Woodrow Wilson

Divorce And The Presidency: Adlai Stevenson To The Present

The news of the death of Happy Rockefeller, the second wife and widow of former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, brings to mind the issue of “domestic bliss” or the lack of it in our politicians, past and present.

Rockefeller was thought to be the leading Republican candidate for President in 1964, but when he divorced his first wife and married his second wife, his chances for the nomination evaporated very quickly.

Only Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic Presidential nominee in 1952 and 1956, had been a nominee and been divorced before Rockefeller’s situation came along a decade later.

This did not mean that there were never liaisons and love triangles before, as Warren G. Harding had been cheating on his wife, but never had thought of divorce.

And Franklin D. Roosevelt had stayed with Eleanor Roosevelt, knowing that if he divorced her, his chances for a political career were over.

There was plenty of sexual “hanky panky” throughout American history, without any thought of divorce, including, besides Harding and FDR the following: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Pierce, James A. Garfield, Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton, and others.

But none of them ever considered divorce seriously, and Stevenson was hurt by his divorce, as was Rockefeller.

But that changed when Ronald Reagan ran in 1980, and had been divorced more than 30 years earlier.

And since Reagan, we have had Bob Dole, John Kerry, and John McCain, all divorced, but nominated by their parties, although no other divorced person has been elected President.

So divorce, so common in politics now, is no longer an issue, as it was throughout our history!

Third Term Presidents: The Truth And The Historical “Might Have Beens”!

Anyone who studies American history knows that the 22nd Amendment, added to the Constitution in 1951, prevents any future President from serving more than two complete terms by election or a total of ten years by succession in the last two years of the Presidential term.

Only Franklin D. Roosevelt served more than eight years in the Presidency, a total of 12 years and 39 days, having been elected four times (1932, 1936, 1940, 1944), and this fact causing the opposition Republicans, when they controlled the 80th Congress in 1947-48, to pass the 22nd Amendment in 1947, and send it on to the state legislatures for ratification.

However, Ulysses S. Grant in 1876; Theodore Roosevelt in reality in 1912 as a third party (Progressive Bull Moose) candidate; Woodrow Wilson in 1920; and Harry Truman in 1952 considered a third term.

Additionally, it is clear that Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1960, Ronald Reagan in 1988 and Bill Clinton in 2000 would have won a third term if it had been allowed and they had agreed to seek it , with George H. W. Bush being the beneficiary of Reagan in 1988, and Al Gore being the beneficiary of Clinton in 2000, winning a larger margin of popular vote victory than any of the four cases of popular vote victory but Electoral College loss!

Also, if one considers popular vote victories of Andrew Jackson in 1824 and Grover Cleveland in 1888, but in each case losing the Electoral College, that could have meant three terms for Jackson (1824, 1828, 1832) and for Cleveland (1884, 1888, 1892)!

So if things had been different, instead of only FDR having a third and fourth term, we could have had Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton having third terms in the Presidency!

The Month Of April: The Month That Four American Wars Began

April is an historical month in so many ways, including the fact that four of the wars in American history began in April.

The American Revolution began with the shots fired at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts on April 19, 1775, even though war was never officially declared between Great Britain and the American colonies.

The Civil War began on April 12, 1861, with the South Carolina government ordering an attack on the federal fort, Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, rather than allow the US government under Abraham Lincoln to re-provision the fort.

The Spanish American War began on April 19, 1898, after the attack on the American ship, THE MAINE, and the publication of the DeLome Letter, which inflamed American public opinion, and led William McKinley to ask for a declaration of war on Spain, leading to the acquisition of Spanish colonies in Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam, and a sphere of influence over Cuba, giving American an “Empire”.

The First World War for America began after Woodrow Wilson asked for a declaration of war against Imperial Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Ottoman Turkish Empire on April 2, 1917. After just four days of debate over giving up our isolationist heritage and joining in an alliance with other nations, as a result of the Zimmerman Note and unrestricted submarine warfare, the declaration of war was adopted easily on April 6, 1917.

These four wars transformed America into a nation; into a country that ended slavery and preserved the nation as one against a rebellion; that made American a nation with overseas ambitions for colonies; and as one which abandoned the idea of staying out of military alliances and foreign wars.

All four wars prepared us for the military involvement overseas, which has been constant since the Second World War, but unwisely took us into wars we have not really won in the cases of the Korean War (1950-1953); the Vietnam War (1961-1973); the Iraq War (2003-2011); and the Afghanistan War (2001-2015 and counting).

And now there are war hawks in Congress who wish to take us into a major war against a nation, Iran, which would present a massive challenge to gain victory that would be lasting, with the likelihood of a drawn out war, with massive casualties, and the likelihood of tremendous debt growth which would cripple our future!

Eleven Foreign Policy Presidential Elections In American History, And Now 2016!

