Tag Archives: politics

The Generations

by Rick Bretz

Classifying people into generations and marking them with cultural characteristics is an entertaining exercise for sociologists and academics.  However, putting a particular generation into a certain box is only informative when analyzing the different world events that influenced the collective personality characteristics of people growing up in that era. The classification of generations begs the question: Is one generation better than another? Did one generation endure hardships?  Did another have it easier? It’s an intellectual exercise that can generate a discussion. Since Tom Brokaw’s book, “The Greatest Generation” was published, most of the reading public have stated that people who grew up to fight WWII and endure the Great Depression were part of the “Greatest Generation.”  Is there such a title-“The Greatest Generation”–One group of people who have shone brighter than any other  in history.

I prefer to think that each generation has had their own challenges and issues with their own solutions.  Can you say that one generation is better than another because they helped achieve a WWII victory while another fought in Vietnam and landed on the moon?  Another way to view the issue is: without one generation developing a particular technology the other wouldn’t have been able to achieve their significant achievements.

Members of the military are attempting to keep...
Members of the military are attempting to keep Vietnam War protesters under control. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scholars possess different views pertaining to the yearly division between generations, usually a few years separate one list from the other. Here is a list generations with significant (but not all) events occurring during their formative years compared across generations.

G.I./GREATEST

BORN:   1901-1928

SILENT

BORN:   1928-1945

BOOMERS

BORN:   1946-1964

GENERATION   X

BORN:   1965-1980

MILLENIALS

BORN:1981-2004

World   War I Stock   Market Crashes Marshall   Plan Vietnam   War Protests Chernobyl   Nuclear Accident
Spanish   Flu Great   Depression Yeager   breaks sound barrier Watergate   Hearings Soviet   Glasnost
Titanic   Sunk FDR   Elected NASA   formed Nixon   Resigns Fall   of Berlin Wall
Silent   Movie Era WWII   Begins Korean   War Vietnam   War Ends Disintegration   of Soviet Union
Roaring   20s WWII   Ends Cold   War Race   Riots Apple   and Microsoft
Ford   Model T and Assembly Line Atomic   Bomb used to defeat Japan JFK   Assassinated Civil   Unrest Hubble   Telescope
Russian   Revolution 1933-First   Concentration Camp McCarthy   hearings RFK   and MLK Assassinated 9/11
Prohibition The   Dust Bowl Cuban   Missile Crisis Armstrong,   Aldrin, Collins land on the moon War   on Terrorism
Lindbergh Flies solo   across Atlantic Japan attack on Pearl   Harbor DNA discovered Palestinian Terrorism Operation   Desert Storm
Penicillin Discovered United Nations Founded Vietnam War Roe vs Wade Internet   and Social Media

 

I

Alternate Listing for Generational Names from the Population Reference Bureau

1983-2001 – New Boomers
1965-1982 – Generation X
1946-1964 – Baby Boomers
1929-1945 – Lucky Few
1909-1928 – Good Warriors
1890-1908 – Hard Timers
1871-1889 – New Worlders

 

English: The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. Th...
English: The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. The photo shows a part of a public photo documentation wall at Former Check Point Charlie, Berlin. The photo documentation is permanently placed in the public. Türkçe: Berlin Duvarı, 1989 sonbaharı (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The above alternate generations list takes note of two generations that are usually overlooked, the Hard Timers and the New Worlders.  These are the generations that ushered in the industrial revolution, built railroads and began to introduce people to technology that would save their lives such as electricity and the light bulb.

If you look at history’s 20th Century Timeline, there are many events that could be listed that have influenced generations.  These are some of the ones I think are significant. I welcome any other events that you think I have missed or could be included.

Notable Links:

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2011/05/living/infographic.boomer/index.html

http://www.prb.org/Publications/PopulationBulletins/2009/20thcenturyusgenerations.aspx

http://www.pewresearch.org/

http://history1900s.about.com/od/timelines/tp/timeline.htm

Eight Comedians Who Should Be Vice President

by Rick Betz

I’ve decided to turn the tables on comedians who make jokes and one liners at the expense of Vice Presidents.  Vice Presidents have a difficult job trying to make their days seem important while waiting for the chance to be at the top of the pyramid.  On the surface, this list making exercise may seem easy but hold your punch lines. The selections have to be entertaining since VPs also provide entertainment to the public and the comedy circle.  More than that, they have to appear as though they can take on the responsibilities of President if called upon to do so.

