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Archive for February, 2018

So there’s an article in the New York Times today, regarding a survey conducted for the American Political Science Association of 140 “political experts”. These political scholars were asked to rate all of the United States presidents, up to and including the Current Occupant.  And as one might have expected, President Trump is listed as the single worst president of all time.  In fact, Democratic-leaning scholars gave him a rating of only 8 out of a 100.  There was a considerable gap to the second worst president, James Buchanan, at 16.  The average was 50.

A few things about that: First, it seems a little early to be rating officially the current President good, bad or indifferent. It reminds me a bit of when Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for apparently breathing and not being George W. Bush.  Trump’s off to a poor start, and I think he’s not a good guy, but the grade one year for almost any president is really “Incomplete”. (On that note, I also think it may be unwise to even rate William Henry Harrison’s 30 days in office at all.) When his time is over, I expect Mr. Trump to have earned his place near the bottom of the pack. But it’s early yet.

Second, these ratings say as much about the scholars as they do about the presidents. President Obama is rated eighth in this same survey – sixth by the Democratic scholars with a score of 78. That is not a reserved judgment; that’s hero worship.  It’s as if they were using it for group therapy during their unexpected political exile.  The idea that these are much more than political opinion polls is further belied by the fact that those Democratic scholars also rated Bill Clinton over winner-of-the-Cold-War Ronald Reagan.  (Which is nothing new.  In 1996, presidential historian and Kennedy aide Arthur Schlesinger rated all the presidents and found Reagan 26th out of then 42, six behind Clinton. It’s hard to view such ratings with a straight face.

In conclusion, this is not in any way a defense of the Current Occupant.  I think Trump’s had a poor start and is likely to have a poor end.  But it is an observation that the American Political Scientists Association appears more interested in being a participant in the political contest rather than an unbiased scholarly observer.  When you wonder why some on the right question the reliability or trustworthiness of those in the academy, a survey like this provides evidence.  Look at where they rate those they like, whether accomplished or not – Wilson, Clinton and Kennedy – on the one hand, and those they don’t – Reagan and Coolidge. It’s not an unbiased survey; it’s a political document by political people who want you to think they’re not.

– 1TF

 

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I’m amazed I even need to say this – government is serious business and needs to be conducted by serious people.

The President has conducted his presidency in a manner that his political opponents abhor. They see his policies as misguided and/or mean-spirited and his manner as boorish.

Fine.

But at the State of the Union, his opponents matched him by not even perfunctorily applauding his entrance. The guy hadn’t even said anything yet. His speech wasn’t a sea of red meat. Yet the silence followed, even during announcements of good economic news and salutes to American heroes. It was surreal. And viewers who saw it, saw “those people don’t want to work together.”

But of course, never discount this President’s ability to overplay his hand. President Trump recently called the Democrats’ actions at the State of the Union “treasonous”.

Treasonous. Treason is a crime punishable by death in this country.

One can reasonably call the congressional Democrats’ actions at the State of the Union a lot of things – misguided, angry, rude, foolish and juvenile. But it was not treasonous. And it is politically poisonous for this nation’s commander-in-chief to accuse them of treason. Many Democrats love this country; they just hate its leader. Ronald Reagan (who would be 107 today) would have just laughed off the Democrats’ disdain; he’d a give a wink to the voters that said “see what they’re like, the poor devils?” and the country would have laughed with him as he became even more popular.

Trump has no talent for humor, so he couldn’t do this. But he could do the next best thing, which is to keep quiet. The Democrats made a big mistake at the State of the Union. Trump should have just left it alone.

-1TF

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