Ronald Reagan

Back To The Future: Mitt Romney In 2016?

The Republican Party is so torn apart that now there are rumors and hints that 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, is reconsidering his decision not to run again, due to the collapse of the so called “Establishment” Republicans, led by former Governor Jeb Bush.

Bush has run a poor campaign, despite all of the money he has gathered, and there are indications that he is starting to be abandoned, as Donald Trump continues to take up all of the oxygen in the Republican race.

While Ohio Governor John Kaisch has made some progress in his campaign, he is far from being seen as anywhere near becoming a leader in the competition for the Presidency, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio has not impressed many in his quest for the nomination.

So Romney may decide to enter the race, but still with the same shortcomings and faults that caused his defeat by President Barack Obama in 2012.

To believe that Romney could, somehow, win the Presidency in 2016 is mostly hype and delusion.

The question arises:  How many times has a defeated Presidential candidate come back to win the Presidency?  Here are the facts, a total of 5 times:

Thomas Jefferson lost the Presidency in 1796 and won in 1800.

Andrew Jackson lost the Presidency in 1824 and won in 1828.

William Henry Harrison lost the Presidency in 1836 and won in 1840.

Grover Cleveland lost the Presidency in 1888 and won in 1892.

Richard Nixon lost the Presidency in 1960 and won in 1968.

That is it, five Presidents, but realize that Jackson and Cleveland actually won the popular vote in their losing races in 1824 and 1888, but lost the electoral vote, and Cleveland had been President, then lost, and then won.

Of course, there have been 4 times when a future President lost the nomination of his party, and then went on to win the Presidency later, including:

James Monroe lost the nomination in 1808 to James Madison, but then won the Presidency in 1816.

Lyndon B. Johnson lost the nomination in 1960 to John F. Kennedy, but then became President by succession in 1963.

Ronald Reagan lost the nomination in 1976 to Gerald Ford, but then won the Presidency in 1980.

George H. W. Bush lost the nomination in 1980 to Ronald Reagan, but then won the Presidency in 1988.

At the same time, there have been 5 candidates nominated multiple times and never winning the Presidency, as follows:

Charles C. Pinckney won the nomination in 1804 and 1808.

Henry Clay won the nomination in 1824, 1832, and 1844.

William Jennings Bryan won the nomination in 1896, 1900, and 1908.

Thomas E. Dewey won the nomination in 1944 and 1948.

Adlai E. Stevenson II won the nomination in 1952 and 1956.

Also being on the ballot for President multiple times were Socialist Party nominees Eugene V. Debs (1900, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1920) and Norman Thomas (1928, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, 1948) and Ross Perot (Independent in 1992 and Reform Party in 1996).

In any case, the odds that Romney, if he ran for President, would become the Republican nominee and win the Presidency are very poor!

 

 

 

A One Term Presidency For Candidates Nearing 70 Or Over?

With the growing likelihood that we could have two candidates, or even three candidates for the Presidency nearing or over 70, in the Presidential Election of 2016, an argument can be made that we should expect that such candidates agree to a one term Presidency if they win.

One might say why should any Presidential candidate forgo the possibility of a second term, which effectively, would make such a candidate a “lame duck” President?

However, the argument could also be that in the first term of a President, he or she must spend inordinate amounts of time campaigning and strategizing for reelection, when he or she should be focusing on doing what he or she thinks is right and proper for the nation.

Most second term Presidents have great difficulty accomplishing much, as historically, most Presidents have accomplished much more in their first term than their second term.

With older Presidents, the odds of him or her dying in office magnifies, and makes the choice of the Vice Presidential nominee ever more important, as it can be expected that such a Vice President being elevated to the White House is much greater than normal.

It would be a good idea to suggest that a one term pledge might be in order, as the experience of Ronald Reagan, clearly declining in his second term health wise, was a silent crisis in the 1980s, a very worrisome situation.

One might say why is it different for a President than a member of Congress or a Justice on the Supreme Court?  And the answer is that the responsibilities, the burden, the pressures, are far greater on the occupant of the White House than anyone else has.

Most Americans are retired, and at the most working part time, in their 70s, so having a one term limit on Presidents over or near 70 when elected, seems a legitimate alternative!

