As America pauses for Presidents Day – or at least the federal government does – Jim and Greg take some time to evaluate a few recent presidents who deserve a closer look at their legacies. They’re presidents many of you remember well but for some reason are rarely mentioned as leaders Americans remember most fondly.
Businessman and activist Tom Steyer remains in the Democratic presidential race and on the debate stage long after other party hopefuls exited the race. But why is he there? What does he bring to the campaign that other Democrats do not?
In a conversation with Greg Corombos, Steyer explains what compelled him to run after initially deciding not to be a candidate. They also dive into Steyer’s signature issue of climate change. What is his specific plan and is it realistic to think we can phase out fossil fuels entirely?
In Tuesday’s debate, Steyer claimed his international business experience has prepared him to be commander-in-chief. But how does that kind of experience specifically prepare him for deciding whether to commit U.S. troops to combat?
In recent weeks, Steyer has climbed to double digits in polls of voters in the early primary and caucus states of Nevada and South Carolina. What’s responsible for the surge?
Sunday marks 100 years since the armistice that officially ended World War I, a conflict that greatly impacts the world we live in today and long ago triggered the creation of an institution dedicated to honoring America’s war dead.
We commonly observe November 11 as Veterans Day, but it was originally known as Armistice Day because the guns of World War I fell silent at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918.
Dr. Thomas Conner teaches military history at Hillsdale College in Michigan and is the author of the new book “War and Remembrance: The Story of the American Battle Monuments Commission.” He says four years of brutal slaughter ended at that hour because that’s what the warring parties agreed to beforehand. And men were still being killed right up until that arbitrary deadline.
Conner says most Americans have a much better sense of what happened in World War II but understanding World War I is actually more important to making sense of the world today.
“The First World War did have a far greater impact in shaping the 20th century than even the Second World War did because we are very much living in the shadow of the First World War still,” said Conner.
He says the redrawing of maps, especially the carving up of the Ottoman Empire’s lands in the Middle East, is a major challenge for us even now.
“There were a lot of new countries created in the aftermath of the First World War, which really aren’t countries in the truest sense. Their populations are divided on religious grounds and even cultural grounds, places like Iraq.
“We’ve learned the hard way from our own involvement in Iraq, for example, just how complex that territorial domain, that was called Iraq from about 1920 in the wake of World War I, really is,” said Conner.
While the U.S. had participated in overseas wars before World War I, nothing before approached the scale of U.S. involvement and the question arose after the war of what to do with the remains of some 100,000 American deaths in Europe.
That’s when the American Battle Monuments Commission was created. The ABMC eventually became caretakers of eight World War I cemeteries and fourteen World War II sites, in addition to many monuments and memorials.
“War necessitated the creation of the American Battle Monuments Commission but the purpose and ongoing mission of that agency is to foster remembrance of the dead,” said Conner.
Families were given the choice of burying their loved ones on the field of battle or have their remains shipped home. Conner says the 22 cemeteries contain the remains of 125,000 Americans who fell in the two world wars.
A visit to any of these cemeteries will reveal the stunningly meticulous care taken to care for the grounds and the tombstones. Conner says that’s no accident, as the maintenance is the commitment of the American government and the American people to honor those who gave their lives for our nation.
Conner says the book is a labor of love. He has visited ABMB cemeteries and monuments for 40 years, often taking groups of college or high school students, and forged deep friendships with the people assigned to care for the those grounds. He wants as many people as possible to know about these sites and hopes they will heighten admiration for the full measure of devotion given by multiple generations of Americans.
“It’s a shame that more Americans don’t know about these sites but I’m hoping the book will make at least something of a dent in people’s awareness and get the story out there. It’s a beautiful story and it’s a story that all Americans can be proud of,” said Conner.
Listen to the full podcast to learn more about the significance of World War I, which country actually owns the land, and what it’s like to visit such places.
Two years after the U.S. Supreme Court declared a constitutional right to same-sex marriage the LGBT movement remains on offense and on key cultural issues many Republicans seem far less interesting in continuing the fight than their adversaries on the left.
