Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Twilight Zone

Imagine a world where Democratic presidents are placed under a media scrutiny 24/7. Where their every word is blown out of proportion. Scandals are investigated  and remain newsworthy for weeks and months on end. Calls for special prosecutors and impeachment are made not only by the opposing political party but their own political party. They are viciously belittled by late night comedians on a nightly basis and Republican presidents are viewed as brilliant while Democrat presidents become idiotic, bigoted, bumbling fools. You, my friend, would be traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Your next stop, the Twilight Zone!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Providential Punishment

When a person dies they will be either be rewarded with eternal life or eternal damnation at some point in the future. When a nation dies it is dead and will never rise again. George Mason, a Founding Father and the Father of the Bill of Rights explains that a nation will also answer to God. Not in the afterlife but in this life. " As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities".

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lyndon B. Johnson - Standing In The Kennedy Shadow

  John Kennedy is a hero to Kennedy worshipers and many Black people for his stance on civil rights. Conservatives admire him for his tax cuts. I admire him for both. He was late putting his money where his mouth was on civil rights. Prior to June 1963 Kennedy was trying to manage the progress of  civil rights while at the same time trying not to politically alienate the South. As it turned out instead of  Kennedy managing civil rights, events were managing him. The Greensboro and Nashville sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, the integration of Ole Miss, and the Birmingham Children's march just to name a few. The direct action of the Nashville students like Diane Nash, James Bevel, John Lewis, James Lawson, Marion Barry, and others and then there was Martin Luther King himself. Kings letter from the Birmingham jail condemning the moderates on civil rights had a great impact on Kennedy. On June 11, 1963 Kennedy gave a great speech that boldly proclaimed that civil rights for Black people was a moral issue that could no longer be ignored. Kennedy also announced his intention to pass a civil rights bill with real teeth. The following is a few words from that speech. "If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he cannot send his children to the best public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who will represent him, if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place? Who among us would then be content with the counsels of patience and delay?" June 11th was also important because the Kennedy administration was working to get two Black students admitted to the University of Alabama and later that night Medgar Evers was brutally murdered in front of his family. No one can doubt that Kennedy intentions's were honorable and he had turned a corner on civil rights. Kennedy however would never have been able to pass civil rights legislation or his tax cut bill if he had lived. Congress had been losing power and influence to the executive branch for years. In 1937 Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the Supreme Court because he was upset that there were too many conservative judges. They had stood in the way of his New Deal programs and had declared them unconstitutional. Congress was so outraged at Roosevelt's blatant grab for power that conservative Republicans formed a powerful coalition with Southern Democrats. Together they would successfully block civil rights legislation until 1957. I believe that conservative Republicans were more concerned with stopping the expansion of Federal power under Roosevelt and the increase in Federal spending rather than stopping civil rights legislation. Roosevelt had always been at odds with Southern Democrats but had tried to woo their support by not rocking the boat on civil rights. This Democrat, Republican coalition would block pretty much everything until Lyndon Johnson became Senate Majority leader in 1955. Because of Johnson's skill and ruthlessness he was able to pass Civil Rights legislation in 1957 and 1960. They were watered down bills but the first civil rights legislation since Lincoln and the Republican Congress passed the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. Johnson was mistrusted by civil rights groups and Northern liberals because of his image as a segregationist. However he had allowed the 1957 and 60 civil rights acts to be watered down because he knew that any progress was better than nothing. Blacks had had nothing for close to one hundred years.

  Lyndon Johnson had missed his last chance at becoming president in 1960 when he lost the nomination to John Kennedy. Luckily for Johnson, Kennedy chose him to be his Vice Presidential candidate. This was a brilliant decision on Kennedy's part. Johnson would help Kennedy win Texas and the South in one of the closest elections in American history. For a man like Johnson the office of the Vice President was like living in hell. He was no longer relevant. The crown jewels of Kennedy's legislative program was a substantial tax cut to spur the economy and civil rights legislation. He had other legislation that he wanted to pass. Because of Johnson's experience in Congress Kennedy asked his advice on the best way to advance his legislative agenda. Johnson told him that if he proposed the civil rights bill first, everything else would be held hostage to civil rights by the Southern Democrats. Kennedy did not take his advice and sent his civil rights bill to congress anyway. In the first few months after Kennedy's death Johnson was able to accomplish more legislatively than Kennedy had accomplished during his three years in office. It was an absolutely amazing accomplishment in my view. Johnson's first priority was passing the tax cut bill. If he could pass it first the tax cut bill could not be held hostage by the civil rights bill. Virginia segregationist senator Harry Byrd, a virolent racist, headed up the Senate Finance committee that controlled the tax cut legislation. Byrd had the power to kill the bill but Johnson knew the way to Byrd's heart. He was for very limited government and was known for his frugality. Johnson met with Byrd and asked what it would take to get the tax bill out of committee. Byrd wanted a Federal budget of no more than 100 billion dollars for 1965. Johnson was able to deliver with a proposed federal budget well under 100 billion. The Revenue Act was passed, with bi-partisan support, on February 26, 1964. It would be responsible for one of the longest periods of economic growth in American history. The Revenue Act would be a model for the Reagan tax cuts of the 1980's that spurred the longest period of economic growth in American history that lasted until the housing collapse of 2008.

