Last night I began a four-part Middle East series for Davenport and Bettendorf Public Libraries sponsored by the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities. Some people who weren’t able to make it to the presentation asked for the recording. Here it is. Hope you enjoy it. I would really like to have your comments. If you questions about this topic or others, feel free to ask. While you’re here, please sign up on the right so I can keep in touch with you via email.
You’re probably tired of the presidential primaries, but brokered conventions are interesting, and we haven’t had one for a long time. 1952 was the last time. Since then, we’ve had only a few instances where the nomination wasn’t clear going into the convention. Here’s my review of the situation. We’re in new territory here.
Despite the attempts in last night’s GOP debate in Detroit to politicize Detroit’s problems, the history is quite diferent. Detroit’s decline was the result of business decisions going back to the 1950’s. A utomakers ignored threats on the horizon and continued business as usual. Japan climbed from the ashes partly by applying Edward Deming’s quality concepts. By the 1980’s, Detroit woke up, but its market share had already plummeted. During part of that time, Michigan had a solid conservative Governor, George Romney. Add to that the fact that Detroit never fully recovered from race riots following the assasination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the impact of Ralph Nader, who pointed out that some of the cars being produced were “not safe at any speed,” and it becomes clear that much more is at work than political ideology. This ideological obsession really keeps us in the dark as far as solving the problems American cities face. That’s my opinion. What do you think?
It seems like everyone and his brother is running for President. In 1912 we had four different parties running. Teddy Roosevelt was the first ever to use the primaries to try to gain the nomination, and he managed to split the Republican Party and started the Bull Moose Party. In that election, Eugene Debs was a true Socialist riding the high tide of socialism in the U.S. In the volatile political environment of 1912, anything could happen, and the same is true today. What are your thoughts?
I hear a lot of complaints about the dysfunction of our current political system and make a few of them myself, but there is hope. When the best of the right and the best of the left can be combined in a way that makes sense, we can make progress The best historical example of this is the Tennessee Valley Authority. It took political leadership and a blending of ideas, but the impact was enormous, and the TVA still works today. The issue of poverty in America demands this sort of cooperation and creative thinking. It’s possible!
Are there historical precedents for the phenomenal success of Donald Trump’s preidential campaign. Looking at how Trump resonates with so many people brings to mind Huey Long’s political dynasty in the 1930’s. He was able to gain a great deal picturing himself as an outsider who understands the common man. He made very appealing promises to gain support and was willing to say just about anything to gain and hold power. FDR thought Huey Long could defeat him. We’ve been here before.
Robert Taft said, “The business of the opposition is to oppose,” but what he meant by that was “loyal opposition.” Along with the ability to compromise, this seems to be a missing element in today’s politics. Loyal opposition carries responsibilities and often leads to effective solutions and policies.
How do you balance development, conservation, and competing interest groups? The recent rejection of the Keystone Pipeline reminds me of the Hetch Hetchy Valley controversy. The water supply of San Francisco was at stake. The Keystone Pipeline controversy is not simply a battle between “tree huggers” and oil interests.