From RealClearPolitics: Duke Blue Devil Porn Star Speaks Out; Longest Tenured Members of Congress; How a Corrupt President Was Ousted

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Good morning. It’s Tuesday, February 25, 2014. As Congress ends its February recess, House Speaker John Boehner meets with President Obama at the White House this morning. Later, the president will speak in the East Room about the value of bolstering high-tech manufacturing and then deliver evening remarks at an annual dinner held by Organizing for Action, a group formed by his former campaign team.

Twenty-eight years ago today, citizens of the Philippines awoke to find they had two people asserting that they had been duly elected president. In its crisis, the nation looked to the United States for a resolution.

The first claimant was the incumbent, Ferdinand E. Marcos, who insisted he’d won re-election on Feb. 7. But international voting monitors on the ground in the Philippines dismissed Marcos’ tally as obviously fraudulent. The clear choice of the Filipino people was Corazon C. Aquino, the reform-minded challenger.

As crowds gathered in Manila, chanting “Cory! Cory! Cory!,” both sides looked 8,500 miles away to Washington—to the White House—for validation. But what would President Reagan do?

I’ll have more on that pivot point in history in a moment. First, I’d point you to our front page, where we aggregate stories and columns spanning the political spectrum, and to a nice complement of original material from RCP’s staff and contributors:

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The Longest-Serving Congressmen. John Dingell’s announcement that he will retire after nearly 60 years in the House prompted this slide show from Tim Hains. 

The Blue Devil: The Duke Porn Star and College Costs: Emmeline Zhao, editor of RealClearEducation, does a Q&A with “Lauren,” the undergrad doing porn films to finance her $60,000 annual tuition and fees at the elite university. 

Manufacturing: A Key Ingredient for U.S. Growth. Jay Timmons, head of the National Association of Manufacturers, urges Congress and the administration to make the U.S. more competitive globally. 

Bin Laden and the False Charge That Won’t Go Away. The approach of the Academy Awards rekindled an old controversy that Mark Salter felt compelled to comment on

Christie Approval Rating Dips 20 Points Over Past Year. Adam O’Neal has the details

Can Ukraine’s Revolutionaries Become Democrats? In RealClearWorld, George Friedman explores the major question looming as the smoke clears in Kiev. 

How Ukraine’s New Government Could Destroy the Country. Also in RCW, Alex Berezow weighs in on the perils ahead.

A Campaign to Elect Scientists. In RealClearScience, Shane Trimmer argues that leading scientific voices are needed in Congress more than ever, and says a new group dubbed Franklin’s List hopes to remedy that shortage.

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In 1985, the San Jose Mercury News published an extraordinary exposé detailing how Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos had, on his salary of $5,700 a year, amassed billions of dollars in real estate, cash, stocks, and other holdings. (Imelda had over 3,000 pairs of shoes.) Most of that money had apparently been siphoned from U.S. aid intended for the Filipino people.

The revelations caused a crisis in the Philippines—and calls for snap elections, which produced the historic standoff between Cory Aquino and Marcos.

Ronald Reagan had met Ferdinand Marcos while serving as governor of California. He liked the Philippines’ leader, and considered him a decorated hero of the Second World War and a bulwark against Communist expansion in the Pacific.

Neither of these two reputations was deserved. Marcos had the medals from World War II, all right, but it turned out he was largely a shirker during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines and was considered by U.S. military commanders to be an unreliable ally. As for his anti-communism credentials, U.S. Navy Adm. William Crowe, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had concluded by 1984 that Marcos’ corrupt regime was one of the leading recruiting points for communist insurgents in the Philippines.

Crowe’s view was subsequently embraced by top Reagan administration foreign policy officials, including Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, and George Shultz. Reagan himself came to this place reluctantly, and he asked Nevada Sen. Paul Laxalt, his closest confidant in the Senate, to go to Manila to see what he could find out.

After the elections on February 7, 1986, Reagan initially dismayed Filipino reformers—not to mention his own cabinet—by saying there had been fraud “on both sides.” Three weeks later, however, Laxalt sent word to Marcos that it was time to leave the stage. Marcos called the senator, asking whether this was the president’s view as well. It was Reagan’s view, finally, and it was accompanied by an offer of asylum in Hawaii—and Laxalt made his return call from the White House to underscore the point.

“I think you should cut, and cut cleanly,” Laxalt told him. “I think the time has come.”

Marcos lived the rest of his life in Honolulu, where he died in 1989.

Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau Chief
Twitter: @CarlCannon
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Carl M. Cannon is the Washington Bureau Chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.

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