Posts Tagged Woodrow Wilson
Former George W. Bush “brain” Karl Rove is totally delusional, as yesterday, he declared on Fox News Channel that George W. Bush belonged with the “greats” among the Presidency, including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan!
This is the same man who failed to elect most of the Republicans that he supported through his campaign organization, wasting hundreds of millions of dollars from wealthy patrons who believed he knew who to back and could win seats in Congress.
This is the same man who said on Election night that Mitt Romney was going to win, and denied the obvious Barack Obama victory when it was already happening!
Bush will make the list of Presidents as one of the FAILURES of the Presidency, in the company of James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Warren G. Harding, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin Pierce.
Rove has conveniently forgotten Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Thomas Jefferson, Lyndon B. Johnson, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy, all of whom rank better than Ronald Reagan, who might be number 11, but not in the top ten of all Presidents!
And Bill Clinton may eventually rank above Reagan as well, and Barack Obama might also make the top ten to twelve list, when he has left the Presidency, and passions have cooled down!
In recent years, the idea has developed that anyone can be a politician, even if no experience in government.
Therefore, we have had a businessman, Herman Cain, who operated a pizza corporation, and ran as a candidate for President in 2012.
We have been told that government should be run as if is a corporation, but government is NOT the same as business.
Now we have a brilliant neurosurgeon, Dr. Benjamin Carson, who is renowned for saving many children’s l lives, who is considering running for President in 2016, just as Herman Cain did in 2012.
Both, and others like them, are to be commended for their successes in their chosen fields, but neither, and often others, such as Donald Trump, who has flirted many times with running for President, are unwilling to work their way up through the state legislatures, state executive branch, the House of Represenatatives, or the US Senate, or working in a Presidential cabinet or major role in the military before running for President..
No matter how competent they are in their fields of business, medicine, or any other occupation, that does not mean that they should be seen as ready to jump into the fray, and believe, without ANY political and governmental experience, that they are qualified, or have any clue as to what runnning a government is all about.
It trivializes politics and government, as it would be if someone knowing nothing about history or math or science or whatever, goes in and teaches a class to college students, or someone who has never studied and practiced law or medicine or accounting or whatever, suddenly claims they are qualified to be engage in those professions!
This has nothing to do with whether it is Republicans or Democrats, or men or women, or people of different ethniciities or racial backgrounds!
The point is that many critics of Barack Obama claim he had too little experience in government, when he actually had TWELVE years in public office.
Many other Presidents have had less experience than Obama, including Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush. But all of them had some government experience. And Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ullyses S. Grant had years of military experience, which also qualifies as knowledge to operate a government. And even Mitt Romney ran the state government of Massachusetts before running for President!
On this day in 1917, 96 years ago, President Woodrow Wilson announced a Presidential commitment to a world role as he called upon Congress to declare war against Imperial Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Turkish Empire, what became America’s involvement in the First World War.
Germany had declared unrestricted submarine warfare on January 31, and the Zimmermann Telegram or Note, detailing Germany conspiring with Mexico against our nation, had been exposed in March, and this led Wilson, reluctantly, to ask that America go to war to preserve democracy in the world, with a major US commitment.
The dispute over America’s role in the world has continued for 96 years, with battles between internationalists and isolationists still going on, now with political leaders such as Ron Paul and Rand Paul, and with new challenges from North Korea and Iran on the front burner.
America has made mistakes in its commitments, but remains convinced that our nation cannot shut itself off from the world community, as global affairs affect our prosperity and national security! We just have to use wisdom and intelligence in deciding where our commitments should be concentrated!
The month of April is a particularly historic month in America’s past in so many ways, with 20 significant events listed below.
April 2, 1917—President Woodrow Wilson asks the Congress for a declaration of war against Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Turks.
April 4, 1968—The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
April 6, 1917—Congress votes for entrance into World War I against Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Turks.
April 9, 1865—General Robert E. Lee surrenders to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia, marking the official end of the Civil War.
April 12, 1861—The Civil War begins, with the South Carolina attack on the federal military fort, Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.
April 12, 1945—President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia, and Harry Truman becomes President.
April 13, 1743—President Thomas Jefferson is born in Virginia.
April 14, 1865—President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC, dying the next morning at 722 AM
April 17, 1961—A failed attempt to overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro failed, coming to be known as the Bay of Pigs fiasco, and helped to lead to the later Cuban Missile Crisis, the greatest challenge faced by President John F. Kennedy.
April 18, 1775—The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, inspiring the first armed uprising against British oppression, occurred.
