Lyndon B. Johnson

The Ultimate Legacy Of American Presidents

American Presidents deal with dozens, if not, hundreds of issues while in office, and they have ups and downs, highs and lows, unavoidably.

But, ultimately, they are remembered for one action in office that either puts them in the great, successful category, or in the disastrous, unsuccessful category, and they may be praised or bitterly criticized for others, but they will always be remembered for one specific policy or event, which has the greatest effect on their legacy.

So when we look at Presidents since FDR, what stands out as their primary legacy?

Franklin D. Roosevelt–his New Deal programs that saved millions of Americans, and gave them hope for the future.

Harry S Truman–his courage in his dealings with the Soviet Union through the Cold War policies.

Dwight D. Eisenhower–the steadfastness of his Civil Rights policies, enforcing court orders and promoting the end of racial segregation.

John F. Kennedy–his forthrightness in dealing with the greatest threat in world history, the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Lyndon B. Johnson–his Great Society programs that advanced civil rights, education, health care, and a war on poverty.

Richard M. Nixon–his paranoia and illegal activities, leading to Watergate and his resignation.

Gerald R. Ford–his appointment of Justice John Paul Stevens, who became a giant on the Supreme Court for 35 years.

Jimmy Carter–his promotion of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, the Camp David Accords, which have brought peace for 35 years.

Ronald Reagan–his tripling of the national debt through excessive military spending and massive tax cuts to the wealthy.

George H. W. Bush–his exceptional conduct of the crisis of the Persian Gulf War.

Bill Clinton–his promotion of the Northern Ireland peace agreement, between Anglicans and Catholics, and with Great Britain.

George W. Bush–the prosecution of the Iraq War, a war that was based on falsehoods, undermining the Middle East and emboldening Iran.

Barack Obama–the promotion of the Affordable Care Act, giving millions of Americans their first time coverage for health care.

The 50th Anniversary Of The Civil Rights Act Of 1964 Commemorated By Four Presidents!

It has been a half century since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the greatest accomplishment of President Lyndon B. Johnson, in his five years in the Oval Office.

This week, four American Presidents are honoring this achievement at the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum in Austin, Texas, including Barack Obama, and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush (the former Presidents, ironically, all Southerners).

This half century old law is one of the massive and historic turning points in American history, and yet the challenge to civil rights, as the Reverend Al Sharpton has stated, is not over, as there continues to be discrimination in many southern and other states governed now by Republican legislatures and governors.

So the battle for civil rights continues for the protection of people based upon race, ethnicity, gender, disability, and sexual orientation, and we cannot sit on just praise of what has been done, but fight for more of the same in the present and the future!

The Dangers Of The Supreme Court Run Amuck In Favor Of Wealthy And Corporations!

The Supreme Court is totally out of control, with its new decision on having no limits on campaign spending by wealthy donors, added on to the Citizens United Case of 2010, and the limitation of voting rights in a 2013 decision.

Chief Justice John Roberts has solidified a five member GOP majority to destroy all attempts to prevent corporate and wealthy people from controlling the political system, an effort pursued from the time of Theodore Roosevelt a century ago through Senator John McCain and Senator Russ Feingold in the 1990s and early 2000s.

That is all for naught now, and shows the dangers of a runaway, reckless, right wing radical Court!

This is what made Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Barack Obama criticize Court power, along with progressive reformers including Senator Robert La Follette of Wisconsin, Senator George Norris of Nebraska, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont!

This is the result of 13 Supreme Court nominees since 1960 by Republican Presidents, to only 8 by Democrats, and with two of those Democratic appointments (Arthur Goldberg by John F. Kennedy and Abe Fortas by Lyndon B. Johnson), only lasting three and four years respectively.

Of course, Republican appointments of Harry Blackmun by Richard Nixon; John Paul Stevens by Gerald Ford; Sandra Day O’Connor by Ronald Reagan; and David Souter by George H. W. Bush, turned out to be major surprises in their rulings, but we also ended up with some of the most reactionary and right wing radical appointments in all of American history with the appointments of William Rehnquist by Richard Nixon and the elevation of Rehnquist to Chief Justice by Ronald Reagan; Lewis Powell by Richard Nixon; Antonin Scalia by Ronald Reagan; Clarence Thomas by George H. W. Bush; and Samuel Alito by George W. Bush. The appointments of Chief Justice Warren Burger by Richard Nixon; Anthony Kennedy by Ronald Reagan; and Chief Justice John Roberts by George W. Bush, have been more of a mixed bag, sometimes good, and sometimes horrible in its effect on constitutional law!

