Michael P. Ackley has worked more than three decades as a journalist, the majority of that time at the Sacramento Union. His experience includes reporting, editing and writing commentary. He retired from teaching journalism for California State University at Hayward.More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.
Take a couple of weeks off and what happens? Barack Obama says something truly revelatory. He declared:
“I would put (his administration’s) legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president – with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln – just in terms of what we’ve gotten done in modern history.”
Left-wing writers have taken pains to call this self-ranking quote “out of context.” Just remember the definition in The Blind Partisan’s Dictionary:
Out of context: inconveniently accurate.
Well, let’s put that aside and see if a cursory examination of American presidents would put Obama anywhere near fourth place.
Certainly it would be unfair to compare the current occupant of the White House with such giants as Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, J.Q. Adams or Andrew Jackson. However, as Obama’s “modern history” apparently began with Lincoln, it’s fair to consider where our incumbent ought to rank among 28 presidents post-1865. Let’s look at just a few of them.
Ulysses S. Grant had an administration that included a lot of bad apples (kind of like current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner), but Grant should rank above Obama if only for his championing of the 15th Amendment. This assured that “the right of citizens … to vote shall not be denied or abridged … on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” And Grant used the armed forces to protect blacks from the terror of the Ku Klux Klan.
And how about Teddy Roosevelt? Sure, Teddy was a pugnacious fellow who projected American power around the globe, but he was the first of our presidents to win the Nobel Peace Prize. He also was famed as a “trust buster” and was the leader who got the Panama Canal built.
You want a Democrat who ranks ahead of Obama? How about Woodrow Wilson? He got the Nobel Peace Prize, too, for advocating the League of Nations, precursor to the U.N. (Don’t get me started on that.) Further, he signed the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, without which Obama and his allies wouldn’t be able to create the fiat money they’re spreading around.
Even Calvin Coolidge ranks high, because he may have been the first exponent of “trickle-down economics.” He pushed for low taxes, less business regulation and a balanced federal budget.
In the field of civil rights, why leave out Harry Truman? With a stroke of the pen, he desegregated American armed forces.
You want forward-looking foreign policy? How about Richard Nixon? Remember, “Only Nixon could go to China”? And let us not forget the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty with the Soviet Union.
Even Gerald Ford ought to get the nod over Obama. Sure, he pardoned Nixon, but he also ordered amnesty for Vietnam War resisters.
Then we get to Ronald Reagan, whose policies brought the country back from the malaise of the Jimmy Carter years and hastened the demise of the Soviet Union.
As you can see, it’s rather easy to push Obama down the list, and he drops precipitously when you consider his attack on the middle class through the tax of inflation, his “successful” efforts to impoverish and subjugate posterity, his attacks on our sole, true ally in the Middle East, his fascist business takeovers. And let us not forget: He has another year in which to do more damage.
Perhaps the only presidents in “modern history” to have done more harm to the country were the pair of Johnsons, Andrew and Lyndon.
Meanwhile, in California: After long delay, the City of Los Angeles had police to clear out Occupy LA campers. This brought the usual brutality charges, but now, things are really getting serious. The city may sue the Occupy leadership – if it can find them – for the more than $2 million in repairs necessitated by its two-month occupation at city hall, plus more than $1 million more in police and other overtime costs.
Cops can be scary, but if you really want terror, call in the attorneys.
Shared principles, indeed! Speaking of attorneys, Stephen Glass wants to be one. He’s the guy who fabricated stories printed in the New Republic and other national magazines back in the ’90s. Since his exposure and disgrace, he has kept his nose clean, passed California’s bar exam and worked as a law clerk in Beverly Hills. But the state bar doesn’t want him to have a law license.
Bar attorney Rachel Grunberg said, “Journalism and law share core fundamental principles – those of common honesty and trust,” adding that Glass “literally shattered these basic values in the journalism profession, without redemption.”
Now wait a minute! Glass the journalist may have produced fiction, but so have a lot of attorneys, as anybody who has observed the legal world can tell you. Give the guy a break.