80 Years Of Social Security And Counting: The Most Successful “Safety Net” Program In American History!

On August 14, 1935 the Social Security Act became law during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, with Senator Robert F. Wagner of New York and Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins key figures in promoting its passage.

For the first time, there was the pledge of providing senior citizens with some financial support in their later years.

Additionally, widows and orphans, and the disabled would be covered under the law.

The US was behind Germany, Great Britain, and France, industrialized nations which had enacted such legislation decades earlier.

There was bipartisan support from progressive Republicans and from Democrats, but more conservative Republicans set as their goal to destroy Social Security, as early as the Presidential Election of 1936.

But Social Security has survived eight decades, and has done so much good for the nation, and its most vulnerable citizens.

Even now, there are proposals to change Social Security, as was done in 1983, by a deal between President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, raising the retirement to age 66 and 67 for full benefits, depending on year of birth.

Now there is the call to raise the retirement age further, and cut benefits over the long haul, bitterly opposed by progressives and Democrats. Also, George W. Bush tried to privatize part of Social Security, which failed of enactment in 2005, but again is being promoted by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

The tax base has been raised, but even now, only the first $118,500 is taxed, and many feel there should be no limit on the tax base, as that allows those who make much higher incomes to avoid further taxation, and putting the burden on the average American who does not earn more than $118,500.

The point is that by raising the tax base to unlimited income would insure the long term survival of Social Security.

It is essential to insure that the most successful “Safety Net” program in American history continued to survive and prosper!

Jimmy Carter “Mania” Will Begin Upon His Passing, As With Harry Truman After His Death In 1972!

The news that former President Jimmy Carter has been diagnosed with cancer, and that it is spreading, brings historians and all decent Americans to react with shock, and recognition that the 39th President has been regularly trashed in news media and by politicians.

There was a past President who faced 20 years of ridicule and dismissive attitudes until his death. Then, all of a sudden, there was recognition that he had been mistreated, and that his historic significance was unappreciated in his lifetime.

That man was Harry Truman, the 33rd President.

Also, when thinking back, similar ridicule and condemnation was visited upon Abraham Lincoln until his tragic assassination.

No one is trying to say that Jimmy Carter will ever rank with Harry Truman and Abraham Lincoln, far from it!

But Jimmy Carter has suffered in reputation for so long, because of the mythology that has been built up around Ronald Reagan, and during an era where politicians have distorted the record and accomplishments of Reagan, at the expense of Carter.

There will be plenty of time to reassess Jimmy Carter, and his historical image will improve dramatically as a result.

One can expect over the next five to ten years, there will be “Carter Mania”, just as there was “Truman Mania” for five to ten years after his death in 1972.

Meanwhile, let us hope for a miraculous recovery for Jimmy Carter, and if that is not to be, that he not suffer with great pain as he leaves us, after the longest retirement of any President of the United States.

Left Handed Presidents On “Left Handers Day”!

Today, August 13, is “Left Handers Day”!

About 10-15 percent of the population, supposedly, is left handed, and it is certainly much more common now than in the past, due to children being forced to learn to be right handed in the past, because of belief that it was a sin to be left handed.

So as far as we know, left handed Presidents have occurred only in the past century, although there are those who think Thomas Jefferson may have been left handed or ambidextrous; and that James A. Garfield was the same, due to the statements that he could write in Latin and Greek with both hands at the same time!

Other than possibly Jefferson, and the case of Garfield, the list of left handed modern Presidents includes:

Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
Harry Truman (1945-1953)
Gerald Ford (1974-1977)
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
George H. W. Bush (1989-1993)
Bill Clinton (1993-2001)
Barack Obama (2009-Present)

This means that for 29 of the past 41 years (since 1974), we have had left handed Presidents, all but Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush!

It also means that 7 of the last 14 Presidents (from Hoover to Obama) have been left handed! This is 41 of the past 86 years!

It is also a fact that in 1992, all three Presidential candidates (Bush Senior, Clinton, Ross Perot) were lefties, and the same with 1996 (Clinton, Bob Dole, Perot)! And in 2008, the two major party Presidential candidates, Obama and John McCain, were also “southpaws”!

