Thomas Jefferson

Presidential Retirements

Of our 44 Presidents of the United States, 16 of them have had retirements lasting 15 years or more.

This statistic comes to mind as we celebrate the 93rd Birthday of Jimmy Carter, and root for him and George H. W. Bush to beat the record of longevity of Gerald Ford (93 years, 165 days) and Ronald Reagan (93 years 120 days), which Bush will surpass on October 11 and November 25, and Carter will surpass on January 30, 2018 and March 16, 2018.

The President with the most retirement years is Carter, who will reach 37 years out of office on January 20, 2018.

Herbert Hoover had 31 and a half years in retirement, followed by Gerald Ford with just a month short of 30 years.

John Adams had four months more than 25 years, and will be passed by George H. W. Bush in May 2018.

Martin Van Buren had about the same retirement time as Adams with 25 plus years, and Bush will soon pass him as well on the list.

Millard Fillmore, Harry Truman, and Richard Nixon each had close to 20 years in retirement.

James Madison and John Quincy Adams each had about 19 years in retirement

Thomas Jefferson, William Howard Taft, and John Tyler each had about 17 years in retirement.

Bill Clinton will soon finish 17 years in retirement, and will, therefore, pass Jefferson, Taft, and Tyler in 2018.

And Ronald Reagan had a few months more than 15 years in retirement, although much of his retirement was spent in a state of dementia and Alzheimers Disease.

The Issue Of Confederate Statues And Monuments In Public Places Outside Of Museums

The controversy that erupted over the Charlottesville tragedy has led to a call to remove Confederate atatues and monuments in public places outside of museums.

The descendants of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis have called for the statues of their forebears to be taken down.

A call has gone out for Confederate statues in the US Capitol Rotunda to be taken down. Bills are being introduced to accomplish this goal.

We are talking here about people who were ultimately traitors to the United States.

To compare Lee to George Washington or Thomas Jefferson as slave owners is preposterous, as we are talking about TREASON, and nothing else.

It is time to stop commemorating and honoring people who wished to destroy the American nation.

We are not expecting everyone to be perfect, but treason is something unique, and realize these and other Confederate leaders ultimately caused the death of 360,000 Union soldiers and 250,00 Confederate soldiers.

Also, realize that Jefferson Davis worked to assassinate Abraham Lincoln.

So the time has come to say atatues and monuments belong in museums, but not in parks or in government buildings.

So, for example, the excellent Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia is an appropriate location for such statues and monuments, and this blogger has visited that museum and has no issue with them having such statues and memorials. I learned a lot at that museum, and appreciate that it is there, and is such a good museum in context.

Also, state history museums can have these statues and monuments, and record the history of the state, including the Civil War.

But in public government buildings, other than museums, and in parks, it is inappropriate and time to end the “worship” of people who committed treason.

Germany does not honor Nazi Germany in public places, and neither should we honor people who worked to undermine the American nation, and wished to keep slavery alive for the long term!

Donald Trump Totally Delusional, Comparing Himself To Lincoln, And Suggesting Mount Rushmore For Himself!

Donald Trump is totally delusional, and he is becoming more embarrassing by the day.

He is telling us now that he is more “Presidential” than any President except the “great” Abraham Lincoln, who would not give him the time of day if he were to have met him, as he would see that Trump is simply an egotist, a narcissist, a braggart, a bully, a BS artist, a misogynist, a racist, a xenophobe, a nativist, a liar, a homophobe, an Islamophobe, an obnoxious personality, and innumerable other adjectives, all which would cause Lincoln to reject him, as he was a man of character.

Trump has no historical knowledge, so he thinks he has accomplished more in six months than anyone ever has, when he has accomplished less than any President ever in American history!

He seems not to know about Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, or Lyndon B. Johnson and the Great Society, or Woodrow Wilson and the New Freedom, or others who had a dramatic and positive effect on the nation and very rapidly.

And Trump imagines himself, as he said in a speech two days ago, that he might be a future candidate for Mount Rushmore, because he is on the level of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt in his own delusional mind!

One can imagine the rolling eyes and shaking heads of these Presidents in the afterlife as they look at Donald Trump, and the total embarrassment he is to the institution of the American Presidency!

July 4th And Four Presidents

July 4 is our national holiday, and many Americans are unaware of the fact that four Presidents are connected to the holiday.

Three Presidents died on July 4:

Thomas Jefferson in 1826 early in the day.

John Adams shortly before midnight in 1826, uttering that his writing pal Jefferson still survived, but he had died early on that day, which happened to be the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence they both participated in creating!

