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Kengor Writes . . .

Paul Kengor

Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. These articles are republished from V & V, a web site of the Center for Vision & Values. Paul Kengor is author of God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life (2004) and The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism (2007). The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan's Top Hand (Ignatius Press, 2007). His latest book is The Communist - Frank Marshall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mentor (Threshold Editions / Mercury Ink (2012) .

Liberals Embrace Fatherless (and Motherless) Families?

With the Supreme Court giving a major boost to gay marriage, liberals face fewer impediments to their relentless push for fatherless (and motherless) families.

Of course, it wasn't always this way. In a speech for Father's Day 2008, Barack Obama was emphatic in championing fatherhood:

We know the statistics - that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.

Obama added:

Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives . . . family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation. . . . [If] we are honest with ourselves . . . we'll admit that . . . too many fathers . . . missing from too many lives and too many homes.

Obama summed up: "We need fathers."

I couldn't agree more. In fact, as a conservative, I don't know a single conservative who would disagree with any of this - alas, a rare moment of complete agreement with Barack Obama. For that matter, I don't know any liberals who would disagree.

So, with that being the case, why are President Obama and liberals suddenly pushing unrelentingly for fatherless families - or, more specifically, for a new form of American family that is fatherless?

The answer, of course, is gay marriage. With their sudden embrace of gay marriage, a massive shift not only within America, American culture, and human civilization, but also within the Democratic Party, liberals/progressives nationwide are - whether they realize it or not - simultaneously advocating a redefinition of family that embraces fatherless families. Married female-female parents will be households without dads.

In so doing, liberals are shattering a rare, precious consensus that they had nurtured with conservatives. There are few things that liberals and conservatives agree upon, but one of them was the crucial importance of children being raised in a home with a dad and a mom.

In his 1984 Father's Day proclamation, President Ronald Reagan described fathers as "beacons" of "strength and well-being," of "leadership and direction." They give their children guidance and teach them "integrity, truth, and humility." "Every father rises to his tallest stature as he selflessly cares for his family, his wife, and his children," said Reagan.

Liberals from Walter Mondale and Daniel Patrick Moynihan to the pages of The New Republic and New York Times emphatically agreed with Reagan. A decade later, such sentiments were consistently reinforced by Democratic President Bill Clinton, who understood the toll delivered by fatherless homes. Groups like the National Fatherhood Initiative popped up, creating wonderful ad campaigns reminding Americans of something that societies long deemed indispensable: kids need dads. Sons need dads. Daughters need dads. Families need dads.

That principle remains unchanged. What has changed, however, is liberals/progressives fierce acceptance and advancement of gay marriage. In this rapid push, they are jettisoning this national consensus on fathers, demanding a form of parenting that excludes fathers. As for those who disagree with their new paradigm, they are derided as cruel, thoughtless bigots, with no possible legitimate reason for their unenlightened position.

Actually, what today's liberals are advocating is far more radical than that. They are pushing not only for fatherless families but also, conversely, motherless families. Married male-male parents (the other half of gay marriage) will be households without moms.

Everyone reading my words knows that mothers are utterly irreplaceable. That's a statement of the obvious. I'm incapable of doing what my wife does. Fathers raising kids without their mother because of divorce, death, or some other unfortunate circumstance, know what I'm talking about. Why would anyone, let alone a country or culture, want to open the door for a reconstitution of "parenthood" and "family" that, by literal definition, excludes mothers?

To be sure, we know why liberals are doing this. Again, they are doing this in the name of gay rights.

Yet, supporting gay rights, and the right of gay people not to be discriminated against, should not automatically mean supporting the literal redefinition of marriage. Why must tolerance mean the redefinition of something as ancient and stable as marriage between one man and one woman?

The original push for gay rights was about stopping discrimination. Gays should not be persecuted, denied benefits, fired because of their sexual orientation. We all support that. But as with many other things, liberals in their zeal for whatever new "rights" are pushing too far, without pausing to carefully consider the impact. Their furious dash to redefine marriage in the name of gay rights has innumerable consequences that they have not begun to try to contemplate; that includes a new marriage/parenthood paradigm that repudiates their onetime insistence on father-based families, and even mother-based families.

Liberals always appeal to our emotions regarding children: What about the children? Well, yes, what about the children?

