Lyndon B. Johnson

95th Anniversary Of Woodrow Wilson’s Death: The Decline In Historical Reputation, Although Still In Top Quarter Of All Presidents

On February 3, 1924, Woodrow Wilson, who had been in retirement only for nearly three years, died in his home, the Woodrow Wilson House, in Washington DC, at the age of 67.

Wilson had never fully recovered from the massive stroke he suffered on October 2, 1919, and he was unable to gain support of the US Senate for the Versailles Treaty and American membership in the League of Nation that he had fought for when he attended the Peace Treaty negotiations in France, the first President to travel overseas as America’s diplomat.

Wilson had accomplished much domestic legislation that was memorable, including the Federal Reserve Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, and the first federal labor laws.

But his record on racial segregation was horrendous, and he opposed the woman suffrage movement for a long time. He also presided over massive attacks on civil liberties during the First World War, totally intolerant of dissent.

And his mission to the Versailles Peace Conference ended in failure, as America did not join the League of Nations, and ratified its own peace treaty with Germany and the other nations on the losing side of the war.

Wilson’s reputation for his accomplishments kept him in the top ten of all Presidents for many decades, but lately he has come under fire, and his spot in the Presidential polls of scholars has declined. He is now out of the top ten at number 11 in the C Span Presidential Poll of historians conducted in 2017, after having earlier been number 6 in 2000, and number 9 in 2009. The American Political Science poll of Political Science professors had pegged Wilson at number 10 in 2014, and in 2018, he slipped to number 11, the same as the most recent C Span poll.

The troubling part is that Wilson fell behind Ronald Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson in the recent polling, and is only 15 points ahead in the C Span 2017 poll over number 12, Barack Obama, just as he left the Presidency.

So do not be surprised that Wilson will likely slip to number 12 in the next polling, with Obama surging ahead of him, as Obama looks ever better in comparison to Donald Trump, who ended up at the bottom of the APSA 2018 poll as number 44 out of 44.

January 22-23, 1973, An Historic 48 Hours: The Death Of Lyndon B. Johnson, End Of US Involvement In Vietnam War, Abortion Rights Approved By Supreme Court

Rarely in American history has there been a period of 24-48 hours with events occurring that have had such a massive impact on the nation, as January 22-23, 1973.

We saw the death of President Lyndon B. Johnson on January 22, 1973, at the age of 64, two days after he chose not to show up at the second inauguration of Richard Nixon, leaving no former President at those festivities. He died, depressed that the Vietnam War had not been ended, but 24 hours later, the Paris Accords were announced, ending US involvement in Vietnam, leading to withdrawal of all US military forces within two months, although later those Accords were violated by North Vietnam in April 1975, leading to the unification of North and South Vietnam.

Also, on the day that LBJ died, the Supreme Court came up with a decision that has more divided America to this moment, in a social sense, than any other, and that was Roe V Wade, allowing abortion rights to women in the first two trimesters, spurring a right wing “Pro Life” movement, and the promotion of Christian extremist movements in American politics, which helped to bring about the victory of Donald Trump and Mike Pence in 2016.

The Great Society programs of LBJ have been under attack since 1973, particularly under Ronald Reagan, and now Donald Trump, and the effects of the Vietnam War still permeate American society.

And if the right wing has its way, we will eventually see the reversal of the Roe V Wade decision, although the vast majority of Americans support abortion rights.

The Wealthiest And The Poorest Presidents

The American Presidents have varied greatly in wealth acquired or inherited in their lifetimes.

Some were born poor, such as Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, due to family circumstances, with Clinton and Nixon acquiring wealth in their lifetimes, but Johnson would still be the seventh poorest President at death, according to statistics.

Materials gathered by scholars have led to conclusions on the net worth of our 44 Presidents, including their post Presidential years.

Easily, at least by the knowledge we have now, Donald Trump is likely the wealthiest President, although subject to change by further Congressional investigation of Trump’s finances, sure to come in the 116th Congress by congressional subpoenas. By estimate, Trump is wealthier than all the other 43 men who have been President of the United States.

After Trump, probably John F. Kennedy, had he not been assassinated, would have inherited close to $1 billion later in his life.

Other than Trump and Kennedy, George Washington would be considered the wealthiest President, in modern terms, around $580 million.

Behind him would be Thomas Jefferson ($234 million); Theodore Roosevelt ($138 million); Andrew Jackson ($131 million); James Madison ($112 million); and Lyndon B. Johnson ($108 million), with all those numbers being estimates.

Other Presidents who had substantial estimated wealth would include Herbert Hoover ($82 million; Bill Clinton ($75 million); Franklin D. Roosevelt ($66 million); and John Tyler ($57 million). Clinton acquired most of his wealth post Presidency by speeches and authored books, and will likely rise much higher if he lives a long life.

