Department Of Education

Is George H. W. Bush The “Best” One Term President In American History, Surpassing James K. Polk, And What About Jimmy Carter?

Now that George H. W. Bush is part of American history, the question arises whether he should be judged the “best” one term President in American history.

We have had the following 12 one term elected Presidents who finished their term, but were not given a second term:

John Adams
John Quincy Adams
Martin Van Buren
James K. Polk
Franklin Pierce
James Buchanan
Rutherford B. Hayes
Benjamin Harrison
William Howard Taft
Herbert Hoover
Jimmy Carter
George H. W. Bush

Eight of them, all but Polk, Pierce, Buchanan, and Hayes were defeated for reelection, with those four choosing not to run, and all of these four, except Polk, very unpopular and aware that they were not wanted to be nominated for another term.

The usual viewpoint has been that James K. Polk, with the acquisition of the American Southwest by war with Mexico, and acquisition of the Pacific Northwest by the Oregon treaty with Great Britain, was the most successful one term President. Labeled an expansionist and an imperialist by many, the fact that he presided over the greatest expansion of US territory since Thomas Jefferson, has helped him to be regarded by scholars as a “successful” President, rated 12 to 14 in scholarly polls.

Now, some are saying that George H. W. Bush may be greater than Polk, due to his foreign policy accomplishments in particular, including the end of the Cold War, the unification of Germany, and the Persian Gulf War, along with his domestic policies of “A Thousand Points Of Light”, and the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Some on this list, including Van Buren, Pierce, Buchanan, Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, Taft, and Hoover are seen in a poor light, while J. Q. Adams is seen as not having succeeded in his one term, although a great man, and his father, John Adams, criticized for the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, curbing civil liberties during his term.

The only other one term President who could be seen as competing would be Jimmy Carter, with his Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, the Panama Canal Treaty, his Human Rights advocacy, his creation of new cabinet agencies (Departments of Education, Health And Human Services, Energy), and his exceptional record on the environment, but his negatives, including high inflation, the Iranian hostage crisis, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the Cuban Mariel Boat Lift all help to undermine his case.

So, one could argue that Polk and Bush may be competitive as the “best” one term elected President, without a clear cut answer to the question of who was the better President.

It might be best to say that Polk was the best 19th century one term elected President, while Bush was the best 20th century one term elected President, with Jimmy Carter as the runner up in that regard.

Respect And Applause On Jimmy Carter’s 94th Birthday: A Treasure For The Nation

Former President Jimmy Carter has reached his 94th birthday today, and that is an event which should engender respect and applause, that we have been graced with his long life, only matched by former President George H. W. Bush on June 12 of this year.

Jimmy Carter has been out of office nearly 38 years, an all time record, and his Vice President, Walter Mondale, is still doing well as he nears 91 in early January.

Carter’s Presidency was controversial, due to the Iran Hostage Crisis; high inflation after the second Arab oil embargo of 1978-1979; and the Cuban Mariel Boatlift to Miami, Florida.

But Carter will always be remembered for the 40 year success of the Camp David Accords, the agreement of Israel and Egypt, to establish diplomatic relations, the first such agreement between any Arab nation and the Jewish state.

Carter is also remembered for the Panama Canal Treaty; the establishment of diplomatic relations with China; his promotion of Human Rights; his establishment of three new cabinet agencies (Education, Health and Human Services, Energy); and his great promotion of environmental protection, making him the third most accomplished in that field, after Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, and more recently challenged by Barack Obama.

He and his wife, Rosalyn, are on the road to being the longest Presidential marriage about a year from now, when they would surpass the length of marriage of George H. W. and his wife Barbara Bush. By that time a year from now, the Carters would be 95 and 91 years of age.

Let us hope that the Carters and Walter Mondale continue to live on, and grace us by their presence.

Republican Split Begins, As Several US Senators Indicate They Are Ready To Fight Trump Cabinet Appointments

It is now clear that Donald Trump will NOT work to avoid Republican party splits, but instead will do everything he can to stir division within the party, and within America, as shown with his horrendous Cabinet appointments.