Bill Clark's Divine Plan - Ronald Reagan's Top Hand Has Died

The most important adviser to President Ronald Reagan in his takedown of the Soviet empire has died at the age of 81. His name was William P. "Bill" Clark, known to many as simply "Judge Clark," and he was one of the finest human beings and Americans that this country has ever known. I can say that without exaggeration and with the intimate knowledge of someone who became not only Clark's biographer but a close friend.

Actually, it was hard to be otherwise. I never met anyone who didn't like and come to respect Bill Clark. Think about this: Could you name another person, in the Reagan administration or out, praised by figures as diverse as Edmund Morris and Cap Weinberger, Edwin Meese and Lou Cannon, Maureen Dowd and Michael Reagan, Human Events and The New York Times, Time and National Review, and even Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush? As to the last pair, when we prepared the biography of Clark for publication, it wasn't a huge surprise when we got endorsements from both Carter and Bush. Only Bill Clark could inspire something like that.

And yet, if you asked Bill Clark how that could be, he would smile and say, "They're easily deceived."

No, they weren't. In Clark's mind, however, they were. This was a devoutly Catholic man of genuine saint-like charity and humility - praise he would characteristically and insistently deny. In fact, the biggest mistake I made in convincing him to let me be his biographer was allowing him veto power over things he objected to. This wasn't a mistake for the usual reasons. Indeed, if I want to make a criticism of Clark, he would say "much deserved." The problem was Clark's refusal to let me commend him for things indubitably much deserved. Clark wouldn't even let me call me him a "devout" Catholic. If I recall, we settled on "serious" Catholic. That, at the least, could be rightly said of a man who built a church on his ranch outside Paso Robles, California, and whose only real regret in life was that he didn't pursue the priesthood, leaving an Augustinian novitiate for good in February 1951.

But there was good reason for that, as Clark often noted. "It wasn't part of the DP, Paul," he would tell me again and again. "Not part of the DP."

The "DP," which Clark and Ronald Reagan pondered together, was the "Divine Plan."

To that end, God had another route for Bill Clark: it was to become first a lawyer, a rancher, and then connect with Ronald Reagan in a fascinating ride that altered the course of history.

The two men took that ride together. Fellow ranchers, fellow horsemen, fellow cowboys, they were kindred souls - some said like brothers, others said like father and son. They seemed to intuitively know what the other wanted. They were so close that Michael Reagan, Ronald Reagan's son, emailed me yesterday to say of Clark's death: "I have lost my father for the second time . . . Good bye friend."

For Bill Clark, the partnership began when he helped Reagan's 1966 campaign for governor. Once Reagan won, Clark was his top aide, eventually chief of staff. Governor Reagan soon began appointing Clark up through various levels of the California court system, all the way to the state Supreme Court (thus the moniker "Judge Clark"). Clark loved the work, and even commuted to Sacramento via a private plane he regularly launched from the driveway-turned-runway of his ranch.

There was only one thing that could tug Bill Clark away from that job: Ronald Reagan's need for him elsewhere; his sense of duty to Reagan and country. And so, when Reagan became president in January 1981, he convinced - and it truly took convincing - Clark to come to Washington to serve as deputy secretary of state. As Reagan put it, he needed someone he could trust at State, an "America desk" at Foggy Bottom. Bill Clark was that guy.

For the record, Clark first had to survive confirmation hearings before he could take the job at State. That would have been easy if not for a smarmy, smirking politician on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who deliberately tripped up Clark, turning the good man's appointment into an international spectacle that humiliated the gentlemanly rancher and thrilled our enemies, especially the Soviets. That man, whose charade that February day was one of the ugliest displays in the history of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was a young senator from Delaware named Joe Biden.

Despite Biden's antics, Clark's performance at State blew away everyone. From Time to The New York Times, he was heralded for his steady hand, as Reagan's reliable counsel. A year later, at the start of January 1982, Clark became Reagan's national security adviser, head of the crucial National Security Council. It was there, in that seat, that Clark and Reagan, along with the likes of Bill Casey at the CIA and a group of superb staffers, laid the groundwork to undermine the Soviet Union.

