Robert Gates

Joint Party Tickets A Good Idea? History Tells Us NO!

Recently, there has been some discussion of a “fusion” ticket as the way to stop Donald Trump.

One such scenario is to have Hillary Clinton run with John Kasich as her running mate.

That is totally preposterous, and history tells us that when the Vice President is of a different party than the President, it does not work out well.

The first contested Presidential election led to Thomas Jefferson as Vice President under his opponent, John Adams from 1797-1801, and that did not work out well, and in fact, helped to promote the 12th Amendment in 1804.

Then we had John C. Calhoun as Vice President under John Quincy Adams in the years 1825-1829, and that did not work out well.

William Henry Harrison was elected in 1840 with this Whig candidate having a Democrat, John Tyler, as his Vice President.  Within a month, Harrison was dead, and Tyler had constant battles with the Whig Congress, because he did not wish to follow Whig platform ideas.

Abraham Lincoln chose Andrew Johnson as his second term Vice President, despite the fact that Johnson was a Democrat in a Republican Presidency, and when Lincoln was assassinated six weeks later, we had one of the worst struggles in American history, as Johnson fought and resisted the Republican Party which had put him into the Vice Presidency, albeit briefly.

With these four examples, none of them working out well, we have never had such a situation arise again since, but we have had suggestions of doing what has never worked out well.

There were suggestions that Hubert Humphrey select Nelson Rockefeller in 1968, and that John McCain choose Joe Lieberman in 2008.

It simply will not work, and it undermines party loyalty and commitment to a President and his administration, if the next in line, in case of tragedy, transforms the power base in the Presidency.

As it is, we have had top cabinet members who are of the other party, particularly in the War Department as it was known before 1947, and the Defense Department, as it has been known since then., including:

Henry Stimson under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1940-1945

Robert McNamara under John F. Kennedy, beginning in 1961, and continuing under Lyndon B. Johnson until 1968.

William Cohen under Bill Clinton from 1997-2001

Robert Gates under Barack Obama from 2009-2011

But the Vice President needs to be “on the team”, not a rival of the President in office!

 

Disloyalty To President Obama By Former Democratic Presidents And Secretary Of Defense Shocking!

President Barack Obama has enough on his plate, and does not need open displays of disloyalty from fellow Democratic Presidents and a former Secretary of Defense!

At a time of midterm elections coming up, these criticisms of Obama by former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and former CIA head and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta are totally uncalled for, in a public way!

Leon Panetta is just trying to make money on his book by trashing the man who gave him the top two jobs in national security, but one must also remember that he was once a Republican, and his criticisms of Obama on the Middle East are not going to help the situation, so he can be considered a traitor, as he could have waited until Obama left office before writing his book. In that sense, he is the same as another former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, who is a Republican, and served in the Pentagon under both Obama and George W. Bush.

If these two men felt so strongly, they should have done the right thing and resigned immediately, when they felt they could not support what Obama was doing in the Middle East years ago, but instead, they stay on, and then leave, and write books for profit at an inappropriate time!

And Jimmy Carter, who was not exactly hawkish in foreign policy decades ago, is wrong to criticize Obama, as based on his record in office in the late 1970s and in 1980, he was not very dovish rather than the recent conversion to being a hawk, as he suddenly appears to have become in his old age!

And Bill Clinton? Well, he is trying to help his wife’s predicted campaign for the Presidency, but he tends to talk too much anyway, as he loves the sound of his voice, and loves attention! Clinton made plenty of mistakes as President in foreign policy, and should not, publicly be speaking out at this time, which is so delicate, and only helps the Republican Party.

If the Democrats lose the US Senate next momth, Panetta, Carter, and Clinton should be held responsible for undermining their party at a time they should have kept their mouths shut, or told Obama privately, how they felt!

And notice, how even George W. Bush, has had the decency to keep his mouth shut, and refuse to attack his successor! He has more class than Panetta, Carter or Clinton on this matter!

The Top 30 Presidential Cabinet Officers In American History

Presidents do not accomplish their goals and policies on their own, but rather depend on the best advice and counsel of their cabinet members.

