John F. Kennedy

The Uncertainties Of American Politics: Envisioning Donald Trump As Possible President!

Some observers are starting to wonder whether billionaire celebrity Donald Trump could actually be elected President of the United States!

It would seem to be impossible, a crazy idea!

And yet, when one looks at history, one has to consider the following:

In 1911, who would have thought that a recently elected Governor of New Jersey, and former Princeton University President, named Woodrow Wilson, would become President in the Presidential election of 1912?

In 1959, who would have thought that a mediocre Senator of Catholic religion, named John F. Kennedy, would overcome his faith and become President in the Presidential election of 1960?

In 1967, who would have thought that a losing Presidential candidate in 1960 and losing gubernatorial candidate in California in 1962, named Richard Nixon, would overcome his losses and bad press and become President in the Presidential election of 1968?

In 1975, who would have thought that an obscure one term Governor of Georgia, who many ridiculed, named Jimmy Carter, would overcome his obscurity and Southern heritage, to become the first elected Southerner to the Presidency in the Presidential election of 1976, since Zachary Taylor in 1848?

In 1979, who would have thought an aging actor, who had already tried twice for the Presidency, named Ronald Reagan, would overcome disadvantages to become President in the Presidential election of 1980?

In 1991, who would have thought the governor of a small Southern state, Arkansas, named Bill Clinton, would overcome a sex scandal that had destroyed Gary Hart in 1987, and go on to become President in the Presidential election of 1992?

And in 2007, who would have thought that a mixed race African American with the strange name of Barack Hussein Obama, would overcome Hillary Clinton, and go on to become President in the Presidential election of 2008?

So who is to say that Donald Trump cannot overcome obstacles and go on to become the 45th President of the United States in the Presidential election of 2016?

Is Al Gore Or John Kerry Viable As A Presidential Candidate In 2016? The History Of Henry Clay, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, And Richard Nixon!

Speculation has risen not only that Vice President Joe Biden might announce for President, but also that former Vice President Al Gore and Secretary of State John Kerry, both who lost the Presidency to George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 respectively, might decide to try for the White House yet again.

Although Hillary Clinton seems to many like a shoo-in for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016, there are signs of discontent with her, and feelings among many that she is too secretive, not trustworthy, and not all that likable.

The odds are still heavily in favor of her nomination, but there are many who feel Biden, and possibly Gore and or Kerry, should consider running, as it is felt that Bernie Sanders, while performing well right now in regards to crowds and fund raising, ultimately cannot be expected to win the nomination, with his Socialist connections being harmful, due to many Americans misunderstanding the term, and being told it is harmful and dangerous.

But the question arises about Gore and Kerry, that they have both been out of the Presidential game for a very long time, with Gore out 16 years and having no public office since his loss in 2000, despite having won the popular vote over George W. Bush; and Kerry, having served in the Senate after his defeat, until he became Secretary of State after Hillary Clinton left the State Department in 2013, but being out of the Presidential race for 12 years by 2016.

So history is a guide here.

It turns out four Presidential candidates had been out of the Presidential field for very long times, as follows:

Henry Clay lost the Presidential race in 1824, and then 8 years later in 1832, he was nominated again. Then 12 years later, in 1844, he was nominated for the third and last time. Twelve years is a long time!

Abraham Lincoln last held public office in 1848, when he left the House of Representatives after one 2 year term. But then, 12 years later, he ran for President and won!

Franklin D. Roosevelt ran for Vice President in 1920 and lost, and then was sidelined by polio, not running again for public office until 8 years later, when he won the Governorship of New York in 1928. Four years later, and 12 years after losing the Vice Presidency, he won the Presidency in 1932!

Finally, Richard Nixon lost the Presidency in 1960 and lost, then ran for California Governor in 1962 and lost, and yet came back 6 years later, after 8 years out of office, and yet won the Presidential Election of 1968!

Are Al Gore and John Kerry as long shots as Clay, Lincoln, FDR, and Nixon were?

That is the issue to confront, and this author would say that while both of them seem “long shots”, we have had other “long shots”, who few thought had a chance to win the Presidency, and in recent times yet—John F. Kennedy (Catholic issue) in 1960; Jimmy Carter (Southern issue) in 1976; Bill Clinton (Sex Scandal issue) in 1992; and Barack Obama (Race issue) in 2008!