That story cannot be given due justice in this short tribute, but, as a quick summary: The most consequential National Security Decision Directives - NSDDs, the formal documents that created official Reagan administration policy - were completed under Clark's direction. Clark oversaw the development of NSDDs 2 through 120. The goal of these NSDDs was nothing short of revolutionary: to reverse the Soviet grip on Eastern Europe, to liberate Eastern Europe, and even to bring "political pluralism" (as one NSDD put it) to the Soviet Union. These were dramatic objectives that no one but Clark and Reagan thought possible in 1982.

Beyond NSDDs, any student of the Reagan administration knows that the really big things that happened in Reagan's Soviet policy took place in the two transformational years that Clark headed the NSC: the meeting with John Paul II at the Vatican, the Westminster speech, the Strategic Defense Initiative, the Evil Empire speech, NSDDs 32, 54, 66, 75, just for starters.

When Clark left the NSC position in late 1983, in part due to pressures from White House "moderates" and "pragmatists," the men surrounding Clark were devastated. They sensed a looming apocalypse; they thought everything they had gained under Clark was suddenly dead. I sat in the tack barn of Clark's ranch one hot summer day and read their pleas - long, heartfelt, heartbroken letters (which Clark kept). His faithful lieutenants were sure all was lost. Two men, however, were not crestfallen at all: Bill Clark and Ronald Reagan. They just smiled. They were confident the plan was in place. The groundwork had been laid. The DP was ready to prevail.

In Memoriam: A FBI Life?

America has lost a good man and dedicated servant. Edward S. Miller, a lifetime FBI man, has departed this country and this world, leaving behind a trail of fascinating tales and deeds - involving characters as diverse as J. Edgar Hoover, Presidents Nixon, Carter, and Reagan, the Communist Party USA, Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, and the Weather Underground - that merit remembrance.

Ed Miller was born on Veterans Day, November 11, 1923, in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He grew up in the smoky steel town of McKeesport along the Monongahela River. As a teen, he worked as a lifeguard at a large, sandy beach pool at historic Kennywood Park. Directly out of high school, he headed to the Pacific Theater, where he was a platoon sergeant in Okinawa.

Discharged from the Army in February 1946, after four years of war, Miller attended Grove City College (where I teach) in Grove City, Pennsylvania. He studied political science and law and earned his bachelor's degree. An even greater achievement, he met his future wife, Pat.

Wasting no time finding his place and mission in the wider world after graduation, Miller joined J. Edgar Hoover's FBI in November 1950 - and would never look back. He was assigned first to Los Angeles, then to San Francisco, Washington, Mobile, Honolulu, Chicago, and finally back to Washington, where in 1971 he rose to lead the Intelligence Division. By October 1973, Miller was named assistant to the director, placed in charge of all investigative operations. By the time he retired in 1974, the kid from the mill-town was credentialed as the 8th highest-ranking person among 10,000 serving the FBI.

But those titles, impressive as they are, obscure the dramatic details of Miller's everyday duties. Ed Miller spent many hours tracking radicals and Communist subversives operating on American soil. Among them was the insidious Weather Underground, led by Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn and others who today have found reincarnation as tenured professors and "Progressives for Obama." Miller and his men worked hard trying to locate Ayers and Dohrn and friends as the domestic bombers fled law enforcement as literal "Most Wanted" fugitives. It sounds like exciting work, and it was. It was also dangerous.

In Chicago, in October 1969, the Weather Underground launched its brutal Days of Rage, a violent political rampage. The young revolutionaries clashed with over a thousand police. They left over 30 officers (whom they called "pigs") injured and one city official paralyzed. Their organized riot had commenced on October 5, when the "flower children" dynamited the statue commemorating the Chicago police who had been killed in the 1886 Haymarket Riot. It was one of the ugliest days in Chicago history (which is saying something). Comrade Dohrn was anointed the commissar of the "Women's Militia" for the wondrous event. Her beaming beau, Billy Ayers, stood proudly at her side.

Ed Miller's work in Chicago was exciting but also perilous. It was not the most enviable assignment - and would ultimately create havoc in his life. Four years after his retirement, in 1978, Jimmy Carter's Justice Department prosecuted Miller and other agents for authorizing alleged "questionable investigative techniques" in their attempts to find the Weather Underground terrorists. These were techniques the FBI had used for years. Miller's counsel made that case in court. Carter's Justice Department disagreed. It was a slap in the face after so many years of noble service. Even worse, Ayers and Dohrn did no jail time. "Guilty as hell, free as a bird!" Ayers later triumphantly exclaimed.