Meanwhile, John F. Kennedy selected a mostly conservative Justice Byron White; Lyndon B Johnson selected Thurgood Marshall; Bill Clinton selected Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer; and Barack Obama selected Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, but sadly, their influence in the last four of the five names listed, has been mostly in being the opposition, sometimes vehement in nature!

The effect on the future of American democracy is massive, with this right wing Court majority, and the only hope is the eventual retirement of Scalia and Kennedy, and hopefully, continuation of a Democratic Senate and President for the rest of the decade, so that the Court changes direction in the future!

Presidential Retirement Years And Constructive Post Presidencies

All of our Presidents, except for eight who died in office, have had periods of retirement after their years in the Presidency.

Some have had very short periods of retirement, periods of less than ten years, including George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James K, Polk, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Chester Alan Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

So fully half of our Presidents either died in office or had periods of retirement less than ten years.

On the other hand, the following Presidents had particularly long periods of retirement of fifteen or more years: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush.

The following Presidents had between ten and fifteen years of retirement: Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Ronald Reagan.

Bill Clinton has had 13 years out of office, and George W. Bush has had five years out of office at this time.

With the retirement periods of all of these Presidents listed above, the question that arises is which Presidents made major contributions in their post Presidency years.

That list is a short one:

John Quincy Adams
Martin Van Buren
Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Herbert Hoover
Richard Nixon
Jimmy Carter
Bill Clinton

Adams served nearly eighteen years in Congress.

Van Buren ran for President on the Free Soil Party line in 1848.

Roosevelt ran for President on the Progressive Party line in 1912, and went on an African safari, and explored the Amazon River basin in Brazil.

Taft served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for nine years.

Hoover wrote books and served as an adviser to President Truman on reorganization of the executive branch of government.

Nixon wrote about ten books and remained an adviser on diplomacy in his nearly twenty years in retirement.

Carter has written nearly twenty books, and engaged in diplomacy, promotion of democracy, fought diseases, and built housing through the Carter Center and Habitat for Humanity.

Clinton has done similar good deeds through his Clinton Initiative, and also worked on relief for the Haitian earthquake and the Pacific Tsunami with George H. W. Bush.

The contributions of these former Presidents have had a major impact on America, and are worthy of remembrance!

Paul Ryan Out To Destroy Medicare And Social Security

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan may be the new Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee in 2015, if the Republicans keep control of the House of Representatives!

This is another reason to work to acquire the 17 seats needed for the Democrats to gain control.

Ryan, having a nice inheritance and a wife whose family has money, does not need to worry about the future, as most Americans do.

He is now proposing that Medicare be voluntary for those under 55, endangering the health care of those people who decide to opt out, and then, when elderly, have inferior health care. Those ignorant people who do what Ryan suggests would be given a voucher, which would not cover all health care when retired.

This is similar to the idea of George W. Bush to make Social Security voluntary for those under 55, and allow them to put their funds in the stock market, which collapsed in 2008!

So Ryan, like President Bush, wants people to gamble, and in so doing, help to destroy Medicare and Social Security!

If the funding is removed, it insures the demise of the LBJ and FDR signature programs that have made America a better place!

Is that surprising, when the GOP has set out to destroy ObamaCare, the third part of this great set of social programs, what makes America a place equal to the advanced social reforms of Europe and Japan?

Conservative Republicans Want To Repeal Constitutional Amendments And 20th Century Reforms That Make America A Better Nation!

The Republican Party of the second decade of the 21st century, along with the conservative movement, in all of its ramifications, is out to repeal constitutional amendments and numerous 20th century reforms that make America a better, more modern nation, all in their quest to make the corporations ever more dominant and enrich the top one percent more than already is reality!

When one follows, reads, and watches right wing spokesmen, in and out of the party, they have called for the following repeals:

The 16th Amendment–Federal Income Tax
The 17th Amendment–Direct Popular Election Of US Senators
19th Amendment–Woman Suffrage
Antiquities Act–National Parks, Forests, and Monuments Protection
Food And Drug Administration
Clayton Anti Trust Act
Federal Trade Commission
Federal Reserve Act
Social Security Act
Fair Labor Standards Act
Medicare
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Department Of Education
Department Of Health And Human Services
Department Of Housing And Urban Development
Department Of Energy
Environmental Protection Agency
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Occupational Safety And Health Administration
US Post Office
Affirmative Action
Abortion Rights
Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
National Public Radio
PBS
Americans With Disabilities Act
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
ObamaCare–Affordable Care Act

These and other laws and amendments not mentioned here became law under Presidents of both parties, including

Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama

Basically, these right wing groups and the dominant element in the Republican Party in Congress want to repeal everything that is good about America, and bring us back to the 19th century Gilded Age!

