Ronald Reagan

Divorce And The Presidency: Adlai Stevenson To The Present

The news of the death of Happy Rockefeller, the second wife and widow of former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, brings to mind the issue of “domestic bliss” or the lack of it in our politicians, past and present.

Rockefeller was thought to be the leading Republican candidate for President in 1964, but when he divorced his first wife and married his second wife, his chances for the nomination evaporated very quickly.

Only Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic Presidential nominee in 1952 and 1956, had been a nominee and been divorced before Rockefeller’s situation came along a decade later.

This did not mean that there were never liaisons and love triangles before, as Warren G. Harding had been cheating on his wife, but never had thought of divorce.

And Franklin D. Roosevelt had stayed with Eleanor Roosevelt, knowing that if he divorced her, his chances for a political career were over.

There was plenty of sexual “hanky panky” throughout American history, without any thought of divorce, including, besides Harding and FDR the following: Franklin Pierce, James A. Garfield, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton, and others.

But none of them ever considered divorce seriously, and Stevenson was hurt by his divorce, as was Rockefeller.

But that changed when Ronald Reagan ran in 1980, and had been divorced more than 30 years earlier.

And since Reagan, we have had Bob Dole, John Kerry, and John McCain, all divorced, but nominated by their parties, although no other divorced person has been elected President.

So divorce, so common in politics now, is no longer an issue, as it was throughout our history!

“Third Choice” Supreme Court Justices And Path Breaking Decisions On Abortion And Gay Marriage!

As the Supreme Court hears arguments today in the case of Obergefell V. Hodges, the gay marriage case, we are on the brink of a massive constitutional decision by the last day of June on this matter.

It now seems clear that the right to gay marriage in all of the states will be declared constitutional by a 5-4 or 6-3 vote, with Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and possibly, Chief Justice John Roberts, joining Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

The likely author of the upcoming decision should be Justice Kennedy, who has created a majority on three earlier gay rights cases decided by the Supreme Court, but even if not so, Kennedy is the person insuring that gay marriage will become the law of the land!

And this reality brings up an interesting situation: Justice Kennedy was the THIRD CHOICE for the Supreme Court of President Ronald Reagan, after the rejection of Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg, and if either had been confirmed by the US Senate, gay rights now would likely not be occurring as rapidly as it has been!

And it also fact that Associate Justice Harry Blackmun, selected by President Richard Nixon, after the rejection of Clement Haynesworth and C. Harold Carswell, the THIRD CHOICE, was the author of the momentous Roe V. Wade decision of 1973, legalizing abortion!

So it turns out that “third choice” Supreme Court nominees Harry Blackmun and Anthony Kennedy have had historic effects on two controversial issues that have divided the nation, but also move the nation forward on women’s rights and gay rights!

The “Power Couples”: Presidents And First Ladies

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

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

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt 1933-1945

John and Jacqueline Kennedy 1961-1963

Ronald and Nancy Reagan 1981-1989

Bill and Hillary Clinton 1993-2001

Barack and Michelle Obama 2009-Present

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

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

Third Term Presidents: The Truth And The Historical “Might Have Beens”!

Anyone who studies American history knows that the 22nd Amendment, added to the Constitution in 1951, prevents any future President from serving more than two complete terms by election or a total of ten years by succession in the last two years of the Presidential term.

Only Franklin D. Roosevelt served more than eight years in the Presidency, a total of 12 years and 39 days, having been elected four times (1932, 1936, 1940, 1944), and this fact causing the opposition Republicans, when they controlled the 80th Congress in 1947-48, to pass the 22nd Amendment in 1947, and send it on to the state legislatures for ratification.

However, Ulysses S. Grant in 1876; Theodore Roosevelt in reality in 1912 as a third party (Progressive Bull Moose) candidate; Woodrow Wilson in 1920; and Harry Truman in 1952 considered a third term.

Additionally, it is clear that Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1960, Ronald Reagan in 1988 and Bill Clinton in 2000 would have won a third term if it had been allowed and they had agreed to seek it , with George H. W. Bush being the beneficiary of Reagan in 1988, and Al Gore being the beneficiary of Clinton in 2000, winning a larger margin of popular vote victory than any of the four cases of popular vote victory but Electoral College loss!

Also, if one considers popular vote victories of Andrew Jackson in 1824 and Grover Cleveland in 1888, but in each case losing the Electoral College, that could have meant three terms for Jackson (1824, 1828, 1832) and for Cleveland (1884, 1888, 1892)!

