Woodrow Wilson

Presidential Retirement Years And Constructive Post Presidencies

All of our Presidents, except for eight who died in office, have had periods of retirement after their years in the Presidency.

Some have had very short periods of retirement, periods of less than ten years, including George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James K, Polk, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Chester Alan Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

So fully half of our Presidents either died in office or had periods of retirement less than ten years.

On the other hand, the following Presidents had particularly long periods of retirement of fifteen or more years: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush.

The following Presidents had between ten and fifteen years of retirement: Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Ronald Reagan.

Bill Clinton has had 13 years out of office, and George W. Bush has had five years out of office at this time.

With the retirement periods of all of these Presidents listed above, the question that arises is which Presidents made major contributions in their post Presidency years.

That list is a short one:

John Quincy Adams
Martin Van Buren
Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Herbert Hoover
Richard Nixon
Jimmy Carter
Bill Clinton

Adams served nearly eighteen years in Congress.

Van Buren ran for President on the Free Soil Party line in 1848.

Roosevelt ran for President on the Progressive Party line in 1912, and went on an African safari, and explored the Amazon River basin in Brazil.

Taft served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for nine years.

Hoover wrote books and served as an adviser to President Truman on reorganization of the executive branch of government.

Nixon wrote about ten books and remained an adviser on diplomacy in his nearly twenty years in retirement.

Carter has written nearly twenty books, and engaged in diplomacy, promotion of democracy, fought diseases, and built housing through the Carter Center and Habitat for Humanity.

Clinton has done similar good deeds through his Clinton Initiative, and also worked on relief for the Haitian earthquake and the Pacific Tsunami with George H. W. Bush.

The contributions of these former Presidents have had a major impact on America, and are worthy of remembrance!

Conservative Republicans Want To Repeal Constitutional Amendments And 20th Century Reforms That Make America A Better Nation!

The Republican Party of the second decade of the 21st century, along with the conservative movement, in all of its ramifications, is out to repeal constitutional amendments and numerous 20th century reforms that make America a better, more modern nation, all in their quest to make the corporations ever more dominant and enrich the top one percent more than already is reality!

When one follows, reads, and watches right wing spokesmen, in and out of the party, they have called for the following repeals:

The 16th Amendment–Federal Income Tax
The 17th Amendment–Direct Popular Election Of US Senators
19th Amendment–Woman Suffrage
Antiquities Act–National Parks, Forests, and Monuments Protection
Food And Drug Administration
Clayton Anti Trust Act
Federal Trade Commission
Federal Reserve Act
Social Security Act
Fair Labor Standards Act
Medicare
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Department Of Education
Department Of Health And Human Services
Department Of Housing And Urban Development
Department Of Energy
Environmental Protection Agency
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Occupational Safety And Health Administration
US Post Office
Affirmative Action
Abortion Rights
Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
National Public Radio
PBS
Americans With Disabilities Act
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
ObamaCare–Affordable Care Act

These and other laws and amendments not mentioned here became law under 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
George W. Bush
Barack Obama

Basically, these right wing groups and the dominant element in the Republican Party in Congress want to repeal everything that is good about America, and bring us back to the 19th century Gilded Age!

Senator Rand Paul Becomes Poll Leader For GOP Presidential Nomination: What Does It Mean?

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, the son of libertarian favorite Ron Paul, former Congressman from Texas, has suddenly emerged as the leader in two polls–the CPAC straw poll and the New Hampshire straw poll, both in the past ten days.

This is seen as very surprising to many observers, and it certainly upsets Establishment Republicans who see Rand Paul as far from who they prefer to be the Republican Presidential nominee in 2016.

Rand Paul seems to appeal to young people, who also liked his dad, due to their desire to cut down American involvement in overseas interventions, but that is seen by critics as an unrealistic isolationism, which becomes more problematical with the Russian takeover of Crimea, and the possible intervention in the rest of Ukraine.

Rand Paul’s desire to cut the federal government and spending dramatically in a downward spiral also appeals to many young people, but worries those concerned about the growth of poverty and the decline of the middle class.

And Rand Paul’s statements about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in regards to the dislike of “forcing” businesses to serve customers they do not want to serve, is also alarming to ethnic minorities, particularly African Americans and Latinos.

Rand Paul’s opposition to women controlling their own reproductive lives also is an alarm bell to many.

There are many who think Rand Paul is a shallow person, who should not even be considered Presidential material.

