Posts Tagged Nelson Rockefeller
The new book, DOUBLE DOWN: GAME CHANGE 2012, states that Barack Obama’s campaign seriously considered dumping Vice President Joe Biden for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a rumor long believed and promoted.
Would such a change have brought about a different election result? Hardly so, and Obama came to realize that his Vice President was an asset, and that it was best to leave well enough alone.
When one looks at history, it is clear that “dumping” a Vice President is not a good idea, although there have been cases of such situations sometimes being necessary.
This is true of Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, with Burr having tried to take the Presidency away from Jefferson in the Presidential Election of 1800.
It is also true of Andrew Jackson and John C. Calhoun, who were at tremendous odds over the protective tariff in 1832, with Calhoun finally resigning the Vice Presidency with three months left in the term, before being replaced by Martin Van Buren for Jackson’s second term.
Abraham Lincoln’s decision to dump Hannibal Hamlin for Andrew Johnson in 1864 is seen as a mistake, as Johnson ended up being impeached, although not convicted, by Congress when he became President.
Ulysses S. Grant’s first term Vice President, Schuyler Colfax, being involved in scandal, was replaced by Henry Wilson for the second term, a necessary action, due to the Credit Mobilier Scandal revelations.
Franklin D. Roosevelt had three Vice Presidents in his four terms, with John Nance Garner refusing to run with FDR when he went for his third term. But Henry A. Wallace was replaced with Harry Truman for the fourth term, due to opposition from Southerners and conservatives who worried about Wallace on the issue of race relations, and his views of the Soviet Union during World War II. Looking back, it was better that Truman, rather than Wallace, became President upon FDR’s death in April 1945.
Gerald Ford is the last President to replace his Vice President, Nelson Rockefeller, with the choice of Bob Dole, but that helped to defeat him in a close race with Jimmy Carter.
Overall, it is best for a President to stick with his Vice President when running for a second term, unless there are extenuating circumstances as with Jefferson, Jackson, Grant and FDR.
A Great Moment In American History 39 Years Ago Today As The Rule Of Law Triumphed, And Sanity Returned With Gerald Ford Becoming President!
39 years ago today, President Richard Nixon resigned from office, as the rule of law triumphed, and America returned to sanity with the the inauguration of Gerald Ford as our 38th President.
Nixon might have accomplished a great deal in his five and a half years in the White House, but he represented the greatest threat to our government stability since the Civil War, as he abused power, showed definite signs of mental illness, and had proved on the Watergate tapes that he had obstructed justice and broken the law, and had expressed what we did not know clearly at the time, overt racism and anti semitism!
The Constitution worked, as the Congress and the Supreme Court intervened and saved America from a President out of control, and we were blessed with a man who replaced him, who we now realize was the right person to take the helm at a time when we desperately needed a person of conscience, decency, and principles.
We found that man in Gerald Ford, who never had ambitions to be President, but came along as an acceptable choice under the 25th Amendment, which had only been added to the Constitution six years earlier, in 1967. We were saved from a fate worse than Nixon, the crooked, unqualified, and demagogic Spiro Agnew, who scared the living daylights out of many decent, principled Americans.
Ford came into the Presidency, moved us past the nightmare of Richard Nixon by pardoning him, so that the nation could look to the future, and deal with the many problems it faced at that time in the mid 1970s…He suffered defeat for a full term in 1976 by a small margin, certainly caused by that controversial pardon. But he steadied the ship of state, and gained respect for his handling of a terrorist incident, the Mayaguez Affair with the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia; gave us one of the greatest recent Supreme Court Justices, John Paul Stevens, who served 35 years, longer than any Justice except William O. Douglas; graced us with his wonderful wife, Betty Ford, who set a modern standard for First Ladies to follow, as the most active since Eleanor Roosevelt; and held off the right wing tilt of the Republican Party for four years, by stopping Ronald Reagan’s attempt to turn the party to the Right. He also gave us one of our best and most activist Vice Presidents, Nelson Rockefeller, and bravely survived two assassination attempts within 17 days of each other in September 1975. Ford also showed us how a Republican President could be a responsible, mainstream conservative.
Gerald Ford restored the dignity and status of the Presidency at a time when it desperately needed a boost, and graced our nation for a longer life than any President of the United States.
Having visited the Gerald Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan, last month brought this author and blogger to a greater understanding and appreciation of the contributions of Gerald and Betty Ford. While he served the shortest term of a President who did not die in office, it was a significant 895 days, and we owe him a debt of gratitude for his service in the Presidency, as well as his 25 years in the House of Representatives.
