August 13, 2011
When will we get done with the fool idea that the way to make a party grow is to scare away everybody who has an extra dollar in his pocket? God forbid that the Democratic Party should become a mere gathering of the unsuccessful! –John W. Davis, Democratic presidential nominee (1924)
Some things don’t seem to have changed.
via Steven Hayward
July 7, 2011
One of the last presidents one would expect to be quoted on anything, yet historian Steven Hayward pulls up one on the Congress’ pathetic reputation and doubts about democracy:
In simple truth, I get discouraged sometimes about the stability of popular government. I come in contact with the abject surrender of public men to what appears to be about one-half of one percent of the voters to whom they look to their commission to public service. What the country needs more than anything else is a House and Senate for ten years which give at least as much thought to the welfare of the Republic as is given to individual candidates for re-election. Nothing so disheartens me as to have an extended conference with men in responsible places, hear them admit of the correctness of a policy or position, and then frankly say it is impossible to go through with the policy or maintain the position and be assured of re-election. I have concluded that I would vastly prefer a limited career with the consciousness of having done the right thing than to hold on to the constitutional limit by playing to the favor of those who do the fake work under our political system.
So, when our current situation discourages us (and that’s most of the time these days) and it seems like it couldn’t be worse, that maybe our system just doesn’t work anymore, remember that others were troubled by those same doubts, and yet things got better. I think that’s one of the great lessons of studying American History: that we’ve been through so much —and so much worse— yet always recovered and gone on to greater things. My friends on the far Right muttering about how “it’s just like 1860” really need to stop, breathe deeply, and check in with reality.
But still… Harding??
PS: Steven Hayward is a great historian, perhaps most well known for his two-volume “Age of Reagan.” He’s recently joined Power Line as a welcome addition.
PPS: Okay, in all fairness to Warren G., whose likeness graces my mouse pad, in recent years I’ve come to suspect that, while no doubt mediocre, his reputation has suffered thanks to historians raised in the era of the New Deal who want to make all those nasty Republicans between Wilson and FDR look as bad as possible.
PPPS: Well, Hoover kind of deserves it, but for different reasons — like being too much like FDR.
June 1, 2011
I’ve been avoiding* the whole Weinergate imbroglio, but this line from William Jacobson’s Legal Insurrection made me laugh:
We don’t expect much of our politicians, but we do expect them to know if they’ve taken pictures of their own crotches and uploaded them to yfrog.
We live in strange days, indeed, when something like that can be written in all seriousness.
*Other than a few jokes on Twitter. I’m weak, I know.
November 20, 2010
From President Jackson’s farewell address:
It is well known that there have always been those amongst us who wish to enlarge the powers of the General Government, and experience would seem to indicate that there is a tendency on the part of this Government to overstep the boundaries marked out for it by the Constitution. …There is, perhaps, no one of the powers conferred on the Federal Government so liable to abuse as the taxing power. …Congress has no right under the Constitution to take money from the people unless it is required to execute some one of the specific powers intrusted to the Government; and if they raise more than is necessary for such purposes, it is an abuse of the power of taxation, and unjust and oppressive. …Plain as these principles appear to be, you will yet find there is a constant effort to induce the General Government to go beyond the limits of its taxing power and to impose unnecessary burdens upon the people. …There is but one safe rule, and that is to confine the General Government rigidly within the sphere of its appropriate duties. It has no power to raise a revenue or impose taxes except for the purposes enumerated in the Constitution, and if its income is found to exceed these wants it should be forthwith reduced and the burden of the people so far lightened.
Hmmm… Maybe President Obama should spend more of his time studying his predecessors than his golf swing.
via Dan Mitchell
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)
December 11, 2009
President George Washington, via The Anchoress:
“Government is not reason, it is not eloquent – it is a force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”
Perhaps one of those times has arrived when the servants must be reminded just who is Master.