Nancy Reagan

Presidential Family Members And The American Presidency

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

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

Other Presidents have also utilized family members as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donald Trump’s Demeaning Of Pocahontas In His Vicious Attack On Senator Elizabeth Warren: More Evidence Of Racism!

Donald Trump is a pure racist, and it shows through again in his vicious attack on Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has some Cherokee Indian ancestry.

The story about Warren taking advantage of her native American ancestry is another urban myth, promoted by the right wing slander machine, and Trump has joined in, once Warren came to the defense of Hillary Clinton, and condemned Trump’s outrageous statements and behavior.

He calls her Pocahontas, demeaning all native Americans, adding to his attacks on Muslims, Latinos, and African Americans.

Trump is so ignorant that he attacks the image of Pocahontas, without realizing the impact of this native American who married John Rolfe in colonial Virginia, and has been honored on stamps, the first Native American to be so honored in 1907.

Also, Pocahontas has many famous descendants of the First Families of Virginia. Among her descendants are two first Ladies, Edith Wilson and Nancy Reagan; astronomer Percival Lowell, who discovered Pluto; Admiral Richard E. Byrd; and Senator Harry Byrd Sr and Senator Harry Byrd Jr of Virginia.

Trump should issue an apology to the native American community, but of course, will not do so!

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.

The “Power Couples”: Presidents And First Ladies

Only a few of our Presidents and First Ladies can be seen as “power couples” who had an impact on their times and after the Presidential years.

It was difficult for the public to relate to either Presidents or First Ladies before the age of modern communication, so therefore the true “Power Couples” can be seen as five in number:

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt 1933-1945

John and Jacqueline Kennedy 1961-1963

Ronald and Nancy Reagan 1981-1989

Bill and Hillary Clinton 1993-2001

Barack and Michelle Obama 2009-Present

Each of these Presidents had a great impact on their times, but also their wives played a major role in the success and accomplishments of their husbands.

If one were to rank these five “Power Couples”, the order that makes most sense are the Roosevelts first; the Clintons second; the Kennedys third: and then the debate of who is fourth and fifth can be argued between the Reagans and the Obamas!

Age Issue Shows Itself Again With Karl Rove Statement On Hillary Clinton

The age issue is rearing its ugly head again with Karl Rove’s comment on Hillary Clinton and her health issue in the last months of her time as Secretary of State, when she fell, hit her head, and was hospitalized for a few days, and took a month to recuperate.

One must remember that Hillary Clinton set records for travel mileage as Secretary of State, enough to cause anyone health issues temporarily, but there is no hint that she is not up to the challenge of running for President.

Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden too, are both extremely qualified for the Presidency, and Karl Rove is going in dangerous territory in using the age issue, particularly when it is clear that Ronald Reagan was never the same after his gunshot wound ten weeks into his Presidency, and seemed lacking in alertness when debating Walter Mondale in the first Presidential debate in 1984; fell asleep with the Pope, and at cabinet meetings; is rumored to have been in early stages of dementia and Alzheimers in his second term; and had trouble answering questions on a constant basis at press conferences. It was often said that Nancy Reagan was his eyes and ears in more ways than one.

Since both Hillary and Joe are, clearly, intellectually, superior to Reagan, Rove’s comment only draws more attention to the shortcomings of Reagan, but also to other recent GOP nominees Bob Dole and John McCain, both of whom were in their 70s. Or is this sexism, because Hillary is a woman?

Having said all of the above, it is still reality that a younger Republican Presidential nominee in 2016 will likely be seen as having some edge over a much older Democratic nominee, as only Reagan has had the edge as the older nominee over much younger opponents. So it brings up the question as to whether it would be better for a younger, newer generation Democratic nominee, as with JFK in 1960, Carter in 1976, Clinton in 1992, and Obama in 2008. It is well worth careful consideration!

Most Influential First Ladies In American History

The role of First Lady, the wife of the President, has evolved over time, and in recent decades, it has been extremely difficult for a First Lady to conduct herself as Jane Pierce or Bess Truman did, which was, basically, to avoid the public spotlight and any major duties.

First Ladies have had their own causes in recent decades, and a few earlier First Ladies had a major impact on their times and their husbands.

So if we were to list 15 First Ladies who had a major role in American history, we would list the following in a chronological list:

Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams
Dolley Madison, wife of James Madison
Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham :Lincoln
Lucy Webb Hayes, wife of Rutherford B. Hayes
Frances Folsom Cleveland, wife of Grover Cleveland
Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, second wife of Woodrow Wilson
Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of John F. Kennedy
Lady Bird Johnson, wife of Lyndon B. Johnson
Betty Ford, wife of Gerald Ford
Rosalynn Carter, wife of Jimmy Carter
Nancy Reagan, wife of Ronald Reagan
Barbara Bush, wife of George H. W. Bush
Hillary Clinton, wife of Bill Clinton
Michelle Obama, wife of Barack Obama

If one was asked to list the five most powerful and significant First Ladies in ranked order, a good list would be as follows:

Eleanor Roosevelt
Hillary Clinton
Betty Ford
Lady Bird Johnson
Michelle Obama

This author welcomes discussion of the lists mentioned above!