Democrats MUST fight tooth and nail against many of the Cabinet appointments, including the nominees for Attorney General (Jeff Sessions); Health and Human Services (Tom Price); Labor (Andrew Puzder); Education (Betsy DeVos); and Environmental Protection Agency (Scott Pruitt).

But there are Republicans unhappy over issues of foreign policy, including close association between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson: and the proposed nomination of John Bolton to be Deputy Secretary of State, despite his continued belief that the Iraq War was justified, and the opposition of many top Republicans who despise the former United Nations Ambassador by recess appointment under George W. Bush, who could not be confirmed by the US Senate.

Republican Senators, including Marco Rubio, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, Rand Paul, Ben Sasse and Susan Collins, and possibly others, could prevent some of these appointees in committee or on the floor, and in league with Democrats, create more Cabinet turmoil and rejections than any modern President, reminding us of the battles some earlier Presidents, including John Tyler and Andrew Johnson, had with Congress over their choices for the Cabinet and the courts.

Also, even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan are calling for a full investigation of Russian hacking of the Democratic Party campaign in the recent election, and many are alarmed by Donald Trump seemingly cozying up to Putin, and Trump’s denial that he believes the evidence of such hacking as concluded by the Central Intelligence Agency, undermining respect and support of the President Elect for the intelligence agencies. And Trump’s refusal to get intelligence briefings regularly and to show mistrust of the Intelligence community, which is so important for the national security of the nation, is very worrisome and alarms many in his own party, as well as the nation at large.

Conservative Republicans Want To Repeal Constitutional Amendments And 20th Century Reforms That Make America A Better Nation!

The Republican Party of the second decade of the 21st century, along with the conservative movement, in all of its ramifications, is out to repeal constitutional amendments and numerous 20th century reforms that make America a better, more modern nation, all in their quest to make the corporations ever more dominant and enrich the top one percent more than already is reality!

When one follows, reads, and watches right wing spokesmen, in and out of the party, they have called for the following repeals:

The 16th Amendment–Federal Income Tax
The 17th Amendment–Direct Popular Election Of US Senators
19th Amendment–Woman Suffrage
Antiquities Act–National Parks, Forests, and Monuments Protection
Food And Drug Administration
Clayton Anti Trust Act
Federal Trade Commission
Federal Reserve Act
Social Security Act
Fair Labor Standards Act
Medicare
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Department Of Education
Department Of Health And Human Services
Department Of Housing And Urban Development
Department Of Energy
Environmental Protection Agency
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Occupational Safety And Health Administration
US Post Office
Affirmative Action
Abortion Rights
Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
National Public Radio
PBS
Americans With Disabilities Act
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
ObamaCare–Affordable Care Act

These and other laws and amendments not mentioned here became law under Presidents of both parties, including

Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama

Basically, these right wing groups and the dominant element in the Republican Party in Congress want to repeal everything that is good about America, and bring us back to the 19th century Gilded Age!

America’s Underappreciated Presidents—James K. Polk, Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush

With Presidents Day celebrated on Monday, this is a good time to reflect on which Presidents are underappreciated for their contributions in the White House.

Five Presidents, four of them having only one term, and three of them soundly defeated for reelection, are often overlooked in an unfair manner.

These five underappreciated Presidents are as follows, chronologically:

James K. Polk (1845-1849), Democrat—-who did not wish a second term in office, died only three months after his term of office, but accomplished more than any President, regarding expansion of the nation, as he negotiated the gaining of the Pacific Northwest with Great Britain, and went to war with Mexico to gain the Southwestern United States. Because of Polk, highly controversial due to his manipulation of conditions setting up war with Mexico, and often criticized as an “imperialist”, we gained more land than any other President, including Thomas Jefferson with his Louisiana Purchase.

Grover Cleveland (1885-1889, 1893-1897), Democrat—-the only two term non consecutive terms President, although winning the popular vote three consecutive times, Cleveland accomplished the passage of the Interstate Commerce Act, promoted civil service reform, and became regarded as a man of strong principles, including refusing to take over Hawaii, after a treaty was negotiated by the previous President, Benjamin Harrison. A rare President on the concept of opposing the addition of territory to the United States, he refused to go to war with Spain over the issue of Cuba in his second term, and opposed the Spanish American War and the Filipino Insurrection intervention under William McKinley, standing out as a leading anti imperialist.

