Can America survive a Joe Biden Presidency if he’s eventually declared the winner?
If the United States can survive inept leaders like Jimmy Carter (1976-80), James Buchanan (1857-61) pictured above, center; Franklin Pierce (1853-57) pictured above far left; Andrew Johnson (1865-69), pictured above far right; John Tyler (1841-45) and Millard Fillmore (1850-53), it can certainly survive an incompetent, old geezer whose primary campaign strategy was to yell and wheeze at parked cars.
However, Joe Biden isn’t the greatest threat to the country. It’s Kamala Harris, his socialist vice president with her Hilary Clinton cackle and Marxist ideals.
It’s obvious to everyone that Biden is clearly in the early stages of severe cognitive decline. At age 78 he may not make it through the next four years, and we’ll end up with Harris as president.
Three of the country’s worst presidents got the top job because the elected president died and as vice president they moved into the Oval Office. Tyler was the first vice president to succeed a president when William Henry Harrison died of a respiratory illness in 1841 after serving only 30 days. Fillmore took office in 1850 following the death of Zachery Taylor. Andrew Johnson stepped up in 1865 following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Buchanan, Pierce, and Carter were spectacular failures on their own and a disgusted electorate rejected them after one term.
How awful were they? Here’s a brief synopsis of each of the country’s most spectacular presidential failures.
John Tyler: Tyler, a staunch supporter of slavery, was not only a presidential failure but a traitor that committed an act of treason against the U.S. government. Sixteen years after leaving office, when the Civil War seemed inevitable, Tyler embraced the Confederacy and urged fellow Virginians to join him. He was eventually elected to the Confederate Congress, which was officially at war with the country he once served as president. Dubbed “His Accidency”, he was the first vice president to ascend to the presidency setting the succession precedent that exists to this day. His own party, the Whigs, expelled him, a first for a sitting president, sparking his entire cabinet with the exception of the Secretary of State to resign over his policies. He was the first president to have an impeachment resolution introduced against him. It failed. He is also the first president to have a veto overridden by Congress taking place on his last day in office. On a positive note it was his wife Julia who started the tradition of having the Marine Corps Band play “Hail to the Chief” at official events.
Millard Fillmore: The second vice president to ascend to the presidency was Fillmore, who assumed that role upon the death of Zachery Taylor in 1850. He was the last Whig president. Unlike Taylor who wanted the country to remain united under any circumstances and opposed slavery, Fillmore wanted to compromise with the south. He supported the Compromise of 1850 that included the abhorrent Fugitive Slave Act that required the federal government to help return escaped slaves to their enslavers. This caused him the 1852 nomination when his own Whig party rejected him. In 1856 he ran for president as a member of The Know-Nothing Party, an anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic party. In that election, Fillmore only won the electoral votes from the state of Maryland and was defeated by James Buchanan. On a positive note under his administration the U.S. and Japan agreed to trade between their two nations mostly through the efforts of Commodore Matthew Perry.
Andrew Johnson: The most well-known failed vice president who became president is Andrew Johnson, who assumed office following Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. In a 2010 Siena College survey, Johnson was called the worst president in history and a C-SPAN academic survey ranked him as the second-worst president, just ahead of James Buchanan. Lincoln was a tough act to follow and Johnson wasn’t up to it. He opposed the Freedmen’s Bureau Bill, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, and the Fourteenth Amendment. In the end, Johnson did more to extend the period of national discord than he did to heal the wounds of the Civil War. Most importantly, Johnson’s strong commitment to obstructing political and civil rights for blacks is principally responsible for the failure of Reconstruction to solve the race problem in the South and perhaps in America as well. He will be remembered as the first president to be impeached. He is the only former president to be elected to the U.S. Senate, running for his old Senate seat from Tennessee and winning in 1875. Ironically, he was sworn in by the same Senate that almost impeached him a few years earlier. He died four months later.
Franklin Pierce: In addition to being an alcoholic and the youngest person (47) to be elected president up to that time, Pierce is also known for falling off his horse several times during the Mexican-American War. He was given the rank of Brigadier General even though he had never previously served in the military. Despite being from the North, he was pro-slavery. During the election of 1852, his Whig opponents mocked him as “the hero of many a well-fought bottle.” As a slavery advocate he supported the Kansas-Nebraska Act, that repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820 turning the Kansas territory into a hotbed of violence over slavery. He appointed as his Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, who eventually became the President of the Confederacy. During the war many in the north considered Pierce a traitor. On a positive note his administration accomplished the Gadsden Purchase, land purchased from Mexico in present-day New Mexico and Arizona that completed the boundaries of the continental US.
