Pinkerton: Biden Channels Truman and Clinton to Win in 2024

The Democratic president, a former senator from a border state, was lightly regarded and not so hot in the polls. 

He had made plenty of mistakes in the Oval Office, and yet his aides knew one big thing: If they stayed on the right side of a key issue—the income security of Americans—and could paint the Republicans as being on the wrong side of that issue, they’d be fine. In fact, Republicans, enjoying newfound power on Capitol Hill, chose to pursue an unpopular ideological agenda. They played right into the Democrats’ hands.

So, the incumbent president went to work: He blasted Republicans for pursuing exotic schemes that would jeopardize the well-being of Americans, especially senior citizens.

Does that sound a bit like Joe Biden as he zinged Republicans in his State of the Union address for seeking to cut, or even transform, Social Security and Medicare? As his people issued a fact sheet on the subject? As he even went to Florida to push the message even harder? As the mainstream media played along with cheering headlines such as “Democrats would love to make 2024 an entitlements election”?


President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union address on February 7, 2023. (AFP)

Well, if it does sound like Biden, that’s a bit scary, because actually, I was describing Harry Truman, the 33rd president, who won a big presidential victory back in 1948.

Truman had been a senator before that from a border state—Missouri, like Delaware, was a slave state that stayed in the Union during the Civil War—and not all that highly regarded, having ascended to the presidency only upon the death of his predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Yet Truman had every intention of winning the presidency in his own right, and to help him, in November 1947, aides Clark Clifford and James Rowe composed a 43-page memorandum, outlining a clever strategy for their man.  Clifford and Rowe recognized that the likely Republican presidential nominee in 1948, New York Republican governor Thomas E. Dewey, was a moderate centrist. Which is to say, Dewey might seem plausible to voters who were looking for safe change after a decade-and-a-half of Democratic domination. So aides Clifford and Rowe advised targeting instead the Republican Congress. The Capitol Hill GOP was well to the right of Dewey, and so, the Trumanites reasoned, could be portrayed as extremist and dangerous. So even though Dewey would be the name on the ballot opposite Truman, the Democrats chose to run, in effect, against Congressional Republicans.

A key issue for the Democrats was Social Security, the signature program of FDR’s New Deal.  As Democrats wrote in their party platform on July 12, 1948:

We favor the extension of the Social Security program established under Democratic leadership, to provide additional protection against the hazards of old age, disability, disease or death.

Three days later, in his acceptance speech at the Philadelphia convention,Truman “gave Republicans hell” including on Social Security: 

Time and again I have recommended improvements in the Social Security law, including extending protection to those not now covered, and increasing the amount of benefits.

Truman mocked Republicans for pledging that they wanted “to provide security for the aged” (they had learned the hard way, in earlier elections, not to claim that the program was “unworkable”); Truman snarled that when he made recommendations to expand the program:

Congress studied the matter for 2 years, but couldn’t find time to extend or increase the benefits.  But they did find the time to take Social Security benefits away from 750,000 people, and they passed that over my veto.

He jabbed the GOP: “I wonder if they think they can fool the people of the United States with such poppycock as that!”

Powered by such sharp, contrast-drawing rhetoric, Truman won the 1948 election by a comfortable margin, 4.5 points. And this even as third and fourth party candidates, both renegade Democrats, garnered 4.7 percent of the vote. Which is to say, their votes came out of Truman’s hide. Had it been a two-man race in 1948, Truman vs. Dewey, the Missourian would have won a landslide.

President Harry S. Truman gleefully displays a premature early edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune from his train in St. Louis, Missouri, after his defeat of Thomas E. Dewey in the 1948 presidential election. (Frank Cancellare/UPI via Getty Images)

Still, Truman the man was not overwhelming. However, Truman the defender of the New Deal was a crusher.  All Truman had to do was clarify the choice before the voters as New Deal vs. Anti-New Deal, and he would win. And so that’s what he did.  Indeed, the further proof that Truman was riding a great blue wave of sentiment was found in that year’s Congressional elections: Democrats gained nine seats in the Senate and 75 seats in the House.

Okay, so that was 1948, a long time ago. But other observers have noticed that Bill Clinton benefited from the same dynamic—positioning himself as the champion of entitlements while blasting Republicans as heartless budget-cutters—in the 1996 presidential election, which, of course, Clinton won.

But Truman’s victory came first, and it was, including Congress, much more sweeping. For their part, Republicans not wishing to lose in 2024 would do well to study what went wrong for the GOP in both 1948 or 1996. 