So if things had been different, instead of only FDR having a third and fourth term, we could have had Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton having third terms in the Presidency!

Is It Unusual For Three Or More Consecutive Terms For A Political Party In The White House? NO!

The myth has been promoted that it is “unusual” for a political party to keep control of the White House for more than two terms, eight years, but nothing could be further from the truth!

In the first political party system, the Federalists held power for 12 years (1789-1801) under George Washington and John Adams, although the name “Federalist” did not exist formally until 1794, after the battle between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson created the first party system.

The Democratic Republicans then held power for 24 years (1801-1825) under Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe.

The newly constituted Democratic Party held power for 12 years (1829-1841) under Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren.

The newly constituted Republican Party held power for 24 years (1861-1885) under Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, and Chester Alan Arthur, although Andrew Johnson was never a Republican, but rather a Democrat put on the national ticket for election reasons by Lincoln in 1864, and Johnson having a disastrous relationship with the Republican Congress, and facing impeachment proceedings.

The Republican Party then held power for 16 years (1897-1913) under William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft.

The Republican Party then held power for 12 years (1921-1933) under Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover.

The Democratic Party then held power for 20 years (1933-1953) under Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman.

The Republican Party then held power for 12 years (1981-1993) under Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

So political parties have held control of the White House for more than two terms a total of EIGHT TIMES, ranging from 24 years twice, 20 years once, 16 years once, and 12 years four times!

Also realize that Grover Cleveland and Al Gore won the national popular vote in 1888 and 2000, but lost the electoral college. Had they become President, then there would have been 12 straight years of Democrats from 1885-1897, assuming Cleveland might have gone for a third term in 1892, instead of trying to return to the White House; and if Al Gore had won in 2000, it would have been at least 12 straight years of Democrats from 1993-2005, and potentially a second Gore term in 2004!

Vast Age Differences Of Presidential Opponents In Modern American History

It has become a reality that in many Presidential elections, the age difference between the two competing Presidential contenders is vast.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was 20 years older than Thomas E. Dewey in the Presidential Election Of 1944.

Harry Truman was 18 years older than Thomas E. Dewey in the Presidential Election of 1948.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was 10 years older than Adlai Stevenson in the Presidential Elections of 1952 and 1956.

Richard Nixon was 9 and a half years older than George McGovern in the Presidential Election of 1972.

Gerald Ford was 11 years older than Jimmy Carter in the Presidential Election of 1976.

Ronald Reagan was 13 years older than Jimmy Carter in the Presidential Election of 1980.

Ronald Reagan was 17 years older than Walter Mondale in the Presidential Election of 1984.

George H. W. Bush was 8 years older than Michael Dukakis in the Presidential Election of 1988.

George H. W. Bush was 22 years older than Bill Clinton in the Presidential Election Of 1992.

Bob Dole was 23 years older than Bill Clinton in the Presidential Election Of 1996.

John McCain was 25 years older than Barack Obama in the Presidential Election of 2008.

Mitt Romney was 14 years older than Barack Obama in the Presidential Election of 2012.

Now in 2016, we are very likely to have a vast difference in age between the two major party nominees, assuming Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders or Jim Webb is the Democratic nominee. But 11 of the 13 elections mentioned, the Republican nominee was the much older candidate, but that is likely to be different this time.

If Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie or Scott Walker is the Republican nominee, the difference will be vast, as much as 24 or more years in some of these cases. All of these six were born later than Barack Obama, and a few others, including Rick Santorum. Mike Pence or Jon Huntsman, all born before Obama but still have a double digit age difference from the various Democrats mentioned above.

So far, eight times, the older nominee for President won, and five times, the younger nominee for President won. So the question is what will happen in 2016!

Civil Liberties And The Presidency: From John Adams To Barack Obama

When it comes to the issue of the Presidency and the Bill of Rights, many Presidents have scored at an alarmingly low rate, often despite many other virtues that these Presidents have possessed.

John Adams set a terrible standard when he signed into law the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

Andrew Jackson forcibly decreed the removal of five Native American tribes (The Trail Of Tears) from their ancestral lands and relocation in Oklahoma, supposedly forever, but with the discovery of oil in Tulsa, the territory was opened to whites in 1889, and reservation life became the norm.

John Tyler, through negotiation to add Texas to the Union, and accepting its institution of slavery, helped to create the slavery expansion issue as one which would divide the nation and lead to Civil War, and Tyler was part of the Confederate government and gave up his American citizenship.

James K. Polk further promoted the expansion of slavery through war with Mexico, and had no issue with slavery anywhere and everywhere.

