Posts Tagged ‘Richard Nixon
Just something to think about on this the Eleventh Day, Year One, of The Golden Age of Obama. It’s actually very rare for a President to win a second term, no matter how well things go in that first term. Because of Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush, we assume a second term’s a given for presidents because the majority of those in our lifetimes have been two-termers (especially for those of us in our early 30s, who’ve mainly known two-termers). But, historically, that’s not the case.
Here are the men (and, unfortunately all men so far, despite all the talk of change still in the air) who’ve held the office two terms (or more, in one case):
(1) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (served 3 full terms, but elected to 4)
(2) Thomas Jefferson (2 terms)
(3) James Madison (2 terms)
(4) James Monroe (2 terms)
(5) Andrew Jackson (2 terms)
(6) Ulysses S. Grant (2 terms)
(7) Grover Cleveland (2 nonconsecutive terms)
(8) Woodrow Wilson (2 terms)
(9) Dwight Eisenhower (2 terms)
(10) Ronald Reagan (2 terms)
(11) Bill Clinton (2 terms)
(12) George W. Bush (2 terms)
(13) George Washington (2 terms)
(14) Richard Nixon (2 terms)
(15) William McKinley (2 terms)
(16) Abraham Lincoln (2 terms)
Those who wanted second terms but lost their elections:
(a) John Quincy Adams
(b) Martin van Buren
(c) Franklin Pierce
(d) Benjamin Harrison
(e) William Howard Taft
(f) Herbert Hoover
(g) Jimmy Carter
(h) George H.W. Bush
(i) John Adams
So, 16 wanted a Part Deux and got one. 9 wanted re-election but were denied. Almost 2/3 of our presidents were thus one-termers (or less).
And another interesting thing to note is that the last time THREE two-term presidents happened in a row was all the way back in the early 1800s, with Jefferson/Madison/Monroe (the 3rd, 4th, and 5th presidents). That hasn’t been repeated for 200 years now.
Not saying it won’t ever again, because it’s much too early to tell, but just noting it’s not an automatic, considering past as probability if not predictor.
Clinton/Bush/Obama as three two-termers in a row would be anomalous but certainly not impossible.
The way former president Carter is all the way over to the right, removed from the rest of the group, means nothing, as we’re positive it was not done deliberately, but it does remind us of a similar shot of the current and former presidents (at the time), taken in the early ’90s, where Richard Nixon was also far removed on the right, clearly apart from his peers.
At the time we had the same thought we have looking at Carter: that Nixon wasn’t going to be around for much longer. It certainly feels like this is the last year we’ll have Carter with us — which is sad, but not as sad as it would have been a year ago, because our opinion of Carter plummeted in recent months, and doubt that’s going to change now. The fact that many Habitat for Humanity homes are literally falling down around their owners doesn’t help (as that’s the one saving grace Carter’s always had in our eyes as an Ex-President).
We’ve had three encounters with Carter through the years, one in Manhattan and two in Georgia, the most surreal of which was a trip to Atlanta in 2006, to the Carter Center, where we happened by the replica Oval Office at the heart of the museum to find what we thought was a very convincing animatronic, talking with what looked like a handful of other robots. Overhead, Carter’s voice narrated a talk about the Oval Office, the Resolute Desk, etc. And then, after a moment of awkwardness, we realized Carter himself was standing in the exhibit, with staffers, just looking around — perhaps even pretending it was 1977 again, wondering what he could have done differently from Day One to change everything for the better for himself. A woman behind us, when realizing the robot was, in fact, the real Jimmy Carter, excitedly shouted, “Lookit! It’s him! It’s really him!”, before sympathetically adding, in more hushed tones, “Isn’t that sad? They just keep ‘em in there like that.”
Carter gave a lecture later that afternoon at his Library and Museum that we attended, and that we remember as being sad and out of touch with reality. He rambled, lost his bearings a few times, and reminded us of all the many reasons he didn’t win a second term. We will forever think of him as a very nice man who never should have been president. Strangely, that’s actually how we feel about George W. Bush now as well.
There are more similarities between Carter and Obama than anyone in the media cares to admit — except for that very nice man part. In less than two weeks, Obama follows in Carter’s footsteps…Reagan’s, the two Bushes’, and Clinton’s as well, along with all the other men who’ve come before all of them.
In our opinion, there should have been a woman in a pantsuit in that photo above — because THAT would be change we can believe in, change from yet another shot of assorted men with red or blue ties. Maybe there will be a woman in a skirt with glasses rocking a pair of killer boots in that shot in 2013 (with or without Carter). Maybe we will finally get a pantsuit in there in 2017.
If we can finally get half the country to see that all the promised CHANGE! resulted in basically the same damn picture that’s always been taken: a bunch of men in suits, with red or blue ties, standing in an almost round room, just like all the many men of varying abilities before them.