The “What If”s of history are a topic that continues to fascinate, such as Jeff Greenfield’s new book on a second term in the Presidency of John F. Kennedy, had he not been assassinated.
There are so many examples of situations where a Vice President could have become President, and the fortunes of history did not make that work out. And twice, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate could have become President, as next in line, and with no Vice President at the time of the situation!
A total of 15 circumstances could have occurred, as follows:
John Tyler came close to being killed on the USS Princeton on a Potomac River trip on February 28, 1844, when an explosion occurred, killing the Secretary of State and Secretary of the Navy, but Tyler was unhurt. Had he died, and with no Vice President, as Tyler had succeeded William Henry Harrison in 1841, the President of the United States Senate would have been President Pro Tempore Senator Willie P. Mangum of North Carolina, a Whig Party member..
James K. Polk had constant intestinal ailments during his one term in office from 1845-1849, and chose not to run again, and died 103 days after his Presidency. Had he died during the term, Vice President George M. Dallas would have been President.
If Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated in his first term, rather than his second, Vice President Hannibal Hamlin would have been President, and Andrew Johnson would not have been President.
If Andrew Johnson had been convicted on impeachment charges in 1868, President Pro Tempore Benjamin Wade, Senator from Ohio, would have been President.
If Grover Cleveland, who had surgery for jaw cancer in 1893, had died, Vice President Adlai Stevenson I, the grandfather of the two time Democratic nominee for President in 1952 and 1956, would have been President.
If William McKinley’s first term Vice President, Garret Hobart, had not died in 1899, he likely would have been Vice President in the second term, when McKinley was assassinated in 1901, and Hobart would have been President, and Theodore Roosevelt would not have been President.
If Woodrow Wilson, having suffered a paralytic stroke which limited his ability to do his job for the last 18 months of his Presidency, had either died or resigned, Vice President Thomas Marshall would have been President.
If Franklin D. Roosevelt had been killed in an assassination attempt 17 days before his Presidency began, John Nance Garner would have been President.
If Franklin D. Roosevelt had not “dumped” Vice President Henry A. Wallace for his fourth term, Wallace would have been President, and not Harry Truman.
If Harry Truman had been successfully assassinated in a 1950 attempt, Vice President Alben Barkley would have been President.
If Gerald Ford had been a victim in either assassination attempt against him in September 1975, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller would have been President.
If Jimmy Carter had been the victim of John Hinckley, who stalked him at a campaign event in October 1980, the same person who attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan less than six months later, Vice President Walter Mondale would have been President.
If George H. W. Bush had died of an atrial fibrillation during his term, Vice President Dan Quayle would have been President.
If Bill Clinton had been removed on impeachment charges or resigned during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Vice President Al Gore would have been President.
And if George W. Bush had been shot down by terrorists on September 11, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney would have been President
Try to imagine Andrew Johnson, Theodore Roosevelt and Harry Truman NOT being Presidents!
And imagine Presidents Willie P. Mangum, George M. Dallas, Hannibal Hamlin, Benjamin Wade, Adlai Stevenson I, Garret Hobart, Thomas Marshall, John Nance Garner, Henry A. Wallace, Alben Barkley, Nelson Rockefeller, Walter Mondale, Dan Quayle, Al Gore and Dick Cheney as Presidents of the United States, which would have meant, instead of nine Vice Presidents succeeding to the Presidency during a term, it could have been 19 Vice Presidents out of 44, nearly half (leaving out Vice Presidents Andrew Johnson, Theodore Roosevelt and Harry Truman from the list of 47 Vice Presidents)! Plus two Presidents Pro Tempore of the Senate would have been President!
The Republican Party, which gave us Abraham Lincoln, Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner, William Seward in the years of the 1850s and 1860s; which gave us Theodore Roosevelt, Robert La Follette, Sr, George Norris, William Borah, Hiram Johnson in the 1900s-1940s; which gave us Dwight D. Eisenhower, Nelson Rockefeller, William Scranton, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr,, George Romney in the 1950s-1960s; and which gave us Mark Hatfield, Charles Mathias, Charles Percy, Howard Baker, Bob Dole, Gerald Ford in the 1970s–1990s, reached its 159th birthday today.
The Republican Party began as an anti slavery expansion party, with elements of abolitionism also present when the party began on this day in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1854.
It became the party of civil rights legislation, three civil rights constitutional amendments, progressive legislation, and supportive of much bipartisan legislation with Democrats in the New Deal and Great Society eras.
Of course, they had their evil elements, including McCarthyism, nativism, and tying themselves to organized religious influences that wished to take America backward, but until the past few years, they always had redeeming values in many ways, and would often denounce the extremists in their midst.