At the other end of the scale, we had 13 Presidents who had $1 million or less wealth by all estimates, in 2016 dollars, including in ranked order:

William McKinley

Warren G. Harding

James Buchanan

Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S. Grant

James A. Garfield

Chester Alan Arthur

Woodrow Wilson

Calvin Coolidge

Harry Truman

Notice that the bulk of these Presidents served in the years from Buchanan to McKinley, the last half of the 19th century, a total of seven out of eleven Presidents.

The three Presidents from Wilson through Coolidge also are on this list, and Harry Truman ends up as the least prosperous President at his death, as compared to Andrew Johnson the poorest at birth.

Barack Obama is rated just below John Tyler at number 13 on the wealth list at an estimated $40 million, with potential over a long lifetime to become one of the top few wealthiest Presidents by speeches, books, and other activities due to the stature and prestige of being a former President in modern times.

Other Presidents are rated in the middle on wealth, such as George W. Bush at $39 million; George H. W. Bush at $26 million; John Quincy Adams at $23 million; John Adams at $21 million; Richard Nixon at $17 million; Ronald Reagan at $14 million; Dwight D. Eisenhower at $9 million; and Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter at $8 million each.

Iowa Congressman Steve King Just The Tip Of The Iceberg, As Donald Trump Is The More Significant White Supremacist And White Nationalist

The decision of the House Republican leadership, led by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to condemn Iowa Congressman Steve King and strip him of his committee assignments, is a lame and belated acceptance of the Republican Party of how racist and nativist King has been for years, with the GOP tolerating him and his promotion of white supremacy and white nationalism.

He is not the only Republican who has shown evidence of racism and nativism, and many Republicans are now worried about the long range future of the party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan, and H W Bush.

The party has catered to white supremacists and white nationalists for years, taking over that role from the old former Southern segregationists who, thankfully, abandoned the Democratic Party after the passage of the Civil Rights Act under President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

There should be no place for such racism and nativism in any establishment political party in America, but Donald Trump paid homage to them after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, when he said both sides in the conflict had good people, which was a sign he was allied with David Duke, Richard Spencer, and the right wing radio talk show hosts that spew such hatred regularly.

Until and when the Republicans in Congress in the House of Representatives and Senate repudiate the ultimate racist, nativist, hate monger, and misogynist—DONALD TRUMP—which they refused to do to this moment, then the action taken against Steve King is pure hypocrisy, to save their own rear ends.

The Republican Party is dead in the water as a future force until they return to the progressive trends of Lincoln and TR, the true paragons of virtue in their party history.

Trump’s Border Wall Is Not Based On National Security, But Simply Pure Racism Against Darker Skinned People

Trump’s insistence on a border wall with Mexico is NOT based on concerns about national security, as there is little danger of that, and statistics demonstrate that most people we would term “terrorists” come through airports or ports of entry, not by walking or traveling through the difficult terrain that Central American migrants escaping violence, sexual abuse, and gang violence have used to pursue freedom and a new chance on a decent life for what is mostly women and children.

Yes, there is the problem of cocaine and other drugs coming to America, but it mostly goes through elaborate tunnels that have been constructed, are very sophisticated, and are extremely numerous in number and hard to detect by drug agents and border agents.

So why is Donald Trump pursuing this, despite two thirds of the American people being opposed to it, and wanting the end of the crippling federal government shutdown that is impoverishing millions, not just the actual federal workers and their families, but subsidiary businesses that are suffering from the lack of economic activity that has ensued?

Clearly, it is pure racism against darker skinned people, who Trump sees as inferior, and we have already heard his disgraceful, despicable comments about people from Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America, as well as from Asian countries.

We have never had a President as racist as Donald Trump. Yes, we had Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, Woodrow Wilson,and all of the slave holding Presidents. We also had others who we know had the tendency to be racist in their language, such as Richard Nixon on the Watergate tapes, and in earlier lives, such as Harry Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson. But Trump is far worse than any of these, and has been his entire life, including when he was a landlord with his father back in the 1970s in New York City, and in many other situations ever since.

Trump is a combination of the worst racists of modern times in America—the dead Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, and George Wallace; and those who are alive, including Pat Buchanan, David Duke, and Richard Spencer, among others.

The only time we had to worry about such a personality on the Presidential level was George Wallace in 1968, but he ran on a third party, winning five states and 13.5 percent of the vote, so could not win the Presidency.

And even George Wallace, in later years, after the assassination attempt by Arthur Bremer in 1972 left him paralyzed for life, changed his views, asked for forgiveness for his racism, and was accepted as reformed by many in the Civil Rights Movement.

There is no hope for Donald Trump in this regard, and his racism will always mark him as, certainly for modern times, the worst person on the race issue, without any chance of redemption.

The Biggest Villains Contributing To The Present Political Stalemate: Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell

With a new year beginning, and a new Congress with Democratic control of the House of Representatives, we need to look back and understand who the biggest villains are who have contributed to the present political stalemate that is undermining America in both domestic and foreign policy.