James Monroe in 1831, making him the third and last Founding Father to die on Independence Day.

And then, there is Calvin Coolidge, who was born on the 4th of July in 1872, 145 years ago!

Every 4th of July, this author wonders if any of the six living Presidents will join Jefferson, Adams, or Monroe in passing away, but it has never happened since 1831, and the odds are long against it happening on that precise day.

Instead, we have 93 year old George H. W. Bush; nearly 93 year old Jimmy Carter (on October 1); 71 year old George W. Bush (on July 6); 71 year old Bill Clinton (on August 19); 71 year old Donald Trump (reached on June 14); and 56 year old Barack Obama (on August 4).

The “Middle” President: From Washington-Adams-Jefferson To Bush II-Obama-Trump

Now we can say that five times in our history, we have had three Presidents in a row, where the “middle” President of the set of three stands out as dramatically worse or better than the President before and after him.

First, we have George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, with Adams being seen historically as less in reputation than the other two Presidents.

Second, we have James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, and Andrew Johnson, with Lincoln being the success between two total failures in the Presidency.

Then, we have Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson, with Taft seen historically as less in reputation than the other two Presidents.

The fourth example is Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, with Bush seen historically as less in reputation than the other two Presidents.

And now, we have the fifth example, of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, but this time, as with the second case, it is the “middle” President, Barack Obama, who far outshines the other two Presidents!

Donald Trump Competes With Warren G. Harding And George W. Bush As Least Intelligent President Of The United States!

The more one observes President Donald Trump, the more one realizes that he is one of the most ignorant, ill informed, and least intelligent Presidents of the United States.

Many of our Presidents have been intellectual heavyweights (16), including:

John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
John Quincy Adams
Abraham Lincoln
James A. Garfield
Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Herbert Hoover
Franklin D. Roosevelt
John F. Kennedy
Richard Nixon
Jimmy Carter
Bill Clinton
Barack Obama

Others, while not intellectually outstanding, were capable of good leadership (13) including:

George Washington
James Monroe
Andrew Jackson
James K. Polk
Ulysses S. Grant
Grover Cleveland
William McKinley
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Lyndon B. Johnson
Gerald Ford
Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush

Then, there are others who are mediocre by comparison, but had at least some redeeming qualities (12), including:

Martin Van Buren
William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
Zachary Taylor
Millard Fillmore
Franklin Pierce
James Buchanan
Andrew Johnson
Rutherford B. Hayes
Chester Alan Arthur
Benjamin Harrison
Calvin Coolidge

And then there are the three Presidents at the absolute bottom intellectually, and all three disasters in office, including

Warren G. Harding
George W. Bush
Donald Trump

At least Harding and Bush were decent human beings, who bumbled their way through the Presidency, but Donald Trump is, in many ways, more ignorant and dense than either Harding or the second Bush.

Harding was a lightweight intellectually, but at least he published a newspaper in Marion, Ohio, before his political career, and he had some outstanding cabinet officers including Charles Evans Hughes and Herbert Hoover.

George W. Bush, we know, read a great deal in the White House, while Trump is not a reader, and hardly gets past a page or two, even of important documents, as we learn that he counts on his top staff people to keep him up to date, and prefers Twitter and watching cable news as his main sources of information. His lack of intellectual curiosity, and willingness to believe conspiracy theories as fact is extremely alarming.

Trump has shown total ignorance of history and science, and is proving to be a true total disaster after only a little more than 100 days in office. He is much more destructive of the image of the Presidency than Harding or Bush could ever be!

“Change” Elections: 1800, 1828, 1860, 1896, 1912, 1932, 1960, 1968, 1980, 2000, 2008, And Now 2016?

America has now had 58 Presidential elections, and it can now be said that 12 of them, about 20 percent, have been transformational elections.

In 1800, for the first time. the “opposition” won the Presidency, when Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams.

In 1828, the “common man”, Andrew Jackson, was elected over John Quincy Adams, and all white males over 21, whether or not property owners, were able to vote, and Jackson was perceived as representing the western frontiersman and the urban worker.

In 1860, Abraham Lincoln’s victory ushered in a new political party, the Republican Party, as dominant for the next half century, and the Civil War developed out of the split over slavery and its expansion between the Union and the Confederacy. But the sectionalism of that period still exists in many ways in 2017.

In 1896, William McKinley’s victory over William Jennings Bryan promoted the growth of industry and urbanizastion over the previously predominant agricultural and rural nature of America, but in reality, that conflict still exists in 2017.