  Johnson was able to clear the legislative agenda before his full court press on the civil rights bill. He was able to garner much Democratic support but he realized that he would not be able to pass it without Republican support. Johnson appealed to the Republican legacy of being the Party of Lincoln. The bill passed the House with a vote of 290 for and 130 against. When the bill reached the Senate segregationist Southern senators waged a 75 day filibuster. Modern Democrat hero Robert Byrd, a former KKK member, spoke in the filibuster for 14 consecutive hours. After a hard fight the filibuster was broken and the 1964 Civil Rights Act was signed on July 2, 1964. Johnson insisted that this bill would not be watered down like the 57 and 60 civil rights legislation. Amazingly Johnson was able to give Blacks the right to vote just one year later in 1965. This bill brought about more change than anything because White politicians in the South, like George Wallace, now had a new constituency that could not be ignored. That is if they wanted to win elections in the future. Because of these bills the South would become one of the most progressive and economically vibrant areas of the country. For the Kennedy fans that try to give him most of the credit for the Revenue Act and the Civil Rights Act, there is no way that Kennedy could have passed these bills. Richard Russell, the powerful segregationist senator from Georgia, knew Johnson better than anyone. Paraphrasing Russell he essentially said that he never worried about Kennedy in regard to the Civil Rights Act. He knew that the Southern coalition could stop civil rights. Johnson however was a horse of a different color. Russell knew that Johnson would find a way to pass it. Because of Johnson's War on Poverty, and his war in Vietnam, I am not a Johnson fan. On the tax cuts and civil rights he deserves the lions share of the credit.        

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Great American Hero - Samuel Whittemore

  Samuel Whittemore was an American patriot born in England on July 27th, 1695. Sam was nearly eighty years old when the Redcoats and Patriots clashed at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. He came to America in the service of the British Dragoons and fought the French. Sam fought the French at the battle for Fort Louisburg where he captured a French officers sword. A sword he would cherish for the rest of his life. Whenever anyone asked how he came by the sword his standard reply was that the previous owner had "died suddenly".  After the war he settled in Menotomy Massachusetts. Between two wives he fathered eight children. Three sons and five daughters. Menotomy is now Arlington Massachusetts and his house still stands. In 1758, during the French and Indian War he volunteered to fight at the age of 64 and was with Colonial troops when they again attacked Fort Louisburg. He finished the war with British general James Wolfe's forces at Quebec. After this decisive victory that ended the war in 1763 he left his family again to fight the famous Indian chief Pontiac. He returned a few months later in the possession of a nice set of dueling pistols. Again, when anyone asked him how he got them his answer was the same. The previous owner "died suddenly". By the onset of the American Revolution Sam was a dedicated American patriot. He stated that "he wanted his descendants to be able to enact their own laws and not be subject to a distant king". Sam watched the British march past his house on the way to Lexington and Concord. He later heard rumors that there had been fighting between them and the Patriots. Sam took up an exposed position waiting for the Kings soldiers to pass by on their way back to Boston. He had a great view of the road that they would be taking and fellow Minutemen pleaded with him to find a safer spot but he ignored them.  At the North Bridge in Concord a wounded British soldier was dispatched with a hatchet. The British soldiers saw him slumped over a railing as they recrossed the North Bridge. Because of the severity of the wound they assumed that he had been scalped and his ears cut off. A rumor spread through the entire British ranks that the colonists were not taking prisoners and were mutilating and scalping the wounded! When these soldiers ran into Sam Whittemore they weren't in a forgiving mood. Especially since the Colonists had been sniping at them the whole way from Concord to Menotomy. The Minuteman at Menotomy started firing at the British soldiers and fell back to reload. They fired again while Sam waited patiently for a clear shot. When the column was directly in front of him, he fired his musket killing one soldier. Then drew his pistols, firing both at point blank range. A second soldier died and a third was mortally wounded. By this time the British soldiers were on top of him. He didn't have time to reload his musket or pistols. Sam drew his prized French sword and began slashing at the Redcoats. A soldier fired his .69 caliber Brown Bess musket at point blank range. The huge musket ball hit Sam in the cheek and ripped away part of his face. The impact knocked him to the ground. Trying to rise Sam fought bravely to thwart the British bayonet thrusts with his sword. He was overpowered and bashed in the head with a musket butt which knocked him to the ground again. Helpless he was bayoneted thirteen times and left for dead. This Patriot badass was very much alive when his fellow Minutemen found him after the battle. He was trying to reload his musket lying there in the road. The British lost more men in this encounter than at any point of the battles for Lexington and Concord. The Americans killed 40 regular soldiers and wounded 80. Half of the total casualties for the entire day. Sam was not expected to live and his friends carried him home to die as comfortable as possible. There he would be surrounded by his family in his last hours. Unbelievably he survived for another 18 years but horribly scarred. The scars were a badge of honor however and this great American hero lived to the ripe old age of 98.

Thursday, May 4, 2017


  As a student of American history, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the subject of race and it's complexities, has always fascinated me. You cannot understand American history while at the same time ignoring the subject of race. Alexis Toqueville, the young Frenchman who observed American society in 1831 said that the legacy of slavery in America would be that we would always have a race problem. The following is from his book Democracy in America. "If we reason from what passes in the world, we should almost say that the European is to the other races of mankind what man himself is to the lower animals: he makes them subservient to his use, and when he cannot subdue he destroys them. Oppression has, at one stroke, deprived the descendants of the Africans of almost all the privileges of humanity. The Negro of the United States has lost even the remembrance of his country; the language which his forefathers spoke is never heard around him; he abjured their religion and forgot their customs when he ceased to belong to Africa, without acquiring any claim to European privileges. But he remains half-way between the two communities, isolated between two races; sold by the one, repulsed by the other; finding not a spot in the universe to call by the name of country, except the faint image of a home which the shelter of his master's roof affords". I am not a Southern apologist or denier when it comes to slavery. There was no worse place to be, if you were Black, than in the South. Both before and after the Civil War. However the North was no picnic for them. The following is what Toqueville said about the free Black in the North. Which could have also been written in the early twentieth century. “In almost all the states where slavery has been abolished, voting rights have been granted to the Negro, but, if he comes forward to vote, he risks his life. He is able to complain of oppression but he will find only whites among the judges. Although the law makes him eligible for jury service, prejudice wards him off from applying. His son is excluded from the school where the sons of Europeans come to be educated. At the theatre, any amount of gold could not buy him the right to take his seat beside his former master; in hospitals, he lies apart. The black is allowed to pray to the same God as the whites but not at the same altars. He has his own priests and churches. Heaven’s gates are not blocked against him. However, inequality hardly stops at the threshold of the next world. When the Negro passes on, his bones are cast aside and the differences in social conditions are found even in the leveling of death. Thus, the Negro is free but is able to share neither the rights, pleasures, work, pains, nor even the grave with the man to whom he has been declared equal…”

