Tag Archive: Iran-Contra


“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” – President Ronald Reagan

mountrushmore

Let’s imagine for a nanosecond or two the new Republican Congress and the Democratic President actually decide to embark on a genuine new era of bipartisan cooperation.

We are not talking about mere words that are quickly discarded, but actual deeds. These would be actions that could restore the tattered faith of the American people with those of infinite wisdom that reside and work within the contours of the Beltway.

Here’s an idea for a tangible-and-impressive undertaking, sending an unmistakable signal that a new spirit has arrived in Washington, D.C: Use the backdrop of the 2015 non-election year to pass and sign legislation to add 60-foot-tall likenesses of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan to Mount Rushmore.

The new lineup: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan – six consequential presidents who each earned and achieved the Mount Rushmore mantle of greatness.

FDRmedia

Would it be an easy vote for a GOP Congress to pass legislation to memorialize in granite the architect of the New Deal, the leader of the nation’s war effort against the Axis Powers, and the nation’s longest serving president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt? Absolutely not.

And likewise, would it take courage for President Barack Obama to resist the easily agitated progressive wing of his party to construct an iconic symbol of the man who restored national faith and took the critical steps to defeat Soviet-style Communism, Ronald Reagan? Yes, indeed.

That’s exactly the point here. Passing and signing this legislation to place Democratic and Republican icons side-by-side on Mount Rushmore will be extremely difficult, but don’t we as Americans specialize in monumental achievements (pardon the pun)?

Why FDR and Reagan for Rushmore?

Next year, it will be 74 years since the work was completed on the fourth and final face on Mount Rushmore: Teddy Roosevelt. The construction, which took 14 years to complete, was to salute the president who represented the birth of a new nation (Washington); one that spurred the growth of the new country (Jefferson); the one who saved the union and abolished slavery (Lincoln); and finally the president who founded the conservation movement and guided America into its role as an international power (T. Roosevelt).

The achievements of FDR and Ronald Reagan rise to the level of enshrinement on Mount Rushmore. Almost DailyBrett is not equating Franklin Delano Roosevelt with George Washington or Ronald Reagan with Abraham Lincoln. That’s not the point in any event.

What is germane is that both of these presidents came to the White House at times when the country was suffering a crisis of confidence: Roosevelt during the Great Depression; Reagan during the Great Inflation. Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy and Tojo’s Japan were the evil adversaries during FDR’s time. Reagan was pitted against the Great Inflation and the godless and expansionist Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.

reaganatthewall

Historians with their usual histrionics will always debate the merits of FDR and Reagan, but what is indisputable was that America recovered from the Great Depression and the Great Inflation, and nationalistic Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia were all defeated. The conclusion: both FDR and Reagan were two of our nation’s greatest presidents.

Should Others Be Considered?

Harry Truman certainly is being treated well in the history books (he is more popular with historians than he was with the American people when he left office in 1953), but “Give Em Hell Harry” doesn’t rise to Rushmore immortality.

Dwight Eisenhower was a great commander of the Allied Forces in World War II, and he was an extremely popular president. Alas, there are more reasons to put Ike on Rushmore as a commander rather than a commander-in-chief.

John F. Kennedy tragically did not serve long enough in office to earn Rushmore enshrinement. LBJ was driven from office because of the Vietnam quagmire, and Richard Nixon was disgraced by Watergate. Gerald Ford? Historical accident. Jimmy Carter for Rushmore? Please.

The modern presidencies of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all fall way short of the standard for carving their likenesses into Mount Rushmore, which leaves FDR and Reagan.

This is not to suggest that FDR (Iron Curtain falling on Eastern Europe) and Reagan (Iran-Contra) were perfect presidents, and quite frankly, that is not the deciding factor. There is no doubt that FDR and Reagan were charismatic, leaders, who presided over consequential presidencies with real achievements that will stand the test of time.