In 1912, the high point of progressive reform, and the evolution of government playing a major role in the economy from that point on, became a long term reality, with three Presidents–the past President Theodore Roosevelt; the incumbent President William Howard Taft; and the future President Woodrow Wilson—all competing in promoting what one could call the most reform oriented election, with all three Presidents being “progressive” to different degrees.

In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s victory over Herbert Hoover, was the time of the beginning of Democratic Party dominance, and ever bigger national government, even beyond the Progressive Era of the early 20th century.

In 1960, the election of John F. Kennedy was the triumph of overcoming the “religion issue”, as our first non Protestant President, a Roman Catholic from Massachusetts, was accomplished.

In 1968, the election of Richard Nixon marked the beginning of a turn to the Right, although Nixon actually continued and expanded elements of the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson in domestic affairs.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan’s victory marked the sharpest turn to the Right since Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s, and began an era of conservative government, that in many respects, continued under his successors, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

In 2000, the Supreme Court intervention in the Florida vote count, and the awarding of Florida to George W. Bush by 537 votes, giving him the Presidency, was a revolutionary change that changed the course of history, when Al Gore won the popular vote by more than a half million, and with the economy having improved during the Clinton years, should have led to Gore in the White House.

In 2008, Barack Obama’s victory over John McCain was a sharp turn to the left after what were arguably 40 years of conservative government to different degrees, including under Democrats Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and Obama overcame the race issue, in becoming the first African American President.

And now, in 2016, Donald Trump’s victory MIGHT be a sign of another “change” election, with the white working class voting for Trump, giving him the victory in the Electoral College, even though rival Hillary Clinton won the biggest popular vote margin of a losing candidate (2.85 million), greater than many Presidents won on their road to the White House,

But it may eventually be seen as a “fluke” election, and may not be long lasting, and only time and events will tell us what the reality is.

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: Presidents Who Dropped In Stature Include Five Democrats, One Republican, One Democrat Who Became A Whig

The CSpan 2017 Presidential Survey saw several Presidents who dropped dramatically in stature and reputation over the history of the three polls in 2000, 2009, and 2017. This is defined as four or more slots in decline.

Woodrow Wilson (D) dropped from 6 to 9 to 11.

Andrew Jackson (D) dropped from 13 in 2000 and 2009 to 18 in 2017.

Grover Cleveland (D) dropped from 17 to 21 to 23.

Jimmy Carter (D) dropped from 22 to 25 to 26.

Rutherford B. Hayes (R) dropped from 26 to 33 and then up slightly to 32.

Martin Van Buren (D) dropped from 30 to 31 to 34.

John Tyler (D to W) was 36, went up to 35 and then dropped to 39.

At the same time that five Democrats dropped in the polls, 8 of the top 15 in the poll were Democrats (FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Wilson, Obama, Polk, Clinton), to 4 Republicans (Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan), 2 Democratic Republicans (Jefferson, Monroe), and 1 Federalist (Washington).

With only four Republicans in the top 15 (all in the top 10), the only other Republicans in the top 20 are McKinley (16) and Bush Senior (20), with the other three in the top 20 being Democratic Republican Madison (17), Democrat Andrew Jackson (18), and Federalist John Adams (19).

C Span Presidential Survey: Great Consistency On Top Ten Over Three Polls Since 2000

The third C Span Presidential Survey, just out since Friday, shows a great consistency on the top ten over the three polls since 2000.

The top four remain the top four, with only FDR slipping from 2 to 3 in the second poll, and remaining number 3 in the most recent poll, and Washington moving up from 3 to 2 in the second poll and remaining there in the newest poll, and Lincoln and TR remaining consistently numbers 1 and 4.

Truman was 5 in the first two polls, and now is 6, with Eisenhower surging the most from 9 to 8 to 5 over the three polls.

Jefferson remains number 7 in all three polls.

JFK went from 8 to 6 and then back to 8 in the three polls.

Ronald Reagan rose from 11 to 10 to 9, while LBJ went from 10 to 11 to 10 over the three polls.

So only Wilson dropped from the top 10, from a high of 6 to 9 and now 11, just ahead of Barack Obama, who seems likely to rise above Wilson when the next poll is done in four or eight years.

It will be a tough battle for Obama to dislodge one of the top ten, but expect over the next four to eight years, with a right wing Republican government, dismantling a lot of what many of the top ten Presidents did (specifically TR, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ), that Obama will pass Reagan and drop him from 9 to 11, as Obama goes from 12 to 10, surpassing Wilson as well.

