Ivan W. Parkins

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About Ivan W. Parkins:

Dr. Parkins is a retired professor of Political Science from Central Michigan University.  He received his PhD from the University of Chicago and is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy.  Dr. Parkins served as a naval officer during WWII aboard the battleship Alabama.  He is a recent widower with three daughters, 3 grand children and 2 great grand children.  Dr. Parkins has written extensively, having authored 3 books and a newspaper opinion column for many years. 

Front Page

In This Issue:

►A review of Mitt Romney’s book No Apology

►Whose party, whose house, whose budget?

►More political justice in Washington?

►Reprint from 2008, Confused Elections

►Free Markets, reprint from 1980

►Partisanship and Real Change? Reprint 2008

                                         NO APOLOGY

A review and comment on Mitt Romney’s new book


By Ivan W. Parkins


On the second page of  Mitt Romney’s book, NO APOLOGY, he pays his respects to Servan-Schreiber’s THE AMERICAN CHALLENGE, 1967, a best-seller of its time.  The thesis of that book was that Europeans needed to worry less about their fears of invasion by American capital, which was not huge, and more about keeping pace with American management and technological advances.  That did give much of Europe a perceptible boost out of its lethargy and self-hate.


Now, Romney is suggesting that the United States needs some similar changes of attitude itself.  And, instead we do seem to be moving towards Europe’s policies, even as the Europeans are trying to modify or abandon them.  Romney states as the pillars of his own political agenda are: a strong economy; a strong military; and a strong and free people.  I favored Romney for President in 2008 and, if I survive to a little past 90, I hope to vote for him again.


For an autobiographical/political document, Romney’s book is unusually readable and substantive.  His range of acquaintances important to our foreign and military policies is broader than I had previously realized.  More impressive is the extent that he has attempted to acquaint himself with at least a few of the ultimate recipients, for better or for worse, of the policies that he, especially when Governor, has helped to institute.


Romney offers several reasons why the health care legislation in which he participated as Governor of Massachusetts was a less extreme venture than the one now pending for the United States.  He is familiar with the related problems.  I found more surprising, the extent to which he is familiar also with the many problems of our education establishment, including some alternatives to the unionized and intellectually stultifying system that now prevails.


The misinterpretation of the facts

By Ivan W. Parkins


I disagree sharply with the tendency of many Americans to equate our Democrat and Republican Parties in matters of budgeting and national debt.  Obviously, there is some superficial truth in that view; both have contributed, but not nearly in equal proportions or circumstances.  A mostly overlooked change in partisan control of American

Administrations occurred in 1956, and it has continued since.  Prior to 1956, every President who won a majority of the popular vote also got a Congress of his own party.  Republican President Eisenhower was the first to win a majority of the popular vote (and he won a landslide) without getting a Congress of his own party to go with it.


Since the 1956 election each of our parties has held the Presidency five times.  But, all five of the Democrats have entered office with Democrat majorities in Congress while only George W. Bush, in 2004, among the Republicans, has had such an experience.  Furthermore, both Johnson and Carter had greater supporting partisan majorities in Congress than any Republican President in our history.  Meanwhile, Bush’s was smaller than those that greeted the five Democrat Presidents recently.


The whole development of representative government has depended heavily upon control of the purse-strings.  Our Constitution requires that tax bills originate in the House.  In the mid-1970s, once they gotten rid of President Nixon, the mostly Democrat Congress enlarged its role in budgeting.  Since 1954, Democrats have dominated the House with many large majorities and with majorities for a great majority of the time. Compared to Democrat Presidents, the Republican Presidents of our lifetimes have had very limited opportunities to shape the limits of spending.


Isn’t in about time that we look more critically at our grossly unrepresentative House of Representatives?



