Tag Archives: President’s Day

1912: BATTLE OF THE THREE PRESIDENTS

Mascot with demo and repub headsHappy Presidents Day! Balladeer’s Blog’s seasonal posts continue with this look at the presidential election of 1912.

I won’t bury this item in unnecessary detail to the point where it becomes boring. My emphasis will be on its three-way battle’s relevance to us in 2018. 

Woodrow WilsonDEMOCRAT: Woodrow Wilson, the victor. To this very day many Republicans blame Wilson for starting the country on its path toward all the things they don’t like.

They ignore the fact that their own party’s movers and shakers of the time spitefully ensured Wilson’s victory by refusing to accept the popular Theodore Roosevelt as the Republican candidate.

That drove him to the Third Party called the Progressive Party, thus splitting the anti-Wilson vote in such a way that enabled the Democrat to win.

Theodore RooseveltPROGRESSIVE: Former Republican President Theodore Roosevelt had come out of retirement to run again because he was thoroughly disenchanted with his hand-picked successor, incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft.

The reason? Theodore felt that Taft was undoing the few inroads that he (Theodore) had made against the moneyed rich pig class. Republican tycoons of the time often expressed their feeling that Teddy was a traitor to his class – an accusation that they would REALLY overuse against Theodore’s Democrat cousin Franklin Roosevelt decades later.  

This is similar to the way current President Donald Trump is often attacked by today’s bloated rich pigs, both Republican AND Democrat, because of the few inroads that HE has made against his fellows in the moneyed class. Some of the rich pigs of Teddy’s era openly referred to the way they generally carry America’s elected officials around in their pockets by saying “We bought the son of a bitch but he wouldn’t stay bought.”       

Let that sink in: Both the brazenness of the public statement AND the notion of people so wealthy they could afford to buy even an Old Money figure like Theodore Roosevelt. This too, shows how dangerous those still-prevalent plutocratic forces are and the uphill fight faced by President Trump, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and John F Kennedy.

William Howard TaftREPUBLICAN: William Howard Taft, the incumbent Republican President and a rich pig who was perfectly happy to conform to the desires of the plutocratic forces that his predecessor Theodore Roosevelt had fought.

When you think of Taft, think of today’s Republican trash like Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Mitch McConnell and all the other GOP wimps acceptable to the kind of moneyed pigs who continue to battle President Trump, even though he is nominally a member of their political party.

Virtually no one seriously doubts that Roosevelt would have defeated Woodrow Wilson if the Republicans had let the returning Teddy be their nominee in 1912. Instead, they coordinated Taft’s nomination at their convention because they knew that Theodore – like President Trump today – would have fought them on certain issues.

Roosevelt retaliated by running as the candidate of the Progressive Party aka Bull Moose Party. With Teddy and Taft splitting so much of the anti-Wilson vote, Woodrow went on to win the election, unleashing all those policies which many Republicans feel “started to destroy the country.”

One lesson from all of that is that the one percenters and bloated rich pigs who run the Republican Party have long been more than happy to spitefully enable the victory of a candidate whom their voters opposed just to block a Republican candidate that they don’t own.

So whenever right-wing Republicans go on a tirade against Woodrow Wilson it can take the conversation to interesting new places to point out that Wilson would never have become president in the first place if not for the spiteful behavior of the Republican Establishment.

This, too, is similar to the way that the Republican Party’s Never-Trump fools and the privileged white males at National Review continue to sabotage the Donald even though following his lead might ensure them a much, MUCH larger share of the working class vote and the African-American vote.

As in 1912 the greedy interests of RepubCorp’s bloated rich pigs matter more to them than the voters and the country as a whole.      Continue reading

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Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion, Presidential Rap Sheets

SUPER PRESIDENT’S FIRST CARTOON

Mascot new lookUsually on President’s Day Weekend Balladeer’s Blog reruns my review of the hilariously bad and weird 1960s superhero cartoon Super President.

For a change of pace I won’t repost that old review but will instead provide a look at the very first episode depicting President Norcross’ heroic antics as Super President. 

IF YOU DO WANT TO READ MY REVIEW OF THE SHOW CLICK HERE

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Filed under Forgotten Television

U.S. PRESIDENTS FROM EISENHOWER TO TRUMP

It’s Presidents Day Weekend! Here are some takes on the more recent presidents.  