Bill Clinton waves to supporters flanked by his wife, Hillary Clinton, and his running mate, Al Gore, following Clinton’s victory in the 1996 presidential election on November 5, 1996. (Brooks Kraft LLC/Sygma via Getty Images)

Let’s face it, folks: Social Security is popular. These days, according to a 2022 poll from Data for Progress, 68 percent of Americans oppose privatizing the program. Moreover, 83 percent of Americans support increasing Social Security benefits. And the numbers for Medicare aren’t much different. Interestingly, one who evidently agrees with Biden is Donald Trump. Back on January 20, the 45th president declared, “Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security.” (In other countries, too, old-age pensions are popular; people feel that they have earned them, which is why nearly one million French citizens too to the streets to protest pension cuts this weekend.)

Yet as the Bidenites are eager to point out, Republicans seem to have a strange fascination with cutting and/or privatizing Social Security. You know, the way moths are fascinated by flames. On February 6, House Budget Committee chair Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX), joined by many other House Republicans, urged a “fast-track” deficit commission that would look at all federal spending. Within minutes, a Biden press aide dismissed the idea of a commission as a “death panel.” As we remember, the label of “death panel” is, well, the kiss of death for the proponent.

And speaking of the kiss of death, that’s what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered to his GOP colleague, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL). Asked about a past proposal from Scott to “sunset” (review) entitlement programs—which Scott himself as disavowed, but which Democrats have gleefully remembered—McConnell said, “It’s just a bad idea. I think it will be a challenge for him to deal with this in his own reelection in Florida, a state with more elderly people than any state in America.” Now that’s a death-smack.

So finally, we have found an issue that Biden, Trump, and McConnell agree on! And that’s why any talk of entitlement cuts—be they called  “changes,” or “reforms,” or whatever—is a non-starter. (And speaking of politicians attempting to “sunset” popular programs like Social Security and Medicare, it should be noted that Senator Joe Biden introduced legislation in 1975 that would do that very thing. The idea wasn’t popular then either.)

Okay, so that’s the politics. But what about the substance of the issue: the fiscal cost of these programs? According to projections, Medicare will be insolvent by 2028, even as the program’s spending is seen rising  steadily throughout this century. So without a change in policy, the choice is enormous tax increases and/or bulges in the deficit and debt. And the same red-ink prognosis holds true for Medicaid and other health programs. Do Democrats want to preside over that?   Most likely, Democrats will answer: We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

For the rest of us, the issue of saving money on entitlements while keeping faith with deserving beneficiaries is best left to another time, although I have written about it, here at Breitbart News, as far back as  2014. For for the tl;dr group: A cure is cheaper than care. It’s cheaper to beat than to treat. But Republican officeholders, looking to save money on entitlements while keeping their jobs, might have to read the whole dang thing.


Hellstorm – Exposing The Real Genocide of Nazi Germany

Hellstorm – Exposing The Real Genocide of Nazi Germany

ABeautifulTwistedMind – February 2nd, 2022

Based on Thomas Goodrich’s book, ‘Hellstorm: The Death of Nazi Germany, 1944-47’ this 2015 film is about the Real Genocide of Nazi Germany. Learn the truth about the rape, torture, slavery, and mass murder inflicted upon the German people by the Allied victors of World War II.

Most of us know nothing about what happened to the German people during and after World War II. It is time for the terrible truth to be revealed.
destruction or slaughter on a mass scale, especially caused by fire or nuclear war.
“a nuclear holocaust”
synonyms: cataclysm, disaster, catastrophe; More
a Jewish sacrificial offering that is burned completely on an altar.

By the true definition of Holocaust there were 2 countries that experienced a Holocaust
That would be the relentless indiscriminate fire bombing of Germany and the 2 atomic bombs dropped on Japan.
Both happened by psychopathic Jews

Backup here

SourceSouth Australian Gov Criminal Organisation

Pinkerton: What Happens When a Communist Regime Penetrates Our Government

Explosive Accusations

The U.S. Congressman, a Democrat, is accused of being an agent of a foreign communist power. As one accuser says of the lawmaker, “I think he is a spy.” The Congressman denies it, and yet eventually, it’s demonstrated that he has been, in fact, engaged in espionage on behalf of foreign communist paymasters.

Perhaps the reader might be thinking that this case is connected to the People’s Republic of China; after all, its many spy programs have been in the news a lot lately—including just this past week.  

On December 1, John Ratcliffe, the former Member of Congress whom President Trump appointed as Director of National Intelligence (DNI) earlier this year, wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “The People’s Republic of China poses the greatest threat to America today, and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom world-wide since World War II.” He added, “The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the U.S. and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically.”

In addition, in a December 3 interview with CBS News’ intelligence ace, Catherine Herridge, Ratcliffe added more detail, asserting that the Chinese have proven themselves capable of using blackmail, bribery, and covert and overt influence to ensure that the U.S. enacts laws and policies favorable to China.