America has had foreign policy affect eleven Presidential elections, overshadowing domestic policy issues. This has usually been centered about military intervention and wars. The list of foreign policy dominated Presidential elections follows:

1812—With the War of 1812 having begun, it became the major issue under President James Madison

1844—With the issue of Texas annexation a major issue, and with James K. Polk running on expansionism and “Manifest Destiny”, the issue of relations with Mexico became a major issue under John Tyler and Polk.

1848—With the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo after the Mexican War under James K. Polk granting so much new territory to the United States, the issue of what to do with these territories became the major issue of the campaign.

1900—With the Treaty of Paris ending the Spanish American War under William McKinley granting new territories to the United States, the issue of what do to with those territories reigned during the campaign, and the Filipino Insurrection was a hot issue as well.

1916–The issue of keeping America out of World War I dominated, with Woodrow Wilson campaigning on the fact that he had kept us out of the war.

1940—The issue of isolationism and World War II in Europe and Asia, and Franklin D. Roosevelt campaigning on keeping us out of war, but offering some assistance to Great Britain, dominated the campaign.

1944—The fact that we were still in World War II, and what to do about the postwar world and the Soviet Union, were key issues of the campaign.

1952—The debate over what to do about the limited nature of the Korean War under Harry Truman was a major factor in this campaign which elected Dwight D. Eisenhower.

1968—The debate over the Vietnam War under Lyndon B. Johnson, and the resulting split in the Democratic Party, and Richard Nixon declaring he had a secret plan to end the war, dominated the discussion in the campaign.

2004—The Iraq War and Afghanistan War under George W. Bush dominated the discussion in this campaign, as September 11 transformed the issue of national security.

2008—The continued intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan became a major issue, along with the Great Recession emerging during the campaign, and benefited Barack Obama, who promised to end the war in Iraq and downgrade the war in Afghanistan.

Now 2016 seems likely to be centered much more than many people want over foreign policy, particularly the threat of Iran in the Middle East, along with the danger of ISIL (ISIS) Terrorism, and the growing menace of the Russian Federation under Vladamir Putin, overall adding to the image of growing threats to national security.

And in these circumstances, one needs a steady hand at the helm, and only Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden have the experience and the judgment needed, along with Jon Huntsman, who, although listed by many as a long shot nominee for the Republicans, has indicated he is not a candidate. In any case, the Republicans are not smart enough to realize that the true treasure in their midst is Jon Huntsman!

Third Parties Or Independent Candidates For President In 2016? A Waste Of Time And Effort!

It seems clear that many Americans are disgusted with the two party system, as they see the Democrats and the Republicans as “owned” by Wall Street and the billionaires.

So therefore, there are calls for a third party or independent movement, but it is unlikely to happen in any serious way, and certainly, will have little or no effect on who wins the Presidency.

But if any effect, it would lead to those who are discontented discovering that by voting for a third party or independent candidate, they have helped to elect the worse choice of the two major party nominees!

In American history, twice there has been a serious third party or independent nominee who has helped to defeat a sitting President or a popular vote winner and promoted the election of a candidate seen by many who voted for the third party as far less desirable.

Only Theodore Roosevelt in 1912; and Ralph Nader in 2000 are seen as having any real impact on the election results, helping to lead to the election of Woodrow Wilson and George W. Bush. William Howard Taft lost his Presidency due to the third party candidacy of TR; and Al Gore lost the chance to be President because of the third party candidacy of Ralph Nader.

Looking ahead to 2016, there is no prominent personality planning to run on a third party. Those who have said they would not run include: former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman; former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura; Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; and environmentalist Ralph Nader. These individuals have a certain appeal to many Americans, but they well recognize they have no chance to win, and could only mess up the election by running, as NO third party or independent has EVER been elected President, with only Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 making a really respectable performance as candidate of the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party, winning 6 states nationwide, 27.5 percent of the popular vote and ending up second rather than third, and gaining 88 electoral votes!

Nine Presidential Nominees Who Lost In Very Close Races To Their Opponents

It is not generally known that we have had several Presidential candidates who lost the Presidency in very close races, where one could note that a small switch of votes would have changed the result, with five such cases in American history. And some Presidential candidates have lost despite winning the national popular vote, with four such cases in American history. So therefore, nine elections saw these scenarios.

Andrew Jackson lost the Election of 1824 to John Quincy Adams despite winning the national popular vote by about 45,000.

Henry Clay lost the Election of 1844 to James K. Polk by losing New York State by about 5,000 votes.

Samuel Tilden lost the Election of 1876 to Rutherford B. Hayes despite winning the national popular vote by about 250,000.

James G. Blaine lost the Election of 1884 to Grover Cleveland by losing New York State by about 1,000 votes.

