August 25, 2007

"Role-modeling what good families should look like."

That's one thing the presidency is about -- Michelle Obama says:



According to that standard, who are the 5 greatest Presidents and who are the 5 worst Presidents? This will take deeper knowledge of history than I can summon up right now, so help me out. I'm just going to guess that these lists have little relationship to the achievements of the various Presidents. But it is warm and pleasant to have a charming, conventional, devoted family snuggled up in the White House, and we don't like to picture any semen splattered about. That upsets us.

94 comments:

paul a'barge said...

At the top of the list of worst families as role models would be, if elected, an empty shirt spouting nothing but platitudes and running on nothing more than the color of his skin.

peter hoh said...

On principle, applied across color lines and party lines, I am opposed to empty shirts who run on platitudes. Or ran on empty platitudes.

EnigmatiCore said...

I can't go five deep in each direction, but I think I have a solid nominee for the 'best' by that criteria- President William McKinley (and the page on his wife, Ida).

"She met McKinley in 1867, and they soon married. A daughter, Katherine, was born on Christmas Day, 1871; a second, Ida, in April 1873. The baby died in August. Phlebitis and epileptic seizures shattered the mother's health; by 1875, she was a confirmed invalid..."

At the White House, the McKinleys acted as if her health were no great handicap to her role as First Lady. Second Lady Jennie Tuttle Hobart would often fill in for her. She received guests at formal receptions seated in a blue velvet chair. Contrary to protocol, she was seated beside the President at state dinners and he, as always, kept close watch for signs of an impending seizure. If necessary, he would cover her face with a large handkerchief for a moment. Guests were discreet and newspapers silent on the subject of her "fainting spells..."

"After the President was shot by an assassin named Leon Czolgosz in September 1901, after his second inauguration, he murmured to his secretary: "My wife — be careful, Cortelyou, how you tell her — oh, be careful."..."

The Wiki doesn't do the full story justice. He would not go barnstorming to campaign, but instead ran his campaigns from his front porch, so that he would be able to both be with her and to care for her.

Although the last bullet point in Ida's Wiki page was new to me and kinda puts her in Vickland a bit. I am skeptical, though. The source is a trivia site which provides no source for verification. The book I read on the McKinleys was very detailed and had nothing of the sort in it.

Bissage said...

I’ve racked my brain but I really can't say what a good first family should look like. But thanks to Althouse, I’ve got a fair idea what a good first-lady should look like.

tjl said...

For Democrats, the iconic first families of the 20th century would be the Roosevelts and the Kennedys. Neither would be role models for happy family life.

rhhardin said...

I'd vote for Polk as the consummate family man. Him and Gideon Pillow, his chief of staff.

That was the source of Polk's greatest quip, ``shunted from Pillow to Polk,'' that would have made Reader's Digest had there been one at the time. Coolidge got all the quip press, as it turned out.

Lincoln called Polk a bewildered, confused and confounded man. That goes with family life.

Meade said...

For a role model of what a good family should look like, couldn't we just watch reruns of the Cosby Show?

Good guy, Heathcliff Huxtable. No semen splatterer, he.

On the other hand, didn't real life Bill Cosby admit to cheating on his spouse?

But wait. By Michelle Obama's logic, it's Dr. Huxtable's attorney wife, Clair, who deserves to be under consideration for the top job, right?

Oops. Phylicia Rashād is three times divorced.

Maybe we need to "spinoff" to A Different World?

Never mind.

George said...

Looks like she's been taking personality lessons from Teresa Kerry.

Slim999 said...

This is clearly a thinly veiled shot across Hillary's bow.

"If you can't run your own house, you can't run the White House."

Clearly, Hillary wasn't running her own house, because just down the hallway, an intern was performing oral sex on her husband.

That's the message. And it comes through loud and clear.

Hillary can't run the White House, because Hillary couldn't even run her own house.

MadisonMan said...

I'm not voting for domestic tranquility in the White House. I'm voting for a good leader. It matters not one whit to me how the President and First Spouse interact, and it's rude to voice an opinion on such a thing.

Meade said...

DID Hillary run the house when the White House was the Clinton house? And anyway, I thought the White House was OUR house -- the People's house.

I wonder who runs the Obama house - Michelle or Barak? Isn't he in the Senate, not the House?

(By the way, I hope I'm not in the Doghouse for the link I left above on a blog called "Althouse.")

What color is the Obama house? I doubt that it's White but it isn't really Black either, is it?

You say it's colorless? House so?

Christy said...

Jefferson Davis was a good husband, even if he did carelessly lose his first wife to malaria three months after he married her.

Saul said...

I think there are many other good substantive reasons to trash Hillary, but caring about her marriage to a philanderer is not one of them (especially since a large number of presidents, including Bush I, have had extra marital affairs). However, what is more hypocritical is the suggestion of Obama being a role model. He's admitted to dabbling in coke, hardly the spokesperson against the war on drugs, which is killing the black community, unless you subscribe to the Marion Barry, Elvis Presley role model against illicit drug use.

Cedarford said...

You talk like splattering semen around is a bad thing!