Then, on December 8, came a pair of revelations that are perhaps traceable to Ratcliffe’s intelligence work. The New York Post reported on a video, taped in November, in which a Chinese official, Di Dongsheng, vice dean of the School of International Relations at Beijing’s Renmin University, said:

I’m going to throw out something maybe a little bit explosive here. It’s just because we have people at the top. We have our old friends who are at the top of America’s core inner circle of power and influence. 

Yes, Di’s words are, indeed, explosive—the idea that China’s friends are “at the top of America’s core inner circle of power and influence.” So who might these friends be?  Di didn’t say, exactly, although he mentioned Hunter Biden, who is certainly well-placed and has had plenty of business activity in China, along with Chris Heinz, step-son of John Kerry, whom Joe Biden has slated to be his climate-change czar.  

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, left, waves as he walks out of Air Force Two with his granddaughter Finnegan Biden and son Hunter Biden at the airport in Beijing, China, on Dec. 4, 2013. Hunter Biden’s private equity firm secured a billion dollar deal with the state-owned Bank of China ten days after accompanying his father on this trip to China. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Of course, Di’s statements haven’t been verified, let alone proven. So it’s possible that some or all of these allegations will be judged to be misleading, or perhaps even as outright fake news. Or, they might someday be regarded as a disinformation plot—perhaps, who knows, aimed at throwing investigators off the trail of someone else. As they say, espionage and counter-espionage are a wilderness of mirrors. 

In that same spirit of curious but cautious, we must, at least for now, also put a caveat in front of Tuesday’s bombshell scoop of Axios, headlined, “Suspected Chinese spy targeted California politicians.” As that piece detailed, early in the last decade, a female Chinese national named Fang Fang (also known as Christine Fang) deliberately networked with various Golden State politicians, including Rep. Eric Swalwell, best known for his ill-starred bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.  

Moreover, the Axios report added:

Through campaign fundraising, extensive networking, personal charisma, and romantic or sexual relationships with at least two Midwestern mayors, Fang was able to gain proximity to political power. [emphasis added] 

In fact, one unnamed intelligence official told Axios that the Fang case “was a big deal, because there were some really, really sensitive people that were caught up.” (Swalwell, we might note, has a spot on the powerful House Intelligence Committee.) 

These are some tantalizing suspicions, aren’t they?  For his part, Swalwell denies any wrongdoing–although in an interview with Politico, he pointedly refused to discuss his relationship with Fang (Gee, how should we interpret that?). For her part, Fang reportedly left the U.S. in 2015, returning to China—where she will most likely be unavailable to investigators. 

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) with suspected Chinese communist spy Christine Fang (Facebook)

Indeed, as of now, it’s an open question as to how much more we’ll learn about any of these cases. After all, Ratcliffe is a Trump appointee, and Joe Biden has already named a successor, Avril Haines, for the DNI post.

So what will Haines do once she’s in office? Will she have anything notable to say about China’s campaign against the U.S.? Will she provide us with more details about Di’s comments? Or about Fang’s activities? Or about Swalwell—and what he did or didn’t do? And what about that pair of randy Midwestern mayors? Will we ever find out their names? 

We don’t yet know the answers to those questions, of course, although we do know that Joe Biden has been notably non-communicative about one China-connected figure close to him: his son, Hunter Biden.  

Yes, Joe Biden has said that son will not be involved in any foreign money-making schemes; however, as Breitbart News’ Joel Pollak has pointed out, the elder Biden has made that pledge before and not kept it.  (And we can add that such restrictions are hard to enforce; what, after all, constitutes a foreign scheme, as opposed to just, you know, Hunter Biden living his usual high life in a $12,000-a month pad in the Hollywood Hills?) 

In the meantime, we should know that if something has happened before, that raises the likelihood that it can happen again. As the philosopher Hegel explained, the actual proves the possible.  

And actually, there was once a member of Congress who was spy for a communist country. So yes, today, a communist spy in our midst is a possibility. 

An Explosive Accusation, Proven 

It was in the 1930s, when a Democratic Congressman from New York City, Samuel Dickstein, operated as a paid spy for the Soviet Union. As detailed in a 1999 book, The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America – The Stalin Era, by Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev, Dickstein delivered secrets to his NKVD (a predecessor to the KGB) handler, Peter Gutzeit, a Russian operating in the United States. Gutzeit had also spread his tentacles into Hollywood and other leftist hotbeds.  In 2014, another intelligence historian, Peter Duffy, summed up the case against Dickstein in an article headlined, “The Congressman Who Spied for Russia.” (Duffy dug up the quote, used in the first paragraph of this piece, “I think he is a spy,” said by a contemporary of Dickstein’s.)