April 18, 1906—The highly destructive San Francisco Earthquake occurred, destroying much of the city, and killing 4,000 people.
April 19, 1775—The American Revolution began, with the Battle of Lexington and Concord outside Boston, Massachusetts.
April 19, 1993—The Waco, Texas tragedy of the death of 82 people in the Branch Davidian religious compound, consumed by fire, after an intervention by armored vehicles and federal agents occurred, inspiring conspiracy theories which led to the event below.
April 19, 1995—The worst domestic terrorist act in American history occurred, when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Oklahoma City Federal Building, killing 168 people and wounding about a thousand others.
April 20, 1914—The Ludlow Massacre of miners by company hired National Guardsmen, killing 19 people, occurred in Colorado over a desire for recognition of the United Mine Workers for the coal miners.
April 20, 1999—The Columbine Massacre in Littleton, Colorado, led to the worst mass shooting of students and teachers in public schools until the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut.
April 21, 1836— The Battle of San Jacinto near Houston, Texas, led to the victory of Texans led by Sam Houston over the Mexican army of General Santa Anna, leading to Texas Independence.
April 22, 1994—President Richard Nixon dies at the age of 81.
April 24, 1800—The national library of America, the Library of Congress, is established in Washington, DC.
April 30, 1789—George Washington is inaugurated as the first American President at Federal Hall in Lower Manhattan.
Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and whether Irish or not, the nation tends to celebrate it, almost as if it is a national holiday.
It turns out that fully half of our 43 Presidents–a total of 22– have Irish roots, including:
James K. Polk
Ulysses S. Grant
Chester Alan Arthur
John F. Kennedy
George H. W. Bush
George W. Bush
It is interesting how exactly half (11) were in the Presidency before 1900, and the same number (11) since 1900, with nine of the modern eleven Irish Presidents with Irish roots since 1961!
Three American Presidents in the last hundred years have been faced by foreign crises leading to war, and disrupting their domestic intentions for their second term of office. All three hoped to accomplish much more internally, but were distracted and diverted by major wars they could not avoid.
Woodrow Wilson had accomplished the most domestic reform in American history of any President until his time, but then World War I intruded, and his second term was dominated by the war and its aftermath.
Franklin D. Roosevelt had surpassed Woodrow Wilson in domestic accomplishments in his first term with his New Deal, but his second term became one of growing concern over the threat of the Japanese Empire to our territories (Hawaii, Guam, The Philippines) in the Pacific, plus the growing threat of Fascism and Nazism represented by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany in Europe—leading to concern of its effect on our traditional European friends if not formal allies, Great Britain and France. Although America would not enter World War II until FDR’s third term, the threat of war was ever present, and divided this nation in a massive way between internationalists and isolationists.
Harry Truman had a much more difficult time domestically, and had to deal with the Cold War with the Soviet Union, but hoped to promote a Fair Deal in his second term, but instead had to deal with the Korean War.
Now, Barack Obama faces the growing threat of real war with two nations who have lunatic leadership, and are capable of provoking major wars, emboldened by their nuclear intentions—Iran and North Korea.
Iran moves ahead on nuclear development, unaffected by the major nations bringing pressure and economic sanctions on them, and still seen as potentially able to threaten the survival of Israel, and cause a major cut off of oil in the Straits of Hormuz. While President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is leaving in June, it is clear that the Ayatollah Khamenei and the extremist Shiite Muslim leadership really dictates policy, and that anything is possible, including war.
North Korea, under its new young (30) leader, Kim Jong Un, has now declared that the truce agreement which ended the Korean War sixty years ago is null and void; has been testing nuclear weapons against international outcry, including China; and has threatened this past week that it might launch a pre-emptive nuclear attack on South Korea and the United States. This all seems bluster, but who can say for sure?
So our need as a nation to face the possibility of war with two international outlaws makes the whole budget issue much more complex, and makes the odds of more domestic reform activities all the harder to accomplish.
Much like Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry Truman, Barack Obama may face being a war President against his will, and his Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will be sorely tested over the next four years in their hope to avoid a war, just as we are trying to exit a war in Afghanistan, after having done just that in Iraq!
100 Years Ago Sunday, The Woman Suffrage Parade In Washington, DC Took Place, A Day Before The Inauguration Of President Woodrow Wilson!
The woman suffrage movement, which had begun with the Equal Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848, used the occasion of the upcoming Presidential Inauguration of Woodrow Wilson to conduct a massive parade in Washington DC, the day before the inauguration, which is 100 years ago on March 3, with Wilson inaugurated the following day.