And a leading expert on cultural and family issues says it is time for conservatives to engage in the debates that are engulfing our culture and threaten liberty, but she says the battle must be approached intelligently.
Last month, President Trump’s ban on transgenders serving in the U.S. military was met by fierce protest from Democrats, LGBT activists and a surprising number of Republican lawmakers, including Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, Richard Shelby, R-Alabama and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, as well as multiple House members. Hardly any GOP members offered strong support for Trump’s move, with most Republican lawmakers remaining silent.
Then a new Reuters poll showed 58 percent of Americans are in favor of allowing transgenders to serve, including 32 percent of self-identified Republicans.
In yet another survey, this one from Gallup, a record high 17 percent of Americans say they find polygamy morally acceptable and libertarian arguments are emerging that maybe the government has no business prohibiting polygamy since marriage isn’t even mentioned in the Constitution.
So is the political right engaging in a quiet surrender on some core cultural issues?
“Surrender suggests there was ever a fight,” said Ruth Institute Founder and President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse. “On the political front at least there has never been a real, sustained effort to push back in a sustained and logical and forthright manner against some of the truly irrational things that have been coming at us from the sexual revolution.”
“It’s not surrender so much…but just a refusal to show up to the battle in the first place. The Republicans would much rather talk about taxes and things like that than to go and talk about the cultural issues,” said Morse.
She says the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare is crammed full of cultural issues, including the debate over taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, but the GOP usually defaults to economics alone in advancing their arguments.
“Those are a huge part of the Obamacare issue. So to pretend that we can avoid that and just talk about economics or just talk about foreign policy or something like that, that’s just putting your head in the sand,” said Morse.
When GOP lawmakers join Democrats in alleging discrimination or bigotry in Trump’s ban on transgender military service, Morse says they not only buy into the liberal talking points but prove they don’t see the real goal behind the liberal push on LGBT issues.
“To try to make everybody go along with the idea that you’ve just changed a person’s sex is a huge power grab. Republicans and conservatives generally I don’t think have recognized how big of a power grab it is and how much it’s really expanding the power of the state,” said Morse.
For those on the right with some inclination to defend traditional values, Morse says two more problems tend to keep them silent in these debates.
“Number one, people don’t know how to respond to these issues. And number two, they’re afraid. There are a lot of fear tactics that have been used by the cultural left, not just transgenders. Transgenders have just perfected the art form,” said Morse
She says the strategies used by the left have been standard since the dawn of the sexual revolution.
“The art form has been developed and cultivated over the years, starting with feminism. You know, a man’s not allowed to have any opinion on a whole range of topics or else he’ll be called a male chauvinist pig and basically silenced. That process of silencing people over cultural issues has been going on a long time,” said Morse.
Another intense source of pressure is a one-sided advocacy coming from all sectors of popular culture.
“if you have two sides of an issue and one side you hear every day, steadily, steadily. You hear it on the radio. You hear it on TV. You hear it on the news. You see it in sitcoms. You see it in movies. You see it on billboards. You see it everywhere, and the other side you hear nothing,” said Morse.
“No matter what the substance of the issue is, eventually the side promoting itself constantly is the side that’s going to win. That’s why institutions like the Ruth Institute and other pro-family organizations need to be getting their message out,” said Morse.
Another element in the silence on the right is embarrassment. Morse says most conservative people feel awkward talking about sex in public. She says folks on the right must get over that.
“That gives the radicals a huge advantage because they’re not embarrassed at all. They’re not shy at all. You can’t shut them up. They’re talking about it all the time,” said Morse.
“Every time you cringe and turn your face away, your opponents are moving forward. You’re giving them an opening. We must equip ourselves to deal with these issues in a logical way, in a non-panicked way,” said Morse.
Morse says social conservatives need to engage now because each win for the cultural liberals creates a push for another assault on traditional values, just as the legalization of same-sex marriage instantly triggered an intensification of the transgender movement.