Here are my selections:

English: Flag of the Vice President of the Uni...
English: Flag of the Vice President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Will Farrell-If he can’t be serious, he does a good job looking serious when he needs to be.  He can say stuff like, “I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.” Besides, the government needs more Cow Bell. If you can be an Anchorman, you can be a Vice President.

2. Lewis Black-He can point out all of exasperation, frustrations and irritations associated with the government and the tax code.  He would be our voice for reason.  One of his best lines, “What does the word “meteorologist” mean in English? It means “liar.”

3. Chris Rock-He would keep it real and bring as much pain as possible to the government to force them to get things done.  Some of his best one liners, “I live in a neighborhood so bad that you can get shot while getting shot.”  Or “We were so poor when we went to bed my daddy unplugged the clocks.”

4. Louis C.K.-Louis would be perfect for saying that outrageous statement that would take the heat off the President when he needed it. One of his best one-liners, “The meal is not over when I’m full, the meal is over when I hate myself.”

 

5. Ron White-All together now, “You can’t fix stupid.” I can see Ron White sitting behind the President during the State of the Union message.  I wouldn’t be able to listen to a word the President would say. I would be looking at Ron White to see if he’d snuck in a bottle of Scotch. One of his best lines, “If life has given you lemons, then make lemonade and then try to find someone whose life has given them Vodka, and then have a party.”

Ellen DeGeneres at Hotel Bel Air in Los Angele...

6. Ellen DeGeneres-If she can handle hosting an awards show just after 9/11, she can handle being Vice President.  One of her best lines, “I’m a Godmother.  That’s a great thing to be, a Godmother.   She calls me God for short, that’s cute, I taught her that.”

7. Steve Martin-You get double for your money with this one.  He is a fantastic banjo player who just produced an excellent CD with Edie Brickell, titled “Love Has Come For You”.  He is a terrific comedian and actor. If all of that doesn’t work, he could always bring out the old reliable “arrow through the head” routine.  One of his many one liners, “Boy, those French, they have a different word for everything!”

8. Jim Breuer-He is an on-the-edge-of-your-seat story-teller.  If you don’t believe me, search out his Pizza Man Story.  He is also another Saturday Night Live alumnus and a Jersey guy, which score points on my rating scale.

That’s my list.  You put these together with the other list (Eight People Who Should Have Been President) and you got something that could work for America.  Some people say this is an exercise in futility.  I prefer to look at these lists as what should have been and what might be.  We can only hope.  Frankly, I’m tired of amateur comedians taking up room in the executive offices, I want professionals in there.

If you have a suggestion, feel free to add your selection to the list.

Eight People Who Should Have Been President

A portrait of the American writer Mark Twain t...
A portrait of the American writer Mark Twain taken by A. F. Bradley in New York, 1907. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Rick Bretz

1. Mark Twain

One of Twain’s best lines states this, ““Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”  When a President recognizes a problem before he begins, then he has solved half the problem before stepping one foot on the oval office carpet.  He also said if you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything. Honesty and sincerity with intelligence spiced with a sense of humor–imagine the possibilities.  Mark Twain would have been a great president because he would have given entertaining press conferences.  He also would have taken the job seriously enough but also laughed at the absurdity of it all.

2. Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was an outstanding writer, diplomat and forward thinker.  He said, “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” Based on the written material concerning Franklin’s work and exploits in Britain and France during America’s struggle for independence, he would have been effective dealing with world leaders.

3. Abigail Adams

The wife of John Adams was extremely intelligent and more politically savvy than her husband.  In another time and another age, she would have had a chance to show the world what she could achieve.  As it was, her advice to her husband during private conversations likely kept him from alienating even more people.  She said once, “I’ve always felt that a person’s intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic.”  I think she was on to something there that applies toward today’s political environment.

4. Alexander Hamilton

He said, “Experience will teach us that no government costs so much as a bad one.” He would have had my vote.

5. Katharine Hepburn

She would have intimidated all of the world leaders.  She would have known exactly what to say and to whom at the right moment. She would have been perfect.

English: Vice President Richard M. Nixon and S...
English: Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev at the Kremlin. NARA. Special Media Archives Services Division (Still Pictures). RG306-RMN-1-21 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

6. Walt Disney

He knew how to run a business and build a world—Disney World.  Where did Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev want to go when visiting Los Angeles in 1959? Disneyland.  He wasn’t able to go due to security concerns which upset him greatly.  As president he could have used the trip to Disneyland or Disney World as his trump card.  I can hear it now, “Agree to this or no trip to the magic kingdom.”

