Presidential Vetos

04/27/2007 11:44 am
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Presidential Vetos

President Bush says he will veto any bill sent to his desk that calls for a troop withdrawal or a timetable. This got me thinking about presidential vetos

The current president has issued only one veto in his presidency. Including Bush, 10 presidents have issued 1 or 0 vetos during their presidencies.

FDR thumbed his nose at Congress 635 times, by far the most by any president. FDR's vetos account for almost 25% of the 2551 vetos all-time by US Presidents However, in terms of "Vetos per term", Grover(2 terms) cleveland beats FDR(roughly 4 tersm) 207 vetos to 158 vetos.

Andrew Johnson issued 29 vetos, but Congress overturned his vetos 15 times. That's more than a 50% failure rate for a guy who eventutally was shown the door. However, Franklin Pierce had 5 of his 9 vetos overturned for a 56% "in your face from Congress" rate. Gerald Ford comes in 3nd with 18% of his vetos being overturned, followed by Richard Nixon (16%) and Woodrow Wilson (14%)

Stats are fun!
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
04/27/2007 @ 11:54:09 AM
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I saw the title and assumed this thread was headed down "flame war road," but I was pleasantly surprised.
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face.bmpCarlos44ec - 2078 Posts
04/27/2007 @ 11:54:29 AM
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interesting, good job!
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
04/27/2007 @ 11:58:54 AM
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It would be interesting to do a study on what is a "good" number of vetoes for a president to have.

Too many and they might be abusing their power, too few and they might just be rubber stamping everything.

I wonder where the "sweet spot" is, or if something like that could even be defined.
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jon.jpgJon - 2847 Posts
04/27/2007 @ 12:01:50 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - 04/27/2007 @ 11:54:09 AM
I saw the title and assumed this thread was headed down "flame war road," but I was pleasantly surprised.


Are you telling me no one else is upset that congress dared to overturn a veto by Woodrow Wilson?

Anyway, good blog scott. It's probably the 3nd best blog in the history of blogs.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - Always thinking of, but never about, the children.
04/27/2007 @ 12:08:53 PM
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It's funny too how little "middle ground" there is. It's like they either vetoed nothing or everything. I wonder what this list would look like cross referenced with which party held a majority of congress.
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vignette.bmpCarlos44ec - Since 1980!
04/27/2007 @ 12:09:13 PM
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Jeremy, if you're still looking for the "sweet spot", I worry for you.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - As Seen On The Internet
04/27/2007 @ 12:15:22 PM
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That was uncalled for.
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scott.jpgScott - 6225 Posts
04/27/2007 @ 12:37:33 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - 04/27/2007 @ 12:08:53 PM
It's funny too how little "middle ground" there is. It's like they either vetoed nothing or everything. I wonder what this list would look like cross referenced with which party held a majority of congress.


I was thinking the same thing, and I wouldn't mind doing the research on it. I just didn't have the time when I was doing this blog. Also, it would be interesting to note the "political climate" at the time. FDR was president during the last stretch of the Great Depression and the biggest war in the history of the world, so one could presume that he had carried his influence where ever he went.
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sarah.jpgSarah - So's your face
04/27/2007 @ 12:43:36 PM
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It sure seems like you had a lot of time...emoticon
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scott.jpgScott - 6225 Posts
04/27/2007 @ 01:15:49 PM
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I messed up, Grover Cleveland had 414 vetos his first term and 170 vetos his second term for a 2 term average of 292. His total was 584 for the two terms, almost matching FDR 4 term total of 635. G. Cleveland is the Veto Master.
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 1.21 Gigawatts!?!?
04/27/2007 @ 01:18:17 PM
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Grover Cleveland also spanked my grandfather on two non-consecutive occasions.
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Jeremy screwed with this at 04/27/2007 1:19:00 pm
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
04/27/2007 @ 01:32:29 PM
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Party on the can!
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scott.jpgScott - Get Up! Get outta here! Gone!
04/27/2007 @ 03:42:06 PM
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Ok, here are the top 12 Presidents with the most vetos, along with their Congressional Support/Opposition

President, Vetos, Congressional Status (congress with = same party)
FDR, 635 vetos, Congress with 12/12 years
Grover Cleveland, 584, House with 6/8 years, Senate with 4/8
Harry S. Truman, 250, Congress with 6/8 years
Dwight D. Eisenhower, 181, Congress against 6/8
U. S. Grant, 93, House with 8/8, Senate with 6/8
Theodore Roosevelt, 82, Congress with 8/8
Ronald Reagan, 78, House against 8/8, Senate with 6/8
Gerald R. Ford, 66, Congress against 2/2
Calvin Coolidge, 50, Congress with 6/6
Benjamin Harrison, 44, House with 2/4, Congress with 4/4
Woodrow Wilson, 44, House with 6/8, Senate with 6/8
George H. W. Bush, 44, Congress against 4/4

Bold items are presidents with majority power in congress for the majority of their presidency.


Of the top 12 Presidents, 8 of them shared the party power in Congress for the majority of their term. What does this prove? I'm not sure. These presidents were not rubber stamps, that's for sure. It's really shocking that the top 3 all had party power in Congress. And, adding up FDR and Cleveland, almost 50% of all presidential vetos were struck by presidents who had their party in Congress for the majority of their presidency.

The next item to research is the "political climate" of the day during these presidencies. It would be interesting to see if that has something to do with it.

Here's one of my sources, which I included with the original source. If you want the Excel spreadsheet that I created, I could find a way to upload that as well.
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Scott messed with this 3 times, last at 04/27/2007 3:46:42 pm
vignette.bmpCarlos44ec - 2078 Posts
04/27/2007 @ 04:14:10 PM
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That's good research. You could argue a point (how far, I have no idea) that the Presidents who were working against their Congresses or Houses had agendas- much like the current situation.

You could also surmise that perhaps the President of the time may have wanted a rider on the bill, or that he wanted them tweaked first.

Next assignment- find out how many were ammended then passed!
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
04/27/2007 @ 04:44:23 PM
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Either way it's clear FDR was a "my way or the highway" president.
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2887.gifAlex - Ignorance is bliss to those uneducated
04/27/2007 @ 07:35:23 PM
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Maybe politicians didn't play the partisan game so much back in the day.

Next assigment after finding out how many were ammended than passed - percentages. As in what was the veto rate? And preferably what was the "actual" veto rate, meaning don't count vetoes of bills that were eventually passed.
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scott.jpgScott - On your mark...get set...Terrible!
04/27/2007 @ 08:01:02 PM
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Back in FDR's years, even though the Democrats had the majority, half of them were Southern Democrats who were still somewhat leftover from the old South, meaning they were more like todays Republicans. They opposed many government involvement such as the public works that FDR so strongly backed. So inspite of having the "Democrats" in control of Congress, it wasn't the same party line that it is today. And if you look at the people on the list of the top 12, only 5 of them were after World War 2. So more than anything, I have to think that the political climate was the biggest factor.

Current President Bush had a Congress that did almost anything he wanted. If he threatened veto, the Congress wouldn't even consider bringing the bill to a vote. So comparing this current President to past presidents on Congressional Control and Veto is comparing apples to oranges.

Conclusion: these are different times.
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