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Reince Priebus: The Chief Of Staff Trump Wants, But Not The One He Needs

March 31, 2017

Emma Golden ’19 – Inside Politics Participant

 

The office of the White House Chief of Staff has been called the most grueling job in Washington. Not just for its long work hours (every day, Reince Priebus starts working at 6:30 AM and doesn’t leave until midnight), but because it takes a special type of person to tell the most powerful man in the country when he’s headed for disaster. When Richard Nixon ordered his Chief of Staff, H. R. Haldeman, to use lie detector tests on every employee of the State Department in response to a damaging series of leaks about Vietnam, Haldeman refused to execute the hasty and ill-conceived command.

A Chief of Staff’s willingness to wield power is especially important when a President is inexperienced in Washington. Obama’s first Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, emerged as the most powerful Chief in a generation by relentlessly delegating authority, pushing other staffers past their breaking points, and engineering a “do everything at once” strategy for the early days of the Obama White House.

Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has the unique challenge of serving a President who is both impulsive with decision-making and new to Washington, and, thus far, Priebus has failed. Where Haldeman was able to censor (some of) Nixon’s lunacy, Trump has blundered over phone calls with foreign leaders, Michael Flynn’s resignation, and criticisms of the press without Priebus’s supervision. Where Rahm Emanuel asserted authority by putting even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her place, Priebus is overshadowed by Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner and is forced to clean up messes rather than prevent them. This is everything Trump wants in a Chief of Staff: someone whose weaknesses forbid a structured power hierarchy and allow Trump to act as he pleases. But, what Trump needs is a powerful Chief of Staff who brings order to an unconventional, volatile Oval Office. Priebus must adapt his leadership style to fill this role more competently.

 

The views and opinions expressed are the students and the organizations whom they represent and do not necessarily represent the views of The Eisenhower Institute or Gettysburg College.

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President Trump Revises His Executive Order on Immigration After Widespread Public Uproar

March 29, 2017

Callie Fucarino ’20 –– Inside Politics Participant 

 

According to the “New York Times,” which President Trump also referred to as the “Failing New York Times,” Mr. Trump has  ordered the Department of  Homeland Security to take actions against undocumented immigrants.

These drastic actions include the include the removal of privacy protections for illegal aliens, using local police forces to enforce immigration laws, and the creation of new detention centers. Furthermore, should the executive order become law, the deportation process would be expedited.

While Trump’s rhetoric of criminalizing and targeting immigrants has made his base happy, it does not bode well for our currently-divided nation. More than half the country voted against Trump, and those opponents will likely stand against this order. This, in turn, will result in even more pushback on Trump’s orders.

Many Republicans in Congress believe a laissez-faire approach to  immigrations laws undermines the entire system. As this is true, and America’s main goal should be to secure its borders, it must be done in a humane way. Although it has been made clear that children will not be targeted in this new order, these children may be left in the hands of the state.

Trump has also failed to disclose where the funds for these new additions to border control and immigration law. It is unlikely that Mexico will pay for the wall, even though a key campaign promise from President Trump was stated that the Mexican government would fund the project.

With local officials taking immigration law into their hands, some are worried that this discretion will lead to racial profiling, widening the rift between police and citizens. Under the Trump administration, illegal immigration will likely be viewed as a more serious offense than it was under Obama.

These strict laws and systems take away from the values of America that we take, “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” The United States was built on immigration. We should not be turning our backs on people who want to call our country home.

 

The views and opinions expressed are the students and the organizations whom they represent and do not necessarily represent the views of The Eisenhower Institute or Gettysburg College.

The Future of American Land Conservation under the Trump Administration

March 8, 2017

David DeBole ’20 – Inside Politics Participant

 

An era of environmental protection ended when Donald Trump took the oath of office. Barack Obama set aside over 548 million acres of habitat for federal protection. He has without a doubt established a legacy in environmental reform. On the contrary, the Trump Administration has already shown signs of a step back from this legacy. The nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA is alarming to environmentalists as Pruitt has already established his notoriety in suits against EPA activism.