So literally, anything is possible in American Presidential politics!

The Top Ten Transformational Presidents

The issue of “transformational” Presidents has revived lately, as it is clear that we are living through a “transformational” Presidency of Barack Obama, with still a year and a half to go in his tenure in the Oval Office.

With all of the controversy that surrounds Barack Obama, there is no doubt now that Obama has been a transformational President in so many ways.

So the question arises, who among our Presidents has been “transformational”? And in what order would Presidents on this list be ranked?

It seems clear that the top of the list would have to be George Washington, for having established standards and traditions that would be long lasting; and Abraham Lincoln, for keeping the Union together during the Civil War, and ending slavery.

Following Washington and Lincoln would be Franklin D. Roosevelt, who took America through the Great Depression and the Second World War, and changed the relationship of the federal government with the population of the nation, promoting a safety net that would help those most needy. He also created a large federal government that would never become smaller again, due to the Great Depression and the Second World War, and then the Cold War.

Once we go beyond Washington, Lincoln, and FDR, ranking gets much more difficult, but this author thinks the rest of the top ten would be as follows from number four to number ten:

Theodore Roosevelt, who would revive the Presidential office from slumber and use the “bully pulpit” to accomplish reform and federal government regulation of the economy, and started America’s role in world affairs.

Lyndon B. Johnson, who would promote the passage of massive reforms, including civil rights laws, Medicare, and a War on Poverty.

Woodrow Wilson, who would promote major reforms domestically and involvement in world affairs, taking America out of isolationism as a policy during the First World War.

Ronald Reagan, who changed the direction of the nation to Conservatism after a half century of Liberalism, and negotiated arms agreements with the Soviet Union, and helped to bring down the rival super power.

Barack Obama, who brought about health care coverage for most Americans; avoided a massive war; promoted social change in many areas; presided over a major revival of the economy only matched by FDR; and became a major environmental supporter.

Harry Truman, who responded to the Cold War with the Soviet Union in an effective way and determined the direction of foreign policy for a half century, and institutionalized the New Deal of FDR.

James K. Polk, who accomplished the great expansion of American territory by treaty with Great Britain and war with Mexico, creating the continental United States.

Notice that Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton do NOT make this list!

Commentary on this analysis is welcomed!

Presidents And Difficult Diplomacy: TR, FDR, Truman, JFK, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Obama

Presidents have to deal with recalcitrant nations in diplomacy, including nations that are our adversaries.

The key is to promote agreements, with the ability to verify and hold nations accountable, under international agreement. It is not an issue of trust, as many nations see other nations as rivals, but rather the ability to come to agreements with the understanding that violations can lead to a confrontational situation if they are not kept.

Presidents have regularly taken bold steps in diplomacy with other nations, whereby they suffered from strong criticism as being naive and weak, but history tells us they actually demonstrated courage and principle, that international agreements could be upheld if both sides wish to avoid military confrontation.

So we have President Theodore Roosevelt negotiating agreements with a newly ambitious Japan after the Russo-Japanese War.

So we have President Franklin D. Roosevelt deciding to establish diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union after 16 years of non recognition.

So we have President Harry Truman deciding to recognize Israel, and in so doing, alienating Arab nations in the Middle East.

So we have President John F. Kennedy agreeing to the Nuclear Best Ban Treaty in 1963 with the Soviet Union, and it is still in effect today. This came after the Cuban Missile Crisis, which many believed the result would not be obeyed by the Soviet Union, but they did precisely what was required under the settlement.

So we have President Richard Nixon, who made arms limitation agreements (SALT I) with the Soviet Union, and opened the door to contacts with the People’s Republic of China, both moves that are now hailed, although criticized at the time.

SO we have President Jimmy Carter accomplishing something no one would have believed, an agreement between Israel and Egypt, and mutual recognition, in what became known as the Camp David Accords. Additionally, Carter decided to recognize the Communist government in China as being China, rather than Taiwan.

So we have President Ronald Reagan, after calling the Soviet Union an “evil empire”, negotiate arms agreements with Mikhail Gorbachev.