The biggest villain of all is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who set out nearly 30 years ago to create turmoil, disarray, division, and enrich the ruling class at the expense of ordinary Americans. He declared open warfare on civility and cooperation between the parties across the aisle, which had existed much of the time from the Lyndon B. Johnson-Everett Dirksen cooperation in the 1960s through Ronald Reagan–Thomas “Tip” O’Neill cooperation in the 1980s. Gingrich continues to sow hate and guerrilla warfare in the present time.

Rudy Giuliani was seen as a “liberal Republican” as recently as his early campaign for the Presidency in 2007-2008, but now has become a total liar and the epitome of hypocrisy and erratic behavior as the so called “lawyer” for the authoritarian oriented Fascist who is setting out to destroy our domestic and foreign policy. Giuliani was once an honorable spokesman for the law, and now has become totally lawless and violating of all sense of truth and decency.

Ted Cruz was perceived by intelligent, decent people as the biggest threat to American values, even more in many ways than Donald Trump, in the Presidential campaign of 2016. The depth of his sickening persona is shown by the fact that Lindsey Graham once said that if Ted Cruz were to die, none of his colleagues in his own party would mourn him. Another such piece of evidence of his hypocrisy and despicable nature is that Trump trashed Cruz’s own father and wife, and then he and his wife chose to overlook that fact and agreed to have dinner at the White House, a total sellout that only a Ted Cruz could manage.

And then, there is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is a totally amoral leader, who would do anything to avoid confronting Donald Trump, with the reality that McConnell lacks all ethics by the fact that his wife, Elaine Chao, is Secretary of Transportation for Trump. On that fact alone, McConnell should be forced to resign as Majority Leader, or have his wife resign from the Cabinet.

But these four men above have no morals, ethics, scruples or common decency as part of their character. All four should face public disgrace, and all four should face legal prosecution for the damage they have done to the American political system.

Goodbye And Good Riddance To Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan: A Despicable Legacy Of Ayn Rand Worship And Obedience To Donald Trump

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan will be leaving Congress, and the best way to look at it is: Goodbye and Good Riddance.

Ryan is a despicable legacy of Ayn Rand worship, whose goal in Congress, luckily unmet, was to wipe out the Social Welfare State of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society, along with other reforms brought about by other Presidents of both political parties.

Ryan seemed excited at the thought of ending Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, although he gained from Social Security when his father died when he was a child, but seemed unperturbed in denying those less fortunate, and poor mothers and children the idea of any government support in their plight.

A so called “good Catholic”, who actually was denounced by Catholic leaders for his hard hearted attitude toward the poor and sick, he was anti abortion but did not care what happened once a child was born.

Ryan also showed willingness to be obedient toward Donald Trump’s abuse of power, and he presided over a massive increase in the national debt by his promotion of massive tax cuts to the wealthy, and his party now has to own the great increase in the national debt that occurred under George W. Bush and Donald Trump, which he ignored, while being constantly critical of Barack Obama, and refusing to come up with an alternative to ObamaCare.

The thought that he could be a heartbeat away from the Presidency as the potential Vice President under Mitt Romney in the 2012 Presidential Campaign was horrifying, and this author denounced Ryan regularly at that time, and was bitterly attacked by the right wing in a vicious manner, but that did not intimidate me in calling him a disgraceful and despicable Republican leader.

To say that he was worse than the previous Speakers John Boehner and Dennis Hastert is quite a testimony to the disaster he represented as two heartbeats away from the Presidency while Speaker from 2015-2018.

He is being replaced by Democrat Nancy Pelosi, previously Speaker of the House from 2007-2011, the most productive years of any Speaker going back to the times of Thomas “Tip” O’Neill from 1977-1987.

Democrats Won Much Bigger Victory Than Thought On Election Night, Could Be Transformative For Long Term

As more seats are flipping in California, at least four of the 14 previously Republican held seats in the House of Representatives, it looks as if the “Blue Wave” is larger than what occurred for the Republicans in 2010 and 1994, and already is the most for Democrats since 1974 after the Richard Nixon resignation, and the highest percentage voting since 1966, when the Republicans gained seats under Lyndon B. Johnson, in the midst of the Vietnam War escalation.

It is now likely that the Democrats will have gained about 40 seats in the House of Representatives, but also significant are the gains of Democrats in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia; Dallas, Texas; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and the gaining of a majority of House seats in Arizona.

It is now possible to say that Suburbia has become more likely to leave the Republicans behind long term, and join urban areas against the constant support of the rural areas of many states for the Republicans.

White rural America is fighting the tide toward urban and suburban educated people, women, racial and ethic minorities, young people, and independents who are abandoning the Republican Party.

