Theodore Roosevelt

The Death Of Famed Political Scientist And Historian James MacGregor Burns At Age 95

Sad news has come, that famed political scientist and historian James MacGregor Burns, of Williams College, has passed away at the advanced age of 95.

A professor at Williams College for nearly a half century, and then at the University of Maryland, Burns was the author of some twenty books, as well as a famed textbook in the field of American government, which this author used in his classes over the years, in several different editions.

The first to write a study of his friend, Senator John F. Kennedy, as he was running for President, Burns became most noted for his three volume history of the United States; his two volume study of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1956 and 1970 (which had a profound effect on this author); a study of the three Roosevelts (Franklin, Eleanor, and Theodore); studies of Congress; and also analysis of the Supreme Court. He won the Pulitzer Prize in History and the National Book Award for his second volume on FDR (The Soldier of Freedom) in 1971.

There are few scholars in political science and history who have had the massive effect on those fields that Burns had, so he will be missed, but also remembered for his tremendous contributions.

Eight Presidents Who Had A Major Role In The Military

Many of our Presidents, about two thirds, have served in the armed forces of the United States, but eight were involved in particularly notable roles in the military that stand the test of time.

These are:

George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

Ulysses S. Grant during the Indian Wars, Mexican War, and Civil War.

Theodore Roosevelt during the Spanish American War.

Harry Truman during World War I.

Dwight D. Eisenhower during World War II.

John F. Kennedy during World War II.

Jimmy Carter in the early Cold War years.

George H. W. Bush during World War II.

Other Presidents served of course, and Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, and Zachary Taylor were generals; Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley served in the Civil War; and Hayes and Franklin Pierce (in the Mexican War) and Kennedy were wounded. But these eight listed above particularly stand out in their military service of all of the Presidents who served!

Quinnipiac Poll On Worst President Since WW II Is Sign Of Total Ignorance And Stupidity!

A new Quinnipiac poll for July 4th rates Presidents since World War II, and comes to the asinine conclusion that Barack Obama, engaged in the typical “sixth year” doldrums, is the worst President since 1945!

Really? Give all of us a break! This demonstrates total ignorance and stupidity of American history, and how quickly people forget past Presidents and the records they have in office.

How could Barack Obama be the worst President since 1945, with:

The highest stock market in history, up 150 percent.
Gaining back of all the millions of jobs lost in the Great Recession, plus more jobs created despite GOP obstructionism.
The deficit falling faster than at any time since Eisenhower.
Hunting down and killing of Osama Bin Laden.
The capture of the perpetrator of the Benghazi deaths in Libya.
The passage of the Affordable Care Act, giving more Americans health care coverage than at any time in American history.
The passage of the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau despite opposition from Wall Street, corporations and Republicans.
The appointment of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.
The advancement of environmental protection on the road to the level of Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon and Theodore Roosevelt.
The promotion of the interests of the middle class against the Republican aim to destroy the middle class by lack of action.

Of course, any person could make a list of programs and policies of Barack Obama which have not worked out to their or our satisfaction, including this author.

But come on, compare Obama to George W. Bush:

Two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both causing trillions of dollars in the national debt, and not accomplishing their goals, and the war in Iraq totally unnecessary, a war of choice.
The poor handling of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and Mississippi and Alabama.
The failed Social Security privatization plan, which would have destroyed the program in 2008.
The Great Recession of 2007-2009, worst since the Great Depression under Herbert Hoover.

And if we are to rate the worst Presidents, how about Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, who both did so much harm in office, even while admitting certain positives for both?

And to rate Mitt Romney a better choice, 45 percent, to be President now, after the failed campaign of 2012–face the facts, the American people made the right choice in rejecting Romney, arguably the worst candidate of the Republican Party since Barry Goldwater in 1964. This was a man who lied, lied, lied, constantly, more than any Presidential nominee in American history!

The fact that the poll participants showed no real knowledge of American history is troubling, as to come to such a ridiculous conclusion demonstrates total lack of understanding of what has gone on in this nation in recent years! All they react to is charisma, so that Reagan, John F. Kennedy, and Bill Clinton rank the highest, simply based on image!

What do these involved in the poll know about Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush, as well as the Presidents that are rated high, and those rated low in the poll? Clearly, NOTHING!

Multiple Losing Presidential Candidacies, And Those Who Lost, Then Won The Presidency

The history of multiple candidacies for the Presidency is an interesting one, with five candidates being nominated more than once and losing each time, and five candidates being nominated more than once, and losing before winning the White House (with unusual circumstances for Grover Cleveland)

Those who ran multiple times and continued to lose are:

Charles Pinckney, Presidential Elections of 1804 and 1808
Henry Clay, Presidential Elections of 1824, 1832, and 1844
William Jennings Bryan, Presidential Elections Of 1896, 1900, and 1908
Thomas E. Dewey, Presidential Elections of 1944 and 1948
Adlai Stevenson, Presidential Elections of 1952 and 1956

Those who ran multiple times and first lost, and then won the Presidency are (with unusual case of Grover Cleveland described below):

Thomas Jefferson, Presidential Elections of 1796, 1800 and 1804
Andrew Jackson, Presidential Elections of 1824, 1828 and 1832
William Henry Harrison, Presidential Elections of 1836 and 1840
Grover Cleveland, Presidential Elections of 1884, 1888, and 1892 (winning in 1884, losing in 1888, winning in 1892)
Richard Nixon, Presidential Elections of 1960, 1968 and 1972

Also, Jackson and Cleveland won the popular vote in the elections they lost in the Electoral College, so both actually won the popular vote three times, the only candidates to do that, other than Franklin D. Roosevelt, who won the popular vote and electoral vote four times, in the Presidential Elections of 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944!