But now the Republican Party has become a party dominated by Tea Party radicals, who promote racism, misogyny, nativism, concern only to promote the welfare of the wealthy, and willingness to engage in foreign wars that have cost us dearly in treasure and loss of life and limb!
The Republican Party is no longer, in any way, reflective of its past, and in fact, insults its honorable, respectable history, sullying the names of its heroes and champions over a century and a half!
This is a tragedy of massive proportions, and the name “Republican” should be co-opted by the true moderates who are sitting by, watching the destruction going on, and holding their heads in their hands, ashamed that the name has been so damaged by reckless, anarchistic haters of the federal government! The party which fought the Civil War to uphold the Union is now more like the secessionist Democrats of that era!
When one looks at the relationships between Presidents and Vice Presidents historically, it is clear that most Presidents look at their Vice Presidents and see their own mortality; often see the Vice President as a rival; often have disdain for the Vice President; and often do not support the Vice President in his Presidential ambitions to follow the President in office.
Examples of the above abound:
George Washington ignored John Adams, and Adams lamented that he was in an office that had no influence or respect.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were at constant odds, being of different political parties, and elected together by the early quirks of the Electoral College, later resolved by the 12th Amendment to the Constitution in 1804.
Thomas Jefferson literally refused to recognize Aaron Burr, after Burr tried to steal the Presidency from him in 1800, with Burr’s contention that he and Jefferson had ended up in a “tie” vote in the Electoral College, forcing Alexander Hamilton, a rival of both Jefferson and Burr to intervene and call for support of Jefferson, which led to the gun duel between Hamilton and Burr in 1804, and Hamilton’s tragic death.
John Quincy Adams discovered that John C. Calhoun was undermining him, and Calhoun switched sides and ran with Andrew Jackson in 1828.
However, Jackson and Calhoun became bitter rivals, and the Nullification Crisis over the protective tariff, with Calhoun enunciating the doctrine of states rights, nullification, interposition, and secession almost led to civil war, prevented by the intervention of Henry Clay, but only after Jackson threatened to hang Calhoun, a threat that could not be ignored, since Jackson had killed several opponents in gun duels.
Abraham Lincoln hardly dealt with his first term Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin, and then “dumped” him, for Andrew Johnson, someone he hardly knew.
When Theodore Roosevelt decided not to run for another term in 1908, he ignored his own Vice President, Charles Fairbanks, and backed his Secretary of War, William Howard Taft.
Woodrow Wilson gave little concern to the role of his Vice President, Thomas Marshall, and when Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, he did not intervene to prevent his wife from preventing Marshall from visiting him, and ascertaining the state of his health, or allow him to take over Presidential authority.
Franklin D. Roosevelt ignored his three Vice Presidents—John Nance Garner, Henry A. Wallace, and Harry Truman. This led Garner to say the Vice Presidency was not worth a pitcher of “warm spit”. Wallace was allowed to “hang in the wind” over his public statements on civil rights, and be “dumped” on the demand of Southern Democrats in 1944. Harry Truman was not informed of anything, including the atomic bomb project, in his brief Vice Presidency.
Dwight D. Eisenhower had a strong dislike for his Vice President, Richard Nixon, as shown by his original plan to “dump” Nixon in 1956; his lukewarm support of Nixon in 1960; and his having problems remembering Nixon as a potential future nominee in 1964. At the end, however, Ike witnessed his grandson, David, marry Nixon’s younger daughter, Julie, and was supportive of Nixon in his last year of life, the first year of the Nixon Presidency.
John F. Kennedy failed to use the talents of Lyndon B. Johnson, his Vice President, to a great extent due to the hatred of his brother, Robert Kennedy, for LBJ. Robert Kennedy went out of his way to embarrass and humiliate Johnson in every way possible.
Johnson abused his Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, once he realized that Humphrey was critical of his Vietnam War policies. He threatened to leave Humphrey out of his cabinet meetings, and forced him to speak up for the war, which undermined Humphrey’s own Presidential campaign in 1968. And secretly, because Humphrey started to veer from support of the administration policies late in the campaign, Johnson hoped for a victory of Richard Nixon.
Richard Nixon utilized his Vice President, Spiro Agnew for political gain, but showed little respect for him, and let him “hang in the wind” when Agnew was forced out of the Vice Presidency in 1973. And Nixon picked Gerald Ford as his successor Vice President under the 25th Amendment, thinking that this insured that Nixon would not be impeached and be removed from office.
Gerald Ford had a strong respect for Nelson Rockefeller, who he selected as his Vice President, but yet “dumped” him for Bob Dole in the 1976 Presidential race.