Are we ready for a libertarian isolationist in the 21st century, after the growth of government in the 20th century, and engaging in wars to promote freedom and liberty and justice in the world?

Are we ready to negate TR, Wilson FDR, and LBJ in domestic affairs, and turn inward in foreign policy?

These are the questions all Americans have to consider, and the thought of Rand Paul possibly becoming President terrifies many Republicans, as well as American citizens who feel that he cannot walk in the shoes of our greatest Presidents!

The Case For Joe Biden For President

Almost everyone thinks Hillary Clinton is the almost certain Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in 2016.

This entry is NOT designed to attack her credentials, or her worthiness to be President, and it is NOT designed to be critical of Martin O’Malley, Andrew Cuomo, Amy Klobuchar, Mark Warner, Elizabeth Warren or Brian Schweitzer, other rumored possible candidates.

It is simply an entry to point out the case for Joe Biden for President of the United States!

When one examines Joe Biden’s political career, one can only marvel at his background and experience, although it is well known that often those with far less experience in government end up in the Presidency, as for instance: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

But, seriously, if one is to use the measurement of experience in NATIONAL government, NO ONE comes even close to Joe Biden!

Only three Presidents had extensive experience in Congress before becoming President, and two of them became President originally by succession during a term–Andrew Johnson and Lyndon B. Johnson. The person to have the most national experience was, sadly, James Buchanan, often ranked as the absolutely worst President we have ever had in our nation’s history.

So one might say, see what happens when you put an experienced person in national government in the Presidency–that they turn out to be disasters, such as Andrew Johnson and Buchanan, and with much dissatisfaction with Lyndon B. Johnson for the Vietnam War escalation.

But it is really unfair to judge having experience as meaning an ultimate failure, and the point is that Joe Biden has a total of 44 years of experience in national government, unmatched in our history, and only Republican Presidential nominee Bob Dole in 1996 coming close, with 36 years of Congressional service!

Biden has unmatched experience and expertise in both foreign policy and legal matters, as he was Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman at different times.

Joe Biden is as skilled with working with the opposition party as Lyndon B. Johnson was in the 1950s, but for a much longer period of time.

Joe Biden would have the ability to get things done, that, arguably, Hillary Clinton would not have, and that other, less experienced Democratic nominees would not have!

Joe Biden is an extremely charming, charismatic , warm human being, and extremely likable and genuine. What you see is what you get, and Biden would be one of the most colorful and dynamic Presidents, were he to gain the Oval Office.

Joe Biden’s shortcomings are his age (although he has tremendous energy and shows no signs of slowing); his tendency to make verbal gaffes (although he has never said anything that did more than make him look foolish and really, human, in that regard); and his one great sin, if that is what it is to be called. That “sin” is having plagiarized in some speeches, and possibly in a term paper in his college years. This is certainly to be criticized, and it knocked him out of the 1988 Presidential race, which, however, was lucky, since he soon suffered an aneurysm, which required brain surgery. One could be concerned that he could have a repeat aneurysm, but it has been 27 years since that event, with no sign of that problem emerging.

The important thing, as always, with any Presidential candidate, is to have a strong, competent, decent running mate for Vice President, in case something tragic occurs, which can happen to anyone at any age! It is not a reason to dismiss someone for President, considering Lyndon B. Johnson’s heart troubles, and Dick Cheney’s multiple heart problems, among other cases of health issues (including John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt), faced by candidates for President and Vice President, as well as those holding the offices.

One thing is very clear! iF Joe Biden were to become President, he would do the nation proud, and we would know we have a President who has our backs, as he does not have a mean bone in his body, and really is compassionate and caring about all of us!

And also, Joe Biden is as close to an “average guy” as we will ever get, a guy who is likely close to the poorest politician throughout his career, living off his and his wife’s salaries, and off sales of his autobiography in recent years. He is not materialistic in the way other officeholders are, and has never had even a hint of scandal in his personal life or his financial life.

That is the kind of man that America deserves in the White House!

The Republican Party Battle Has Gone On For A Century!

When the Republican Party was founded in 1854, it was an activist liberal oriented party, against the expansion of slavery as an official doctrine, and with many of its founders and followers also being against slavery itself, wishing to abolish it.

Under Abraham Lincoln and Radical Republicans, the Republican Party advocated freedom, citizenship and voting for African Americans, while at the same time promoting the growth of industrial capitalism.

