Friday, February 16, 2007

Senior Preferences

There has been some interest in my essay on rating the presidents. Now comes a senior postscript:

AARP Bulletin has found that for those age 50 and above, their favorite president was John F. Kennedy (23%), followed by Clinton (17%); Reagan (14%). Remarkably Lincoln comes in at only 8%; FDR at 6%; Bush at 5% and Washington at 3%. Probably they are voting the memories of their youth, and very few are taking much time to read history.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Obama, Hillary and Anna Nicole

Obama had a good week, Hillary had a good week, but the mass of publicity went to the unexpected death of Anna Nicole Smith. The coverage of a celebrity is generally disgusting in this nation lately, with the entire media becoming the National Enquirer of old. For some reason the blog sites and the cable networks executives have decided that we can not get enough, and maybe they are right. Even CNN, a fairly serious enterprise, chose to saturate us with the celebrity's tragedy.

Rating the Presidents

My op-ed on the presidency was published today (Lincoln's Birthday) in the Trenton Times. It also appeared in the Home News Tribune on February 7 under the title Gerald Ford on the mark in his rating of presidents.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Taming Tim Russett

Have you noticed how humble Tim Russett is after his appearance before the Libby jury?Apparently he was lacerated on the stand during day one by a defense lawyer using some of the techniques that Russett uses with his so-called guests. The problem with "got-you" journalism is that it can be played by everyone with a computer now.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Presidents According to Mo Rocca

Television humorist Mo Rocca has decided to give us a more macabre view of the presidents. He takes us around in “Arrive” magazine to a trip of presidential tombs. He has gone on the road to see some of their final resting places, and so he goes first to Tennessee, the home of three presidents including James K. Polk, Andrew Jackson, and Andrew Johnson to visit the Polk’s resting place in Music City. James K. Polk, one of my favorites, was a highly effective one-term president who stole a part of Mexico, captured California and parts of Oregon, and never collected a pension

He floats up to Old North Cemetery in Concern, N.H., where the best looking of our presents is buried. He was Franklin Pierce, a pro-slavery Northerner who was called a doughface by his opponents. In those days, they look politics seriously.

In Ohio, Mo visited the beautiful classical structure that houses the remains of Warren Harding. As one waitress, a graduate of Harding High School, puts it, “We all know he was bad president, but he’s the most famous person to come out of here.” Makes sense.

Mo drops off in the D.C. area. At the Arlington National Century is buried our heftiest president, William Taft, and in the beautiful Washington National Cathedral is the final retime place of Wood row Wilson, the son of a minister and a minister type preaching president in his own right. Lower in Orange County is the home of James Madison, Montpelier, which houses the shortest president we had at 5’ 4”. He was also the father of the Constitution and married Dolley.

And lastly, he goes to Menads, N.Y., the site of Albany Rural Cemetery where Chester A. Arthur is buried. You can get there up via the Amtrak Hudson line to Albany.

That is it -- no Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, or Franklin Roosevelt. We know about them anyhow.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

An Early Primary

Senate President Richard J. Codey has outlined his reasons for sponsoring legislation that would move New Jersey’s Presidential primary to the first week in Tuesday. His opinion piece on the issue is titled Message to the Democratic National Committee: “Welcome To New Jersey.”

Lincoln's Relevancy Today

The creation of West Virginia during the Civil War and Lincoln's view of military is an issue whose importance has become more than just a historical footnote. It has become part of the much larger and more contemporary debate about George W. Bush's running of the Iraqi War and American treatment of enemy combatants. To learn more, read Lincoln and the Political Question: The Creation of the State of West Virginia.

Monday, February 5, 2007

What is wrong with Joe Biden?

There comes a time when one is in office for too long a period. Joe Biden was elected at age 29 to the U.S. Senate and has for decades been given what he loves best--a podium from which to speak and speak and speak. His latest comments about Senator Obama took away from his presidential debut. In fact that was all that was covered. That is too bad because he is one of the few candidates to give a realistic solution to the Iraq mess with his ideal of a partition by sectarian affiliation in a government that could best be characterized as federalist. But rather than discuss that creative idea, the public had to listen to his wheedling forgiveness from such paragons of virtue as Rev. Al and Rev. Jesse. Biden's slip was not a one time mistake. Recently he observed that one could not go into a 7-Eleven store without seeing (Asian) Indians, and that he would run well among blacks since he represents Delaware, a state that before the Civil War had slaves. Somewhere something is missing.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Book Review

The Washington Times published my review of James F. Simon's new book today. The book istitled Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney: Slavery, Secession, and the President's War Powers and the review appeared under the headline Two Men and the Wrenching Issues that Divided Them.