EisenhowerDWIGHT EISENHOWER

Character Type: Well-meaning but befuddled sitcom grandfather.

Military Service: World War One and World War Two

Motto: “FOOORE!” (Remember,  the traditional cry as you’re teeing off in golf? Oh, never mind!)

Nickname: Uncle Milty

Pro: Knew enough to distrust Richard Nixon long before it became the national pasttime. 

Con: Was the first president to pronounce nuclear as “nucular”.

john f kennedyJOHN F KENNEDY

Character Type: Rich playboy who disdained both Liberals and Conservatives and played by his own rules.

Military Service: World War Two

Motto: “Thank God for television!”

Nickname: FDR  

Pro: The man was shrewd enough to distrust both liberals and conservatives equally. I can’t praise that attitude highly enough given our present circumstances. 

Con: Continue reading

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Filed under humor, LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, Presidential Rap Sheets

ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND HARRY FLASHMAN

abraham-lincoln-pictureBalladeer’s Blog’s recent look at my Top Five Harry Flashman Novels was a hit. Combine that with the upcoming Presidents Day Holiday on Monday and let’s take a look at one of the other Flashman novels for future president Abe Lincoln’s interactions with George MacDonald Fraser’s infamous antihero Harry Flashman.

In 1971’s Flash for Freedom, set in the second half of 1848 and early 1849, one of the historical figures that Harry encounters is the young Abraham Lincoln when Abe was just a Congressman. Flashman himself – like Lincoln – has not yet achieved the fame that will be his in later life.

Alan Bates -better Flashman than MalcolmThe pair first meet in the fall of 1848 in Washington, DC, when Harry – a Cavalry Captain in Queen Victoria’s army – is trying, Bret Maverick-style, to pass himself off as a Royal Navy Lieutenant named Beauchamp Comber. (Don’t ask.) Abe senses something off about the scurvy Brit and uses seeming politeness mixed with alarming insinuations to set Flashman on edge, terrified that he’ll be exposed.

The author George MacDonald Fraser handles this section very cleverly as Lincoln comes across like a homespun Sherlock Holmes, chewing up Harry’s lies and spitting them out on the b.s. pile. Harry/ Beauchamp counters with an observation that Abe isn’t entirely on the level, either, masking his obviously calculating nature behind a facade of folksiness.

The two part on reasonably friendly terms, but Lincoln smilingly makes it clear that he knows Flashman/  Comber is conning everyone about being a naval officer. However, Abe also makes it clear that whatever the rascal is up to it doesn’t seem to pose any harm to him, so he shrugs it off and goes on his merry way. 

The second meeting between the future President and the future Sir Harry comes in the very early months of 1849 in the novel’s thrilling finale. A convoluted set of circumstances have led to Lincoln being at just the right place at just the right time to face down a pack of Fugitive Slave Hunters in order to save Harry and a female slave that Flashman is smuggling to freedom in Canada. 

Flash for FreedomThe next day a bedridden Harry is recovering from wounds received during this adventure. He’s staying at the home of an acquaintance of Lincoln, and Abe has been visiting the ailing Englishman, sitting in a bedside chair. They’ve had a lengthy conversation during which Lincoln has made it clear that he now knows who Harry really is and Flashman asks why Abe continues to cover for him.

By way of an answer Lincoln muses aloud about the various newsworthy escapades that “Beauchamp Comber” has been having as a reluctant agent of the Underground Railroad. He also recaps the number of former slaves that Flashman has incidentally helped recently during his usual selfish pursuits. We join the narrative as Abe sums up:

“I don’t pretend to know why you’ve done these things and I don’t think I want to know. It’s enough for me to know that you HAVE done them, and that none of those unfortunates will ever wear chains again.”   

I started to make with the kind of simperingly compassionate noises that I thought would appeal to a man like Lincoln but he stopped me short with a raised hand and a wry smile before saying “Save it for the Recording Angel, Captain Flashman. I have a feeling you’ll need it on that day.” Continue reading

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VALENTINE’S DAY SHOUTOUT TO FORMER PRESIDENT MCKINLEY AND HIS WIFE IDA

MckinleysSince today is Valentine’s Day AND we have Presidents Day coming up here’s a brief shoutout to the often neglected love story about President William McKinley and his wife Ida Saxton McKinley. The McKinley years were far enough away that there is a certain sincerity to their relationship that could never be trusted in these days of endless media overload. 

