Presidential Crisis Theory
Some years back I befriended a man who seemed to be obsessed with patterns in historical events. As we munched
an occasional meal together he would expound on various conspiracy theories, and suppositions about possible alternate realities
than the world as we thought we knew it.
I liked his mind, and enjoyed his ideas. He did his research and could present mathematical data to
virtually prove the patterns and make me believe that they were somewhat plausible. I think he was among a number of special
people "sent" to reprogram my brain in those early years of awakening. He helped make me aware of the plastic, artificial
world that we think is real.
One of his theories still haunts me as I watch the political games going on in our national capital. He
said that to be elected to a second term, a president must establish a national crisis about mid-way through his first four
years in office, and have it resolved before the next election. We can easily see this pattern during the last half century,
but with some odd variations.
The Great Depression began in 1928, only months after Herbert Hoover took office. It was not resolved by
the end of his first term and he became a political scapegoat and a one-term president.
Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Hoover in 1932. He introduced the New Deal that put a lot of people to work
on government projects, and won a second term in 1936. His policies were so popular, Roosevelt was re-elected to a third term
in 1940 just as America was about to enter World War II and a third term in 1944. Harry S. Truman was his vice-president that
year. After Roosevelt, Congress passed a law limiting presidental terms to two.
Roosevelt died in 1945 and Truman completed the term that concluded in 1948. Truman was in office when Germany
surrendered and he made the decision to order the atomic attack that quickly ended the war against Japan. He was involved
in the formation of the United Nations, the Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe, and established the Fair Deal, offering an
expansion of Social Security, the Fair Employment Practices Act, a public housing program and slum clearance. He won his first
elected full term in 1948.
The Korean conflict broke out in 1950 and was unresolved in 1952. Even though he was eligible to seek a
second full elected term, Truman chose to step down that year.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower was Truman's successor. He brought a truce between North and South Korea in
1953 and stopped the fighting. He was a two-term president, serving until 1961.
John F. Kennedy was assassinated in office before completing his first term. Vice President Lyndon Johnson
completed the last year of Kennedy's term and easily won an elected four-year term in 1964. But racial tensions at home and
the Vietnam War escalated, Johnson could not resolve these issues and he chose not to seek a second term.
Richard M. Nixon was the next president. He brought an end to the Vietnam conflict, made moves toward world
peace including an unprecedented trip to China during his first term and was handily re-elected. But the Watergate scandal
broke out in the midst of the election campaign. It forced Nixon's resignation in the middle of his second term.
Gerald Ford took office to complete Nixon's term. His error was that he pardoned Nixon, making it impossible
for Nixon to be criminally prosecuted for any wrongdoing. Ford never was elected to a full term.
Jimmy Carter took office in 1977. The Iranian seizure of U. S. embassy hostages near the end of his first
term was a crisis that could not be resolved and Carter lost his bid for re-election to Ronald Reagan.
Reagan served during prosperous times and had no trouble winning a second term. His military adventure in
Granada in October, 1983, when 6000 troops were sent to the island to stop what was thought to have been a Cuban invasion
was carefully orchestrated by the media. It became Reagan's carefully orchestrated pre-election crisis. The truth, not revealed
until later, was that the Cubans were there to help build an airstrip to promote tourism. The whole event was staged.
George Bush the senior launched his "crisis" war against Iraq too early. He gained a high state of national
popularity at the conclusion of this event, but his term was only about half expired. By the time his first term ended, Bush
was faced with a financial crisis that was not of his making and he could not resolve it. He was a one-term president.
We all remember Bill Clinton and his sex scandal with the White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He was a one-term
If my friend's theory is correct, George Bush the junior may be in trouble. He launched another crisis situation
after 9-11 with his War on Terror that made him popular. But his attack on Iraq has created a nightmare that will not go away.
The troops are tired and want to come home. People at home are tired of the war and want it ended. The Iraqi people are in
ruins and want help. And the United Nations, that did not sanction this attack, is not willing to jump in to help. George
the junior may be a one-term president.
To defeat Bush, however, my friend offered another theory based upon historical patterns. He said the Democrats
must put up a person with double letters in his (or her) name. Like Roosevelt, Kennedy, or Jimmy Carter. But that is another