Furthermore, the most recent Republican platform calls for a transfer of power over federal land to the states. A policy analysis done by Ryan O’Toole examined this idea. He found that this transfer of power had no effect on the management of land. This insinuates that state power would only complicate further protection. A complex system for public lands would be disastrous in today’s climate. This includes a crumbling National Parks System. It has reported the need for $12.5 billion in infrastructure projects.

So, what new official can we look to so that federal lands stay protected and in proper condition? The Interior Secretary has significant power in land conservation. Despite this, the pick for this cabinet position has gotten far less media coverage than the EPA nomination. The Department of the Interior presides over agencies like the National Park System. Whomever has this position wields a lot of power over future land protection. And, who is the new Interior Secretary? Republican Congressman from Montana: Ryan Zinke.

Congressman Zinke has an unorthodox background. He played football at the University of Oregon. He served in the US Navy SEALs from 1986 to 2008. After that, he entered politics on the state level and then made his run for Congress. He is an avid outdoorsman, participating in both fishing and hunting in the state of Montana.

As a Congressman, Zinke has shown that he will break ranks with Republicans on land ownership. He was on the GOP platform writing committee but he abandoned the project over its advocacy for state ownership of federal land. Further, he opposed a bill that would allow states to buy U.S. Forest Service land for timber production. He has shown repeatedly that he will fight for federal ownership of public land. This is good news for environmentalists who fear land degradation at the state level.

Congressman Zinke is a proclaimed Theodore Roosevelt Republican. Within the concept of land use, this means the practice of utilitarian conservation. This is the conservative use of resources so that they can serve the greatest good for generations. In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt said the following:

 

“It is time for us now as a nation to exercise the same reasonable foresight in dealing with our great natural resources that would be shown by any prudent man in conserving and widely using the property which contains the assurance of well-being for himself and his children.”

 

Zinke’s voting record has reflected this concept of utilitarian conservatism. He has advocated for heightened use of fossil fuel extraction on public lands. He wants the United States to be energy independent. This includes solar and wind energy, but fossil fuels would also have a contribution.

It is hard to pinpoint the line that Zinke draws for when resource extraction is allowed. He opposed mining in Yellowstone but recently he has supported building a copper mine on Montana’s Smith River. Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of National Parks Conservation Association, spoke against him stating that his stance on state control of energy development on the parks is dangerous.

Ultimately, Zinke was confirmed by a 68 to 31 vote on March 1, 2017. So, what does this mean for the future of land conservation?

It is likely that Congressman Zinke will take infrastructure problems head on. He said that he will push President Trump to focus on National Parks improvement. That being said, it is also likely that resource extraction will increase in the future. He has advocated for projects like the Keystone Pipeline but federal lands will stay in the hands of the US Government. If Ryan Zinke is anything like Theodore Roosevelt, he will use his leadership to find balance in land conservation and it is hopeful that his experience in the Navy and in politics will help him pursue this goal.

Former Interior Secretary, Sally Jewell, believed that the future is bright. She said, “I am optimistic that my successor will quickly realize how important this work is.”  At the time of that quote, Jewell did not know who her successor would be. But, if the importance of land conservation remains with Congressman Zinke, he will undoubtedly prove to be an intelligible leader.

 

The views and opinions expressed are the students and the organizations whom they represent and do not necessarily represent the views of The Eisenhower Institute or Gettysburg College.

ICYMI: Marco Rubio’s Bipartisan Attempt at Saving Free Speech

March 6, 2017

Hanna Bogorowski ’18 – Inside Politics Participant 

On February 7th when Mitch McConnell used Senate Rule 19 on Senator Elizabeth Warren, many on the left cried out that Warren’s First Amendment rights had been stripped and degraded. Many on the right asked if McConnell had taken things too far and provided fodder for the Democrats to feel marginalized. If you follow politics or had opened a newspaper at any time that week, the drama had been real and infinite; both sides attacking one another personally rather than on the basis of ideas or healthy political discussion. That being said, I bet there’s something you missed. In the midst of the bomb throwing, Senator Marco Rubio delivered a powerful, bipartisan, and important speech on the senate floor that focused on the real issue at hand.