Anyways, aside from speculating which 1st Lady took the most facials, I would list my picks, and why:

5 charming, together families:

1. John Adams. His letters to Abigail are legendary. They had a together family. J Q even became President himself, and while not rated a good President, might beat Dubya in the nepotic scion performance arena.

2. James and Dolly Madison. Great history. He was one of those small, compact guys who had charisma and brains. Dolly was an major extrovert with a rack.

3. Andrew Jackson. How much do you love your spouse? Enough to shoot a guy in a duel who insulted her? Andy did.

4. Herbert Hoover. Stellar family.

5. Teddy Roosevelt. He was charming, his wife was charming, the kids were, too. While he had tragedy, his wife and children idolized him and 3 of his kids were very noteworthy. His daughter Alice Langhorne became a social legend and perhaps the 1st famous female pundit. His son Quentin was a great pilot, downed and killed in WWI. His son TD Roosevelt Jr overcame great health problems and what he did to save the beach head at Normandy and rally troops won him the Medal of Honor and is taught to officers as a one of the finest examples of command leadership and tactical ingenuity, under enemy fire.

(I would add the charming Carter family, but for knowing an officer that knew the family in Athens that said son Chip was a doof, Roslynn nasty, and little Amy a bitch.)
(An argument could be made for the Eisenhowers)

5 quite dysfunctional Presidential families.

1. Lincoln and Mary Todd. The all-time worst.

2. The Reagans and the soap opera of 3 of their 4 (Maureen was normal) being somewhat between quirky and dysfunctional in a famous way from the time Ron was governor. With the peak either Patti's Playboy spread when Reagan was in office or Reagan being so dysfunctional himself he failed to recognize his adopted son Michael on his HS graduation and had to be introduced to him.

3. 2nd Cousins FDR and Eleanor with their many female mistresses. The 5 Roosevelt sons outdoing their Dad's reputation for having a 2nd class mind but a 1st class temperment by having 2nd class minds AND 2nd class temperments.

4. US Grant and family. He was a wastrel, cleaned himself up, but he had wastrel kids and a sotted wife who had gotten that way in his long campaigns.

5. Harry Truman& Clan. Not that they were the worst, but the press made them out to be mildly nuts and backwoods hicks.

Based on that, and that Clinton wasn't too bad a Prez, dysfunctional seems to be better, and Michele Obama is showing herself to be more and more like Theresa Kerry.

SteveR said...

George: Its Teresa Heinz, the election's over.

Steven said...

Best Presidents by "role-modeling what good families should look like."

Hmm. I'd say the most important role for a family is the raising of successful kids, followed by providing a loving, mutually supportive relationship between the parents. Sound like a good first approximation?

So, clearly, the greatest Presidents by the Michelle Obama standard are:

1) Ulysses S. Grant

2) George H. W. Bush

3) Rutherford B. Hayes

4) James A. Garfield

5) Jimmy Carter

B said...

Pleases explain why Lincoln, who's wife had a severe mental illness, had a "bad" marriage.

Certainly he did not desire to be married to someone so far mentaly askew. While it may not have been a "happy" marriage, the desire to honor a vow should still be commendable in this self-centered, me-first age. To rank his family as among the worst seems to be both incredibly naive and height of ignorant assumption.

Meade said...

b makes a good point. And I'm sure President Lincoln sought for his afflicted wife the best treatment available at that time.

The same way President Clinton must have done for his wife.

Internet Ronin said...

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the Washingtons, the Adamses (both families), or the Tafts. All stand the test of time.

Simon said...

What MadisonMan said (9:31 AM comment). The premise of the question is ludicrous. I suppose it's at least reassuring that (on this evidence) Obama found someone as banal as he is to marry.

George said...

Mrs. Lincoln wrote that the day of her husband's assassination he was "supremely cheerful....He was almost boyish, in his mirth and reminded me, of his original nature, what I have always remembered of him, in our own home--free from care, surrounded by those he loved so well and by whom, he was so idolized."

--Manhunt, James Swanson, p. 31.

According to Swanson, Mrs. Lincoln was distraught over the death of her son in 1862 and fell prey to spirit medium. (Abe even attended a seance.) Although her marriage was strained (her husband did have that darn war to fight), it was fundamentally sound, according to him.

B said...

Does anyone believe that, if Clinton had not been distracted by the Monica mess he caused, that 9/11 would still have occurred?

Osama was in our grasp* during the Clinton pecadillos hullabaloo. Bin Laden could have been delivered to United States custody or killed. But the man who couldn't control himself for just his White House years wasn't good enough at "compartmentalizing" his National Security priorities, and the country suffered greatly for it and still does to this day.

If couldn't control his own house before he was elected . . . 9/11 is a result.


* Former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger:"The FBI did not believe we had enough evidence to indict bin Laden at that time (1996, when the Sudanese offered to hand Bin Laden over)and therefore opposed bringing him to the United States."

----------------

Palladian said...

The only president from Pennsylvania (from the same county as me), James Buchanan provided the best role model for tranquil, happy family life... Too bad he sort of caused the Civil War.

Internet Ronin said...

The Coolidges are worth mentioning as well but I overlooked them.

Internet Ronin said...