Political Campaign Debates’ Impact On American History

Do political campaign debates matter?

Absolutely, and the first such case is Abraham Lincoln Vs. Stephen Douglas in the Illinois Senate race of 1858, which helped elevate Lincoln to the Presidency, although losing the Senate seat due to the Democrats controlling the state legislature, and choosing incumbent Democrat Douglas for the new term of office.

Since Presidential debates came about in 1960, and then revived starting in 1976, there have been moments when they really mattered, even if often boring, including:

1960–Richard Nixon sweating and looking tense, while John F. Kennedy smiled, looked tanned, was relaxed.

1976–Gerald Ford says Poland is a free nation, which helps to elect Jimmy Carter in close race.

1980–Ronald Reagan talks about the “Misery Index” and says “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”, and defeats Jimmy Carter.

1984—Ronald Reagan says he will not use age as an issue to show the “youth and inexperience” of opponent Walter Mondale, who he defeats.

1988—Vice Presidential nominee Lloyd Bentsen tells opponent Dan Quayle that he is not another John F. Kennedy, and sets the image of Quayle for all time as an incompetent Vice President, and have no chance to be President when he decides to run in 1996.

1992—George H. W. Bush looks constantly at his watch, during the debate with Bill Clinton, who defeats him, and also Ross Perot.

2000–Al Gore walks over to George W. Bush as he answers question, comes across as a weird action, and also breathes deeply at Bush responses, making Gore seem haughty and condescending.

2008—Sarah Palin does an embarrassing performance in Vice Presidential debate with Joe Biden, harms John McCain campaign.

2012–In Republican Presidential candidate debates, Rick Perry cannot remember the three agencies of government he wishes to eliminate, which ends his candidacy.

2012—Joe Biden laughs at Paul Ryan statements in Vice Presidential debate, weakens Ryan image as Mitt Romney’s running mate.

Also, political campaign debates draw attention to the race, and there will be many Presidential debates starting tonight for the Republicans, and in October for the Democrats.

Likelihood Of Oldest Presidential Candidate Race Ever In American History!

As the 2016 Presidential campaign heats up, it looks more and more likely that the two major party nominees will be among the oldest ever nominated or elected.

The Democrats have the following candidates who will be 64 or even beyond 70 as possible nominees:

Hillary Clinton 69
Joe Biden 74
Bernie Sanders 75
Jim Webb 70 (but nearly 71)
Lincoln Chafee 63 (but nearly 64)

The Republicans have the following candidates who will be 64 or beyond as possible nominees:

Jeb Bush 63 (but nearly 64)
Donald Trump 70
John Kasich 64
Rick Perry 66 (but nearly 67)
Jim Gilmore 67
George Pataki 71
Dr Benjamin Carson 65

Between the likely Democratic nominee and the likely Republican nominee, we can expect the oldest combination of Presidential candidates if one for each group above are the chosen nominees.

Right now, the Democratic nominee seems likely to be one of the top three on the list–Clinton, Biden or Sanders; and the Republican nominee likely to be one of the top three on that list—Bush, Trump, Kasich.

However, IF the Republican nominee turns out to be the younger candidates, such as Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, or Marco Rubio, we could have a bigger difference in age than we have rarely had, with only vast differences in age of William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan in 1896 and 1900; Franklin D. Roosevelt and Thomas E. Dewey in 1944; Harry Truman and Dewey in 1948; Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale in 1984; Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush in 1992; Clinton and Bob Dole in 1996; Barack Obama and John McCain in 2008; and Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012.

Note that in the cases of a much older and much younger opponents, the older candidate won with McKinley, FDR, Truman, and Reagan, but the younger candidate won with Clinton twice and Obama twice.

If Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee or Lindsey Graham were the GOP nominee, the average age of the two opponents would still be close to the highest in history, with their average age in the low 60s at inauguration.

Remember that the only Presidents to be 64 or older at inauguration were Ronald Reagan, William Henry Harrison, James Buchanan, George H. W. Bush, and Zachary Taylor.

