Ronald Reagan

In Crisis Moments, Should An American President Resign, As Reckless Republicans Are Suggesting? Of Course Not!

Think of how many times a crisis has arisen in American history during an administration of innumerable Presidents!

Should James Madison have resigned as he fled the capital as the British invaded Washington, DC  in August 1814 during the War of 1812?

Should Abraham Lincoln have resigned when various times in the Civil War the Confederacy won major military battles from 1861-1863?

Should Franklin D. Roosevelt have resigned when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941?

Should John F. Kennedy have resigned when Russian missiles were discovered in Cuba in 1962?

Should Ronald Reagan have resigned after the loss of 252 Marines in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983, due to Islamic terrorism?

Should George W. Bush have resigned after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon by Al Qaeda?

In these and innumerable other situations, of course the answer is NO!

But now, suddenly, reckless Republicans want Barack Obama to resign due to the Paris terror attacks, which they blame Obama for, even though ISIL (ISIS) is the outgrowth of the disastrous and unnecessary Iraq War waged by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

This demand for resignation occurred after “Jihadi John”, who slaughtered foreign hostages by knife, including Americans; and a leading figure in ISIL (ISIS) in Libya, were killed by American air strikes, but before the tragic Paris terror attacks, as if the Republicans have s simple answer to the threat of Islamic terrorism!

So in a crisis moment, the nation should rally around the President, as is typical in most cases historically.  But even when not unifying around the President, no leader should bow to political attacks, and instead go to work and face the crises that arise, as so many Presidents have done throughout American history!

Presidents And Vice Presidents Who Lived Into Their 90s In American History

A total of six Presidents and four Vice Presidents have lived into their 90s in American history.

The six Presidents include:

Gerald Ford (93).

Ronald Reagan (93)–45 days less than Gerald Ford.

George H. W. Bush (91 and counting)—111 days older than Jimmy Carter.

Jimmy Carter (91 and counting)—111 days younger than George H. W. Bush.

John Adams (90)–about six months older than Herbert Hoover.

Herbert Hoover (90)–about six months younger than John Adams.

The four Vice Presidents include:

John Nance Garner (98)–15 days short of 99, Vice President in first two terms of Franklin D. Roosevelt  (1933-1941)

Levi Morton (96) who died on his birthday,  and served as Vice President under Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893).  He turned down the Vice Presidency earlier, when James A. Garfield offered the post to him in 1880.  Had he accepted, he would have become President upon Garfield’s death by assassination on September 19, 1881, instead of Chester Alan Arthur.

Gerald Ford (93).

George H. W. Bush (91 and counting)

21 Significant Speakers Of The House In American History

With the election of Paul Ryan as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives this week, it makes one focus on  the 54 House Speakers in American history, and recognition of the fact that twenty one of them were quite significant figures in the American past.

Probably the most prominent of all was one of the earliest Speakers, Henry Clay of Kentucky, who became Speaker as a freshman in 1811, and served three different times as House Speaker, from 1811-1814, 1815-1820, and 1823-1825. a total of more than six and a half years, as Congress did not meet back then for many months in any years, but sixth longest serving.  Clay is considered the most famous Congressional figure in American history in both houses of Congress, and was an unsuccessful Presidential nominee three times, in 1824, 1832, and 1844.  He was a giant figure in American political history and American politics.

John Bell was Speaker in 1834-1835, and was also a Presidential candidate of the Constitutional Union party in the Presidential Election of 1860, trying to prevent the Civil War by running as an alternative to the three other candidates that year—Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, and John C. Breckinridge.  He won three states and 39 electoral votes, carrying Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee in the Electoral College.

James K. Polk became the only Speaker so far to become President of the United States, in the Presidential Election of 1844, after having served as House Speaker from 1835-1839.  He is considered the most successful one term President, deciding due to ill health to refuse to run f0r reelection in 1848, but gaining the whole American Southwest in war with Mexico, and arranging the peaceful acquisition of the Pacific Northwest by treaty with Great Britain.  His retirement from the Presidency was the shortest in American history, only 105 days.