7. Frank Lloyd Wright

English: Fallingwater in West Orange
Fallingwater in West Orange (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The architect Frank Lloyd Wright built spectacular buildings and houses. If he can build great structures that people admire today, then he could have helped build a great nation also.

8. Orson Welles

English:

His voice was terrific.  He would have delivered speeches that would have had audiences standing in awe.  Convention speeches would have been must see television.

Notable Links:

http://www.adherents.com/people/100_men.html

http://www.thefamouspeople.com/

http://jpetrie.myweb.uga.edu/poor_richard.html

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/abigail_adams.html

http://alexanderhamiltonspeaks.blogspot.com/

http://www.snopes.com/disney/parks/nikita.asp

Government Power (Control) and Religious Power (Control)

by Rick Bretz

From the moment you become aware of yourself as a human being, the truth begins to modify your behavior.  What is the truth?

Control, or lack thereof. We realize at an early age during adolescent cognitive development that, although you may have control over when you close your eyes, your parents dictate when you crawl into bed.

As a person matures into an adult, they begin to understand that many people control their lives.  Some of these are high school attendance times, sports practice times, who is first string and who isn’t, college fraternities, corporate hiring and maybe even when to retire.  You can also choose to not follow the accepted rules or laws but these mavericks tend to be either shunned or made an example by being ostracized or incarcerated. Control means power and power is control.  Some people get it through wealth and others get it by office or status. Some use one to get the other.  When someone on the news programs mentions that an official or citizen speaks “Truth to Power.”  What it really means is “Truth to a greater truth.”  Certain Truths are flexible while everyone recognizes Power when it comes for payment.”

So, who has control and why? The Government and Religion.  Those are two monoliths of control that many people do not try to fight against.  If you do challenge them, you may win but the consequences and price may be enough to second guess your decision. The following is a study comparing these two bastions of control.

Government Control Religious Control
Controls Behavior Controls Beliefs and Behavior
Influence Trust and Confidence Influences Spiritual Strength
Created to curb anarchy Created to control fear and behavior
Wealth Generator Wealth Generator
Local, National, International Local, National, International
History of using war for diplomacy History of using war, violence, intimidation
Source for good if used correctly Source for good if used correctly
Erects monuments and buildings to display prestige and power while   demanding respect Erects religious structures and houses of worship for religious   gatherings and inspiration
Promotes public events to promote agenda Invites people to worship and to gather donations
Some see man and woman as inherently evil and need to be governed. Some see man as subject to temptation and need to be guided by rules   and commandments.
First place people look for relief during natural disasters First or second place people turn to during natural disasters and
At least 5 basic government systems (Anarchy, Democracy, Socialism,   Dictatorship, Monarchy) Four main types of religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism)   but as many as 15 or more are practices throughout the world.
If used correctly could save humankind If practiced correctly could save humankind.

Religions

Many theories exist as to why people formed religious beliefs.   A widely held concept states that religion helped people cope with fear and gave them a sense of control over their haphazard environment.  When people began to realize that their lives were finite and that their sense of the earthly world would end, the practice of religion began to take shape and help people cope with what comes after.  The daily tribal existence and group living depended on team work so that food and could be gathered, shelters built, and society fluent so that the clan or community could continue to thrive.

Diagram of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
Diagram of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maslow’s Hierarchy  of Needs begins with the Psychological, food, sleep, and health at the bottom.  It then poses that safety is the next need, getting shelter away from the dangers of nature.  The next couple of needs play into both government and religion but especially the spiritual side.  The psychological need for belonging to a group and receiving love and affection is purely emotional and can be strong.  The other important need but toward the point of the pyramid is self-esteem and esteem from others. The need for respect, value and approval from others plays into controlling people within the community.  The last need at the point is self-actualization or achieving your maximum potential.  Keeping these pyramid of needs in mind, a set of belief systems along with a priest, priestess, appointed or elected head of the belief system goes a long way toward controlling and keeping order.

With sets of rules to govern behavior, fertility and other aspects of tribal and community life, the control and power was firmly in place and remains to this day.  As religion grew and power was taken by force or given by acceptance, religions came to understand that to deal with the other power base, government, other power tools had to be used, money and politics. So the merger and blurring of the religious and government lines is understandable.  Many leaders have seen the corruption of both and have tried to separate them by trying to keep religion on one side of the community aisle and government systems on the other.