Soviet spy Rep. Samuel Dickstein (D-NY), 1937. (Library of Congress)

In addition to the elected Dickstein, hundreds of others in non-elected federal jobs were also Soviet spies. Perhaps the most notorious of these was Alger Hiss, a onetime top aide in the State Department, who was revealed as a communist agent by a young Congressman, Richard Nixon, in 1948, and sent to prison in the early 1950s.

This was the Cold War era, when the communist Soviet Union sought to overturn American security and threaten world peace. 

John Berresford, an independent historian whose extensive research on the Hiss case has been showcased at the Smithsonian Museum, sees similarities—and dissimilarities—between America’s situation in the Cold War with the Soviet Union and today in what’s emerging as a new cold war with China. 

Among the dissimilarities is that the Soviet Union back then had the benefit of the international appeal of communism. That is, many idealists—wrongheadedly, of course—saw communism, then embodied by Josef Stalin, as the better system. By contrast, in our time, as Berresford says, “No one is ideologically committed to President Xi Jinping.”

Yet on the other hand, China has far-flung business interests across the world, as well as plenty of money. And money, all too often, can make things happen, spy-wise. As Berresford puts it, “The words may change but the song—that is, blackmail and seduction—remains the same.” Indeed, the essence of spycraft is temptation: if not ideological, then financial or sexual. Anything that someone might want, a spy-recruiter might provide. 

Proven Countermeasures 

So what can we do about Chinese espionage? We know what Ratcliffe and the Trump administration want to do—they want to get tough. So now we’ll have to see the stance of the Biden administration.

Yet the Bidenites should realize that there’s a price to be paid for laxity on national security—including a political price.  For perspective, we might think back, again, to the 1940s. We had been allies with the Soviet Union during World War II, based on the hard-nosed calculation that Hitler’s Germany was the greatest enemy and that we needed all the help we could get to beat him. 

Yet after Germany’s surrender in May 1945, it soon became apparent that the Soviet Union was also a grave threat. And the threat wasn’t just the Red Army in Europe; it was also the “fifth column” of communist spies in the U.S.  Most, if not all, of those spies, including Alger Hiss, had penetrated the federal government during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933 to 1945.

Soviet spy and Democratic administration official Alger Hiss testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee in Washington, DC, on Aug. 25, 1948. (AP Photo)

So now it was the challenge of FDR’s successor in the Oval Office, Harry Truman, to address the communist threat. Truman, after all, wanted to be elected in 1948, and he could’t hope for such a victory if he were seen as oblivious to the threat of internal subversion. In the meantime, the opposition Republicans, smelling lots of red rats hidden inside the federal government, were on the hunt.

After some hesitation, Truman stepped up on counter-espionage. In 1947, he issued Executive Order 9835, establishing a Loyalty Program for the federal government, including a Loyalty Oath. Some might argue that a dedicated communist, or other nogoodnik, would be happy simply to lie about loyalty. And yet history proves that oaths do actually have an effect on individuals; moreover, loyalty programs and oaths have an effect on institutions—that is, they send a signal that leadership takes security seriously, and so safety measures fall into place.  

In 1952, Uncle Sam went further, putting into law the McCarran-Walter Act, toughening up on immigration and internal security. We might note that the sponsors of the legislation, Sen. Pat McCarran of Nevada and Rep. Francis Walter of Pennsylvania, were both Democrats. In other words, Democrats can do it—at least the old kind of Democrats could.


So what will the Biden administration do about China? One place to start making a good impression would be the full and frank disclosure of the $22 million that anonymous Chinese individuals or interests donated to the University of Pennsylvania’s Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. During the Trump years, the so-called Penn Biden Center served as a kind of holding center for once and future Biden aides, including Tony Blinken, Biden’s pick to be the next secretary of state. 

So what’s up with that $22 million? Who gave it? Why did they give it? What are they getting for it?  

If and when those questions are answered, there will be more questions to be asked. 

A lot more. Because this is Cold War II with China—and the stakes couldn’t be higher.  


Why Bombing Hiroshima Was The Moral Thing To Do

Seventy-five years ago, a U.S. Army Air Force B-29, the Enola Gay, dropped an 8,900-pound bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

Decorated with crude messages for Emperor Hirohito, Little Boy whistled downward for 44 seconds before bursting 1,900 feet above the center of the city. With a temperature eclipsing a million degrees Celsius, the detonation ignited the air, resulting in a fireball 840 feet in diameter with a brilliance 10 times that of the sun. The blast wave shattered windows over a distance of 10 miles and was felt over 37 miles away. With a destruction radius of one mile, the thermal pulse sent fires raging over four-and-a-half miles.