Since the Presidential Cabinet idea was formulated by George Washington and the first Congress under the Constitution, we have had the creation over time of 15 Cabinet agencies, and some of those who have held Cabinet posts under Presidents have had a dramatic impact on their times.

Below is a list of what the author believes are those 30 Cabinet officers who have had the greatest effect on American history, without ranking them in any order:

Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington

Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison

John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State under James Monroe

William Seward, Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson

Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State under Ulysses S. Grant

Carl Schurz, Secretary of the Interior under Rutherford B. Hayes

John Hay, Secretary of State under William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt

James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture under William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft

Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior under Woodrow Wilson

Charles Evans Hughes, Secretary of State under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge

Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge

Cordell Hull, Secretary of State under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior under Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman

Henry A. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Henry Morgenthau, Jr, Secretary of the Treasury under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor under Franklin D. Roosevelt

George C. Marshall, Secretary of State under Harry Truman

Dean Acheson, Secretary of State under Harry Truman

Stewart Udall, Secretary of the Interior under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

Robert F. Kennedy, Attorney General under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

W. Willard Wirtz, Secretary of Labor under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford

George Romney, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Richard Nixon

Cecil Andrus, Secretary of the Interior under Jimmy Carter

Elizabeth Dole, Secretary of Transportation under Ronald Reagan

Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton

Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services under Bill Clinton

Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of the Interior under Bill Clinton

Richard Riley, Secretary of Education under Bill Clinton

Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush and Barack Obama

Note that 25 Presidents and 12 of the 15 Cabinet Departments are included in this list. Nine Secretaries of State; three Secretaries of the Treasury; one Secretary of Defense; one Attorney General; six Secretaries of the Interior; two Secretaries of Agriculture; one Secretary of Commerce; three Secretaries of Labor; one Secretary of Health and Human Services; one Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; one Secretary of Transportation; and one Secretary of Education make up the list.

Also note that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had five cabinet members who made the list; Bill Clinton had four; and Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson had three each!

Robert Gates’ Criticism Of Joe Biden On Distrusting Military Is A Plus!

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has made news with his memoir, in which he makes some strong criticism of President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

And yet, he is positive overall on Obama, and thinks both Biden and Clinton would probably make good Presidents.

Most interesting is his criticism of Biden, that he has been critical of military leadership, and that he has, according to Gates, never been right in the past 40 years on any national security matter. And yet he would make a good President, so figure that!

To say that Biden has been wrong for the past 40 years makes us think that, supposedly, every President since Nixon has been right on national security and defense matters. And to say that Biden has NEVER been right is totally preposterous! And what is the record on Presidents since JFK?

Was Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and particularly Bush II, REALLY right all of the time? Give me a break!

When one thinks back, the military leadership misled John F. Kennedy on the Bay of Pigs.

The military leadership misled Lyndon B. Johnson on Vietnam.

The military leadership was wrong on Vietnam under Nixon, as well.

In the brief tenure of Gerald Ford, thank goodness no major flub by the military leadership.

The military leadership misled Jimmy Carter on the Iranian hostage military rescue attempt.

The military leadership misled Ronald Reagan on dealing with “freedom fighters” in Afghanistan, and in dealing with Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein.

The military leadership misled George H. W. Bush on Somalian intervention.

The military leadership misled Bill Clinton on dealing with Al Qaeda.

The military leadership misled George W. Bush on Afghanistan and Iraq.

So if Barack Obama was skeptical and IS skeptical about the military leadership in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, that was good!

And if Joe Biden had, and has, a healthy dose of skepticism about the military leadership, that is VERY GOOD!

And that means Joe Biden would be an excellent successor to Barack Obama, because he questions, has doubts, does not worship the military leadership!

That is the kind of President we have now, and need, in the future!

Thank goodness for who we have in our top two positions in our national government, men with a dose of skepticism, with the reminder that we have a civilian government, not one run by the military, and that is what has kept us free, and will continue to do so!

“Crossing The Aisle”: BiPartisanship Of America’s Presidents From FDR To Obama

A common theme in American history is the “crossing of the aisle”, the bipartisanship encouraged by just about every American President, and the utilizing of leaders of the opposition party to help make his administration successful.