Grover Cleveland lost the Election of 1888 to Benjamin Harrison despite winning the national popular vote by about 100,000.

Charles Evans Hughes lost the Election of 1916 to Woodrow Wilson by losing California by about 3,800 votes.

Richard Nixon lost the Election of 1960 to John F. Kennedy by losing the state of Illinois by about 8,000 votes.

Gerald Ford lost the Election of 1976 to Jimmy Carter by losing the state of Ohio by 5,600 votes and the state of Hawaii by 3,700 votes.

Al Gore lost the Election of 2000 to George W. Bush despite winning the national popular vote by 540,000, and by losing the state of Florida by 537 votes.

Of course, Jackson, Cleveland, and Nixon went on to win the next national election in each case, and Ford, although never being elected, had the satisfaction of having been President for almost two and a half years.

Tilden and Gore were the most tragic cases, as they never ran again for President, and yet had won the national popular vote in each case.

Henry Clay and Charles Evans Hughes were exceptional public servants in so many ways, but would never be President.

Finally, James G. Blaine losing was probably good, as he was regarded as the most corrupt national candidate in American history!

Civil Liberties And The Presidency: From John Adams To Barack Obama

When it comes to the issue of the Presidency and the Bill of Rights, many Presidents have scored at an alarmingly low rate, often despite many other virtues that these Presidents have possessed.

John Adams set a terrible standard when he signed into law the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

Andrew Jackson forcibly decreed the removal of five Native American tribes (The Trail Of Tears) from their ancestral lands and relocation in Oklahoma, supposedly forever, but with the discovery of oil in Tulsa, the territory was opened to whites in 1889, and reservation life became the norm.

John Tyler, through negotiation to add Texas to the Union, and accepting its institution of slavery, helped to create the slavery expansion issue as one which would divide the nation and lead to Civil War, and Tyler was part of the Confederate government and gave up his American citizenship.

James K. Polk further promoted the expansion of slavery through war with Mexico, and had no issue with slavery anywhere and everywhere.

Millard Fillmore, signing the Compromise of 1850, allowed the South to pursue fugitive slaves in the North.

Franklin Pierce, signing the Kansas Nebraska Act in 1854, made the expansion of slavery develop into the Kansas Civil War, which led to the Civil War.

James Buchanan endorsed the Dred Scott Decision, which allowed expansion of slavery everywhere in the nation, if a slave owner chose to move to the North with his slaves.

Abraham Lincoln suppressed press freedom; allowed preventive detention; and imposed a military draft that one could escape only by paying a fee that only wealthy people could afford.

Andrew Johnson wanted to restrict the rights of African Americans after the Civil War, and was an open racist, much more than anyone.

Grover Cleveland promoted the reservation life and adaptation to white culture for Native Americans through his signing of the Dawes Act in 1887.

Theodore Roosevelt spoke and wrote often about superior and inferior races, seeing only intellectual accomplishment and military strength as the basis to admire individuals of other races, but believing in white supremacy and the “Anglo Saxon” race.

Woodrow Wilson backed restrictions on citizens during World War I, and presided over the Red Scare under Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer after the war, as well as showing racist tendencies toward African Americans and Japan. He signed the Sedition Act of 1918, and issued an executive order segregating African Americans in Washington, DC.

Franklin D. Roosevelt interned Japanese Americans under executive order during World War II, and did little to deal with the racial problem in the South.

Richard Nixon arranged for bugging and wiretapping of his “enemies”; arranged break ins and “dirty tricks”; and became engaged in obstruction of justice and abuse of power, leading to moves toward impeachment and his eventual resignation from the Presidency, due to the Watergate Scandal.

Ronald Reagan cut back on civil rights enforcement, and showed insensitivity on the issue of apartheid in South Africa.

George W. Bush pushed through the Patriot Act, and the government engaged in constant civil liberties violations as part of the War on Terror.

Barack Obama also promoted violations of civil liberties, as part of the continued threat of international terrorism.

So 17 Presidents, at the least, have undermined our civil liberties and civil rights, often overlapping.

It Is Time For Other Democrats To Start Presidential Campaigns!

It has been a foregone conclusion to many political observers that former First Lady, former New York Senator, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is going to announce for President, and based on polls, is a runaway winner of the nomination, and likely to be our first woman President, and to be our 45th President of the United States!

It has never been a good omen that other Democrats have been reluctant to challenge Hillary Clinton, and are, seemingly, afraid to “test the waters” and announce their own candidacies.

Never in American history, except often when a sitting President or sitting Vice President is running for President, have we seen so many potential party challengers in either party simply stay on the sidelines, and of course, there have been challenges to sitting Presidents and Vice Presidents that make them sharper and insure they are better candidates. Such cases as Richard Nixon in 1960, Hubert Humphrey in 1968, George H. W. Bush in 1988, and Al Gore in 2000 have run better races because of challengers. Presidents such as Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush have had to work harder to gain a nomination for the next term, and they all failed to be elected, but this was part of the political game.