Robert M. T. Hunter was the youngest Speaker of the House at the age of 30, serving from 1839-1841, and later as Confederate Secretary of State in 1861-1862 during the Civil War.

Howell Cobb served as Speaker from 1849-1851, being 34 when elected, and served as one of the founders of the Confederate States of America in 1861.

Schuyler Colfax served as Speaker from 1863-1869, and as Vice President in the first term of President Ulysses S. Grant from 1869-1873, being the first of two Speakers to serve in the Vice Presidency, the other being John Nance Garner under Franklin D. Roosevelt.

James G. Blaine served as Speaker from 1869-1875, 10th longest serving with a little over five years, and later was the Republican nominee for President in the Presidential Election of 1884.  He also served as Secretary of State under James A. Garfield, Chester Alan Arthur, and Benjamin Harrison, and was present at the site of the Garfield assassination in 1881.

Thomas B. Reed served as Speaker from 1889-1891 and 1895-1899, and was nicknamed “Czar Reed”, because he wielded great power in the Speakership, which added to the stature and influence of the Speakers after him.

Joseph Cannon served as House Speaker from 1903-1911, added the most power to the Speakership, more than Reed, but then saw a “revolution” of progressive Republicans led by George Norris of Nebraska, which stripped him and future Speakers of the absolute power that Reed and Cannon had waged, and was pushed out of the Speakership when the opposition Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections of 1910.  He was eighth longest serving Speaker, nearly six years, and had a House office building named after him despite his fall from power in 1910.

His successor, Champ Clark, served as House Speaker from 1911-1919, fifth longest serving at seven  years, and nearly won the 1912 Democratic Presidential nomination, but lost to Woodrow Wilson.

Nicholas Longworth served as Speaker from 1925-1931, punished progressive Republicans and restored much of the power of the Speaker under Joseph Cannon, and was married to Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter, Alice.  Later, a House office building would be named after him.

John Nance Garner served 15 months as House Speaker from 1931-1933, and then became Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and served two terms in that office. He became famous for his statement that the Vice Presidency was not worth  “a bucket of warm piss!”  He opposed much of the New Deal, and tried to win the nomination against his boss when FDR sought a third term in 1940.  On his 95th birthday, President John F. Kennedy wished him “Happy Birthday” just hours before his assassination on November 22, 1963. Garner died at age 98 in 1967, the longest lived Vice President or President, and just 15 days before his 99th birthday!

Sam Rayburn was the most prominent, and longest serving Speaker of the House in American history, serving a total of 17 years in three rounds as Speaker, from 1941=1947, 1949-1953, and from 1955 to near the end of 1961, when he died in office.  A House Office Building is named after him, and only he and Henry Clay served three separate terms as Speaker.  He was one of the most prominent members in the entire history of the House of Representatives, engendering great respect and admiration, and served under Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy.

John W. McCormack was the third longest serving House Speaker, a total of nine years from 1962-1971, and served as House Majority Leader all of the years that Sam Rayburn was Speaker.  He presided over the New Frontier and Great Society legislative package under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Carl Albert served as Speaker from 1971-1977, seventh longest serving in the office, and a heartbeat away when Spiro Agnew resigned as Vice President in 1973, until Gerald Ford was confirmed as Vice President under the 25th Amendment in 1973, and again when Ford became President in 1974 until Nelson Rockefeller was confirmed as Vice President at the end of that year.

Thomas “Tip” O’Neill was the second longest serving House Speaker, a total of ten years from 1977-1987, serving under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.  He served the longest consecutive years as Speaker, and was an unabashed liberal, but negotiated a Social Security compromise agreement with Ronald Reagan in 1983, which became the mark of bipartisanship.