Franklin D. Roosevelt had Henry Stimson as his Secretary of War from 1940-45, with Stimson having served as Secretary of State under Herbert Hoover. He also had Frank Knox as Secretary of the Navy from 1940-1944, who had been the Republican Vice Presidential nominee in 1936.

Harry Truman had Warren Austin as his United Nations Ambassador from 1947 to 1953.

Dwight D. Eisenhower had Robert Anderson in various roles, as Secretary of the Navy, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of the Treasury, during his eight years in office from 1953 to 1961.

John F. Kennedy had Robert McNamara as his Secretary of Defense and D. Douglas Dillon as his Secretary of the Treasury and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (who he had defeated for the Senate in 1952, as his Ambassador to South Vietnam.

Lyndon B. Johnson kept on McNamara, Dillon and Lodge as close advisers in his administration, after he succeeded to the Presidency upon Kennedy’s death.

Richard Nixon had Sargent Shriver as Ambassador to France, John Connally as Secretary of the Treasury, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan as Ambassador to India.

Gerald Ford had Moynihan stay on as Ambassador to India, and then as Ambassador to the United Nations.

Jimmy Carter had James Schlesinger as Secretary of Energy, and Lawrence Eagleburger as Ambassador to Yugoslavia.

Ronald Reagan has Mike Mansfield at Ambassador to Japan, Jeane Kirkpatrick as Ambassador to the United Nations, William Bennett as Secretary of Education, and Paul Volcker as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

George H. W. Bush had Richard Stone as Ambassador to Denmark, and Robert Strauss as Ambassador to the Soviet Union.

Bill Clinton had Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Federal Reserve and William Cohen as Secretary of Defense.

George W. Bush had Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation.

And Barack Obama has had Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, Ray LaHood as Secretary of Transportation, Jon Huntsman as Ambassador to China, John McHugh as Secretary of the Army, Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and now has pending the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense.

Notice that Obama has had more members of the opposition party in his administration than any President!

Pending Nomination Of Chuck Hagel As Pentagon Head A Good Move In Many Ways!

The pending nomination of former Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to head the Defense Department is a good move in many ways.

It demonstrates that Barack Obama will not allow criticism and opposition to stand in the way of which person he wants to head the Pentagon.

It shows that Obama has faith in Hagel, a man of strong opinions, sometimes controversial, to clean up defense waste in the Pentagon.

It shows that Obama is willing to put into that office a man who is not a knee jerk “hawk”, and would prefer to avoid armed conflict if at all possible, such as with Iran.

It shows that Obama will not let John McCain and other “hawks” and neoconservatives promote an agenda of constant war, and the extension of our commitment to Afghanistan.

It shows that Obama is willing to back a man who simply made it clear that while we will always defend Israel, we will not allow any pressure group such as AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) to wield undue influence on American foreign policy.

Hagel is a man of his own mind, but also loyal to Obama, who he backed against his own party’s choice of McCain in 2008, and will be a good team player with Senator John Kerry, the choice for Secretary of State.

And both men, Vietnam veterans, with Hagel wounded, truly understand and appreciate the effects of war, and will work together in a smart and effective way to promote a foreign and defense policy that fits the second decade of the 21st century!

Yes, there will be opposition, including those who are upset at past anti gay comments by Hagel, but he has grown on the issue and will enforce the changes that have been made on this matter in the military, and the President is entitled to who he wants in his cabinet, and after a battle, which is nothing new for Obama, he will gain Hagel as his Defense Secretary, and the country will be better off for it!

Finally, recognize that many former military and naval leaders, and former Secretaries of State and Secretaries of Defense, and National Security Advisers under earlier Republican and Democratic Presidents, back Hagel, so let the politics of the Senate play themselves out, but at the end, we will have Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, another Republican in the Pentagon, as Robert Gates was in the first two years of the Barack Obama Presidency!

The Unwarranted Attack On Chuck Hagel’s Possible Nomination To Be Secretary Of Defense

Former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska has been rumored to be the possible choice of President Barack Obama to be the next Secretary of Defense, but he has been assaulted by critics on the left and on the right since the rumors began about ten days ago.