He begins by mentioning that the Founders of this nation and the writers of the Constitution gifted we, the citizens, with the power to bring our differences together and debate them. However, they knew this would be impossible if these debates became of a personal nature. While that may not have been the intention of Senator Warren, her stray from legitimate ideas and suggestions does not help execute the Founder’s plan for the senate floor. Rule 19 hasn’t been officially brought up since 1902 when two South Carolinians’ argument ended in a physical brawl on the senate floor. The point of that is to suggest that after Hillary Clinton’s nomination to be Secretary of State, there were no ill-intentioned comments made about her on the senate floor. When John Kerry was nominated to be Secretary of State, there were no personal comments aimed to degrade him on the senate floor. Rubio continues on to say that this is not a partisan issue, and he would be making the same speech if a Republican acted similarly. In his defense, he has been one of many Republicans who have spoken out against several of President Trump’s actions as well as other partisan issues.

The real issue is that of Free Speech, and this country’s current inability to freely exercise that right. Our country prides itself on the fact that we all can say to the person next to us, “Hey, I think abortion is wrong, and here’s why.” The best part is, the other person can turn back and say, “I understand your point. But women’s rights are at stake.” That conversation can go on and on, but unfortunately for us, it doesn’t. Those healthy discussions are largely extinct, and instead, the facts and progress are getting lost in trying to bring one another down and prove that the other person is something that they are not, and the refusal to understand why someone would feel a certain way.

In the end, it’s all of us who lose. When the most important country in the world can no longer function at a governmental level, and our leaders can’t solve even the littlest of problems, we will see the downfall of America. As you’re reading this, there are countries out there who would have me jailed or worse for saying these things. And because of that, I will not take our First Amendment for granted. Instead, I will exercise it until our country can debate effectively again and respectfully understand each other’s ideas and remember what makes the United States so great.

 

The views and opinions expressed are the students and the organizations whom they represent and do not necessarily represent the views of The Eisenhower Institute or Gettysburg College.

Time to Wake Up America: Close the Gender Pay Gap

March 1, 2017

Annette Aguilera-Gonzalez ’18 – Women in Leadership Participant

 

The gender pay gap has lifelong financial effects. A study by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) found that the pay gap “contributes directly to women’s poverty. In 2015, 14 percent of American women ages 18–64 were living below the federal poverty level, compared with 11 percent of men were living in poverty” (Proctor et al., 2016). The effects of this disparity in pay follow women even after they leave the workforce. Even when women retire, they receive less income from social security, pensions, and other benefits than their male counterparts (Fischer & Hayes, 2013).  This inequality occurs because the amount above mentioned benefits are based on how much they were paid.

The impact of the pay gap has intensified in recent years because women, more now than ever, are their families’ primary or sole breadwinners (Glynn, 2014). The children and men that depend on women are also affected as a result of the pay gap.  Unfortunately, the gender gap affects all women in every demographic. Even though the gender pay gap will never be completely dissolved because we live in a patriarchal society, the country is making significant strides.

The one thing that we must avoid is indifference.  This is an extremely important time for women to be socially active—as the women’s movement prepares for one of its most challenging chapters in history.  Especially with Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, who is unsure of her commitment to commit to upholding the Obama administration’s Title IX guidance, which requires colleges and universities to be more responsible for cracking down on sexual assaults. The menace most of us women feel today is palpable, but let us link arms and continue this fight for equality.

 

 

The views and opinions expressed are the students and the organizations whom they represent and do not necessarily represent the views of The Eisenhower Institute or Gettysburg College.