  The thing that seems to evoke the most visceral reaction from many white people is the subject of interracial dating and marriage. People will claim to be open minded on race until that subject comes up. That is where the line is drawn. I can honestly say that I have always been in favor of people being able to date and marry whoever they want to, as long as it is of the opposite sex. If Christians are going to be part of the family of God when they get to heaven then what difference does it make if we mix here on earth? People have even tried to use the Bible to condemn interracial marriage. I have never seen anything in the Bible that condemns it. If anything the Bible appears to support it. In the book of Numbers God was angry with Miriam and Aaron because they criticized Moses for marrying an Ethiopian woman. Miriam was cursed with leprosy. I think that the biggest reason many whites were opposed to integration and bussing was the fear that their children would become romantically and sexually involved with other black children. Being in such close proximity with them in school rooms and busses. Many people had legitimate reasons for being against busing and I was one of them. Many whites removed their kids and their money from public schools to avoid having their kids bussed to an inner city school. This destroyed the neighborhood schools leaving behind poor black and white children who did not have the option to leave. Desegregation rather than integration was the way to go. I use my high school as a perfect example. East Nashville high school had a black neighborhood west of the school and white neighborhoods to the south, east and north. You could draw a 360 degree circle around it and everyone regardless of race would be eligible to attend school there. It would not be the end of the world if a school was mostly white, mostly black, or all white or black for that matter. Upon graduation most people will interact with blacks if you are white. Or whites if you are black. This interaction will happen in the military, higher education, and the business world. The whole problem with separate but equal as defined in the Supreme Court case, Plessy vs. Ferguson was that black and white schools were separate but definitely not equal. Whites got the best facilities, the best books, and the most money. White schools were more likely to have parent participation and parent money flowing into those schools. After integration and bussing, and because of white fears, they began moving to mostly or all white suburbs and placing their kids in all white private schools. Even prosperous black families left the inner cities to move away from failing inner city schools. The unintended consequence of integration and the way government handled it was the deterioration of public education. 

  When I moved to Rutherford County in 1979 my son Rob was being bussed to an inner city elementary school when he could just have easily gone to Cole elementary which was in our neighborhood. He had gone to that school until the fifth grade. There were blacks at Cole and one of his closest friends was black. He had slept over at his house on occasion.  Rob was going to be bussed for miles to an inner city Middle school named Cameron instead of being allowed to go to Apollo,  which was the closest school in Antioch. Cameron was in a crime ridden area of Nashville. Because of bussing kids were having to get up a lot earlier than was normal and not getting home until very late. Bussing was expensive, causing wear and tear on the vehicles and then there was the cost of extra fuel. Bussing was not new. When schools were segregated blacks were routinely bussed past the nearest school which was white, to a black school that was farther away. It was a bad idea then and it was a bad idea during the time that schools were being integrated. Many whites were like me in that my objections to bussing were not based on a fear of racial mixing or race at all. My objection was the impracticability of it and the destruction of quality education education in this country. There is no doubt however that many whites had the age old racist fear of miscegenation. These whites have made it clear to me on occasion how adamantly they are opposed to whites and blacks dating and marrying. Harry Byrd, the famous segregationist senator from Virginia, who died in 1966, was very much opposed to the 1954 Brown vs. the Board of Education decision and the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This was because of the possibility of miscegenation or race mixing. He said "Six year old children of both races were going to be assembled in little huts before the bus comes, and the bus will then be packed like sardines, and everyone knew what would come of that. What our people most fear is that by this close intimate contact future generations will intermarry. Intermarriage! Miscegenation!-- the mongrel race." Byrd was right. Intermarriage has been the result of integration. However, he is wrong that we are a mongrel race. God doesn't make junk. He creates people with souls and free moral agents with the ability to choose right from wrong. I have always told my children that they were free to choose a mate of any race. I would much rather see them pick a person of good character than to be burdened with a white person who is no good. There are good people that I know will disagree with my views. Unfortunately, I believe that far too many white people would still agree with Harry Byrd.   

Monday, May 1, 2017

A History Of Close And Controversial Elections In America

  In a sixteen year period from 2000 until 2016 there have been two very controversial elections. The Bush - Gore election of 2000 and the Trump-Clinton election of 2016. In both elections Bush and Trump lost the popular vote but won the electoral vote. The 2000 election was one of the closest in history. There have been at least nine controversial or close elections in American history. The other seven were the Jefferson - Adams - Burr election of 1800. The Adams - Jackson election of 1824. The Lincoln - Breckenridge - Douglas - Bell election of 1860. The Hayes - Tilden election of 1876. The Wilson - Taft - Roosevelt election of 1912. The Truman - Dewey election of 1948. The Kennedy - Nixon election of 1960.  