Years before they were President and First Lady the McKinleys lost both their daughters in tragic circumstances. Ida was never the same and became epileptic plus showed signs of other disorders. As president, William happily restructured the usual social agenda for First Ladies to accommodate Ida’s special circumstances.

Ida was permitted to sit rather than stand for the endless receiving lines that STILL take up too much time in the world of politics. McKinley’s administration had Vice President Hobart’s wife tend to many of the strenuous hostessing activities that First Ladies usually have to endure.

Perhaps most touchingly, President McKinley had Ida sit right next to him at formal meals rather than at the opposite end of the table, as was the usual custom. He did this so that when Ida had one of her epileptic seizures at the table he could place a napkin over her face to prevent guests from noticing. Although personally, I’ve always been convinced that the guests were just pretending not to notice. But that’s just me. 

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SIXTEEN OVERLOOKED SECRETARIES OF STATE

With Presidents Day coming up on the 19th Balladeer’s Blog has been presenting some seasonal posts. A fair amount of our past presidents had served as Secretary of State in earlier administrations so that is the tie-in to the upcoming holiday. 

Timothy Pickering1. TIMOTHY PICKERING (1795-1800)

Served under: Presidents George Washington and John Adams

Noted for: Conspiring with Alexander Hamilton to undermine some of the policies of the Washington and Adams administrations. When Adams discovered this he ordered Pickering to resign, but Pickering refused, forcing Adams to fire him. Pickering remains the only Secretary of State to officially be fired by the President.

2. HENRY CLAY (1825-1829)

Served under: President John Quincy Adams

Noted for: Fighting a duel with Senator John Randolph, one of Clay’s critics who felt he had struck a “corrupt bargain” with Adams to get this prized cabinet position. Also for completing the first commerce treaties between the young United States and the various nations in Scandinavia and Latin America.

3. JOHN FORSYTH (1834-1841)

Served under: Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren

Noted for: Obtaining long-disputed reparations from France for U.S. commercial losses suffered during the Napoleonic Wars. Also for threatening to resign early in Van Buren’s administration before his relationship with the new president improved.

Daniel Webster4. DANIEL WEBSTER (1841-1843 and 1850-1852)

Served under: Presidents William Henry Harrison, John Tyler and Millard Filmore

Noted for: Negotiating a treaty which set the boundaries between Maine and New Brunswick, encouraging a popular uprising in Hungary and for dying in office in 1852. But mostly for his distinguished Senate career and for his fictional role in the story The Devil and Daniel Webster.

5. WILLIAM MARCY (1853-1857) Continue reading

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GEORGE WASHINGTON: INDISPENSABLE TO THE REVOLUTION?

George WashingtonPresident’s Day is coming up in 11 days so here’s yet another seasonal post. It’s one of my random takes on one of our Presidents. Or in this case just one aspect of one of our Presidents. More will be coming, some positive and some negative, including my close personal friend Barack Obama.

GEORGE WASHINGTON – My other posts about Washington have bashed him over the slavery issue, but this particular blog post is on a whole different topic. (Point being don’t leave a juvenile, snarky remark about him being a slave-owner. Everybody knows that. You won’t be retroactively freeing a single slave by indulging your ego that way.)

THE INDISPENSABLE MAN – George Washington is often called the Indispensable Man to the success of the American Revolution. I’m generally not a Washington fan but I’ve yielded on this point over the years. Here are three reasons why:

A. Odd as it may sound, reading several books about the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Turks helped convince me of Washington’s value. His name is never mentioned in any of my books about that war but there are parallels to our Revolution.

Scattered Greek guerrilla/ outlaw chiefs often let their petty feuds distract from fighting the common enemy: the Turks. Some chiefs would even refuse to let their men fight anywhere else in Greece, just in their own little fiefdom. Shades of how our various State Militias endlessly squabbled and would often refuse to cross state lines to continue fighting. Continue reading

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