George H.W. Bush: The Nicest President in American History

January 2, 2015

Having worked for the man I can tell you that George H.W. Bush is no pushover.  When Manuel Noriega rattled his swords and waged his drug war against the USA, Bush descended on Panama like a thunderstorm, without warning, bringing the villain back in chains.  When Saddam Hussein invaded his neighbor, Bush organized the entire world against him.  It was an unprecedented moment. “This shall not stand,” Bush said.  And it didn’t.  Bush, not Reagan, was the man who stood watch over the collapse of the Soviet Union.  And many forget that the Berlin Wall came down when he was in the White House. Even so, what endures from those who know him personally and from those who have studied the presidency, is that George H.W. Bush may be the nicest man to ever sit in the Oval Office.

Presidents, like all leaders, are often known for their ruthlessness.  “A great Prime Minister,” Gladstone once mused, “must be a good butcher.” Bush, not Theodore Roosevelt, was the president who walked softly and carried a big stick.

Presidential power within a family sometimes reaches tragic proportions. Accustomed to fawning subordinates at work, the presidents often expect the family to likewise cater to their egos at home.  John Quincy Adams, our sixth president, told his namesake and son, John Adams II, that he would not attend his Harvard graduation unless the boy worked his way into the top five graduating students.  When the son prevailed the father moved the goal posts.  If the boy was not number one, he said, he still wouldn’t come.  The son, John Adams II, got drunk and was expelled from Harvard.

Abraham Lincoln had a mean, stubborn streak that left him estranged from both his father and his first born son.  He refused to attend his father’s funeral.  Lincoln oversaw the massive slaughter of a generation of young men.  More Americans died in the Civil War than in all other modern wars combined.

Theodore Roosevelt invaded Columbia and invented Panama.  It was an illegal, arguably immoral war, but it got us the Panama Canal.  Roosevelt once said, “Every generation of young manhood should experience a war.”  It Hitler were to say such a thing we would rightly rebuke it.  Theodore Roosevelt only makes us chuckle.

Franklin D. Roosevelt interned thousands of Japanese families living in the USA during World War Two.  And he too could be quite tough on his own family.  When son, Jimmy Roosevelt, complained to his mother that he could never talk to his father she suggested he get an appointment. “That’s what I do,” she said.

Lyndon Johnson could be cruel to staffers and rivals alike, even physically intimidating them. Richard Nixon had his blacklist.  New audiotapes show John Kennedy viciously excoriating subordinates.

Sexual abuse seems to be a rite of passage for men of power.  Again, FDR comes to mind. Missy LeHand faithfully served him for years, living with him alone when he was forgotten, even crawling in the mud on the beaches of Florida with him as he tried to affect a quack homeopathic cure for his polio. Some of the president’s sons remember her, wearing a nightgown, sitting on his lap, in the private quarters of the White House.  But when she, herself, had a stroke and developed a paralysis, he threw her out and took a new “friend.”  John Kennedy’s sexual abuse of staff and friends has become legendary.

Sadly, there is no better understanding of the leadership skill of George H.W. Bush than a comparison of the two Gulf Wars.  George H.W. Bush defeated Saddam Hussein but left him in place.  His son, Bush the younger, conquered Iraq and stayed until both Saddam Hussein and his two sons were killed.

In the first Gulf War many people often asked, “Why didn’t the president finish it off?  Why didn’t he take Baghdad?”  It is not very often that we can see what would have happened if things had been done differently.  But now we can.  If Bush, Sr. had taken complete control of Iraq and deposed or killed Saddam Hussein, the whole Sunni-Shia balance of power in the Middle East would have collapsed.  The region would have erupted into bloodshed. Terrorism would have proliferated.  Radical Islam would have toppled established governments.  Christian communities, who trace their lineage back to the time of the Apostles would have been butchered, their centuries old churches burnt to the ground.   We know it would have happened because it is exactly what happened when his son, President George W. Bush, decided to give it a try.

Now, we know the genius and the patient calculation of George H. W. Bush and the gifts he brought to the presidency.  He is nice.  But it has a purpose.


