Richard Nixon

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: The Golden Age Of The Presidency, 1933-1969 (FDR, Truman, Ike, JFK, LBJ) With Five Of The Top Ten In History!

One final commentary on the C Span 2017 Presidential Survey is in order.

Based on the results of this survey, including 91 Presidential scholars, it is clear that there was a Golden Age of the Presidency from 1933-1969, a 36 year period in the 20th century when we had five Presidents–4 Democrats and 1 Republican—who had a transformational effect on American history.

All five of these Presidents—Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson—had bright moments in their Presidencies, but also times when their actions caused problems down the road of history. But they had a massive impact on the office and the nation, and they were ranked as Numbers 3, 6, 5, 8 and 10 in the most recent C Span survey.

Three of them—Truman, Eisenhower, and Johnson—left the Presidency with very low public opinion ratings, but have recovered to rise dramatically in image and reputation over the decades.

The four who followed FDR institutionalized the New Deal and expanded it, and yet now in 2017, everything that was accomplished in both domestic and foreign policy is in danger from the anarchistic, chaotic forces of Donald Trump, Stephen Bannon et al, who are ready to use a sledge hammer to destroy all of the progress and growth of the federal government to protect the population, particularly the vulnerable groups—the poor, the sick, the disabled, the elderly, women, ethnic and racial minorities, labor, and those concerned about the environment.

Since 1969, the Presidency has been going through crisis, first through the shortcomings and paranoia of Richard Nixon, through further decline under Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter (despite their well meant intentions), and then through the Presidency of Ronald Reagan which revived the image of the office, but started the long term decline of the middle class by its actions, continued under George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton despite some reforms, and then reaching a low under George W. Bush, leaving Barack Obama with a challenge unseen since FDR.

Obama’s response in the midst of constant obstructionism was miraculous, and his number 12 rating upon leaving the Presidency insures his eventual rise to the top ten of the list, likely through a decline of Woodrow Wilson and Ronald Reagan by a few notches.

Donald Trump will cause the rise of all of the Presidents who have not done well in the rankings—Nixon, Ford, Carter, and the second Bush—but that reality is a sign that the American Presidency has been under attack as an institution since 1969, with the only bright moment being the rise of Barack Obama. So we are unlikely to see a new Golden Age, and the five Presidents from 1933-1969 are likely to be well entrenched in the Top Ten for the long haul of American history.

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: Dramatic Rise Of Dwight D. Eisenhower And Ulysses S. Grant Since First Poll In 2000

The C Span 2017 Presidential Survey demonstrates the dramatic rise of two war heroes in our two major wars: Dwight D. Eisenhower in World War II, and Ulysses S. Grant in the Civil War.

Both were Republican Presidents with low historical esteem as Presidents, particularly Grant, but both suffering from long term negative images in the White House.

But Ike, as Eisenhower was affectionately known, has soared from 9 in 2000 to 8 in 2009 to 5 in 2017, surpassing Harry Truman, who dropped slightly from 5 in 2000 and 2009 to 6 in 2017.

And Grant, who was 33 in 2000, soared amazingly to 23 in 2009 and now 22 in 2017.

Ike was well liked, but thought of as a weak, lackadaisical President when he left office in 1961, more remembered at the time for playing golf than anything else.

People thought of the fact that Ike “allowed” the Soviet Union to go into space first in 1957; and that the U-2 Spy Plane Incident in 1960 complicated relations with the Soviet Union, and ignored the many accomplishments of the 34th President.

Since then, his stock has risen with the understanding of his handling of the Little Rock Crisis in 1957; his ability to work with leaders of the opposition Democrats (Sam Rayburn and Lyndon B. Johnson) who controlled Congress for 6 of his 8 years; his acceptance of the New Deal programs of FDR; his creation of a federal commitment to health, education and welfare through the HEW Department in his first year; his promotion of the interstate highway system as a followup to Abraham Lincoln’s transcontinental railroad; his signing the first two Civil Rights laws since Reconstruction; the establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Defense Education Act in reaction to Sputnik; his refusal to escalate to major involvement in Vietnam and warning his successors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, to avoid the morass that occurred; and his path breaking Farewell Address, warning of a military industrial complex endangering American democracy and American foreign policy.

