CITING THE PRESIDENT $400: In the 1970s: “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal”
CITING THE PRESIDENT $800: In the 1970s: “Our long national nightmare is over”
CITING THE PRESIDENT $1200: “I do not expect the Union to be dissolved–I do not expect the house to fall–but I do expect it will cease to be divided”
CITING THE PRESIDENT $2000: In an early 20th c. message to Congress: “We have stood apart, studiously neutral”
CITING THE PRESIDENT $2,000 (Daily Double): In the early 20th c.: “I took the canal zone, & let Congress debate, & while the debate goes on the canal does also”
JEOPARDY! game #7806 aired 2018-07-16
4, 4 (two words, each with four letters) $1000: In 1848 Martin Van Buren was the presidential candidate of this party that opposed slavery in western territories
JEOPARDY! game #7868 aired 2018-11-21
PRESIDENTIAL IRONY, Final Jeopardy! 1 of the 2 Presidents who offered Daniel Webster the VP slot; he declined both, thinking the job went nowhere.
“The unrestricted competition so commonly advocated does not leave us the survival of the fittest. The unscrupulous succeed best in accumulating wealth.” Rutherford B. Hayes
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s State of the Union Message to Congress, January 11, 1944, including the Second Bill of Rights:
“We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence… People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
“In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all — regardless of station, race, or creed.”
“I don’t give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them, and they think it’s Hell.” – Harry S Truman, 1948
“If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1956
When Barack Obama became President, the economy was on the verge of collapse. And now it’s not.
Arthur’s FIRST question to me for this round, about Barack Obama, I took some time answering:
BoyOhBoyOhBoy, have I been waiting for THIS! You asked me a LOT of awesome questions, – I DID! but one I thought of for you keeps popping into my head, and it’s heavy:
About a year ago (and probably early this year), many political commentators were saying that President Obama would be regarded as “one of the most consequential presidents in US history”. Given that the Orange Guy and his Republican Congress are poised to undo everything President Obama accomplished over the past 8 years (and pretty much every good thing done by all presidents, Republican and Democratic, over the past several decades…), do you think the pundits’ assessment is now laughable? Or, will it be that Obama’s image will soar, much as even Bush the Second is already being seen as “not so bad, really…” in light of the Orange Guy about to take over? I’m not asking about President Obama’s legacy so much as to what extent will he be relevant when all his work is undone?
First off, W’s legacy will continue to be in the pits for going into an unnecessary war in Iraq and presiding over an economic collapse unpresidentedunprecedented in decades.
Also, there are legit complaints I have with Obama, mostly having to do with drones. And I had thought to write a more balanced piece on him after his eight years. But the disinformation about him has been so strong that, like you, I’m not feeling the need to be fair and balanced, to borrow a phrase.
I really can’t talk about Obama, though, without talking about his legacy. And there’s a bunch of things that Agent Orange simply cannot take away:
Those with a memory will recall it came about because private insurance prices were spiraling out of control. Even the “replaced” product the GOP promises will likely protect those with pre-existing conditions, and those under 26 on their parents’ policy. This NY Times article suggests “a transformation of the delivery of health care may be an enduring legacy for the president.”
Here’s Bill Maher with President Obama on Real Time the Friday before the election. As Mark Evanier noted, “I think history will show this man was a very good president — which is not to say those who were convinced he was a gay Kenyan socialist who was planted in the White House to destroy America will ever admit it…”
From GQ: “More to the point, Obama’s legacy is the sort that gets canonized. Because the first rule of Hall of Fame-dom: The times have to suck for the president not to. Civil wars, World Wars, depressions, and recessions. You got to have ’em if you wanna be great. That’s why we rate the Washingtons, Lincolns, and Roosevelts over That Fat Guy with the Walrus Mustache. Like Obama, these Great Men were dealt sucky hands, won big, and left the country better off than it was before.”
Agent Orange simply cannot undo all of these. If he makes things as bad as I fear he will, it’ll be laid at the table of AO. More nukes to make us safer? No need for government research? Anti-everything people heading Cabinet departments? The contrast will be so astounding that this will make Obama look REALLY good.
I suspect that, if I ever meet George W. Bush, I will find him personally engaging.
Last year, a publisher was deaccesioning some books in anticipation of a move. I got for free about twenty books, among them, the 2004 anthology George W. Bush: Evaluating the President at Midterm. The first chapter, by Bill Kirtley, was called The Arbiter of Fate and had a brief but useful bio.
The death of his little sister Robin in 1953 colored his worldview, especially when he learned his parents had hidden her advancing leukemia from him. “His cousin Elsie Walker observed: ‘You…see your parents suffering so deeply and try to be cheerful and funny, and you end up becoming a bit of a clown.'”
She explained that “there was a lot of pressure to develop himself. He was a bit of a disappointment and hid it “by adopting a nonchalant attitude.” But it also meant some anger issues, “when he drank or suspected people of treating his family unfairly.”
The first time I paid any attention to George W. Bush was when he was running for governor of Texas against Ann Richards in 1994. The Democratic firebrand had spoken at the 1988 Democratic convention about W’s dad as having been “born with a silver foot in his mouth.” Of course, GHWB won the Presidency.
She referred to W as Shrub, and other diminutives, but that failed to work as well. As governor, she had vetoed a bill allowing Texans to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons, which he promised to sign, and eventually did. There was a rumor that she was a lesbian, which The Atlantic magazine and others connected to Bush advisor Karl Rove, though Rove denied being involved.
He ran for President in 2000 as a “compassionate conservative.” In Texas, he had cut taxes, supported the education of the dangers of alcohol and drug use and abuse – in part because of his own experience – and helped to reduce domestic violence. He had a mixed environmental record.
But George W. Bush won the nomination. I need not rehash Bush V. Gore, where the Supreme Court determined that Bush beat Vice-President Al Gore in Florida and thereby won the election, though he had lost the popular vote.
Oddly, when the US had an incident with China in April 2001, I said to myself, “I wonder what [Bill] Clinton’s going to do about… wait a minute, he’s not president anymore!” Seriously, the post-election fight had gone on so long that I forgot, briefly, the outcome.
Of course, there was 9/11. I always thought those calls for him to return immediately from Florida to DC were, given the lack of information in those early hours, terribly irresponsible. I was pleased that he blunted anti-Muslim sentiment, something missing in subsequent Republican leaders.
I understood, at least, the beginning of the Afghan war. But, it was weird that it quickly fell off the radar, as the drumbeat for a SECOND front, this time against Iraq, was being sounded. Iraq NEVER made any sense to me, and I protested the build-up for the six months before the invasion, and the subsequent, and incorrect, “Mission Accomplished.” Moreover, the fact that we were fighting these wars without paying for them was the height of fiscal irresponsibility.
When he ran for reelection in 2004, there was a debate question about religion. W talked about his “born-again” religious conversion. John Kerry, the Democratic candidate, indicated his Catholic “feed the hungry, clothe the naked” doctrine. I thought Kerry did fine, but the pundits found his theology not compelling.
Domestically, there was Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, which was a disaster made worse by government non-response. And the economic collapse on Wall Street defined his last year in office. His administration also had its own email scandal.
Ultimately, it was eight years of living dangerously. I don’t think George W. Bush was like Harry Truman, vilified at the time, but treated more kindly by history. I agree with his father, 41, that 43 was ill-served by W.’s Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.