Malia and Sasha Obama have it right, let’s ax the turkey event.

November 30, 2014

Watch Doug Wead talk about this tomorrow on CBS Morning News at 7:30 AM.

Here he responds to the recent criticism of Malia and Sasha at the White House Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning Ceremony.

 

Whatever criticism one might have for the President and First Lady no one can really lay a finger on them as parents.  They have been the best we have seen in modern times, balancing love and discipline better than any of the more recent dysfunctional presidential families.  Many presidents and first ladies neglect their children for years and notoriously indulge them during their time in the White House.  This First Couple, the Obama’s, offer their children structure, limit their time online, for example, and keep their heads in their school books.  They don’t ignore the special opportunities for them to learn, including them on some foreign trips when they can but they don’t over do it.  I also like the way the President keeps his promises to his children.

Saying that the Obama girls are being disrespectful for rolling their eyes at a corny, Turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House is rather petty.  We forgave the Bush twins for underage drinking and sticking their tongue out at the media.  We forgave the Reagan daughter for posing for Playboy.  I think we can all give the Obama girls a pass for their honest reaction to an anachronistic White House ceremony that deserved the ax long ago.


A Third Bush president?  What history says?

November 30, 2014

“History, with all her volumes vast, hath but one page.” – Byron

Can Jeb Bush win the White House? What would be the historical ramifications of a third president from the same family?  Have we ever come close to such a moment before?

In fact, we very well might have had three presidents from the family of John Adams, our second president.  His son, John Quincy Adams was the first son born to an American president and he, himself, became the sixth American president.  His father was 89 years old and too feeble to make the trip to Washington, D.C. to see his son’s inauguration.

President John Quincy’s third son, Charles Francis Adams, was born on August 18, 1807 and was both the son and grandson of presidents.  As in the case of Jeb Bush, many contemporaries of the younger Adams suggested that he was the best presidential material in the family.

Charles Francis Adams graduated from Harvard at age 17, apprenticed in law under Daniel Webster and became fluent in several languages.  In 1858 he was elected to the House of Representatives.  But his greatest service to the country came as Ambassador to the Court of St. James in London.  Young Adams would be the third member of the Adam’s family to hold this position and he would hold it at a critical time.  The Civil War raged in America and the Confederate government was close to receiving official recognition from the United Kingdom, the super power of its day.  British clothing manufacturers were pressuring the government to make a deal and thus assure the steady supply of Southern cotton for their factories.  Such a decision might have guaranteed independence for the South.  Historian John S. Cooper states that Charles Francis Adam’s work was “arguable the greatest contribution to the Union victory made by any individual in the war.”  It was a boast that included both Abraham Lincoln and Union commander, Ulysses S. Grant.

At a time when presidential candidates had to act coy and feign disinterest, Charles Adams was nominated for president in 1872 and again in 1876.

There are some uncanny historical similarities between the third Adams and the third Bush.

#1.) Both men are often referred to as better presidential material than the two presidents in the family who preceded them.

#2.) Both men are considered establishment figures with money and power behind their candidacy.

#3.) Both men are seen as ahead of their political parties in crafting new positions on the issues.  Adams was anti-slavery early in his career, when it was a controversial position to take.  And after the great Civil War finally put that issue to rest, he was an early advocate of civil service reform, the new controversy.  Meanwhile, Jeb Bush is seen as taking positions on immigration that are too much, too soon, to allow him to win the GOP nomination.

But there are some big differences between the third would be Adams president and the third would be Bush president.  Adams was more mercurial and politically risky than Bush, whose temperament is more cautious and circumspect.

Bush is eyeing the White House at a time when the national media and rival political parties have accepted family dynasties without criticism.  The Clinton’s, the Cuomo’s, the Kennedy’s, the Paul’s and the Carter’s are just some of the political families who have fielded multiple candidates.

Adams opponents railed against the dynastic power of one family rule.  And the national media was vigorously opposed.  When Robert Todd Lincoln, a contemporary of Charles Adams, was promoted for president the national media publicly attacked the idea.  Lincoln was the son of the beloved, slain President Abraham Lincoln, and like Charles had served as Ambassador to Great Britain.