Grant was thought of historically as a great General in the Civil War, gaining the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House in Virginia to end the Civil War, but as President best remembered for his liquor problems, making him a certifiable alcoholic; massive scandals around his Presidency, typified by the Credit Mobilier Scandals; two Vice Presidents (Schuyler Colfax and Henry Wilson) involved in corruption; and economic hard times leading to the worst economic downturn (the Panic of 1873) until that time, with a massive depression that undermined the majority party outside the South, the Republican Party, and led to the contested Election of 1876.

But in recent years, there has been recognition of Grant promoting racial equality through backing of Congressional Reconstruction in the South and the support of the 15th Amendment and laws against the Ku Klux Klan and additional Civil Rights legislation; promotion of an Indian peace policy very different from earlier and later times; his around the world tour after his Presidency adding to his stature; his amazing Memoirs, written as he was dying of cancer, and still considered a classic work, unsurpassed by any other President; and the deep mourning and honoring of Grant in death, including the commemoration of Grant’s Tomb in New York City in 1897. No one even in 2017 is rating him in the top 20 Presidents, but his rise from very low to middle status is quite an accomplishment, although it is hard to imagine him rising any further.

The question arises whether modern Presidents, including Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon, who have fallen in recent times in the Presidential polls, will yet arise and pass Grant, and knock him down below them in the future. Historians are constantly changing their perceptions of our Chief Executives, and it will continue into the long term future.

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey Results On George W. Bush And Bill Clinton: Little Hope Of Further Rise, And Never Above Barack Obama

The C Span 2017 Presidential survey gives evidence that the two Presidents before Barack Obama–George W. Bush and Bill Clinton—are unlikely to rise very much from their positions in the recent polling.

George W. Bush was a very low 36 in 2009 and now has risen a few notches to 33, while Bill Clinton, who had been 21 in 2000, and rose to 15 in 2009, remained at 15 in 2017.

Bush’s slight rise is due to recognition that he did have some virtues, as with his promotion of immigration reform although it failed to be achieved, his education reforms (No Child Left Behind), his promotion of tolerance toward Muslims after September 11, his prescription drug program for seniors, and his aid to Africa on AIDS.

But there is little room to move up, as to believe that Bush’s failures will ever be overlooked enough that he will rise above Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter or Gerald Ford, seems delusional.

So at the most, Bush might move above Rutherford B. Hayes, who has had a dramatic drop from 26 in 2000 to 33 in 2009 and slightly up to 32 in 2017; Zachary Taylor (who died after the third shortest term); Benjamin Harrison (who was sandwiched in between Grover Cleveland’s two terms); and James A. Garfield (who died after the second shortest term due to assassination). It is not really an accomplishment to pass two short term Presidents, and two one term Presidents of the Gilded Age. No one higher from Number 28 Richard Nixon upward is a likely candidate to fall below Bush ever in the future. So Bush will not be like Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, or Lyndon B. Johnson, who started off low and then rose to the top ten over time.

As far as Bill Clinton is concerned, his original low standing was due to the fact that he had the most corrupt Democratic Party administration, although it was on a lesser level than Republicans Richard Nixon, Warren G. Harding, Ulysses S. Grant, and Ronald Reagan. His personal sex scandals brought him down as he was leaving office, but his rise in 2009 seemed reasonable, but really what will allow him to rise further, as he did not do in 2017?

The more one looks at Clinton, the more one realizes that his time in office is best remembered for a good economy which just happened to be lucky to coincide, but which included the moat conservative Democratic administration of the 20th century, with him cooperating with the Republicans on ending the Interstate Commerce Commission; ending the federal guarantee of welfare; passing very strict crime bills that backfired over time; and allowing corporate mergers that no other Democratic President would have allowed. And his shortcomings became more evident as his wife, Hillary Clinton, pursued the Presidency, and ultimately lost, even though she won the popular vote by three million.

The only practical way for Bill Clinton to rise is to overcome James K. Polk, who was extremely successful in his one term; or James Monroe, who in his two terms, accomplished enough that his significance has been recognized. So do not expect any rise from number 15 for Bill Clinton, despite his great charisma and personality.

When Bush and Clinton pass away in the future, it might cause some rise in their ratings, but unlikely long term, and it is a reality that Barack Obama, already ahead of both and likely to rise, will always be ahead of the two Presidents before him, as well as certainly so above the President who has succeeded him, Donald Trump, who has in one month set his legacy, that he will be at the bottom or close to the bottom of ratings in future surveys after he leaves office, hopefully sooner than one term.

Donald Trump keeps on saying he inherited a “mess”, a total lie, which will not stand now or in the long run of historical analysis!