48 Vice Presidents, 45 (44) Presidents?

With the inauguration of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, we now have our 45th (really 44th) President, and our 48th Vice President!

Some reading this are saying: “Huh?”

So let’s explain the difference in numbers.

Donald Trump is the 44th person to become President, but Grover Cleveland served two nonconsecutive terms from 1885-1889 and 1893-1897, although he also won the popular vote in 1888, but Benjamin Harrison won the Electoral College, the third time out of five (with 2000 and 2016 the 4th and 5th cases) where the popular vote loser won the Presidency.

Now, as to the Vice Presidency:

Several Presidents had two Vice Presidents, and one had three Vice Presidents, therefore making for four additional Vice Presidents more than Presidents.

Thomas Jefferson had Aaron Burr in his first term in the Presidency (1801-1805), and George Clinton in his second term (1805-1809).

James Madison had Clinton stay on as Vice President in his first term, but he died in office in 1812, so only served from 1809-1812, instead of to 1813. In his second term, Madison had Elbridge Gerry as his Vice President, but he served less than two years and died in 1814, so only serving 1813-1814.

Andrew Jackson had John C. Calhoun as Vice President in his first term, but he resigned with three months to go in the term, after being dumped from the ticket for the 1832 election, so served from 1829-1832. Martin Van Buren served in the Jackson second term (1833-1837), and became the last Vice President to succeed directly to the Presidency by election for 152 years, when George H. W. Bush succeeded President Ronald Reagan in the 1988 Presidential election.

Abraham Lincoln had two Vice Presidents–Hannibal Hamlin (1861-1865) who he decided to replace for his second election, and Andrew Johnson for six weeks in 1865 until Lincoln was assassinated, and Johnson became President.

Ulysses S. Grant had two Vice Presidents–Schuyler Colfax (1869-1873) who came under investigation for corruption and did not run for reelection; and Henry Wilson (1873-1875) who died in office.

William McKinley had two Vice Presidents–Garret Hobart (1897-1899), who died in office; and Theodore Roosevelt, for six and a half months in 1901, until McKinley was assassinated, and TR succeeded him to the Presidency, and then won a four year term of his own in 1904.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, being elected four times to the Presidency, and prevented from occurring again by the passage and adoption of the 22nd Amendment in 1951, had John Nance Garner (1933-1941) in his first two terms; Henry A. Wallace (1941-1945) in his third term; and Harry Truman for 82 days of his 4th term in 1945, before FDR died, and Truman succeeded him, and then won a full term in 1948.

Finally, Richard Nixon had two Vice Presidents–Spiro Agnew (1969-1973), his first full term and nine months of his shortened second term, until Agnew was forced to resign due to corruption charges, and being replaced two months later by Gerald Ford (1973-1974) under the 25th Amendment, allowing for an appointed Vice President subject to majority approval by both the House of Representatives and the US Senate, with Ford serving nine months before he succeeded to the Presidency upon the resignation of Nixon, due to the Watergate scandal.

Realize that George Clinton served under two Presidents (Jefferson and Madison), and the same for Calhoun, who had served as Vice President to John Quincy Adams (1825-1829), before serving as Vice President under Jackson for all but three months of that term. So as a result, Jefferson, Madison and Jackson only had one DIFFERENT Vice President to add to the total number!

Also, realize that Grover Cleveland, in his separate terms, had two different Vice Presidents, Thomas Hendricks for 8 months in 1885, and Adlai Stevenson I (1893-1897).

Also realize that John Tyler (1841), Millard Fillmore (1850), Andrew Johnson (1865), and Chester Alan Arthur (1881), all succeeded to the Presidency because of the deaths of William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, and James A. Garfield, and never had a Vice President, since there was no 25th Amendment until passage in 1967, allowing Gerald Ford to pick Nelson Rockefeller as his Vice President in 1974. And the other four Presidents who had been Vice President, and succeeded due to the deaths of the Presidents in office (Theodore Roosevelt after William McKinley; Calvin Coolidge after Warren G. Harding; Harry Truman after Franklin D. Roosevelt; Lyndon B. Johnson after John F. Kennedy) all were elected in the next term and had a Vice President.

So only 40 men (plus Cleveland in two terms, so called the 22nd and 24th President) in the Presidency chose a Vice President, and only Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, McKinley and Nixon had two Vice Presidents who were unique (not shared with another President), and FDR had three Vice Presidents with his four terms in office. So if you count 41 due to Cleveland’s unique situation, and add seven extra Vice Presidents, you get a total of 48 men who have served as Vice President of the United States!