Politicians, pundits, and scholars have wrestled over a central question throughout American political and constitutional history: What role should the government have in the lives of ordinary citizens?
For Jeffersonian Conservatives, such as Grover Cleveland, the government has no business involving itself in areas outside its limited, constitutional role, and should never take a position as a “custodian;” the people should be free to pursue their own dreams without government interference, to rise as high and as far as their God-given talent, abilities, and determination will carry them. Success or failure depends on the individual.
Some liberals on the other side of the political spectrum believe the government should play a vital role in the lives of the people, from cradle to grave. They believe the lowly masses cannot take care of themselves. For Democrats, government must step in and take up the role of caretaker. As Nancy Pelosi said in 2011: “I view my work in politics as an extension of my role as a mom.”[i] This progressive viewpoint is known as government paternalism, and has been defined as “a policy or practice of treating or governing people in a fatherly manner, especially by providing for their needs without giving them rights or responsibilities.”[ii] Continue reading
Whenever friends and family find out the subject of my new book, one of the first questions I am usually asked is: “Why Grover Cleveland?” My answer: “Why not?” For Grover Cleveland, who served as both the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, was one of the greatest conservative statesmen in American history, a steadfast advocate of Jeffersonian political principles, the bedrock of conservatism. The Last Jeffersonian: Grover Cleveland and the Path to Restoring the Republic is an examination of the true nature of conservative thought, exemplified by the public life of Cleveland, and a pathway to a restoration of the republic crafted by our Founding Fathers.
During my first semester of graduate school, at the University of Southern Mississippi, I became seriously interested in Grover Cleveland and his political life after reading a less than stellar biography. As I delved deeper into his policies, I soon realized that the career of this forgotten statesman offers answers to modern America’s most pressing political issues, such as the public character and behavior of our politicians, direct governmental assistance to the people, actions during an economic depression, foreign intervention, and upholding political principles. It is only with the study of history, and the solutions Cleveland provided for us, that we can solve our problems and restore the constitutional republic. Continue reading
America is at a crossroads. The 2012 election, as well as those in the very near future, could very well determine what kind of nation we will leave for posterity. Yet, while on our current political trajectory, America is in danger of losing the constitutional republic created by the Founding Fathers, and once lost, it might be gone forever.
My new book, The Last Jeffersonian: Grover Cleveland and the Path to Restoring the Republic, examines the true nature of conservative thought, the present direction of the nation, and the changes we must make in order to preserve our great political heritage. Exhibit A in achieving these three goals is a study of the public career of Grover Cleveland, who served as the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, from 1885-1889 and from 1893-1897.
As a great public servant – mayor, governor, and president – Cleveland confronted many of the same troubles we face in our time – the public character and behavior of our candidates, the role of government in the everyday lives of the people, the burden of taxation, the distribution of wealth, government involvement in an economic depression, spending, constitutional interpretation, and complex foreign affairs. Continue reading
This week President Barack Obama, in a tough bid for re-election warned the American people that the 2012 race for the White House would be the starkest since 1964. So let us re-examine that famous presidential election in light of the campaign the Obama team has in store for presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney:
They said he was crazy, mad, a loose-canon, an extremist, a warmonger. The nation was warned over and over and over again, by Democrats and their friends in the media, that if Barry Goldwater won the presidency in 1964, Armageddon might be the ultimate result. Surely he would plunge headlong into a war in Vietnam that might bring in the Chinese or worse, the Soviets. Social Security and any aid from Washington would be taken away. The country would revert back to the nineteenth century, if not the eighteenth.
The only logical choice was the sitting president, Lyndon Johnson, who assumed the office tragically on November 22, 1963 when the beloved John F. Kennedy fell to an assassin’s bullet. LBJ would carry the nation forward, not backward. Progress would be the order of the day. Continue reading