AFAIC, the Lincolns are FAR from being in the worst five and close to being in the top ten, if not 5. Same is true of the Grants and the T. Roosevelts (already mentioned by others).

Some weren't in office long enough to establish a "role-model," like the Garfields. A couple were widowers when they took office, like Jackson, or widowed shortly thereafter, like Tyler. Others had no (surviving) children while in office, like the McKinleys, the Hardings, the Pierces and the Hoovers. There are some outstanding "love stories" in those groups but not family role-modeling.

vet66 said...

Presidents reflect the good, bad. and hopes of the society that elects them. When you see the Presidents family you see a little to a lot of your own.

The overarching problem with Bill Clinton was his failure to maintain situational awareness when it came to fighting terrorism. Spreading semen indiscriminately and giving blue dresses a bad name distracted him from his duties as President. Hillary was aware of his propensity to "graze in the grass" so to speak, and displays an appalling lack of value, morals, and virtue which is her curse.

Simon said...

B said...
"Does anyone believe that, if Clinton had not been distracted by the Monica mess he caused, that 9/11 would still have occurred?"

I think that's an interesting question that deserves far more detailed consideration than it can recieve in this forum, or can probably receive until the partisan heat around the last two administrations has cooled and dispassionate assesment is possible. Nevertheless, speculatively, I think the answer might very probably be "yes": it might well still have ocurred if bin Laden had been killed in the late 1990s. bin Laden's involvement in the actual operation, as I understand it, was somewhat limited. After he approved the project, Al Queda provided money and logistical support to those like KSM charged with supervising executing the plan, but that support was not contingent on bin Laden's ongoing sponsorhip of the project.

What it would have taken to prevent it, I think, is a recognition after the USS Cole that bin Laden was serious, the declaration of war he had issued wasn't a joke, and that - as Tolkien had Gandalf counsel Theoden - "war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not." It would have taken going into Afghanistan in retaliation for the Cole, and a crackdown on suspicious domestic activities, and even that might not have stopped it. But if the Clinton administration had any interest in going into Afghanistan to deal with Al Queda at that point, the incoming Bush administration certainly didn't.

There are so many "what if" scenarios that could have prevented 9/11 - that I'm hesitant to rest too much weight on a particular "what if" scenario that happens to lay the blame on a President we don't like. As Frank said in a different context, “When everything is relevant, nothing is dispositive.” Easterbrook, The Limits of Antitrust, 63 Tex. L. Rev. 1, 12–13 (1984). That's a very important maxim to keep in mind, one with broad application, and it applies here, I think.

ricpic said...

The Bush families, both I and II, haven't been good examples of what families should look like? No, we need another go round of daddy being serviced in the Executive Office and mommy making lesbo love in the Executive Building. Except this time the stations will be reversed.

Chip Ahoy said...

I like the Fords. Although life with Betty in the white house must have been decidedly unfluffy, it did lead to the creation of the premier center for drug and substance abuse.

That's my choice and I'm sticking to it.

[Kerry's family is beautiful. Can you imagine that crank of a wife as first lady? The satire potential lost is astounding.]

Joe said...

I detest Michelle Obama. She is smug and openly mocks her husband. Several months ago, she was giving speaches wherein she pretty much complained that Barack was a useless piece of shit of a father and husband, but should be elected anyway.

She's also clueless; there is little correlation between the abilities of a husband and father and being an executive--in fact, the best executives are pretty much bastards.

Mark my words, Michelle Obama will become a liability to her husband's campaign.

The time has come for spouses of candidates to shut the hell up. (Ironically, Bill Clinton has become the poster child of this.)

Trooper York said...

And thats why...Scott Baio is 45 and still single.

reader_iam said...

1) I don't think it'ss the job of the president(ial families) to role-model good families, which mean I disagree with Michelle Obama's premise.

2) I don't think there's just one model for what "good families" should look like; there are many (though none perfect). So I guess I even disagree with the premise behind the premise.

Or something like that.

The discussion of presidents and their various family lives in history is an interesting topic, though.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luckyoldson said...

tjl said...For Democrats, the iconic first families of the 20th century would be the Roosevelts and the Kennedys. Neither would be role models for happy family life."

And of course, the Republicans have Ronnie and his thoroughly dysfunctional family.

Theo Boehm said...

My favorite depiction of family life among the powerful is in the film The Madness of King George.

Michelle Obama seems to be quoting from it.

In this 7 minute YouTube clip, the King has a painful scene with the Prince of Wales, followed that evening by a very human moment with the Queen (played by Helen Mirren—the first time she played a Queen), and, finally, the family must go to St. Paul's.  The entire St. Paul's scene starts about 4:30 into the clip, and this dialog happens at the end:

King George:  We must try to be more of a family.  There are model farms now, model villages, even model factories.  Well, we must be a model family for the Nation to look to.

Queen Charlotte:  Yes, you must try to be more typical, Fred.

Prince of Wales:  But Pa, what are we to do?

King George:  Do?  Well, follow in my footsteps.  That's what you
should do.  Smile at the people.  Wave to them.  Let them see that we're happy.  That is why we're here.

