- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It’s hard to imagine there are people in Washington who think the capital city suffers from a shortage of monuments. It’s even harder to imagine there are people who still don’t realize this country faces a serious shortage of money.

These are the people who have set in motion the process of constructing a massive, $100 million memorial to President Dwight D. Eisenhower just a few blocks from the Capitol. The last time we checked, Ike already had one of the country’s most impressive monuments - the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. This 46,876-mile-long marvel of concrete and steel represents the late president’s greatest achievement. There isn’t a whole lot more to celebrate about his eight years in office.

Eisenhower, for example, saddled the country with the creation of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, which now - after being split into two massive Cabinet agencies - bloats the federal budget to the tune of nearly a trillion dollars a year. He also was responsible for appointing liberals to the Supreme Court, including Earl Warren and William J. Brennan, who gave the judicial stamp of approval for an unprecedented expansion of government power for half a century.

City planners need to find a lot more open space in the nation’s capital if the nation must use granite to remember every chief executive who presided over an expansion of the welfare state. Like the unfortunate memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Eisenhower monument will be as oversized as it will be unattractive. The Stalinist design approved last month will hardly inspire the future generations that will be left paying the bill.

Over the past decade, Congress has appropriated $29.3 million toward the Eisenhower monument’s planning and construction. The memorial commission refused to answer simple questions regarding the amount of private donations raised to date and expected in the future. That means, unless there’s a sudden interest in donating big money by those who still like Ike, taxpayers will pick up the majority of the project’s total cost.

Eisenhower was neither America’s greatest general nor America’s greatest president. Canceling this unnecessary memorial would do nothing to tarnish his legacy and would be a painless way to save taxpayers at least $100 million.


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