July 4, 2012

"53% of American Adults agree that the United States is a nation with liberty and justice for all..."

Rasmussen learns.
Forty percent (40%) disagree and say the United States is not like that....

Still, 79% of Americans say that if they had a choice to live anywhere in the world, they would still choose to live in the United States. Just 11% disagree, while 10% more are undecided.

For the first time since 2006, more Americans now consider Thomas Jefferson the greatest Founding Father. Thirty-five percent (35%) name Jefferson, the chief author of the Declaration of Independence, as the most important Founder, while 32% feel that way about George Washington.  In a distant third is Benjamin Franklin with 11%, John Adams at 10% and James Madison with just one percent (1%). With the exception of Franklin, the others constitute the first four presidents of the United States.

Most Republicans (56%) and Democrats (58%) believe America is a nation with liberty and justice for all. Adults not affiliated with either political party are evenly divided on this question.

GOP voters are more likely to name Washington as the greatest Founding Father, while Democrats and unaffiliated voters lean more towards Jefferson.
America, love it or leave it. That's the old saying, popular with right-wingers back in the Vietnam era. There was a lefty response — what was it? — America, love it and change it? Something like that.

GOP voters are more likely to embrace the long American tradition and see it in a positive light. It's always been good, always exceptional. The City on a Hill. They pick George Washington.

Democratic voters are more the love it and change it type....



... and that tends to draw you to Jefferson, with the strong association to the revolution — to the Declaration — and not to the Constitution. He was in France when the Constitution was drafted, and his stay there continued until 1789, the year the French Revolution began.
Only after his return to America in 1789 did Jefferson's rhetoric about the revolution become more heated...

The execution of aristocrats by popular tribunals led to nervous arguments in America and Jefferson's famous letter on which he falls into arguing that the revolution's glorious ends justified apocalyptic means: "My own affections have been deeply wounded by some of the martyrs to the cause, but rather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated. Were there but an Adam & Eve left in every country, & left free, it would be better than as it now is."...

When Jefferson wrote these words, he did not know that Louis XVI had been executed... By the end of the year... Jefferson concluded that the French people were not yet "virtuous" enough to accept a sudden republicanism after so many years of superstition and despotism and that Louis XVI could have been retained as a limited monarch, thus staving off "those enormities which demoralized the nations of the world, and destroyed, and is yet to destroy, millions and millions of its inhabitants."
What's your American orientation, Washington or Jefferson? Or will you give the 1-percenter his due? I mean James Madison. What would he have had to have done to get more than 1% in that poll?

160 comments:

Pogo said...

"What's your American orientation"

This is not America.
That's my orientation.

ndspinelli said...

I'm trying to think like the youth of today. So history for me starts w/ Ike. Happy 4th to all you good folks. Keep your powder dry.

edutcher said...

I tend to go with Washington, and the Love It Or Leave It was in answer to morons like Grace Slick who named her kid China, as it was "the most beautiful country in the world", this at the time when Red China was going through the Cultural Revolution.

The slogan of the Lefties certainly wasn't America, love it and change it. They hated the place and still do. They loved Uncle Ho and rooted for the bad guys.

And still do.

PS Be interesting to see a little in-depth on how that 40% breaks down.

Have a feeling Pogo is in there.

PPS If ObamaTax isn't repealed, be interesting to see how that 79% holds up once the death panels get going.

cubanbob said...

Washington. Period, full stop, end of story. He was offered the post of King and would have been if he wanted to be a king. No one else was given the choice, and it is doubtful that anyone else would have declined the offer.

deborah said...

Washington. He was cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Pogo said...

@edutcher
You are correct, sir!

Astro said...

FWIW - I visited the Madison home, Montpelier, in VA, a couple months ago. Huge freakin' disappointment. A waste of my time and money; an embarrassment to the memory of the author of the Constitution, and to Dolly Madison.

The Jefferson home, Monticello, was much better. Except the docent kept saying 'move along, move along'. -- What?! Wait just a damn minute, would you? We're packed in here like sardines.

somefeller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
somefeller said...

Once again, the Hamiltonians are short-changed. Alexander Hamilton wasn't even on the list of options. Hamilton was one of the best if not the best of the Founding Fathers - he figured out that America's future was as an urban, capitalist society with a strong federal government and a sophisticated financial sector. The America that rose after the Civil War and that continues to this day is a Hamiltonian America. And I bet Washington was more of a Hamiltonian than a Jeffersonian (though he of course was in his own, singular and excellent category).