The only other Presidents over the age of 60 at inauguration were:

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Andrew Jackson
John Adams
Gerald Ford
Harry Truman

So only 10 Presidents out of 43 were 60 or older when taking the oath, while now we are very likely to have both candidates over the age of 60, with 11 out of 17 Republican candidates being over 60, and 5 out of 6 (Martin O’Malley the exception) of the Democratic candidates over the age of 60.

So while we had a “new generation of leadership” three times in the past half century with John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, now we are almost certain to have an “old generation” of leadership coming to power on January 20, 2017.

50 Years Of The Voting Rights Act, And Reluctance To Enforce It By Supreme Court And Many States Now A Sad Reality!

On August 6, it will be 50 years since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, overcoming a near century of the denial of the right to vote to African Americans, despite the passage of the 15th Amendment in 1870.

The Southern states denied African Americans the right to vote through all kinds of methods for three quarters of a century, but finally it was a Southern President and many Congressional Republicans joining with Democrats that caused that denial of democracy to be overcome, finally.

And Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, all Republicans, continued to endorse, promote, hail, and extend the provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

But then the Supreme Court majority under Chief Justice John Roberts weakened enforcement in a Supreme Court decision in 2013 (Shelby County, Alabama V. Holder), effectively giving license to states run by Republican governors and legislatures to pass new restrictions on voting, that would not only hurt African Americans, but also Hispanics, poor whites, the elderly, college students—all being required to make onerous efforts to meet the new restrictions on voting rights, when there was no earlier evidence of voting fraud.

This sad reality has pained John Lewis, Georgia Congressman, who was involved in the movement for voting rights in Alabama (the Selma-Montgomery March), and was seriously beaten, along with others who were killed, fighting peacefully for the basic right to vote.

So while we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this path breaking legislation, we have to hope that the Supreme Court will revisit what it has done by a 5-4 vote in the next term, with the hope that they will reconsider what they have done, based on the discrimination now being practiced in many states across the nation.

“Fit” And “Unfit” Presidents In American History

The issue of Presidential health is an important one, as the stresses on the Chief Executive, are, and have been, massive over time, and the job ages all Presidents noticeably.

But separate from general health, there is also the issue of how “fit” or “unfit” Presidents have been while in office, and those who have been active in athletic activities before and during their White House years.

The list of truly “fit” Presidents has favored the younger Presidents over time, but there are also cases of other Presidents who have made being fit an important part of their image as Presidents. These Presidents participated in sports, and even when having health issues over time, they still emphasized the active life.

So the truly “fit” Presidents would include:

George Washington

John Quincy Adams

Andrew Jackson

Abraham Lincoln

Theodore Roosevelt

Dwight D. Eisenhower

John F. Kennedy

Gerald Ford

Ronald Reagan

George H. W. Bush

George W. Bush

Barack Obama

All of the above 12 Presidents did a lot of exercise throughout their lives, and some were in the military as generals (Washington, Jackson, Eisenhower).

Those Presidents that would qualify as particularly unfit would include:

John Adams

Martin Van Buren

James Buchanan

Chester Alan Arthur

Grover Cleveland

William McKinley

William Howard Taft

Warren G. Harding

Lyndon B. Johnson

Bill Clinton

All of the above 10 Presidents had major issues with weight, particularly Taft and Cleveland.

Of course, “fitness” has nothing to do with greatness in the White House, as Franklin D. Roosevelt proves! But FDR also had massive upper body strength, despite the polio that prevented him from walking.

“Surprise” Presidential Nominees, And Often Winners, In American History

As we are about to enter August, the year before the Presidential Election Of 2016, we find two “surprise” candidates doing very well, if one is to judge by crowds and public opinion polls.

Whether Donald Trump and or Bernie Sanders have a real chance to be the nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties is impossible to know this far ahead.

But in American history, there have been many surprise nominees, and or winners of the Presidency.

The examples of this phenomenon follow—17 Presidents and 6 Presidential nominees in 23 Presidential elections:

In 1844, James K. Polk was nominated by the Democrats on the 9th ballot, and went on to defeat the better known and more famous Henry Clay.

In 1848, Mexican War General Zachary Taylor, with no political experience, and no stands on political issues, was nominated by the Whig Party, and elected over Lewis Cass and Free Soil Party nominee, former President Martin Van Buren.