But in the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, the party lost its bearings, becoming a corrupt party, beholden to the top one percent of the nation. There was a need to reform the party, and Theodore Roosevelt came along at the turn of the century, and revolutionized the Presidency and promoted progressivism, and activist government, including labor rights, consumer rights, environmentalism, and the promotion of political reforms to bring direct democracy.

But after he left office, the party lost its bearings again and went into the darkness of the conservative 1920s, as Woodrow Wilson took on much of the progressive reform program, and set the Democratic Party on the road to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson, and a whole slew of domestic progressive and liberal reforms.

The Republican Party, by following the Gilded Age mentality again in the 1920s, helped to cause the greatest economic downturn in American history, and the Great Depression under Herbert Hoover put them in the wilderness, although revived by the moderate progressivism of war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s.

But then, they were again in the minority, and although Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford promoted some substantial reforms in the late 1960s and early 1970s, in the midst of the New Frontier-Great Society mentality. scandal emerged under Nixon, and the Vietnam War sapped the party, and they turned once again to conservatism and Ronald Reagan, who had a better persona than conservative Barry Goldwater, who had been soundly defeated by LBJ in 1964. Reagan appealed to the top one percent, and promoted fear of the white working class toward minorities, and the GOP dominated the next generation and more, with the Jimmy Carter respite very brief, and Bill Clinton being mildly progressive, not really the tradition of FDR, Truman, JFK, and LBJ. But that meant that the Republican Party was backing away from the traditions of Lincoln, TR, and even Ike! The middle class and the working were victims, without realizing it until very recently.

Here they are today in the era of the most progressive Democratic President since LBJ, and the Republican Party is what it was in the Gilded Age and 1920s and since the 1980s, a party that backs away from domestic reform, from compassion, from concern about the environment, from concern about working people, from concern about women and ethnic minorities and the vast majority of Americans. Instead, they are the party of the one percent, as they were in the Gilded Age and 1920s, and the attempt to move the party to the center, and return to the Lincoln–TR–Ike tradition is engaged in what seems clearly a losing battle!

That means that the Republican Party, 160 years old this year, is likely in its death throes, a party which has gone awry, a really tragic set of circumstances!

225 Years Of The Constitution: Something To Celebrate!

On this day in 1789, 225 years ago, the United States Constitution was declared in effect, although George Washington was not to be inaugurated at Federal Hall in New York City for another 57 days, until April 30, the only President not inaugurated on time in our history.

March 4 became Inauguration Day until the 20th Amendment changed that date to January 20 for the President, beginning with the second inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937.

So 28 Presidents were inaugurated on March 4, including George Washington in his second term; Thomas Jefferson; Andrew Jackson; Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt; Woodrow Wilson; and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

March 4 was a crisis time, particularly when Lincoln was inaugurated in 1861 and FDR in 1933.

This is a day to celebrate, as the Founding Fathers gave us the symbol of what a constitutional government is, a model for a world that has too few democracies!

Reassessing Presidents On Presidents Day

Here we are again, Presidents Day, and time for reflection on Presidential leadership, and there will be much disagreement, but it seems clear certain Presidents will move up in image, while others will move down in the ratings. Except for Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, all of the below are 20th century Presidents, undergoing the greatest change in ratings. In each category, listing is chronological.

Who remains high in ratings?

George Washington
Abraham Lincoln
Theodore Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S Truman
Lyndon B. Johnson
Bill Clinton

Who is moving up in ratings, if one is honest?

William Howard Taft
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Jimmy Carter
Gerald Ford
George H. W. Bush

Who is moving down in ratings?

Woodrow Wilson
John F. Kennedy
Richard Nixon
Ronald Reagan
George W. Bush

Whose rating does not really matter, as insignificant, historically?

Warren G. Harding
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover

And finally, what about Barack Obama? What rating would this controversial occupant of the White House gain, in the mind of this blogger and author?

B to B PLUS—very solid in social policy, solid in foreign policy, more difficulty in economic policy! Of course, on economic policy, the Congressional Republicans have caused a lot of the problem!

Where should he be put in the ratings? With three years to go, Obama is certainly in the top 15 of 43 Presidents, and this author would put him closer to 12-13 in the ratings, but subject to change. And one must realize to ignore the Right Wing whackos, as their judgment will have no long range effect, any more than they had with FDR or Lincoln, both bitterly criticized in their tenure in office!

I welcome comment and debate on this listing!