Hiroshima toppled, buildings were ripped from their foundations, bridges were twisted, and 70 percent of the city’s structures were broken to pieces. Radiant heat traveling at the speed of light caused flash burns, charring skin to charcoal. Somewhere between 70,000-80,000 souls were consumed instantly. Tens of thousands more would die slowly, days or weeks or even years later, succumbing to injuries or radiation sickness.

The bombing of Hiroshima was a moral horror. It was a godawful and terrible horror — but it was a moral horror. It was right. Not to have dropped that bomb would have been morally wrong.

Detractors Call the Bombing ‘Morally Indefensible’

Unsurprisingly, an increasing number of people find this idea abhorrent. In 1946, the Federal Council of Churches censured the bombings as “irresponsible” and “morally indefensible.” A decade later, the Oxford philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe, the most formidable of the early detractors, penned a ferocious essay opposing her university’s awarding an honorary degree to President Harry Truman. Her critique hinged on two assertions that remain the primary objections today.

First, she condemned as “stupid” and “barbaric” the Allied demand for the unconditional surrender of the Japanese, who, she asserts, “were desirous of negotiating peace” and were desperate enough to accept any terms for ending the war “but for their loyalty to their emperor.” Second, against the obliteration of a populated city, Anscombe argued that “choosing to kill the innocent … is always murder.”

The first task of the ethicist is to get as accurate a description of the facts as possible. This is why ethics is so often best paired with history — with actual cases that clarify what’s at stake. If you get your historical facts wrong, your ethical analysis is hamstrung. Anscombe is undone by the history.

Japan Wasn’t Going to Surrender

Father Bill Miscamble’s indispensable “The Most Controversial Decision” ably lays out the historic record — including intercepted communications between Japan’s political leadership, the minutes from the Japanese war cabinet’s meetings, and post-war interrogations — dismantling the assertion that Japanese leadership were anywhere close to surrender.

Instead, while the Japanese knew relatively early that they could never defeat the United States in a full-contact brawl, they gambled that they would not have to. They hoped only to bloody the United States enough to gain more favorable surrender terms, which included much more than continuation of the imperial system. Such a refusal to stand down not only unjustly prolongs war, it compromises achieving a durable peace, which is best guaranteed by a decisive victory. Looking at the concord that now exists, it seems a great good that the Japanese came to know they had been licked.

In any case, assurances regarding the safety of the emperor would have been premature prior to an examination of his wartime record. The legend of Hirohito’s pacifism, Max Hastings argued in “Retribution,” has been firmly discredited. Hastings found no evidence suggesting that Hirohito, at any point prior to August 1945, desired peace with any real conviction. While it was Hirohito who did finally orchestrate the surrender, we recall he did so only after two atomic bombs. If he wanted peace earlier on, his equivocating proved as deadly as the hardliners’ fanaticism.

One could argue against prosecuting the emperor, even had he proved guilty of war crimes, but the motivation could not have been justice. To have exonerated the emperor out of hand would have been to forward the suggestion that the lives of murdered Chinese, Malay, Koreans, Indonesians, British, Dutch, Americans, and near countless others counted for nothing. Justice demands the vindication of victims. Prudence or charity might overrule the requirements of justice, but it is not for the victimizers to demand that justice be overruled.

When Innocent People Die, Context Matters

Anscombe’s insistence on the inviolability of innocent lives carried the stronger claim. But here, too, she collided with history. While her insistence that one must not “choose to kill innocent” is important, it is also very precise. One cannot say — though Anscombe appeared to — that American leadership chose the killing of innocents in Hiroshima in quite the same way as the Nazis chose to kill the Jews. Taking a more contemporary case, Truman did not desire the deaths of the people of Hiroshima in the same way that William Calley desired the deaths of innocents in My Lai.

It also matters that Truman and his advisers didn’t start their deliberations about how to end the war by contemplating out of whole cloth whether to drop a nuclear bomb on a city full of people. Context matters. Europe was rubble, her infrastructure and economy were ruins, and her people were broken and starving, homeless and displaced. The ghastly reality of Hitler’s war against the Jews was being laid bare as the horrors of Birkenau entered human consciousness. Stalin’s own rapaciousness was becoming increasingly evident even as communist insurrections and civil war threatened to engulf newly liberated nations. Across the Pacific, whole populations were suffering under the torment of Japanese occupation. The British were set to invade Malay.

The conventional bombers of Gen. Curtis LeMay’s 20th Air Force continued to incinerate whole cities. In the midst of all this, casualty estimates for the planned land invasion of the Japanese home islands continued to grow exponentially as Japan poured men and arms into Kyushu, strengthening the beaches that would be the first American objective.

