John F. Kennedy

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!

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!

 

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!

 

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.

“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!

 

The Age Issue’s Effect On Hillary Clinton, But Also Possibly On Bernie Sanders, Against Younger Republicans in November!

The Iowa Caucuses results demonstrate a major problem that Hillary Clinton faces–the age issue.

A vast majority of young voters, those under 45, but even more so those under 29, supported Bernie Sanders, the oldest candidate ever to seek the nomination of a major political party.

Even John McCain (age 72)and Bob Dole (age 73) were not the same age at the time of the election campaign as Bernie Sanders.

Even Ronald Reagan (age 73) was “younger” when seeking reelection in 1984!

How is it that young voters, who flocked to Barack Obama, age 47 in 2008, now love Bernie Sanders, age 75 by the time of the election?

What is it about Hillary Clinton age 69) that makes young Democratic voters dislike her that much, when young voters back in 1992 liked her husband, Bill Clinton, age 46?

This is a serious issue, as it looks more likely that Hillary, the likely Democratic nominee, will face a much younger Republican candidate in Ted Cruz, age  45, or more likely, Marco Rubio, also 45 but five months younger than Cruz.  It means that the age difference would be almost 24 years.

The argument that either Cruz or Rubio are not “old” enough or experienced enough to be President is an argument that will not work, as John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and particularly Barack Obama, were accused of the same “weakness”, but all became President.

To have the Democratic nominee, either Hillary or Bernie (six years older) as the “old” candidate, against a young Republican such as Cruz or Rubio, is unprecedented in American history.

A difference of 24 years is not the all time difference, as John McCain was 25 years older than Barack Obama in 2008; Bob Dole was 23 years older than Bill Clinton in 1996; and George H. W. Bush was 22 years older than Bill Clinton in 1992, but in each case the Democrat was the younger nominee.

But if it was Bernie Sanders against Cruz or Rubio, the difference would be nearly 30 years!

This time, it will be the opposite, with the Democrat much younger than the Republican, and one has to wonder how it might affect the election results, particularly with younger voters in the Democratic Party gravitating to Bernie instead of Hillary, and possibly younger voters in general going for Cruz or Rubio due to youthfulness!

Major Mystery: The Lack Of Traction Of Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s Presidential Candidacy

As we await the beginning of actual voting next week and after that, a major mystery remains.

Why did former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley turn out to be a total dud as a candidate?

O’Malley was one of the best Governors in America during his eight years in that position, and he had the charisma, good looks, and youth, that one would have thought that he would be a serious challenger to Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and others of the “older generation.”

After the experience of the “younger generation” backing John F. Kennedy in 1960; Jimmy Carter in 1976; Bill Clinton in 1992; and Barack Obama in 2008, one would have thought that O’Malley would have similar appeal, and without being the first Catholic nominee; the first Southerner since 1848; a flawed candidate with a sex scandal from a small Southern state; and a mixed race African American with little national experience to deal with!

And yet, it was a candidate even older than Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden–Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont—with his declaration that he was a Democratic Socialist; was an Independent who only became a party member when he announced for President; and with a New York Jewish background (not necessarily a plus across the nation), who became the favorite of newer voters, younger voters (under 45), and those who would be thought to prefer someone closer to their age and from a larger and more significant state (Maryland) than Vermont represents.

The lack of traction of O’Malley remains a deep mystery, and one wonders if his run this year will give him an upper hand, despite it being a total flop, if the Democrats lose the Presidency in 2016.

Could it be the beginning of the rise on top of the disaster, if it occurs, of a Democratic defeat this year?

Certainly, no one in their right mind who is a progressive, wishes for failure this year to lead to success later!

But sometimes, repudiation now leads to success later!

The Republicans’ Penchant Toward Abolishing Government! Why They Cannot Be Allowed To Control The Executive Branch!

The Republican Party has created lots of employment for people who want to run for office and be part of the government.

And yet, the Republicans are always out to abolish government, even though they are part of it!

Going back to 2012 and even further back as far as the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and even earlier to Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson,  and actually even earlier with James K. Polk and Abraham Lincoln, the Republicans would love to abolish (in no special order):

The Internal Revenue Service–Wilson

The Social Security System–FDR

The Department of Labor–Wilson

Mine Safety and Health Administration–Carter

Occupational Safety and Health Administration–Nixon

National Labor Relations Board–FDR

The Department of Commerce–TR

The Department of Health and Human Services–Ike and then Carter reorganization

The Food and Drug Administration–TR

The Medicare System–JFK and LBJ

Medicaid System–LBJ

State Children’s Health Insurance Program–Clinton

Affordable Health Care Act–Obama

The Department of Education–Ike and then Carter reorganization

Federal Aid To Education—Ike

The Department of  Agriculture–Lincoln

The Department of Energy–Carter

The Department of Housing and Urban Development–JFK and LBJ

Civil Rights Acts—Ike, JFK, and LBJ

Office of Equal Employment Opportunity–LBJ

The Department of the Interior–Polk

The Environmental Protection Agency–Nixon

Bureau of Land Management–Truman

National Park Service–Wilson

Federal Emergency Management Agency–Carter

Consumer Product Safety Commission–Nixon

Corporation for Public Broadcasting–LBJ

National Endowment for the Arts–LBJ

National Endowment for the Humanities–LBJ

Federal Reserve System–Wilson

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau–Obama

United States Postal Service–Nixon

Amtrak (National Railroad Passenger Corporation)–Nixon

This is a list of 33 government agencies and programs that the Republican Party, at different times, and particularly during Presidential and Congressional campaigns, has promoted that we abolish!

The following Presidents were responsible for these government agencies and programs:

James K. Polk–1  Abraham Lincoln–1–TR—2–Wilson–4–FDR–2–Truman–1–Ike–4—JFK–3—LBJ–8—Nixon–5—Carter–5–Clinton–1—Barack Obama–2.

So THIRTEEN Presidents of both parties—nine Democrats and four Republicans— have presided over the creation of government agencies and programs that have made life better for the American people!

If one gave the Republican Party total control, we would see our government decimated, and only private corporations and the greed of the elite upper class would rule and regulate every aspect of American life!

Watching the South Carolina GOP debate yesterday, this is always their game plan–abolish, abolish, abolish!   Hate government, undermine government, defund government, fear government, distrust government!

Why do the Republicans advocate all this, and yet wish to be the government?

The answer is that their hatred and suspicion of government is promotion of anarchy and chaos, without regulation to promote a level playing field, and give average  Americans a fair shake and the possibility of advancement!

This is why the Republican Party cannot be entrusted with control of the executive branch, as that is one way, no matter what happens with the Congress, to protect the government agencies that have made life better for vast numbers of Americans in the last century and even earlier!