James Buchanan: Following Buchanan’s election investigators uncovered multiple frauds that had occurred in several states that worked to the Democrats’ favor including in Philadelphia where a clerk admitted forging 2,700 immigration forms so that recent immigrants could vote. Sound familiar? Biographer Jane Baker say that Buchanan failed as president “not because he was weak but because he pursued the wrong policies vigorously.” As secessionist states began preparing to leave the union Buchanan did nothing but voice his opposition unlike Andrew Jackson who earlier sent troops to South Carolina forcing them to comply with federal law and stopping its succession. Buchanan instead left his successor, Abraham Lincoln, the worst situation that ever awaited an incoming president in all of American history.
Jimmy Carter: Carter’s presidency is most remembered for the 13-month hostage crisis in Iran, where Iranians held 53 American diplomats after breaking into the US Embassy in Tehran. His efforts to release them failed including a spectacular rescue mission that ended up with the deaths of eight American servicemen and burning US helicopters and airplanes left in the Iranian desert. He was elected on the back-to-back traumas of Vietnam and Watergate. His lack of eloquence and failure to deliver on his promises contributed to him being a one-term president. Biographer Alvin Felzenberg said: “If Carter had invested the same amount of time in mastering how Congress functioned as he did scheduling the White House tennis courts he might have been able to advance his agenda.” His famous “malaise” speech where he blamed the American people for the energy crisis among other issues didn’t help. On a positive note he did secure a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
The most successful vice president to assume the presidency was Teddy Roosevelt (1901-1909) following the assassination of President William McKinley. One of the worst not listed above was Lyndon Johnson (1963-1969), who became president following John Kennedy’s assassination. He left behind a legacy of a devastated black community due to his misguided Great Society programs and a divided nation with his misadventures in Vietnam. Gerald Ford (1974-1977), who took over after Richard Nixon resigned, was a decent man with good intentions and did no harm.
Would Joe Biden be as bad as any of the worst? I hope not. However, I don’t think it’s Biden America has to worry about. It’s his vice president, Kamala Harris.
The Biggest Loser: Michael Bloomberg spent a billion dollars of his own money in the Democrat primary and didn’t earn a single delegate. Then he tossed in more than $100 million of his cash backing Democrats in Florida, Texas, and Ohio, which were all won by Trump and other Republican candidates. When his wife was sitting at the kitchen table balancing the checkbook did she ask: “Honey, what the hell did you get that cost one billion, one hundred million dollars?” His answer would be: “Nothing darling.”
Meanwhile Back At The Ranch: Fernandina Beach residents now have a chance to isolate pompous, self-righteous, spendthrift City Commissioner Chip Ross and slap some restraints on his co-conspirator, City Manager Dale Martin. Bradley Bean was successful in his Commission election and David Sturges is in a runoff with Genece Minshew December 8. If Sturges wins the runoff Ross will have no allies and he’ll just be an amusing isolated side show. Martin will be forced to do as Len Kreger, Mike Lednovich, Bean and hopefully Sturges dictate, otherwise he’ll be shown the door. That’ll be refreshing and fun to observe. Sturges got 3,734 votes to 2nd place Minshew’s 2,563. It’ll be interesting to see who third place finisher Alexandria Lajoux asks her voters to back if anybody.
Calling It As He Sees It: Nobody has described today’s media better than Wall Street Journal opinion page writer Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. in Wednesday’s, November 4, edition when he wrote: “A culture of actual stupidity reigns in many newsrooms where careful reasoning is jauntily eschewed in favor of treating facts as unrelated adornments on predetermined story lines.”
And Your Mother Wears Combat Boots Too! The head of Fernandina Beach’s building department, Stephen Beckman, made it abundantly clear in comments here last week that he doesn’t care for me. And that’s a fact. In fact, it’s the only fact he’s provided despite the fact he says that he’s loaded with facts that he says I ignore.
So, let’s fact check the facts that Mr. Beckman says he tosses my way helter-skelter.
On October 16 I wrote that a local building engineer and developer teamed up to analyze publicly available data for a hotel being constructed at Main Beach and then compared the actual city fees to what Nassau County would have charged.
The Fernandina investigative duo discovered that The City of Fernandina Beach fees for the hotel were $455,114.27 while the county’s would have totaled $80,160.81, a whopping $374,953.46 less than what the city charged the hotel builder for the same exact project. The city charges are 5.7 times more. What does the hotel builder get from the city that is worth almost six times the county’s cost Mr. Beckman?
Mr. Beckman didn’t offer an explanation, nor did he deny the fact that developers and builders are being screwed by the city.
Local watch dog group Common Sense founder, Jack Knocke, and I both confirmed that the city’s building permitting, and review fees are close to six times higher for commercial buildings. In addition, city fees are more than two times higher for identical residential properties for exactly the same services provided by the county. Where are the facts that justify that Mr. Beckman?
I, and others have long suggested that the city outsource these services to the county, which obviously has a more efficient mechanism and cost-effective system in place that would result in a huge savings to city residents and builders currently being outrageously gouged by the city.
Fernandina is in the county and all Mr. Beckman has to do is walk across the street to take advantage of the savings – no tricks, no gimmicks, no expiration date, no high-pressure sales tactics, and no hidden fees. Residents of the city win a huge cash savings and Mr. Beckman loses his job. But that shouldn’t bother him because last week he told me he can make more money in the private sector anyway.
In his comments to me Mr. Beckman didn’t dispute any of the financial facts in the city-county comparison or explain why the city fees are so much higher.
Instead, he said a comparison between the city’s and county’s fee structure isn’t feasible because they’re “different”. He didn’t explain how they are different despite the city being located smack inside the county. He also says the city has conducted a cost study to justify their fees to the state.
He also took issue with my criticism of the online Fernandina Observer for publishing what I called a “puff piece” about his department. Coincidentally in the same issue the Observer printed a letter by Common Sense’s Jack Knocke criticizing Beckman’s function and the cost disparity.
Here’s what an angry Mr. Beckman had to say to me about that: “I think this will be my last comment made here as it is obvious to me that facts are ignored and that you are sure that we are all criminals. Further comment here is a waste of my time.” In other words, he’s angry because I won’t regurgitate the hype he submits to the Observer which obligingly prints anything the city offers up. It’s the more than obliging propaganda arm of the city.
I am fact deprived he claims. “If you had all the facts, you would know that I started a dialogue with the Observer long before I ever heard of your blog. The Observer and I agreed that I will do public information pieces throughout the year for public out-reach and education, blah, blah, blah. My goal is not ‘puff’ pieces, but rather education about why it all matters and how it works.”
I thoroughly searched through Mr. Beckman’s “public information piece” and couldn’t turn up one single fact justifying the dramatic differences in costs between the city and the county. What did I miss Mr. Beckman?
Here’s more from Mr. Beckman’s “fact-filled” comment posted here last week: “If you had all the facts, you would realize that I am taking action to address properly setting fees long before you ever said a word, blah, blah, blah.” The only fact there is a weak admission that current fees are not “properly set” and he’s working to address that. How Mr. Beckman?
“If you had the facts, you would know that months ago the city and county began a dialogue to put together an inter local agreement…. We are working on how we can all do more and do better together in ways that benefit everyone in the city and county.”
Again, no facts there that I could find, just a slick salesman telling me how great things will be if I buy into his pitch. If the county lets this guy do anything “to benefit the county” it’ll be “Katie, Bar the door!” Nassau developers, builders and buyers will need to brace themselves for a financial shellacking.
Mr. Knocke and I are not alone in our opinion of the city’s rip-off permitting and review scheme.
Two alert local readers of this blog – author, pundit, journalist, Nobel Peace Prize nominee and political observer, Ken Timmerman; and author, investor, local developer, attorney and political observer Pat Keogh – both perceptive well-informed area citizens who keep abreast of goings on in the city closer than most, pointed out Mr. Beckman’s stinginess with facts that he says he provides so generously and claims I gratuitously disregard.
Mr. Timmerman called him out saying, “You mention ‘the facts’ five times in your comment, four times in the phrase, ‘if you had the facts;’ and yet, instead of citing a single fact, you just string out bromides and claim you are doing all that is ‘right and best’ for the community. Excuse me, sir, but there’s a name for that. It’s called Bravo Sierra.”
Mr. Keogh’s response to Mr. Beckman added: “……the citizens of the city are also citizens of the county and the services you insist on providing are offered better and much less expensively by the county literally across the street. Your response so far seems to be a plea for understanding on why you are “different”. So far we only get words from you. When will we get better, lower cost service?”
Mr, Beckman concluded his scolding of me saying: “So, go ahead with your crazy conspiracies and half checked facts. We will continue doing the work we need to do to the best of our abilities. None of your accusations or beliefs are driving what we are doing. We are miles ahead of you.”
I suggest Mr. Beckman seek another line of work. It appears that used car salesman or fulltime Observer staff writer would be a good fit.
Things I Wish I’d Said: “Journalists are such abusive scoundrels nowadays that when people wish to insult someone’s obvious lack of integrity, they should stop comparing them to used car salesmen and start likening them to reporters and news anchors.” – Burt Prelutsky.
Drinking, Dining & Dancing: Chet Huntley, the general manager of the newly opened Boat House the corner of downtown Ash and South 2nd Street tells me that his restaurant and bar has instituted a “Happy Hour.” It runs Tuesday through Friday, from 3:00- 6:00 pm. Well drinks are $4.00, domestic draft is $3.00 and import/microbrew $4.00, domestic bottle beers $3.00 and import/microbrew beer $4.00. House wine, Cabernet, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir goes for $5.00 a glass.