Very good advice for Kings or Presidents.  The film, of course, is a tragicomedy about people put in the position of playing a public role with very human strengths and weaknesses.  I highly recommend it as a bit of background to thinking about our leaders' personal lives.

And, of course, I can't help imagining Michelle Obama walking up the steps of St. Paul's with the modern Royal Family giving that same advice.

Luckyoldson said...

Joe said..."I detest Michelle Obama."

And you base this on personal experience, interaction, conversations?

Luckyoldson said...

ricpic,
Can we assume you approve of daddy using plenty of cocaine and booze?

And where in the world did that "lesbo" thing come from??

Luckyoldson said...

Vet,
So, are you saying you didn't like Bill?

What a shocker...

reader_iam said...

The other thing is--and perhaps this is just me being superstitious--but it strikes me as a bit dangerous to claim that one is role-modeling what good families look like--especially if the benchmark is how the kids turn out.

After all, the Obama girls are, what--6 and 8 or thereabouts? Seems to me we are far, far, far from knowing how the story plays out... .

And it seems to me that Chelsea Clinton has turned out to be a solid adult. (Be fair--the judgment ought not to turn on whether one likes the kid or her politics.) So, again, if that's the benchmark ... .

Joe said...

Luckyoldson,

I base my opinion on how she presents herself and her husband. She has repeatedly shown tremendous disrespect for Barak. Many of her anecdotes violate the confidence spouses should have with each other--to air his "dirty laundry" like she does is a profound act of disloyalty.

To put it another way, if a man were to speak of his wife, or women in general, the way Michelle speaks of her husband, and men in general, he would be rightly accused of being a sexist pig.

Trooper York said...

Palladian...pretty funny...but don't forget Millard Fillmore...there is some speculation that he played on your team as well.

Eva said...

RE: B and Simon's discussion on whether Clinton's blowjobs from Monica distracted him enough to allow 9/ll. I don't think they distracted him any more than eating a bag of Doritos distracted him. I'm sure he gave the same degree of thought and consideration to having a snack that he did to receiving her attentions.

Slim999 said...

Madisonman,

What Michelle Obama is saying is that a "good leader" runs her house. A "good leader" doesn't let the fox into the house. A good leader is protective of her clan.

Hillary isn't a good leader. She let the fox into the henhouse. She didn't protect her family from the fox.

Such people, Ms. Obama believes, shouldn't be elected to protect the country from the foxes surrounding it.

Simon said...

Slim999 said...
"Hillary isn't a good leader. She let the fox into the henhouse. She didn't protect her family from the fox."

Wht a peculiar inversion. To cast Monica as a "fox" preying on Bill's "hen"! The situation seems more akin to a hen entering the foxhouse, but even with that said, what possible justification is there for blaming Hillary for her husband's cheating? Talk about blaming the victim!

Jim Howard said...

I think there are many other good substantive reasons to trash Hillary, but caring about her marriage to a philanderer is not one of them

If Mr Clinton was discrete and modest, if he stayed in the background, and if he didn't hit on the help and provide civil service jobs in exchange for oral sex then that statement might have some validity.

Sadly, if we elect Hillary we all know that Bill will still want to be the drum major, he'll be emoting on TV all the time, he'll be running a harem in the White House, and he'll rub our noses in it.

I can't for a moment think of a more dishearting pairing than to have President Hillary delivering self-righteous lectures as she takes away my onion rings and forces me to eat carrots. To crown all I'd pay higher taxes to watch her husband runing wild on my dime.


s

B said...

Simon (with an appreciative nod towards vet66),

Thank you for your comments.

Though I did not vote for him, i do not believe that Bill Clinton was the worst President - he actually accomplished numerous good and beneficial things for the country.
That said, I do not believe that he was a better President than the first George Bush might have been, if he had been reelected. And, I believe that the majority of the country, if polled today, would feel similarly.

I did not vote for Bill Clinton because:

1) I disagreed with numerous of his policy stands, and

2) he seemed to be an unrepentant serial womanizer.


Which brings us back to the point of judging someones potential future performance in big things by how he or she has handled the "little things". It is a truism of Biblical proportions:

You cannot handle big situations differently than you handle small situations. Who you are comes out just as much in the little things you do as the big crises.

And Bill Clinton, never admitting he had the affairs that everyone knew he did - meaning he wasn't going to change - could be seen in advance to be incapable of handling and hiding his affairs. In other words, he was a known quantity.

Can people change? Certainly - that is the meaning of the word "redemption". But one is not changed when they don't even acknowledge the existence of a problem.

Lesson: don't vote for someone just because they claim to have the correct views. Look at their previous performance and character. That will always be the best predictor of future performance.

Terri said...

Why does it matter? Are we electing a president or looking for a spouse? Two different criteria to consider for those jobs, in my opinion.

I really wish the candidates would voluntarily stop campaigning until next August. This is like American Idol, only longer and without any good music.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cedarford said...

Simon - Nevertheless, speculatively, I think the answer might very probably be "yes": it might well still have ocurred if bin Laden had been killed in the late 1990s. bin Laden's involvement in the actual operation, as I understand it, was somewhat limited. After he approved the project, Al Queda provided money and logistical support to those like KSM charged with supervising executing the plan, but that support was not contingent on bin Laden's ongoing sponsorhip of the project.