The New York World warned that “rotten Republicanism has learned to revere things that savor of monarchy and aristocracy.  It would transmit the Presidency as their fathers’ successors to crowns.”  (All the Presidents Children, Simon and Schuster.) Joseph Pulitzer was aghast at the possibility declaring that no one should be elected president because of their father.

Jeb Bush represents one distinct difference from Charles Adams.  He would be running for president within 30 years of his father and brother.  The three Adams presidential candidates spread their political careers across 80 years and three generations.  Some argue that it is too much, too soon for Jeb Bush.  But then, his likely Democrat opponent in 2016 would be Hillary Clinton, whose president husband was impeached only sixteen years ago.

Knowing the Bush family, they will be prepared and then sit back and watch the polls.  The tide comes in and the tide goes out.  If they see an opportunity, they will take it.  But the Bushes, like the Adams, will feel no need to hurry.  Jeb Bush has a son, George P. Bush, who was just elected Texas Land Commissioner.  He will be ready soon and might be the family’s “next man in.”

For more on political family dynasties read The Raising of a President.


Bombshell: Charlie Marsh’s forgotten daughter

November 10, 2014

Today I received a bombshell.  Charlie Marsh, the networking – MLM  legend who is credited by some as the grandfather of system building, the upline to Dexter Yager, may have had a daughter out of wedlock.  And she is seeking reconciliation with the family she never knew.

Here is the post:  How the Amway Tool Business Began.

And here below is the comment she made on this blog post.

“Charlie Marsh had a daughter prior to his marriage with Elsie I am that daughter and was kept a secret due to he never married my Mother but he did acknowledge me as his daughter. My maiden name is Marsh Sad story but true. Also sad that I tried to contact him through Amway many times with no return calls or contact. Amyway strives to be a Christian based company but yet I was never provided for growing up by my Father Charlie Marsh. I have tried to get into contact with him Elsie refused that and now I have not been able to reach any of the children they had together which would be my half siblings. I apologize for using this blog for this purpose but I have had no success in reaching any Marsh Family. I would love for someone to contact me that knew Charlie Marsh I would love to obtain pictures and information. Thanks Dena Marsh”   dlcochran53@aol.com

If true, it is a story that has been told many times about titans of business, entertainment and power. When I began researching the family history of President Warren G. Harding I was soon contacted by members of the family who were lobbying my work.  They were especially concerned about what I might write concerning the story of Nan Britton who had an ongoing affair with the president and gave birth to Elizabeth Ann Blaesing.  I chose to write about the story and actually spoke with the daughter, Elizabeth Ann before she died.  I tried to get her to come forward and tell her story again but she had suffered too deeply at the hands of the presidents’ agents and defenders.

When word got out that I was writing a book for Simon and Schuster on children of presidents I was soon lobbied by the family of President Warren G. Harding.   They wanted to make sure I did not include the story of Nan Briton and her daughter, Elizabeth Ann Blaesing, the alleged illegitimate daughter of the president.  I promised to be careful and accurate but the story was too compelling to deny.

There is a moment in my book, All the Presidents’ Children, when Nan is visiting with the president in the private, upstairs quarters of the White House.  She calls him over to the window to look out on Lafayette Park.  There he would see their daughter, sitting quietly on a park bench where her mother, Nan Britton, had told her to wait.  The president refused.  “You don’t even want to see your own daughter?” she asked.

While Harding paid money for the child’s upbringing while he was a alive he made no provision afterward and the Harding family reacted viciously toward the former lover and unwed mother of the president.

Let us hope that this child of networking legend, Charlie Marsh, has a better reception.

Read also: “Jim Dornan, Amway legend passes.”

Doug Wead on Fox News last week.  Talks about “Angry Presidents.”

 

 


America: The Headless Horseman

October 31, 2014

- If the polls are right, President Barack Obama’s second midterm election losses will be a record in modern history.

