On This Date in History: In the most recent presidential election cycle, Hillary Clinton was considered the front runner for the nominee of the Democratic Party until she was bested by Barack Obama who eventually won the election as President of the United States. It was seen a race for the potential for firsts. If Obama won the election, he would be the first African American president in the nation’s history. If Clinton won, she would be the first female president in the nation’s history. Or would she? Certainly Ms. Clinton would have been the first elected president of the United States but there are those who say we’ve already had a de facto female president. The sequence of events that led to that conclusion began on this date in 1919.
President Woodrow Wilson was making a public speaking engagement in Pueblo, Colorado when he suddenly collapsed. The president had suffered a serious stroke. Now, the president’s wife was Edith. She was a descendant of Pocahontas who had little formal education which contrasted greatly with Wilson, who had a PhD. Edith was a political neophyte as she was not his wife when he was first elected in 1912. In fact, she couldn’t even remember who she voted for in the 1912 election. One thing that she had in common with the president was that each one had suffered the death of a spouse. It was but a quirk of fate that Edith met the bereaved president and they soon married. Apparently, Wilson needed female companionship greatly and when Edith Bolling Galt became Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, she became a very close confidante.
So, when Wilson became disabled by his stroke, she was able to quickly pick up the reigns and then some. She barred everyone from seeing the ailing president. Cabinet officers and trusted aides alike were kept from seeing Wilson. Edith insisted that she had no role in executive decisions saying, “the only decision that was mine was what was important and…when to present matters to my husband.” Well, even if her role was limted to what she admitted, then she was still a key figure because it was up to her what the president saw and when he saw it. She was the sole arbitor of what was important and what he needed to consider. It’s unclear whether she was behind the public reports regarding Wilson’s health, but the public was told that the president was recovering. The truth as that he was partially paralyzed and nearly blind. That would mean that he was probably unable to read any documents or correspondence and so Edith would be in charge of the content of just about anything that he heard. The Washington Post in 2007 revealed the new information has come to light that confirms both Edith and the doctors conspired to cover-up the severity of Wilson’s medical condition.
She became known as the “Iron Queen,” “Presidentress” and “The Regent” with one senator referring to the situation as the “Petticoat Government.” When there was a presidential address to Congress scheduled, the message was sent in the form of a patchworks of reports from Cabinet members. Those reports included penciled in corrections by Edith, as if she was grading the school work of a child. Lawmakers were convinced that Wilson never knew nothing about the message to Congress or much of anything else that was coming from his office. The last year’s of his presidency are largely seen a ineffective and many suggest that the government was tightlycontrolled by the First Lady. Here is an excerpt from an Edith Wilson biography that illustrates the level of her control:
“When the Secretary of State Robert Lansing conducted a series of Cabinet meeting without the President, the first being in October 1919, Edith Wilson considered it an act of disloyalty and pushed for his replacement with the more acquiescent Bainbridge Colby. Wilson requested Lansing’s resignation in February 1920. As her husband began partially to recover, she also guarded access to him from advisors and other political figures. When Republican Senator Albert Fall was sent to investigate the President’s true condition, Edith Wilson helped arrange Wilson in bed to be presentable and sat through the brief meeting, taking verbatim notes.
In September 1919, Edith Wilson refused to have the U.S. accept the credentials of British representative Edward Grey who had been sent by his government to aid in the push for ratification of Wilson’s League of Nations unless Grey dismissed one of his aides who was known to have made demeaning jokes at her expense.”
Wilson died in 1924. He is buried at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. Actually, I believe I saw his place of final rest in the Washington National Cathedral. Edith carefully preserved memorabilia and managed his legacy. At the age of 89, she attended the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. Shortly thereafter, Edith Wilson died and, as part of her obituary, the New York Times observed that “some went so far as to characterize her as the first woman president of the United State.” There are those today who agree that, without the title, sympathetically Edith Wilson was indeed the first woman president of the United States.
Weather Bottom Line: There was a flash flood watch for our area through Saturday but since no wide spread rain materialized in the Friday’s gloom, it was cancelled. The concern was the amount of rain we had received and the amount expected. There is a cold front moving our way which will take us from a warm, moist airmass to one that is dry and coolish. From tropical maritime to polar continental. I had suggested some days ago that it was in this transition on Saturday that we may have some strong storms. As it is, the SPC does not feel the threat warrants a designation of a slight risk for severe thunderstorms, but it does put parts of our area under the dreaded 5% risk of severe storms. So, my assertion of the potential for strong storms remains, but the probability of any of those storms turning technically severe is minimal. Here’s what the SPC has to say about our region:
UPPER LOW THAT HAS MEANDERED ABOUT THE CNTRL PLAINS REGION FOR THE
LAST FEW DAYS WILL FINALLY BE KICKED EWD AS UPSTREAM HEIGHTS BEGIN
TO FALL IN RESPONSE TO STRONG SPEED MAX ALONG THE U.S./CANADIAN
BORDER. IN FACT LATEST MODEL GUIDANCE SUGGEST UPPER LOW WILL OPEN
UP ACROSS ERN KS/MO EARLY IN THE PERIOD THEN QUICKLY EJECT INTO ERN
OH/WRN PA BY THE END OF THE PERIOD. AS THIS OCCURS A POCKET OF
FAIRLY COLD MID LEVEL TEMPERATURES…H5 ON THE ORDER OF MINUS
16-18C…WILL OVERSPREAD MUCH OF MO/IL BY MID DAY…THEN INTO IND BY
MID AFTERNOON. ALTHOUGH MOISTURE IS SOMEWHAT LIMITED ACROSS THIS
REGION IT APPEARS FOCUSED ASCENT WITHIN THE EXIT REGION OF UPPER JET
SHOULD ENHANCE THE PROSPECT FOR ROBUST CONVECTION CAPABLE OF
GENERATING HAIL. A FEW STORMS COULD PRODUCE MARGINALLY SEVERE HAIL
WITHIN STEEPER LAPSE RATE ENVIRONMENT…PRIMARILY BETWEEN 18-00Z
TIME FRAME NORTH OF MID LEVEL JET CORE.
We will have a round of heavy rain with some accumulation totals of 1-2 inches but the SPC and Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) don’t look for particularly nasty weather or excessive rainfall. But, the sliver of the rain totals of greater than 3 inches has expanded since the last forecast and remains just to our east, encompassing most of east Kentucky. So, it’s worth keeping up on. Once the front moves through, we turn drier on Sunday…should be a great day. Then we get the follow-up shot of cooler air. I still suspect that on Monday night, there will be several temperature reports in the 40’s and Tuesday afternoon some folks may not get out of the 60’s. Fall is here.