Miller was buoyed by a strong show of public support, including the presence of a huge number (over 1,000, by one account) of FBI agents who came to the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia in April 1978 to rally behind him during his arraignment. A joint resolution was introduced in Congress by Rep. Leo Zeferetti (D-NY) and Sen. S. I. Hayakawa (R-CA.) urging dismissal of all charges. Nonetheless, the Carter administration's "justice" moved forward, and Miller and his good friends L. Patrick Gray III and Mark Felt - who we now know as Watergate's "Deep Throat" - were convicted in November 1980.

It was grossly unfair. Mercifully, however, the same week that Miller was convicted his countrymen evicted Jimmy Carter from the White House. Ronald Reagan had been outraged by Miller's treatment, and said so openly. Shortly after Reagan's inauguration in January 1981, while Miller's conviction was on appeal, the new president pardoned the FBI veteran, saying in a formal statement:

America was at war in 1972 and Miller followed procedures he believed essential to keep the FBI Director, the Attorney General, and the President of the United States advised of the activities of hostile foreign powers and their collaborators in this country.

In his typical fashion, Reagan went further. He sent a personal letter to Miller on April 28, 1981, not even a full month after being struck by an assassin's bullet, apologizing for the slowness of his pardon. "I'm sorry it took so long," wrote the president, just out of the hospital, "but I couldn't push bureaucracy into a higher speed." Miller had thanked Reagan, but Reagan responded: "You owe me no thanks."

I personally first met Ed Miller only a few months ago, though I knew of him before then. He had contacted me in September 2012 after reading my book The Communist, which examined Frank Marshall Davis, Barack Obama's Communist mentor in Hawaii. Davis had left Chicago's Communist Party USA circles for a new network of agitators in Honolulu. Having been stationed at both the Honolulu and Chicago offices of the FBI, Miller thus knew and worked with several of the figures I chronicled. He wrote to thank me for "sharing" Davis with the people of America. He also informed me how he had been rudely thrust out of lovely Honolulu and into ugly Chicago courtesy of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn and friends. In his letter, he remarked almost in passing that "Jimmy Carter persecuted me for trying too hard to capture Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn."

Ed and I met in March 2013, at his modest townhouse in Fairfax, Virginia. His mind was razor sharp, an encyclopedia of dates and names and figures, and he was a ball of energy. He told me about his lifetime of FBI work, showed me personal notes and signed books he received over the years from Richard Nixon, talked about Soviet espionage and its tentacles into America, about the Hawaii and Chicago offices, about the Weather Underground, about Watergate.

As to the latter, Ed Miller was not involved, but he certainly had valuable insight. He was a close friend, after all, of Mark Felt. Ed gave me a copy of a lengthy document he had written on Watergate and endeavored to get into the hands of Bob Woodward. This was something he badly wanted to pass along - one of the final things he wanted to do. He had sent it to Woodward in August 2011 but never heard back. I have a copy of the document, as does Miller's family. From my reading, it contains no bombshell revelation, but it most definitely has unique information of clear value to any student or historian of Watergate, Mark Felt, J. Edgar Hoover, or generally this important period in the history of our government. (Mr. Woodward, are you listening?)

That said, among the most interesting things Ed Miller wanted people to know were his sentiments about the late, great, embattled, and controversial J. Edgar Hoover. What he told me isn't the standard Hoover narrative we hear in Hollywood today. Quite the contrary:

"He was terrific!" Miller said, his eyes wide open, a big smile. "Absolutely brilliant. He was great. And he was sharp as could be."

Miller saw J. Edgar Hoover as a model boss who wanted truth and integrity and "backed us totally and always." He wanted reliable, accurate information from his men. Hoover told Miller and his colleagues: "There's one thing to remember: You need to be entirely objective." This was true for information collection and for the kind of men hired into the agency. Miller recalled an instance where Lyndon Johnson three times sent letters to Hoover demanding that Miller hire a certain individual from New Jersey. This was the typical LBJ political pressure. Miller didn't agree with the hire. A frustrated LBJ called Hoover and asked, "Why do you keep turning down this guy?" Hoover answered: "Because my men don't want him."