  In the 1800 election the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists hated each other. Both sides believed, as in 2016, that if the other Party won, it would be the end of the country.  The Democratic-Republican's distrusted the centralization of Federal power under the John Adams's presidency. The Republicans' did not like the expansion of the U.S. army and navy under Adams. Nor did they like the new taxes and deficit spending to support broadened federal action. They definitely didn't like the Alien and Sedition Act and the loss of individual rights. The Federalists believed that Thomas Jefferson was an infidel. They believed he was a deist or even worse an atheist. This was because of his belief in the separation of church and state. Keep in mind however that his view of separation of church and state was vastly different than our modern day view of the separation of church and state. He believed that the separation was between the Federal government and the states. Not between the Federal and state governments and the people. In his view the Federal government could not tell the states how to worship. He believed in freedom of religion and not freedom from religion. The Federalists also feared that Jefferson's affection for the French Revolution would lead to bloodshed and disorder in the United States. The Democratic-Republicans won an astounding victory. They captured both houses of Congress with a 65 to 39 majority in the House of Representatives. The presidential election was closer in the Electoral College however. Republican candidates for president and vice president tied with one another but President John Adams came in third behind Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. At that time votes for President and Vice President were not on separate ballots. The election would be decided in the House of Representatives where each state had a single vote. The lame-duck Federalist Congress would decide who was going to be president. The majority of the Federalists wanted Burr. Alexander Hamilton however, a staunch Federalist, would become the deciding factor. There were numerous blocked ballots but Hamilton helped Jefferson secure the presidency because in his mind he was the lesser of two evils. This was how I viewed Trump in the past election. He wasn't my first choice but he was the lesser of two evils as opposed to Hillary. This is not a great comparison but Aaron Burr was the Hillary of his day. Burr was seen by many to be a corrupt politician and dishonorable man. His corruption couldn't hold a candle to Hillary's however. Burr would be arrested for treason in 1807 but would be eventually exonerated. There were 16 states in the Union by 1800. Besides the original thirteen, Vermont, North Carolina and Tennessee were in the Union by then. Ten state delegations voted for Jefferson, 4 voted for Burr, and 2 abstained.


  The election of 1824 was the first election to be decided by the House of Representatives under the 12th Amendment. It was also the first election where the popular vote was counted in an election. Because of the demise of the Federalist Party all of the candidates were members of the Democratic-Republican Party. The candidates were Andrew Jackson of Tennessee, John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts, William H. Crawford of Georgia, and Henry Clay of Kentucky. Eventually the faction of the Party that was led by Andrew Jackson would become the Democratic Party. The faction led by Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams would eventually evolve into the Whig Party. Jackson won 99 electoral votes, which was the majority, but he needed 131 to win. Adams was 2nd with 84 votes. Crawford had 41 and Clay had 37. Adams won the election on February 9, 1825. According to the 12th Amendment only the top three candidates could be considered for the election of president. Clay threw his support and influence behind Adams which gave him the presidency. After being elected Adams nominated Clay for Secretary of State. Jackson and his supporters promptly accused Adams and Clay of a "corrupt bargain". At that time the office of Secretary of State had been a stepping stone to the presidency just behind the Vice Presidency. It is now the Speaker of the House. Because of the bitterness caused by the election of 1824, the election of 1828 was one of the dirtiest campaigns in history. Jackson would win that election but the stress of the campaign would cause the death of his wife Rachel. She suffered a fatal heart attack in December 1828 before Jackson was sworn in as president in March. Because of the fact that Rachel lived with Jackson while she was still married to her first husband she was called names like bigamist, whore and prostitute, among other things. Jackson would never forgive his political enemies for this.


The election of 1860 was proof positive that the underlying cause of the Civil War was the issue of slavery and not states rights. Slavery was legal in fifteen Southern states and the District of Columbia. These states were Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky and Tennessee. They not only wanted to maintain the institution of slavery within their own borders but the right to spread slavery into the western territories acquired by the the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. This was the treaty which ended the Mexican War. The Republican Party was a coalition of anti-slavery Whigs like Abraham Lincoln, anti-slavery Democrats and Free Soilers. There were abolitionists in the Republican Party, but most Republican's were like Lincoln in that they hated slavery but they were willing to allow it to exist where it already existed. They were against the spread of slavery into the territories. In 1858 Lincoln become famous in a series of debates with Democratic Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas. These debates are known to history as the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Douglas came to represent the Northern Democrat view called Popular Sovereignty. He believed that the new territories should be able to decide whether they would be slave or free. The Southern Democrats were unwilling to compromise on the spread of slavery into the territories. In April 1860 the Democratic Convention was held in Charleston South Carolina. Stephen Douglas received a majority of the delegate votes but did not receive the required two thirds for nomination. The Southern delegates looked at Douglas as a traitor and could not vote for him. Their candidate of choice was the sitting Vice-President John C. Breckenridge of Kentucky. At an impasse the Douglas supporters stormed out of Charleston convention and met in Baltimore. In June they nominated Douglas for president. The Charleston convention nominated Breckenridge. To complicate matters further, Nashvillian John Bell was nominated as the presidential candidate of the Constitutional Union Party. This was the Party of compromise. They wanted to work out a compromise between North and South on the slavery question and avoid Civil War. The Republican's met in Chicago and they also had a contentious convention. On the first ballot William H. Seward was the favorite but he was unable to garner the votes for nomination. On the second vote Lincoln edged closer and was able to gain the nomination by the third ballot. The South threatened to secede if the "Black Republicans" won the election. They believed that Lincoln would end slavery. There was a faction of radical Southern Democrats who wanted just that. They were the "Fire Eaters" The most notable were William L. Yancey of Alabama and Robert Barnwell Rhett of South Carolina. They were pushing for a split with the North and independence. The Fire-Eaters were happy with the split in the Democratic Party. If the Democratic Party remained unified there was no way that Lincoln could win. The Republican's had only been a Party since 1854 and John C. Fremont had been their first presidential candidate in 1856, losing to Democrat James Buchanan. By splitting the Democratic Party they would guarantee secession because the Republican's would probably win. They were not able to foresee that the unintended results of their actions was the eventual abolition of slavery. The very institution that they were trying to protect. Lincoln won the election with only 40% of the national vote. The Northern Democrats led by Douglas only won his home state of Illinois. John Bell won the three southern border states of Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia. Breckenridge won the rest of the Southern States. On December 20, 1861, South Carolina seceded from the Union. Between December and June, ten more Southern states would secede. The Civil War would cost the lives of 750,000 American's or 2.5 percent of the American population. The election of Lincoln would ultimately mean the end of slavery. My grandson asked me if I had ever seen the country so divided as it is now after the election of Trump. I told him that the only example I could think of would be the election of 1860.