This reminds us that innocents were found beyond Hiroshima. While it is true that American Marines are combatants, it remains equally true that many of them were conscripts or post-Pearl Harbor volunteers. This is to say that before they were Marines, they were civilians: sons and brothers, husbands and fathers, clerks, schoolteachers, and mailmen. That matters, especially in the face of Japanese intransigence in continuing a war they knew they’d already lost. Moreover, the invasion would have weighed most severely on the Japanese themselves, both the military and civilians, but primarily civilians. Okinawa served as grim forecast of what to expect in fighting across the homeland.

Doing Nothing Would Have Been Deadly

Detractors might argue that the United States would never have accepted the costs of forcibly entering Japan from the sea. Japan, they insist, was on her heels, tottering, and would soon starve. All America had to do was nothing. By simply maintaining the naval blockade, neither the bomb nor land invasion would have been necessary.

Such glib assurances ignore the human toll of doing nothing. The number of Japanese civilians who would have perished while the Allies waited for Japan to starve is horrific to contemplate. Moreover, as she died, Japan almost certainly would have made good on her commitment to slaughter thousands of Allied prisoners of war. Meanwhile, the fate of civilians in Japanese-occupied lands would have been horrendous. From January 1945 onward, an estimated 250,000 occupied persons died per month. Some have pegged it even higher, estimating that by August, nearly that number were dying per week.

A shortened war was a boon to the lives of the innocent. For American leadership and beleaguered people throughout the Pacific, locked in a contest with Japanese leadership and popular sentiment that preferred national suicide to defeat, the promise of the atomic bomb must have felt like deliverance.

The history is clear: If you wanted to save innocent lives, you dropped that bomb. The history, in turn, clarifies the ethics: The atomic bombing of Hiroshima was a horror, but it was a moral horror.

Pinkerton: Five Times in U.S. History a Vice President Became President — and Brought Huge Change

Tucker Carlson said on Fox News on July 29 that Joe Biden’s selection of a running mate “will be the most consequential VP pick in American history.”

As Carlson put it, “Biden cannot govern the country. He isn’t capable of it. He’s all but admitted that. He said he won’t run for a second term.” So Carlson was saying that Biden not running in 2024 would mean that his vice president would be well positioned to run for president himself—or, more likely, herself.  

Of course, Biden hasn’t won the presidency yet, and he may never do so. However, if he does win, there’s another obvious wrinkle in his presidential future. Indeed, one might say that it’s the, uh, donkey in the room—that a man born on November 20, 1942, might not remain in office until January 20, 2025. If so, then his vice president will become president.  

And so yes, Carlson is right: Biden’s choice of a running mate—rumored to be coming in the next few days—will be consequential. Why? Because she (it’s almost certain to be a she), as the 47th president, might strike off in a different direction than the 46th president.

So that’s the issue Carlson was getting at: If the polls are to be believed, plenty of Americans plan on voting for Biden because they see him as a moderate—at least by Democrat Party standards. And yet what if a possible Democrat 47th president sees things differently? What if there’s a big lurch to the left? If so, then the change in the White House, and in America, could be dramatic.   

For the time being, there’s no point in getting lost in speculation about speculative future events, but a look back at our history tells us just how much can change when a president is suddenly replaced by a vice president. Specifically, we can focus on five examples:

1. John Tyler

circa 1841: John Tyler (1790 - 1862), the 10th president of the United States. He was the first vice-president to succeed to the presidency upon the death of his predecessor, William Henry Harrison. Published by Nathaniel Currier. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

President John Tyler (1790 – 1862), circa 1841. (MPI/Getty Images)

Back in 1840, William Henry Harrison was elected to the White House on the Whig ticket. By the standards of the time, Harrison was quite old; he was 68 on the day he was inaugurated as our ninth president. And, in fact, he died on April 4, 1841, just a month into his term; his was the shortest presidential tenure ever.

Harrison’s vice president and successor, as the tenth president, was John Tyler. Tyler was a much different figure than Harrison; although both men were born in Virginia, Harrison had gone off to become a hero in the War of 1812 and in various Indian wars in the Midwest, and he was also elected as a U.S. senator from Ohio. Indeed, most of the Whig Party—the forerunner to the Republican Party—was more oriented toward the North, and increasingly oriented toward Yankee causes, including the abolition of slavery.  

Meanwhile, Tyler had always stayed close to home, physically and politically, to the Old Dominion. He was a Southern Whig, forever a strong proponent of the Southern cause, including slavery. In other words, Harrison-Tyler—better Tippecanoe and Tyler too—was classic ticket-balancing, the Yankee-oriented Harrison and the Dixie-oriented Tyler.

So when Tyler became president, he had his own very different ideas, and a full 47 months in office in which to advance them. Indeed, his agenda was mostly antithetical to that of his deceased predecessor, as well as completely antithetical to the Whig Party as a whole. In exasperation, the Whigs expelled Tyler from their party, and so, of course, they refused to support his renomination for the 1844 election. In the meantime, from the White House, Tyler tried to join the Democrat Party, which wouldn’t have him; he then attempted to set up his own party—which fizzled, even before the November balloting. In the resulting chaos, the Democrat Party nominee, James K. Polk, won the White House, becoming the eleventh president.  