Americans, more than just about any culture on the planet, are conditioned to ignore systems and ideologies and blame or credit major events on people.

1. If only Stalin had died, all those 45 million deaths could have been prevented! He was such a busy mass murderer as all the rest stood by.

2. Saint Martin Luther King woke up one day in the 50s and decided we should have civil rights. His one-man marches and legal challenges soon forced the natin to do as he wanted. Which is why we commemorate him and some activist named Rosa Parks as the 2 people that created Civil Rights.

3. James Buchanan caused the Civil War. Ignore the fatal flaws in the Constitution because there were none - any good American must revere and venerate that Magnificent Creation of 2 men as without flaw.

4. If only we had killed bin Laden before 9/11, radical Islam and Jihad that came from that one man, the CEO of all Islamic evil - would have never happened. But Clinton and CLinton alone was at fault...off getting a blowjob.

Then of course after 9/11 all problems lie in Dubya not meeting Binnie on a field of battle. By being distracted in Iraq, Bush has failed to go after the real cause of all friction and animosity on the planet, besides himself. Meaning instead of Iraq, we should have invaded an area 8 times as big as where Eric Rudolf hid out for 8 years - an area where not just a few Fundie libertarians hated outsiders and have lethal weapons, everyone does.

The "single man behind all key events" theory of history is bunk, but that is what kids are taught in our 2nd-tier schools. It's so much easier on lazy kids, teachers, journalists to boil all 1400 years of history and 7 schools of Islamic radicalism down to one Supreme Evildoer who if "taken out" James Bond-style, creates the happy ending to the movie.

9/11 arose from GIA of Algeria conceiving of using airplanes as weapons against France after the tactic of sucide martrydom was legitimated by the Muslim Brotherhood in actions like Sadat's assassination when death was all but certain for the "tip of the spear" terrorist operatives selected.
The concept was refined by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in the Boijinko Plot the Filipinos pounded out of is lieutenant (contradicting another insipid slogan that "torture never works!") Binnie learned of it only when KSM had it all set up and needing funding. Then had no involvement by his videotape statement, until right before the combatants were ordered to start - then he swapped out Indonesians and Malaysians KSM had planned as muscle for 15 Saudis who were only to be told it was a hijacking where they would use lethal force against the enemy if ordered, but their goal was to land and negotiate for the release of Palestinian and Saudi political prisoners.

Binnie only played a tangential role in 9/11, as we currently understand it.

The Saudis are a real problem in the Islamic menace, but mainly for the export of the cancer of Wahabist Islam that morons like Dubya welcome into the West and Pakistani madrassahs as a "celebration of the freedom of religion, in this case the Religion of Peace."
The Left's constant mantra that "15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi!!!" is clueless and dishonest given what we know..They were not in on the Plot.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theo Boehm said...

Jim:  I'm afraid we're in for self-righteous lectures from either the President or Presidential spouse, no matter who is elected, with the possible exception of Giuliani.  That's one of his charms.  His skeletons inoculate him from any benefit of getting on a high horse.  With his background, his high horse would probably be a skeleton.

My wife has the theory that Hillary has the goods on Bill, big time.  That may explain his semi-humiliating presence in the famous onion ring video.  My wife thought it was obviously spousal blackmail.  Hillary could, if she wanted, knock Bill off what remains of his pedestal as an elder statesman.

Once she's President, she'll have even less incentive to play the forgiving spouse.  Bill will remain in his office, smoking cigars and getting fatter and fatter.  He'll appear on command, shake some hands, and say a few carefully chosen words.  If he strays from that, he's toast.

My wife thinks, and I agree, that Hillary is a Machiavellian long-term thinker.  Her toughness and political competence are among the reasons we plan to vote for her.

Of course the Clintons are horrible people.  Especially Hillary.

That's why we love her.

Luckyoldson said...

Slim999 said..."Madisonman,

What Michelle Obama is saying is that a "good leader" runs her house. A "good leader" doesn't let the fox into the house. A good leader is protective of her clan. Hillary isn't a good leader. She let the fox into the henhouse. She didn't protect her family from the fox."

WOW!! Now that's what I call an in depth, extremely intellectual overview of' women folk an' their men folk.

Good Lord...

Trooper York said...

And that why...Luckyoldson is 45 and still single

B said...

Terri,

We are looking for character.

And how a person handles relationships and his promises. We don't have to elect someone who is married. But if a person makes a vow to be married, then his/her character is revealed in how he/she handles that marriage. Would you consider electing someone who was known to have not paid their bills and not paid their taxes for the last 5 years? You would want to know reasons why. And when you are told that paying bills is a private matter, do you then discount the fact that the candidate is freeloader? Of course not.

It's all about character. And you can predict future performance by looking at character.

Good Character includes: admitting mistakes and taking steps to change.

Poor character includes: "I did not have sexual relati . . . "

So, for example, in judging Obama's character, we see someone who, when he speaks too soon (he'll meet with Kim Jung Ill and Castro),- rather than admitting a mistake - allows his handlers to "reexplain" and add more stupidity to the discussion (invading Pakistan) .