We can testify to the fact that in our own lifetime elections have consequences. As evidenced by the damage done to America by the election of Barack Obama. The election of 1860 led to the Civil War. That war led to the abolition of slavery by the 13th Amendment in 1865. It also led to Civil Rights for Black people with the passage of the 14th Amendment in 1868.Voting rights would come for them in 1870 with the passage of the 15th Amendment. The election of 1876 would set back the cause of Civil Rights almost 100 years with the subsequent Compromise of 1877. Ulysses S. Grant was a national hero and served as president from 1869 until 1877. Historians are nearly unanimous in considering the Grant administration to be not only one of the worst but one of the most corrupt administrations in American history. These historians also agree, and I concur, that Grant himself was not personally involved in the corruption. Grant was only successful in three areas of his life. He was a great horseman, a great family man, and a great general. Grant was good at picking his subordinates in the army but not as president and as a politician. He was so trusting of the wrong people that he lost everything in a financial panic. This was before presidents were given lifelong pensions after leaving office. Grant would be diagnosed with terminal throat cancer and die just days after finishing his personal memoirs. The sale of his memoirs was the only thing that saved his widow Julia from dying penniless. After the Grant administration American's were tired of the corruption. The Republican's and Democrats tried to nominate candidates that had reputations of honesty. Ohio governor Rutherford B. Hayes was nominated by the Republicans and the Democrats chose New York governor Samuel J. Tilden. History repeated itself somewhat, exactly 100 years later, in 1976. America was looking for honest candidates as a result of the Watergate scandal. The Republicans ran the lackluster but virtuous Gerald Ford. He was opposed by the equally virtuous and lackluster Jimmy Carter. Unfortunately I was a Democrat at that time and I naively wanted to return honesty to the White House by voting for Jimmy Carter. Something that I regret to this day. Meanwhile in 1876 Rutherford B. Hayes lost the popular vote to Samuel J.Tilden. Hayes won 4,034,311 votes as opposed to Tilden's 2,288,546. Tilden needed 185 electoral votes to win but he came up one vote short at 184. Hayes had 165 electoral votes. Twenty electoral votes were in dispute in four states. Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Oregon. The three Southern states were still under military occupation by Northern troops as a result of Federal Reconstruction policy after the Civil War. One elector in Oregon was declared illegitimate. A deal was struck by the Hayes campaign with the Democratic Party in these contested states. All twenty votes would go to Hayes if he agreed to end Reconstruction in the South. This would mean the withdrawal of all Federal troops. Until 1877, Blacks had enjoyed some degree of freedom and Civil Rights in the South. Black government officials, congressmen and senators had been elected or appointed to office. However there had been a rise in terrorism by the Klan, which was an arm of the Democratic Party. This was to establish the Democratic Party as the Party of the White man. By 1876 Northerners were tired of the expense and effort to keep the South in line. Hayes won the election with the necessary 185 electoral votes to Tilden's 184. Hayes had established a reputation as being a progressive on the subject of race. However the Compromise of 1877 was a sellout of Black people in the South. They were left to the mercy of the white Democratic Party that would pass harsh segregation and voting laws in the late 1800's all across the South. These laws would not be overturned until the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Woodrow Wilson

Theodore Roosevelt

William Howard Taft
Eugene Debs


  The election of 1912 was the last election in which a candidate of a third party polled higher than the candidate of a major political party. In this case the Republican Party. Theodore Roosevelt had been a popular progressive Republican president. He was a war hero in the Spanish American war, which elevated him to the office of Vice President under William McKinley. Roosevelt became president when Mckinley was shot and killed by an assassin in 1901. He served out McKinley's remaining term and was reelected in 1904. Because of the two term tradition established by Washington, Roosevelt decided not to run in 1908. He supported his Vice President William Howard Taft to succeed him. Taft was elected but was considered more conservative than Roosevelt. The former president, who had spent a year of the Taft presidency hunting big game in Africa, became one of his biggest critics. Roosevelt felt that Taft had betrayed his progressive agenda and decided to run for a third term. More delegates came out for Roosevelt at the Republican convention. The establishment Republican Party however preferred Taft over Roosevelt and gave him the nomination. Roosevelt organized his own convention and was nominated to lead the Progressive Party. He was for such things as a minimum wage for women, child labor laws. social security, national health insurance, and the election of senators by popular vote. When questioned by reporters after the Progressive Party convention Roosevelt said that "He felt as strong as a bull moose." Thus the party became known as the "Bull Moose Party. Some historians have questioned Roosevelt's reasons for betraying his friend Taft. Some say that his huge ego drove him to run because he couldn't stand not being in power. Many felt that he purposely split the Republican Party in order to insure a Democratic victory. It can be argued that Roosevelt was as strong as a bull moose. On October 14, 1912 he was shot at close range while while giving a campaign speech. Roosevelt's eyeglass case, folded speech, and a heavy coat deflected the bullet enough to save his life. Bleeding profusely and clutching his chest, Roosevelt insisted on giving his ninety minute speech before going to the hospital.

