Presidents through the years

I turn 70 in November. I wondered if I would reach God’s allow­ance of three-score and 10, and here I’m just about there.

I’m also retiring from everything except continuing this editorial column, according to whenever the Free Press allows it.

It’s a very unique time of life in an era that is different than any other I have lived through.

The presidential race, with two very unusually different candidates, illustrates this. But before I address them, let me tell you who I have liked.

The favorite presidents I had when I was young were Truman and Eisen­hower. In late mid-life I really liked Reagan.

Lyndon Johnson really got things done with a legacy of great legislation, but he always had Vietnam hanging over his head.

John Kennedy introduced great ideas and positive momentum, but it took the know-how of Johnson to make them work practically.

None of the others could inspire like Kennedy and Reagan.

None of the others could “give’em hell” like Harry. Nobody else could cork up the trouble makers like Ike and Harry.

Nixon opened China, ended Vietnam and did a number of remarkable things, but hanged himself with a big ego and Water­gate. He was the first president I ever voted for.

I asked a friend my age who won the first Trump-Clinton debate. He and NBC both said Trump did by talking facts, especially on the North American Free Trade Agreement and changing it, while pointing out that Clinton had favored it, although she was trying to deny that.

He said Trump is shooting himself in the foot by talking about a former beauty queen, and Clinton is shooting herself in the foot by talking the same canned campaign, and trying too much to grin in a condescending manner.

Another friend in my age group said she has pulled all money out of the stock market on the chance that Clinton will win, but will begin buying energy stocks again if Trump wins.

A younger friend said his own study shows Trump is a master at handling money and hotel management.

He said Clinton understands spending government money on supporters and how to make legal fees.

Clinton has the experience in office to handle foreign affairs, he said, but Trump has the ability for trade and financial negotiation, and the commitment to stick up for American financial interest.

Trump promises to talk more about “Crooked Hillary” and “Philandering Bill.” I don’t know if this will help him or hurt him.

Hillary’s supporters don’t seem to care about her moral slippage. She promises to talk more about Trump’s lack of government experience and speaking faux pas. I don’t know if this will help her or hurt her.

His supporters seem to delight in his ability at economic development and lack of history in government. They don’t like to talk about his egotistical self-promotion.

This all seems unprecedented in my lifetime, and I find it all very interesting.

I intend to watch all of the debates to see what kind of alligators we have developing in the tank.

I will ask my grandchildren what they think about it all. It may be the first election of which they are really aware, and they’ll never know to “Like Ike.”

They might come up with some good sense.

Maybe we can go fishing or go to a movie. Those could be exciting items for a retired guy between presidential news.

And I get to go with cousins of my age group in October to visit a cemetery where ancestors are buried.

(Hubert Humphrey ran for president when my great-grandfather buried there was killed in a car wreck. I’d like to have known both him and Hubert.)

Then, like I’ve been saying, there’s that election I’m watching in November plus discussion of when we’ll colonize Mars.

I wonder if Trump and Clinton would ascent to go to Mars? I like their vice presidential candidates better.

Talk about excitement.

Jerry Engler has covered the county commission and written agriculture stories for the Free Press since 2000. He lives near Marion Reser­voir.