Tension Rises between Trump and U.S. Businesses

February 20, 2017

Edward Bagliani “18 – Inside Politics Participant

In this past week, six major retail corporations have dropped Ivanka Trump’s merchandise brand. With Nordstrom being the first to drop the brand, retail stores owned by Nieman Marcus, Belk, TJX, Sears Holdings, and Burlington have also dropped products from Ivanka’s company. White House Press Secretary Correspondent Sean Spicer said it was a direct attack on President Trump’s policies and Ivanka’s name, however, all companies have denounced these rumors by explaining the poor sale performance of Ivanka’s company merchandise. One of these companies, HSN Inc. also dropped Trump Home products but continues to sell President Trump’s merchandise as it is positively effecting their current seasonal sales. Senior White House Advisor Kellyanne Conway promoted Ivanka’s brand name in an interview with Fox News by stating, “I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody.” Conway’s remarks have received criticism for violating federal ethics rule which prohibits executive branch employees from using their job to endorse products or private benefits for friends, however, in this case there is a conflict of interest since she was endorsing her boss’s daughter’s private business. Conway has received counseling on the matter by President Trump but further action has not been taken.

Trump’s first 100 days in office have been some of the most exciting, yet anxious, times during presidential inaugurations. Looking back, one of Trump’s arguments during the election was how his new economic policy would create more jobs in America, which would eventually benefit the U.S. and therefore he global economy. As he has persuaded companies such as Ford, GM, and IBM to relocate jobs to American soil, the President’s radical actions and behavior within the public eye has caused controversy and extreme opposition towards President Trump. Major retail stores dropping Ivanka’s brand name for their stores during Trump’s first 100 days in office can reasonably be viewed as backlash towards the President but these stores are looking at the 26 percent decline of online sales for Ivanka’s brand products so far in the first quarter of 2017. There was also a previous decline in the last quarter of 2016 in platforms such as Amazon, which is the primary source of Ivanka’s brand product sales. It is important for President Trump to realize that the companies dropping Ivanka’s merchandise are not targeting the President and that the sales decline is in response to the extreme opposition portrayed by a significant portion of the U.S. consumer demand. Therefore, it is completely rational for any company to drop a product with a gradually declining consumer demand, which President Trump might understand as he himself has managed a successful company.

This stream of companies dropping products involved with the brand name “Trump” may start to become a trend throughout the year and beyond. As much as President Trump is doing to alter and strengthen our domestic economic policy, he is going to have to realize that there are many consumers who do not support him and will lose interest if the Trump name is associated with certain products. President Trump can potentially persuade these companies in reordering Ivanka’s products but only if he implements domestic policies that are more sociably acceptable.

Betsy DeVos’s Next Steps as Secretary of Education

February 15, 2017

Question of the week:

Betsy DeVos’s recent confirmation as Education Secretary has brought education policy to the forefront of American politics. What do you think Secretary DeVos’s top priorities should be in office to improve the American education system?

 

 

Caleb J. Parker ’18 – Gettysburg College Republicans

The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States declares that powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or the people. The Department of Education, since its incorporation as a cabinet level executive in 1979, has absorbed enormous powers not vested to itself by the Founding Fathers. Education was never intended to be controlled by a federal agency, for this is the role of the states. Mrs. DeVos brings a new vision to the Department of Education. President Trump is not a traditional candidate, and she is not a traditional nominee. President Trump was elected to bring meaningful reform to an overreaching executive bureaucracy. The United States spends more than any other nation in the world on education, however ranks 34 in proficiency. This makes it evident that there needs to be meaningful reform to the agency. Betsy DeVos has spent her life in the service of her community and state. A native of West Michigan, her family invested in education throughout the region. Mrs. DeVos’ critics condemn her involvement in charter schools. Many believe that investment in alternative schools leads to the destruction of public schools. Not once in her career has the DeVos family attacked public schools or the institution as a whole. Her mission has and always will be to better the educational needs of children across this country. Setting standards and allowing the states to determine regulation is the key to making education a success for this century. Just as the old saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” It is time to let communities and states do what they do best: raise their children for their environment in a competitive atmosphere that leads to the standards that America so desperately needs to once again be the intellectual capital of the world.