  Meanwhile the Democratic Speaker of the House from Missouri, Champ Clark, was the favorite to win the nomination for president. He could not get the needed two thirds number of delegates needed to win nomination however. After a contested convention progressive New Jersey governor Woodrow Wilson won the nomination on the 46th ballot. This was because the popular presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan gave his support to Wilson.  Because of the split in the Republican Party the Democrats won in a landslide. Wilson won 435 electoral votes, as opposed to Roosevelt's 88 votes, and Taft's 8 votes. Eugene Deb's, the Socialist candidate, and the Bernie Sanders of his day, came in fourth with zero electoral votes and 901,551 popular votes. Wilson won with 6,293,454 popular votes, which was nearly 42% of the popular vote. Roosevelt by comparison won 27% of the popular vote. Not since Lincoln, who won with 40% of the popular vote, had a presidential candidate gained the presidency with such a low percentage. Roosevelt and Taft collected 7,603,129 votes between them. The argument can be made that a united Republican Party, running one candidate, could have beat Wilson. Not since the election of 1860 had there been four major candidates in an election. In the 1860 election the Republican Party gained an advantage by the split in the Democratic Party. In the election of 1912 the Democrats were able to win due to the split in the Republican Party. There were only two Democrats elected to the presidency between 1860 and 1932. They were Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson. Elections have consequences however. Wilson was a racist and fired Black government workers who had made inroads into government jobs under Republican presidents. He also considered the racist movie Birth of a Nation to be a great movie and trumpeted it with comments like the following. "It is like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true." In addition Wilson also said "The White men were roused by a mere instinct of self-preservation . . . . . until at last there had sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country". The Klan would enjoy a rebirth after 1915, thanks in large part to this movie, and Wilson's endorsement of it. During the 1920's the Klan would grow to it's largest membership ever. There were Klaverns in every state in the continental U.S. and it's hatred of blacks would be expanded to include Jews and Catholics. Wilson would also involve us in WW1, one of the most bloody and unnecessary wars in world history. His participation in the Versailles treaty helped set the stage for WW2, an even bloodier war. He would also be president in 1913 when the Federal Reserve and income tax became constitutional amendments. Two more big mistakes in my opinion. Eight years of Wilson were enough and the women who achieved the right to vote under Wilson helped to elect Republican Warren G. Harding, who promised a return to normalcy and an end to the Wilsonian progressive agenda.

Thomas Dewey

Strom Thurmond as the candidate of the Dixiecrat Party 
Henry Wallace


  Harry Truman was quite possibly the most unprepared and reluctant man to ever be thrust into the office of the president. He was very prepared when it came to high character and leadership abilities that were required to be a great president. Taking over on the death of a popular president like Franklin Roosevelt, in the middle of the worst war in world history, would have destroyed a lesser man. Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, just before the surrender of Germany. Truman would not know about the existence of the atomic bomb until a few days after becoming president. He would then have to make the momentous decision to drop it on two Japanese cities killing over 200,000 people. Truman would re-build Europe through the Marshall Plan. Douglas MacArthur as Supreme Commander and leader of occupation forces in Japan would bring about their total transformation from a feudal militaristic society into one of the most vibrant democracies in the world. Through the Truman Doctrine American foreign policy would change from a war time alliance to the Cold War policy of containment which existed until Ronald Reagan. The creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Council (NSC). He would face down Stalin by supplying Berlin through the Berlin Airlift. In opposition to George Marshall's advice, and a man that Truman highly respected, he officially recognized the State of Israel. Truman would stand up to Communist aggression in Korea and fire one of the most popular American generals in history, Douglas MacArthur. Domestically Truman dealt with issues of labor unrest, threatening to draft railroad personnel if they didn't end a railroad strike. He expanded the GI bill for returning veterans, and put forth a proposal for national health care insurance. Truman implemented four civil rights executive orders which made Truman hated in the South. One of which was an order to integrate the armed forces.  His attitude on Civil Rights and the attempt to add a civil rights plank to the Democratic platform prompted Southern Democrats, led by Strom Thurmond, to form the Dixiecrat Party and run against him in 1948. In addition to Thurmond's opposition he was facing the left wing candidate Henry Wallace who had been Franklin Roosevelt's Vice President from 1941 until 1945. Wallace was radical left wing before it was cool. The Republican's had been out of power since 1933 and felt confident that 1948 was their year. Republican Thomas Dewey had had ran unsuccessfully against Roosevelt in 1944. However he felt so good about his chances in 1948 that he ran a safe campaign designed not to rock the boat. The Republican's for the first time in years reclaimed both the House and Senate in the off year elections of 1946. Truman ran an aggressive whistle stop railroad campaign that crisscrossed the country. He made the Republican congress the target of his campaign. Truman called them a "do nothing" congress which struck a chord with the American people. Similar to the 2016 election, regarding Hillary Clinton, the experts and the polls predicted a Dewey victory. Truman won 303 electoral votes and 24,105,695 popular votes. Dewey won 189 electoral votes and 21,969,170 popular votes. Thurmond won 39 electoral votes, 1,169,021 popular votes and the Southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina. Truman won Tennessee but it gave Thurmond 1 electoral vote. Radical Henry Wallace won no electoral votes and only 1,157,328 popular votes. Sadly Wallace would fit right in to the mainstream Democratic Party today. Although Truman was too liberal in some areas for my tastes, like national health insurance and the minimum wage, he was one of my favorite presidents. Unlike modern Democratic leaders he was a man of high character. Had tremendous respect for the office of the presidency, the rule of law, and was a patriot. He loved his country and was a self educated man that rejected any hint of being elitist. I think Harry Truman would be ashamed of the Democrat Party today.


