically, they would be the following:

The Election of 1800 between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

The Election of 1828 between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson

The Election of 1860 between Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, and John Bell

The Election of 1876 between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden

The Election of 1884 between Grover Cleveland and James G. Blaine

The Election of 1896 between William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan

The Election of 1912 between Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Eugene Debs

The Election of 1948 between Harry Truman, Thomas E. Dewey, Strom Thurmond, and Henry A. Wallace

The Election of 1968 between Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, and George Wallace

The Election of 2000 between George W. Bush, Al Gore, Ralph Nader, and Pat Buchanan

Danger Of Civil Disorder If Donald Trump Refuses To Accept Defeat, Which All Previous Losers Have Accepted With Grace And Dignity!

Throughout American history, there has been great emotions as battles for the Presidency go on, but at the end, when the election is over, the loser has always conceded with grace and dignity.

This includes the John Adams-Thomas Jefferson race in 1800, the first time an incumbent has lost to a challenger.

It includes the John Quincy Adams-Andrew Jackson Presidential races in 1824 and 1828.

It includes the Abraham Lincoln–Stephen Douglas–John C. Breckinridge–John Bell four way race on the eve of the Civil War in 1860.

It includes the hotly contested 1876 Presidential race between Rutherford Hayes and Samuel Tilden, resolved by the political deal known as the Compromise of 1877.

It includes the four way contested race of 1912 between Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Eugene Debs.

It includes the upset election victory of Harry Truman against Thomas E. Dewey in 1948.

It includes the John F. Kennedy-Richard Nixon race in 1960, which Nixon thought might have been corrupt, but chose not to challenge.

It also includes the Presidential election of 2000, when Al Gore challenged the results in court, but then was graceful once the Supreme Court intervened in favor of George W. Bush.

And it includes the grace and dignity of John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012, when they lost to Barack Obama.

But now, we have had indications that Donald Trump will not concede, and will claim a “rigged” election if he loses, and this will only encourage civil disorder, and the potential for bloodshed and violence, and refusal to allow a peaceful transition to the inauguration and administration of Hillary Clinton.

This is not a laughing matter one iota, and a very worrisome matter!

Empathy Important Trait For Any Political Leader, Particularly A President Of The United States, Missing In The GOP And Donald Trump!

Empathy is one of the most important traits that any political leader needs to govern effectively.

Sadly, the Republican Party and most of its leadership totally lacks empathy, and instead is very harsh and judgmental toward those who are not fortunate enough to be born wealthy.

They fail to have concern for poverty stricken people, blaming them for their own plight.

They fail to have concern for those who are sick and or disabled, and wish to cut benefits, including ObamaCare, which has given millions of Americans their first health care.

They fail to care about the tragedy of veterans who often have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from their experiences fighting in America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the basic stresses of being in the military.

They fail to care about discrimination, racism, nativism, and misogyny, and often encourage rhetoric and actions, which further alienate large sections of population within America.

They allow religion to be utilized in a way to promote hate and division, and look the other way as they endorse hypocrisy.

The candidacy of Donald Trump only emphasizes ever more these terrible traits, as Trump is totally clueless and uncaring about the American people, often insulting, denigrating, demeaning, ridiculing, bullying, and showing total disdain for anyone who dares to challenge his disgraceful behavior and rhetoric.

Instead of taking responsibility for his own shortcomings, Trump lashes out at the news media for exposing his actions and words, thereby attempting to turn the American people against the news media and the concept of Freedom of the Press.

The Republican Party has been complicit in this kind of attack, even before Donald Trump emerged as a significant political force, and they represent a threat to our Bill Of Rights.

The last time this happened, the Federalist Party attack on the Bill of Rights under John Adams, with the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798-1801, resulted in the demise of the party over the next generation.

Joint Party Tickets A Good Idea? History Tells Us NO!

Recently, there has been some discussion of a “fusion” ticket as the way to stop Donald Trump.

One such scenario is to have Hillary Clinton run with John Kasich as her running mate.

That is totally preposterous, and history tells us that when the Vice President is of a different party than the President, it does not work out well.

The first contested Presidential election led to Thomas Jefferson as Vice President under his opponent, John Adams from 1797-1801, and that did not work out well, and in fact, helped to promote the 12th Amendment in 1804.

Then we had John C. Calhoun as Vice President under John Quincy Adams in the years 1825-1829, and that did not work out well.

William Henry Harrison was elected in 1840 with this Whig candidate having a Democrat, John Tyler, as his Vice President.  Within a month, Harrison was dead, and Tyler had constant battles with the Whig Congress, because he did not wish to follow Whig platform ideas.

Abraham Lincoln chose Andrew Johnson as his second term Vice President, despite the fact that Johnson was a Democrat in a Republican Presidency, and when Lincoln was assassinated six weeks later, we had one of the worst struggles in American history, as Johnson fought and resisted the Republican Party which had put him into the Vice Presidency, albeit briefly.

With these four examples, none of them working out well, we have never had such a situation arise again since, but we have had suggestions of doing what has never worked out well.

There were suggestions that Hubert Humphrey select Nelson Rockefeller in 1968, and that John McCain choose Joe Lieberman in 2008.

It simply will not work, and it undermines party loyalty and commitment to a President and his administration, if the next in line, in case of tragedy, transforms the power base in the Presidency.

As it is, we have had top cabinet members who are of the other party, particularly in the War Department as it was known before 1947, and the Defense Department, as it has been known since then., including:

Henry Stimson under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1940-1945

Robert McNamara under John F. Kennedy, beginning in 1961, and continuing under Lyndon B. Johnson until 1968.

William Cohen under Bill Clinton from 1997-2001

Robert Gates under Barack Obama from 2009-2011

But the Vice President needs to be “on the team”, not a rival of the President in office!

 

Two Projects Left Hanging: Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial And Adams Memorial, In Washington, DC!

There are two Memorial projects in limbo for the National Mall in Washington DC, an area already overloaded with buildings and memorials, with the new National Musem of African American  History and Culture scheduled to open in the Fall of 2016.

The debate over the design and funding of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial has been raging for more than a decade, with the descendants of President Eisenhower unhappy over the proposal, and private funding hard to come by.  So it is not clear if such a Memorial will be constructed at all, with some arguing that there are already Eisenhower memorials in Abilene, Kansas (The Eisenhower Presidential Library}, and in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where the Eisenhowers retired to after the Presidency.

Some have argued that Eisenhower, while rated in the top ten Presidents, is clearly lower ranked than three other Presidents who do not have national memorials in Washington DC—Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Harry Truman,

Then, there is the plan to build an Adams Memorial in Washington DC, to honor President John Adams; First Lady Abigail Adams; President John Quincy Adams;  First Lady Louisa Catherine Adams; Charles Francis Adams, Sr.; and the latter’s two brilliant sons, Henry Adams, and Brooks Adams, all part of the illustrious family which gave us so many brilliant public figures!

But as with the Eisenhower project, there have been many delays, relating to the design and private funding of such a memorial, with the only historic site for the family being the homes and burial places of the Adamses in Massachusetts.

Some would say we have too many memorials already in Washington, DC, while others would disagree strongly with that assertion, as the nation’s capital is the location that more Americans and foreign tourists visit than any other site in the nation!