05 September 2011
Trying to Keep Washington Politics in Historical Perspective
For the 1968 General Election, I voted by absentee ballot from Ft. Belvoir, VA because I was at the Army Corps of Engineers Officer Training School. By this time, I had come to the conclusion that I was born a Democrat into a Republican household. I have to confess a fondness for Barry Goldwater, however, and still have his book The Conscience of a Conservative written in 1964. I volunteered for indefinite active duty status, rather than the draftee's 2-yr. normal active duty time, because Richard Nixon had just been elected President. I reasoned if the war was still going on in late 1971, with the 1972 elections approaching, Nixon would want to have ended the war. It worked out for me, because Nixon did announce a reduction in the need for combat engineer officers in Viet Nam in July 1971, so I remained in the Frankfurt-am-Main and Hanau bases for the subsequent 18 months.
Meanwhile, our President Nixon was creating a new model for the Chief Executive, the Imperial Presidency. Remember the new uniforms for the White House guards? Recall his sense of omnipotence that caused him the scandal of Watergate and forced his resignation? Lyndon Johnson had been the consummate power manipulator on the Hill, but failed as President. Nixon used the Hill to put in place most of the Great Society programs that LBJ could not get through Congress. Nixon saw himself above the law and that is how he did a lot for America and that is how he destroyed himself. The Imperial Presidency.
One attribute of an imperial President is that he is the ultimate problem solver [the Decider] for the nation. Issues would boil up to the White House staff and the Executive would take action despite or without regard to Congress.
Gerald Ford just tried to hold everything together, a nice enough guy, a regency reign.
Jimmy Carter was a micromanager and, as intelligent as he was especially in matters scientific, he was unable to rise to a stature of Head of State that he seemed desperate to want. It says something about him when the Ayatollah announced, after booting out the Shah, that he would not talk with President Carter as long as he was in office. A weak reign.
As President, Ronald Reagan actually reigned. By 1984, the Republicans had taken control of Congress and Speaker Newt Gingrich had issued his Contract for America, the ultimate Republican strategy statement for the balance of the 20th Century. His erstwhile Chancellor Dick Cheney still waxes nostalgic for the Gipper.
So, ten years after Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace, imperial President nonetheless, the nation and its Congress began to adjust to having a strong, ideologue man as President and who better to carry it off than Ronald Reagan (1980-1988). In the reigns that followed: Bush I, Clinton, Bush 11 and now Obama, Congress finds fault whenever a President acts less than imperial.
What is your plan, Mr. President? How can you criticize our [viz. Congress] plan when you have none of your own? It almost seems as if Congress is asking for another FDR or that other Roosevelt to oppose. There is little a President can do other than through the Administration's responses to legislation. There's the rub: Congress has broken all of the mirrors in its hallowed halls and we, the electorate, have to worry about shards all over again amid the farce of palace games.
Gordon Gecko Gets to YouTube
For the past several years, YouTube functioned in the same manner, i.e., without boundaries, enabling millions of people to expand their knowledge of the world beyond what television and films allow. As of Saturday, anyone trying to compile a video database using downloaded YouTube videos is out of luck. Further, trying to find the content owner presents quite a challenge on a public media forum that suddenly decides that downloading equals stealing of intellectual property. No one forced individuals to upload any videos, so it seems obvious that anyone wanting to protect copyrighted material would not upload it to YouTube. Are subscriptions for full access to Wikipedia next?
Of course, there probably is some stolen content in some of the videos uploaded to YouTube, but to banish downloading from YouTube seems a bit late in the property protection game.
Many videos are advertising for subscription site owners, for movie trailers and other vendors who haven't thought how Google might react to their complaints that "their" copyrighted media was being stolen off of YouTube by downloading.
As of September 6th, once you delete your YouTube account, you can never open another YouTube account using the same username. Did I hear a tear drop softly? It wasn't my tear; I feel rather liberated that Google has one less point of access to me and about me.
Now I am looking for an alternative blogging site, since Google owns blogspot.com, too.