Will the power brokers in Washington, D.C. take this monumental step to add the likenesses of FDR and Reagan to Mount Rushmore? Probably not. Nonetheless, the decision is warranted by history and it would be an even-more important signal that gridlock is not the only tangible outcome in our nation’s capital.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Rushmore

http://www.jeanpatrick.com/mount_rushmore_faqs.htm

http://www.nps.gov/moru/index.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_D._Roosevelt

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Reagan

 

 

The series of intensely covered noisy protests at  state capitols in Madison and Columbus brought back vivid memories for me of those who repeatedly threatened during the 1980s to take over the governor’s reception area, yes, the reception area.

During my service as the press secretary to former California Governor George Deukmejian, you could always count on one group or another to take over the governor’s reception area at least once, if not twice a week. Wonder how I ever slept at night?

And if you are thinking that occupying state capitols and governor’s reception areas only impacts GOP chief executives, keep in mind that our Democratic predecessor (successor?) by the name of Jerry Brown installed nicely varnished, but highly uncomfortable benches in the waiting area to discourage long-term visits. These benches were not very forgiving for reclining and sitting tushies.

calgov

The Theatre of the Absurd would play out each week in the following fashion. Let’s say a group with a clear (mis)understanding between the responsibilities of the federal and state governments decides to go to Sacramento (of all places) and demand that the US get out of Central America. Hint: Sacramento is nowhere near Washington, D.C. in terms of location, authority or infinite wisdom.

You see there was this irritating guy by the name of Daniel Ortega and his Sandinistas (and just like Jerry Brown, he is still there) that were waving red flags in Nicaragua and getting the executive branch so mad that they even sent a Marine Colonel down to the White House basement to lead the fight against them. What was the name of that colonel? Hmmm…

Anyway, the “US Out of Central America” crowd would call the always receptive and easily excitable Capitol Press Corps in Sacramento and say that they were going to occupy the governor’s reception area if they don’t get to see the governor. Of course, they never called and asked for an appointment in the first place. Details, details.

So the time would come and the protesters would arrive with the cameras and newsies coming along and demand to the always affable and she-has-seen-every-nut-case-more-than-once receptionist Jackie Habacker Grunwald that they must see the governor. Jackie would then ask politely if they had an appointment…”Appointment, we don’t need no stinking appointment.” And then the theatre performance would ensue.

My phone would soon be ringing inside the governor’s press office, about 25 feet away from the reception area and the first of several media calls would breathlessly announce that the governor’s reception area was being taken over.

And I would reply: “Again? How many times has it been this week?”

Reporter: “Will the governor see them?”

Me: “Do they have an appointment?”

Reporter: “So the governor is not going to see them?”

Me: “If he did, what should he do? The presence of US forces overseas is a responsibility of the federal government. Alas, we are just a mere nation-state.”

Reporter: “Well, I guess they are going to seize the reception area.”

Me: “And let me tell you what is going to happen. At five minutes to six, the state police are going to announce that the governor’s office is closing in five minutes and they will ask the protesters to leave…”

Reporter: “Ah…uh…”

Me: “And then at 6 pm, the state police are going to politely announce that the governor’s office is closed, so please depart…”

Reporter” “Ya…”

Me: ”And then at 6:05 pm, the state police will announce that anyone who does not leave will be escorted out, cited and eventually released, which is exactly what the protesters want…and guess what?”

Reporter: “What?”

Me: “You get to cover it all because you are being used.”

Reporter: “Used!”

Me: “And then you will call me next week when the next group comes in and demands to see the governor because of Paraquat spraying of marijuana or whatever, and then they will take over the reception area…and you get to cover that charade as well. Get the picture.”

Even though my attitude was sarcastic and some may even say jaded, the key point is to not overreact because that is what the protesters want. The public will eventually tire of these tactics and tune them out. Stick to your principles and ride it out. And remember when it comes to democracy: it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/01/AR2011030106108.html?wpisrc=nl_politics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Ortega

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_North

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Contra_affair

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramento,_California

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraquat

http://articles.latimes.com/keyword/governors-suits

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