The False Glamor Of Secession: The “Red” States, Quebec, And Scotland

The concept of secession has become a key word in society when there are discontented people who somehow believe central government in a democracy is evil, because it will not allow them to pursue their prejudices.

So we have, more in the past than right now, the glamor of secession that has been promoted by French speaking Quebec to overcome the English influence in the rest of Canada, although Quebec would be in very poor economic shape if it did secede.

We also have the move for Scotland to secede from the United Kingdom, breaking away from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, but in reality, that would impoverish Scotland.

And then we have the “Red” states, particularly those in the South, but also including the Southwest and the Great Plains, who dream of secession, mourning the failure of secession during the Civil War.

And yet, it is these “Red” states that are, by far, the poorest states in America, and get loads of benefits from the national government that they profess to hate!

It seems more the reality that these people living in the “Red” states who wish secession are purely ignorant, lack education, and have no clue as to how much they benefit from the federal government, so they are spiting themselves with their own stubbornness.

But really, what it comes down to is that they resent the inability to discriminate freely against African Americans, Latinos, women, and gays, due to federal laws and intervention by federal courts.

These states claim to be “devout” and “religious”, but actually are far from being so, as they lack all ethics and morals that true religion teaches!

These states have many people who wish the 19th century was back, when men dominated women, whites dominated over African Americans, and a small plantation elite controlled all government, much of it in the national government, until that “evil” man, Abraham Lincoln, came along and reasserted the basic teachings of the Founding Fathers, that this was a nation of freedom, liberty, and justice, even though many of the Founding Fathers practiced hypocrisy and deception themselves, but knew it was wrong! The Civil Rights Movement had begun with the end of slavery, a long, hard fought battle still being waged!

Lincoln opened up a new concept of America, and he would see leaders in the 20th century, including Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson assert federal authority in the manner of Lincoln, revolutionizing the two political parties. The Democrats would become the Republicans of the Civil War in principle, and the Republicans would become the old, prejudiced Southern Democrats, fighting against equal opportunity and justice.

Meanwhile, the people of the “Red” states became victims, who were appealed to on the basis of fundamentalist religion, which had worked against integration of the races, and wanted to keep women down in a subservient position, and worked against promotion of equality for gays and lesbians, even though they had such people in their own midst, preaching one thing and conducting their lives as the opposite, pure hypocrisy!

Once the struggling people of the “Red” states realize they have been victimized by religious and political propaganda, the Republican Party will be as dead as a doornail, as it is a party based on pure hypocrisy and lack of basic principles of the party they created 160 years ago!

Barack Obama A Class Act: Awarding Medals Of Honor To Overlooked Soldiers From Past Wars Denied Recognition Because Of Race, Ethnicity, Or Religion!

President Barack Obama demonstrated once again today what a class act he is, and that he is different than earlier Presidents, as he knows what prejudice and discrimination are, by personal experience. This is NOT saying that earlier Presidents, such as Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson did not understand what prejudice and discrimination were, but Obama has a more personal involvement, due to the constant attack on him, much of it based on who he is!

So today, he presided over the granting of Medals Of Honor, initiated by those in his administration who recognize that there was past discrimination against African Americans, Hispanics-Latinos, and Jews in the military in World War II. the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. These heroes sacrificed their lives, or demonstrated amazing heroism and courage in the heat of battle, and should have been honored long ago!

Soldiers who deserved medals of honor were denied it, but now the wrong has been corrected, although sadly, 21 of the 24 recipients are dead, some in the war itself, and others by the passing years.

It was a very touching ceremony today from the White House, and gave further indication that this President will not let the racism and prejudice and hate demonstrated by the right wing do anything to stop him promoting recognition and honor to people of diverse heritages.

The time of domination of honors and privileges and recognition to only white male Christians is over, and not too soon!

Senator Rand Paul Becomes Poll Leader For GOP Presidential Nomination: What Does It Mean?

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, the son of libertarian favorite Ron Paul, former Congressman from Texas, has suddenly emerged as the leader in two polls–the CPAC straw poll and the New Hampshire straw poll, both in the past ten days.

This is seen as very surprising to many observers, and it certainly upsets Establishment Republicans who see Rand Paul as far from who they prefer to be the Republican Presidential nominee in 2016.

Rand Paul seems to appeal to young people, who also liked his dad, due to their desire to cut down American involvement in overseas interventions, but that is seen by critics as an unrealistic isolationism, which becomes more problematical with the Russian takeover of Crimea, and the possible intervention in the rest of Ukraine.

