Interstate Highway System

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey: Dramatic Rise Of Dwight D. Eisenhower And Ulysses S. Grant Since First Poll In 2000

The C Span 2017 Presidential Survey demonstrates the dramatic rise of two war heroes in our two major wars: Dwight D. Eisenhower in World War II, and Ulysses S. Grant in the Civil War.

Both were Republican Presidents with low historical esteem as Presidents, particularly Grant, but both suffering from long term negative images in the White House.

But Ike, as Eisenhower was affectionately known, has soared from 9 in 2000 to 8 in 2009 to 5 in 2017, surpassing Harry Truman, who dropped slightly from 5 in 2000 and 2009 to 6 in 2017.

And Grant, who was 33 in 2000, soared amazingly to 23 in 2009 and now 22 in 2017.

Ike was well liked, but thought of as a weak, lackadaisical President when he left office in 1961, more remembered at the time for playing golf than anything else.

People thought of the fact that Ike “allowed” the Soviet Union to go into space first in 1957; and that the U-2 Spy Plane Incident in 1960 complicated relations with the Soviet Union, and ignored the many accomplishments of the 34th President.

Since then, his stock has risen with the understanding of his handling of the Little Rock Crisis in 1957; his ability to work with leaders of the opposition Democrats (Sam Rayburn and Lyndon B. Johnson) who controlled Congress for 6 of his 8 years; his acceptance of the New Deal programs of FDR; his creation of a federal commitment to health, education and welfare through the HEW Department in his first year; his promotion of the interstate highway system as a followup to Abraham Lincoln’s transcontinental railroad; his signing the first two Civil Rights laws since Reconstruction; the establishment of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Defense Education Act in reaction to Sputnik; his refusal to escalate to major involvement in Vietnam and warning his successors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, to avoid the morass that occurred; and his path breaking Farewell Address, warning of a military industrial complex endangering American democracy and American foreign policy.

Grant was thought of historically as a great General in the Civil War, gaining the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House in Virginia to end the Civil War, but as President best remembered for his liquor problems, making him a certifiable alcoholic; massive scandals around his Presidency, typified by the Credit Mobilier Scandals; two Vice Presidents (Schuyler Colfax and Henry Wilson) involved in corruption; and economic hard times leading to the worst economic downturn (the Panic of 1873) until that time, with a massive depression that undermined the majority party outside the South, the Republican Party, and led to the contested Election of 1876.

But in recent years, there has been recognition of Grant promoting racial equality through backing of Congressional Reconstruction in the South and the support of the 15th Amendment and laws against the Ku Klux Klan and additional Civil Rights legislation; promotion of an Indian peace policy very different from earlier and later times; his around the world tour after his Presidency adding to his stature; his amazing Memoirs, written as he was dying of cancer, and still considered a classic work, unsurpassed by any other President; and the deep mourning and honoring of Grant in death, including the commemoration of Grant’s Tomb in New York City in 1897. No one even in 2017 is rating him in the top 20 Presidents, but his rise from very low to middle status is quite an accomplishment, although it is hard to imagine him rising any further.

The question arises whether modern Presidents, including Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon, who have fallen in recent times in the Presidential polls, will yet arise and pass Grant, and knock him down below them in the future. Historians are constantly changing their perceptions of our Chief Executives, and it will continue into the long term future.

The Desperate Need For Infrastructure Spending: The Collapse Of America’s Public Works

SIXTY MINUTES on CBS last night drew attention to the desperate need for infrastructure spending, as we are on the brink of the collapse of America’s public works, most of it done in the 1930s to 1960s, but horribly ignored for the past 20 years in particular.

Bridges, tunnels, highways, seaports, airports are in such disrepair that we cannot compete economically with much of the Western world.

We seem unable to realize that not only are lives at danger, but the whole economic system is at risk if a major highway or bridge collapses, making it impossible for millions of people to reach work by automobile, and to have the ability to do the normal every day activities that fuel our economic growth.