William Howard Taft (1909-1913), Republican—-was unfortunate in coming in between two very charismatic Presidents, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, both of whom would end up ranked in the top ten of all Presidents, in most polls of experts on the Presidency. Taft also was the worst defeated President running for reelection, competing against both TR and Wilson, and ended up third, rather than second in defeat, and winning only 23 percent of the vote, two states, and eight electoral votes. But he deserved better, and did have the distinction of becoming Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the 1920s, where he was much happier. But Taft actually signed a highly successful regulation of the railroads, the Mann Elkins Act of 1910; won lawsuits causing the breakup of the monopolies of Standard Oil, United States Steel, and International Harvester; and supported two constitutional amendments, the 16th (Federal Income Tax) Amendment, and the 17th (Direct Election of United States Senators) Amendment.

Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Democrat—served one divisive term, defeated for reelection by Ronald Reagan, due to the Iran Hostage Crisis, high inflation and unemployment, and the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan, and faced primary challenges from Ted Kennedy and Jerry Brown. But he accomplished the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt; the Panama Canal Treaty; the promotion of the principle of human rights in foreign policy; the advancement of the environment, making him the third best President on that issue; and creation of three cabinet agencies–Health and Human Services, Education, and Energy. And his post Presidency, now the longest in American history, has been a model for Bill Clinton’s post Presidency, and Carter continues to promote human rights and economic and social reform nationally and world wide, and is often considered the best former President of the United States in American history.

George H. W. Bush (1989-1993), Republican—the second worst defeated President in American history, despite having led the coalition which forced Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, lessening a threat to the Middle East oil supply and the government of Saudi Arabia, in the Persian Gulf War of 1991; being the President under whom the Cold War came to an end in a stable manner in 1991; managing the unification of Germany between 1989 and 1990 in a skillful manner; and promoting the passage of civil rights law for the disabled population of America, a major reform in American history. Bush was always considered a master in the field of foreign policy, and for years after, had an impact on policy making through his significant staff members, who continued to have an impact.

All five Presidents deserve a better coverage and appreciation, despite the fact that each could be roundly criticized for events that would cause them to be overlooked as outstanding Presidents. Presidents Day is an appropriate time to do so!

88th Birthday Of President Jimmy Carter: Time For Republican Party To Stop Trashing Him!

President Jimmy Carter reached his 88th birthday today, making him the seventh American President to reach that ripe old age!

Only George H. W. Bush, who reached the same age on June 12; Harry Truman who lived to 88 years and almost eight months; Herbert Hoover and John Adams, who lived to 90; and Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, who reached 93, with Ford outliving Reagan by six weeks, have had longer life spans.

Jimmy Carter reaches 88 in the best physical and mental condition of any President who has reached that age, as all the others were declining noticeably, and even Bush has shown signs of wear and tear far greater than Carter.

Carter, and his wife Rosalynn, still travel the world promoting free elections, democracy, fighting hunger, and promoting the struggle against poverty and disease through the Carter Center and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta. He also gained prestige by winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his works.

Carter has become, without question, the most active and involved President in his post Presidential career, and has often been called the “best” former President of the United States.

Despite all this, Carter has been the butt of attacks and vicious denunciations by conservatives and Republicans for his “failings” while in office from 1977-1981, and the fact that he is now 88, and out of office nearly 32 years, has not slowed up the nasty treatment.

The Democrats denounced Herbert Hoover for the Great Depression for a long time, but in his last years, a truce was declared, as the thought was that it was time to stop the attacks as unseemly on an old man who, despite his shortcomings, had made some notable contributions while President and after.

So in the spirit of fairness, it is time for the Republicans and conservatives to stop using Jimmy Carter as a political football, show some respect and deference, and give him the recognition that he deserves for his true accomplishments in office, including:

The Egyptian Israeli Peace Treaty
The Panama Canal Treaty
Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty Two With the Soviet Union
Promotion of Human Rights
Advocacy of the Environment, making him the third best on that after Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon
Creation of the Department of Education and Department of Energy Cabinet posts
Promotion of a national energy policy which was ignored by his successor, Ronald Reagan
Granting of real authority and influence to his Vice President, Walter Mondale, making it a powerful office
Promotion of civil rights advancements
Healing the Vietnam War divisions by giving amnesty to draft evaders who had fled to Canada during the war

Happy Birthday, President Carter, and many more healthful years to you and your wife!