Alice Paul led the march of about 8,000 women, who were mobbed by tens of thousands of spectators, majority being men, who injured, shoved, and tripped many of the marchers, and in so doing, created a scandal and motivated the further push toward a constitutional amendment, which came about finally in 1920, despite President Wilson’s opposition, and his order of arrest of suffragettes on Pennsylvania Avenue, who regularly marched and demonstrated for the amendment.
The battle of women for equal protection and equal rights was at fever pitch then, as sadly it is now, as Republicans work at weakening the rights of women in all spheres of public life, including their rights to their own bodies, and to their right to avoid assault that cannot be prosecuted, something that happened too often in American history, and still goes on today!
Ironically, the sponsor of the 19th Amendment for woman suffrage was the first woman to serve in either house of Congress, Congresswoman Jeanette Rankin of Montana, who was a Republican, at a time when former President Theodore Roosevelt was advocating woman suffrage, as he did in his Progressive Party Presidential campaign the previous year, 1912!
As this week is the Presidential week, celebrated this past Monday as Presidents Day, let us do one more entry, this one on Presidential trivia, specifically on the oddities and quirks of Presidential Names.
Four Presidents are remembered for the use of their middle names with their first and last names:
John Quincy Adams
William Henry Harrison
Chester Alan Arthur
William Howard Taft
Thirteen Presidents are usually referred to with their middle initial included:
James K. Polk
Ulysses S. Grant
James A. Garfield
Warren G. Harding
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard M. Nixon
Gerald R. Ford
George H. W. Bush
George W. Bush
Notice that Truman’s middle initial is also his name, as his family could not agree on what name to use, just the letter S, so there is no period after the initial.
Two Presidents use a nickname as their name:
Four Presidents switched names, and preferred to be known by their middle name:
Hiram Ulysses Grant
Stephen Grover Cleveland
Thomas Woodrow Wilson
David Dwight Eisenhower
Two Presidents had their name changed as children
Leslie Lynch King Jr.—Gerald Ford
William Jefferson Blythe III–Bill Clinton
Also, many Presidents are also known by other names or titles, including: Andrew Jackson as “Old Hickory”, Martin Van Buren as “The Little Magician”, William Henry Harrison as “Old Tippecanoe”, James K. Polk as “Young Hickory”, Zachary Taylor as “Old Rough And Ready”, Franklin Pierce as “Handsome Frank”, Calvin Coolidge as “Silent Cal”, Dwight D. Eisenhower as “Ike”, John F. Kennedy as “Jack”, Richard M. Nixon as “Dick”, Gerald R. Ford as “Jerry”, Ronald Reagan as “Ronnie”, and Barack Obama as “Barry”.
That is it for Presidential names!
When one looks at the relationships between Presidents and Vice Presidents historically, it is clear that most Presidents look at their Vice Presidents and see their own mortality; often see the Vice President as a rival; often have disdain for the Vice President; and often do not support the Vice President in his Presidential ambitions to follow the President in office.
Examples of the above abound:
George Washington ignored John Adams, and Adams lamented that he was in an office that had no influence or respect.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were at constant odds, being of different political parties, and elected together by the early quirks of the Electoral College, later resolved by the 12th Amendment to the Constitution in 1804.
Thomas Jefferson literally refused to recognize Aaron Burr, after Burr tried to steal the Presidency from him in 1800, with Burr’s contention that he and Jefferson had ended up in a “tie” vote in the Electoral College, forcing Alexander Hamilton, a rival of both Jefferson and Burr to intervene and call for support of Jefferson, which led to the gun duel between Hamilton and Burr in 1804, and Hamilton’s tragic death.
John Quincy Adams discovered that John C. Calhoun was undermining him, and Calhoun switched sides and ran with Andrew Jackson in 1828.
However, Jackson and Calhoun became bitter rivals, and the Nullification Crisis over the protective tariff, with Calhoun enunciating the doctrine of states rights, nullification, interposition, and secession almost led to civil war, prevented by the intervention of Henry Clay, but only after Jackson threatened to hang Calhoun, a threat that could not be ignored, since Jackson had killed several opponents in gun duels.
Abraham Lincoln hardly dealt with his first term Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin, and then “dumped” him, for Andrew Johnson, someone he hardly knew.
When Theodore Roosevelt decided not to run for another term in 1908, he ignored his own Vice President, Charles Fairbanks, and backed his Secretary of War, William Howard Taft.