Thomas Foley served six years as Speaker from 1989-1995, and became the first Speaker since 1862 to be defeated for his House seat in 1994, retiring him from the House of Representatives, but he served as Ambassador to Japan for President Bill Clinton from 1997-2001.  He was ninth longest serving Speaker.

Newt Gingrich served as Speaker for four years from 1995-1999, having been the leader of the “Republican Revolution”, where the GOP took back control of the House of Representatives after 40 years in “the wilderness”.  Highly controversial and combative, Gingrich led the fight against President Bill Clinton, and moved for his impeachment in 1998, but then was forced out by an internal rebellion in his own party at the end of 1998.  He sought the Presidency in 2012, but fell short of the nomination, and remains an outspoken active commentator on politics.

Dennis Hastert became the longest serving Republican Speaker in American history, serving eight years from 1999-2007, fourth longest serving, seen as non controversial after Gingrich, and being Speaker under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.  He became involved in a sex and financial scandal dating back to before he was in Congress, and faces prison time as this article is being written, having pleaded guilty.

Nancy Pelosi became the first woman Speaker, serving four years from 2007-2011, and remains Minority Leader today, and her two Congresses under George W. Bush and Barack Obama accomplished more legislation, particularly under Obama, than any Congress since the 1960s.

John Boehner served almost five years as Speaker from 2011 until this past week, facing highly contentious opponents in his own party, the Tea Party Movement, now known as the Freedom or Liberty Caucus, a group of about 40 Republicans, who made his life miserable, and finally, he resigned, and has handed over authority to Paul Ryan, who was Vice Presidential running mate of Mitt Romney in the Presidential Election of 2012, and had been Chair of the House Budget Committee and House Ways and Means Committee, before becoming Speaker this week.


New Presidential Record Of Survival In Office, Surpassing 1789-1841!

For the first nearly 52 years of the Republic, every President survived his term of office, from George Washington until William Henry Harrison.

Once Harrison died in office, we had a President die in every generation, with seven of the eight dying, having been elected in a zero election year–Harrison 1841, Abraham Lincoln 1865, James A. Garfield 1881, William McKinley 1901, Warren G. Harding 1923, Franklin D. Roosevelt 1945, and John F. Kennedy 1963, and joined by Zachary Taylor, dying in 1850, a zero year after being elected in 1848.

This became known as the “Zero Election Year Syndrome.”  It occurred seven straight zero election years from 1840 to 1960.  It was finally overcome when Ronald Reagan survived an assassination attempt in 1981, and when George W. Bush avoided tragedy on September 11 and throughout his Presidency, despite some serious threats.

Since JFK died, we have not had a Presidential death since, almost 52 years, although Richard Nixon did resign from office in 1974, even that being 41 years ago.

The question is how long can this new record of Presidential survival last, in a time of international terrorism and domestic turmoil.

There have been more death threats against Barack Obama than any President since Abraham Lincoln.

The last President to have a serious threat was Ronald Reagan, shot and seriously wounded in 1981, 34 years ago.

But every living President has had death threats, before, during, and after being in office.

A discussion of all these assassinations and threats are covered in my new book, ASSASSINATIONS, THREATS, AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: FROM ANDREW JACKSON TO BARACK OBAMA (Rowman Littlefield), out since August 15, and available at the R & L website with a 30 percent discount offer, or at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Books A Million websites.

This author has done more than 25 radio interviews, and will be interviewed by C Span Q & A Brian Lamb next week, and the hour long interview will be available to be seen on C Span One a few weeks later at 8 pm, 11 pm on a Sunday night and 6 am the next Monday morning Eastern time, and will become part of the permanent interviews of Brian Lamb at C, available for interviewing anytime!

Crazy And Disturbing Revelations About Republican Presidential Contenders Donald Trump And Dr. Benjamin Carson Emerge

This Republican battle for the Presidency is bringing out crazy and disturbing revelations about the two front runners for the nomination, based on present public opinion polls.