So we have President Bill Clinton bringing about peace between the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, an event that seemed impossible of achievement, known as the Good Friday Agreements of 1998. He also established diplomatic relations with Vietnam, a generation after the end of the divisive war in Vietnam was lost.

So now we have President Barack Obama negotiating an agreement to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons, with five other nations engaged in the process, and to prevent war, while guaranteeing the security of Israel and Arab nations. Like all the others, it is a gamble, as no one can be sure of Iran’s ultimate actions, but it has worked out in all of the other cases. He also has established diplomatic relations with the government of Fidel and Raul Castro in Cuba.

And yet, nothing is a panacea, as Russia and China still present a challenge, but progress was made to avoid war, and that is happening again now, with the understanding that if the agreement is broken, war is always an ultimate alternative!

Theodore Roosevelt And Gifford Pinchot Turning Over In Their Graves At Republican Party War On National Parks And Other Environmental Concerns!

The Republican Party a century ago had leaders who cared about the environment, and promoted conservation as a basic national policy.

Governor and later Senator Robert LaFollette, Sr. of Wisconsin; Senator George Norris of Nebraska; US Forestry Service Director and later Governor of Pennsylvania Gifford Pinchot; and President Theodore Roosevelt, all of them progressive Republicans in domestic affairs, made the promotion of national and state parks and monuments a priority. They set a standard for Democrats who followed their lead, including Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and now Barack Obama, who just announced three new national park designations in California, Nevada, and Texas. Obama has added 260 million acres and 19 national monuments in office, making him one of the great leaders on that endeavor. We should also mention Republican President Richard Nixon, who despite many faults and shortcomings, did enough to be rated number two among Presidents on the environment, by a conservation group.

Additionally, we were fortunate to have such outstanding Secretaries of the Interior as Harold Ickes under FDR; Stewart Udall under JFK and LBJ; Walter Hickel under Nixon; Cecil Andrus under Carter; and Bruce Babbitt under Clinton to emphasize the importance of the environment in all of its manifestations.

But the Republican Party of present times is anti conservation, anti environment, fights the concept of global warming and climate change, and has allowed itself to come under the influences of wealthy energy interests that would love to mine uranium in the Grand Canyon; destroy native American and paleontological sites; and conduct fracking for natural gas, despite the vast dangers to health and safety, including water pollution and greatly increased earthquake activity, as in Oklahoma, for instance. The Koch Brothers have had a particularly deleterious effect on the issue of the environment. And Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma is the worst possible enemy of the environmental movement in Congress, and is head, by seniority, of the Senate committee that deals with the subject.

The failure to see the importance of preserving our natural treasures is mind boggling, and those groups involved in promoting the environment know they have a massive challenge to keep what was given to us, and until the 20th century, was being gutted by rapacious capitalists in the oil, coal, natural gas, uranium, and lumber industries who only saw, and still see, only the almighty profit motive, including lack of concern for danger to wildlife!

Joe Biden Is The Right Person To Put Donald Trump In His Place: The “Average Joe” Vs. The Representative Of The “One Percent”!

The nation is gripped by the sight of maniac and egotist Donald Trump running rampant, and displaying his racism and nativism, at the expense of civil discourse and destroying the Republican Party future.

A few Republicans have criticized Trump, most notably Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, and George Pataki.

But it will take a man of courage; a man of principle; a man with a long public record of sincerity, authenticity, and accomplishments; a man who is not afraid to speak his mind on whatever controversy is arising, and has gained the admiration of millions of people, who see him as the “average Joe”, NOT a multimillionaire, someone who can truly relate to the lives of many Americans who come from a modest background and work hard every day to achieve the “American Dream”.

Most politicians are either born wealthy or become wealthy, and lose their connections with the middle class and the poor.

But one public figure, who has been in public life for 42 years now has NOT enriched himself; has NOT charged high fees to speak; has not become arrogant and cocky and uncaring about others. Rather, he remains the champion of the “average Joe”!

This is Joe Biden, who is being urged to announce for President, and the best thing Joe Biden could do is announce, and immediately condemn Donald Trump in the strongest terms for his nativism and his racism, and remind America that we are made a stronger and better nation because of us being a nation that has always welcomed immigrants to our shores, including some “illegals” who contributed to the nation’s advancement!

