Day: August 10, 2012

166th Anniversary Of Smithsonian Institution!

James Smithson, an Englishman, became the benefactor of a grant to start the institution named in his honor on this day in 1846.

Promoting the development and diffusion of knowledge of all kinds, Smithson, whose body is buried in the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, DC, could never have imagined how great the Smithsonian Institution has become, as it is now a complex of 19 museums and galleries plus the National Zoo, locations that provide enlightenment, enjoyment, and learning to millions of tourists in Washington DC and elsewhere at no cost to the public, other than taxpayer support.

The author, having just this summer visited four of the museums under its aegis–The Museum of American History, The Museum of Natural History, The Museum of Air and Space, and the Museum of the American Indian—was overwhelmed by the experience, and in 2015, there will be a Museum of African American History and Culture, and two years ago, the National Museum of American Jewish History opened in Philadelphia.

Any visitor to Washington DC or Philadelphia needs to make sure that he or she visits the various museums, as it is a memorable experience!

The Right Wing Push For Congressman Paul Ryan As Vice Presidential Nominee

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan is being pushed by right wing forces, including the Wall Street Journal and the National Review, as Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential running mate, as the time nears for the announcement of who will be the former Massachusetts Governor’s Number Two!

Ryan is very young (42), handsome, articulate, and willing to get into the fray, as he is an ideologist, out to privatize Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, therefore dramatically changing American economic and social policy. His budget plan, drawn up as House Budget Committee Chairman, is highly controversial.

But for a man like Romney who emphasizes the private sector, Ryan is just the opposite, as his entire career has been in government, a contradiction of what Romney thinks is his own advantage over other politicians.

If Ryan is picked, he would be the fourth Vice Presidential nominee of the GOP who would be extremely young, as compared to the Presidential candidate, an interesting scenario, as Richard Nixon was 40, more than 22 years younger than Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, and Dan Quayle was 41, more than 22 years younger than George H. W. Bush in 1988. Ryan at 42 is also more than 22 years younger than Mitt Romney. Of course, Sarah Palin was 28 years younger than John McCain in 2008 at age 44, the all time difference in age.

Of course Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida are almost a year and a half younger than Ryan, at age 41, so would be actually 24 years younger than Romney, were they to be chosen.

The question that also arises is whether Romney really wants a strong willed, outspoken man to be his running mate, since he loves to be in charge of everything he runs, without question. Who would he be most comfortable with is certainly a factor in who he chooses.

The gut feeling is that either he goes with Ryan as a bold pick, an ideological pick, hoping to benefit from the clear cut alternative to what Barack Obama represents, or surprises everyone by selecting a woman, such as Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, a swing state and a pitch to women, similar to what John McCain did with Sarah Palin in 2008. Ayotte, while certainly better than Palin, would still be a controversial pick, as her total experience in government is extremely limited.

Picking Senator Rob Portman of Ohio or former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty would make more sense long term, but would be boring, and would not please the ideological right!

We will learn a lot about Mitt Romney when he picks his running mate in the next few days, already a long time overdue!