Donald Trump said this weekend that his life was not and never has been easy, and having tried to compare himself to average Americans, then he revealed that he had to ask his father for a small amount loan (One Million Dollars) to start his career by purchasing a building in Brooklyn, New York, and imagine this, that he had to pay back the loan with interest!  This is a crazy, disturbing statement, and shows he has no clue as to what kind of life average middle class and poor people live!

But even more crazy and disturbing is the statement of Dr. Benjamin Carson, who is getting more weird by the day, and seems so low key that one wonders what kind of medication he is on, as he makes his constant references to slavery and Nazi Germany.  But he now has revealed that he had a troubled childhood, that  he nearly stabbed a friend at age 14 with a knife while living in Detroit with a single mother and in poverty, and often utilized rocks, bricks, hammers and baseball bats as he went through a violent, volatile stage of adolescence.

One might say, “he was a kid”, and is “not responsible for what he did”, but sorry, kids might act out in unusual ways as part of growing up, but it is never acceptable to use knives, rocks, bricks, hammers and baseball bats to get out one’s aggression and instability.  That is beyond the pale, not equivalent of harassing a fellow student, as Mitt Romney did; or shooting frogs for fun, as George W. Bush did; or having a sexual tryst with someone; or smoking marijuana, all examples of what adolescents often do.  But these things are not on the level of what Carson admits to doing, and while someone can, in theory, overcome such volatile behavior, one still has to wonder about his mental stability.

And his refusal to recognize what poverty does to people, as it did to him, and to take a hard line on dealing with the poor and disadvantaged, as he does, is a sign that his character has not recovered from his teenage volatile nature, because he has now succeeded in life, and has no concern about those who are left behind, and have not been as fortunate as he has.

Both Trump and Carson, just this weekend, have revealed elements that should make any sane person recognize that they are not equipped and appropriate to be our Commander in Chief.

Hopefully, the Republican Party will regain its sanity, and its voters will not  destroy the reputation of the party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, and even Reagan!

Vice Presidents And The Presidency: Being Elected A Lost Cause!

With Vice President Joe Biden announcing he would not run for President, due to bad timing to announce caused by the family tragedy of the loss of his son Beau Biden in May, it adds to the reality that any Vice President has great odds against him if he wishes to use the Vice Presidency as a launching pad for the Presidency.

Only four Presidents have been able to run from the Vice Presidency for President and triumph, with all but one in the first 50 years of the Republic, as follows:

John Adams 1796

Thomas Jefferson 1800

Martin Van Buren 1836

The other President is George H. W. Bush in 1988.

Never until the 1940s and after did a sitting Vice President ever get considered at all for the Presidency, other than if he succeeded the President by natural death or assassination.

So we had Vice President John Nance Garner trying to win the 1940 Democratic Presidential nomination, but unfortunately for him, Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to seek a third term.

In 1948, former Vice President Henry Wallace in the third term of FDR tried for the Presidency as a third party candidate (Progressive Party), fighting against fourth FDR term Vice President Harry Truman, who had succeeded FDR upon his death in 1945.

Alben Barkley, Vice President under Truman in his full term, tried to win the 1952 Democratic Presidential nomination, but his age was used against him, which may have been good, since Barkely died during the next term when he would have been President.

Richard Nixon ran for President to succeed Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1960, but lost in a close election to John F.  Kennedy.  Of course, Nixon won eight years later, being the first Vice President elected since Martin Van Buren in 1836, but eight years after.

Hubert H. Humphrey ran for President in 1968 to succeed Lyndon B. Johnson, but was defeated by Nixon, and tried for the nomination again in 1972, but failed to be selected as the Presidential nominee.

Walter Mondale ran for President in 1984 after he and Jimmy Carter were defeated in 1980 for a second term, but lost to Ronald Reagan.

George H. W. Bush is the only exception to this reality, winning in 1988 after serving two terms as Vice President under Ronald Reagan.