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s Loony Budget Proposal: A “Clear And Present Danger”!

One of the worst results of the midterm Congressional elections of 2010 was the election of Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, the son of Texas Congressman and Presidential candidate Ron Paul.

Rand Paul, an optometrist who is not certified by the national organization in the field of optometry, but instead by his own self created association, and who was ranked as the worst Senator in oral discourse in Congress, with an average of only 8.0, eighth grade language, has been seeking to raise his libertarian image within the Republican Party, and is clearly looking to run for President in the future, based on his father’s reputation, and his own,. even more loony, ideas.

Like his father, Rand Paul is an isolationist and a small government man, and he has no concern about the effects of massive cuts in the federal budget.

So last week, he proposed a budget that would totally destroy the whole direction of the nation in an extremist way. absolutely nuts!

What did Paul propose?

A cut in the Social Security payments of 40 percent to all recipients.
End the Medicare program as we know it in two years.
Reduce defense spending by $100 billion below a level considered “devastating” by the Pentagon.
Eliminate the Education, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, and Commerce Departments.
Dramatically cut the Homeland Security Department.
Cut programs for the poor in a radical fashion.
Give tax cuts to the wealthy, lowering rates to 17 percent, and eliminate all taxes on capital gains and dividends.

The vote in the Senate was 83-16 against this radical, crazy plan of Rand Paul. The fact that fifteen Senators joined Paul in backing this most reckless plan is scary beyond belief.

It is clear that Rand Paul is a “clear and present danger” to our future, and must be resisted in every way possible to prevent any chance of him being a serious factor in future Congressional leadership battles and Presidential ambitions.

Paul makes other right wing Republicans look sane by comparison, which makes any intelligent person totally terrified of what this crazy libertarian stands for, sadly backed by many who have no concept of how dangerous this Kentucky Senator has the potential to be in the future!

The Republican Party Advocating The End Of National Commitment To Education Standards: A Tragedy!

The Republican Party has declared war on the US Department of Education, and in so doing, will doom American education for the long term, if they are successful in winning power, and succeed in abolishing a department first started under Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower, as part of a larger cabinet agency, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare in 1953, and created separately in 1979 under President Jimmy Carter.

When Ronald Reagan came to the Presidency, he was dedicated to the abolition of the department, but dropped the idea, but it has come under attack ever since.

The attack on the Department of Education, advocated by Republicans who wish to allow states and local districts to control education without oversight, would bring about an education system which would promote mediocrity in educational offerings in poor districts, making victims of economically disadvantaged students and disabled students.

If there are to be funds coming from the national government, and higher standards of educational attainment and greater accountability demanded, then local control will not work, as historically, no matter how many complaints there are about the national government, the corruption and incompetence of state and local governments in much of the nation is notoriously scandalous!

That is why we were caught off guard in the 1950s, when the Soviet Union was first in space, and made us aware of the need for federal involvement and investment in education at all levels, leading to the National Defense Education Act of 1958.

Not only is it essential to provide for poor, minority and disabled students, but also if Pell grants are ended, it will destroy the idea of advancing educational opportunity for low income college students, which can lead to a better economic future for them and their families.

So despite Michele Bachmann specifically calling for the total closing of the Education Department, and in fact because of the very obvious ignorance she displays in her own educational experience, federal involvement in education MUST continue unabated!

The 87th Birthday of Jimmy Carter: A Look Back At His Much Maligned Presidency!

Today is the 87th birthday of former President Jimmy Carter, and it is proper to send good wishes to him!

By reaching the age of 87, and in good health, Carter becomes the seventh President to reach that advanced age, with former President George H. W. Bush having reached that pinnacle on June 12 of this year.

Other than the first Bush, only Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan (both 93), John Adams and Herbert Hoover (both 90) and Harry Truman (88) have lived longer.