Millard Fillmore, signing the Compromise of 1850, allowed the South to pursue fugitive slaves in the North.

Franklin Pierce, signing the Kansas Nebraska Act in 1854, made the expansion of slavery develop into the Kansas Civil War, which led to the Civil War.

James Buchanan endorsed the Dred Scott Decision, which allowed expansion of slavery everywhere in the nation, if a slave owner chose to move to the North with his slaves.

Abraham Lincoln suppressed press freedom; allowed preventive detention; and imposed a military draft that one could escape only by paying a fee that only wealthy people could afford.

Andrew Johnson wanted to restrict the rights of African Americans after the Civil War, and was an open racist, much more than anyone.

Grover Cleveland promoted the reservation life and adaptation to white culture for Native Americans through his signing of the Dawes Act in 1887.

Theodore Roosevelt spoke and wrote often about superior and inferior races, seeing only intellectual accomplishment and military strength as the basis to admire individuals of other races, but believing in white supremacy and the “Anglo Saxon” race.

Woodrow Wilson backed restrictions on citizens during World War I, and presided over the Red Scare under Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer after the war, as well as showing racist tendencies toward African Americans and Japan. He signed the Sedition Act of 1918, and issued an executive order segregating African Americans in Washington, DC.

Franklin D. Roosevelt interned Japanese Americans under executive order during World War II, and did little to deal with the racial problem in the South.

Richard Nixon arranged for bugging and wiretapping of his “enemies”; arranged break ins and “dirty tricks”; and became engaged in obstruction of justice and abuse of power, leading to moves toward impeachment and his eventual resignation from the Presidency, due to the Watergate Scandal.

Ronald Reagan cut back on civil rights enforcement, and showed insensitivity on the issue of apartheid in South Africa.

George W. Bush pushed through the Patriot Act, and the government engaged in constant civil liberties violations as part of the War on Terror.

Barack Obama also promoted violations of civil liberties, as part of the continued threat of international terrorism.

So 17 Presidents, at the least, have undermined our civil liberties and civil rights, often overlapping.

In 2015, What Does It Mean To Be Middle Class?

Just about everyone likes to say they are part of the vast “middle class” in America, whether they are really poor, working class, struggling middle class, upper middle class, or wealthy, as it is the “in” thing to be!

The vast middle class concept developed in the years after World War II, when millions of Americans moved to the suburbs, more Americans went to college, and the idea of “conspicuous consumption” became part of the “American dream.”

That dream has vanished for tens of millions, including many who live in the suburbs, many of which are deteriorating, and with property values often down, and many in bankruptcy or near bankruptcy.

Many college graduates now are working in minimum wage or near such income jobs, far removed from their earlier expectations, and tens of millions live paycheck to paycheck and have no savings for retirement; do not have adequate or any health care; cannot afford to take vacations that educate and enlighten them and their children; have very few benefits of any kind at work since labor unions, which created the middle class to a great extent, have declined rapidly since the time of Ronald Reagan; and have no expectation that life will get better anytime soon.

This rapidly declining middle class includes millions of minority population, both African American and Latino; but also untold many millions more who are white and thought that by their race alone, they had an advantage, but no longer the case.

Banks and corporations have caused a great deal of this growing poverty in the former middle class, both from their abuse of their work force, but also from encouraging materialism and greed on the part of people who cannot pay for what they desire, but get suckered into signing on the dotted line of their credit cards and mortgages, automobiles and boats, second homes, and more personal acquisitions than they ever need, but are seen as essential to leave the image to others that they are “well to do,” when that is precisely what they are not.

Capitalism is looked at as the promoter of wealth, when for most Americans, it has made them slaves for the truly wealthy, the billionaires, and the super multimillionaires!

Vice President Joe Biden: What Are You Waiting For? Time To Enter The Presidential Race Now!

With the questions arising over the viability of Hillary Clinton, it is time for Vice President Joe Biden, who has desired to be President now for the past 28 years, to put his “hat in the ring”, as Theodore Roosevelt called it when he announced his Presidential candidacy in 1912.

Joe Biden is one of the most colorful, charismatic, dynamic political figures to arise in a long time. He is more experienced than ANY Presidential candidate in the past, having served 36 years in the United States Senate, and eight years as Vice President by the end of 2016, a total of 44 years, unmatched by any President or nominee in American history.

Joe Biden has been at the center of American history since 1972, when he was elected, days before his 30th birthday, and overcame the personal tragedy of the loss of his wife and daughter in a horrific auto crash just weeks after his victory.