Ronald Reagan was never close to George H. W. Bush, who had been his chief rival for the 1980 Presidential nomination, and never invited the Bushes to a private dinner at the White House, although he utilized Bush’s expertise in foreign policy and intelligence, as Bush had been head of the CIA.
Bush did not care for Dan Quayle very much, and considered “dumping” him in 1992 over Quayle’s embarrassing flubs. Quayle was given less involvement in the administration than his recent predecessors, and when he tried for the Presidential nomination in 1996, Bush did not back him in any way.
Bill Clinton was closer to Al Gore, but their friendship and collaboration suffered greatly during the scandal over Monica Lewinsky, and the pursuant impeachment trial. Gore decided not to ask Clinton, who remained popular, to work for him in the last days of the 2000 Presidential campaign. After his defeat, there were recriminations between Gore and Clinton over who had been responsible for Gore’s defeat.
George W. Bush relied on his Vice President, Dick Cheney, a lot in the first term, but became estranged from Cheney in the second term over the Scooter Libby scandal and in other ways, as Bush asserted himself much more, making clear he did not need Cheney as much as in the first term.
With all of the above examples of estrangement, or lack of closeness of Presidents with their Vice Presidents, there are two shining examples of very close, warm relationships between two Presidents and their Vice Presidents.
These would be Jimmy Carter with Walter Mondale, and Barack Obama with Joe Biden.
Carter and Mondale were the closest team in American history, with Carter allowing Mondale to share just about every decision in a way no Vice President, before or since, was able to do, and they remained close personal friends, for what is now the all time record of 32 PLUS years out of the Presidency, the longest lasting team in American history, with Carter now 88 plus and Mondale just passing 85, and both still in good health. No sense of any rift has ever existed between the two men, and their relationship was the smoothest ever, a lot of it due to Carter’s lack of insecurity about his Vice President, a testimonial to the former President!
Also, every indication is that Obama and Biden have as close a relationship, but with Biden nearly a generation older, while Carter and Mondale are less than four years apart in age. It seems as if there might be some issues between Obama and Biden, but that will have to be left to the future to find out. Also, a question arises as to how Obama will handle a possible competition for the next Presidential nomination between Biden and Hillary Clinton, both of whom have been crucial to his Presidency’s success so far.
So the Presidential-Vice Presidential relationships have been almost always far from warm and close, with only the two exceptions mentioned above.
This would be an excellent topic for a future scholarly study!
There is only one Joe Biden, our Vice President, who is the most genuine and sincere politician on the scene today!
Biden is criticized for his flubs and gaffes, but while no one is perfect, his flubs and gaffes are harmless, and at most, may invoke laughter and embarrassment over the Vice President’s sometimes, slightly inappropriate, comments!
Biden put on quite a show as he went through mock swearing in of Senators yesterday, on opening day of the new 113th Congress. He got to meet the Senators’s wives, children, grandchildren, mothers, cousins, etc, and he was absolutely charming, charismatic, and funny, drawing laughter and smiles from both Democratic and Republican Senators and their family members.
He was flattering to mothers of the Senators; attentive to young children of the Senators; able to relate to teenage and older children of the Senators; and left an overall good feeling to all who gathered for the ceremonies, and caused much laughter and chuckles for those observing the events live on C Span.
Biden is always entertaining, but at the same time, one realizes how brilliant a mind he has; how talented a speaker he is; how effective he is in getting things done for President Barack Obama; how much expertise he has on such a wide variety of subjects; and how he knows how to bridge gaps between differing sides and viewpoints.
He is a tremendous asset to Obama, and as the Atlantic Monthly Magazine and National Journal have declared, there is a case for stating that Barack Obama is the most active, involved, and influential Vice President in American history—more than Richard Nixon under Dwight D. Eisenhower; more than Nelson Rockefeller under Gerald Ford; more than Walter Mondale under Jimmy Carter; more than George H. W. Bush under Ronald Reagan; more than Al Gore under Bill Clinton; and more than Dick Cheney under George W. Bush!
We could do far worse than Joe Biden to be the 45th President of the United States, by election in 2016! Imagine 44 years of service to his country being brought to the forefront as qualifications for the nation’s highest office!
As Hillary Clinton gets ready to leave the State Department after four distinguished years, she is being flattered by kudos paid to her brilliance, and public opinion polls that make her, on paper, an easy nominee and winner of the Presidency in 2016!
But hold it, everyone! Our system of government and elections does not permit the nomination and election of anyone without real competition, hard work, and lots of grief and “blood, sweat and tears”!