One observation about religion.  For something that seems so personal, there are many who need to practice their belief system among large groups of like-minded people.

Government Systems

Government systems formed to provide services that the individual could not provide.  They have been responsible for building roads, providing health care, providing security, developing educational institutions and funding science and medical advances.

There is a huge trade-off for these services.  The power of the government to tax the citizens.  In addition to that power, they also have the authority to punish individuals, corporations and other entities who don’t pay taxes.  Governments inflict several forms of control over lives.  For example, the permission to drive based on taxes, registration, license, and tolls.  One truth also applies to governments, they almost always get larger and more bureaucratic as they develop.  With more government comes more laws-federal, state and local.  With more laws at each level, the public has less freedoms and less control.

What is the answer?  Well, anarchy isn’t the solution.  Restraint with laws and regulations while re-assessing government’s role in taxing and ruling over every aspect of our lives can be the way forward.  It’s good to have some rules to govern and believe in but not at the expense of freedom and lack of control.  A government’s job is to provide national security and provide essential services.  It should not control every part of our lives.  Think about that every time you drive on a toll road or cross a bridge with a toll.

Notable Links:

http://www.wou.edu/~aramoshernandez06/techlesson.html

http://phrontistery.info/govern.html

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/different-types-of-governments.html

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2128.html

http://www.typesofreligion.com/

http://www.religionresourcesonline.org/different-types-of-religion/

http://www.counterpunch.org/2006/02/04/religion-and-political-power/

http://www.libertarian-logic.com/abuse-of-power.html

http://www.religioustolerance.org/rel_theory1.htm

Margaret Thatcher-The Iron Lady

by Rick Bretz

I have read a number of stories lately concerning many people who dislike Margaret Thatcher and her policies while serving as Prime Minister of  the United Kingdom from 1979-1990.  These words are naïve and just plain stupid.   Just like her Iron Lady name implied, she was the kind of Prime Minister who said with her actions, “Enough is enough!”  She said it with the Falklands War.  She said it with the British Labour Unions.  She said it every time she stood up each week to face her British Parliament adversaries, the Labour Party.

Her weekly confrontations with members of the Parliament were interesting to watch. They were televised on CSPAN on the weekends.   She took no prisoners and didn’t give an inch.  Her confidence in her ideas gave her the strength to take on anybody, including the male power structure.

President Reagan walking with Prime Minister M...
President Reagan walking with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at Camp David (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She was Britain’s first woman Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party. She served three terms as Prime Minister and made some tough choices to get the economy back on track. Starting in 1981, the economy experienced 8 consecutive years of growth. The ultra-liberal factions of the Parliament never were satisfied with her choices while the elitists sought to demonize her.  However, tough choices had to be made and she was the one to do it. During the 1982 Falklands War, the government tried to arrive at a diplomatic solution but when those talks failed to provide any common ground, Prime Minister Thatcher was ready to use military power.

Thatcherism was a label that defined her style of politics but Margaret Thatcher gave her country something more important-a reason to be proud of their country.  Many people in America liked her, some of course didn’t. Like conservatives, some liberals just can’t come around and recognize a good leader’s accomplishments. Although she was a revolutionary by breaking political barriers, she didn’t like to be dictated to by them, such as the IRA.   The IRA tried to take her out with a bomb in 1984.  She showed up the next day to deliver a speech to say, “You are not going to get your way.”  She curbed union power by taking on the coal unions and took on the biggest union of all, the Soviet Union.  A Soviet Union publication gave her the name, “The Iron Lady.”  She helped bring about the end of he Soviet Union by letting President Ronald Reagan know that this Gorbachev fellow is someone we can deal with.

Margaret Thatcher will be remembered for her tough leadership but also as one of the great personalities of the 20th Century and one Britain’s best leaders in peace and during wars and cold wars.

Margaret Thatcher died on April 8, 2013.  There is one point everyone can agree on when discussing Margaret Thatcher.  She will be remembered.