A Rare Moment: Five Presidents And Five First Ladies Photographed Together!

For those of us who are Presidential junkies, the only time we see a group of Presidents and First Ladies together in public is at openings of Presidential libraries, and at funerals of Presidents and First Ladies.

Since these do not happen very often in either regard, today’s gathering of five Presidents and five First Ladies at the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library at the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, was an exciting moment, no matter how one feels about the Presidency of George W. Bush.

Seeing Jimmy Carter looking hale and hearty; George H. W. Bush in a wheelchair in obviously poor health although only being less than four months older than Carter; Bill Clinton his usual talkative, charismatic self; George W. Bush being very positive, despite the clear cut failures of his time in office; and Barack Obama, always good with saying the right things, was fascinating!

Seeing Rosalynn Carter and Barbara Bush looking good, considering their advanced age; Hillary Clinton looking ready to run for President any time now; Laura Bush being her usual sweet self; and Michelle Obama looking always as an elegant lady, was also very inspiring!

Of course, Nancy Reagan, while not mentioned, was absent, as she is in her early 90s and not in good health.

And we saw the two daughters of Lyndon Johnson and of Richard Nixon, along with the daughter of Gerald Ford, but no other Presidential children, other than the two daughters of George W. Bush, of course! But only Michael Reagan, the adopted son of Reagan and his first wife, Jane Wyman, was present, not the son and daughter of Nancy Reagan, Ron Jr. and Patti. And neither was Caroline Kennedy, or the other children of Gerald Ford, and none of the children of Jimmy Carter, or the Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea!

In any case, for those who are into photographs of a group of Presidents or First Ladies, today was a very good day!

Presidents Who Began As Democrats But Were Elected To The White House As Republicans!

In the past century, we have had three Presidents who were originally connected to the Democratic Party in some fashion, but ended up becoming President as Republicans.

Herbert Hoover (1929-1933) originally served in government under Democratic President Woodrow Wilson, providing Belgian relief at the beginning of World War I, and serving Wilson as an aide throughout the war and at the Versailles Peace Conference. He was rumored to be a possible candidate for President in 1920, but was bypassed, and ended up serving as Secretary of Commerce under Presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge, before running for President in 1928.

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961) served in the military as one of the top generals of World War II under Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman, and was offered the chance to run as a Democrat for President in 1948 by Truman himself. When Ike decided to stay nonpartisan, Truman ran for a full term, and then became a critic of Eisenhower, when he ran as a Republican in 1952, and their relationship was frosty for years after until after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) was for many years a Democrat, and active as a labor leader for the Screen Actors Guild. He was a loyal supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman, and then had a change of view, due to his marriage to Nancy Reagan and his working for a very conservative oriented corporation, General Electric, and switched his loyalties to the Republican Party, and got noticed when he gave an inspiring speech for the Presidential campaign of Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona in 1964. Two years later, he won the Governorship of California as a Republican.

So three Republican Presidents of the last century converted from the Democratic Party roots they originally shared!

Political Attacks On First Ladies: Nothing New!

The new book that claims that First Lady Michelle Obama has had problems with White House staff, that she interferes with their agenda in defense of her husband, has led to denials by her, and bitter attacks by conservative media.

Is criticism of the First Lady, whoever she is, anything new? History tells us otherwise.

First Lady Dolly Madison was always more outspoken in all ways than her taciturn husband, James Madison. She was known as the “party giver”, but that included her willingness to speak her mind!

First Lady Mary Lincoln was controversial over her expenditures, her clothes, and her mouth, and came under a lot of political attacks during the Civil War, including the fact that her brothers were part of the enemy, fighting for the Confederacy against the American government led by Abraham Lincoln.

Lucy Hayes came to be known as “Lemonade Lucy”, due to the fact that she prevented the serving of liquor at White House gatherings, and believed in women’s rights, including the right to vote, and spoke her mind regularly, causing problems therefore for her husband, Rutherford Hayes.

Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, the second Mrs. Wilson, led cabinet meetings after Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, and often was considered the “first woman President” during his last 18 months in office.

Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the most controversial First Lady, speaking up regularly on all kinds of issues and topics, and labeled by her critics as a Communist and a Socialist. After her husband died, she remained part of the political controversies in the era of McCarthyism and the Cold War, always speaking her mind and being a political activist.

Betty Ford became a lightning rod under President Gerald Ford, speaking out as a feminist for the Equal Rights Amendment, and endorsing abortion rights, and speaking about her alcohol and breast cancer problems openly.

Rosalyn Carter attended cabinet meeting of her husband, Jimmy Carter, and also spoke out for feminist causes openly.

Nancy Reagan was criticized for her spending on White House China, and defended her husband, Ronald Reagan, against his own White House Chief of Staff, Donald Regan, who she was able to arrange to fire. She had no problem stating that she was there to help and defend her husband.

Hillary Clinton was the most involved and outspoken First Lady since Eleanor Roosevelt, and became a lightning rod particularly when she promoted a failed health care plan in the first term of Bill Clinton.

And now, Michelle Obama is making clear that she is there as an advocate of her husband, while claiming no problem in getting along with the White House staff.

So this is all nothing new!