 

 

Luke C. Frigon ’18 – Gettysburg College Democrats

Betsy DeVos is unequivocally the least qualified member of Donald Trump’s new cabinet. She is perhaps the least qualified Secretary of Education that America has ever had. Both her stunning ignorance of simple facts and the huge amounts of money she donated to the Trump campaign point to the fact that she should not be in the position that she’s been given. As the head of the US Department of Education, the secretary advises the president and carries out legislation over education policy at the K-12 level and beyond. But Betsy DeVos has no experience attending or working in public schools or even in sending her children to one. She doesn’t seem to understand some basic educational concepts and she’s completely unqualified to handle a trillion-dollar loan portfolio or oversee a grant program that gives out more than thirty billion dollars in aid each year. As an active proponent of school voucher programs, DeVos has ignored the fact that those programs don’t really work well. Her priorities should be thus: pack her desk and resign. She is completely unfit to be in the position and a tenth-grader from Gettysburg High School would be better-suited for the job.

 

 

Davis Healy ’17 – Gettysburg College Independents

As none of the members of our club are experts on education, I talked to some actual educators about problems with our education system. The most common concern I heard was about the misrepresentation of charter schools as an effective alternative to public schools. In their current state, charter schools are publicly funded (meaning that they would raise the costs of education for the taxpayer unless public education was sacrificed) and are not held to the same curricular and educational standards as public schools in the state (meaning they are locally funded but not locally accountable). As one educator put it, “People who try to found charter schools often have the best intentions but these schools just don’t work.” Many states have top-class public schools, while charter schools categorically struggle to be academically comparable. Betsy DeVos’ number one priority, above all else, must be preserving public education instead of draining its resources for a costlier, less effective alternative. The next priority should be addressing the way public schools are funded. Right now, public secondary schools are funded in large part by local property taxes, meaning that poor communities are permanently stuck with poor schools that generate poor students who join the poor community; we have to take steps to end this cycle. It would be more beneficial to build a system that can efficiently allocate federal, state, and local money to the schools that need them most. Additionally, higher education must be made more accessible to students of all backgrounds to equip the next generation for the future demands of society and the economy and to end the waste of human capital that results from barriers to higher education.

Pre-college school curricula are also in need of an overhaul. As society has changed, so too have the tools that students need. The internet is a great resource, but it has allowed fake news and intentional misinformation to mislead people and undermine the credibility of actual, factual, reporting. Students should be prepared to deal with the new reality of how information is presented and spread. Teach students how to interpret bias in news, literature, and academia. Teach students how to logically assess claims and research them across a broad range of sources and media. Teach students how to think for themselves, to ask a question and then answer it with factual evidence, to allow reality to shape their views.

A strong democracy is built on the education of its citizens. Betsy DeVos must abandon her preference for costly and ineffective charter schools and fight for the improvement of public education. She must address the persistent issue of local school funding and the societal outcomes it generates. She must establish a curriculum that equips students for the new realities of our world. Quite simply, she must preserve and advance one of our most valuable institutions.

 

Chris Condon ’19 – Young Americans for Liberty

As the new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos has a unique opportunity as someone who supports school choice to see such an agenda enacted. We believe that, when competition is introduced into the market, quality increases and prices decrease. Education, largely handled by government since the inception of a public education system, has performed in exactly the opposite way, with government spending more taxpayer dollars each year for less achievement among students. If we are to produce a system that works for all students, a school voucher program would ultimately be the solution within the current framework, as it rewards better schools (whether they be private or public) and punishes underachieving schools. In sum, more choice for students and parents yields a system that is more effective overall.

However, we would encourage that everyone calls their member of Congress and asks them to support H.R. 899, which would abolish the Federal Department of Education. Not only does the 10th amendment mandate such a course of action but we firmly believe that local legislators, teachers, and (perhaps most importantly) parents can do a better job of educating children than any federal bureaucrat. Millions of taxpayer dollars are wasted each year to fund this bloated and ineffective department and with the continuous pressure from teachers unions, we may find both of these solutions to be undesirable, however, we must look to students for the best practices in education.

 

 

Jerome Clark ’17 – Gettysburg Anti-Capitalist Collective

Resign.

 

The views and opinions expressed are the students and the organizations whom they represent and do not necessarily represent the views of The Eisenhower Institute or Gettysburg College.