That's an example of immaturity and
lack of backbone (admitting he was wrong). And he will demonstrate the exact same qualities as President unless he recognizes it and changes. And frankly, the Democratic Party as a whole is not encouraging their candidates to make certain that character is front and center.



On the American Idol analogy, you are spot on.

Luckyoldson said...

Speaking of Bill & Hillary...can we assume most here have been married to the same spouse for oh...32 years?

And of course NO ONE HERE has EVER cheated on their spouse...right??

Why do so many here...thrive on the Clinton's "personal" life? It's really none of our business and we should allow them them the same degree of privacy everyone here would expect.

Luckyoldson said...

trooper,
You know absolutely nothing about me, but I do wonder what in the world your comment relates to.

Do you relate to the "hen house" analogy in some way?

Are you dating or married to a chicken?

Luckyoldson said...

B said..."Terri, We are looking for character.

And how a person handles relationships and his promises."

Voting for Rudy? Newt?

Trooper York said...

No buddy....just teasing you...and I just known enough to know I don't understand women...I just honor and worship them...especially my wife...Peace brother

Theo Boehm said...

The think that frightens me about this is that the last time the American people had a Presidential candidate appeal mainly on the basis of character, it was Calvin Coolidge.

Theo Boehm said...

That should be "thing," not "think."
Gawd, I've been making typos today. Too darned hot.

Trooper York said...

I do however dig chicken...just not in relationship sort of way.

Luckyoldson said...

Speaking of chickens and women:

You can literally hypnotize a chicken by holding it and drawing a line in the dirt over and over. The chicken will stay right there as long as you do this.

During the 70'sand 80's you could do the same thing with some women, but you had to use cocaine.

Trooper York said...

That leads to the question...why did the pervert cross the road...because he had a chicken stuck to his.....

Luckyoldson said...

...pecker?

Trooper York said...

To bring it back to the topic...President Bush is looking foward to the upcoming G-8 summit so he can give Angela Merkel her Christmass goose.

Simon said...

"James Buchanan caused the Civil War. Ignore the fatal flaws in the Constitution because there were none...."

Even Akhil Amar, who lays out a very strong (if not, IMO, persuasive) case that the Constitution was too accomodating of slavery, and a somewhat less persuasive case that it stacked the deck in favor of it, doesn't go so far as this, and for good reason: because it's absurd. To lay the blame for the failure of American politics to deal with slavery at the feet of "fatal flaws" in the Constitution strikes me as absurd. Nothing in the Constitution precluded slavery being dealt with by the political process; the failure was not one of institutions, but in men who were too small for the times in which they lived.

Daryl said...

Does anyone believe that, if Clinton had not been distracted by the Monica mess he caused, that 9/11 would still have occurred?

Do you think we're stupid?

You're obviously trying to set us up.

First you get us to agree that, because of MonicaGate, Clinton missed bin Laden.

Then, you switch blame for MonicaGate onto the sex-obsessed Republicans, and blame them for 9/11.

Further, the premise of your question is that Bill Clinton was making a good effort to find and capture/kill bin Laden, which is not true. There's no way I'm going to agree to that.

I'm not falling for it.

Luckyoldson said...

daryl says: "Further, the premise of your question is that Bill Clinton was making a good effort to find and capture/kill bin Laden, which is not true. There's no way I'm going to agree to that."

Care to elaborate?

BizDoc said...

I take it Michelle Obama will be voting for Romney, then.

Daryl said...

Sure: Clinton and his cronies lied, after 9/11, about his efforts to catch bin Laden.

Luckyoldson said...

dayl,
Any chance you could come up with a source that's a tad less right wing than INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY?

Anybody who ever reads their back page editorials knows that they make Sean Hannity look liberal.

And...are we to assume you believe THEM...over our own recent CIA report?

Blue Texan said...

If Lewinsky is the reason for the Clinton White House being "distracted" what is the excuse for the Bush White House? And how was the LAX terror plot thwarted?

Trooper York said...

The LAX plot was thwarted by Blair Underwood and Heather Locklear...it was on TV so I know that it's true.

Luckyoldson said...

I like Heather....she's a really neat...chick.

Balfegor said...

And...are we to assume you believe THEM...over our own recent CIA report?

What, this one? Which tells us that:

"In particular, Agency managers moved funds from the base budgets of the Counterterrorist Center and other counterterrorist programs to meet other corporate and Director of Operations (DO) needs. The team found that from FY 1997 to FY 2001, [redacted] was redistributed from counterterrorism programs to other Agency priorities."

"Concerning human resources, the Team found that the unit within CTC responsible for Usama Bin Ladin, UBL Station, by the accounts of all who worked there, had an excessive workload. Most of its officers did not have the operational experience, expertise, and training necessary to accomplish their mission in an effective manner."

"The Team believes that the restrictions in the authorities given the CIA with respect to Bin Ladin, while arguably, though ambiguously, relaxed for a period of time in late 1998 and early 1999, limited the range of permissible operations. Given the law, executive order, and past problems with covert action programs, CIA managers refused to take advantage of the ambiguities that did exist. The Team believes this position was reasonable and correct."