Republican Party Historically On Corruption And Impeachment: It Speaks For Itself!

The Republican Party has a very interesting history when it comes to corruption on the national level, and to the issue of Presidential impeachment.

The “self righteous” party, which tries to convince us that they are “holier than thou”, when it comes to corruption and scandal, has been responsible for the four most corrupt Presidencies in American history, and arguably, the fifth most corrupt Presidency as well!

At the same time, it is the Republican Party, in the 19th, 20th, and now the 21st century, that has constantly pursued the idea of Presidential impeachment as a weapon against Presidents of the Democratic Party!

Witness the following:

The Presidency of Richard Nixon, along with that of Ulysses S. Grant, Warren G. Harding, and Ronald Reagan saw widespread corruption on a regular basis, and these are the four Presidents to have been in charge of the worst examples of corruption in American history, bar none!

Nixon is remembered for the Watergate scandal, but there is much more than that to be recognized as corruption.

Grant is remembered for the Credit Mobilier scandal, but there is much more than that to be recognized as corruption.

Harding is remembered for the Teapot Dome scandal, but there is much more than that to be recognized as corruption.

Reagan is remembered for the Iran-Contra scandal, but there is much more than that to be recognized as corruption.

And, by the way, George W. Bush is remembered for numerous scandals and malfeasance, much of it still hidden, but to be uncovered as time goes by, and once the junior Bush leaves us, when documents become much more available.

There is no one among Democrats who can match these five GOP Presidents in corruption, although many make out Bill Clinton and his personal demons as a scandal on the same level. But most of the so called other “scandals” under Clinton are conjured up, are manufactured, just as with Barack Obama and his so called, but not real “scandals” over Benghazi, the IRS, and other controversies which are not indeed “scandals”, but instead part of the plan to undermine him, as was done with Bill Clinton.

Sure, there were personal scandals under John F. Kennedy, and rumors of scandals under Lyndon B. Johnson, and minor scandals under Harry Truman, and accusations of scandals under Jimmy Carter, but none ever worked out to be on the level of scandals under Nixon, Grant, Harding, Reagan and the second Bush! And only Nixon was a justifiable case to bring impeachment charges, as he actually abused the Constitution and the Presidential office, and was, rightfully, in process of being removed from office, had he not resigned in 1974!

Meanwhile, the Republican Party historically has worked to promote impeachment of Democratic Presidents on a regular basis, and have brought unsubstantiated and unjustifiable charges against:

Andrew Johnson in 1868 over attempt to remove Secretary of War Edwin Stanton

Bill Clinton in 1998-1999 on his personal life scandals

Also, they have promoted impeachment threats or attempted moves to remove:

Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934-1935 over the New Deal
Harry Truman in 1951 over the firing of General Douglas MacArthur
Jimmy Carter in general, working to undermine everything he promoted

So the so called party of enforcing the law and the Constitution has been involved in a systematic attempt to promote the cause of big business corporations and personal power grabbing while moving to undermine most of our Democratic Presidents in the past century and a half!

Part of this is also the attempt, constantly, to besmirch the record in office of Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Carter, Clinton and now Obama! Conspiracy theories have been rife in the Republican mind!

Realize that since Abraham Lincoln’s election, our first Republican President, there was constant deterioration after, until Theodore Roosevelt still upheld the good image of the GOP overall. But then there was rapid decline after, with a temporary revival under Dwight D. Eisenhower, and then constant decline after, with a smidgen of decency and class under Gerald Ford, and then much more rapid deterioration up to now. The GOP wishes to be regarded with respect, when it does not deserve it, based on the historical realities!

Also, realize that since 1861 to 2017, a total of 156 years, from Lincoln to Obama leaving office, we have had 18 GOP Presidents from Lincoln to Bush II and only 10 Democratic Presidents from Andrew Johnson to Obama. Republicans have held the White House for 88 years and Democrats for 68 years!

So the historical reality of the Republican Party being the party of corruption and lawlessness, and yet having the gall to threaten three Democratic Presidents with impeachment, two Democratic Presidents with actual impeachment, and on the road to impeaching Barack Obama on flimsy charges, speaks legions as to their lack of ethics and morality!

Mitt Romney Comeback? Give Us All A Break!

The “Establishment” Republicans are running scared, trying to keep the Tea Party Movement from gaining complete control of the party, as it did in a different form when Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater took the nomination away from New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton precisely a half century ago, leading to a disastrous defeat of Goldwater by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964!