It is clear that the Trump Republican Party is losing out in the long run, just as occurred in California in the 1990s when Republican Governor Pete Wilson worked to pass discriminatory legislation against Hispanics in the state, with the result being overwhelming Democratic control in the state legislature, in state executive offices, and in Congress, where the monopoly of Democrats has become a flood.

We can now imagine a turn in the next decade of Arizona, Texas, and Georgia toward support of the Democrats in Presidential elections by 2024 and 2028 for sure, and once Texas goes that direction, the Presidency is safe in the hands of Democrats.

Already, the Northeast and New England are Democratic strongholds, and the Midwest now has Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota controlled by Democratic Governors in time for reapportionment of seats after the Census of 2020. And in the Mountain West, we see Democrats doing very well in New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada, and having the first Democratic Senator in Arizona in more than thirty years. The Pacific Coast of California, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii are also solid.

So even though Ohio and Florida were not bright spots for the Democrats, the old adage that Ohio matters may not matter, and realize that the Buckeye State had a split personality on Election Day, as Democrat Sherrod Brown won an overwhelming victory, even though Republican Mike Dewine defeated Richard Cordray.

Florida is not yet settled at this writing, as a recount is going on, but it could be that Florida will be seen as an outlier, and despite their being the third largest state in population and electoral votes, if and when Texas goes “blue”, and joins California and New York, it might not matter what happens in Florida.

A Massive “Blue Wave” Despite A Good Economy, Low Unemployment, And Actions To Promote Voter Suppression

The biggest “Blue Wave” since the 1974 midterms, after Richard Nixon resigned due to the Watergate Scandal, has occurred this week.

It is also the greatest participation in a midterm election in 52 years, since 1966, when there was a lot of anger at Lyndon B. Johnson’s prosecution of the Vietnam War.

It is also an election in which the states that decided that Donald Trump would win the Electoral College–Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin–swung over to the Democrats.

This was an election in which the gender gap was the greatest we have ever seen, and more young people voted than at any time since the 26th Amendment gave 18 year olds the right to vote.

This election also saw suburbia swing to the Democratic Party en masse, and that is a major development long term.

We also saw many Republican Congressmen in California, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, and in the Midwest, lose their seats.

We witnessed Kansas reject the right wing views of past Governor Sam Brownback, and defeat Kris Kobach, a crooked candidate who worked to suppress voting rights all over the nation in the past few years.

All this occurred despite a good economy, low unemployment, and actions to promote voter suppression.

Donald Trump had said that voters should consider as if he was on the ballot, when he went out and campaigned all over the nation.

And the nation reacted with a sound rejection of Trump, with Democrats winning 7 percent more of the vote than Republicans, just as Hillary Clinton won over Donald Trump in popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.

And let us not forget that Democrats have won the popular vote for President six of the last seven national elections, all but 2004, starting in 1992 and through 2016!

The Ultimate Outcome Of The Midterm Elections Of 2018: The Social Welfare, Social Justice State Is Permanent After 83 Years

The ultimate outcome of the Midterm Elections of 2018 is the success and institutionalization of the Social Welfare, Social Justice State, finally permanent after 83 years.

It all goes back to the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the passage of Social Security in 1935, bitterly fought by Republicans and conservatives of that era, and still argued about by such leaders as Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan over the next half century.

But in 1983, President Reagan and Democratic Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill negotiated a bipartisan deal to save Social Security, not destroy it as Reagan had wanted to do, and it is the fundamental part of the Social Safety Net.

In 1965, after years of opposition by Republicans and conservatives, Lyndon B. Johnson and his Great Society accomplished Medicare and Medicaid. It has continued to be attacked and condemned, but it has survived and is a great part of the Social Safety Net.

Then, in 2010, Barack Obama accomplished the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare, with no cooperation from Republicans or conservatives, even though back in 1993, conservatives, with the support of Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich, came up with a very similar health care plan, in opposition to the Bill and Hillary Clinton health care plan, which ultimately failed of passage. Also, Mitt Romney in Massachusetts accomplished a very similar plan as ObamaCare, but ran against his own plan for the nation when he ran for President in 2012.

The Republicans continued to try to destroy ObamaCare ever since 2010, having 70 votes on it over the years, but Chief Justice Roberts and Senator John McCain in 2012 and 2017, respectively, backed continuation at crucial moments. Now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that, clearly, ObamaCare is here to stay, so like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, ObamaCare has survived and become a permanent part of the Social Safety Net.

The Democrats and progressives have accomplished these great pieces of legislation since 1935, and the goal has always been to improve the laws, as no one ever said they were perfect, but it is the Democrats, not the Republicans who have advocated and succeeded in accomplishing the Social Welfare, Social Justice state, and they should be very proud of the work they have done.

So FDR, LBJ, and Obama are the three most successful domestic policy Presidents, and not just in the areas mentioned in this article!