When Miller was newly hired as acting director of the Intelligence Division, Hoover asked him to "go over there and remove the bad apples." Hoover was a man of action, quick action. When he hadn't heard back from Miller in three weeks, he called to follow up. Miller answered, "I haven't decided yet." Hoover was silent before saying only "okay." Three weeks later, Hoover called again. Miller responded, "I'm still considering." Hoover gave a short, "Hmmm." Another three weeks passed. This time Miller told Hoover: "I've decided that all the bad apples are already gone." Hoover replied: "Is that your decision?" Miller said "yes." Hoover then finished, "Okay, thank you."

Said Miller: "I gave him not what I thought he wanted but what was best for the FBI, and he appreciated that. He respected that."

In fact, that was indeed what Hoover wanted: what was best for the FBI.

Miller had tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat as he related a final story. Stationed in Hawaii in 1967, he had been invited to speak about the FBI to Marines getting some much needed R&R from Vietnam. (Miller would throughout his life lecture on the FBI, and regularly lectured at the academy at Quantico as late as 2012.) He began by telling the men that the bureau and Marine Corps had much in common; in fact, he added, that very day happened to be the 43rd anniversary of Hoover's start as director of the agency.

Miller was stunned when suddenly, at that simple acknowledgment of Hoover's lengthy tenure, every man in the audience started applauding loudly and vigorously. It wasn't "the usual kind of applause," recalled Miller, "but firm cadence applause where you could hear every beat and they didn't quit."

"I was destroyed," Miller said:

. . . . choked up by two or three hundred young warriors from all over the country whom I thought couldn't have known much about Mr. Hoover, but they did. If only his critics could see this!

Miller promised the young men that if he got the chance he would personally inform Hoover of their appreciation.

He made good on that promise about four-and-a-half years later. Hoover had been taking quite a public beating in the press. Miller felt that Hoover was "really hurting," and he shared the story just as he left the boss's office. The boss heard every word, and didn't respond. Six months later, J. Edgar Hoover was dead.

Asked about the rumors and sexual innuendo regarding Hoover, Miller insisted they were "absolutely false." He said that Hoover and Clyde Tolson (his alleged "partner") lived in separate places and that Hoover was a heterosexual who dated women, including glamorous actress Dorothy Lamour, whom Miller says Hoover nearly married:

She dumped him because he was married to his job, which he was. . . . Hey, he had one hell of an interesting job! And he was always very busy.

Miller chalks up the rumors to Hoover's political enemies, especially the left and far left - and Communists in particular. That is hardly an unreasonable assertion. No one excelled at disinformation and blatantly vicious lies and character assassination quite like the Communist Party. Communists and liberals/"progressives" generally long despised Hoover and the FBI, whom they vigorously portrayed as McCarthyite reprobates and witch-hunters. CPUSA had good reason to hate the FBI. As Miller told me, the FBI's work on "surreptitious entries" (aimed at Soviet agents/espionage) was "what killed Communist Party USA."

It certainly helped. To this day, the left has never forgiven J. Edgar Hoover for his unflagging anti-communism. "He was very conservative," said Miller of Hoover's politics. "And the liberal politicians, especially Frank Church, really went after him. Going after him was a great way for them to get publicity."

I cannot confirm all that Miller told me about Hoover (especially about the Tolson and sexual allegations), but his take on the left's contempt and attacks on Hoover absolutely makes sense.

After a conversation that went way too long, I left for the snowy drive back to Grove City. Ed Miller gave me a parting gift: an American flag. That, too, absolutely makes sense. If there was one thing that Ed Miller loved more than the FBI and his family, it was America and that flag. He served it dutifully.

Ed Miller passed away on July 1, 2013, surrounded by Pat, his beloved wife of six decades, and his three children and their families. It was a life of integrity, well lived, fascinating and full - including full of faith for his family, country, and for God.

Ed Miller, FBI man, requiescat in pace. *

Read 3791 times Last modified on Wednesday, 16 December 2015 17:16
Paul Kengor

Paul Kengor is a professor of political science and the executive director of the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. Paul Kengor is the author of God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life (2004), The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism (2007), The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan’s Top Hand (Ignatius Press, 2007) and The Communist — Frank Marshall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor (Threshold Editions / Mercury Ink 2012).

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