So we can see: A vice presidential choice completely derailed a presidential election. And we can add, as a footnote, that Tyler, after leaving the White House, returned to Virginia, where he lived until his death in 1862. He is remembered as the only former president of the United States of America to support the Confederates States of America.

2. Andrew Johnson

This 1866 photo made available by the U.S. Library of Congress shows President Andrew Johnson in Washington. Johnson, a Democrat, became vice president under Republican Abraham Lincoln on a unity ticket elected amid the Civil War in 1864. He became president after Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865. (A. Gardner/Library of Congress via AP)

This 1866 photo made available by the U.S. Library of Congress shows President Andrew Johnson in Washington, DC. (A. Gardner/Library of Congress via AP)

When our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, was running for a second term in 1864, in the middle of the Civil War, he felt that he needed a unifying ticket to help clinch his reelection. In fact, technically, Lincoln ran for reelection, not as the head of the Republican Party, but as the head of the newly christened National Union Party. And in that spirit of unity, he chose, as his running mate, Andrew Johnson, a pro-Union Democrat from Tennessee. Johnson was a major figure in that state; he was a former senator whom Lincoln had appointed military governor in 1862. So Lincoln knew Johnson well enough, and he saw the value of adding him to the national ticket—although he never really considered the possibility that Johnson would become president.

Lincoln, of course, was assassinated in April 1865. So like Tyler two decades earlier, now-President Johnson also had 47 months in the White House ahead of him. And the big issue, in those days, was the reunification of the United States; that is, 25 states that had stayed loyal to the Union had to be rejoined by the 11 states of the defeated Confederacy. 

The term for this program of reunification was Reconstruction, and, not surprisingly, controversial. Most of the Northern Republican Party wanted what was termed “radical” Reconstruction, while others—Democrats as well as some Republicans—supported a more conciliatory approach.  

Johnson himself, perhaps not surprisingly for a Tennessean, was in the latter camp. He was, after all, never a Republican.  

This profound conflict of visions led to a political battle royale, culminating in Johnson’s 1868 impeachment by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. In the subsequent trial in the Senate, Johnson was acquitted by a single vote. And not at all surprisingly, he wasn’t to be nominated by the Republican Party to run in 1868; the nomination went, instead, to Ulysses S. Grant, who then won the election. (Johnson returned to Tennessee and was later elected, again, to the U.S. Senate.) 

Meanwhile, President Grant attempted to revive an energetic Reconstruction, but the momentum was lost, and the whole program was cancelled in the 1870s. So once again, a vice presidential choice led to significant watershed consequences.   

3. Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt campaigns for the Presidency in 1904. (AP Photo)

President Theodore Roosevelt in 1904. (AP Photo)

Our 25th president, William McKinley, was first elected in 1896; his running mate, later vice president, Garret Hobart, died in 1899. Looking ahead to his reelection campaign in 1900, McKinley and his advisers saw the chance to add a colorful and dynamic young war hero-turned-governor of New York, Teddy Roosevelt, to the ticket. Roosevelt was a fellow Republican, and yet beyond that, he and McKinley didn’t have much in common; McKinley was a conservative, by temperament and ideology, while TR was an activist and a  reformer.  

Still, together, they were elected in 1900. And then, the following year, McKinley was assassinated in Buffalo, New York. Sworn in as the 26th president at the tender age of 42—the youngest person ever to accede to the office—Roosevelt was deeply respectful of McKinley’s memory, and yet, at the same time, he was ardently determined to chart his own course as a progressive trust-buster.

Thus once again, the agenda of a president was transformed by his vice president-turned-president. Most historians say that TR was the greater leader than McKinley, and yet, whether the change was for the better or for the worse, TR was undeniably not in the McKinley mold. So McKinley’s choice of a running mate, followed, then, by his own death, changed history.  

By now, we’re seeing the pattern: The presidential candidate adds a vice presidential running mate, without much regard to what the number two actually thinks. Then the duo gets elected—and then tragedy happens, and everything changes.   

Two more examples will round out the point: 

4. Harry Truman

UNDATED FILE PHOTO: (FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Harry S. Truman (1884-1972), the 33rd president of the United States, works at his desk in 1945. A newly discovered diary written by Truman was put on display at the National Archives July 10, 2003 in Washington, DC. Diary entries include controversial passages where Truman calls Jews "selfish," and the White House a "great white jail." The diary also reveals that Truman had asked Eisenhower to run as a Democrat with himself as his running mate. (Photo by Getty Images)

President Harry S. Truman works at his desk in 1945. (Getty Images)

In 1944, even though in visibly poor health, Franklin D. Roosevelt resolved to seek an unprecedented fourth term in the White House.  This was, after all, late in World War Two, and the commander-in-chief to achieve not only final victory,  but also to build a post-war peace, including a warm relationship with Josef Stalin’s Soviet Union.  