Did Aaron Burr's great-great-great-grandson write this question?

Amexpat said...

The real contestants were Hamilton and Jefferson, and I'm with Hamilton all the way.

Tim said...

"Democratic voters are more the love it and change it type...."

If one's spouse wanted to change one like the Democrats want to change America, one would divorce that spouse, post haste.

And that's just a fact.

Patrick said...

What Cubanbob said.

I do think they all played crucial roles, but that point really isn't in dispute. Maybe a more interesting question about them is: If you had to choose one of them the country could not do without, which would it be? Consider:
1. Washington lead the army, if not in a militarily successful way, in a way that kept it together long enough to force the British to withdraw, PLUS, he understood limited government and "government of laws rather than men" better than any man prior.
2. Jefferson understood the importance of personal liberty, of resisting tyranny and the natural rights of man, and wrote it in a way that altered the course of US history.
3. Adams was instrumental in the early days of the revolution, and his battles with Jefferson helped define a strong government that still respected man's natural right to personal liberty.
4. Franklin was a brilliant guy, an exceptional diplomat who finally convinced France to assist the US in the revolution. He also was instrumental (if not overly engaged) in the drafting of the US constitution. He exemplified much of what is best about the US - entrepreneur, diplomat and private and public citizen.

5. Madison wrote, essentially, the US Constitution. He advocated for it brilliantly in the Federalist papers.

I guess if I had to choose one to do without, it would be Franklin, but I'm glad we had him.

Michael said...

And what about Alexander Hamilton? It is his country we live in, not Jefferson's, and thank Heaven. Washington was the indispensable man, and Franklin's influence was critical at many key points. Then Hamilton, Madison, Jefferson and Adams. Jefferson wrote some important language (although the Declaration benefited greatly from Frankin's editing), but he had less to do with the actual Founding than the first four.

Jay said...

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

—Thomas Jefferson

Yeah, I so associated this guy with modern liberals.

Tim said...

cubanbob said...

"Washington. Period, full stop, end of story. He was offered the post of King and would have been if he wanted to be a king. No one else was given the choice, and it is doubtful that anyone else would have declined the offer."

Agreed, but I'll full-stop you before then: without the Continental Army, which Washington kept alive to fight another day, we never would have had this Republic for liberals and Obama voters to cannibalize 236 years later.

ddh said...

Washington: First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.

Washington won our independence, established our tradition of civilian control of the military, led the Constitutional Convention to replace the unworkable Articles of Confederation, and set the standards for presidential behavior in office and out. His contemporaries had no doubt about the central importance of his role in founding our country.

Patrick said...

And all of those guys are so much better than anything available today, in terms of character, courage, personal accomplishment and vision for government. Today's politicians ought to be embarrassed by that standard.

EDH said...

America, love it or leave it. That's the old saying, popular with right-wingers back in the Vietnam era. There was a lefty response — what was it? — America, love it and change it? Something like that.

"Our Worst Critics Prefer to Stay."

Who said that?

Alas, the injustice of not being interviewed by Diane Sawyer.

ddh said...

Madison is probably the most underappreciated founding father on that list. Perhaps David McCullough can write a compelling biography.

William said...

Sad that Alexander Hamilton doesn't even figure as an also ran....Jefferson can justly lay claim to be the father of radical chic, at least in America. Washington was, by far, the great man of the American revolution. He was better at being right than at being a genius. In sports they say it's better to be lucky than to be talented. In politics it's better to be right than to be brilliant. You could take Washington's judgement and sanity to the bank. Jefferson was opposed to central banks.

edutcher said...

ddh said it about George.

Not a big student of Hamilton, although I saw something that, in his duel with Aaron Burr, he refused to shoot back.

Hamilton did keep the country financially afloat during the first few years of the Republic, but I don't know if that puts him in the first tier or not.

Madison and Washington seem to be the strong contenders, given their roles in forming the Constitution, with Jefferson strong in the philosophical end.

YMMV, of course.

Lem said...

I'm in the Washington camp.

Love it.. I leave it to others to make up their minds... I still love it, post-Roberts and all.

Brent said...

I'm for the obviously Judeo Christian Principles acceded to and followed by all of the above Founding Fathers:


The first prayer of the first Congress went as follows:

"O Lord our Heavenly Father, high and mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, on these our American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee."