Their hope had been New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who won a massive re-election victory last November, and who now sees his Presidential campaign, and even his Governorship, lying in tatters, with the question whether he will be forced to resign or face impeachment in the “Bridgegate” scandal and related scandals in a corruption ridden administration, nothing really new in the history of New Jersey!

A second thought has been that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the son and brother of two Presidents named Bush, with the brother very unpopular after the disasters of his eight years in the White House, might be convinced to run. But Jeb’s mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush, has twice said there have been enough Bushes in the Presidency, and that she did not want her younger son to run. Still, Jeb has hinted he is thinking about it, but after a very long time out of public office, ten years, more than any President in the past except Abraham Lincoln, one has to wonder whether Jeb would have a realistic chance at the nomination, and to be elected by a public wary of the Bush Family heritage.

Of course, those who really want a very qualified “Establishment” Republican may want former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman as their choice, but Huntsman’s problem is that he is TOO qualified, TOO sane, too decent and mainstream, to be the GOP nominee, and he also worked for President Obama, which makes him “persona non grata” to most in the Republican Party.

So in desperation, some are starting to think of a “re-do” of the 2012 campaign, by bringing former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney into the fray once again, for the third time, but after having lost the election in 2012.

But there are many problems with this scenario:

Despite having run twice for the Presidency in 2008 when he failed to win the nomination, and 2012, when he did and lost, it is a fact that by 2016, Romney will have been out of public office for the same amount of time as Jeb Bush, ten years, and unlike Jeb, who had two terms as Governor, Romney only had one term of four years, making him the least experience in public office, compared to any actual Presidential nominee or President, other than Wendell Willkie and Woodrow Wilson.

Additionally, Romney would be nearly 70 at the time he took the Presidential oath in January 2017, only seven months older than Hillary Clinton, and four years and four months younger than Joe Biden, so this would be a truly “old folks home” race if Romney were the nominee.

Finally, Romney has proved to be a chameleon, supporting health care for Massachusetts, but then opposing a similar plan known as “ObamaCare”, and completely remaking himself to please the extreme right wing, but coming across as unprincipled, mercenary, and opportunistic, as well as being a massive liar, on a scale way beyond the norm of any Presidential campaign. He came across, also, as arrogant, insensitive, uncaring, phony, and will never be able to live down the “47 percent” comment, which will be part of the historical record for all eternity! How can Romney “remake” himself, and be taken seriously and seen as truthful, when he has proved to be totally unable to be believed and trusted?

So the best idea is to inform Mitt Romney to forget about it, be happy you are super wealthy, continue to amass that gigantic fortune that you wish to leave to your heirs, so that they do not have work and struggle like the rest of us “peons”, and be thankful you at least had the opportunity to run for the Presidency, which in itself is a special group that goes down in history! Be honest, making money as an obsession, is what you are best at, so go for it, and leave America alone!

Religion And The Presidency

The right wing in America tries to tell us we are a Christian nation, rather than a nation of a majority of the Christian faith.

The fact that the Constitution does not have a religious test, that we have separation of church and state, is ignored, as the right wing promotes its propaganda.

So they tell us the Founding Fathers were “good Christians”, when in fact, in many ways, they were not!

And they fail to accept that many of our Presidents have doubted organized religion entirely, or have been Deist, Unitarian or Quaker , which are seen as a few steps away from atheism by many experts.

For the record:

The following Presidents had NO specific religious affiliation:

Thomas Jefferson
Franklin Pierce
Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Johnson
Ulysses S. Grant
Rutherford B. Hayes
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Barack Obama

Deist Beliefs

George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
James Monroe
John Tyler

Unitarianism

John Adams
John Quincy Adams
Millard Fillmore
William Howard Taft

Quaker

Herbert Hoover
Richard Nixon

That makes 18 Presidents who do not fit the mold of a typical religious person.

At the same time, some Presidents have been very devout, including:

James A. Garfield
Benjamin Harrison
William McKinley
Woodrow Wilson
Jimmy Carter

The other half of our Presidents were irregular church goers, and in many cases, they were not very committed to their faiths, but would identify with a faith that was considered Christian, with John F. Kennedy the only Catholic President..

The largest number of Presidents (12) were Episcopalians; 8 were Presbyterians; 4 Methodists; 4 Baptists; 3 Disciples of Christ; 2 Congregationalists; and 2 Dutch Reformed Church.