Vice President

Speaker Paul Ryan Totally Out Of Line In Demanding That Hillary Clinton Be Denied Access To Intelligence Information As Nominee!

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is totally out of line in demanding that Hillary Clinton be denied access to intelligence information as the Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, due to the controversy over Emails, and the FBI director’s criticism of her handling of the matter, while not recommending prosecution.

If that is to occur, then Republican nominee Donald Trump, a dangerous, reckless, “loose cannon” must also be denied access, as he is unable to control his mouth, and might reveal highly sensitive information during the campaign.

It is not Paul Ryan’s place as second in line to the Presidency to intervene and get involved in this controversy, and it makes one wonder how Ryan, if he remains Speaker, and Hillary Clinton, would be able to work together and cooperate next year, if Clinton wins the White House.

Some have thought that Ryan would love to cause a coup and become President himself, as he has done a horrible job as Speaker, and this blogger was highly critical of him when he was Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential running mate in the 2012 Presidential election.

Ryan is totally untrustworthy, and is a good reason to wish that the old Presidential Succession Act of 1886, replaced by the present one in 1947, could be revived. The cabinet members should follow the Vice President in the order of succession, not the three out of four years opposition party Speaker and President Pro Tempore of the Senate being ahead of the cabinet officers in the line of succession, in case of an emergency.

Speakers Of The House Of Representatives Who Sought The Presidency, And Now Paul Ryan?

The Speaker of the House of Representatives is second in line for the Presidency after the Vice President under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, the third such law.

The first such law, from 1792-1886, put the Speaker third in line for the Presidency, with the Vice President and the President Pro Tempore of the US Senate ahead of him, later reversed in 1947.

The second law, from 1886-1947, did not include the Speaker in the line of succession, but rather the Cabinet officers after the Vice President.

In our history, only one Speaker of the House became President, James K. Polk of Tennessee, from 1845-1849, and he proved to be one of the more significant Presidents, adding more real estate to America than anyone other than Thomas Jefferson.  This was accomplished by treaty with Great Britain over the Pacific Northwest in 1846, and by war with Mexico from 1846-1848, which added the Southwestern United States to the Union.

But seven other Speakers sought the Presidency, including the following:

Henry Clay of Kentucky sought the Presidency in 1824, 1832, and 1844, and is regarded as the greatest single legislator in the history of both houses of Congress.  In 1844, we had the only Presidential election where the two opponents had both been Speaker of the House, Clay and Polk!  Clay lost his three elections to John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Polk.

John Bell of Tennessee was the Constitutional Union Party nominee for President in 1860 on the eve of the Civil War, and lost to Abraham Lincoln.

James G. Blaine of Maine was the Republican nominee for President in 1884 and lost the election to Grover Cleveland, and was also Secretary of State under three Presidents–James A. Garfield, Chester Alan Arthur, and a full term under Benjamin Harrison.

Thomas Reed of Maine lost the nomination of the Republican Party in 1896 to future President William McKinley.

Champ Clark of Missouri lost the nomination of the Democratic Party in 1912 to future President Woodrow Wilson.

John Nance Garner of Texas, after being Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt for two terms from 1933-1941, lost the nomination of the Democratic Party to his boss, President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940

Newt Gingrich of Georgia lost the Republican nomination for President to eventual nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

So four Speakers were nominated for President, with only Polk winning; and four other Speakers lost the nomination when they sought the Presidency.

Now we may have a ninth such Speaker seeking the Presidency, Republican Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, whose name is being promoted, despite Ryan’s denial of any interest in running for President.

Three Speakers Of The House Who Were “A Heartbeat Away” From The Presidency!

The Presidential Succession Act was changed in 1947 from what it had been in the earlier law of 1886.

Instead of the cabinet officers being next in line after the Vice President, the new law, in effect now for 68 years, has the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a Congressman elected by one Congressional district, as next in line.

So therefore, three Speakers of the House have been “a heartbeat away” from the Presidency, in mid 1947-1948, November 1963 to January 1965, and October to December 1973 and August to December 1974.

Joseph W.  Martin Jr. was the first Republican Speaker in 16 years, when the law changed, and when threats against Harry Truman by the Zionist Stern Gang in 1947, as reported by Margaret Truman, occurred, and Martin was a heartbeat away.