Woodrow Wilson gave little concern to the role of his Vice President, Thomas Marshall, and when Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, he did not intervene to prevent his wife from preventing Marshall from visiting him, and ascertaining the state of his health, or allow him to take over Presidential authority.
Franklin D. Roosevelt ignored his three Vice Presidents—John Nance Garner, Henry A. Wallace, and Harry Truman. This led Garner to say the Vice Presidency was not worth a pitcher of “warm spit”. Wallace was allowed to “hang in the wind” over his public statements on civil rights, and be “dumped” on the demand of Southern Democrats in 1944. Harry Truman was not informed of anything, including the atomic bomb project, in his brief Vice Presidency.
Dwight D. Eisenhower had a strong dislike for his Vice President, Richard Nixon, as shown by his original plan to “dump” Nixon in 1956; his lukewarm support of Nixon in 1960; and his having problems remembering Nixon as a potential future nominee in 1964. At the end, however, Ike witnessed his grandson, David, marry Nixon’s younger daughter, Julie, and was supportive of Nixon in his last year of life, the first year of the Nixon Presidency.
John F. Kennedy failed to use the talents of Lyndon B. Johnson, his Vice President, to a great extent due to the hatred of his brother, Robert Kennedy, for LBJ. Robert Kennedy went out of his way to embarrass and humiliate Johnson in every way possible.
Johnson abused his Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, once he realized that Humphrey was critical of his Vietnam War policies. He threatened to leave Humphrey out of his cabinet meetings, and forced him to speak up for the war, which undermined Humphrey’s own Presidential campaign in 1968. And secretly, because Humphrey started to veer from support of the administration policies late in the campaign, Johnson hoped for a victory of Richard Nixon.
Richard Nixon utilized his Vice President, Spiro Agnew for political gain, but showed little respect for him, and let him “hang in the wind” when Agnew was forced out of the Vice Presidency in 1973. And Nixon picked Gerald Ford as his successor Vice President under the 25th Amendment, thinking that this insured that Nixon would not be impeached and be removed from office.
Gerald Ford had a strong respect for Nelson Rockefeller, who he selected as his Vice President, but yet “dumped” him for Bob Dole in the 1976 Presidential race.
Ronald Reagan was never close to George H. W. Bush, who had been his chief rival for the 1980 Presidential nomination, and never invited the Bushes to a private dinner at the White House, although he utilized Bush’s expertise in foreign policy and intelligence, as Bush had been head of the CIA.
Bush did not care for Dan Quayle very much, and considered “dumping” him in 1992 over Quayle’s embarrassing flubs. Quayle was given less involvement in the administration than his recent predecessors, and when he tried for the Presidential nomination in 1996, Bush did not back him in any way.
Bill Clinton was closer to Al Gore, but their friendship and collaboration suffered greatly during the scandal over Monica Lewinsky, and the pursuant impeachment trial. Gore decided not to ask Clinton, who remained popular, to work for him in the last days of the 2000 Presidential campaign. After his defeat, there were recriminations between Gore and Clinton over who had been responsible for Gore’s defeat.
George W. Bush relied on his Vice President, Dick Cheney, a lot in the first term, but became estranged from Cheney in the second term over the Scooter Libby scandal and in other ways, as Bush asserted himself much more, making clear he did not need Cheney as much as in the first term.
With all of the above examples of estrangement, or lack of closeness of Presidents with their Vice Presidents, there are two shining examples of very close, warm relationships between two Presidents and their Vice Presidents.
These would be Jimmy Carter with Walter Mondale, and Barack Obama with Joe Biden.
Carter and Mondale were the closest team in American history, with Carter allowing Mondale to share just about every decision in a way no Vice President, before or since, was able to do, and they remained close personal friends, for what is now the all time record of 32 PLUS years out of the Presidency, the longest lasting team in American history, with Carter now 88 plus and Mondale just passing 85, and both still in good health. No sense of any rift has ever existed between the two men, and their relationship was the smoothest ever, a lot of it due to Carter’s lack of insecurity about his Vice President, a testimonial to the former President!
Also, every indication is that Obama and Biden have as close a relationship, but with Biden nearly a generation older, while Carter and Mondale are less than four years apart in age. It seems as if there might be some issues between Obama and Biden, but that will have to be left to the future to find out. Also, a question arises as to how Obama will handle a possible competition for the next Presidential nomination between Biden and Hillary Clinton, both of whom have been crucial to his Presidency’s success so far.
So the Presidential-Vice Presidential relationships have been almost always far from warm and close, with only the two exceptions mentioned above.
This would be an excellent topic for a future scholarly study!