Recent two term presidents and net losses in the House of Representatives during midterm elections

Dwight Eisenhower   66

Ronald Reagan  31

Bill Clinton  49

George W. Bush  22

Barack Obama is expected to lose between 68-75

 

Recent two term presidents and net losses in the Senate during midterm elections

Dwight Eisenhower  13

Ronald Reagan   7

Bill Clinton  8

George W. Bush  5

Barack Obama is expected to lose between   11-16

 

– The first midterm election setback for Obama was predictable.  It happened to Eisenhower, Reagan, Bush, Clinton.

– The difference is that most presidents respond to the setback and do better while this second rebuke for Obama is likely to result in unprecedented midterm rejection for a president.

–  In recent history every President who got spanked at midterm was stunned and chastised by the loss and immediately responded to the desires of the people and steered the government back to center.  This was true of conservative leaders like Reagan and liberal leaders like Clinton.  In both cases they sacrificed their own personal and partisan agenda to unite and lead the nation. All the people.

– What makes this moment in history different is that President Obama is ignoring these election setbacks.  He is essentially ignoring the wishes of the American people and using his remaining time in office to cater even more to his shrinking base.

– Everyone is talking about this lack of leadership.  On Ebola, for example, on corruption in the IRS, on incompetence in Veterans Affairs.  America is like the headless horsemen.  But nowhere is this lack of leadership more demoralizing than in its failure to be president of all the people.  To unite the country. It is as if the president only cares about his own.  No one else.

– There may be a very good explanation for this.  This president may not have an emotional need to be loved by the whole country.  Maybe it’s reciprocal. He may see no reason to unite them.  And unlike other presidents, Barack Obama may see a role for himself in the world beyond America, a post presidential international role.  So he may be appealing to specific power groups and constituents beyond this country.


Has President Goodluck Johnathan freed the captives? Will the Chibok girls come home?

October 17, 2014
 .
According to news reports coming out of Nigeria the government of president Goodluck Johnathan may have successfully negotiated the release of the 276 captured Chibok school girls from the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram.  As of this moment there has been no confirmation from the Boko Haram and none of the girls, declared as slaves by their Islamic captors, have been freed, although an estimated 50 have escaped.
.
If the reports are true it would be a stunning diplomatic victory for the Nigerian president.  Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has announced it will declare Nigeria an Ebola Free Zone, a claim that the United States cannot make. International observers are praising Nigeria for its thoughtful and measured action in dealing with the Ebola crisis while faulting the United States for its arrogance and complacency in responding to the danger.
 .
Boko Harma, which means “Western Education is Forbidden” has received worldwide condemnation for its campaign of rape, murder and torture of children across Africa. An estimated 5,000 have been murdered this year.
.
While many American news organizations have characterized the conflict in Nigeria as a war between Christians and Muslims, the toll of death and destruction has been markedly one sided with Christians refusing the fight back. Tracking by the Jubilee organization out of Fairfax, Virginia has shown that in the last two years more Christians have been killed in northern Nigeria alone than in all other countries of the world combined.
 .
Speaking before the Hudson Institute and other forums, Nigerian human rights activist, Emmanuel Ogebe offers a compelling litany of the atrocities of recent years.
 .
Bokko Haram suicide bombers attacked St.Finbarr’s Catholic Church in Rayfield killing 13, including the boy scouts who welcomed visitors and operated the church gate.
.
More than 200 were killed in a single day of brutal massacres in Kano State.
 .
When Christians dared to vote in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, their city was burned to the ground by Islamic jihadists.
 .
Larger cities are no guarantee of safety. A prominent pastor was dragged from a taxi on a city street and stabbed to death for refusing to convert to Islam on the spot.
 .
A Church of Christ congregation was attacked in Jos Plateau State, killing two women, a one year old child and injuring 50.
 .
The countryside can be especially dangerous. 500 Christian villagers in Dogo Nahawa were massacred by Muslim herdsmen.
 .
In 2012, Muslims killed 88 villagers and burned 187 houses in Jos North.  When survivors and mourners, led by a Christian Senator Gyang Dantong held a burial service the next day, the Nigerian Senator was, himself, murdered and 13 other mourners along with him.
 .
For several years, the United States government of president Barack Obama turned a blind eye to the calamity, refusing all calls to name Boko Haram as a terrorist organization.  In December, 2012, then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton stunned African leaders by raising the alarm over the massacre of elephants while ignoring the human slaughter of Christians in nearby Nigeria. “Our goal is to inform more people about his crisis,” she said, of the threat to the elephants, “attacks are multiplying at an alarming rate.”
 .
In November, 2013, the United States, responding to widespread outrage from human rights organizations finally determined that the Islamic organization, Boko Haram, were indeed terrorists.  At the same time the U.S. government insisted that news reports claiming that the terrorists were funded by Al Qaeda was false.  Other news reports say that the group receives substantial financial support from British and Saudi Arabian Islamic communities.
 .
In April, 2014 the Boko Haram descended on the Northern Nigerian village of Chibok where they kidnapped 276 teenage girls from a State run boarding school.  According to reports of girls who escaped, they were ordered at gunpoint to convert to Islam.  Boko Haram announced that the the girls, some as young as 13, would be sold as wives or used as sex slaves by Islamic warriors.
 .
With the dramatic kidnapping of the Chibok girls politicians worldwide, including Democrat and Republican politicians in the United States who  had been silent about the plight of Nigerian Christian civilians, rallied to “Bring back our girls.”
 .
If the recent Nigerian negotiations with the Boko Haram are true, it will result in a miracle return from captivity for the girls whose fate was was being mourned by millions worldwide.