  Lyndon Johnson wanted to be president more than anything in life. Early on he developed a plan for achieving that goal. He would run for the House of Representatives, the Senate, and from there run for president one day. He was elected to Congress in 1936 and remained there from 1937 until 1949 gaining much power by his carefully tailored relationship with fellow Texan and Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn. From there he was elected to the Senate in 1948 and won by voter fraud in a run-off election. Two hundred and two fraudulent votes were cast in precinct 13, or Jim Wells County. There were also discrepancies in Bexar county. Out of 988,295 votes cast Johnson won by 87 votes. He earned the nickname "Landslide Lyndon". Johnson would become the most powerful Senator in history before being elected Vice President in 1961. Like in the House he would do this by developing a close relationship with President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Richard Russell from Georgia. Johnson appeared to be the most logical choice for the Democratic Party nomination for president in 1960. Fearing failure and underestimating John Kennedy, he allowed himself to lose delegates to Kennedy. He would have probably won if he had thrown his hat in the ring earlier. Johnson's behavior was bizarre during this period for a man wanting to be president so badly. After Kennedy won the nomination he recognized the fact that he needed the South to win the presidency. This is why he asked Johnson to be his vice-presidential pick, which was a brilliant decision on his part. Kennedy needed four Southern states in particular, Texas, Louisiana, North and South Carolina. Johnson campaigned hard throughout the South and was able to deliver the whole South, along with the four vital states that Kennedy needed on election day. He did this using the same voter fraud methods he used in the 1948 senatorial election. Kennedy on the other hand, with the help of the mafia, won the vital West Virginia primary. Later during the general election he won Illinois with the help of mafia kingpin Sam Giancana. Many dead folks voted in that election. Just before the 1960 primaries and general election John Kennedy's father, Joe Sr., approached Giancana about gaining mafia support. Kennedy also had help from the mainstream media. Surprise, surprise, the media had a left wing slant even then. The Kennedy-Nixon debates had a huge impact on swinging the election for Kennedy. Actually Nixon was more to the left than Kennedy was. Both were cold warriors and Nixon became the darling of the right with his ant-communist rhetoric and successful prosecution of Alger Hiss. Nixon would also use the Southern strategy to win the presidency in 1968. However his presidency was more to the left on foreign policy and domestic policy than his rhetoric. In the weeks before the debates Nixon had seriously injured his leg and was hospitalized. He was released from the hospital just hours before the debate. He had lost weight and was looking gaunt and pale. Kennedy on the other hand was looking healthy and tanned. This was unusual for Kennedy because in most of his younger pictures he was very skinny and his skin had a yellow tint. This was due to the Addison's disease that ravaged his body for most of his life. Kennedy had been at deaths door several times in his life. Each time had received the last rites of the Catholic church. He also suffered from chronic back problems and wore a back brace. Many times he needed crutches to walk. The healthy tanned look that Kennedy now had was not only from the sun but the cortisone treatments for his Addison's disease that caused him to fill out and his skin to turn darker. If the American people had been aware of his health problems it might have made a difference. The supervisor of the debate camera crew was none other than the Democratic partisan Don Hewitt. He would become the producer of CBS Sixty Minutes years later, saving Bill Clinton's butt just before the 1992 election when he was down in the polls. This was because of the Jennifer Flowers scandal. Nixon was sweating profusely under the hot studio lights and his make-up was running. Every time Nixon wiped his brow with his handkerchief, or was doing anything unflattering, Hewitt would zero in with close-up shots. His shots of Kennedy were designed to give a better image. People who saw the debates on TV thought Kennedy won and the people who heard it on the radio thought that Nixon won. On election night Kennedy won by 303 electoral votes and 34,227,096 popular votes. Nixon had 219 electoral votes and 34,107,646 popular votes. This was one of the closest elections in American history. Nixon lost by only 119,450 popular votes from a turnout of 68,838,204 voters in 1960. Kennedy was so nervous about Nixon challenging the results of the election that he flew to Nixon's vacation home in Key Biscayne Florida, a few days after the election on November 14. It was not known what was said in the meeting. It is believed that Nixon decided not to challenge the results of the election in order to save the country from turmoil, unlike Al Gore who didn't care about the country in 2000. Nixon knew how Kennedy won the election and Kennedy knew that Nixon knew. It is impossible to really know what would have happened if Nixon had won in 1960. I believe however that the country would be better off today. Nixon would have been a better president if elected in 1960, instead of 1968 in my opinion.

