Saturday, 22 July 2017


Today Donald Trump, former star of The Apprentice and currently playing President of the United States and Tweeter in Chief, gets to play George Bush Top Gun soldier as he will commission the USS Gerald R Ford, in his words 'the biggest aircraft carrier in the world'. The ship will be a stirring tribute to a world leader whose major accomplishments were sabotaging the Warren Commission, pardoning Richard Nixon, falling down airplane stairs, and telling New York City to (metaphorically) 'drop dead'.

But there is a certain protocol to the naming of U.S. Navy ships after former Presidents. Consider this list:

Teddy Roosevelt (Republican): Nimitz-class supercarrier
Woodrow Wilson (Democrat, wartime president): submarine
Harding ( Rep, most corrupt administration before Reagan) nothing
Coolidge (Rep, didn't speak) nada
Hoover (Rep, Great Depression) zilch
Frank D Roosevelt (Dem, former asst secretary of Navy, wartime president, elected 4 times): destroyer Roosevelt, also honoring his wife Eleanor...pictured above left
Harry Truman (Dem, dropped A bomb, started CIA, pursued Commies): Nimitz supercarrier
Dwight Eisenhower (Rep, commander of allied forces in Europe WWII): Nimitz super carrier
John Kennedy (Dem, decorated PT Boat commander in WWII, assassinated) Kennedy-class carrier to be replaced by a Nimitz-class
Lyndon B Johnson (Dem, Navy reserve in WWII, sort of wartime president): destroyer
Richard Nixon (Rep, Navy desk jockey doing procurement deals, treasonous October Surprise in Vietnam, enemies list, quitter) zip
Gerry Ford (Rep, see above, served in Navy in WWII): super-carrier
Jimmy Carter (Dem, Naval Academy graduate): submarine
Ronald Reagan (Rep, made movies during WWII, colluded in treason with hostage takers in Iran, pursued illegal war in Nicaragua, most corrupt administration before Bush II): Nimitz supercarrier
George HW Bush (Rep, decorated Navy pilot in WWII, joint-architect of treason with Iranian hostage takers, invasion interruptus in Iraq): Nimitz supercarrier
Bill Clinton (Dem, draft-dodger, blow-job receiver): don't even think about it
George W Bush (Rep, failed and still-running wars in Afghanistan and Iraq based on knowing lies, most corrupt administration since Reagan, dodged draft via National Guard & went AWOL on that, made 'mission accomplished' landing on carrier, thus far 14 years prematurely): His Time Will Come

Do you notice a pattern here? If you haven't, here's a short-cut:
Republicans: 5 ships, 5 super carriers
Democrats: 6 ships, 2 carriers, 2 destroyers, 2 submarines)

It's as if they're taking advice from Fox News.

The naming of ships is the responsibility of the Secretary of Navy. Traditionally, battleships (extinct) were named after states; cruisers after cities; destroyers after war heroes; submarines after fish, until nuclear missile subs came along and were named after 'statesmen', especially those who encouraged wartime procurement. Carriers were traditionally named after battles (eg: USS Yorktown) except for the Enterprise, carrying on the name of a famous warship. Modern supercarriers are named for presidents, except for the Vinson and Stennis, named for congressional committee chairmen who gave the military more money than even they wanted. Both Vinson and Stennis were staunch and virulent segregationists, while Vinson also gets extra points for having defected from the Democrats to the Republicans when Lyndon Johnson got the Civil Rights Act passed. They seem out of place among the carriers, even among the lineup of B grade presidents.

Interestingly, Obama's Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus (former governor of Mississippi) who served through both Obama terms, thus becoming the longest-serving Secretary of the Navy since World War I, came under huge metaphoric fire for trying to name some smaller ships, including the submarine Lyndon Johnson cited above, after, wait for it, Democrats! They included Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (a littoral ship, sort of a modern PT boat), and auxilliary ships after Congressman John Lewis, a hero of civil rights; the late Congressman Ray Murtha, the first Vietnam veteran elected to Congress; Cesar Chavez, the civil rights activist and a Navy veteran; and Harvey Milk, a Korean War Navy veteran and city supervisor of San Francisco, assassinated because of his gay activism. Cue your seamen jokes. The photo above right was posted by the 'American Families Association'. You can guess how they felt about honoring Harvey Milk.


james b chester said...

Interesting post. Just one small correction. Harvey Milk was a city supervisor. He did not live long enough to run for mayor, but he probably would have.

To be honest, I think we'd be much better off if fewer things were named after elected leaders. And, probably if we spent less money building warships for that matter.

Michael Carlson said...

Thanks for that. Agree with you...I want National Airport back first