So why anyone, including Hillary Clinton, should expect to have no rivals, is outlandish, and not good for the Democratic Party or democracy.

And frankly, after Hillary Clinton’s poor, unacceptable explanation on her emails on Tuesday, refusing to hand over the server of her email, eliminating thousands of emails by her own decision claiming privacy rights, and basically taking a hard stand on the whole matter, there is a clear cut reason for challengers to her nomination for President. Hillary Clinton has opened up a major wound in her candidacy, and it will not go away, and now it seems highly likely she is a flawed candidate in a major way, and is not anywhere near insured that she could carry enough states and electoral votes to become our 45th President.

The Democratic Party and the nation NEED challengers, instead of putting all their “eggs in one basket”, gambling that Hillary Clinton will be able to overcome the old Clinton image of the 1990s, of cover ups, of deceptions, of victimization claims, of stalling tactics, of creating legal issues, that so soured many people about the Bill Clinton Presidency.

Yes, Hillary is brilliant, and qualified, and talented, and intelligent, but she is not the only man or woman who is such, but to put the future of the Democratic Party in her hands is a tremendous gamble, and the country needs a Democratic President more than they need Hillary Clinton herself!

Added to her stubbornness and secrecy about the emails is her stated refusal to return contributions to the Clinton Foundation from leaders and citizens of nations, many in the Middle East, who abuse women and deny them equal rights, a subject Hillary Clinton is well known for advocating since her time as First Lady, attending the conference in Beijing, China in 1995, and speaking up for equality and fairness for women around the globe. But now, suddenly, that issue is on the back burner, and the millions in contributions are more important, and that shows that, having become wealthy, and having tons of money in the foundation as well, that Hillary Clinton has lost her sense of values and principles, and just wants to be President, because she wants to be President, as Ted Kennedy wanted to be President in 1980, when he challenged President Jimmy Carter, but had no real agenda other than wanting to occupy the Oval Office!

Hillary Clinton is not entitled to be President, any more than any other candidate, but for the good future of the party and the American people, it is time for other Democrats to come out of the woodwork and declare their candidacies, and fight hard for the nomination, and save the American people from a horrific set of alternatives for President in the Republican Party.

At this point, Hillary Clinton could take down the Democratic Party and the nation, crashing in defeat, and as a result, leading to a GOP Supreme Court that would last for the next 30 years; and a repeal of much of the good programs of the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the Great Society, and beyond!

We could see the good work done in domestic affairs by Presidents of both parties, including Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, destroyed by a right wing Congress, a right wing President, and a right wing Supreme Court.

We could also see the “neoncons” being triumphant, and taking us into more foreign wars, particularly in the Middle East, and leading to the deaths and injuries of tens of thousands of American men and women, sent to fight by a burgeoning defense industry that would make record war profits!

And we might see the end of any sense of what is right and wrong about women’s rights, minority group rights, gay rights, labor rights, and environmental rights.

The nation’s future is more important than what happens to Hillary Clinton, as she has had a stellar career in so many ways, but that does not mean that she is automatically entitled to become our next Commander in Chief!

And if the next President is not a woman, so what? That will come in time, but should not be the crucial factor in selecting the next President of the United States!

So, Democratic Presidential “wannabes”, come out of the shadow, show courage, and announce for the Presidency, as time is afleeting!

The Smartest Presidents Based On Intellect, Not Success!

Being smart, being intelligent, being brilliant is something that in no way guarantees success, but can be noticed for what it is, and we have had our share of Presidents who have been among the brightest public figures we have been blessed with.

Chronologically, this select list would include:

John Adams (1797-1801)
Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)
James Madison (1809-1817)
John Quincy Adams (1825-1829)
James A. Garfield (1881)
Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)
Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)
Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
Bill Clinton (1993-2001)

Notice that only three or four of these Presidents are seen as having been successful, including Jefferson, Roosevelt, Wilson and Clinton.

Notice that Hoover, Nixon, and Carter are seen by many as failures or certainly as being in the bottom half of the Presidents.

The two Adamses and Madison are saved by their other massive accomplishments, so are rated in the second ten of our Presidents by most historians.

Garfield, considered the most brilliant between the second Adams and TR is the great unknown, being shot after four months in office and dying after six and a half months in office, but believed to be brilliant and an unknown factor as to his potential for greatness.

Notice that George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John F. Kennedy, all rated very high in rankings of Presidents, do not qualify on intellect or pure brilliance, and yet some, particularly Lincoln, FDR, and Kennedy have long been highly honored and respected, despite not fitting the definition of being part of the most brilliant intellects we have had in the Presidency!

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.