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Links to Articles and Items of Interest
-Mike Brownfield on “Religious Liberty Under Attack”
By Ivan W. Parkins
(The following is, at least in part, my rationalization of why I changed political parties. In 1944 I voted for FDR, and I continued voting Democrat until after the election of 1968. Later that year I wrote to Republican President-elect Nixon that I would support him as long as he adhered to his Vietnam policy. I still do, do approve of Nixon and vote Republican. My politics was at a considerable cost to my academic career, both early on and after my switch.)
In the past half century three American Presidents, all well known to the public, have been reelected to the office by record or near record popular majorities and pluralities. The first of them was Lyndon Johnson, Democrat, and he enjoyed large congressional majorities of his own party. But, when our large Vietnam commitment was struck suddenly by the enemy during Tet of 1968, most “Mainstream” intellectuals and communications media declared it a disaster for us. Our foreign enemy thought it a disaster for him until he heard otherwise from our media. Johnson was discouraged from seeking the office again, which would have been legal for him. In addition to the Vietnam War, his extensive War on Poverty was proving to more costly and less beneficial than expected.
Republican Richard Nixon won the Presidency. He promised to convert our war effort to one of preparing South Vietnamese to defend them selves, and that change was very successful, contributing to Nixon’s reelection by what is still the largest popular plurality in American history. Nixon carried every state except Massachusetts. But President Nixon never had a Republican majority to support him in either House of Congress. And, like most Presidents, he had some irregularities on his record. By focusing public attention on those, our mass media and Congress made life under threat of impeachment so uncomfortable, and effective leadership so impossible, that Nixon resigned.
The third record setting reelection of a President was Ronald Reagan’s in 1984. It was by a somewhat smaller plurality than either Johnson’s or Nixon’s, but Reagan carried all 50 states. Much of that was because he had turned around a failing economy. His greatest success, however, was to reduce tensions with the Soviet Union. He did so, mostly, not by appeasing the Communists, as most of America’s intellectual elite wanted, but by challenging Communism more directly. When he attempted to extend that into the Third-World, where Communism was indeed growing, Reagan’s efforts were less obviously effective, and several of his top aides were sacrificed to the attacks of American media and intellectuals. In a way that was a sad ending, but it sure was a relief to have the threat of atomic war so much reduced.
MORE ON POPULAR VOTES
AND RECENT PRESIDENTS
By Ivan W. Parkins
President Reagan left us his Vice President, or G.H.W. Bush won the office with 53.4% of the popular votes, a larger majority than has been attained by any President since. Prior to that, Bush had piloted a torpedo bomber in 58 combat missions during WWII. He finished education at Yale, helped to pioneer oil drilling in the Gulf, and won two terms in the House as Representative from Houston, Texas. He also served as Ambassador to the UN, National Chairman of the GOP, Liaison to China, and Director of the CIA. In his one term he arrested Noriega from a corrupt control of Panama. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Bush organized and international coalition, quickly degraded the largest military establishment in that region, and did so with minimal coalition loses. The operation was financed, almost entirely, by our allies. But, Bush was vexed by a slowly recovering economy, “Mainstream” television networks that even boycotted a major press conference, and the third party candidacy of Ross Perot.
Democrat Bill Clinton’s 43% of the popular vote carried the election of 1992. In four years Clinton would win again, with a larger but not quite majority share of the votes. He began with a House majority slightly larger than Obama has begun with, but finished the six years remaining in his Presidency with small Republican majorities in the House. In fact, he was impeached by the House and faced a quick, but much less than two-thirds, condemnation in the Senate. The possible charges supported by evidence included illegal campaign money from China and illegal grants of citizenship, but he House had charged him only with his much more widely publicized sexual dalliances and lies relating to them. Meanwhile, the Clinton Administration enjoyed the formal end of the Soviet Union and the flowering of the Dot-Com Boom. But, the first attempt to destroy the World Trade center had fizzled, and we lost two African embassies with heavy casualties. Given a mostly sympathetic press Clinton finished his two, less than a popular majority terms, with a substantial public following. Few, if any, retiring from America’s Presidency, have profited so greatly after having held that office.
George Bush was winner in the Electoral College, 2000, without having won a majority of popular votes. That win, and the already increasing partisanship of American politics provided him with a very unpromising term. Furthermore, he would have only small and uncertain majorities in Congress. By the time that he getting well adjusted to the office the Twin Towers were destroyed by some of the same people who had failed earlier, and months after that the Dot-Com Bubble burst. Bush would face years of difficult wars and economic struggle. Not only was Muslim terrorism more extensive than we had noticed, our military had been on short budgets and long restraints since the beginning of Clinton’s two terms. Bush won a slim majority in his reelection, 2004, but lost his slim partisan control of the House in 2006. He also faced especially severe harassment by the old “Mainstream” media, but with increasingly active newer media in his support, Now, President Obama has entered with a majority only slightly less than that of the first President Bush (the best of any Democrat since Lyndon Johnson). His is now still an administration in the making, and I will not comment further about it here.
By Ivan W. Parkins
The following was taken from my review of George Bush’s book, “Decision Points”
In 1992, the United States was struck by hurricane Andrew; property damage (in current prices) was the greatest this nation (mainly Florida) had ever suffered from that type of tragedy. In 2005 Katrina wiped out that record. Do you even recall the third greatest such loss. It was inflicted in 2008 by Gustav, partly on New Orleans, but mainly on Galveston. All three occurred during Bush Presidencies. And, the record four hits on one state in one year occurred in 2004, to Florida, while Jeb Bush was the Governor. What a wind blown Clan!
DRIVING OUT OUR
LETTER TO THE EDITOR, The
Mount Pleasant, Mich. - Concern for the presidency deserves priority over concern for Ronald Reagan, as suggested in Bill Shipp's Dec. 26 column. However, my concern for the presidency first became critical when Lyndon Johnson was being hounded from office in 1968.
I was reassured by the vigorous leadership of Richard Nixon and by his record plurality in 1972. We all know the outcome of that.
Ronald Reagan has been a significant president because of his capacity to win and retain a large popular following and because of his success in imparting a spirit of hope and direction to America. Much more than his personality and reputation is at stake.
If, within one generation, a third president of the United States is driven into oblivion not long after winning a landslide confirmation of his leadership, I will regard that as the greatest repudiation of constitutional democracy in history.
We know what
President Nixon, but how much do we know about why?
Nixon resigned rather than risk a bitter and nationally divisive impeachment fight, which it appeared that he would lose. Chief among the charges pending against him was abuse of power. And, one of the most substantial items in that charge was that he had impounded i.e. refused to spend, about half of the funds which Congress had appropriated for Senator Muskie’s Clean Water Act. Even the Supreme Court held against the President in that matter.
Years later, it occurred to me that there should be new evidence re that charge. I checked THE STATISTICAL ABSTRACT for what we actually did spend. With Nixon out of the way, we spent just about what he had recommended. I.W.Parkins 020809