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By Dr. Harold Pease

Time magazine’s April 23, 2012, edition featured a cover story called “The World’s Most Exclusive Club: The Secret Society of Presidents” by authors Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy. The cover shows a shot of President Barack Obama walking with his hands affectionately on the backs of former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Inside is a photograph of the most recent five presidents from Jimmy Carter to the present, all laughing and enjoying each other’s company as if they had always been fast friends.

The piece was mostly a series of “profiles in cooperation” as incident after incident was cited from Herbert Hoover to the present (excepting Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan about whom nothing was disclosed) on how past presidents had been able to forget their differences and assist new presidents because they alone knew what the current presidents were going through. It was as though there had never been any differences once they left office. The sincerity of their coming together appeared genuine.

The article refers to it as “the President’s Club” complete with a clubhouse, exclusively for only past presidents, conveniently located at 716 Jackson Place, just across the street from the White House on Lafayette Square. Richard Nixon converted the century old house into a clubhouse “mainly to keep LBJ [President Lyndon Baines Johnson] happy when he was in town,” the authors noted. “For reservations, you need to call the White House, and only four men are eligible to check in.” This way the current president always knows when his counterparts are in town and can arrange consultation if wanted. All costs for maintenance, housing, food and etc. are picked up by the taxpayer.

This long-standing comradery may surprise readers but this is not the only “most exclusive club” that each participates in. All presidents from Herbert Hoover on have either been members of, or had a close relationship with, the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. When a president is not a member himself, his vice president is. Virtually all of our secretaries of state, United Nations ambassadors, and ambassadors to Russia and China have been members of this Wall Street special interest group since the Hoover administration in the late 1920’s. Moreover, CFR members largely fill all presidential cabinets.

This is why there is so little difference in foreign policy between democrats and republican presidents. They get their advisors from the same Wall Street special interest group. They all support extensive foreign aid, policing the world with over 900 military bases in other lands, and continual wars without declaration or pre-established end. Likewise, they all support bank bailouts and their management of the money supply through the bankers own private Federal Reserve Bank.

Obama’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, probably admitted more than she was supposed to in her address at the recent dedication of a branch CFR in Washington D. C. when she said that her source of direction was the CFR sub-center down the street. “I am delighted to be at these new headquarters. I have been often to the mother ship in New York City but it is good to have an outpost of the Council right here down the street from the State Department. We get a lot of advice from the Council so this will mean that I won’t have as far to go to be told what we should be doing and how we should think about the future.”

Notable political scientist Lester Milbraith observed in his work Domestic Sources of Foreign Policy, p. 247, that “the influence of the CFR throughout government is so pervasive that it is difficult to distinguish the CFR from government programs.” Prominent political scientist Thomas R. Dye in his textbook Who’s Running America? The Bush Restoration, p. 188, wrote “The history of CFR policy accomplishments is dazzling” then traced in detail their dominating role in foreign policy accomplishment from the 1920’s through the George Bush Administration from their own boasts of success in Council on Foreign Relations Annual Reports.

What is wrong with this “secret society?” In 1954, The Reece Congressional Committee noted that its productions, “are not objective but are directed overwhelmingly at promoting the globalism concept.” How powerful was it by the time Congress first discovered its influence? It had come, they wrote, “to be in essence an agency of the United States government, no doubt carrying its internationalist bias with it” (Pp. 176-177).

Politics appears to be divided between two warring ideologies but because of these two secret societies of comradery, one providing a type of brotherhood, the other the same-shared source of direction and pool of advisors, it is hard to believe that at the top we are really divided at all. Presidents have far more commonality and bipartisanship than has been portrayed.

Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his articles, please visit