One Month Of Donald Trump: Total Alienation, Disarray, Anarchy And Mean Spiritedness

Donald Trump yesterday reached the 31 days of our shortest term President, William Henry Harrison.

In that month, Trump has managed to divide the nation into two camps more divided than ever since the Civil War 150 years ago.

Sure, we had the controversies under Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

But the level of political discord is now worse than ever, and the fear that violence and bloodshed might break out is growing.

Trump has bitterly attacked the judiciary, the news media, the intelligence community, and the bureaucracy in all federal agencies, and in so doing, is creating total alienation, disarray, anarchy, and mean spiritedness.

Trump has been stopped temporarily in his Muslim ban, but is promising another travel ban. He is moving ahead on the Mexico Wall, which will cost tens of billions of dollars, adding to the national debt.

Trump has started a deportation policy which is destroying the lives of undocumented immigrants, who in the vast majority have not broken the law beyond entering illegally years ago, and have contributed to America and brought up children here, and now are having their lives destroyed.

Trump has seen his National Security Adviser forced out, and his Labor Secretary nominee backing out due to his disgraceful record as an employer, and his abusive relationship with his former wife.

Trump has had trouble recruiting for many jobs in the federal government hierarchy, due to his reckless behavior and tweets, and has lied more in one month than any President, and accepts conspiracy theories and demonstrates total ignorance of facts and truth.

Trump can be seen as a revolutionary, using an axe to destroy the federal government, and having dangerous and extremist advisers, including Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller, who are Fascist oriented demagogues who believe in destroying the record of accomplishments of Democratic and Republican Presidents from TR through Obama.

Most Disastrous Press Conference Of Any President In American History Occurred Today!

Donald Trump demonstrated total mental disorder at his first press conference as President this afternoon. There has never been a press conference like this one, not even under Richard Nixon.

His behavior was bizarre, unhinged, scary to watch, and totally delusional.

Trump showed that he has the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and just mentioning nuclear weapons in the press conference was terrifying.

He lied, deceived, exaggerated. showed ignorance, and that he was living in a virtual reality outside of the real world.

He showed no concern about antisemitic attacks on Jewish Community Centers all over America in recent weeks, and instead talked about how he was the least antisemitic person there was.

Trump also said he was the least racist of anyone, and also asserted that he had the greatest electoral vote victory since Ronald Reagan, which is not true, but he said he had been told that, which showed how ignorant and lacking in curiosity he is to investigate issues on his own.

We have never had a President like this, not even Richard Nixon, and we are in a constitutional crisis, with him attacking the intelligence agencies, the news media, the foreign policy establishment, and anyone else who dares to challenge him on any issue.

My article on HNN yesterday that said Trump would not last more time in office than, at the most, between James A Garfield and Zachary Taylor in duration (6 and a half to 16 months), has taken off on HNN, and I was interviewed on CTV News Channel in Toronto for five minutes at 905 pm tonight, and will share that link when and if I am able to obtain it.

The Reality: Mike Pence Likely To Become President

The situation Mike Pence faces as Vice President after less than a month in office is that he must be starting to realize that he will become President at some point during this term.

The same situation faced Gerald Ford in December 1973, when he became Vice President under the 25th Amendment, the first such use of that amendment just passed six years earlier.

Ford knew that Richard Nixon was in trouble, and Mike Pence knows Donald Trump is in trouble.

Both Ford then and now Pence must “walk on eggs”, and be careful about what they say and do, in order to avoid any untoward indications of interfering with the procedures used to judge whether the President they serve is someone who should be removed from office.

But at the end, it is likely that Mike Pence will feel a need to utilize Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, to remove Donald Trump from office as a danger to national security and stability, due to reckless and unstable behavior in the Oval Office.

Both Ford and Pence owed their elevations to the Vice Presidency to their Presidents, but just as Ford was prepared to take over the Presidency. so will Mike Pence be ready when the time is right. which is likely sometime later this first year of the Trump Presidency, which seems assured to be abbreviated to probably more than James A. Garfield (199 days) but much less than Zachary Taylor (492 days).

US V Nixon; Clinton V Jones; And Now US V Trump?

In 1974, the Supreme Court, by 8-0 vote, told Richard Nixon that he had to hand over the Watergate tapes to the Special Prosecutor, which led to Nixon’s resignation a few weeks later.

In 1997. the Supreme Court, by 9-0 vote, told Bill Clinton that he could not avoid trial on sexual harassment charges brought by Paula Jones, simply because of his Presidential duties, which led to the impeachment and trial in 1998-1999.