This prayer went on to say: "Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that order, harmony and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst the people. … All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior."

Can you imagine a prayer like that being prayed today?

Don said...

SAMUEL ADAMS...no question.

Ken said...

This is just more evidence that democrats and lefties have no idea who Thomas Jefferson was and what he wrote. He would be horrified by the egregious over steps the left has made in the last 100 years in order to make people do the things those on the left happy.

Thomas Jefferson was a small government, big "L", Libertarian. His political philosophy stands in direct opposition to the left's.

cassandra lite said...

"There was a lefty response — what was it? — America, love it and change it? Something like that."

America: Change it or lose it!

In 1969, I had the bumpersticker on my Ford Cortina. Flames formed the backdrop of the text. All very menacing. Nice country you've got there, Americans; be a shame if something happened to it.

It's all so embarrassingly petulant now.

deborah said...

Astro said...
FWIW - I visited the Madison home, Montpelier, in VA, a couple months ago. Huge freakin' disappointment. A waste of my time and money; an embarrassment to the memory of the author of the Constitution, and to Dolly Madison.

The Jefferson home, Monticello, was much better. Except the docent kept saying 'move along, move along'. -- What?! Wait just a damn minute, would you? We're packed in here like sardines.

7/4/12 10:09 AM
-----

Astro, I think you give Montpelier short shrift. I first saw it in the late 80s, or so, when renovations were begun, and then about ten years later. Not every place can be a Monticello, which is in a class by itself.

An interesting part of the renovation is that they had decided to preserve a first-floor room decorated in the Art Deco style, that a DuPont daughter had decorated after they bought the place. Is it still there?

Cedarford said...

I am a bit surprised the poll did not include Alexander Hamilton. He and Madison were the greatest influences on the Constitution.
Hamilton was also a hero in the war for Independence, in the thick of the action.

Todays children - indoctrinated by liberals and progressive jewish people at the levers of media and educations - would likely select Saint MLK as the greatest American, followed by Barack Obama, then Lincoln (Because he did progressive things, like freeing the slaves as 660,000 Americans got butchered).

My own greatest American would probably be George Washington. Reasons: (1)Victory against the odds.(2)Setting the template of how the Executive should work then the precedent of peaceful transition of power, (3)While not the facile intellect of other Founders, what Washington did state opinions on shaped the early Republic. 100 words from Washington had more impact than 5,000 words of Jefferson to their contemporaries, (4) We should always remember Washington and question if our country really has a moral obligation to spill blood and treasure overseas in entangling foreign alliances and "deep special friendships
. Washington thought not.

cubanbob said...

They were all important and all indispensable. That said,
Washington was the Corp Commander and the others the generals and colonels, each with a vital role.

Without first securing a country the rest would not have occurred. The Declaration Of Independence is proof enough that they all were on the same page, only differing on some of the details later on on how to accomplish the mission.

ddh said... interesting to note that Washington twice, first under the Articles Of Confederation And Perpetual Union (often overlooked but that was the fundamental reason for Lincoln preserving the Union) and then under the Constitution signed The Northwest Ordinance. He considered the ordinance that important.

TIm, sad but true.

virgil xenophon said...

Washington was nether the greatest General we ever had, nor the best explorer, agronomist, statesman, politician (qua politicians) nor even our best President (if viewed in limited focus in terms of accomplishments in office) Rather, he was simply THE BEST MAN.

Roger J. said...

I would suggest it was not just one peenrson (although IMO Washington was the indispensable person); rather it was the mix of personalities. We were blessed as a republic to have a cadre of brilliant men and I would posit it was the interaction of these folks that created our republic.

Assigning top place to one or the other is not particularly productive.

Ken said...

Hamilton is far more in line with what the left believes: a strong central government, run by a small insulated elite, with a massive distrust and disdain of the common man. Hamilton advocated not for liberty, but for an enlightened ruling class, ruling over subjects. He believed in a central government with out limits to promote whatever he felt was a "public good".

Bertram Wooster said...

Adams said that Washington was always picked to lead because he was always the tallest man in the room. Maybe there is some jealousy showing in those words but maybe it's understandable.

Washington seems to have led a charmed life in some regards. The odds from his youth onward favored him being shot dead many times over. Whether he is properly viewed as the greatest of the founders might depend on whether you value action or ideas in the matter. Each is probably impotent without the other but men of action abounded in the 18th century. Durable ideas were the contribution of a relatively rarer sort of bird. I have to go with Adams, Jefferson and Madison.

