Remembering the Baby-Boomers’ Presidents
Baby Boomers – more numerous than any generation prior to the Millennials – were born in the 1940s and ‘50s, after the end of World War II. Baby Boomers have lived through fourteen Presidents. Half of them are Democrats, and half are Republicans.
The Boomers’ first President was Harry Truman, a Democrat. He had been Vice President under Franklin Roosevelt, the only President to serve more than two terms. The Great Depression, begun in October of 1929, was perpetuated by Roosevelt’s socialist programs, and in 1938, a “depression within a depression” made Americans’ lives even harder. In 1941 the U.S. entered World War II, a war begun by Germany’s Nazis (socialists). Roosevelt was considering nationalizing the railroads and some industries, but died April 7th, 1945, less than a month before the May 7th surrender of Germany.
Truman inherited FDR’s mangled economy, and began lifting many of his restrictions. Not surprisingly, the economy improved (FDR’s socialist economic advisors would later admit that nothing they tried had helped the economy). Truman served until January of 1953, when Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, took office.
It was not until 1954 – twenty-five years after the Great Depression began – that the economy finally rose to the level it had been prior to October of 1929. That booming economy continued under Eisenhower. Besides being a war hero, his most-remembered contribution was the Interstate Highways we now take for granted.
Charismatic John F. Kennedy, another war-hero, became President in 1961. His upbeat personality and enchanting family prompted the label “the Age of Camelot” for the all-too-short years of his time in the White House. America was still riding a curve of economic growth and well-being that seemed as though it would never end.
Camelot was shattered with Kennedy’s assassination in November of 1963. Lyndon Johnson took office, and is best remembered for his “Great Society” and “War on Poverty” programs. Both socialist-agenda efforts were expensive failures – which, again, should be no surprise. Johnson is also remembered for another expensive – and deadly – fiasco, the Vietnam War.
The 2020 riots and destruction by ANTIFA and BLM were nothing new. In the Johnson years of the ‘60s, “Students for a Democratic Society” (“SDS”) and the “Black Power” and “Black Panther” movements were much the same. Riots dogged the 1968 Democratic Convention. Johnson, discouraged by his failures, withdrew from the 1968 Presidential Race. Vice President Hubert Humphrey ran against Eisenhower’s Vice President, Richard Nixon; Nixon won.
Nixon wound down the Vietnam War, and was also the first President to visit Communist China. The visit began a process of improving relations that would continue over forty years, only ending during the Trump Presidency, when China’s aggressive intentions became too threatening and could no longer be dismissed.
Inflation grew dangerously in the ‘70s, due to government interference in the economy. Nixon’ price and wage freezes had a predictably destructive impact, solving nothing.
When Nixon’s Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned due to a corruption scandal, Congress chose Gerald Ford to fill the vacancy – the first use of the 25th Amendment, ratified in 1967.
Nixon’s complicity in the Watergate Scandal of 1972 resulted in his own resignation in August of 1974. Ford became the first President never to have faced a national election. His 1976 bid for re-election failed, and Jimmy Carter became President.
Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, pursued a number of socialist-oriented programs. The main result was worsened inflation. Interest rates for home mortgages reached as high as 18%. Carter’s infamous “malaise” speech underscored the problem: Carter’s socialist-oriented economic approach made economic improvement impossible and decline inevitable.
Ronald Reagan easily defeated Carter in 1980 election. President Reagan quickly reversed many of Carter’s (and Nixon’s) regulations that had been stifling the American economy. The result was predictable: the 1980s saw an economic boom. Carter’s “malaise” became the butt of jokes.
Reagan’s foreign policy was also a standout success. Iran had seized the American embassy in 1979, and taken more than four hundred Americans hostage. Carter had been ineffectual in obtaining the release or rescue of the hostages, but within twenty days of Reagan taking office, Iran changed its tune: the hostages were released, and came home.
By far Reagan’s greatest achievement was bringing an end to the Cold War. He first step was raising America’s defense spending budget far beyond what the communist (socialist) Soviet Union (Russia) could afford; it was incapable of responding. In the eyes of the world, socialism had failed to match freedom and capitalism.
In June of 1987, Reagan raised the ante: in a speech near the communists’ Berlin Wall, he spoke his most famous line: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” That one-two punch produced a quick result: in late 1989, the Berlin Wall was torn down by Germany’s own citizens, in defiance of East Germany’s communist government. Powerless, it collapsed, and East Germany was finally reunited with West Germany. February 7th, 1990, was a bellwether: the Soviet Union
itself impotently crumbled and disappeared, seemingly overnight.
Reagan’s Vice President George H.W. Bush took office in 1989, but it became clear he had no clue what made Reagan a great President, and lacked a similar agenda. He mouthed the same election slogan: “Read my lips: no new taxes!” But he soon reneged, raising taxes in 1990. It cost him the Presidency in 1992.
Bill Clinton had won the Presidency. Wishy-washy and more interested in girls than making policy, Clinton’s Presidency was highlighted by his sex scandals and subsequent impeachment trial. Over time it became clear that his wife Hillary was the spur that propelled Clinton politics.
In 2001 George W. Bush began his two term Presidency. Following in his father’s footsteps, he gave the appearance of assuming that the Bush family’s role was to be America’s ruling dynasty. His greatest impact was, like Clinton, supporting the Community Reinvestment Act program, which resulted in the collapse of home-mortgages and Great Recession of 2008. Again, economic meddling had proven disastrous.
Democrat Barack Obama took the Presidency from 2009 through 2016. Explicitly socialist, his years of repressive policies were most renowned for their slow economic recovery and improvement. Obama had obviously been pushed into ever-higher offices throughout his political career. Given the right words, he made a good speaker. Inept, he was clearly manipulated behind the scenes. Factories and jobs left America for other countries; notably China. Obama was resigned to America’s fate: “700,000 jobs are not coming back.” Like President Carter before him, from Obama’s socialist-oriented viewpoint, there was no possible path to reversing America’s decline.
In a surprise 2016 electoral win, Donald Trump became the 45th President, frustrating the efforts of power-mad Hillary Clinton. Attacked from all sides, he nevertheless rolled back a great number of regulations (including the preposterous Paris Climate Accords) that had been stifling the American economy for years. The pent-up efforts of businesses across the country generated millions of new jobs – an economic boom.
But the endless attacks by socialist Democrats and news media, aided by Bush-allied Republicans whose plans had been so disrupted by Trump’s election, derailed Trump’s efforts, and foiled his hopes for a second term. Trump’s legacy would be his booming economic recovery, and his foreign policy decisions regarding China.
In 2021, Joe Biden took office as President, intent on gaining power and control through his socialist agenda. In less than a month that agenda has already cost tens of thousands of American jobs.
These are the Presidents and the ways they have shaped life in America for the Boomers and all the generations since.
History’s lesson remains the same, regardless of when you were born. Freedom works, oppression is destructive. Learn from history: make your life better, and leave a legacy that your children – and their children – can appreciate and enjoy.■