By Ivan W. Parkins


     A key to major legal cases against high political figures is how the official charges are defined.  The House Committee on the Judiciary carefully drafted charges to limit relative evidence in the case against President Nixon to the 1972 election, thus excluding what previous Presidents had done.  A careful prosecutor ordered an aide to collect evidence from previous Presidencies.  When Hillary Rodham came up with a report documenting numerous examples of similar irregularities, he ordered her to get rid of it.


      For the Clinton impeachment, the Judiciary Committee excluded possible charges of illegal campaign donations (Chinese) and of illegal citizenship grants, for both of which there was documentary evidence.  Clinton was charged only with perjury and obstructing justice derived from his “private” dalliances.


      “Scooter” Libby was convicted of giving false testimony to an investigator in a matter that was already known to have been misreported, and not actually criminal.


      Democrat committee chairmen, in both House and Senate, are promising us more political “justice” soon. I.W. Parkins, 2/10/09





By Ivan W. Parkins


The following are brief adaptations from columns that I did in the local BUYER’S GUIDE during 1980.


     A simplified, money, value system and free market exchange are much of what makes capitalism function.


     How is it that hundreds of millions of people can each contribute his own kind of work and each receive numerous products of his own choosing?  The substitution of  more complex, word based, value systems, i.e. regulations, greatly complicates and almost invariably delays, exchanges.


     Authors of THE FEDERALIST, more than two centuries ago were well aware of the danger:

      Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue, or in any manner affecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest for those who watch the change, and can trace its consequences; a harvest, reared not by themselves, but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow-citizens.


     According to an article in FORTUNE, 8/14/78, Congress tried to prove that point.  In that earlier oil crisis it enacted a subsidy to help small refiners.  The subsidy was so generous that new small refineries were created, not to refine oil (they were too inefficient) but to profit from the subsidy.  Does that sound like ethanol to you?


     If that is not convincing, consider the effects upon poor Africans and some others of our banning DDT.  Malaria, a major plague to humans throughout history, had been declining rapidly.  With the ban, malaria returned in millions of cases and an estimated million deaths per year.  No doubt DDT had been over-used, but that gross regulation will likely be recorded as one of the largest and most lethal “crimes” of our age.


      Regulation should be undertaken only with great caution.

Confused Elections 

By Ivan W. Parkins 

Reprint from 2008

    Our national election system has become confused in ways that hamper effective leadership and obscure partisan responsibility.  Since 1948, the first post WWII presidential election, five democrats (Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton) have won office.  There have also been five Republican winners (Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, G. W. Bush).

    But, contrary to our previous history, there has been little apparent correlation between presidential election successes and congressional support.  In 1992, Clinton, who had just won 43% of the popular vote, entered office with larger majorities in both houses of Congress than any Republican President has had since the 1920’s.

    Carter, a majority winner of the popular vote with 50.1% got one of the largest congressional majorities in our history.

    Among recent Democrats, only Truman and Clinton have had to face Congresses dominated by the other party, and neither of those Presidents won a majority of the popular vote.  Among the five recent Republicans were three winners of landslide reelections (Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan) and none of them got a Republican Congress with his new term.

    Do American consciously vote against leadership and for partisan conflict, or are other factors shaping our election results?           

Partisanship and Real Change

By Ivan W. Parkins

  Since  WWII, which of our major political parties has had the greatest opportunity to provide us with sound long-term economic, social and immigration policies?  Keep in mind that creating long-term policies requires the cooperation of Presidents and two Houses of
   Since WWII:    Even the least favored of five Democrat Presidents, Clinton, had
in 1993-4, two years with larger partisan majorities in both Houses of
Congress than the most favored Republican President, Bush in 2005-6.
     Also, while all Democrat Presidents had opportunities to work with Congresses in which both Houses were controlled by their own party, Eisenhower's very slim majority in 1953-4 was the only Republican advantage other than Bush's.  Two of the Democrats, Johnson and Carter, had huge majorities in both the House and the Senate, larger than the majorities enjoyed by any Republican President in our history.
      Shouldn't those facts enter into our calculations of how to achieve real change? I.W. Parkins 070808