Washington is also hampered in my mind by his close association with Hamilton - a schemer and asshole who would fit perfectly in any modern cabinet. Some of the first white settlers in my part of the country came here to implement one of Hamilton's schemes to make his self King of a mid-continental kingdom that might even have included Mexico if his plans hadn't gone badly. Ambition was Hamilton's strong suit. Not principle or honor.

AllieOop said...

Pogo! Snap out of it, clearly you are a good man, a good doc, America needs you, don't abandon her now.

ndspinelli said...

Don, Are you saying Samuel Adams beer? I'm still channeling the youth of today.

ella binsburg said...

Definitely Alexander Hamilton. He understood the economic need for central government power far better than the other founders - especially Jefferson or Madison.

Roadkill said...

Great discussion on July 4th.

ddh has it right about Washington. He towers above the other founders; the United States would not exist without him.

Madison conceptualized and authored the Consitiution, and along with Hamilton and Jay, advocated for it via the Federalist Papers.

Jefferson, after drafting the Declaration as part of a committee, sat out the Revolutionary War and was in France during the Constitutional Convention.

Scott said...

Wonderful post Ann!

Although I have a fondness for Jefferson, our nation needed both. They are the yin and yang of our political culture. If we just had Washington, we'd be Canada. Just Jefferson, Brazil.

Roger J. said...

Let me echo the comments about the quality of this post--its a great way to celebrate the 4th of July--we were blessed to have a coterie of patriots who, despite their individual differences, were able to create the shining city on the hill--Let us hope we can continue it.

kimsch said...

HBO is playing the entire John Adams mini-series today.

Palladian said...

Definitely Alexander Hamilton. He understood the economic need for central government power far better than the other founders - especially Jefferson or Madison.

And that's worked out so well for us!

edutcher said...

AllieOop said...

Pogo! Snap out of it, clearly you are a good man, a good doc, America needs you, don't abandon her now.

War is Peace!

Hate is Love!

Ignorance is Strength!

We have always been at war with Eastasia!

Michael K said...

"Washington: First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen"

Buy he married a widow. Sorry. Couldn't resist.

I agree Washington was the essential man. Franklin was probably second. I think Jefferson got too much credit for his words but, as president, he was awful except for the Louisiana Purchase, which violated his principles. He did want to prevent whites from crossing the Mississippi and to found an Indian nation west of it.

In that way, he is the true father of the Democrats in that he believed in totally impractical solutions. Monticello bankrupted him. He died with massive debts, another Democrat principle.

LilyBart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllieOop said...

Edutcher, don't be an ass ( or maybe you can't help it).

Are conservatives fair weather patriots?

All the whining and crying and tearing of hair, lamentations and ripping of sack cloth, sheesh. Snap out of it already!

LilyBart said...

If one's spouse wanted to change one like the Democrats want to change America, one would divorce that spouse, post haste.

This is so true. I've said many times over the past couple of years, if any man treated me the way the democrats are treating me, I'd divorce him.

They are spending me into ruin, expecting to control my life and treating me with naked contempt.

David R. Graham said...

"Agreed, but I'll full-stop you before then: without the Continental Army, which Washington kept alive to fight another day, we never would have had this Republic for liberals and Obama voters to cannibalize 236 years later."

The Army is the core of the Nation, the Family is the core of the Army. To defeat a nation, wreck its families, overwhelm them with drugs, sex and step-parents. To defeat the wreckers, make families and make things.

cubanbob said...

AllieOop said...
Edutcher, don't be an ass ( or maybe you can't help it).

Are conservatives fair weather patriots?

All the whining and crying and tearing of hair, lamentations and ripping of sack cloth, sheesh. Snap out of it already!

7/4/12 11:08 AM

Get back to us next year when Liarcare is repealled.
Will you be crying and lamenting when that happens?

William said...

Bertram Wooster's post at 10:43 illustrates why posterity is a bitch. Bertie seems to have conflated Alexander Hamilton with the man who killed him, Aaron Burr. What a bitch. To be remembered as your greatest enemy. Bertie should stick to laying out Jeeves morning suit and leave history alone.....The tree of liberty has long been watered with the golden showers of hypocrites like Jefferson. I just can't square his circle. There seems to be a moral vacuity at the center of his being. It is exquisitely poignant that the writer of the Declaration of Independence was a slave owner. And even as slave owners go, he wasn't a very good slave owner.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I think a serious case could be made for Madison, and I'm surprised that he got only 1%. But in the end I would probably go with Washington too.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Jefferson is the most expendable of that group, and Hamilton definitely does not get enough credit.