Additionally, Martin Van Buren ran a third time in 1848 on the Free Soil Party line and lost; and Theodore Roosevelt ran a second time in 1912 on the Progressive Party line and lost.

Hostile Relationship Of Former Presidents With Incumbent Presidents

The question of the relationship of former Presidents with incumbent Presidents is an interesting one, with usually the former Presidents avoiding open criticism of their successors, even if they are of a different political persuasions, and did not support the nomination or election of their successors.

There are only a few cases of open criticism and attack, including:

John Quincy Adams highly critical of Andrew Jackson, and returning to Washington, DC as a Congressman to “keep watch” over his policies and actions. Adams was also a sharp critic of the slavery and expansionist policies of John Tyler and James K. Polk.

Martin Van Buren being a major critic of the expansionist policies of John Tyler and James K. Polk in the 1840s, and of the slavery policies of Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan in the 1850s.

John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan all critical of the policies of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.

Grover Cleveland being a sharp critic of Benjamin Harrison, who he had lost to, and then ran against again and defeated in 1892, and then opposed William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt on the issue of imperialism and expansion.

Theodore Roosevelt very critical of his successor William Howard Taft, who he ran against on the Progressive Party line in 1912, and then against Woodrow Wilson’s policies toward World War I, after losing to him in 1912. Also, TR was resentful that Wilson “stole” some of his progressive ideas, and enacted them as President in his first term.

Herbert Hoover harshly critical of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policies during the Great Depression and World War II.

Harry Truman very critical of Richard Nixon for years before he became President, and never really making peace even when Nixon gave the Truman library the piano in the White House that Truman had played. Also, Truman was critical of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the two men only resolved their differences at the funeral of John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Jimmy Carter very critical of the policies of his successor, Ronald Reagan, and at times, of George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

Otherwise, the tendency has been to sit on the sidelines and avoid open criticism of one’s successors to the Oval Office!

Wealth Is Not Issue, Hillary Clinton! Commitment To Those Less Fortunate Is The Issue, So Stop Protesting Your Wealth!

Hillary Clinton is causing all kinds of grief and problems for herself by stating that she is not “truly rich”!

Sorry, Hillary, you and your husband have over $100 million in wealth, gained mostly through books and lectures, and just being famous, where people are willing to pay you and your husband large amounts for your thoughts and insights!

This is nothing to be ashamed of!

What would be something to be ashamed of is a wealthy person who did not earn their wealth through hard work, but simply lived off their parents or other relatives, and never knew what hard work was, and there are plenty of such people among the top one percent!

What is also to be ashamed of is a wealthy person who does not give a damn about others, about the middle class and the poor, who does nothing to try to make the lives of other Americans better.

Such is the case with most Republicans and conservatives, who flaunt their wealth, and do not care one iota about the future of the nation, only about their own selfish welfare!

The Clintons are not such people, as they have worked to help the advancement of those who are not as fortunate as them, both in America and the world, through the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Initiative.

Other such people in the past included Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Ted Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and numerous other Democrats and some Republicans who devoted their public lives to making life better for the American people in a myriad of ways. These are people with progressive and liberal values as part of their basic commitment.

So having wealth is not the issue, but whether one, by his or her words and actions, is committed to public service in a way which advances the lives of those less fortunate!

On The Brink Of A Record Not Attained Since 1825–Three Presidents With Eight Years In Office!

We are on the brink of accomplishing a record in the Presidency which has not occurred since the early days of the Republic–three Presidents in a row finishing eight years in office over 24 years!

The one and only time this happened was the administrations of Democratic Republicans Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809), James Madison (1809-1817), and James Monroe (1817-1825).

With all of the controversies, divisions, emotions involved in the past two plus decades, IF Barack Obama can avoid any assassination threats in the next two and a half years, God willing, he will have done what Bill Clinton (1993-2001) and George W. Bush (2001-2009) did before him, finish two complete terms of office!

We have not even had two Presidents in a row finish two terms of office otherwise, an amazing record, demonstrating the trials and tribulations of the Presidency!

The only other Presidents to finish two consecutive terms of office include: Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan. Of course, FDR was also elected to a third and fourth term in office.

George Washington started his first term 57 days late, so did not complete a full eight years in office, and Grover Cleveland’s two terms were non-consecutive.

Abraham Lincoln and William McKinley were elected President twice, but both were assassinated early in the second term.

Theodore Roosevelt and Harry Truman inherited most of a term, but were only elected President once.

Richard Nixon was elected twice, but resigned early in his second term due to the Watergate Scandal.

