Tag Archives: Presidency

Beyond Comprehension

To his supporters, Trump is the second-coming of Reagan… but every day, each passing Tweet, Donald Trump embarrasses himself and our republic.  The most egregious behavior involves the apparent collaboration with Putin’s Russia.  Trump and his acolytes have done little to assuage the concerns of the media or critics; often, going as far as to defend Putin and his authoritarian methods.

Bromance

Bromance

Before one of the largest Television audiences in the worldTrump did the unthinkable- he equated the actions of the United States with those of Putin-  all comparisons to Reagan must end immediately.  The President of the United States implied to the world a moral equivalence exists between our republic and the ruthless autocrat in Russia.  Putin’s murders are documented and clearly show the brutal nature of his regime.  Trump’s smarmy innuendo is an indication of both ignorance and  complicity.  Far from making us safer, this man is emerging as a serious threat to our national security.

No comparisons here.

No comparisons here.

Reagan’s call for an end to totalitarianism…  shows just how different the two men really are:

“No, democracy is not a fragile flower. Still it needs cultivating. If the rest of this century is to witness the gradual growth of freedom and democratic ideals, we must take actions to assist the campaign for democracy.”….What I am describing now is a plan and a hope for the long term — the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.”

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Exit Interview Pt. 3

Assessment of Barack Obama’s Presidency… Practically Historical attempts a nonpartisan analysis of the 44th President.

 

The Ugly

I'm not Bush

I’m not Bush

Arab sprung: Obama’s foreign policy was rudderless, and often alienated long-time allies.  The desperate attempt to sever ties to the Bush years was praised by the international community, but offered restored hope and strategic leniency to our enemies.  Hard withdrawal deadlines, reluctance to utilize force, and a willingness to support pell-mell regime change emboldened our enemies abroad and dangerously weakened our strategic position in the world.  The Iran nuclear deal could seriously destabilize the Middle East for years to come.

 

Underestimating the Junior Varsity: By 2009, few could argue that Bush’s surge of 2006 had pacified Iraq.  Obama’s stubborn adherence to a strategic recommendation(troop withdrawal by 2012)  by Bush officials may have won him political points, but it sacrificed the hard won peace in the Iraqi provinces.  ISIS emerged as a legitimate threat to peace in the region and US national security.  Obama’s half-hearted military response allowed once pacified regions of Iraq to fall under ISIS control.  His refusal to acknowledge the real threat these fanatics represent has allowed their influence to spread outside the region.  Miscalculations in Syria have prevented Obama from establishing a coherent policy for battling this very real threat to our security. 

Plan needed

Plan needed

Not my signature:  Every President wants to leave a lasting mark on domestic policy.  Obama’s legislative achievement was the Affordable Care Act- actual health insurance reform.  Every Democratic President since Truman wanted to reform the industry and cover more people.   The terribly complex and confounding legislation was heavy on regulation, passed on a party-line vote, and lacked public support nearly from its inception.  The law failed in many of its most basic goals and has wreaked havoc across the country with poorly conceived exchanges and ideologically driven mandates

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Exit Interview Pt. 1

The historic Presidency of Barack Obama is over… many scholars have already formed their opinions on our 44th President– Practically Historical advises more careful scholarship be undertaken.  Obama’s historic election should be remembered, but his time in office needs proper scrutiny for the sake of future generations.

44

44

The Good–

Economic recovery-  Critics will charge that the natural business cycle helped us out of the Great Recession, but Obama’s administration played a key role.  Job growth, GDP, and stock prices all rose under his leadership, while unemployment fell.  Obama’s efforts with the stimulus package and the bailout of the auto industry are both noteworthy.  By the end of his second term, economists were only debating the rates of growth, not whether there had been any.

 

Civil Rights-  Though he opposed gay marriage for much of his political life, Obama changed his mind and used the Justice Department to fight for this most basic right for same-sex couples.  His efforts united people from across the political spectrum– the key court case was argued by former US Solicitor (Republican) General Ted Olson.  Anthony Kennedy sealed the Constitutionality of the issue in Obergefell v. Hodges.

gay

Killing Osama Bin Laden-  George W. Bush had given up the manhunt, but Obama made it a priority.  Violating the sovereign borders of an alleged ally and carrying out a dangerous clandestine raid there was a bold stroke.  Obama showed commendable fraternity by first contacting his predecessor with the news.

 

Tomorrow–  the bad. 

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Executive Ordering

Executive orders were once referred to as “memorandum, notes, or letters”… issued by the President.  Many Americans equate the process with the creation of law, but typically the orders are written to enforce, not write laws.  Recent Presidents have used the authority to implement policies which are not part of a legislative agenda.  Historically, the American people are uncomfortable with an overly-active executive.  The practice has only been officially documented since 1936.

Some perspective on the issuing of Executive Orders is needed….

