Stewart Udall

Theodore Roosevelt And Gifford Pinchot Turning Over In Their Graves At Republican Party War On National Parks And Other Environmental Concerns!

The Republican Party a century ago had leaders who cared about the environment, and promoted conservation as a basic national policy.

Governor and later Senator Robert LaFollette, Sr. of Wisconsin; Senator George Norris of Nebraska; US Forestry Service Director and later Governor of Pennsylvania Gifford Pinchot; and President Theodore Roosevelt, all of them progressive Republicans in domestic affairs, made the promotion of national and state parks and monuments a priority. They set a standard for Democrats who followed their lead, including Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and now Barack Obama, who just announced three new national park designations in California, Nevada, and Texas. Obama has added 260 million acres and 19 national monuments in office, making him one of the great leaders on that endeavor. We should also mention Republican President Richard Nixon, who despite many faults and shortcomings, did enough to be rated number two among Presidents on the environment, by a conservation group.

Additionally, we were fortunate to have such outstanding Secretaries of the Interior as Harold Ickes under FDR; Stewart Udall under JFK and LBJ; Walter Hickel under Nixon; Cecil Andrus under Carter; and Bruce Babbitt under Clinton to emphasize the importance of the environment in all of its manifestations.

But the Republican Party of present times is anti conservation, anti environment, fights the concept of global warming and climate change, and has allowed itself to come under the influences of wealthy energy interests that would love to mine uranium in the Grand Canyon; destroy native American and paleontological sites; and conduct fracking for natural gas, despite the vast dangers to health and safety, including water pollution and greatly increased earthquake activity, as in Oklahoma, for instance. The Koch Brothers have had a particularly deleterious effect on the issue of the environment. And Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma is the worst possible enemy of the environmental movement in Congress, and is head, by seniority, of the Senate committee that deals with the subject.

The failure to see the importance of preserving our natural treasures is mind boggling, and those groups involved in promoting the environment know they have a massive challenge to keep what was given to us, and until the 20th century, was being gutted by rapacious capitalists in the oil, coal, natural gas, uranium, and lumber industries who only saw, and still see, only the almighty profit motive, including lack of concern for danger to wildlife!

Fifty Years Of Environmentalism—Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama— All To Be Applauded!

Today, April 22, is Earth Day, first declared by Richard Nixon and his Interior Secretary Walter Hickel in 1970, but the environmental movement was begun, actually, by Lyndon B. Johnson and Interior Secretary Stewart Udall in 1965 with the promotion of the first water and air pollution laws as part of the Great Society.

Jimmy Carter proceeded to promote the most advanced environmental record of any one term President, and with the great assistance of Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus.

Then, Bill Clinton, under the prodding of Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Vice President Al Gore, contributed greatly to advancement of the environment.

And Barack Obama, under the support of Interior Secretaries Ken Salazar and Sally Jewell has also contributed greatly on the issue of the environment.

Additionally, Franklin D. Roosevelt, with Interior Secretary Harold Ickes, and John F. Kennedy, with Interior Secretary Udall (who served for eight years under both JFK and LBJ), also did a great deal on the environment.

Sadly, with Theodore Roosevelt being the true promoter of the environment in the early part of the 20th century, and assisted by Interior Secretary James R. Garfield and close TR friend Gifford Pinchot, one would have thought that the Republican Party would have continued to be the leader on the issue, but except for Richard Nixon, that has not been the case, and now Republicans are doing everything possible to help advance industry over the environment!

This includes attempting to prevent any future national parks; allowing industrial exploitation of the Grand Canyon and other parks for mining; and wishing to undermine or destroy the Environmental Protection Agency begun during the Nixon Presidency!

So the battle to promote conservation of natural resources and add to public lands is a never ending battle between the political parties, when it should be part of the national agenda that all political leaders believe in and advocate!

The Top 30 Presidential Cabinet Officers In American History

Presidents do not accomplish their goals and policies on their own, but rather depend on the best advice and counsel of their cabinet members.

Since the Presidential Cabinet idea was formulated by George Washington and the first Congress under the Constitution, we have had the creation over time of 15 Cabinet agencies, and some of those who have held Cabinet posts under Presidents have had a dramatic impact on their times.