When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, and Lyndon B. Johnson, who had suffered a heart attack in 1955 became President, 73 year John W. McCormack was next in line for 14 months, and the recognition of this fact and his advanced age, led to the passage and ratification of the 25th Amendment in 1967, providing for an appointed Vice President to fill a vacancy after hearings by the House of Representatives and Senate.

Carl Albert was the third Speaker to be next in line when Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned in October 1973, and Albert remained so for two months until Gerald Ford was selected and confirmed as the the first Vice President under the 25th Amendment.

Again, Albert was first in line from August 1974, when Richard Nixon resigned and Gerald Ford became President, until December 1974 when Nelson Rockefeller was selected and confirmed as the second Vice President under the 25th Amendment.

So for a total of about two years, we have had Speakers of the House, and all three of the opposition party to boot, as “a heartbeat away” from the Presidency.

And although no President or Vice President has left office since 1974, the odds of such an event occurring at some point in the future is mounting, and worrisome, with three out of four years since 1947 having the opposition party in the Speakership as two heartbeats away from the Presidency!

The Dire Need For A Change In The Presidential Succession Act Of 1947

In 1947, the new Republican controlled 80th Congress, the first Congress to have both houses being Republican controlled since 1928, acted in revenge against the memory of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt by changing the Presidential Succession Act of 1886.

That law in 1886 made the succession to the Presidency to be the cabinet officers after the Vice President, including in order, the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War, Attorney General, Postmaster General, Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Interior. The original law in 1792 made the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House next in line before the cabinet members, and after the Vice President.

This was changed to the present situation in 1947, that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and then the President Pro Tempore of the Senate would succeed after the Vice President and before the cabinet officers.

This has  led to people in the line of succession who, much of the time, have been the opposition party to the President, as in 1947-1949 under President Harry Truman; 1955-1961 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower; 1969-1974 under President Richard Nixon; 1974-1977 under President Gerald Ford; 1981-1987 in the House under President Ronald Reagan; 1987-1989 under President Ronald Reagan; 1989-1993 under President George H. W. Bush; 1995-2001 under President Bill Clinton; 2001-2003 in the Senate under President George W. Bush; 2007-2009 under President George W. Bush; and 2011-2017 under President Barack Obama.

This is not proper, to have the opposition party have the potential to take over the Presidency through having a Speaker of the House and/or a President Pro Tempore of the Senate of their party, rather than having the continuity of the administration though the cabinet members chosen by the President.

So 44 years between 1947 and 2017, out of a total number of 70 years, or just about two thirds of the time, the opposition party has been two heartbeats away from the Presidency, undermining continuity of government.

Also, just because someone is Speaker of the House (elected by one Congressional district) or President Pro Tempore of the Senate ( an often very old person in that position, elected from one state, who has longevity of service) does not make such a person qualified to be President, as much as a Secretary of State, Treasury, etc does!

So while it is unlikely to happen anytime soon, there really is a need to change the Presidential Succession Act back to the one passed and in effect from 1886-1947!

The Growing Threat Of Right Wing Domestic Terrorism To President Obama And Presidential Candidates

The horrifying Charleston, South Carolina Massacre reminds us of the growing tide of racism and hatred that has emerged in the six and a half years of Barack Obama’s Presidency.

Barack Obama has faced more death threats than any President since Abraham Lincoln, and the mounting threats have taxed the Secret Service, which is responsible for his safety, that of his family members, and protection of the White House and its grounds from “Fence Jumpers”, who have become more bold in recent years, including Omar Gonzalez, who scaled the fence last September and entered the White House and almost made it to the stairs for the private quarters of the President and his family.

But it is also the hate groups which have multiplied in recent years, and have an effect on unstable, mentally ill people, mostly young men, many of them rightfully called domestic terrorists. The threat of foreign religious and political extremism also hangs heavy over the responsibility of the Secret Service to protect the President, the Vice President, other top government officials in the line of succession, and Presidential candidates.

There is a growing sense of foreboding and fear that the President, who has 19 more months from today until he leaves office, is in great danger, with any slip up by the Secret Service one too many.

Right wing domestic terrorism against Americans who are subjected to hate because of their race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation or identity, or political persuasion is a danger not only to regular citizens, but also to Presidential candidates in the political season we are now entering.

Hillary Clinton, already protected as the wife of a former President, is under Secret Service protection, and Bernie Sanders, being a Socialist, also faces dangers not faced by right wing candidates on the Republican side, although Jeb Bush, brother and son of former Presidents, is also a target.

