Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Sunday, December 27th, 2009.


Memory Lapses

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American History, Obama Administration, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

The ever mildly annoying Ann Althouse criticizes President Obama for being on vacation in Hawaii while the nation suffered a terrorist attack. And even as you read this, I’m sure some of you are thinking of the last President, who was nearly always on vacation when anything significant happened. Well, Bush was nearly always on vacation, in Washington or out of it.

But that’s not what really inspired me to write. One of the commenters wrote,

Being President of democratic republic isn’t much fun.

Insty linked to a NY Post story citing how dissatisfying Obama finds our form of government, when tyrannies clearly make the trains run so much better.

In a similar vein, FDR’s acolytes thought wistfully of Hitler and Mussolini, at least until the bullets and ashes started to fill the sky.

The link goes to a Charles Hurt column in the New York Post titled “O Rips the American Way.” Wow, it’s hard to imagine an American president expressing a preference for a dictatorship, huh? Oh, wait …

In fact, Hurt doesn’t quote President Obama saying anything bad about our great Republic. The President was discussing the current malfunction in the Senate, which is a genuine concern outside of Wingnuttia.

But what really astonished me was the bit about “FDR’s acolytes thought wistfully of Hitler and Mussolini, at least until the bullets and ashes started to fill the sky.” Here in the Matrix of Objectively Verifiable Facts, Franklin Roosevelt’s administration did its best to oppose fascism in Europe in spite of much public sentiment to the contrary. FDR opposed Hitler from the beginning of his administration. Before Pearl Harbor he already was doing as much as he could for America’s future allies, in particular Britain. He pushed through the lend-lease program, for example.

No, it was the conservatives of the 1930s who thought Hitler and Mussolini were swell guys with whom America could do business.

Yet we are not quite done in the memory lapse department. Another blogger — I’m guessing he’s a libertarian, but his blogroll doesn’t give away a partisan orientation — defended President Obama and said it was silly to think the President’s being in Hawaii instead of DC while some guy tried to blow up a plane flying over Michigan made any difference to anything. Of course not. But then he said,

The greatest President in American history was inaugurated on August 2, 1923. He was woken up after the death of his predecessor, strolled downstairs, took the oath of office, and went back to bed. Would that we understood today how to behave as the chief bureaucrat of the central public goods administration.

To which I had two reactions — one, what the hell is the “central goods administration”? And two, — OMG, he’s talking about Calvin Coolidge. Coolidge let the country rot and prepared the way for the Great Depression.

If it’s true that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (George Santayana), we’re in trouble.

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