Below is a list of what the author believes are those 30 Cabinet officers who have had the greatest effect on American history, without ranking them in any order:

Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington

Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison

John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State under James Monroe

William Seward, Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson

Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State under Ulysses S. Grant

Carl Schurz, Secretary of the Interior under Rutherford B. Hayes

John Hay, Secretary of State under William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt

James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture under William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft

Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior under Woodrow Wilson

Charles Evans Hughes, Secretary of State under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge

Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge

Cordell Hull, Secretary of State under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior under Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman

Henry A. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Henry Morgenthau, Jr, Secretary of the Treasury under Franklin D. Roosevelt

Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor under Franklin D. Roosevelt

George C. Marshall, Secretary of State under Harry Truman

Dean Acheson, Secretary of State under Harry Truman

Stewart Udall, Secretary of the Interior under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

Robert F. Kennedy, Attorney General under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

W. Willard Wirtz, Secretary of Labor under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford

George Romney, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Richard Nixon

Cecil Andrus, Secretary of the Interior under Jimmy Carter

Elizabeth Dole, Secretary of Transportation under Ronald Reagan

Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton

Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services under Bill Clinton

Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of the Interior under Bill Clinton

Richard Riley, Secretary of Education under Bill Clinton

Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush and Barack Obama

Note that 25 Presidents and 12 of the 15 Cabinet Departments are included in this list. Nine Secretaries of State; three Secretaries of the Treasury; one Secretary of Defense; one Attorney General; six Secretaries of the Interior; two Secretaries of Agriculture; one Secretary of Commerce; three Secretaries of Labor; one Secretary of Health and Human Services; one Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; one Secretary of Transportation; and one Secretary of Education make up the list.

Also note that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had five cabinet members who made the list; Bill Clinton had four; and Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson had three each!

The Environmentally Oriented Presidents: A Poll, And Commentary On The Poll

Last week, CorporateKnights.com, which advertises itself as “The Company For Clean Capitalism”, and publishes a magazine, asked twelve environmental oriented organizations to rank our 43 Presidents on the issue of their “greenness”, a fascinating ranking!

They also held a press conference, which was shown on C Span, and Ralph Nader, the well known environmentalist and leader of Public Citizen, was on the panel discussing the results.

The conclusion was that eight Presidents deserved recognition, with three being way ahead of the other five on the issue of the environment.

The easy winner was Republican Theodore Roosevelt, followed by Republican Richard Nixon, and Democrat Jimmy Carter.

The other five in order were Democrat Barack Obama , Democratic -Republican Thomas Jefferson, Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt and Republican Gerald Ford tied for sixth, and Democrat Bill Clinton in last place among the eight.

While some might be surprised at Richard Nixon being second, actually the author of this blog well recognizes his leadership on the environment, and has pointed it out when teaching students about recent American history.

This author also fully agrees on TR as first, and Jimmy Carter as certainly the best one term President on the environment, and when one realizes that he was succeeded by a President, Republican Ronald Reagan, often judged the absolute worst on the environment,, it makes him feel very depressed!

Also, since Republican George W. Bush is rated the second worst to Reagan, and worst by some observers, it makes one wish that Ralph Nader had not run as a Green Party candidate in 2000, and taking almost 100,000 votes away from Al Gore, who would certainly have been a great environmental President, and had a major role in making Bill Clinton, who had a terrible record on the environment in Arkansas, able to make the present list as one of the better environmental Presidents.

It is pleasing to see Barack Obama as high as fourth on this list, with the potential to be more accomplished in a second term, and the record of Mitt Romney in action and words makes one concerned that he might be President, as every indication is that he would not put the environment high on his list of priorities, were he to win the White House.

Also, however, it must be said that it seems to this author that other Presidents should be commended for their environmental interests, including:

John Quincy Adams, who first promoted the idea of a cabinet office, the Department of the Interior, in the 1820s, but created a year after his death, in 1849.

Rutherford B. Hayes, who appointed one of the best Interior Secretaries in history, Carl Schurz, who did what he could on the environment, in the late 1870s.

Woodrow Wilson, who made major advances on the subject, in the second decade of the 20th century.

Harry Truman, who promoted environmental advancements in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, who in the 1960s, promoted environmental concerns, with their Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, appointed by Kennedy but kept on and given support by Johnson.

Also, the record clearly shows that It was Republican Presidents such as William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and George H. W. Bush, who took steps to harm the environment, on a lesser scale than Reagan and the second Bush, but still damaging.

So, not suprisingly, Democrata have been better than Republicans on the environment, but with the major exceptions of Theodore Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Rutherford B. Hayes.

Stewart Udall, Outstanding Secretary Of The Interior, Dead

Stewart Udall, one of the most outstanding Interior Secretaries in US history, passed away on Saturday of natural causes at the age of 90.

Father of New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, and brother of the late Arizona Congressman Morris “Mo” Udall (who challenged Jimmy Carter for the Presidential nomination in 1976), Udall was in the cabinet during the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations in the 1960s.

He stood out as a advocate for the environment, much like FDR’s earlier Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes, in the 1930s and 1940s.

Udall’s death marks the last person to pass away of the Kennedy cabinet, and makes us realize how indeed it has been 47-50 years since the Kennedy Administration, and that is hard to accept! πŸ™‚