In 1852, little known Franklin Pierce was nominated by the Democrats on the 49th ballot, and went on to defeat famous Mexican War General Winfield Scott.

In 1860, one term Congressman Abraham Lincoln, not in public office in 12 years, was the choice of the Republican Party, and defeated Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, and John Bell.

In 1868, Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War Union Army hero, with no political experience, was nominated by the Republicans, and defeated Horatio Seymour.

In 1872, the Democrats and a fringe group known as the “Liberal Republicans” nominated well known journalist Horace Greeley, who had never served in public office, losing to President Grant.

In 1892, former President Grover Cleveland, who had lost reelection in 1888 to Benjamin Harrison, came back and defeated Harrison, becoming the only President to win, lose, and then win, and therefore, being listed as the 22nd and 24th Presidents of the United States.

In 1896, a former Nebraska Congressman, only 36 years old, William Jennings Bryan, inspired the Democratic convention and was nominated for President, but lost to William McKinley.

In 1904, an unknown (except in New York) state court judge, Alton B. Parker, was the Democratic nominee against Theodore Roosevelt, but lost.

In 1912, President of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson, nominated on the 46th ballot by the Democrats, defeated President William Howard Taft, former President Theodore Roosevelt (running on the Progressive Party line), and Socialist Eugene Debs.

In 1920, an obscure Senator with no special accomplishments or credentials, Warren G. Harding, was nominated by the Republicans, and defeated Democratic nominee James Cox.

In 1924, the Democrats were deadlocked at their convention for 103 ballots, and finally nominated corporate attorney John W. Davis, who lost to President Calvin Coolidge and Progressive Party nominee Robert LaFollette, Sr.

In 1928, the Democrats nominated the first Catholic Presidential candidate, Alfred E. Smith, but he lost to Republican nominee Herbert Hoover.

In 1932, the Democrats nominated Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had been judged as having “no particular qualifications” for the Presidency, and he went on to defeat President Herbert Hoover.

In 1940, the Republicans nominated a businessman with no political experience, Wendell Willkie, after he inspired their convention, but he lost to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 1948, President Harry Truman shocked the political world by winning a full term over Republican Thomas E. Dewey, States Rights nominee Strom Thurmond, and Progressive Party nominee, former Vice President Henry A. Wallace. He had been shown to be way behind Dewey in every political poll taken that year.

In 1952, a World War II general, Dwight D. Eisenhower, never having been involved in politics, was finally convinced to run for President, and defeated Democratic nominee Adlai E. Stevenson.

IN 1960, the second Catholic nominee for President, John F. Kennedy, was able to overcome the religion barrier, and be elected over Republican Richard Nixon, the well known and experienced Vice President under Eisenhower.

In 1968, former defeated Presidential candidate Richard Nixon came back eight years after having lost, and he won the Presidency over Hubert Humphrey and American Independent Party nominee George Wallace.

In 1976, a one term Governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, considered unknown to most and given little chance for the Democratic Presidential nomination, surprised everyone and was elected over President Gerald Ford.

In 1980, an aging two time candidate for President, Ronald Reagan, ended up winning the Republican nomination, and was elected over President Carter.

In 1992, despite a sex scandal, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton won the Democratic nomination, and was elected over President George H. W. Bush and Independent nominee Ross Perot, even with Bush having enjoyed a 91 percent public opinion poll rating during the Persian Gulf War 18 months earlier.

In 2008, an African American first term Senator, with an Islamic middle name of Hussein, Barack Obama, overcame former First Lady Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, and defeated Republican nominee John McCain for the Presidency.

So anything can happen in 2016, with further coverage of the upcoming election being resumed when the Iowa Caucuses take place on February 1.

Until then, this blogger will focus on the promotion of his new book on Presidential Assassinations and Threats. He will give information on the interviews that he will have on radio, tv/cable, the internet, and print media, so that my readers will have an opportunity to investigate my activities over the next six months.

When he has time, he will look at American political, diplomatic and constitutional history solely, as there is much fascinating material that can and should be discussed and analyzed. It will make a look at the future much more significant, as a result of the historical analysis of the Presidency, elections, political parties, the Congress, and the Supreme Court.