AllieOop said...

No Edutcher, you are not observant, or have a conveniently bad memory, I've said numerous times here on this blog I didn't like Obamacare. Get with the program.

Did you hear me whine or cry for more than one day when Walker won the recall election? Answer No, instead I enjoyed a bacchanal with my conservatives neighbors.

Roger J. said...

Damn--a bacchanal and I wasnt invited--curse the bad luck :)

David R. Graham said...

"Edutcher, don't be an ass ( or maybe you can't help it)."

Oh good grief. AllieOop, don't be trite. If he's wrong, say how, where, why. It's weak to think one's self in a position of elevated strength that justifies gloating with darts to inflict pain. Your "snap out of it," drips with poisonous sarcasm, which is neither trite nor worthy of your birth.

Janette Kok said...

John Adams!

Saint Croix said...

Hamilton...figured out that America's future was as an urban, capitalist society with a strong federal government and a sophisticated financial sector.

He wanted a king for life! And he saw no problem with an unelected Supreme Court. Couldn't do any damage, he said.

Hamilton was our first crony capitalist.

Read that link and tell me that you don't see Barack Obama in the words, thoughts and deeds of Alexander Hamilton.

The reason Hamilton gave for favoring a large public debt was not to finance any particular project, or to stabilize financial markets, but to combine the interests of the affluent people of the country — particularly business people — to the government. As the owners of government bonds, he reasoned, they would forever support his agenda of higher taxes and bigger government.

AllieOop said...

Oh good grief David Graham, it's the 4th of July, I have a houseful of guests and family, who are away for a parade for the moment and will be home soon. I'm waiting for a delivery of pulled pork and am finishing up my potato salad. The very LAST thing I'm going to do is get into a political argument with Edutcher.

Happy Independence Day to all who still love America!

virgil xenophon said...

Picking up on Don's comment @10:33 about Samuel Adams, back in 1965 in an American Hist course I took at LSU under the then newly minted PhD Steven Ambrose, Ambrose argued that were it not for the indefatigable efforts of Sam Adams trundling Letters of Correspondence back & forth to the various State Legislatures fomenting rebellion there WOULD HAVE BEEN NO REVOLUTION.. Thus seen in this light, Sam Adams was THE indispensable predicate/catalyst without which the Revolution would have never come to fruition..

AllieOop said...

Or Pogo for that matter. Besides I don't think Pogo wants to debate, he probably thinks all is lost and it's not worth it. Happy Fourth Pogo dear, chin up.

virgil xenophon said...

PS: As Ambrose was raised in Wisc. (tho born 50 mi north of me in Decatur, Ill) and a U of Wisc graduate (and footballer), Ann ought to be a big fan of his. :)

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

Oop, with her usual moby grandstanding, wants people to forget nobody here has hectored Pogo more than I have about giving up.

I empathize with his point of view, but, as long as we have options, the game ain't over, as I see it.

And, like Hatman, needs to grow a real sense of humor.

My little aside was a riposte to her shot at Conservatives.

garage mahal said...

Once again, the Hamiltonians are short-changed.

Thomas Paine in my opinion gets shortchanged by liberals and conservatives. How many colonists that had chosen a neutral stance were swayed by Paine's booklet logical call for independence? Common Sense sold over 150,000 copies and was read by 1/5 of the colonial population. Adams once complained to Jefferson, “History is to ascribe the American Revolution to Thomas Paine."

Unknown said...

How many Federalist Papers did Jefferson write?

Thought so.

bagoh20 said...

For once, I agree with Cedarford, and agree with all the points on Washington. I would also add that I think he was the only founder that freed any significant number of his slaves. It's amazing to think that people owned slaves such a short time ago. Intelligent, freedom-minded people. It hard to overstate the effect that the values of our time has on our values, standards and actions.

It's also easy to be blinded by the bias of your own time, where you assume the current values to be superior to any previous ones. It's the same thing, isn't it?