Rand Paul’s desire to cut the federal government and spending dramatically in a downward spiral also appeals to many young people, but worries those concerned about the growth of poverty and the decline of the middle class.

And Rand Paul’s statements about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in regards to the dislike of “forcing” businesses to serve customers they do not want to serve, is also alarming to ethnic minorities, particularly African Americans and Latinos.

Rand Paul’s opposition to women controlling their own reproductive lives also is an alarm bell to many.

There are many who think Rand Paul is a shallow person, who should not even be considered Presidential material.

Are we ready for a libertarian isolationist in the 21st century, after the growth of government in the 20th century, and engaging in wars to promote freedom and liberty and justice in the world?

Are we ready to negate TR, Wilson FDR, and LBJ in domestic affairs, and turn inward in foreign policy?

These are the questions all Americans have to consider, and the thought of Rand Paul possibly becoming President terrifies many Republicans, as well as American citizens who feel that he cannot walk in the shoes of our greatest Presidents!

The Case For Joe Biden For President

Almost everyone thinks Hillary Clinton is the almost certain Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in 2016.

This entry is NOT designed to attack her credentials, or her worthiness to be President, and it is NOT designed to be critical of Martin O’Malley, Andrew Cuomo, Amy Klobuchar, Mark Warner, Elizabeth Warren or Brian Schweitzer, other rumored possible candidates.

It is simply an entry to point out the case for Joe Biden for President of the United States!

When one examines Joe Biden’s political career, one can only marvel at his background and experience, although it is well known that often those with far less experience in government end up in the Presidency, as for instance: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

But, seriously, if one is to use the measurement of experience in NATIONAL government, NO ONE comes even close to Joe Biden!

Only three Presidents had extensive experience in Congress before becoming President, and two of them became President originally by succession during a term–Andrew Johnson and Lyndon B. Johnson. The person to have the most national experience was, sadly, James Buchanan, often ranked as the absolutely worst President we have ever had in our nation’s history.

So one might say, see what happens when you put an experienced person in national government in the Presidency–that they turn out to be disasters, such as Andrew Johnson and Buchanan, and with much dissatisfaction with Lyndon B. Johnson for the Vietnam War escalation.

But it is really unfair to judge having experience as meaning an ultimate failure, and the point is that Joe Biden has a total of 44 years of experience in national government, unmatched in our history, and only Republican Presidential nominee Bob Dole in 1996 coming close, with 36 years of Congressional service!

Biden has unmatched experience and expertise in both foreign policy and legal matters, as he was Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman at different times.

Joe Biden is as skilled with working with the opposition party as Lyndon B. Johnson was in the 1950s, but for a much longer period of time.

Joe Biden would have the ability to get things done, that, arguably, Hillary Clinton would not have, and that other, less experienced Democratic nominees would not have!

Joe Biden is an extremely charming, charismatic , warm human being, and extremely likable and genuine. What you see is what you get, and Biden would be one of the most colorful and dynamic Presidents, were he to gain the Oval Office.

Joe Biden’s shortcomings are his age (although he has tremendous energy and shows no signs of slowing); his tendency to make verbal gaffes (although he has never said anything that did more than make him look foolish and really, human, in that regard); and his one great sin, if that is what it is to be called. That “sin” is having plagiarized in some speeches, and possibly in a term paper in his college years. This is certainly to be criticized, and it knocked him out of the 1988 Presidential race, which, however, was lucky, since he soon suffered an aneurysm, which required brain surgery. One could be concerned that he could have a repeat aneurysm, but it has been 27 years since that event, with no sign of that problem emerging.

The important thing, as always, with any Presidential candidate, is to have a strong, competent, decent running mate for Vice President, in case something tragic occurs, which can happen to anyone at any age! It is not a reason to dismiss someone for President, considering Lyndon B. Johnson’s heart troubles, and Dick Cheney’s multiple heart problems, among other cases of health issues (including John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt), faced by candidates for President and Vice President, as well as those holding the offices.

One thing is very clear! iF Joe Biden were to become President, he would do the nation proud, and we would know we have a President who has our backs, as he does not have a mean bone in his body, and really is compassionate and caring about all of us!

And also, Joe Biden is as close to an “average guy” as we will ever get, a guy who is likely close to the poorest politician throughout his career, living off his and his wife’s salaries, and off sales of his autobiography in recent years. He is not materialistic in the way other officeholders are, and has never had even a hint of scandal in his personal life or his financial life.

That is the kind of man that America deserves in the White House!