Jimmy Carter has also had a longer retirement after his Presidency than anyone except Herbert Hoover, and will pass him in longevity in retirement in less than a year, on September 8, 2012.

Jimmy Carter has been much ridiculed, lambasted, and condemned by his critics, and this post is not an attempt to deny the weaknesses and mistakes of his Presidency. Carter has learned how to accept the reality that he is shown little respect for his virtues and accomplishments, with a lot of it due to his defeat for reelection in 1980 by the charismatic Ronald Reagan, who is often now seen as a deity in many circles. There is the reality that IF a President loses reelection, his reputation in history suffers dramatically, no matter what he had achieved in office.

But while there is much controversy over Carter’s Presidency, on his birthday, it is worth it to point out his major successes in office.

1. Carter was able to negotiate the impossible–an agreement between Egypt and Israel, the Camp David Accords, which brought peace, recognition, and security for Israel for the past third of a century.

2. Carter also negotiated the Panama Canal Treaty, much berated at the time, and causing loss of seats for the Democrats and assisting the conservative takeover, but in retrospect, one realizes that the treaty was not harmful and against our national security, but actually helped to improve relations with Latin America, and is now seen as non controversial a third of a century later.

3. Carter’s promotion of human rights as a major foreign policy goal was ridiculed by conservatives and Ronald Reagan, but later it turned out that future Presidents, all of them, utilized the concept in some form as part of their foreign policy goals.

4. Carter made us aware of the energy crisis, and the need to expand energy resources beyond oil, and while it has not been pursued as he emphasized by later Presidents, it is clear that Carter was correct in his emphasis on alternative sources of energy being essential for America’s future.

5. Jimmy Carter had the best one term environmental record of any President, greatly expanding national parks and forest land, and focusing on the environment as an issue in a very admirable manner.

6. Carter appointed more minorities to appointed positions than any President before him, and fully backed affirmative action, which became a controversy during his Presidency due to the Bakke case.

7. Three new cabinet agencies were started during his Presidency, although now under attack by conservatives in 2011–Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Energy.

8. Carter presided over the smallest increase in the national debt during his administration, attempting to have very tightly negotiated budgets, although all were with deficits.

9. Carter issued an executive order on his first day in office, granting amnesty to Vietnam draft evaders, which however caused a rift with military supporters who opposed this courageous act.

10. Carter negotiated the SALT 2 (Strategic Arms Limitation) Treaty with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, which was never ratified by the US Senate because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, but its details were obeyed by both sides despite the rejection of the agreement in the Senate.

It would be easy to list the faults and shortcomings of Jimmy Carter, and as the years go by, and eventually Carter passes from the scene, there will be much more research done on him and his Presidency. When that happens, it is likely that a reassessment of Carter in a much more sympathetic manner, will occur.

For now, Mr. President, Happy Birthday and many more!

The Ongoing Civil War In The Republican Party: Similar To 1964 Goldwater-Rockefeller Race?

A recent CNN poll demonstrates the chasm that exists in the Republican Party, as the 2012 Presidential campaign comes on the scene more every day.

The demographics, ideology, and temperament of the two warring groups creates a real problem for their future. By 51-49, the majority do NOT support the Tea Party Movement, and can be seen as “Establishment” Republicans.

The Tea Party Republicans are older, more educated, and more male, while the Establishment Republicans are more likely female, less educated, younger, and less likely to be evangelical Christians.

The Tea Party Republicans are more angry about how things are working out in the country. And they are more concerned about the deficit; more likely not to believe science in regards to global warming and evolution; more likely to believe in the abolition of the Department of Education; more skeptical about abortion and gay marriage; more critical of the Federal Reserve Board; and more likely to think social security needs to be changed.

The Establishment Republicans want a candidate who can defeat President Obama, and less concerned about purity in principles.

Realistically, the Tea Party Republicans favor Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann, although some like Rick Santorum, Ron Paul or Herman Cain.

The Establishment Republicans strongly support Mitt Romney, or possibly Jon Huntsman, as legitimate candidates

So the present Perry-Romney frontrunner battle in many ways represents a similar battle to that of Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller in 1964!