Joe Biden would demonstrate a true “Profile In Courage”, as John F. Kennedy wrote about in his book in 1956, and we can certainly use such a man as Joe Biden as our 45th President of the United States.

Joe IS the “99 percent” representative against the “one percent” representative, Donald Trump, and Joe needs to give “the Donald” a “punch to the jaw”, and make it clear the nation will NOT tolerate such a bully and loudmouth to endanger civil discourse in America!

In so doing, Joe Biden would catapult himself into the Presidential race, and would leave everyone else “in the dust”, as it would be clear he is the man of ethics, compassion, and principle needed to occupy the Oval Office in 2017!

Serious Republican Presidential Contenders: Part II—The Importance Of Florida And Ohio

We have, so far, examined 13 of the 16 Republican Presidential contenders, most of whom could be considered a “Clown Bus”!

Only four of the 16 are serious contenders, and so far we have looked at Scott Walker, the Governor of Wisconsin, who President Obama would like to see as the nominee of the opposition party, as he believes Walker’s terrible economic record, his anti labor stance, and his dramatic attack on the University of Wisconsin budget, along with the connection to the Koch Brothers, would make him easy to defeat.

And then there are the three remaining contenders, from crucial swing states Florida and Ohio, so arguably the three best primed to have a real chance to win the Presidency.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush, brother and son of two earlier Presidents named Bush, comes across as more moderate, more mainstream than just about any other contender, but he had a mixed record as Florida Governor, and has been out of office for ten years by 2016, and last ran 14 years ago by 2016. He is, certainly, seen as a man among boys, but he also is too close to the neoconservatives who took us into endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is also exhaustion at having a third President Bush, after the disastrous Presidency of his brother, George W. Bush.

Then we have the youthful, good looking, charismatic Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who is Cuban American, but much more appealing and less extreme than fellow Cuban American Ted Cruz of Texas. But Rubio has come across often as not too bright; has distorted the story of his parents leaving Cuba to make it seem as if it happened under Fidel Castro, when it happened two years earlier; has come across as having no guts on immigration reform; and has had issues with his finances and his connections with Norman Bramam, a South Florida auto dealer and billionaire. Some see him as the equivalent of a Republican Barack Obama or John F. Kennedy, but that is pure illusion.

And then we have the Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, who had 18 years in the House of Representatives, and was House Budget Committee Chairman, and has accepted Medicaid under ObamaCare as Governor of Ohio since 2011. He is very personable, engaging, and experienced, including recently, in a way that no other GOP contender can match him. And he comes from the crucial swing state of Ohio, more crucial than Florida, another swing state. And why is Ohio more important than Ohio? The answer is that every single Republican President from Abraham Lincoln to George W. Bush has won Ohio, so it is an essential state on the road to victory.

While all three of the above are serious contenders for the White House, it is clear that John Kasich would be the strongest, most competitive nominee imaginable, similar to what Jon Huntsman was in 2012. But that is precisely why the Republicans, almost certainly, will NOT select Kasich.

In any case, the Republican Party is on the road to defeat for the White House, and Donald Trump only further complicates that whole situation.

What Beau Biden’s Death Shows About Joe Biden And The American People

The tragic and tormenting death of Beau Biden, the older son of Vice President Joe Biden, of a brain tumor at age 46, was not the first time that a President or Vice President has experienced the death of a family member while in office.

Presidents, including Franklin Pierce, Abraham Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge and John F. Kennedy had also had the death of children while in office.

Presidents, including John Tyler, Benjamin Harrison, and Woodrow Wilson had wives die while in office.

But Beau Biden, while not a child, had come to be highly respected as Delaware Attorney General, and serving in the Army National Guard during the Iraq War.

Beau Biden resembled his dad in appearance, and in many ways, in his zeal to serve in public life.

Beau Biden gained the emotional support of many Delaware citizens and anyone else he touched in his public life, as well as people he knew in his private life.

The public response to his death, with the potential for his future lost forever, hit many Americans very hard, including this author, who thought of the tragic death of others in public service in their 40s, all of whom were much more consequential than Biden was. The names of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Alexander Hamilton crossed his mind.