We do not crown anyone to be President, and if you believe otherwise, ask such luminaries of the past as Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, William Seward, Charles Evans Hughes, William Borah, Hiram Johnson, Robert La Follette Sr, Al Smith, Henry A. Wallace, Robert Taft, Arthur Vandenberg, Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey, Nelson Rockefeller, George McGovern, Bob Dole, Bob Kerrey, Al Gore, John Kerry, John McCain, and even Hillary Clinton, about the conclusion that they would be President of the United States someday!
Fifty seven percent in a poll want Hillary to be President, but it is a long four years to 2016, and there will be many others who wish to be President, and the question is whether she wants to go through the same hell she went through in 2008!
Don’t be so sure that Hillary will run in 2016!
Now that the first term of Barack Obama and Joe Biden is ending, it is worth a few moments to recognize the extraordinarily close relationship that exists between the President and the Vice President.
When one looks back on such relationships in the past, it is clear that no other relationship has been quite as close, as warm, as personally friendly, since the time when Jimmy Carter utilized Walter Mondale as practically a “co President” from 1977-1981.
Vice Presidents never really mattered or were close to a President until the 1950s, when Richard Nixon made the office of Vice President a significant office. But President Dwight D. Eisenhower was not very happy, a lot of the time, with his Vice President, and there were hints that he would have preferred a different running mate in 1956,
The John F. Kennedy–Lyndon B. Johnson relationship was not close at all, and neither was the Johnson–Hubert Humphrey relationship.
The Richard Nixon–Spiro Agnew relationship was not much better, and Nixon with Gerald Ford was only a brief period where the two men avoided contact with the other during the Watergate crisis.
Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller were closer, but Ford chose to drop Rockefeller in favor of Bob Dole for the 1976 Presidential race to please the conservative wing led by Ronald Reagan, and years later, Ford expressed regret that he had allowed himself to dump Rockefeller.
Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale were extraordinarily close, with Mondale being treated as an absolute equal, and the two men remain close friends now after nearly 32 years out of office, the longest lasting Presidential-Vice Presidential team, breaking all records for longevity every day.
Ronald Reagan was not very close to George H. W. Bush personally, and Bush did not take Dan Quayle very seriously at all as a Vice President.
Bill Clinton and Al Gore were friendly and close until the Monica Lewinsky and impeachment issues arose, and then Gore stayed away from Clinton during his own campaign for President in 2000, which very well may have harmed his ability to win, despite a popular vote majority of about a half million votes.
George W. Bush relied on Dick Cheney a great deal, but their closeness, if it ever existed, dissipated in the second term over various matters.
The Obama-Biden friendship and closeness seems not at all affected in any way by events, or Biden’s well known problem with gaffes, and he has played a major role as an adviser on so many issues, domestic and foreign. One can see in so many situations and photos that the two men are close, and have a very warm, personal relationship with each other.
This could create a problem for President Obama IF both Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decide to run for President, as the President owes a lot to both of them, as well as to former President Bill Clinton, for having worked so hard for his reelection, and giving what many consider the best speech for Obama at the Democratic National Convention as well.
The best situation for Obama then, would be to remain neutral, but with the hope that maybe one or both would decide ultimately, because of their ages and long careers, not to run for President in their 70s (Biden) or nearing 70s (Clinton).
Former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani and Arizona Senator John McCain were on the attack against Vice President Joe Biden over this past weekend, making clear that Barack Obama should drop Biden from the Presidential ticket, with ridiculous statements that make them look very bad!
Guiliani made it seem that Biden was out of his mind because of recent statements, what could be called gaffes, that the Vice President has made. He made it seem that maybe Biden was too old, that he needed to be locked up, for the remainder of the campaign, and that one needed to wonder if he was qualified to become President if that were to happen during the next term.
What a ridiculous assertion, as Joe Biden is the best qualified person EVER to be Vice President, with maybe the exceptions of Lyndon B. Johnson under John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey under Johnson in the 1960s, and Nelson Rockefeller under Gerald Ford in the 1970s, and the argument could be made that he has had more total experience on national issues and foreign policy issues than even those three distinguished Vice Presidents.
Could it be that Guiliani is trying to get revenge for Biden’s past statement about Guiliiani during the 2008 campaign wars, when Biden said that when one thinks of Guiliani, one thinks of September 11 and nothing else?
And, for John McCain to argue that Biden should be replaced and had looked foolish, who is he to say anything on this topic, when he burdened us with Sarah Palin for Vice President, a true embarrassment, and a woman we cannot get rid of, as she constantly issues outrageous, ridiculous utterances, as she continues to exploit gullible people who see her as a savior!
Neither Guiliani nor McCain are experts on what the Vice Presidency is all about!