And Donald Trump, with his provocative mouth attacking Obama, Clinton, Bush and others, is a perfect foil for right wing lunatics to plan to attempt assassination plots against our President and others seeking the Presidency.

The reality of death threats against President Obama is covered in Chapter 16 of my forthcoming book, entitled; “Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama,” available August 15 from Rowman Littlefield Publishers, and can be purchased at a 30 percent discount using the code available on this blog. It is well worth a read!

March 4th: A Day Which Will Live In Presidential History!

March 4th is an historic day, the day every fourth year was the Presidential inauguration date through the inauguration of 1933, and then superseded by the 20th Amendment, which changed the inauguration ceremonies every fourth year to January 20, beginning in 1937.

So March 4, 1789, was the inception of our Constitution, but George Washington was not present in New York City, and was not to arrive until April 30, 57 days late, therefore making his two terms in office short of eight years, being approximately two months less than that!

March 4, 1801, was the inauguration of our first opposition president, with Thomas Jefferson succeeding his election rival, John Adams, who he had served as Vice President, and the beginning of peaceful transition from an “in’ party to an “out” party.

March 4, 1829, was the inauguration of the “people’s President”, Andrew Jackson, who represented the voice of the “common man” of the times.

March 4, 1861, was the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln to his first term, in the midst of a crisis that soon led to the Civil War.

March 4, 1865, was the second inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, about a month before the Civil War ended, and this was the greatest inauguration speech yet devised. And today marks exactly 150 years since that fantastic speech of reconciliation.

March 4, 1905, was the inauguration to an elected term of Theodore Roosevelt, who had succeeded the assassinated William McKinley, and was the first Vice President succeeding to the Presidency who was elected to his own term, and had the greatest popular vote percentage in election history up to that date.

March 4, 1913, was the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson, who would accomplish more domestic reform in his first term than any President before him, and only surpassed by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson after him.

March 4, 1933, saw the last inauguration on that date, and it was the coming to power of Franklin D. Roosevelt, in the worst days of the Great Depression, and his inauguration speech was the greatest since Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address in 1865.

A Proposal To Change Presidential Succession Law Back To Before 1947 Revision

It is clear, to anyone who really analyzes the situation, that the Presidential Succession Law of 1947 needs to be rolled back to what it was between 1886-1947.

The earlier succession law provided that the President’s cabinet members, starting with the Secretary of State, would follow the Vice President in the line of Presidential succession.

The 1947 law changed that to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate as ahead of the cabinet members.

That has been a mistake, as it has caused those two office holders often to be from the opposition party, as under Harry Truman 1947-1949; Dwight D. Eisenhower 1955-1961; Richard Nixon 1969-1974; Gerald Ford 1974-1977; Ronald Reagan 1987-1989 and also for the Speaker from 1981-1987; George H. W. Bush 1989-1993; Bill Clinton 1995-2001; George W.Bush 2001-2003 for the President Pro Tempore, and 2007-2009; and Barack Obama 2011-2017.

That is 38 years out of 70, and also six years for the Speaker and two years for the President Pro Tempore in addition, for a grand total of 46 of 70 years, two thirds of the time.

This has helped to promote stalemate and gridlock much too often, and has led to lack of continuity fear if a President had left office.

Luckily, that only happened twice in the first 27 years, and now it is 41 years since the last President left office early, a trend that is defying American history for turnover of the Presidency during a term, which happened seven times between 1841 and 1945!

The Secretaries of State have often been major figures, and since foreign policy is so crucial now, more than ever, the need for a Secretary of State to be second in line to be President, and a Secretary of the Treasury to be third in line, outweighs the idea of an often mediocre Congressman and a overly aged US Senator being next in line instead! And the importance of party loyalty and support of the President in office also is a major factor.

John F. Kennedy And Barack Obama Comparisons

The more one studies John F. Kennedy and witnesses the Presidency of Barack Obama, the more one can see comparisons.

Both John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama represented new directions in the office of the Presidency. The following comparisons can be made between the 35th President and the 44th President.

Both of these Presidents represented a revolutionary change, with Kennedy being the first Catholic President and Obama being the first African American President.

Both of these Presidents faced the vehement opposition of the Southern states, although both won key states in the South and had most of their opposition from the “deep” South.

Both of these Presidents were charismatic and great orators of their visions.

Both of these Presidents had young children in the White House years.

Both of these Presidents had very attractive First Ladies, who added a lot to their Presidencies.

