The Death of the Eisenhower Republican

(This post was from my old blog and written in 2011. I’ve decided to repost it here today for others to read since the old blog is no longer active.)

There was a time, barely remembered today, when the idea of bipartisanship really seemed reasonable. There was once a kind of Republican, now driven to the verge of extinction, called the “Eisenhower Republican.” Today, the equivalent beast would be called a “Moderate Democrat.” The Republican Party itself has largely purged itself of Eisenhower Republicans like myself in its radical shift to the right.

I have always been a Republican. But even the earliest President I remember, Ronald Regan, though a crazy old actor with a penchant for placating the religious, wasn’t as bad as some of the Republicans of today.  It was Nixon though, probably unintentionally, that began the decline of the Eisenhower Republican. Some of those he brought into government are the very same “barking crazy rightwingers” who have systematically started destroying our nation under Bush. That, combined with Nixon’s spectacular and televised downfall, discredited the reasonable, moderate Republican. The Democrats, then more liberal than now, were ready to take advantage of Nixon’s downfall, and the far right wing Republicans, then marginalized but poised to strike, were ready to begin their plans to take over the nation through lying, stealing and cheating.

One man had a small chance of saving the Eisenhower Republican: President Gerald Ford.

Gerald Ford had been a well-respected Congressman, someone who could work with both parties to get things done. As criminal charges consumed Nixon and his administration, Gerald Ford was the last chance Republicans had of restoring respectability. Centrist, traditionalist and all around nice guy, Ford might have been the only person who could have saved the Republican Party from being taken over by extremists or lapsing into obscurity.

Pardoning Nixon and the stagflation Ford inherited from Nixon pretty much made it impossible for Ford to succeed. In the end, a moderate Democrat (Jimmy Carter) defeated Ford for President, and the right wing fringe of the Republican Party swept in to destroy the Eisenhower Republicans and take over. Those right wing nutcases have not only gone to great lengths to destroy our Constitution and to run up the biggest budget deficits in hitsory, but have also by now alienated moderate Republicans. The death of the Eisenhower branch of the Republican Party was one reason why Democrats won the last presidential election.

Just because the Republican Party is now nearly completely dominated by anti-democracy, right wing fools, and the Democrats are winning by appealing to American moderates, don’t think that the Democrats are doing fine.  As you can tell from the last mid-term elections, Obama has done a good job of alienating many of those moderates because of his extremely left policies.

America has always been and should remain a two-party system. Why? Because we, as a culture, divide pretty solidly into Federalist and State’s Rights camps…strict interpretation vs. loose interpretation of the Constitution… These are very real ambiguities within our system, left ambiguous by those who formed our government, and it is the give and take between these two views of government that has made our nation strong. The big danger now is that one party, the Republicans, have been taken over by a group that believes in neither of these philosophies of government except as a way of fooling voters. Instead, the barking crazy rightwingers have, in essence, thrown the whole Constitutional dichotomy out the window and have tried instituting a one-party, Soviet system of crony capitalism, corruption and war profiteering.

I have always been a Republican and almost certainly will remain a Republican for life. Why? Because I like the fact that the Republican Party represents America’s diversity in almost every way and, by and large, is more representative of the average American than the more leftist, pro-socialist Democrat Party. I’m not talking about Sarah Palin’s America either.

I want a healthy, moderate Republican Party, the Eisenhower Republicans, to balance the two-party American system. That is why Ford’s failure to hold the line against the right wing extremists within the Republican Party is a shame and why I was saddened by Ford’s death the day after Christmas in 2006.

Since Ford’s presidency, the entire track of the Republican Party has been towards more and more extremism, more and more lies, more and more greed, and more and more corruption. Almost every traditional, Eisenhower Republican ideal has been thrown out by the barking crazy right-wingers, as the three largest deficits in our history came from Reagan, the elected Bush and the little Bush and as the idea of “small government” has been thrown out the window in a greedy rush to publicly fund the corrupt military-industrial-religious extremist complex.

I can only hope that the Republican Party can rediscover its Gerald Ford/Dwight Eisenhower side and reject the extremists who currently control our Party.

Drone pilots will have to register their aircraft this holiday season

Change is coming to the world of unmanned aeronautics. On Oct. 19, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced the formation of a taskforce to come up with a plan to create a national registry for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, also known as drones. Today, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced the members of that taskforce. It’s made up of over two dozen people from all aspects of the drone world; manufacturers, retailers, airline pilots, law enforcement, lobbyists, and even a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

The taskforce has until Nov. 20 to determine the parameters for drone registration. According to the FAA and DOT, drone registration is needed due to the ever-increasing number of drone sightings by airline pilots, the grounding of helicopters fighting wildfires in California, and drone crashes at sporting events. They feel that making private individuals register their drones, they will be able to trace that drone back to its owner. Of course, this will only work if the drone crashes and if the owner put the registration information on the drone.

This holiday season retailers are expecting to sell an estimated 1 million new drones. That means 1 million new drone pilots. Prior to the advent of quadcopters with flight controllers that stabilized them in flight, remote controlled aircraft was an expensive hobby that required a lot of skill to enter. Maintaining the throttle, collective, tail rotor, and cyclic of an RC helicopter took years of practice and thousands of dollars in spare parts from crashing on a regular basis. As far as RC airplanes go, you need a field to use as a runway to takeoff and land. With quadcopters, they basically fly themselves. Some even allow you to enter GPS coordinates, create a flight plan, and the drone will take off, fly the route, then land itself, all without any input from the operator.

The simplicity of drones and the low cost of entry means that RC aircraft have gone from an expensive hobby to a cheap toy that anyone can buy and fly. Yes, there’s a few bad apples out there that make the rest of the drone flying community look bad, but that’s the case in anything. The official national body for model aviation in the US, the AMA, is urging its members to head over to the Federal Register notice on UAS registration and tell the FAA to exempt “sUAS that lack the capability to fly beyond line of site by using either first-person view, or those sUAS that lack onboard navigational systems that allow the aircraft to fly missions beyond visual line of site”, which would remove traditional RC planes an helicopters form the requirements. They cite their “impeccable 80-year track record of operating safely” as the reason they should be exempt. This is akin to the government requiring all cars capable of 200+ mph to be registered and the Ferrari Club of America saying that Ferraris and Maseratis should be exempt because Ferrari drivers are safer than those dirty Lamborghini plebs.

If the federal government wants us to register our toys because they have the ability to do stupid stuff, what’s to stop them from wanting to know the name of every owner of a fast car? The best part of this whole situation is that the FAA doesn’t require that the pilots of ultralights, which are much larger and more dangerous than drones, to register their aircraft or even be licensed to fly them. It’s pretty obvious that the government is scared of a new technology that they don’t know how to control, and due to a few high profile incidents involving drones, they are knee-jerking their way into something that’s going to be a nightmare to implement and manage and gives no incentive to the drone owners to participate in.

Regardless of how you feel about drone registration, head over to and read up on what they are saying and the 10 questions they are asking. You can leave a public comment with your feelings on the matter, and all comments are read.