We committed to public works projects in the time of the New Deal and Franklin D. Roosevelt; to interstate highway development under Dwight D. Eisenhower; and to all kinds of other projects during the booming economy of the 1960s under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

But in the past 20 years, mostly under GOP Congressional control, we have lost the vision and the recognition of the dire need for investment, and for commitment to rebuilt our infrastructure.

This is ironic, since the two single greatest public works projects in American history were the Transcontinental Railroad under Republican Abraham Lincoln; and the interstate highway system’s inception under Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower.

But then, the Republican Party of the last two decades, and even more right now, is a skeleton of its old self, and the nation is the ultimate loser!

The Tea Party Out To Destroy All Progress Since 1900! Progressives MUST Fight To Retain Social Justice And Economic Advancements!

America has changed so much in the past 114 years, from the time of the Progressive Era, through the New Deal, the Great Society, and the time of Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter. George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama!

America at the end of the Gilded Age was a selfish, greedy nation of the few elite wealthy victimizing the rest of American society.

But then came Theodore Roosevelt cracking down on big business; showing concern for labor; promoting the Food and Drug Administration; and vastly extending the concept of protection of the environment and conservation.

Then came Woodrow Wilson, who gave us the Federal Reserve Banking System; the Clayton Anti Trust Act; the Federal Trade Commission; and the first national labor laws.

Then came Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal, changing our lives long term with Social Security; public works programs; bank deposit insurance; stock market regulations; the Tennessee Valley Authority; Federal Unemployment Compensation; and labor laws which gave workers and labor unions the right to collective bargaining.

Then came Harry Truman, who promoted integration of the armed forces and Washington, DC; advocated for national health care; and emphasized the need for national commitment to education.

Then came Dwight D. Eisenhower, who enforced civil rights enforcement; promoted federal aid to education; the development of an interstate highway system; and the development of a national space commitment.

Then came John F. Kennedy, who advanced civil rights; promoted the space program; started the Peace Corps; cracked down on the steel industry;  and advocated national health care for the elderly.

Then came Lyndon B. Johnson, who promoted massive civil rights laws; successfully passed Medicare and Medicaid; pursued a War on Poverty; massive increases in federal aid to education; began a national commitment to environmental and consumer legislation; and appointed the first African American to the cabinet and to the Supreme Court.

Then came Richard Nixon, who signed into law the Environmental Protection Agency; the Occupational Safety and Health Administration; the Consumer Product Safety Commission; and attempted wage and price controls to keep down the inflation level.

Then came Jimmy Carter, who further promoted civil rights; saw the need for an Energy Department; and became the third best environmental President after Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon.

Then came George H. W. Bush, who signed into law civil rights legislation to promote disabled people.

Then came Bill Clinton, who promoted civil rights advancements; a greater commitment to education; and attempted a national health care program.

Finally came Barack Obama, who brought about ObamaCare; promoted great environmental expansion; advocated for equality of gays and lesbians including gay marriage; and started to take moves toward immigration reforms.

So much has been done by these twelve Presidents to advance social justice, and economic reform—eight Democrats and four Republicans.

But now, the 2014 Republican Party has been hijacked by the Tea Party extremists and the right wing radio talk shows and Fox News Channel and the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson, and they have declared war on all humane, decent actions that have taken place in the past 114 years, including advocacy of destroying Social Security and Medicare and getting rid of national parks and all labor reforms and the rights of women and the poor!

This is all very shocking and unbelievable, but the battle for progressivism and the retention of the great work done from Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama must be forthright and the battle for the future has just begun.  The Republican Party needs to be smashed and reconstituted, if the nation is to grow in the 21st century, rather than move backwards to the 19th century!

Great Republican Presidents And Infrastructure Investment In The Future

As we come up on Presidents Day Weekend and Week, it is a good time to reflect on the record of the most outstanding Republican Presidents, and how they made great investments in infrastructure, in many ways their greatest contribution.

Abraham Lincoln made the building of the transcontinental railroad a high priority, although the Civil War slowed up the completion of the project, the finishing of the Union Pacific Railroad, to the year 1869, four years after his death. He saw the transcontinental railroad as a promoter of economic growth, and to make America truly a nation unified by a massive transportation system.