Most notorious

Most notorious

Ge0rge Washington- 8

James Madison- 1

Andrew Jackson- 12

James K. Polk- 18

Abraham Lincoln- 48

US Grant- 217

Theodore Roosevelt- 1,081

Woodrow Wilson- 1, 803

*Calvin Coolidge- 1,203

Franklin Roosevelt- 3,721

Richard Nixon- 346

George W. Bush- 291

Barack Obama- 276

Donald Trump- 12…. and counting

 

Building walls

Building walls

 

 

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Not Another Campaign Speech

Historically, inaugural speeches celebrate the American system… our republican virtue and the peaceful transfer of power.  Partisanship is put  aside in acknowledgment of being part of something greater, and speakers usually are humbled by the Day.

Still on the Stump

Still on the Stump

January 20, 2017 was just another stump speech for our 45th President… unaware or unwilling to accept that the day and our history dwarf him, President Trump repeated his neo-populist campaign slogans in a not-so-subtle swipe at his predecessors.  At the precise moment he should have shed his reality TV persona, Mr. Trump chose to continue his role as rabble rouser in-chief.

"candid men will acknowledge that in such cases choice would have little advantage to boast of over lot or chance."

“candid men will acknowledge that in such cases choice would have little advantage to boast of over lot or chance.”

John Adams understood the gravity of his inauguration… March 4, 1797.  His words echoed through history for generations to follow, yet were all but ignored today:

“The existence of such a government as ours for any length of time is a full proof of a general dissemination of knowledge and virtue throughout the whole body of the people. And what object or consideration more pleasing than this can be presented to the human mind? If national pride is ever justifiable or excusable it is when it springs, not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information, and benevolence.”

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2016 in Context

Americans have elected unorthodox candidates to the Presidency before… though Donald Trump’s victory could prove to be the most radical of them all.  Here is a list of the stranger decisions of our electorate…

 

5.  William Henry Harrison–  Desperate for a return to Jacksonian form, Whigs from around the country rallied around the lifelong soldier and Virginia aristocrat.  Though his personal story hardly resembled Jackson’s, Harrison’s reputation as an Indian fighter was enough to propel him to the Presidency.  At the time, he was the oldest man elected to the office.

Bully Pulpit

Bully Pulpit

4.  Theodore Roosevelt-  Though many historians claim Roosevelt crafted his persona to gain higher office, his pedigree as historian, rancher, and reformer set him apart from other post- Civil War politicians.  The Office was changing and Roosevelt was the perfect candidate for the era.  At the time, he was the youngest man to hold the office.

 

3.  Zachary Taylor-  With a nickname like ‘Old Rough ‘n’ Ready’, Taylor was clearly an unconventional choice in 1848.  Not only had he never held public office, but also claimed(proudly) to have never voted.  We elected a candidate with no experience, no affiliation, and no agenda….sound familiar?

Let us see what's in there

Let us see what’s in there

2.  Andrew Jackson-  On the surface, Jackson appeared the perfect candidate- military service, humble roots, and holding elected office at all levels.  What separated him was his temperament- Jackson was incredulous, uncouth, and violent.  A man too often consumed by his passions and pride, Jackson’s judgement was often affected by these detriments.  His brand of raucous populism forever changed electoral politics.

 

1.  Donald Trump-  Frustratingly unprincipled, irretrievably vulgar, and perilously ignorant,  Trump stands as the greatest gamble the American voters have ever taken.  The political elite controlling our government so abused the voters’ trust, Trump became their last resort.  Harnessing a dangerous breed of populism, Trump proved an effective demagogue on the campaign trail- and fear has swept him to the Presidency.

Time will tell?

Time will tell?

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Never Be Surprised

Academics say the darnedest things… in the cozy confines of the University system.  Impressionable undergrads eagerly hang on every word and grad students serve as willful accomplices as they look to continued advancement.  Peer review is a veiled threat at best, considering the lock step that seems to permeate academia.  Even when a proven fraud like Ward Churchill is called to account, academic circles are reluctant to police their own because of the lofty standard  “academic freedom.”(The investigation revealed that Churchill had received tenure without a PhD in addition to plagiarism and fraud charges.)

Devaluing the term "genocide" since 1978

Devaluing the term “genocide” since 1978

So, say whatever you please, professor… tenure has your back.  History professors proclaim “changing the narrative” as the driving force behind their scholarship.  Everything we’ve learned about America is wrong… so, like a Seinfeld episode of note, the opposite must be true: The founding of America actually had a negative impact on human history, the Founders were greedy imperialists in training, and ALL 15 Presidents before Lincoln owned slaves…. that’s right- ALL of them.

Surely, you jest...

Surely, you jest…

This would come as a shock to John Adams and his son… both from Quincy, Massachusetts.  James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce, and Martin Van Buren would likewise have an argument to such an absurd notion.  Millard Fillmore was only in office two years, but slave owning cannot be included on his resume.  Even Virginian William Henry Harrison had abandoned the practice by the time he entered public life.  Members of the Founding generation hated the institution, yet felt trapped by it- Jefferson described having a wolf by the ears.  As the abolition movement grew, later Presidents sought to defend slave owning rights, but their arguments were swept away in the tide.    But, to listen to many academics today, the Presidency was nothing more than the last line of defense for the slave owning class.  Never be surprised at what nonsense seeps out of our universities… our hard earned dollars make this “academic freedom” possible.

 

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