Both of these Presidents dealt with the issue of civil rights, with Kennedy focused on race and Obama on sexual orientation controversies.

Both of these Presidents engendered great hatred and were considered dangerous to the nation by critics, and the number of assassination threats grew dramatically.

Both of these Presidents had a Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson and Joe Biden, with a reputation of being exceptional legislators who knew how to get things done in Congress.

Both of these Presidents were young, and offered new hope for a new generation.

Both of these Presidents faced major challenges, Kennedy with the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Obama with finding Osama Bin Laden.

Both of these Presidents faced tough times dealing with the Soviet Union under Kennedy, and the Russian Federation under Obama.

Both of these Presidents emphasized the need for health care as an important federal goal, with Kennedy unable to accomplish Medicare, but Obama able to accomplish ObamaCare, with conservatives being the crucial opposition in both situations.

Both of these Presidents promoted the concept of peace as a goal, rather than war, with Kennedy attempting moves toward ending the Cold War, and Obama attempting moves to end the war on Terrorism.

Both of these Presidents appealed to our better natures, rather than the lowest common denominator.

Both of these Presidents attempted to fight poverty and promote the middle class as the way to progress for society.

Both of these Presidents became models for young people, and gave them hope in a better America and a better world, as they were seen in an idealistic manner as overcoming cynicism common in both eras.

With Obama having about three years to go, and with constant, persistent death threats, it is hoped and prayed for that he will finish his term unharmed, and avoid the tragedy of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Let all of us wish him the best!

The Most Significant Long Range Events Of 2013

Now that we are in the last day of 2013, it is time to reflect on what the most significant long range events of 2013 are, events that will affect us in the future, and are signs of progress, which can never be reversed.

They include in no special order:

The accomplishment of national health care, a dream since Theodore Roosevelt first mentioned the concept in his Progressive Party campaign in 1912, later suggested by Harry Truman, partially enacted by Lyndon B. Johnson, attempted by Bill and Hillary Clinton unsuccessfully, promoted by Senator Ted Kennedy, and finally becoming law under Barack Obama. Even with all of the kinks and quirks now and in the future, national health care is here to stay, finally making America reach the stage of all other democracies in the world, but as usual the last to adopt social and economic reform, as compared to Europe, Canada, and Australia.

The acceptance by the Supreme Court of the concept of gay marriage, and the expansion from nine to eighteen states of acceptance of same sex marriage, and nothing will ever reverse what has happened, and eventually, the Supreme Court will mandate its legality throughout America, just as they did for interracial marriage in 1967. Many may not like it, but just as with interracial marriage, one does not have to engage in either interracial or same sex marriage, but it is nobody’s business to tell someone else who he or she is to love and to have the benefits of marriage, and no religious institution needs to accept it, as civil marriage will always be available.

The civil war raging in the Republican Party, which will determine if the party of Lincoln, TR, and Ike will survive or go into the dustbin of history, which Is certain, if the right wing Tea Party Movement is allowed to take over the party apparatus, and control the House and Senate Republican caucuses, and control major state governments around the nation. An extreme right wing Republican Party will not survive, and will give the Democrats such dominance that a moderate centrist party, maybe on the pattern of the Whig Party of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln in the 19th century, will then emerge as a valid alternative to the more leftist Democratic Party by comparison.

The rise of a permanent Democratic majority in the Electoral College, as Georgia, Texas, Arizona and North Carolina will turn “blue” over the rest of the second decade of the 21st century, due to the growth in the Hispanic-Latino population, and the alienation of women from the Republican Party, which is working to control the reproductive lives of women. Both groups will swing these Sun Belt States to the Democrats, and with the Atlantic Coast from New England down to Virginia, and the Pacific Coast and the Upper Midwest more “blue” all of the time, there will be no way that Democrats will lose the White House over the next couple of decades, whether they nominate Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, or someone else, for the Presidency in 2016 and beyond.

The Supreme Court will turn more liberal, as over the remaining years of this decade, the likelihood of new Supreme Court appointments, as well as circuit and district courts, will fall to Democratic Presidents, who no longer have to worry about a filibuster proof majority of 60 votes. The need for only 51 votes or 50 with the Vice President breaking the tie, insures that the courts, and eventually the high Court, will take a different view over time on same sex marriage, abortion rights, civil rights, and civil liberties, reminding one over the next two decades (due to lifetime appointments) of the history of the Warren Court.

A happy 2014 to all my readers and contributors!