National Aeronautics And Space Administration

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.

Presidents And Science: The Top 15 Chronologically

A very important measurement of Presidential leadership is to evaluate their interest in the advancement of science, and their willingness to support scientific research as a major part of their administrative goals.

Sadly, many Presidents have shown a lack of interest in the advancement of science, and presently, we have a group of KNOW NOTHINGS in the Republican Party who would rather promote religion in government, and deny evolution and global warming, and are generally antagonistic to any suggestion of the advancement of science, such as Barack Obama newly suggesting an investment through the National Institutes of Health to fund $100 million to work on the mapping of the human brain, which could lead to research and advancement in the study of mental illness, and such other major problems as Alzheimers Disease and Parkinson Disease. But in the Sequester environment we are now in, and the push for austerity by the GOP, it will be difficult for the vision of the study of the brain to be understood as a worthwhile and significant investment!

In any case, the Presidents who can be seen as having advanced science include the following,

Thomas Jefferson–arguably the most science oriented of all Presidents, a true genius and intellectual, who sponsored the Lewis and Clark Expedition for its scientific value, as well as the exploration of a large part of the American continent.

John Quincy Adams—a promoter of federal support of the arts and sciences, and helped to promote astronomical studies, and helped to form the Smithsonian Institution, for which he laid the cornerstone in 1846, as well as the US Naval Observatory.

Abraham Lincoln—-promoted the scientific study of agriculture, and signed legislation establishing the National Academy of Sciences.

James A. Garfield—tragically killed early in his term, but a promoter of mathematical studies, devising a mathematical proof of the Pythagorean Theorem, and promoted funding for agricultural research. Garfield was a great intellectual, and in many ways, was a tragic loss of a President whose potential for greatness was lost so quickly!

Theodore Roosevelt—was a great promoter of nature and conservation of natural resources, quadrupling our national parks and national forest lands. He also set up the US Forestry Service, and went on a dangerous trip to map the Amazon River Basin and discover new species of animal and plant life.

Herbert Hoover—a brilliant mining engineer, and elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences, and a great intellectual, who was sadly a disaster in the White House, despite his credentials.

Franklin D. Roosevelt—managed the challenge of the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression, in his promotion of forest conservation, watersheds, and agriculture, and also worked with Albert Einstein and others in development of the atomic bomb to help win World War II.

Harry Truman—signed legislation setting up the National Science Foundation, and saw the need for greater funding of scientific research.

Dwight D. Eisenhower—promoted the beginning of the space program and the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in response to the Russian putting of Sputnik I in space in 1957.

John F. Kennedy—promoted the space program goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s, and was a great promoter of science in other ways as well.

Lyndon B. Johnson—promoted the completion of the moon landing, and encouraged more students to go into science through federal fellowships and grants.

Jimmy Carter—received a Bachelor of Science degree with specialty in nuclear physics from the US Naval Academy, and promoted energy conservation research, with creation of the Energy Department in the cabinet, and signed legislation for the original funding of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Ronald Reagan—promoted the Space Shuttle and a space station, and although flawed, wanted to encourage a system to stop nuclear attack, known as the Strategic Defense Initiative.

Bill Clinton—promoted the Human Genome Project and the International Space Station as important for the advancement of science.

Barack Obama—is now promoting human brain research, and has called for action against global warming, and the importance of the study of evolution in science classes.

The Tragic End Of The Space Shuttle Program: A Mistake!

This nation is going through difficult economic times, but still one has to have vision about the future, and not only think about the present!

Therefore, it is a mistake that the space shuttle program is ending, and that many of the talented engineers, scientists, and support staff at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in central Florida and in Houston will now, after years of dedication, lose their jobs, and in the process, leave us rootless in space!

While President Obama today suggested travel to the nearest asteroid before going to Mars, there is no plan for any definite commitment to a space future, a mistake once made in the 1970s, but then revived with the Space Shuttle beginning in 1981 under Ronald Reagan.

Two weeks before astronaut John Glenn’s 90th birthday, we are faced with the fact that the only way now to reach space, specifically the International Space Station, will be through Russian vehicles, of all situations imaginable!

It is again a shortsighted view of what really matters, and a sad commentary on the fact that America is losing its vision of the future in so many ways, while the elite rich become wealthier, with a larger portion of income and a greater stratification of the social classes than at any point in American history, and greater than the worst extremes in the history of Great Britain!

The Budget Crisis And “False” Solutions: Earmarks, Space, And Foreign Aid

As the debate continues over how to deal with the national deficit and the national debt, we hear simple but false solutions, which demonstrate the total ignorance, or the total demagoguery of those who profess those solutions!

We hear so much about “earmarks”, the awarding of federal money to congressional districts and states, brought about by Congressmen and Senators who are bringing home the “pork” or the “bacon”. We are told that such expenditures are a pure waste of taxpayer money, even though such spending is part of the lifeblood of American politics, the expectation that those who are elected to represent us have a responsibility to promote substantial improvements to the infrastructure, and which help to create economic growth and development. This is, in fact, one of the most important roles of a member of Congress until now, but apparently such earmarks will not be allowed over the next two years, something that will not please voters and citizens of our congressional districts, likely to lead to discontent and possible defeat of those who refuse to do what is the whole basis of the political system!

The point is one would think inordinate amounts of funds go to earmarks, when in actuality, it is only between one and two percent of the entire national budget!

Then we have those who condemn any investment in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the space program, failing to see the scientific advances promoted by such investment. But it is part of the anti-science mentality of many, who however are only too willing to give tax breaks to churches and synagogues and allow clergy to avoid paying taxes. It is part of the KNOW NOTHING mentality, that science is unimportant, next to the all powerful force of organized religion gaining subsidies. And the reality is the space investment of the US government is one half of one percent, as so emphasized by Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist and leader at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.

Additionally, we have complaints that we are giving away taxpayer money to foreign governments, including Israel and Egypt, as well as other nations around the world that we wish to create a stable influence on, to promote American national security and defense, but one must understand there are those who would wish to put America into an isolationist foreign policy. In any case, the total foreign aid budget is no more than one percent annually, but one would get a different impression from those who decry any foreign aid investment.

So while it is fine to waste money on many defense programs, and give tax breaks to the wealthy, many corporations, and religious institutions, we should go ahead and fail to improve the physical plant and infrastructure of the nation, dismiss the importance of promoting science, and take a utopian view of the world and bring ourselves back to pre 1941 mentality!

It is the unfortunate stupidity and ignorance of many that leads to these ridiculous beliefs and promotion of a world view that will set America back to the 19th century! πŸ™