Posts Tagged Nelson Rockefeller
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!
The office of the Vice Presidency has often been ridiculed, and some have argued for its abolition by a constitutional amendment, but that is a wrong headed idea.
The Vice Presidency has become an important office since the 1950s, when Richard Nixon transformed the office, both by his own ambitions, and the willingness of President Dwight D. Eisenhower to allow the office to expand.
While Lyndon B. Johnson under John F. Kennedy and Hubert H. Humphrey under Johnson were not used effectively by their Presidents, and while Spiro Agnew under Richard Nixon and Dan Quayle under George H. W. Bush could be seen as disasters in office, still the office has grown in stature and accomplishments otherwise.
So Gerald Ford, in his brief Vice Presidency under Richard Nixon, Nelson Rockefeller under Gerald Ford, Walter Mondale under Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush under Ronald Reagan, Al Gore under Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney under George W. Bush, and Joe Biden under Barack Obama have had a great impact on the office, and made it an office of real power and influence!
When one realizes that Ford and the first Bush ended up in the White House, as did Nixon and Lyndon Johnson; and that Humphrey, Mondale, and Gore were Presidential nominees; and that Rockefeller and Biden both sought the Presidential nomination, one realizes that choosing a Vice Presidential nominee is not to be regarded as insignificant to the nation!
But can we afford another Agnew, Quayle, Geraldine Ferraro, or Sarah Palin to be a possible heartbeat away from the Presidency?
The answer clearly is NO, so Mitt Romney, by taking his time to choose a running mate, hopefully is carefully considering who could really contribute to the office, and help Romney if the two of them end up in the White House!
If one decides to forget everything but experience and competence, and ability to add to Romney’s candidacy, then the choice must be one of the following: Condoleezza Rice, Rob Portman, or Tim Pawlenty.
Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Bob McDonnell, John Thune, and Kelly Ayotte all have issues and problems if they are chosen, and one could argue that some of them could not match the list of Vice Presidents who have served, as not being on their competency level.
But if one had to predict what now seems likely, don’t be surprised that Mitt Romney selects Paul Ryan, which would be an unmitigated disaster, as the controversy surrounding him and his economic plans would reverberate against Mitt Romney.
The gut feeling is that Ryan is on the top of the list, followed by Kelly Ayotte, who is simply not qualified to be President, and would not be much better than Sarah Palin was in the 2008 election cycle.
So bet on Ryan or Ayotte, but if Romney does the best for the nation, it would be Rice, Portman, or Pawlenty!
The Vice Presidency has often been called an office of insignificance, as the Constitution gives the Vice President no authority except to preside over the US Senate, cast a rare tie breaking vote, and sit in waiting for the President to die!
Therefore, the office has been ridiculed, and some have suggested that it be eliminated by constitutional amendment without answering what the line of succession would be if such a change occurred.
Despite the low esteem of the office historically, significant men have served in that office, even if unhappily in most cases.
So if a list were to be made of those Vice Presidents who mattered because of their entire career, the list would include:
John Adams under President George Washington
Thomas Jefferson under President John Adams
Aaron Burr under President Thomas Jefferson
John C. Calhoun under Presidents John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren under President Andrew Jackson
Theodore Roosevelt under President William McKinley
Charles G. Dawes under President Calvin Coolidge
Henry A. Wallace under President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman under President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Richard Nixon under President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Lyndon B. Johnson under President John F. Kennedy
Hubert H. Humphrey under President Lyndon B. Johnson
Gerald Ford under President Richard Nixon
Nelson Rockefeller under President Gerald Ford
Walter Mondale under President Jimmy Carter
George H. W. Bush under President Ronald Reagan
Al Gore under President Bill Clinton
Dick Cheney under President George W. Bush
Joe Biden under President Barack Obama
All of these men had a distinguished career before the Vice Presidency, made a difference in American history in some fashion, and all of those since Henry A. Wallace actually had impact upon the growth of the office. Of course, nine of the nineteen listed also became President.
It has become evident that in many cases, no love is lost between sitting Presidents and Vice Presidents, who often link up for electoral reasons, but often have poor chemistry in working together. And many times, a President has wished to “dump” his Vice President, when running for another term in office, and a few times has done so.
Examples of unpleasant Presidential-Vice Presidential relationships include:
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, with Jefferson, the opponent in the 1796 Presidential election, becoming Vice President, but leading to the 12th Amendment in 1804, to prevent any future such combination. The two men fought each other bitterly, and opposed each other again in 1800.
Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, “tied” in electoral votes in 1800, forcing the election to the House of Representatives, leading to Alexander Hamilton’s endorsement of Jefferson and trashing of Burr, and causing Hamilton’s death in a gun duel with Burr in 1804. Jefferson had no relationship with Burr, after Burr tried to “steal” the election, and he was “dumped” in 1804.
John Quincy Adams and John C Calhoun, who were rivals in 1824, had totally different views of the protective tariff, with Calhoun switching to support of Andrew Jackson and running with Jackson in 1828.
Andrew Jackson and John C. Calhoun were elected together in 1828, but Calhoun broke with Jackson over the protective tariff, resigning, and creating a potential threat of civil war, with the Nullification Crisis of 1833, resolved by a compromise devised by Henry Clay. Jackson even threatened to kill Calhoun if he promoted secession of South Carolina from the Union.
William Henry Harrison, elected with John Tyler in 1840, had totally divergent views since Tyler was a Democrat running on the Whig Party line, and Tyler succeeded to the Presidency when Harrison died after one month in office in 1841, and the Whigs made Tyler’s life miserable.
Abraham Lincoln and his first Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin, elected in 1860, hardly knew each other, and the indications are that Hamlin had no major role in the administration, and was replaced by Andrew Johnson on the ticket for 1864 for political reasons.
Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, elected together in 1864, with Lincoln picking Democrat Johnson to help win support in the North, then was assassinated, and succeeded by Johnson after six weeks of the second term in 1865.
James Garfield and Chester Alan Arthur were elected together in 1880, from different factions of the Republican Party, and when Garfield died from assassination wounds six months into office, Arthur finished up the rest of the term from 1881-1885.
Woodrow Wilson and Thomas Marshall were elected together in 1912, but Marshall was “kept out of the loop”, and when Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, was denied access to the President by Mrs. Wilson, never knowing the extent of Wilson’s incapacity for the rest of the term to 1921.
Franklin D. Roosevelt and his first Vice President, John Nance Garner were elected to two terms together in 1932 and 1936, with Garner unhappy with the New Deal programs, and wanting to succeed FDR in 1940, and alienated when FDR ran for a third term in 1940.
Franklin D. Roosevelt and his second Vice President, Henry A. Wallace were elected together in 1940, but Wallace was “dumped” by FDR in 1944, to please Southern Democrats unhappy with Wallace’s advocacy of civil rights for African Americans, and his backing of close relations with the Soviet Union.
Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon were elected together in 1952 and 1956, but Ike wished to “dump” Nixon in 1956 although that did not happen, and he was less than supportive of Nixon in 1960 and 1968.
John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, elected together in 1960, were never close, having been rivals for the Presidential nomination, with LBJ feeling slighted by Robert F. Kennedy, the Attorney General and brother of the President, and rumors swirling that he would be “dumped” in 1964, if Kennedy had lived.
Lyndon B. Johnson and Hubert H. Humphrey were elected together in 1964, but with Humphrey feeling mistreated by LBJ, and unhappy as Vice President, seeing himself trapped, and being undermined when he was the Presidential nominee in 1968, and LBJ working against him when Humphrey ran against Richard Nixon.
Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew were elected together in 1968 and 1972, with Agnew feeling “used” by Nixon to do his “dirty work” against the news media, and gaining no support from Nixon when in legal trouble over accepting bribes, leading to his resignation in 1973. Agnew refused to speak ever again to his former boss.
Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush were never close, and the Bushes were never invited to the White House by the Reagans, after their two victories in elections in 1980 and 1984.
George H. W. Bush and Dan Quayle were elected together in 1988, with obvious discomfort by Bush as to Quayle’s performance in his term of office as Vice President, and considered “dumping” him in 1992, but not done in that losing re-election effort.
Bill Clinton and Al Gore, elected together in 1992 and 1996, got along well, but after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, a growing divide occurred between the two men, and Gore decided not to have Clinton help him in the Presidential campaign of 2000, and then the two men had angry words in a confrontation in the Oval Office after the defeat.
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, elected together in 2000 and 2004, originally worked well together, but Bush then ignored Cheney’s advice often in the second term, and refused Cheney’s request that Scooter Libby be given a pardon. Cheney, in his memoir, made clear that his relationship with Bush had cooled.
So often, the relationship between President and Vice President has been a very difficult one, an interesting aspect of American history!
Exceptions to this were the close relationship of Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller between 1974 and 1977, although Rockefeller was “dumped” from the ticket in 1976 for Bob Dole, a move that Ford later said he did for political reasons, and greatly regretted; the extremely close ties between Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale between 1977-1981, with Mondale practically a “Co President”; and the present relationship between Barack Obama and Joe Biden since 2009.