The point of these two cases, US V Nixon, and Clinton V Jones, is that the President is not in total charge, and can be held to account by the Court system of America.

Donald Trump is about to get the same reality check, as the case involving the ban of all immigration from seven Muslim nations goes to the 9th Circuit Court, after a District Court Judge showed courage in stopping the enforcement of the President’s executive order. This is seen by most legal experts as unconstitutional, as a violation of the First and 14th Amendments, and being used against nations that have sent no terrorists to America, while other nations that have, are not included in the ban.

Donald Trump seems to think he is above the law, and his authoritarian, autocratic and tyrannical behavior must be nipped in the bud right now!

Is Mike Pence Able To “Do” A Gerald Ford? “Walk On Eggs” And Keep Legitimacy As A Future President?

43 Years ago, we had a flawed President, Richard Nixon, who was facing an impeachment crisis, as he had clearly violated the Constitution, and was on the way to an early end to his Presidency.

At that crisis moment, we had Gerald Ford, appointed by Nixon in October 1973 to replace the crooked Vice President, Spiro Agnew, who had been forced to resign. Nixon had chosen Ford over other more prominent figures—including John Connally, Ronald Reagan, Nelson Rockefeller— and two lesser figures of prominence who were much younger—George H. W. Bush and Bob Dole—due to the reality that Gerald Ford was well liked by the opposition Democrats, who would have the balance of power in confirming the Vice Presidential replacement under the 25th Amendment.

Also, Nixon believed that although Ford was well liked as the House Minority Leader by Democrats, that no one thought that highly of Ford as to want to make him a future potential President.

It turns out that the nation was blessed that we had Gerald Ford replacing Agnew in December 1973, as Ford did a masterful job of “walking on eggs” for eight months, demonstrating some support for Nixon, but in a careful measured way, as to keep his basic neutrality, as he fully realized he was likely to become the next President.

In 1998-1999, we know that Vice President Al Gore visited former President Gerald Ford, on a so called “social call”, but actually soliciting advice on how to handle the issue of the Bill Clinton sex scandal, which led to his impeachment and trial. It is now clear that Gore did the best he could in a bad situation, but that the close relationship of Gore to Bill Clinton was strained from that point on, and may have helped to doom the Gore Presidential race in 2000, in which Gore won the popular vote, but lost key states that resulted in George W. Bush winning the Electoral College.

Can Mike Pence, who assuredly will be the next President at some point during this term of office, be able to keep his credibility as Ford did, and Gore mostly did? Hard to say, but his appearance on Meet The Press today was not a good sign, as he clearly squirmed at the questions of Chuck Todd, and his body language betrayed his discomfort. So whether he can keep his legitimacy as the 46th President of the United States, and somehow unite the country when Donald Trump leaves office, is up in the air at this point.

Presidents Judged On Compassion And Empathy: Few And Far Between

The traits of compassion and empathy are not automatic parts of any person’s makeup and character, but rather needs to be cultivated from childhood on by a family environment that emphasizes commitment to others, rather than exploitation of others for one’s own gain.

Difficult childhood experiences can, of course, affect personality, and often cripple any sense of compassion and empathy for others.

So one could argue that any President who had owned slaves, as ten Presidents did, are lacking in compassion and empathy, as they were able to separate their willingness to exploit others for personal gain.

One could also say that anyone who grew up in an environment that overlooked the human rights of native Americans, or displayed racism and nativism toward people of other races, nationalities, and religions, also would be seen as lacking in compassion and empathy.

So by this standard, the number of Presidents with elements of compassion and empathy are few and far between. However, there are some who have background that would seem to eliminate them from this category, but who, in reality, demonstrated growth and recognition of shortcomings and overcame them in the Presidency. In other words, they changed over time.

So who would fit on the list of compassion and empathy in office?

In the 19th century, we would place John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, and James A. Garfield in his few short months in office before the tragedy of assassination shortened his life.

In the 20th century and since, we would include Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Obama.

This does not mean that one cannot find criticism of these ten Presidents’ policies, for surely one can.

But even with elements that can be seen as shortcomings, these ten Presidents in general can be seen as the most compassionate, empathetic Presidents we have had.

Which Presidents would be seen as having the least compassion and empathy in American history?

This author would say Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Richard Nixon and Donald Trump, with Trump at the head of the list.

48 Vice Presidents, 45 (44) Presidents?

With the inauguration of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, we now have our 45th (really 44th) President, and our 48th Vice President!