Joe Biden was a leading voice in the Senate on all kinds of issues that are important–civil rights, women’s rights, labor rights, the environment, and as Vice President on gay rights and gay marriage. He has also risen to chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee of the US Senate, and despite what Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton has said, Joe Biden has been correct on most foreign policy issues, including his suggestion in 2003 that Iraq should be divided into Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish sections, so obviously true that Iraq was the false creation that has been a nightmare since after World War I.

Joe Biden is the most genuine, real, authentic person in American politics, and one can feel he is a “regular guy”, a man who was the “poorest” in the Senate, only having his home, his salary and his wife’s salary as a professor as his assets, and truly not being a millionaire many times over, as most members of Congress are.

Yes, Joe Biden has faults and shortcomings, but who does not among us, and particularly among politicians?

Yes, he plagiarized a term paper one time in law school. Yes, he once copied wording of a speech of a British politician. Yes, he acts goofy at times with some of his public utterances, and at times of swearing in of Senators to their new terms of office. And yes, he has been sometimes too “touchy feely” with wives or daughters of other officials, something a bit weird, but he has never been accused or associated with any inappropriate liaisons with other women, and is very dedicated to his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, who has been a great Second Lady! He has never been accused of drunkenness or illegal drug use.

But he is so engaging and charming even when he blunders. Joe Biden does not have an evil bone in his body, and has never been personally nasty to anyone, and is even well liked by Republican opposition leaders, who feel they can work with him even when they seem to detest President Obama.

Joe Biden has been a very loyal and active Vice President, who has added to the office tremendously, and been invaluable in his advice , and he is a great emissary to Capitol Hill, a kinder, gentler version of Lyndon B. Johnson. He has been a tremendous asset to the President and the nation over the past six years, and has restored the dignity of the Vice Presidency after the decline in reputation and likability and trust and respect under the previous Vice President, Dick Cheney.

Joe Biden would bring excitement to the race with his oratory, and would know how to give the Republican Party “hell”, as Harry Truman did seven decades ago. And yet, he would still gain the respect of his opponents which he still has today in 2015 after 42 plus years in American politics, and how many other public figures can say that? And he made mincemeat of Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan in debates for the Vice Presidency in 2008 and 2012, and was one of the best debaters in the 2008 Democratic Party primary debates.

Yes, Joe Biden will be 74 right after Election Day in 2016, but Ronald Reagan was older in his second term, and there is no age limit in the Presidency constitutionally, and many of the other potential candidates will be around the same age, or in their 70s during the next Presidential term. Age is just a number, particularly, with someone as energetic and engaged as Joe Biden is.

If Joe Biden was our 45th President, America would be better for it, and Joe Biden would do his best in dedicating very minute of his time and every bone in his body to the advancement of America to a better position both in domestic policy and in foreign relations.

The Inevitability Of Hillary Clinton Is No Longer Active! Doubts Are Rising!

It has been pointed out that any candidate for President who is ahead in public opinion polls in the second year of a Presidential term has never been elected President, since the age of polling became active after World War II.

If it was, Thomas E. Dewey, Robert Taft, George Romney, Edmund Muskie, Ted Kennedy, Mario Cuomo, Al Gore, and Hillary Clinton would have served in the Presidency after elections in 1948, 1952, 1968, 1972, 1980, 1992, 2000, and 2008.

Instead, we had Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama!

So now it is clear that the inevitability of Hillary Clinton as our 45th President is far from certain, due to various factors!

Hillary Clinton is seen as too close to Wall Street billionaires and millionaires, and too close friendships with major corporations, while mouthing the support of overcoming income inequities.

Hillary Clinton is seen as a “hawk” in foreign policy, even a neoconservative to many, having backed the Iraq War and coming across as much more hardline than many Democrats on recent events in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Hillary Clinton has supported the Patriot Act and National Security Agency surveillance and spying.

Hillary Clinton has not been a strong supporter on environmental issues, particularly in supporting fracking.

Hillary Clinton has come across as secretive, and now has the new scandal of having all emails being private, rather than on government emails while Secretary of State for four years.

Hillary Clinton has also allowed foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation, including Arab countries in the Middle East, not a wise or thoughtful idea.

Hillary Clinton has the history of earlier questioning of her ethics, both as First Lady and as Senator and Secretary of State, and many see her marriage to Bill Clinton as a sham, designed to promote her insatiable desire to be the first woman President of the United States.