I mean, the report is really directed at failures of the CIA in general and Tenet in particular. But it does make clear that the effort to catch Osama bin Laden before 9-11 was not particularly serious. The assignment was given to an inexperienced and underfunded team, resources were taken away from them and given to other groups in the CIA, and Presidential executive orders (specifically against assassination) and institutional timidity kept them from actually taking action.

Terri said...

We're voting for character?

Well that would certainly explain some of the characters we've elected in the past.

I've come to the conclusion that it really doesn't matter who is president. We should pay more attention to who pays for the campaigns.

The person elected is only a face and a name. By the time they move into the White House, they have lots of debts to pay.

People of good character always pay their debts, no?

Scary that is. I think we should do away with campaigning completely. American Idol is the way to go - the sponsors are transparent (albeit annoying) in their advertising, we have about three months to decide who it is that we want to choose, and then we get to do it again next year.

reader_iam said...

You cannot handle big situations differently than you handle small situations. Who you are comes out just as much in the little things you do as the big crises.

Stepping away from President Clinton, or anyone specifically, here's how I take issue with this:

It's too broad. That is to say, I can accept the vertical, or linear, or narrow aspect inherent in the argument--for example, if you have a history of blowing off paying bills, of being a bad credit risk, how can I trust you to be the one to be an accounting clerk, or even a financial controller? (Let's put aside, for now, the idea that it's at least theoretically possible for you to be a fine financial visionary, as long as you aren't the implementer and have the skills and humility to spot and hire excellent implementers.)

What's problematic for me is the more, shall we say, horizontal, or sideways, notion--that how someone manages the little situations in one particular area necessarily means he or she can't handle the big situations in another particular area.

I don't get how that's supposed to follow, as the day follows night (and vice versa). Do people of this view mean to imply that only people who handle ALL little things well are qualified to handle bigger things? Do they think history bears this out?

If they don't mean "ALL," then doesn't the argument begin to sag? Doesn't it then devolve into one's own pet little situations/things as being the true litmus?

Simon said...

Luckyoldson said...
"And of course NO ONE HERE has EVER cheated on their spouse...right??"

Measured by the only standard that really matters, see Matt. 5:27-8, I know I'm guilty of that, which is why I'm not in the business of judging other people's marriages. And I think it's unwise for any other married man to do so.

Palladian said...

I'm more annoyed by the disgustingly corporate verb-ed noun "role-modeling". Ick.

Fen said...

What the hell? Mamm, if your husband takes on the mantle of POTUS, he'll have much more important things to do than "role-modeling good families". What a bunch of claptrap. Lead or get out of the way.

Fen said...

Lucky: And of course NO ONE HERE has EVER cheated on their spouse...right??

Gennifer Flowers? Of course we have.

But your question should be: and of course, NO ONE HERE has EVER sexually harassed or sexually assaulted subordinate employees

ala Paula Jones and Kathleen Wiley. Most here would answer NO.

Fen said...

Really Lucky, if you think the hired help are "fair game", then you are a scoundrel with no morals, and not one to be lecturing others about judging your ilk.

You're the creep who slides his hand up the secretary's thigh aren't you? "Personal life" indeed. Creep.

Palladian said...

"You're the creep who slides his hand up the secretary's thigh aren't you? "Personal life" indeed. Creep."

Lucky doesn't strike me as the kind of person who has a secretary.

B said...

reader iam,

Your point about being broad is a good question.

What I am discussing is the never fails, age old Biblical principal of observing someone's behavior and demonstrated character in relation to the additional responsibility that he/she is being considered for.

If I am looking for a mechanic in the city I just moved to, I want someone who is not mediocre, but has consistently shown repeated success in diagnosing and repairing cars like mine. That's called (obviously) a "good reputation".
And that matters in the specific responsibility that the mechanic (let's call him "Biff")has. Now, does the condition of say, Biff's marriage affect my decision to have him keep maintaining my car? Most likely not. He has proven his ability in the "little things" of specifically car mechanics, and therefore I am easily able to trust him with my next car, and recommend him to my friends.

Now say that Biff is deciding to run for the County Transportation Directorship. He asks for my vote; he's been great for my cars. But let's say that there are rumors that Biff is tied in with some shady types - nothing proven, just rumors of maybe overbillings of some of his corporate car fleet customers. And, Biff just remains silent when the local press tries to bring it up.

Is it right for me to consider the rumors and ask questions and be concerned because he is running for a job of public responsibility and will now be controlling some of my tax dollars?

Now the answer may seem obvious, but if you recall the attack bitches Betsy Wright and Mandy Grunwald of the 1992 Clinton campaign that lied and spun the news media regarding the Clinton bimbo stories - is there anyone alive now who doubts Clinton's multitude of affairs - you have to come to the conclusion that the Democratic Party of 1992 wanted to win the Presidency more than it cared about character. And that is called Machavellianism (Hitler was a primary practitioner).

And again, even Democrats are pissed at the lost opportunities that Bill Clinton's previously known and hardened-in-clay character caused to be fumbled.

It's not just a truism. It's an observable fact of human nature.
Take whatever level of character that you want. Just don't be surprised when the makeup rubs off.

Luckyoldson said...