State weighs in on Houston’s war on its churches

October 16, 2014

The following letter is being circulated in Texas.  It was allegedly written by the Attorney General of Texas and shed’s more light on the controversy mentioned in yesterday’s blog.

October 15, 2014

Mr. David Feldman

City Attorney

City of Houston

900 Bagby, 4th Floor

Houston, Texas 77002

Dear Mr. Feldman:

Your office has demanded that four Houston pastors hand over to the city government many of their private papers, including their sermons.  Whether you intend it to be so or not, your action is a direct assault on the religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment.  The people of Houston and their religious leaders must be absolutely secure in the knowledge that their religious affairs are beyond the reach of the government.  Nothing short of an immediate reversal by your office will provide that security.  I call on you to withdraw the subpoenas without further delay.

I recognize that the subpoenas arise from litigation related to a petition to repeal an ordinance adopted by the city council.  But the litigation discovery process is not a license for government officials to inquire into religious affairs.  Nor is your office’s desire to vigorously support the ordinance any excuse for these subpoenas.  No matter what public policy is at stake, government officials must exercise the utmost care when our work touches on religious matters.  If we err, it must be on the side of preserving the autonomy of religious institutions and the liberty of religious believers.  Your aggressive and invasive subpoenas show no regard for the very serious First Amendment considerations at stake.

A statement released by the Mayor’s Office claims that the subpoenas were prepared by outside lawyers and that neither you nor Mayor Parker was aware of them before they were issued.  Nevertheless, these lawyers acted in the City’s name, and you are responsible for their actions.  You should immediately instruct your lawyers to withdraw the City’s subpoenas.  Religious institutions and their congregants should never have to worry that a government they disagree with will attempt to interfere in their religious affairs.  Instead of safeguarding that trust, you appear to have given some of the most powerful law firms in Houston free rein to harass and intimidate pastors who oppose City policy.  In good faith, I hope you merely failed to anticipate how inappropriately aggressive your lawyers would be.  Many, however, believe your actions reflect the city government’s hostility to religious beliefs that do not align with city policies.

I urge you to demonstrate the City’s commitment to religious liberty and to true diversity of belief by unilaterally withdrawing these subpoenas immediately.  Your stated intention to wait for further court proceedings falls woefully short of the urgent action needed to reassure the people of Houston that their government respects their freedom of religion and does not punish those who oppose city policies on religious grounds.

Sincerely,

Greg Abbott

Attorney General of Texas


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 493 other followers