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Tax-supported WNYC (NPR) is running an anti-war project on the UK Guardian's website. I'm listening to Denis Kucinich and a guy who runs a bookstore named after Emma Goldman talk about how important it is to stop "revering" our troops. And now Kucinich wants the UN to help replace the nation-state and hopes that a movement for that will rise up in the US.

And this is the group of people who claim the the RIght-Wing "stole" patriotism.

EMD said...

Yeah! Garage makes a compelling argument!

I would go with Washington. Could have been a King, but went home.

Happy Independence Day everyone.

TmjUtah said...

We wouldn't recognize our nation today had not so many of Jefferson's great ideas and actions been a part of the founding.

I am grateful, however, the power of markets in the form of principled political compromise restrained him in some areas.

Washington IS the indispensable man among the founders. Ideas, wishes, proposals... all made possible by a man who believed the cost was worth the sacrifice.

What nobility from a man who would break the mold on what "noble" had meant, politically, for centuries of European governance...

There is no shame in second place in this race.

As an aside, I think the sort of person who would put Jefferson at the top deals with good intentions rather than results.

We've had a lot of that, most of the last half of my life. I don't think it works.

Just saying.

bagoh20 said...

What about Benedict Arnold? He simply used logic to redefine traitor as patriot. We still do that.

edutcher said...

Like Roberts, he may have done it to please the little woman.

As I say, I'm wondering when Mrs Roberts' dressing gown will conveniently fall open.

EMD said...

Yeah! Garage makes a compelling argument!

I would go with Washington. Could have been a King, but went home.


Too bad we can't sell that idea to Choom.

Jason said...

As a descendant of Hamilton, I'm happy to see him getting some props here in this thread.

But he was one of Washington's lieutenants. Indespensable in his own way, like the others, incredibly gifted, like Jefferson and Madison and Franklin and all the others, but also very flawed.

Like all the others.

And like Washington, before he rose so admirably to the circumstances thrust upon him.

Jefferson was brilliant. But he would have run the country off the rails without Hamilton's influence. And without Jeffersonian ideals, Hamilton would have transformed the country into something much worse than it was, too.

We needed both.

Part of Washington's greatness was that he had the respect and admiration of both men - and was able to keep them harnessed.

Washington is still the greatest.

Indeed, Washington was not only the greatest man in the history of this republic, but on a very short list of the greatest men ever in the history of the world.. both in terms of character, accomplishment and positive influence on mankind.

Hamilton was great. Jefferson was great. Madison and Franklin both great, great men who helped change the world for the good. But both still were in Washington's shadow.

Saint Croix said...

One of the weirdest things in my lifetime is how our two parties have effectively switched places. Madison may be named for James Madison, but all those "liberals" love Alexander Hamilton and the centralization of government and commerce.

The free speakers and the Tea Party and the libertarians are all on the right now. Jefferson, Madison and almost all of the Framers would be Republicans today. Hamilton, of course, is a major exception.

Jefferson's Democratic party is going, going, gone. It was quite shocking to me to read the so-called "liberal" dissent in Citizens United. Liberals simply do not like free speech anymore. This is why Ann Althouse, regardless of what she says or how she votes, is slimed by the left. Because she believes in free speech and they do not.

Happy 4th of July. God bless America (we need it).

Chip S. said...

Or will you give the 1-percenter his due? I mean James Madison. What would he have has to have done to get more than 1% in that poll?

Write the commerce clause to specify that the federal government's sole power to regulate commerce among the states is to eliminate barriers to the free exchange of goods and services.

Chip S. said...

Here's another thing Madison could have done to be a contender in the Greatest Founder contest. He could have figured out a way to operationalize this point in the Constitution:

"Some, who have not denied the necessity of the power of taxation, have grounded a very fierce attack against the constitution on the language in which it is defined. It has been urged and echoed, that the power 'to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States,' amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power, which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labour for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction." --Federalist 41 (via American Thinker)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Liberty and justice for all.....except some are more free than others and some get more justice than others.

I am not free. I am a serf and a slave to the government. A serf and a slave for the benefit of other people. Forced to give up the money that I have earned so that it can be given to other people who have not worked.

I am not free to choose what products I would like to buy or NOT buy. I am penalized and taxed now for NOT kowtowing and buying things that I don't want. I am not free to chose my own path.

I am not free to build my home the way I would like. I am not free to give my work away or to trade items with people without being under grasp of the government.