Dwight D. Eisenhower saw the importance of the development of the Interstate Highway System, and committed to it in the 1950s, as a way to promote economic growth and national security, and the continuous expansion of that system is a testimony to his commitment to this greatest of all public works projects.

Theodore Roosevelt saw the preservation of the environment through the building of a great national park system as good for the unity and growth of the nation, and he presided over the quadrupling of the our parks and other nature sites as the long range commitment to our future, as a nation which cared about its natural resources and respected the significance of nature.

Each of these three greatest Republican Presidents, about 40-50 years apart in their Presidencies, made a contribution to the future of our nation which cannot be measured by normal parameters. No wonder they are ranked as among the top ten Presidents in polls of intelligent observers of the office of the American Presidency!

Marco Rubio Response To State Of The Union Speech Of Barack Obama Comes Up Short!

Florida Senator Marco Rubio presented the official GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address last night.

As always, Senator Rubio comes across as charismatic, handsome, well spoken, and a pleasant personality.

But when it comes to substance, Rubio was wanting in many ways.

He hardly touched on foreign policy at all, spending most of his time condemning “big” government, claiming that it cannot solve people’s problems, forgetting that he is where he is because of help from government through student loan programs, which he pointed out he had just paid off finally after many years of payments.

Rubio failed to realize that it is government which provides so many opportunities and forms of assistance, including his mother’s Medicare and Social Security.

Rubio forgets that it was the interstate highway system, initiated by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower, which has allowed the nation, and particularly Florida, to become a success story in growth of population and economic opportunity.

Rubio criticizes government, while making sure that he spends his career in government service, including the Florida legislature, where he spent a decade.

It is also ironic that Rubio and his party attack “big” government, when George W. Bush led the greatest expansion of government in four decades!

Rubio offered no hope for any solution to gun violence, and denied climate change, just as he has, earlier, questioned evolution, so he believes that science has no validity, while invoking religion, of course, all of the time, forgetting that we have a Constitution and Bill of Rights that promotes separation of church and state.

Rubio also shows bad math, as he claims Barack Obama has raised the national debt more than any President, which is not true, and fails to reflect the deep chasm we were in when he took the oath of office, the worst since 1933!

And his belief that often corrupt state governments, including his own state of Florida, can do a better job of operating safety net programs, is belied by the stark truth of just the opposite result!

So Marco Rubio gives a good speech, but the details come up short, if one is interested in reality!

But one thing Rubio accomplished is to make him more noticed as a leading Presidential possibility for his party in 2016!

As Second Term Of Obama Commences, An Eisenhower Second Term Is Needed!

As the second term of Barack Obama begins, and with the record of mostly troubled second terms of Presidents, one can hope for an Eisenhower second term performance.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower presided over a second term which included:

Avoidance of war, including a summit meeting at Camp David with the Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev, something no one would have believed possible.

Promotion of human rights and social justice, with the intervention of the National Guard at Little Rock, Arkansas, advancing the Civil Rights Movement.

Advocacy of the advancement of science and education as a response to the Soviet Union orbiting Sputnik I in space.

Advancement of infrastructure by promotion of the interstate highway system, the greatest transportation advancement since the transcontinental railroad under Abraham Lincoln.

If these kinds of accomplishments are possible under Dwight D. Eisenhower, with an opposition Democratic Congress in both houses, it should be possible under Barack Obama, with a split Congress, a Republican House of Representatives and a Democratic Senate, working together for the public good!

Time To Face Reality: Education, Infrastructure, And Climate Change Legislation Is Urgent For America’s Future!

The Republican Party has been fighting mightily against investments in education, infrastructure, and climate change, and now Hurricane Sandy makes clear that we can no longer have the privilege of allowing that party to destroy America’s future!

Education spending MUST go up, and we must make education of all kinds a priority if we are to compete with other nations that are passing us by!

We also have a desperate need for investments in rebuilding and expanding infrastructure all over the nation, just as Abraham Lincoln promoted the transcontinental railroad system, and Dwight D. Eisenhower advocated the interstate highway system, these two events a century apart!

