John Adams

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

I've been around for 12 presidential administrations—starting with that of Franklin Roosevelt, who died in office when I was 10. In my memory bank are five deeply flawed men who turned the highest office into a national nightmare and were rendered politically impotent during the final years of their presidencies: John F. Kennedy (Bay of Pigs, Cuban missile crisis, assassination), Lyndon Johnson (Vietnam), Richard Nixon (Watergate), Jimmy Carter (Iran hostage crisis) and Bill Clinton (Monica Lewinsky).

My family was not Democratic nor Republican. Nor am I. I've always voted for whomever I believed to be the best person for the job. As a result, I'm a registered Independent, which means I never vote in primary elections. If that's a cop-out, so be it.

For the record, up to the current administration (on which the jury is still out) I voted Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Humphrey, Carter, Reagan, Bush 41 and Clinton.

Only twice in my life have I seen the country crippled and disfigured, resulting in genuine grassroots passion in a presidential election: 1968 and 2008.

The year I got passionate about politics—and dispassionate—was 1968.

Exactly nine blocks from my house in Center City Philadelphia, the following exchange took place on ABC-TV the evening of April 16 at the National Constitution Center: MR. GIBSON: And Senator Obama, I want to do one more question, which goes to the basic issue of electability. And it is a question raised by a voter in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. A woman by the name of Nash McCabe. Take a look. NASH MCCABE (Latrobe, Pa.): (From videotape.) Senator Obama, I have a question, and I want to know if you believe in the American flag. I am not questioning your patriotism, but all our servicemen,

Competent and organized, she spends time on the golf course Oct. 13, 2005: Vol. 1, Issue No. 39 IN THE NEWS Raising Storm Relief Money, Ex-Presidents Try to Decide Where to Send It --Stephanie Strom The New York Times, Oct. 8, 2005 With Fanfare and Dollar Signs, Wie Scratches Her Professional Itch --Damon Hack The New York Times, Oct. 6, 2005 Regular readers of this column know that I have a mordant fascination with the juxtaposition of two seemingly unrelated news stories. Such is the case with former presidents Bush and Clinton having no

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