The Election Of 2000

  If you want to know in a nutshell why Albert Gore Jr. lost to George W. Bush by only five electoral votes, in one of the closest presidential elections in American history, his loss can be summed up in one word, Tennessee. Forget the Democrats trying to recount hanging and pregnant chads in  disputed Democratic precincts in South Florida. The meddling by Florida's Democrat dominated Supreme court, which tried every way possible to continue the recount in spite of the results being certified by Florida's Attorney General. Or the attempt by the mainstream media to give the election to Gore by declaring him the winner before the polls even closed in the central time zones of Florida. Finally you can discount the Supreme Courts five to four decision to rightfully decide the election for Bush in order to end the chaos created by Gore and his Democrat minions. In every recount that was taken since 2000 Bush legitimately won Florida. Al Gore was the first presidential candidate to lose his own home state since George McGovern lost South Dakota in 1972. If Gore had won Tennessee Florida would have been irrelevant to the outcome of the election. Instead of losing by five electoral votes he would have won by six since Tennessee had eleven electoral votes. Bush won 271 electoral votes and 50,456,062 popular votes.  Gore won 266 electoral votes, and 50,996,582 votes. In Tennessee Bush won eleven electoral votes, and 1,061,949 popular votes to Gore's 981,720 votes. Gore suffered the same fate as his father, Albert Gore Sr. in a sense. During the 1960's Al Gore Sr. became too liberal for the people of Tennessee, especially with his left wing stance on Vietnam. He was defeated by Republican Bill Brock in the 1970 Senate race. I remember Al Gore Jr. when he first ran for Congress in 1976. Gore was like Bill Clinton, and many Southern Democrats who were liberal at heart but they knew their constituency well. They were good at passing themselves off as moderates or conservative Democrats in order to be elected and reelected. I was a Democrat in the 1970's and I liked Gore. By the time he ran for the Senate in 1984, I was firmly in the Reagan camp. My opinion of Gore had changed considerably by then. One day as I was standing in the chow line at the Air National base in Nashville when I felt someone touch my shoulder. When I turned around I was standing face to face with Al Gore Jr. He was standing there looking very uncomfortable in a dark blue suit with his hand outstretched. I shook his hand as he asked for my vote that year. I was struck by how cold and clammy his hand felt. Even as late as 1988, when he ran for president in the Democrat primary I wasn't staunchly anti-Gore as I am now. Gore, like many senators rose to prominence in the senate by becoming an expert in a particular field so as to further their political career. That way they could keep their name in the spotlight. Gore's expertise was in the area of nuclear weapons and he could be seen on news programs as an invited guest on the subject. Then he was picked as Clinton's Vice President. He would lose the 2000 election in his home state, like his father before him, by moving too far to the left during his eight years as vice president. Gore became a champion for climate change and many other liberal causes. He was not as adept as Clinton in maintaining his centrist facade. Gore sowed the seeds of his own defeat by abandoning the conservative values of his home state. Clinton like Obama was a popular president. I despised both of them for their blatant corruption and pathological lying. Just as Hillary was not Obama in 2016, Gore was not Clinton in 2000. The only one responsible for Al Gore's defeat was Al Gore and Tennessee.

The Election of 2016

  One bad habit that the establishment Democratic media and the establishment Republicans has is that they routinely try to pick the Republican presidential candidates for the rest of us. Until 2016, they were successful. In 1996 the choice of the Democrats and establishment Republican's was boring Bob Dole. In 2000 it was George W. Bush, For 2008 it was John McCain, and finally in 2012 the ultra exciting Mitt Romney was nominated for us. In 2016 they tried their best to give us brother JEB Bush but enough of us had our eyes wide open. We weren't taking the bait this time. The Democratic and establishment press, along with both political parties, totally underestimated Trump. When it became obvious that Bush wasn't getting any traction they began giving Trump free air time in the hope that he would get the nomination. In their mind Trump was a clown and good for ratings. Trump gained a real following during this time. The Democrats thought that he was sure to be trounced in a head to head match up with the brilliant and all powerful Hillary Clinton. Too late they realized that this was backfiring on them but they would never really accept that Trump had a real chance of winning. Just as White Liberals and Blacks joined forces to elect the first Black president, Hillary was a shoe in to be the first woman president. When friends asked me what I thought of Hillary early on I would say that she is a screw up and would never get elected. People thought that I was crazy but Hillary owes her notoriety to a man. Her husband Bill Clinton. No one would even know who Hillary is today if it weren't for Bill. This is a role that she chose for herself. She attached herself to him in the hopes that she could ride into power on his coat tails. Yet she passes herself off as a real feminist and the champion of women. Hillary doesn't pass muster as a feminist to me. She is the very antithesis of one. This is why she had to defend her cheating, rapist, husband through thick and thin. If he went down she went down and she could not let that happen. She is not Bill Clinton however and she is a screw-up. Hillary was fired for lying from the Watergate committee. She contributed to Bill's defeat in the 1980 gubernatorial race by refusing to take the Clinton name in culturally conservative Arkansas and refusing to change her hardcore radical feminist image. Of course she was involved in just about every Clinton scandal in Arkansas, and in the White House years. The Monica Lewinsky scandal might not have surfaced if she had not stood in the way of a legal compromise that had been arranged by the attorney's for Paula Jones and Bill Clinton. As Secretary of State she presided over the worst foreign policy ever and the destabilizing of the Middle East. She was hugely responsible for the fiasco in Benghazi and the death of four brave Americans. In spite of all this she could have been elected if she had been more likeable and wasn't such a screw up. For example why would you alienate half the voters of the United States by calling them irredeemable and a basket of deplorables? And why would you get to the dance with Bill Clinton, and then leave him for someone else? She rejected Bill Clinton's campaign advice at the most crucial moments of her campaign. There is probably no smarter campaigner than Slick Willy around. No Hillary, Russia and James Comey did not defeat you. In the end Russia will be proven to be a non story. That is already self evident. Hillary Clinton, the great screw-up, defeated Hillary Clinton