Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Greatness is achieved by effective leadership
Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, Department of Justice, and sundry other government agencies cannot be efficiently managed without great leadership in the Administration.
Politics has always been a full-contact sport and it is easy to see that one can become very beat-up and abused for standing on principle, particularly by the media. History has never been defined by great procrastinators or by great moderates except in the negative. Greatness, the legacy every President seeks, can only be achieve by successful leadership.
To validate this statement, one only has to go down the list of past presidents to see that the most principled of men, have had the greatest impact on history, not procrastinators and not moderates. Be it right or wrong, the legacy of each president is often left to scholars and historians to judge. I believe a better evaluation would be to question what presidential decisions had on the lives of the citizens themselves, but they are often long gone when legacies are determined. So it is up to those in their ivory towers of educational institutions to weigh the facts. Sadly they most often do not see the world as you and I do.
A consensus on the greatness of our presidents, with political parties taking a backseat, most all would agree on the following “TEN”. The first three need little introduction and even less time to explain:
Abraham Lincoln is often considered the greatest president for his leadership during the Civil War and his power and eloquence in speeches such as the Gettysburg Address. Against all odds, he held the country together in its most trying time.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was the only four-term president in history, and although his policies during the Great Depression today are often discredited by many scholars who see them as enabling the continuum of the terrible economic hardship on the country, his leadership during world War II, was what the country needed to defeat Japanese Imperialism and Germany’s Nazism. For conservatives, such as myself, his New Deal domestic policies defined American liberalism, and was the start of leading America down the road to government dependency and victimization.
George Washington had been called the “Father of the Country” as the first President of the United States, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. As one of the Founding Fathers, he presided over the convention that drafted the United States Constitution, which today remains the supreme Law of the Land.
Thomas Jefferson was a The Spokesman for democracy, and embraced the principles of republicanism where the Head of State is an elected representative of the people, rather than having power over the people by hereditary means with the people being subjects of the state. At the beginning of the American Revolution, he served in the Continental Congress, representing Virginia, and in1785, became the United States Minister to France. Jefferson was the first Secretary of State under George Washington.
When elected president in the so-called “Revolution of 1800″, he was responsible for the acquisition of the vast Louisiana Territory from France and set-out to expand U.S. influence with the Lewis and Clark Expedition exploring the new western half of the country. Under his presidency the size of the United States doubled. His decisions as president were not without criticism or controversy, particularly in hindsight, as he initiated the process of Indian tribal removal from the Louisiana Territory further west of the Mississippi River, opening the land for white settlers. In 1807 Jefferson drafted and signed into law a bill that banned slave importation into the United States.
Theodore Roosevelt was a true aristocrat, envisioning himself as a member of the ruling class. With the death of his wife and mother on the same day, he temporarily gave up his idea of politics and moved to the South Dakota to ranch. When his ranch was wiped out by blizzards which destroyed his herd, he returned to New York City politics, running in a losing effort for mayor. Determined not to be setback, he took charge of the New York City Police as its Commissioner and by 1897, under President William McKinley, Roosevelt was actually running the Department of Navy.
The war with Spain broke out in 1898, and Roosevelt helped form the famous Rough Riders, a combination of college athletes, cowboys, and ranchers. He gained national fame for his courage during the war in Cuba and in particular the charge at San Juan Hill. When he returned to the U.S. he was elected Governor of New York, and became GOP nominee for Vice President on the ticket with William McKinley. Their campaign centered on prosperity for the people, national honor, imperialism (colonizing the Philippines), protective high tariffs and the gold standard.
Roosevelt became President when McKinley was assassinated in 1901 at the age of 42, making him the youngest person to become president. He attempted to move the Republican Party toward Progressivism – eliminating corruption in government by exposing and undercutting political machines and their bosses and establishing further means of direct democracy in direct contradiction to our representative democracy.
As part of his drive of progressivism he sought regulation of monopolistic trust corporations (monopolies such as Standard Oil and American Tobacco) through antitrust laws, in an attempt to promote fair competition for the benefit of consumers. Like all progressives, and surely Roosevelt was a walking case for both progressive ideas and conservatism with mixed results, this became the government’s first real attempt to meddle in the affairs of our free market economy with its trust busting BUT also increased regulation of businesses as well and only grown more intrusive with the years.
He was the first president to speak out on conservation which primed the pump for today’s politically corrupt, and growth-limiting rules and regulations, which have gone over the top in hindering economic prosperity and jobs today, and he greatly expanded the system of national parks, national forests, and a wholesale land grab by government, which today amounts to over 30% of the entire country.
By 1907, he had developed even more radical reforms ideas, which thankfully were blocked by the conservative Republicans in Congress. He was successful in his Caribbean foreign policy when he ordered the construction of the Panama Canal, which was a monumental task that had a profound effect on shipping capabilities between the east and west coasts of the country. His face adorns Mount Rushmore alongside those of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln.
Woodrow Wilson leader of the so-called Progressive Movement. He is the only U.S. President to have held a Ph.D., and served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, which helps reaffirm my fear of those in academia and their political theories which never play out as well in real life as they do on paper. He led his Democratic Party to win control of both the White House and Congress in 1912.
Progressives always love BIG GOVERNMENT and believe it is the answer to all that ails the country, when in fact, it has a history of inadvertently getting the country into wars and other mayhem. History provides much evidence. Wilson has been considered the leader of progressive politics in U.S. government, but it appears the current administration is attempting to out-progressive Wilson’s many lasting efforts. He is credited with implementing the Federal Reserve Act, Federal Trade Commission Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Federal Farm Loan Act and the progressive income tax. Such programs have brought with them a lasting “spoils system”, much worse than the original meaning of the phrase.