Notable Links:

http://www.historynet.com/margaret-thatcher

Leaders are Like a Box of Chocolates. You Never Know…

English: Newspaper cartoon from 1912 about the...
English: Newspaper cartoon from 1912 about the Monroe Doctrine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Rick Bretz

Former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez died from a long battle with cancer on March 5, 2013.  He was a long line of authoritarians, dictators, and oppressors who annoyed the United States’ politicians and presidents throughout the last 100 years or so. This brings to mind the role of the government in bringing about change for better or worse in other countries.  Yes, Monday morning play calling is always perfect and much clearer.

On the other hand, the United States had to make decisions based on the best interests of their country just like Chavez supposedly did for Venezuela.  Yes, for those who are sanctimonious when it comes to America’s history in determining leadership disputes, the President and Congress make decisions based on the best results for the United States at that moment with a collective eye toward the future. Many dictators were supported because it was thought that the United States would have more influence over that person than a Communist government.  Stopping the spread of Communism was a major issue when deciding who to support. Once in power some of these dictators, like the Shah of Iran, abused their authority.  At the beginning, contrary to the present, the United States was interested in nation building only for itself.

The Monroe Doctrine resulted in the United States intervening in many disputes in South America during its infancy and after 1900 to the present day.  The Founding Father James Monroe knew the kind of price many people paid to secure liberty.  He refused to let instability within other countries disturb his country’s quest toward economic and cultural stability.  He simply said that the United States has a say in what happens in their hemisphere, be it South, Central or North America.

Thomas Jefferson made the determination that the United States has a right to defend itself anywhere in the world when he sent the Navy and Marines to the Barbary States to defend our right to sail through their shipping lanes without paying a tribute for protection against the pirates in 1801.  For the most part, throughout our history the United States remained a regional power and stayed out of European affairs until World War I.  Afterward when President Woodrow Wilson tried to organize the League of Nations, he was stopped by his own Congress and the resolve of European victors for revenge toward Germany and its allies.

This is not a love-fest from sea to shining sea. The United States is not perfect considering our history of slavery and the treatment of Indians almost from Jump Street and the encampment of Asians in World War II.   However, America has gone through a self-analysis and made an effort to refrain from past mistakes.  Many other countries have their own questionable events and downright sordid history with despicable actions. The United States seems to get the most flak because it has jumped into the fray and tried to at least solve problems, even working with NATO despite that organization’s inaction toward preventing many genocidal horrors. There are many cases where the United States has done some good and helped a country and even solved major issues resulting in lives being saved.  Here are some examples:

Construction work on the Gaillard Cut is shown...
Construction work on the Gaillard Cut is shown in this photograph from 1907 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  1. Completed the Panama Canal in 1914 and gave it back to the country in 1999.  The canal is one of the chief revenue resources for the country today.
  2. The Marshall Plan, providing reconstruction funds for European Nations after World War II.
  3. The driving force for the establishment of the United Nations.
  4. World leader in space exploration and research.
  5. World leader in humanitarian aid.
  6. Forced the Iraqi Army out of Kuwait after Iraq invaded in 1991.
  7. Gave aid to the Kurdish people after the war ended.
  8. The thawing of relations between China and the United States.
  9. Making an effort to reduce weapons of mass destruction.
  10. We usually enter wars to defend ourselves, to right a wrong,  or when asked for support (Pearl Harbor, Kuwait, ethnic cleansing, 9/11)

Having stated this case, there are some who see the issue differently.  Below are links that may have an opposite view.

Notable Links:

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/05/07/%EF%BB%BFu-s-support-for-brutal-dictators-is-a-source-of-frustration-in-the-middle-east-anthony-dimaggio/

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/US_ThirdWorld/dictators.html

http://www.bluebloggin.com/2008/01/11/history-of-us-backed-dictators-redux/

http://www.4thmedia.org/2012/08/18/us-supported-dictatorships-around-the-whole-globe-the-essential-facts-not-in-dispute-by-anyone-even-with-us-state-dept/

http://123pab.com/blog/2011/01/Is-USA-support-for-dictatorships-paternalism-democracy-or-corruption.php

http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/interventions.html

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/jefferson_papers/mtjprece.html

Eight Great Presidential Performances

By Rick Bretz

In recognition of the inauguration this week, I have listed what I consider the best presidential portrayals on film and the small screen.  My criteria are simple.  Did the actor capture the spirit of the President’s personality?  And, was I able to watch the presentation without being aware that someone was trying too hard to play that particular president? Most of the performances on this list present a narrow window in a President’s life.  The more difficult portrayals involve playing the person over a lifetime.  A good example of this is Paul Giamatti’s portrayal of John Adams and Barry Bostwick’s performance in the George Washington miniseries. Below is the actor followed by the President portrayed and then the  film or television title.