Dan Quayle tried for the Republican nomination in 1996 after serving one term under George H. W. Bush, but flopped badly.

Al Gore ran for President in 2000 after two terms as Vice President under Bill Clinton, and of course won the popular vote, but lost the hotly contested electoral vote in Florida, with Supreme Court intervention, leading to the victory of his opponent George W. Bush.

Dick Cheney had tried briefly for the Presidency in 1996, but when he was Vice President under George W. Bush for two terms, his health was fragile and he chose not to try for the Presidency in 2008.

And now Joe Biden, after two terms as Vice President under Barack Obama, has reluctantly decided not to run for President in 2016, due to the tragic death of his son Beau in May, and the grieving period preventing organization of a Presidential campaign.

So the record shows, with the exception of Richard Nixon eight years later and George H. W. Bush, no Vice President has succeeded in modern times to the Presidency unless the President died in office, or with the case of Richard Nixon resigning, led to Gerald Ford succeeding him in the White House.

How Richard Nixon And Ronald Reagan Undermined Lyndon B. Johnson And Jimmy Carter In Presidential Elections Of 1968 And 1980

As one looks back at the 1968 and 1980 Presidential campaigns, evidence has emerged that Republican operatives were involved in manipulations to prevent resolution of the Vietnam War and the Iranian hostage crisis, in order to benefit Republican Presidential nominees Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and undermine their Democratic opponents, Vice President Hubert Humphrey and President Jimmy Carter.  It also prevented Lyndon B. Johnson from gaining an end to the Vietnam War during his administration.

In 1968, it is clear that Republicans behind the scenes worked with South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu to prevent any peace agreement between South Vietnam and North Vietnam, which, had it occurred, likely would have benefited Humphrey, who lost to Nixon in a close race in the popular vote.

In 1980, it is also clear that Republicans behind the scenes worked with the Iranian government of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to delay the release of the hostages taken by Iranian radicals on November 4, 1979, to after the election, which destroyed any chances of Jimmy Carter being reelected, with the Iranians willing to delay the release.

We know that Iran went to war with Iraq in the fall of 1980 during the hostage crisis, and the release of the hostages when Reagan became President was partly due to desire of the Iranians not to get engaged with a more aggressive President, but also led to the Iran-Contra affair during the Reagan Administration, the providing of arms to Iran to assist its war against Iraq and Saddam Hussein in the mid 1980s, something Reagan conveniently “forgot” or was “unaware of”!

America under Reagan was willing to deal with Iran behind the scenes and provide arms, with indications even before the Iran Contra Scandal became known, that arms sales were going on.

So “dirty tricks” by Republicans helped to defeat a Vice President who would have made a great President, and a sitting President, who only now is coming to be appreciated for his contributions!


The Tea Party, Or Freedom Caucus, Or Liberty Caucus Of Republicans: A Danger To Political Stability Of The Nation!

There is a group of extremist right wing Republicans in the House of Representatives, coming almost exclusively from “Red States”. with particular emphasis in the South, that is out to destroy any chance of political stability in the nation.  They are supported by many radio talk show hosts, including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage, Mark Levin and Ann Coulter, among others.

They are in the process of causing the disintegration of a major political party, the Republicans of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and even Ronald Reagan in their mad quest to take us back to the Gilded Age of the 19th century, as they pursue destroying the good faith and credit of the United States, and wiping out the reforms of the Progressive Era, the New Deal, and the Great Society.  They want to shut down the government, and refuse to raise the debt limit, radical actions which would undermine our nation’s economic stability.

They promote racism, nativism, misogyny, and Islamophobia, and the worship of unbridled capitalism and the libertarian philosophy of Ayn Rand, mixed with a mean spirited view of Christianity toward the poor and the disabled, sick and elderly in American society.

They want to promote a high moral standard on society, while they do not practice it themselves, but spout extreme religious dogma, and they want to send America into wars overseas even though most of them have never served in the military, and would not allow their sons and daughters to sacrifice their lives in foreign crusades.

