Would Dwight D. Eisenhower be welcomed in today’s Republican party?… Today’s GOP- dominated by fiscal Conservatives like the so-called “freedom caucus;” scrawny descendants of Do-Nothings of the 80th Congress who obstruct, protest, and bloviate over the slightest Federal spending. The insistence on labeling government programs as “entitlements” will give these rank amateurs undue influence in policy making. Programs like Social Security, GI Bill, unemployment insurance, the interstate system, Civil Rights and the National Parks are all seen as drains on our government and in need of outsourcing.
Let’s build interstates
Eisenhower oversaw the expansion of all these “drains” and expanded so-called entitlements …. and had a very different view of governing:
“In all those things which deal with people, be liberal, be human. In all those things which deal with people’s money, or their economy, or their form of government, be conservative.”
Ike’s domestic policy was bold and equitable in the face of … the traditions of his party. Sadly, such a leader would be expelled by today’s Republicans– no longer the party of Lincoln.
Friends and rivals
The American experience has always been built on experimentation… Our very existence doubted by most of the world, the optimism of Thomas Jefferson became essential to the survival of our republican experiment.
As the election of 1796 loomed… the friendship between Jefferson and John Adams waned. Jefferson reminded his friend of their experiment:
“I am aware of the objection to this, that the office becoming more important may bring on serious discord in elections. In our country I think it will be long first; not within our day; and we may safely trust to the wisdom of our successors the remedies of the evil to arise in theirs. Both experiments however are now fairly committed, and the result will be seen. Never was a finer canvas presented to work on than our countrymen…. This I hope will be the age of experiments in government, and that their basis will be founded on principles of honesty, not of mere force….If ever the morals of a people could be made the basis of their own government, it is our case.” Jefferson to Adams, February 28 1796
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.
Before one of the largest Television audiences in the world… Trump 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Jefferson believed religious conflicts were the fault of theological teachings… not the people practicing faith.
As the crisis over Muslim immigration to America intensifies, both sides look to Jefferson to defend their positions. Former President Obama’s claim that Jefferson helped enshrine Islam into our national fabric is blatant exaggeration. President Trump’s allies are equally mistaken portraying Jefferson as an anti-Islamic warrior.
Author of Religious Freedom
Jefferson’s problems with Islam were philosophical… for he believed the faith to be anti-science and irrationally intolerant to open inquiry.
“I never told my own religion, nor scrutinized that of another. I never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change another’s creed. I have ever judged of the religion of others by their lives…For it is in our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be read. By the same test the world must judge me.”
The belief in religious freedom does not excuse its transgressions… Jefferson explained to friend and ally, James Madison.
“The declaration that religious faith shall be unpunished does not give immunity to criminal acts dictated by religious error.”