So this is a record, three straight Presidencies over 24 years completed, worthy of note!

Barack Obama And Executive Orders: The Truth, Rather Than Myths!

Conservatives and the Republican Party constantly lie about Barack Obama’s use of executive orders, stating that he has issued more than 1,000 such orders!

Obama has made it clear that he will override Congressional inaction where he can, and he is absolutely correct in such assertions, but he is far from overusing the concept of executive order.

Somehow, when a Republican President uses executive orders aggressively, that is seen as alright, and even positive!

The fact is that any President will use executive orders to promote his agenda, and he has a constitutional right to do just that, and it has been done by all Presidents!

News in the past two days that Obama will use executive orders to promote LGBT employment rights, and to declare a large area of ocean off limits to mining and fishing, therefore protecting the environment, is in support of goals that Congress has been unwilling to take action on, after five years, so Obama is asserting his Presidential authority to do what should be done!

In reality, Obama has issued approximately 180 executive orders up to this point, while George W. Bush used 291 in eight years; Bill Clinton a total of 364 in eight years; and Ronald Reagan a total of 381 in eight years. At the same time, Gerald Ford used 169 executive orders in just two years and five months in office; Jimmy Carter a total of 320 in four years; George H. W. Bush a total of 166 in four years; Richard Nixon a total of 346 in five and a half years; Lyndon B. Johnson a total of 325 in five years; John F. Kennedy a total of 214 in three years; Dwight D. Eisenhower a total of 484 in eight years; Harry Truman the very high total of 907 in almost eight years; and Franklin D. Roosevelt the overwhelming total of 3,522 in twelve years!

But even Theodore Roosevelt used a total of 1,081 in seven and a half years in office; William Howard Taft a total of 724 in four years in office; Woodrow Wilson a total of 1,803 in eight years in office; Warren G. Harding a total of 522 in two years and five months in office; Calvin Coolidge the high number of 1,203 in five and a half years in office; and Herbert Hoover the high total of 968 in four years in office.

So both conservatives and progressives, Republicans and Democrats, have used executive order in large numbers, and Barack Obama is definitely on the low side of usage after five and a half years in office!

But do conservatives and Republicans care to speak the truth? The reader knows the answer to that question!

Most Popular Presidents In Their Lifetimes Number Only Four Since 1900!

The job of being President is a glorious one, but also one of heavy burdens and responsibilities, and being popular when President and throughout your lifetime is a rare occasion.

So when one looks at 20th and 21st Century Presidents, only a few remained widely popular, even in the midst of crisis, and also in the years after retirement.

The only Presidents to have widespread popularity while in office and in retirement are:

Theodore Roosevelt
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Ronald Reagan
Bill Clinton

Interestingly, all of the above are Republicans, except for Democrat Bill Clinton, who has just been judged the most popular President in the past 25 years!

All of these Presidents above, with the possible exception of Eisenhower, possessed great charisma, and while Eisenhower was not a great public speaker, his military heroism and leadership in World War II made him much honored, loved, and respected, for the rest of his life!

The Massive Contrast: Joe Biden Vs Dick Cheney As Vice President!

The last two Vice Presidents of the United States have shown how the office has grown in significance, but also it demonstrates the massive contrast between these two individuals!

Both Joe Biden and Dick Cheney are well qualified to have become President of the United States.

Both Joe Biden and Dick Cheney had experiences and stature to become Vice President, among the best in those regards of all our 47 Vice Presidents!

Once we get past those facts, there is no comparison between Joe Biden and Dick Cheney, who are diametrical opposites!

Joe Biden is warm, friendly, congenial, charming, charismatic, genuine, a great orator, relates well to ordinary people, while Dick Cheney has NONE of these assets!

Joe Biden is like a friendly neighbor who is there to help you, a person who adds positive vibes everywhere he goes. Biden can engage in such situations as to be invited to a high school prom and handle it gracefully and with class; or to do a spoof on the HBO series “VEEP”; or to swear in new Senators by charming their mothers, their wives, their children! No one is like Joe Biden in this ability to be funny, considerate, and to be someone who feels as if he is not a politician, certainly not a typical one!

Dick Cheney is totally the opposite of everything stated, in many ways a forbidding, scary man who has become fanatical, willing to support torture through water boarding and to come across as a “Darth Vader” type, and extremely dominating and bossy, to the point where even his “boss”, George W. Bush, started to separate himself from him in his second term as President.

Barack Obama has no such problem, as Joe Biden knows he is not the President, and contributes to the administration in an appropriate manner, and is well liked by everyone, even if they do not agree with him on every issue.

How could anyone NOT like Joe Biden personally, and how could anyone NOT dislike Dick Cheney personally, even if one acknowledges his experience, knowledge, expertise and ability to take over the Presidency, had that been necessary?

Thank goodness Dick Cheney never became President, but at the same time, we could do far worse than a President Joe Biden, as he would inspire many Americans, would become a very popular President, and would prove to be a Harry Truman in attacking the opposition, a “give them hell Joe”, who would speak for the interests of the vast majority of us, and add to the legacy of TR, Wilson, FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Carter, Clinton, and Barack Obama in the White House!