1.  Kenneth Branagh-Franklin Delano Roosevelt-Warm Springs

I was skeptical before making time to see this show that the actor could pull it off.  I was wrong.  Kenneth Branagh captured the force of Roosevelt’s personality and his physical and emotional fight with the crippling polio disease.  He also does a great job of relating to the people who have the same disease while rehabilitating at Warm Springs.  His supporting cast is terrific and he shows us why Roosevelt related to so many people.

2.  Daniel Day Lewis-Abraham-Lincoln-Lincoln

Enough has been written about Lewis’ choice concerning how Lincoln sounds when he speaks compared to other portrayals. If you watch Henry Fonda’s “Young Mr. Lincoln”,  the voice pitch comes close to what Lewis used in Lincoln.  What cannot be disputed is that he does capture Lincoln’s modest confidence and his sharp political mind.

3.  Paul Giamatti-John Adams-Johns Adams

 Paul Giamatti captures Adams from all directions.  He is spot on in his portrayal in many aspects.  His love for his wife Abigail, his mercurial temper, his difficult personality, his love for his family, his ego, and most of all, his sense of duty, fairness, and love for his country. Giamatti’s choices show the president from all sides while weaving his multi-layered personality into the presentation of Adams. He also plays him as he ages from a young man to his death which is difficult to accomplish.

4.  Frank Langella-Richard M. Nixon-Frost/Nixon

 Langella’s acting puts a human face on Richard Nixon in this Ron Howard directed film.  He sparred with David Frost through a majority of the movie and showed Nixon’s toughness, intellect, political savvy and his personality weaknesses.  This performance is remarkable because it keeps the audience interested despite knowing the outcome.  It explains history without getting into the minute details so the audience’s eyes don’t glaze over like sitting in 9th grade history class memorizing dates.

 5.  Jeff Daniels-George Washington-The Crossing

 Jeff Daniels does a terrific job showing people what it must have been like serving under George Washington.  Daniels gives us a performance that shows Washington cool under fire, a master at finding quality people to serve under him and how to manage them, and how to get soldiers to fight for him in the most extreme circumstances. Daniels as Washington shows the General as calm leader looking to find answers instead of assessing blame.

6.  Anthony Hopkins-John Quincy Adams-Amistad

 My favorite scene in this movie is when Adams is supposedly sleeping during a congressional session.  Then the speaker asks him to comment on the previous discussion. Adams speaks up immediately repeating the last exchange and giving his own caustic opinion about the matter and the current session itself.  Hopkins is a master at losing himself in roles and this is one.  His other Presidential portrayal of Richard Nixon is good as well but this one is fascinating especially with the final summation in court at the end.

7.  Randy Quaid, Lyndon B. Johnson, LBJ; The Early Years

 Randy Quaid shows Lyndon Johnson with his loud voice, over-the–top personality and his energy to accomplish his own goals and fix what needs to be fixed.  This is another performance that shows the actor aging through several years from a young man to his days in congress.  Quaid gives an outstanding performance showing how Johnson dealt with people and how Johnson used his force of personality to get his legislation passed when he was a leader in congress.

8.  Henry Fonda-Abraham Lincoln-Young Mr. Lincoln

This movie was released in 1939 and it shows a young Henry Fonda at his best. Fonda gives us the Lincoln personality in the salad days of his lawyer career.  He takes on a case early in the movie that everyone believes is a lost cause.  Throughout the movie, Fonda shows the audience the Lincoln wit and his art for storytelling.  He shows us why Lincoln became President while  using his political savvy and intelligence.  Fonda’s acting also shows us an underlying sadness to his personality and an innate understanding he might be destined for great things.

Those are my favorites.  Do you agree? Leave a comment?

 More great characterizations:

David Morse-George Washington-John Adams; Edward Herrmann-Franklin Delano Roosevelt-Eleanor and Franklin; Barry Bostwick-George Washington- George Washington (The Mini-Series);  Bill Murray-Franklin Delano Roosevelt-Hyde Park on the Hudson; Gary Sinise-Harry S. Truman-Truman;  James Whitmore-Harry S. Truman-Give ‘Em Hell Harry; Raymond Massey-Abraham Lincoln-Abe Lincoln in Illinois; Brian Keith-Teddy Roosevelt-The Wind and the Lion