Some reading this are saying: “Huh?”

So let’s explain the difference in numbers.

Donald Trump is the 44th person to become President, but Grover Cleveland served two nonconsecutive terms from 1885-1889 and 1893-1897, although he also won the popular vote in 1888, but Benjamin Harrison won the Electoral College, the third time out of five (with 2000 and 2016 the 4th and 5th cases) where the popular vote loser won the Presidency.

Now, as to the Vice Presidency:

Several Presidents had two Vice Presidents, and one had three Vice Presidents, therefore making for four additional Vice Presidents more than Presidents.

Thomas Jefferson had Aaron Burr in his first term in the Presidency (1801-1805), and George Clinton in his second term (1805-1809).

James Madison had Clinton stay on as Vice President in his first term, but he died in office in 1812, so only served from 1809-1812, instead of to 1813. In his second term, Madison had Elbridge Gerry as his Vice President, but he served less than two years and died in 1814, so only serving 1813-1814.

Andrew Jackson had John C. Calhoun as Vice President in his first term, but he resigned with three months to go in the term, after being dumped from the ticket for the 1832 election, so served from 1829-1832. Martin Van Buren served in the Jackson second term (1833-1837), and became the last Vice President to succeed directly to the Presidency by election for 152 years, when George H. W. Bush succeeded President Ronald Reagan in the 1988 Presidential election.

Abraham Lincoln had two Vice Presidents–Hannibal Hamlin (1861-1865) who he decided to replace for his second election, and Andrew Johnson for six weeks in 1865 until Lincoln was assassinated, and Johnson became President.

Ulysses S. Grant had two Vice Presidents–Schuyler Colfax (1869-1873) who came under investigation for corruption and did not run for reelection; and Henry Wilson (1873-1875) who died in office.

William McKinley had two Vice Presidents–Garret Hobart (1897-1899), who died in office; and Theodore Roosevelt, for six and a half months in 1901, until McKinley was assassinated, and TR succeeded him to the Presidency, and then won a four year term of his own in 1904.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, being elected four times to the Presidency, and prevented from occurring again by the passage and adoption of the 22nd Amendment in 1951, had John Nance Garner (1933-1941) in his first two terms; Henry A. Wallace (1941-1945) in his third term; and Harry Truman for 82 days of his 4th term in 1945, before FDR died, and Truman succeeded him, and then won a full term in 1948.

Finally, Richard Nixon had two Vice Presidents–Spiro Agnew (1969-1973), his first full term and nine months of his shortened second term, until Agnew was forced to resign due to corruption charges, and being replaced two months later by Gerald Ford (1973-1974) under the 25th Amendment, allowing for an appointed Vice President subject to majority approval by both the House of Representatives and the US Senate, with Ford serving nine months before he succeeded to the Presidency upon the resignation of Nixon, due to the Watergate scandal.

Realize that George Clinton served under two Presidents (Jefferson and Madison), and the same for Calhoun, who had served as Vice President to John Quincy Adams (1825-1829), before serving as Vice President under Jackson for all but three months of that term. So as a result, Jefferson, Madison and Jackson only had one DIFFERENT Vice President to add to the total number!

Also, realize that Grover Cleveland, in his separate terms, had two different Vice Presidents, Thomas Hendricks for 8 months in 1885, and Adlai Stevenson I (1893-1897).

Also realize that John Tyler (1841), Millard Fillmore (1850), Andrew Johnson (1865), and Chester Alan Arthur (1881), all succeeded to the Presidency because of the deaths of William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, and James A. Garfield, and never had a Vice President, since there was no 25th Amendment until passage in 1967, allowing Gerald Ford to pick Nelson Rockefeller as his Vice President in 1974. And the other four Presidents who had been Vice President, and succeeded due to the deaths of the Presidents in office (Theodore Roosevelt after William McKinley; Calvin Coolidge after Warren G. Harding; Harry Truman after Franklin D. Roosevelt; Lyndon B. Johnson after John F. Kennedy) all were elected in the next term and had a Vice President.

So only 40 men (plus Cleveland in two terms, so called the 22nd and 24th President) in the Presidency chose a Vice President, and only Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, McKinley and Nixon had two Vice Presidents who were unique (not shared with another President), and FDR had three Vice Presidents with his four terms in office. So if you count 41 due to Cleveland’s unique situation, and add seven extra Vice Presidents, you get a total of 48 men who have served as Vice President of the United States!