And we must face that climate change and global warming are accelerating, and failure to do anything about it will doom this nation in the long run!

To be an ostrich with its head in the sand is self destructive, and the Know Nothings among us must be cast aside, and we must move into the future potential of the nation as soon as possible after the inauguration of the President in January, 2013!

A Long Range Vision For The Future Of American Transportation: Bullet Trains

As America continues to grow in population and become more congested on the coastlines, in Texas, and in the Midwest around Chicago, there needs to be a long range vision for the future of American transportation.

In the past, we had the transcontinental railroad system, promoted by Abraham Lincoln and others in the 1860s.

We also had the interstate highway system, originally promoted by Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s.

Now we need other Republicans, which Lincoln and Eisenhower were, to join hands with Democrats, and people of good will, to recognize the need to commit funding to the long range vision of bullet trains in key areas of the nation, highly congested areas, which are already being strangled by traffic jams, no matter how fast road building and expansion go on.

It is also an issue of the automobile never going down in cost, and the gasoline utilized going sky high in price, and unlikely to go down very much in the long term future.

More and more young people are seeing the cost of automobiles, and fewer are buying cars and using cars, preferring to use modern technology and live closer to urban areas, as the great suburban expansion is winding down.

Therefore, for the reason of costs of automobiles and oil, plus the desire to live closer to metropolitan areas, and the traffic congestion which is exasperating to millions, the future is in bullet trains that will travel between major cities all over America.

Florida Governor Rick Scott made a mistake in rejecting the idea of a bullet train between Tampa and Orlando, with connections down to Miami, and Florida will suffer for it in the long term future.

But there are other areas that really need to plan ahead for bullet trains, including:

The Northeast Corridor between Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC.

The Midwest Corridor, centered around Chicago, but including Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland and St Louis at a minimum.

The Texas Corridor, connecting major cities in this gigantic state, including El Paso, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston.

The California Corridor, connecting the state capital of Sacramento with San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

If we do not recognize the value of these bullet train projects, and the environmental and transportation advantages, we will pay for it in the long run. We cannot afford to be ostriches with our heads in the sand, but instead need a long range vision, as Lincoln and Eisenhower had!

The Need To Build And Reconstruct Infrastructure For The Future Of America

America is at a crossroads, and it is essential that America understand the need to rebuild much of our infrastructure, as well as expand our technology to meet the demands of the future, and compete with other world nations, including China, India and Brazil, all emerging powers.

Our highways, tunnels, bridges, train systems, power grid, energy supply, internet networks, and all other infrastructure need a commitment equivalent to the building of the transcontinental railroad system during and after the Civil War; the urgency to the building of the atomic bomb during World War II; the building of the interstate highway system beginning in the 1950s; and the competition with the Soviet Union in the space program to go to the moon in the 1960s.

Millions of jobs could be created in these infrastructure projects, and could help America to compete in the world economy and keep the excellence that America is noted for. But instead, there seems to be no imagination or creativity to look to the long term future in the midst of the present economic crisis.

This requires strong presidential leadership, to move beyond the pettiness and the politics of the minute, and think long range!

Time For High Speed Rail Projects Across Nation: Great Step Forward!

The Obama Administration is committing Recovery Act funds to promote intercity high speed rail projects across the nation, and Vice President Joe Biden announced today $53 billion over the next six years to advance such projects.

This will promote economic recovery by creating many jobs, save oil consumption by encouraging more people to travel to work and on vacation on high speed rail, and improve the environment as well.

Already, we have high speed “bullet” trains in Japan and South Korea, as well as in Great Britain and France, and they offer convenient travel and have put these nations way ahead of Americans in envisioning the future of transportation!

This is another stage of the transportation revolution, as much as Abraham Lincoln promoting the transcontinental railroad network in the 1860s, and Dwight D. Eisenhower advocating the interstate highway system in the 1950s!

The Obama goal is provide high speed rail transportation to 80 percent of the American people over the next 25 years! This is a priority that needs to be accomplished, but the Republicans in the House of Representatives may stand in the way of this investment, which would indeed be tragic! 🙁