“We’re trying to create a whole world where the sex of the body and the gender of the body and our physicality is somehow ruled out and written out of law. And since nobody’s ever confronted it, the crazier it gets the more confused people are,” said Morse.
But when it comes to engaging the culture, especially young adults, Morse says cultural conservatives cannot just dive into the debate in today’s headlines but need to extol the unparalleled value of marriage between one man and one woman for life.
“If we start from that perspective, we will at least have some credibility with the millennials. If you just drive right in and say gay people shouldn’t have kids and transgenders shouldn’t serve in the military and never acknowledge the 40 or 50 years of suffering that divorce has caused, you have no credibility at all,” said Morse.
Morse says that is why the Ruth Institute is leading the way in addressing this root issue through its Healing Family Breakdown Spiritual Workshop. She says even though the sexual revolution has gone far down the road from the explosion of divorce, that is where the battle must be waged.
“You want to talk about silent surrender, we surrendered on the divorce issue a long time ago. We’ve got to go back and fight that battle. We’ve go to go back and stick up for the rights of children to know their own parents,” said Morse.
She says young adults have never known anything but the carnage triggered by the divorce culture, whether in their own homes or among their friends.
“What that means is that the idea that marriage has something to do with the stability of a child’s relationship with their parents, that idea is completely foreign to them. When I stand in front of a college audience and I say kids have a right to their parents, they burst into tears sometimes. They’ve never heard anybody say that,” said Morse.
The concept of kids having a right to know and be raised by their biological parents is also why Morse believes polygamy must be rejected before it gains any more traction. .
“The reason you need some kind of institution like marriage is to protect the interests of children to have their own parents. If you start from the premise that children are entitled to a relationship with their parents, the two people who brought them into being, if you start from that position and you reason your way outward, you will end up with traditional Christian sexual morality,” said Morse.
She has no use for the libertarian argument of the government staying out of marriage altogether, even if it means the emergence of polygamy.
“To try to legislate against the law of nature on the scale we’re trying to do in our culture is one more example of the irrationality of the sexual revolution as we’ve seen it unfold here in the last 50 years,” said Morse.
While acknowledging the tide of forces advancing the sexual revolution into its next phase, Morse says the battle must be engaged and can be won.
“We’re being maneuvered and manipulated by the sound bite culture that is very, very noisy and unless you give yourself some silence, unless you give yourself some time to think, you’re going to be pushed and pulled by the latest noise making machine that comes near you,” said Morse.
The House passed the bailout bill, but did Wall Street like it? What’s the latest news with troubled banks Wachovia and Washington Mutual? And what were the highlights from Thursday night’s vice presidential debate? We discuss it all in the rest of our top news.
With all the political and financial turmoil in the news right now, Friday night’s debate between Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama seems like a distant memory. But which candidate did better? How did the economic questions influence the foreign policy debate? Which candidate had better style? And what can we expect in Thursday’s vice presidential debate between Sen. Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin? We discuss all of these questions with Prof. Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia.
John McCain and Barack Obama will face off tonight in Mississippi on foreign policy issues and probably a lot of economic questions as well. What can we expect in terms of the content of the debate? Which candidate has the edge on foreign policy questions? And what intangible qualities will voters be looking for. We ask former longtime USA TODAY White House Correspondent Richard Benedetto.
What major bank is now looking for help to stay in business? What are experts saying about John McCain’s decision to stop campaigning and even debating until the bailout legislation is complete? And why did Pakistani troops fire on American helicopters along the Afghan border? Listen here for all the details.
The president’s top economic experts testified before the Senate Banking Committee to push for a $700 billion bailout plan for the financial industry. Barack Obama and John McCain lay out their priorities for any massive legislation to rescue the economy. And President Bush stares down Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the United Nations. Click here for details on these stories and more.
On Tuesday, President Bush used his final speech at the United Nations to urge a greater international commitment to eradicating terrorism throughout the world. So how did Bush frame his message? Is anyone still listening? And why does the United Nations seem to lack much interest in confronting terrorism?
Listen to Greg’s interview with Human Events Editor and former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Jed Babbin as they tackle these questions and many others.