This is totally unwarranted, as Hagel is an exceptional choice for the Pentagon.

The attacks are based on the following factors:

In 1998, Hagel was critical of an ambassadorial nominee of President Bill Clinton, because the nominee was a gay man. But that is nearly fifteen years ago, and Hagel, as many others, has grown in his tolerance on matters involving homosexuality, and should not be held as anti gay anymore, and has apologized for his past views and statements. It would be actually be great to have a Secretary of Defense who would be enforcing fair policies on gays in the military, and recognizes the wrong of his ways. if we are to say that having a view disqualifies anyone for the rest of his natural life, then no one could fill a cabinet position or any other political job! And for the gay Republican group known as the Log Cabin Republicans to be critical, is true hypocrisy as they backed Mitt Romney and other Republicans who took a stand against gay rights in the recent Presidential campaign!

The Republican Party seems to be working against Hagel, because he was a rare man of principle in his years in the US Senate, and had the “gall” to be critical of the neoconservatives who dominated the Bush Administration foreign policy, which got us enmeshed in Iraq and Afghanistan for so many years. So despite Hagel’s sacrifices in Vietnam, a fellow Vietnam warrior named John McCain, who wants to send US troops everywhere, it seems, has been a major critic of Hagel, as unacceptable for Defense Secretary because he advised against moving toward war against Iran in 2007, and believes in the continuation of diplomacy! Imagine a Secretary of Defense who actually wishes, if possible, to avoid war, and sees the chance to cut Pentagon spending as a priority, with any sane person knowing there is much unnecessary spending that can be cut, and needs to be cut. It is only a continuation of what former Republican Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was trying to promote under Obama in his first two years in office.

Also, the fact that Hagel has disagreed with Israel’s government at times, and had the “temerity” to say that the “Jewish lobby” had too much input into US foreign policy, has made AIPAC (American Israel Political Action Committee) to say that he is “anti Semitic”, which is totally preposterous!

As a Jew myself, this author is irritated that if someone disagrees with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or any other Israeli politician or government statement or policy, that right away that person is considered anti Jewish! This author and many other Jews and non Jews do not wish that ANY foreign government has the ability to have so much impact that it interferes with our President, any President, deciding what is good to do for America, particularly when it is perfectly clear that IF Israel is endangered in any viable way, America will come to their defense! But this does not mean that there cannot be disagreements on strategy or policy with the Israeli government, without being called anti Jewish, or anti Semitic. And the fact is that another Jewish group, J Street, has no problem with Hagel, and many objections to the policies and statements of Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government. America must have an independent policy from any other nation, but again, with the understanding, which certainly exists, that we will be there for the survival of Israel no matter what might develop!

So Chuck Hagel should not be passed over because some gays are unhappy with his past; because neoconservatives, Republicans and John McCain are unhappy with him; or because a group that is overly loyal to Israeli government policies is unhappy with him!

Chuck Hagel is the right man for the job, who would reform the bloated bureaucracy and budget of the Pentagon, while using his talents, courage, and abilities to be an outstanding Secretary of Defense for Barack Obama, and defend Israel in a pinch, as any leader or cabinet member under any President would do! And the President, having been reelected with a clear popular vote majority a second time, is entitled to have the cabinet members he wants to serve him in his second term!

Best Team For America’s Future Security: John Kerry For Secretary Of State, And Chuck Hagel For Secretary Of Defense

In the midst of the “Fiscal Cliff” battle, President Obama is also deep into Cabinet selection, and it was heartening to hear that former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican who served in Vietnam and became an acknowledged expert on foreign policy in his years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been at the White House, and is a hot candidate for Secretary of Defense.

This author has long raved about the credentials of Hagel, and suggested him for the cabinet in the first term, and it now seems more likely that he might become the head of the Pentagon when Leon Panetta leaves soon.

This would be continuing the tradition of past Democratic Presidents to decide to choose reputable Republicans for the Defense Department, and it even goes back to when it was called the War Department before 1947.