The question that arose is why this shock and deep mourning occurred, and the author came to the conclusion that a lot of the reaction was due not only to the good nature and great public service of Beau Biden, but the widespread love and emotional attachment of millions of Americans to Vice President Joe Biden himself.

Joe Biden is in his 43rd year of public service, and it is not only this author, but millions of others who love him, who respect him, who admire his sincerity, genuine nature, true concern and desire to do good deeds for his fellow Americans.

Joe Biden is a very rare public servant, and that is why there are still millions who hope he runs for President, knowing the odds are against him to win the nomination, were he to challenge his close friend and fellow member of the Obama Administration, former Secretary of State and New York Senator Hillary Clinton.

Those of us who love and admire Joe Biden know he would make a great President, but that he is one of many good people, past and present, who cannot, likely, be elected President of the United States, a distinguished list.

Instead, it now seems likely that Joe Biden will end his 44 years of public service in January 2017, with the total admiration and respect of millions. The loss of his beloved son, Beau, and his own sense that it might be wise to give his family time to share the rest of his time on earth at age 74, have certainly sobered any desire to fight for the White House.

In a sense, Joe Biden saw the eulogies and deep mourning that he will gain when, at some day in the future, he leaves us. The death of Beau Biden gave us that dress rehearsal!

Divorce And The Presidency: Adlai Stevenson To The Present

The news of the death of Happy Rockefeller, the second wife and widow of former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, brings to mind the issue of “domestic bliss” or the lack of it in our politicians, past and present.

Rockefeller was thought to be the leading Republican candidate for President in 1964, but when he divorced his first wife and married his second wife, his chances for the nomination evaporated very quickly.

Only Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic Presidential nominee in 1952 and 1956, had been a nominee and been divorced before Rockefeller’s situation came along a decade later.

This did not mean that there were never liaisons and love triangles before, as Warren G. Harding had been cheating on his wife, but never had thought of divorce.

And Franklin D. Roosevelt had stayed with Eleanor Roosevelt, knowing that if he divorced her, his chances for a political career were over.

There was plenty of sexual “hanky panky” throughout American history, without any thought of divorce, including, besides Harding and FDR the following: Franklin Pierce, James A. Garfield, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton, and others.

But none of them ever considered divorce seriously, and Stevenson was hurt by his divorce, as was Rockefeller.

But that changed when Ronald Reagan ran in 1980, and had been divorced more than 30 years earlier.

And since Reagan, we have had Bob Dole, John Kerry, and John McCain, all divorced, but nominated by their parties, although no other divorced person has been elected President.

So divorce, so common in politics now, is no longer an issue, as it was throughout our history!

The Road Ahead For Marco Rubio: Many Barriers To The Republican Presidential Nomination In 2016

When one examines the field of candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016, Florida Senator Marco Rubio seems, clearly, to be one of the top candidates.

Rubio has many positives, including:

Young, handsome, charismatic

From the ultimate “Swing” state, with the third highest number of electoral votes

An Hispanic (Cuban American)

Representative of a “new generation”

A “fresh face”

Seen by many as the Republican Barack Obama, but also seen as the Republican equivalent of a Bill Clinton or John F. Kennedy in age and charisma

A person with a substantial state government legislative experience, including being Florida House Speaker

But, Rubio also has many negatives, including:

He has to compete against fellow Floridian, former Governor Jeb Bush, his mentor

The Cuban American members of Congress from Florida (Lincoln Diaz Balart and Ileane Ros Lehtinen) support Bush over their fellow Cuban American

Rubio’s support of comprehensive immigration reform, alienating many conservatives, but then backing away from it, alienating other groups, including Latinos who are not Cuban American

Rubio’s being seen as too close to former Miami Congressman David Rivera, who has been seen as involved in corrupt, questionable activities

Rubio being questioned about spending habits while Florida House Speaker, regarding expenditures paid by the state party that were personal expenditures

Rubio being too close to billionaires including Miami’s Norman Braman, and Nevada gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson, and being often in financial difficulties in which Braman has helped him with financial support

Rubio being seen as a Tea Party leader, but trying to separate himself from the extremists of the movement

Rubio seen as not fully understanding foreign policy, where he often seems ignorant of facts and favoring false realities

Rubio seen as not aggressive enough, as compared to rivals, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckebee, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal