Written by Stanley Greenberg Friday, 17 February 2012 00:00
This November 6, we are going to the election booths all over the United States to select a president. Our system, under the Constitution, declares that an election is to be held every four years.
The Democrats and Republicans are preparing for a hotly contested race. The Democrats have an incumbent and the Republicans are in a close contest to find a suitable candidate.
I would like to review all the presidents I remember since my birth in October 1934.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president for the first 11 years of my life. He was a great orator and led the U.S. through World War II, with his fireside speeches.Harry S. Truman, FDR’s vice president, took over the presidency on April 12, 1945. He was a simple man with humble tastes and he got us through the post-World War II difficulties, The Marshall Plan etc.
Dwight D. Eisenhower ran the country from 1952-1960. He was a war hero, a five star general. He landed on the golf course in Seoul, Korea where I saw him. He ended the Korean War in 1953.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was president between 1960 and 1963. On Nov. 22, 1963, he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. He was young and energetic. I heard of his assassination on the radio.
Lyndon Baines Johnson assumed the presidency after Kennedy. The Vietnam War was his major problem. He did much for civil rights. He served until 1968.
Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th president of the U.S., was the only president to resign from office. He was a hardliner against Communist expansion. He defeated Hubert Humphrey in 1968. The 1972 election against George McGovern was successful. The Vietnam War ended with a cease-fire in January 1973.
Gerald Ford in 1974 took over for Nixon after the Watergate scandal. In 1976, Jimmy Carter defeated him. Carter, the 39th president, signed two treaties giving the Panama Canal back to Panama. He presided over a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. The Iran Hostage Crisis led to his defeat by Reagan.
Ronald Reagan, an actor and California governor, in 1980 won a landslide victory over Carter. The Iran hostages were released when he took office. John Hinckley Jr. shot him in the chest. He fired the striking air traffic controllers. Low unemployment and he defeated Walter Mondale in 1984.
George H.W. Bush was a WWII flying hero, ambassador to China, CIA head and vice president for Reagan’s two terms. He defeated Michael Dukakis. He announced Operation Desert Shield and defeated Iraq in its quest to take over Kuwait.
William Jefferson Clinton served for eight years. He was popular but he was impeached unsuccessfully for sexual activities. He was successful in the Sarajevo military crisis. His wife, Hillary, was helpful in his career.
George Bush, son of G.H.W. Bush, became president in 2000. He served after the bombing of the World Trade Center in September 2001. He later invaded Iraq. There was a historic economic crisis in 2008.
Barack H. Obama is our present president. He defeated Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. He is facing election this November. It should be an interesting election.