Roosevelt’s fellow Democrats were supportive of his candidacy, but party pros realized that he probably wouldn’t survive another four years; they further worried that his vice president, Henry Wallace, was a bit too eccentric and way too far to the left—and they didn’t want to see him become president, ever.  

So the party bosses prevailed upon Roosevelt to dump Wallace from the ’44 ticket, replacing him with a more normal and centrist figure, Missouri Senator Harry Truman.  So in this sense, the party insiders, for once, were looking ahead and seeing the future clearly: They saw the prospect that the vice president would ascend to the presidency, and they wanted that person to be someone that they, and the nation, could be comfortable with.

Indeed, FDR died in April 1945, thus raisingTruman to the Oval Office.  Happily, Truman was an able man, who had been a notably effective senator, and yet now he had to operate on a whole new plane of duty; he was now commander-in-chief of a nation at war, with 16 million men under arms, deploying to every continent, pursuing a war against two evil empires.  As Truman recalled, when he got the news that FDR had died, “I felt like the moon, the stars, and all of the planets had fallen on me.” 

Nonetheless, the new 33rd president soon proved his mettle: In May 1945, he presided over the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany, and then, when the atomic bomb was successfully tested in July, he approved its use on Japan the following month—thus bringing that war, too, to a triumphant end.  The use of the A-bomb was controversial, and yet Truman knew that the alternative, a land invasion of Japan, would have cost millions of lives, both American and Japanese. 

We can observe that these are the wartime decisions that FDR also would have made, had he lived.  The big difference between FDR and Truman was in their handling of the post-war era, specifically, our stance toward the Soviet Union.   

Almost certainly, had FDR lived, he would have taken a softer line toward the Russians.  By contrast, Truman felt more instinctively suspicious of the communists; it was he who invited Winston Churchill to his home state of Missouri  in 1946 to deliver his famous “Iron Curtain” speech.   In other words, even fans of FDR should concede that HST was the better leader for the beginning of the Cold War. 

5. Lyndon B. Johnson

Flanked by Jackie Kennedy (R) and his wife Lady Bird Johnson (2ndL), U.S Vice President Lyndon Johnson (C) is administred the oath of office by Federal Judge Sarah Hughes (L) as he assumed the presidency of the U.S., 22 November 1963, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas (Photo by - / JFK Presidential Library / AFP) (Photo credit should read -/AFP via Getty Images)

Flanked by Jackie Kennedy (R) and his wife Lady Bird Johnson (2ndL), Vice President Lyndon Johnson is administered the oath of office as he assumed the presidency November 22, 1963, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas. (JFK Presidential Library/AFP via Getty Images)

In 1960, both John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson were Democrats with presidential aspirations, and yet they had little in common otherwise. JFK was a handsome, cool, Catholic from Massachusetts, and LBJ was a rumpled, emotional, Protestant from Texas. And in that year, they were joined together for one simple reason: Kennedy thought Johnson could help him carry Southern states, especially, of course, Texas.

Johnson did, in fact, help the national ticket, aiding Kennedy in carrying six Dixie states. And yet once in office, the 35th president and the 37th vice president found that they had little in common—and, indeed, little affection for each other.   

Yet then, once again, fate intervened; on November 22, 1963, JFK became the fourth American president to be assassinated, and the eighth to die in office.  

So now, Johnson had the duty of picking up the torch and carrying on. Paying homage to his slain predecessor, in his first presidential speech to Congress, on November 27, 1963, he declared, “Let us continue.”

And yet, of course, many things were different. As president, Johnson proved far more effective than Kennedy in actually advancing legislation, such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as well as the healthcare, voting rights, and immigration bills of 1965.

Moreover, LBJ also dramatically escalated the American military presence in Vietnam. And as for the Vietnam War—soon to be the Vietnam quagmire—some say that JFK, had he lived to enjoy a second term, would have committed to the same escalation, while others say otherwise. As to which, we’ll never know. All we do know is that American troops committed to Vietnam numbered 16,000 when JFK died in 1963, and that the number rose to 536,000 in Johnson’s last year in office, 1969. And U.S. fatalities, too, multiplied astronomically.  

So we can see: Five presidents died in office, five vice presidents succeeded them—and in each instance, the flow of American history was channeled in a new direction.   

Such sudden re-channeling will happen again. We don’t know when, exactly, but it will indeed happen. Perhaps very soon. 


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