They have a hatred toward President Barack Obama bordering on obsessive-compulsive behavior, and many would applaud the demise of our President by violence, as they have no moral compass despite their claims of religiosity.

They find the leadership of their party as insufficiently conservative, attacking Speaker of the House John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnnell, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, and Senator John McCain as examples of insufficient conservatism, considering them RINOS (Republicans In Name Only).

They call themselves the Tea Party Caucus, or the Freedom Caucus. or the Liberty Caucus, but their precise membership is fluid, but includes from three to four dozens members of the House of Representatives, with the greatest number from the major populated states of Texas and Florida, numbers two and three in population nationally.

They are holding the Speakership of the House of Representatives hostage, and the uncertainty about who the next Speaker will be, and what he will do on crucial budget issues, is undermining faith in our government. And the fact that the Speaker, whoever he is, is second in line for the Presidency under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, endangers the Presidency itself, in case of an emergency!

The Age Issue In The Presidential Campaign

This blogger has discussed before the reality that we are likely to have the oldest President in American history being elected in the Presidential Election of 2016.

Only Ronald Reagan and Dwight D. Eisenhower were past 70 when President, with Ike only three months beyond 70 when he finished his time in the White House, while Reagan was just weeks short of 70 when elected, and almost 78 when he left office after two terms.  Of course, Reagan showed signs of mental decline in his second term, as his son Ron Jr testifies to, and there were many hints that there was concern of his staff and his wife about his ability to deal with the responsibilities, and efforts to “protect” and “shelter” him.

The point is that there is no question that anyone beyond the age of 70 is more likely to have a health crisis, such as a heart attack, a stroke, Alzheimer’s, or cancer, than someone under the age of 70.

Yes, we live in a time when many people continue to work full time, including Supreme Court Justices, US Senators and Congressmen, corporate leaders, media figures, actors and musicians, and average Americans.

And yes, many “senior citizens” work part time, some because they need to in an economic sense, and others because they wish to keep active and engaged.

No one is saying that people over 70 should be “farmed out to pasture”!  But the pressures of the Presidency are greater than any other job, and affect all of us in the country, unlike any other job.  And that makes it ever more important that the best possible Vice Presidential candidates are chosen, and that he or she be substantially younger than an elderly President, since the odds of a Presidential succession during a term of office is far greater statistically.

Also, we have not had a Presidential succession in 41 years since Richard Nixon resigned, and 52 years since a President died in office (John F. Kennedy), so we are fighting against the tides of history, and more so with a President over 70!

Marco Rubio On Barack Obama: Rubio Needs A Reality Check!

Marco Rubio said yesterday that it is NOT the lack of experience of Barack Obama that is at issue.

Rather, it is Obama’s viewpoints and policies.

So Marco Rubio thinks providing health care for all Americans is a bad idea, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks we cannot and should not do anything legislatively to deal with gun violence, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks it was a good thing to shut down the government, and create constant crises over the budget and debt limit, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks women have abortions for “fun” and “profit”, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks it is bad to have a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks having an opening to Cuba is bad, even though Ronald Reagan dealt with the “evil empire”, the Soviet Union, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks dealing with Iran in any form is wrong, and it is better to go to war against Iran without first trying diplomatic methods to gain our goals, as Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter,  and Ronald Reagan believed with China  and the Soviet Union, heh?

So Marco Rubio thinks working toward dialogue with both Cuba and Iran is wrong, but Richard Nixon established diplomatic openings to China and Bill Clinton to Vietnam, the latter a generation after we lost 58,000 military personnel, heh?

These are just eight areas where Marco Rubio thinks Barack Obama is wrong, but reality is that Barack Obama is correct, and it is Marco Rubio who is out of touch with reality and has a need to broaden his horizons and understanding of what is really important in domestic and foreign policy!