March 23, 2008
-- by Dave Johnson
A very good op-ed in the Washington Post, Mickey Edwards - Dick Cheney's Error, defending the Constitution and democracy. But reading it, I have to wonder where this guy has been for seven years?
It is Cheney's all-too-revealing conversation this week with ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz. On Wednesday, reminded of the public's disapproval of the war in Iraq, now five years old, the vice president shrugged off that fact (and thus, the people themselves) with a one-word answer: "So?"
"So," Mr. Vice President?
[. . .] When the vice president dismisses public opposition to war with a simple "So?" he violates the single most important element in the American system of government: Here, the people rule.
Posted by Dave Johnson at March 23, 2008 8:33 AM
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I don't know if I will ever blog about the elections in the US again. There is nothing honorable in politics in the US anymore. I don't think the Founding Fathers will proud. They will be ashamed. You are right. Not only don't Dick honor the Constitution, but the politicians don't honour the spirit of the Constitution either. http://angryafrican.net/2008/03/23/the-founding-fathers-will-be-ashamed/
Posted by: Angry African at March 23, 2008 2:42 PM
Suuuuure, the Founding Fathers would be ashamed. Have you ever actually read any accounts of the first few Presidential elections in this country? The ONLY election that was even marginally "civil" was 1788 when Washington was "elected" unanimously.
The election of 1796 was about as rancorous as one could possibly get. You had two "Founding Fathers" running against each other who COULDN'T STAND EACH OTHER. Adams's side accused the Jeffersonians of supporting revolutionaries (the French) while the Jeffersonians accused the Federalists of being anti-democratic and monarchial. Because of the flaws in the then-used Electoral Voting System (not based on the democratic "will of the people" even then)--which really should be studied to show how much better the current Electoral College is in comparison--the Presidency and Vice-Presidency were held by members of opposing parties (for the first and only time in US history), something which allowed VP Jefferson to actively and vigorously oppose the policies of his President.
Then there was 1800, where slander was flung and the Presidency ended up in the House of Representatives after the 2 Democratic-Republican candidates, Jefferson and Aaron Burr, were TIED, after a Dem-Rep electoral screw-up. Alexander Hamilton, who loathed both Jefferson and Burr, ended up preferring Jefferson as “by far not so dangerous a man” and with Hamilton's Federalist backing, other Federalists were more willing to vote for their long-time adversary, Jefferson.
Of course, the 1824 election was even worse (and would be repeated for the next two elections) when that Southern scoundrel, Andrew Jackson, had the audacity to run for the most prestigious position in the whole land. (Calling Jackson a scoundrel is MILD compared to language used by his opponents.) Andrew Jackson led both the popular vote (41%) and electoral vote (99/261) but following the required vote in the House, John Quincy Adams was awarded the Presidency. Adams had received 31% of the popular vote and 84 electoral votes. The other two leading candidates were William Crawford (11% of the popular vote, 41 electoral votes) and Henry Clay (13% of popular vote, 37 electoral votes). The big twist was that Clay was also Speaker of the House when the vote went to the House, and so he presided. He LOATHED Jackson (even referring to Jackson's victory at the Battle of New Orleans as "killing 2500 Englishmen" which was insufficient for the duties of the Presidency) and his own political and economic views were more in line with Adams', so he threw his support to Adams, and Adams won on the first balloting of states (winning 13 of the 24 states, including Clay's home state of Kentucky). Jackson was obviously shocked but when Clay was appointed to be Adams' Sec'y of State, Jackson claimed a "corrupt bargain" had been made to "steal" the Presidency.
THEN came the 1828 rematch between Adams and Jackson. Jackson's wife was declared an adultress (she and Jackson had married after she'd been divorced but the divorce hadn't been finalized when they married). Also, Jackson was targeted by the "Coffin Handbills" (including, but not limited to, Jackson's execution of deserters). Adams was the lucky target of having "surrendered" an American girl to the "appetites" of the Tsar of Russia while Adams had been Minister to Russia.
And we're supposed to think the Founding Fathers would be "ashamed". Heck, they'd probably think we're being way too easy on each other. (Don't forget either, that during the American Revolution, Loyalists--especially political officials--were frequently attacked by mobs armed with tar and feathers. Political effigies were hung and, occasionally, a stray person on "the wrong side" of the political field could be hanged as well. We haven't seen too much of any of that during the current campaign.)
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