In my life and its memories, I have seen Presidents come and go. My personal recall goes back to the last days of the first Truman administration. He had entered office as a Vice President and became President when Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in 1945. My personal memories of hearing the radio discussions about the upcoming election stem from 1948. Truman was expected to become a “lame duck” in 1948, but it did not happen.
Truman went to bed with news that Dewey had won. He awoke to learn that he, instead had prevailed. Truman was succeeded in 1952 by Republican Dwight David Eisenhower. My parents paid attention to that election where they had voted for Eisenhower in the first election and the Democratic candidate in the 1956 election.
President Eisenhower was succeeded by the candidate of the opposite party by Democrat John Fitzgerald Kennedy. That was 1960. I was a Junior in high school. I do not remember public rancor and anger during that transition, even though Richard Nixon, Eisenhower’s Vice President had a surprise loss. The Kennedy years were brief with his tragic assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963. He was succeeded by Lyndon Baines Johnson, his Vice President. Johnson was re-elected over Barry Goldwater in 1964. The years to follow were tumultuous and very reminiscent of what is happening now. Lyndon Johnson was exceedingly unpopular among many Democrats and did not seek re-election for what would have in effect been a third term in 1968. Richard Nixon instead was elected. Although the times were turbulent and the Cold War was on, I do not recall an ugly transition period — at least in my then perception.
President Nixon was re-elected in 1972. There was turbulence, but that turbulence seemed to stem more from Nixon’s insecurities, the ongoing Vietnam War, and what was shaping up that we came to know as “Watergate.” Gerald Ford succeeded fallen and disgraced former Vice President Spiro Agnew in that office and then became President of the United States upon President Nixon’s resignation in disgrace. Although times were turbulent indeed, I do not recall an ugly transition period when Jimmy Carter took office as President of the United States (POTUS). I do not recall, however, the December 1976 through January 1977 being an ugly or tumultuous period in terms of the Presidential succession.
Carter was a one-termer, having been defeated in 1980 by Ronald Reagan. Although Democrats were saddened at the loss, I do not recall the transition period being an ugly one. Ronald Reagan after serving two terms was succeeded by his Vice President George H. W. Bush who served only one term as President after having served two full terms as Vice President. William Jefferson Clinton was elected President. Although the Republicans were disappointed, I recall the inauguration and transition period proceeding smoothly and cooperatively.
There was real turbulence in 2000 when Vice Presidential Albert Gore and George W. Bush’s races collided. There were angry and politicized Supreme Court challenges that fell in favor of George W. Bush. Nevertheless, the transition proceeded smoothly despite the rancor.
Then we came to 2008 when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had a tumultuous primary race where Obama prevailed. Obama was elected President over John McCain his first term and over Mitt Romney his second term. The Bush-Obama transition went smoothly.
Now we come to the very last days of the Obama Administration. Suddenly, globally precipitous moves are made by the outgoing administration, obviously designed to make the transition anything but smooth. President Obama, in his declining days, it appears, has made war on both Israel and Russia. I don’t get classified briefings, nor do I know what the full facts are, but it is a safe bet that both countries have been actively spying on the other — but the accusation that Hillary’s defeat blamed first on FBI director James Comey and now on “the Russians” is unique in our history, at least as my personal recall goes.
It is my impression for better or for worse that what Barack Obama is doing is working actively to prevent a smooth transition of power and to create a far more dangerous world for Israel and for the United States than existed before. The actions against Russia are provocative to say the least.
My prayer is that Russia does not take the bait! May the Lord help us all!
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