Fen,
You really need to organize your inane comments so we can understand what the fuck you're trying to say. I asked if there were some who may have been guilty of infidelity and you slither off into insane blather implying that I must be the kind of person "who slides his hand up the secretary's thigh??"

Are you doing drugs??

Oh, and as for you, Palladian: No, I don't have a secretary, but...if you're interested...

Palladian said...

You couldn't afford me.

Greg said...

"Does anyone believe that, if Clinton had not been distracted by the Monica mess he caused, that 9/11 would still have occurred?"

As long as we're talking about this, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
1) The LAX plot that was foiled

2) Clinton's attempt, in the 1996 anti-terrorism bill, to make it harder for terrorist organizations to use foreign nations & banks, and make it easier for the U.S. to investigate them. This part of the bill was stripped by conservative Republican Phil Gramm on behalf of his banking friends.

3) Clinton's deal with OECD (organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) to destroy tax havens in 20 countries that Al-Qaeda was using. The deal was destroyed as soon as Bush entered office. (See, "Banking on Secrecy," in Time, oct. 2001.)

4) Bush's failure to retaliate for the U.S.S. Cole bombing.

B said...

Thank you Greg.

But I'm afraid that you didn't answer the question that you quoted.

Certainly no President has a perfect record on everything.

But I am depressed at the thought of a Democrat Party that only nominates people who are questionable in both their character and ability for a job whose first and foremost responsibility is the protection and security of the United States.

From the way the last 5 elections have been portrayed by the Democrats, you can only come to the conclusion that Democrats believe the most important responsibility of a President is:

1)to make well off people and corporations pay their "fair share of taxes"

2)have the rest of the world like us, really like us - and not necessarily respect us.

3)make us all equal in the 2 America's - except for well off non-Democrats and evil corporations.

Every other issue aside, I can't believe a word of any candidate who claims that they will bring all of the troops home from Iraq. No matter which side you are on, that's virtually impossible. If they say it because they believe it can be done, they are too stupid to be President of the United States. If they know better but are just playing to the base, they are corrupt on the biggest issue of our time, and therefore will surely screw up even bigger than we've already seen.

Joe said...

4) Bush's failure to retaliate for the U.S.S. Cole bombing.

The USS Cole was attacked on 12 October 2000. On 3 November 2002, the suspected planner for the attack was killed by a Hellfire missile.

The criticism that Clinton and Bush did not respond within a few months is, in my opinion, unfounded since exactly how were they supposed to respond? (That al Qaeda was involved wasn't even clear for months and, frankly, it's still not clear this was directed by al Qaeda, even if members of al Qaeda was involved.)

Balfegor said...

3) Clinton's deal with OECD (organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) to destroy tax havens in 20 countries that Al-Qaeda was using. The deal was destroyed as soon as Bush entered office. (See, "Banking on Secrecy," in Time, oct. 2001.)

It should be pointed out that we weren't effective in going after Al Qaeda and OBL finances anyhow, though. See page 22 of the CIA report's executive summary. Again, mostly a CIA/Treasury/bureaucracy failure, but let's not be under the illusion that we were engaged in a serious effort against Al Qaeda at the time.

Steven said...

Luckyoldson, are you literate? The CIA report says that the CIA under Clinton and Clinton's Director of Central Intelligence screwed up.

Now yes, it did continue to screw up under Bush -- under the DCI appointed by Bill Clinton, George Tenet. It is perfectly appropriate to excoriate Bush for reappointing Tenet -- but it hardly lets Clinton off the hook for appointing Tenet in the first place.

And yes, I agree that a President who did cocaine in the past is hardly a good model, but I don't see what Obama's past has to do with ricpic's post.

(Certainly you aren't talking about George W. Bush, because the claim Bush used cocaine is no more well-founded than the Swift Boat Vet claims Kerry's medals were phony.)

Fen said...

Lucky: You really need to organize your inane comments so we can understand what the fuck you're trying to say. I asked if there were some who may have been guilty of infidelity -

No, you said that sexual discrimination and sexual assualt in the workplace were part of Bill's "personal life", a "private" matter between Bill and Hillary:

Why do so many here...thrive on the Clinton's "personal" life? It's really none of our business and we should allow them them the same degree of privacy everyone here would expect.

Clinton was not "distracted" by an affair with Monica, he was "distracted" by a sexual discrimination lawsuit from Jones. Its dishonest of you to pretend otherwise.

carly said...

I'd have thought Michelle Obama would be more in touch with the far left wing which would surely bristle at the notion that "a family" consists of a man, a woman and some kids. Role modeling what good families should look like? I don't think so--not for the "tolerant" relativist crowd. For shame, Michelle; you've messed up your husband's lefty cred.

Rich Rostrom said...

RHHardin: "shunted from Pillow to Polk" was invented by James Thurber in his comic essay "Something About Polk". In a resort-hotel copy of Meet General Grant, Thurber found an angry marginal response to a reference to Polk as "almost unknown". It amused him that anyone would have strong opinions about Polk, least memorable of American politicians. He proposed a "Society for the Invention of Amusing Anecdotes about James K. Polk", and tossed out a few suggestions, including "shunted from Pillow to Polk.