Wilson’s policies actually expanded the Spoils System to rewarding certain groups and cronies of those running the Administration, rather than simply the civil servants appointed by those in office (as per its original definition).
The Spoils Systems was first introduced by President Andrew Jackson and identified by Senator William Marcy of New York, wherein corruption and inefficiency were bred into the political system by Jackson, rewarding those who enabled his election, but reached staggering proportions in the administration of Ulysses S. Grant. Backlash from those pushed from political grace and the public at large, helped bring about civil service reform, which was inaugurated by creation of the Civil Service Commission in 1871. The spoils system has, however, continued for many federal offices and is even more prevalent in state and local governments. The phrase emanates from Senator Marcy’s speech before the Senate when he coined the phrase, “To the victors belong the spoils”. Today, the SPOILS are doled out in the form of crony capitalism and ambassadorships to almost anyone with enough money to make a sizable political donation!Crony capitalism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, loans, loan guarantees, special tax breaks, or other forms of state interventionism…i.e. The 2008-2009 Bank Bailout, and President Obama’s failed energy investments.
Wilson’s record on race as both a historian and as President has been criticized by contemporary scholars. In addition, Wilson took personal control of negotiations when an armistice was requested by Germany during World War I, and in 1918 he issued his principles for peace, the Fourteen Points, which was a naive exercise in global diplomacy. In 1919 he went to Paris to promote the formation of the failed League of Nations and conclude the Treaty of Versailles, which proposed such drastic reparations against Germany, it lead to World War II.
Dwight D. Eisenhower gained his fame as the first Commander of Allied Forces in World War II. He led the crusade against communist expansionist policies in Korea and technically slowed the implementation of the New Deal policies of his predecessors. In the first year of his presidency, Eisenhower supported the 1953 coup d’état in Iran and used the threat of nuclear weapons to help end the Korean War. With the success of the nuclear card in global diplomacy, Eisenhower sought to reduce conventional military spending by expanding nuclear weapons capability to offset the Soviet growing threat to global stability.
When the French pulled out of Indochina, Eisenhower made the move to support the struggling democracy of South Vietnam and introduced his Domino Theory against China’s Communist expansionism. His military influence convinced Congress to pass the Formosa Resolution, which obligated the U.S. to militarily support the pro-Western Republic of China in Taiwan and take a hostile position against the People’s Republic of China on the Chinese mainland.
International politics played a vital role in the Eisenhower Administration with the development of NASA after the Soviet Union launched the first Sputnik satellite in 1957, and led to the Space Race which was eventually won by America. He sent troops to Lebanon to prevent revolution and ended the Suez Canal crisis of 1956, but continued government policies that would put a smile on the face of liberal progressives, such as The Interstate Highway Program, expansion of Social Security and the use of “executive privilege” in dealing with Congress.
Most important however, to those who continually credit Democrats as the party of compassion and being for race equality, it was Eisenhower that enforced federal court orders to desegregate public schools against the wishes of Southern Democrats, and signed into law, the civil rights legislation in 1957 and 1960, to protect the right to vote for African- Americans. By the way…He implemented desegregation of the armed forces at the same time.
James K. Polk was the absolute epitome of leadership in the Presidency of the United States. He was the 11th president and was able to defeat Henry Clay by promising to annex Texas. His legacy has been measured by his successes in foreign policy which included the threat of going to war with Britain over the ownership of the Pacific Northwest Region of the U.S. called the Oregon County, and as promised during the election, annexation of Texas by winning the Mexican-American War. These two successes alone secured most the Northwest and Southwest territories for the Unites States.
Polk promised to serve only a single term in office and in that one term, his stated goals were accomplishments, which should energize those who seek term limits with all elected officials today. Credited to President Polk was the issuance of the first U.S. Postage Stamps, breaking ground on the Washington Monument, establishment of the U.S. Treasury system which gave way to the Federal Reserve System in 1913, and opening the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, to train Naval officers.
Andrew Jackson, well-known for his victory in the Battle of new Orleans, started what has become the Democratic Party mainly because he did not see eye to eye with fellow Tennessean and arch rival Henry Clay who was a founder of the Whig Party. As a leader among men, Jackson was an intimidating figure and was nominated for president in 1824, to run against John Quincy Adams. Defeated by Adams in 1824, Jackson’s and his supporters founded the Democratic Party and went on the crush Adams and the Whig Party in 1828.
Jackson owned as many as 150 slaves who worked on his Hermitage plantation picking cotton in Davidson County Tennessee, leading me to question the minorities in this great country who worship at the altar of the Democratic Party, thinking they should be indebted to the Democrats for integration, when it has been the Republican Party that consistently supported laws for equal rights. I attribute this to the role the Educational Department has played in educating our children with non-facts, innuendos, and outright misinformation.
Be that as it may, Jackson was a strong leader and faced down then state of South Carolina when it threatened to secede from the Union over the issue “Tariff of Abominations”, whereby Congress was using high taxation to protect the Northern States from goods imported to the U.S. by the England, killing the exportation of cotton by South Carolina to make the goods in the first place. Military preparations were made by South Carolina to resist anticipated federal enforcement and by late February 1833, Jackson authorized a Force Bill to use military forces against South Carolina.
Congress averted military action when it negotiated the Compromise Tariff of 1833, signed into law by Jackson. The bill promoted by Clay and signed by Jackson allowed both sides to claim victory.
In 2015 the United States is sorely facing a crisis in leadership. Whether such leadership can be found in either party is yet to be seen.
One would be surely remiss believing such a leader as those ten Presidential figures described above, will be found in the life-long career hacks in politics today; retreaded political family wannabees and spouses; and those who have displayed Al Sharpton-like integrity in their past.