The historical record shows Franklin D. Roosevelt having Henry Stimson, former Secretary of State under Herbert Hoover, as his Secretary of War, along with Frank Knox, who had been the Republican Vice Presidential nominee in 1936, being named Secretary of the Navy, both in 1940, when Great Britain was being attacked by the German Air Force in World War II, and the threat to America was seen as dire by many as a result.

John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson utilized Robert McNamara as Secretary of Defense in the 1960’s.

Bill Clinton had former Maine Senator William Cohen, a responsible and reputable Republican Senator, as his Secretary of Defense in the second term, and he received kudos for his performance.

And Robert Gates, George W. Bush’s second Secretary of Defense, became Barack Obama’s first Secretary of Defense, and did a wonderful job for more than two years.

So the reasoning to pick Hagel is clearly there, but to make the foreign policy-defense team complete, the President also needs to choose Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, a Vietnam War veteran too, and 2004 Democratic Party Presidential nominee, to replace Hillary Clinton at the State Department, after 28 years of service in the US Senate, and chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Kerry has had a distinguished career, and would be an excellent choice, and the team of Kerry and Hagel would be sensational.

In a time of trouble and turmoil, America needs its strongest team on national security, and Kerry and Hagel fit the bill, without any question or doubt.

Susan Rice, the UN Ambassador, is also outstanding in many ways, but quite frankly, is not on the same level as Kerry, and her nomination would cause unnecessary turmoil over the issue of Libya, a sad commentary, but a distraction which should not be allowed to continue by choosing her, when Kerry is really a better choice!

So, Mr. President, pick John Kerry for State and Chuck Hagel for Defense, and America will be very well served at Foggy Bottom and the Pentagon!

Rumors Of Replacements For State Department And Defense Department: John Kerry Or Susan Rice, And Chuck Hagel?

As the second Obama Administration is being organized, there are many rumors about members of the Cabinet leaving.

Among them are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and the suggestions being discussed are very intriguing.

It is thought that Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic Presidential nominee, might be angling for the State Department, with his years of experience as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman as his major credential. Also, United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice is a second thought.

If Kerry left the Senate, it would open up his seat, and Republican Senator Scott Brown, who just lost his seat to Elizabeth Warren, would certainly campaign for it, against an unknown Democrat.

And if Rice received the position, she would be the fourth woman to be in that position, and the second black woman, and the third black person—following Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, as well as Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton.

For the Defense Department, if and when Panetta leaves, the rumor is that former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican, and very reputable, would take the position, and that would mark the second Republican Secretary of Defense for Obama, after Robert Gates.

Having both Kerry and Hagel as important cabinet members would be fantastic, and if Rice was selected, she would also be the second black woman in that position with the name of Rice!

Barack Obama’s Most Courageous Decision: One Year Ago, A Moment That Will Live In History!

A year ago today, President Barack Obama followed through on a courageous decision, a moment which will live in history on a short list of decisive moments of America’s Presidents.

The decision to gamble on the killing of Osama Bin Laden was extremely risky, and had it failed, it is likely that Barack Obama would be facing defeat in 2012, rather than the strong likelihood of a great victory this coming November.

What else matches this courageous decision of Barack Obama?

The decision of Abraham Lincoln to resupply Fort Sumter, leading to possible confrontation with South Carolina in 1861, and the beginning of the Civil War.

The decision of Franklin D. Roosevelt to give aid to Great Britain in 1940 and 1941 to help them to survive Nazi Germany’s assault.

The decision of Franklin D. Roosevelt to open up the “Second Front’ on D Day in 1944.

The decision of Harry Truman to use the atomic bomb on Japan in 1945.

The decision of Harry Truman to overcome the Berlin Blockade of the Soviet Union, with the Berlin Airlift of 1948-1949.

The decision of John F. Kennedy to overcome threats, and resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis peacefully in 1962.

The decision of George H. W. Bush to go to war with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein after the invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

We are very blessed that this nation had a man of courage and conviction to lead us into this effort to end the life and career of the greatest terrorist of modern times, Osama Bin Laden!

And when we watch ROCK CENTER with Brian Williams tonight on NBC, we also realize how fortunate we are that Obama had around him such talented and brilliant people as Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, along with others!