I am not given the same services or justice as provided to those who are the thieves of my work and my money. The scales of justice have a big fat thumb on them from the government giving preferential treatment to favored groups. (New Black Panthers anyone? Illegal aliens? ).

We have the illusion that we are free, but in reality.....we are not.

We are serfs and slaves.

Live free or die.

leslyn said...

edutcher, this was no repose:

"The slogan of the Lefties certainly wasn't America, love it and change it. They hated the place and still do."

IMO that's a treasonous statement.

I took an oath to defend the United States and it's Constitution, and for me that's an oath for life. I have put my life on the line for it, and would consider it a privilege to do so again.

But to do it for you? That's a tricky one.

Just--let's enjoy this glorious day.

deborah said...

@ Janette

http://www.youtube.
com/watch?v=
A3TGbKfkwGA

ddh said...

With respect to the advocates for Sam Adams and Tom Paine, their sizable contributions to the revolutionary cause don't make them indispensable men. Their roles were too limited, and others would have served adequately, even if not as well (Paul Revere, anyone?).

With my tongue slightly in cheek, I nominate James Wolfe as the man who really got the revolution rolling. By removing the menace of the French and their Indian allies, he as much as anyone brought about American resentment of the Stamp Act and other British taxes to pay for a military establishment that colonists thought they no longer needed. Without Wolfe's victory at Quebec, Sam Adams and Tom Paine would have had little to do.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Pogo! Snap out of it, clearly you are a good man, a good doc, America needs you, don't abandon her now.

That's RIGHT. Get into that harness and pull that wagon loaded with free riders and hangers on. Nevermind what YOU would like to do with your life or how YOU would like to run your career. You must bend to the will of the government. It is for the greater good.

Just lie back and think of America while you are getting screwed.

Think of the collective and how noble it will be for you to sacrifice your life for the group. You will be a hero.....maybe someone will make you a bust or statue or something.

XRay said...

Coincidently having, within the last hour, finished reading Chernow's "Washington - A Life", I have to go with Washington. Jefferson's behavior and actions during Washington's presidency were the beginning of the coarseness and vindictiveness that is our present day politics.

Though of course all the Founders were necessary at differing periods and for differing reasons, Jefferson included.

Washington stood above all, not just as the tallest man in the room, but as the man who had the vision, fortitude and integrity to serve as leader during the critical formative years of our great country.

Hagar said...

Come to think of it, isn't the states writing insurance regulations (all kinds of insurance) such as to favor some companies over others, if not establishing virtual monopolies, a quite severe violation of the commerce clause, "full faith and credit ....," etc. and so forth?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I think the Founding Fathers was a great team effort. Each person bring his particular strengths and viewpoints to the mix. Without the mixture the US would not have emerged the country that it was. Picking who was the best is difficult, but I think I must go with Washington mainly for his action in turning down a 'kingship' and turning us onto the path of a republic. (if we can keep it...and frankly I think it lost now).

leslyn said...

Washington. A military and political genius who inspired to practically superhuman effort, then accepted the mantle of governance, not to keep it, but to ensure it was given away.

Adams and Franklin "wrote" the Declaration of Independence, which they dictated to and debated with young Jefferson. Jefferson was selected to "compose" it.

Franklin and Madison are my tie for second.

Holmes said...

Washington. We wouldn't exist without him. We would have without Jefferson who was sort of a flake.

Chip S. said...

IMO that's a treasonous statement.

leslyn, this isn't up to your usual standards.

Tell me what you think is wrong with the following stylized rewrite of the edutcher quote:

1. The Constitution, considered in full historical context (including arguments in The Federalist), represents an attempt to limit central authority while recognizing its necessity.

2. A nation under limited government is a naturally "capitalist" nation, simply b/c freedom offers people the fullest indulgence of their "natural propensity to truck, barter, and exchange."

3. People who believe that greater central government activity is essential to the "general welfare" find that their capacity to achieve their goals is hindered by a straightforward interpretation of the Constitution. They deal with this in two ways: the amendment process (particularly the 16th) and creative interpretations of the Constitutional text (sometimes contorting reasoning to the point of sophistry).

So edutcher's comment can be interpreted as a shorthand way of saying that the Constitution is a hurdle for the enactment of leftist policies. Using tortured legal "reasoning" in lieu of the hard work of enacting amendments is, at a minimum, bad faith. At a maximum, it is subversion.

Joe said...

Madison. Above all the rest, he had a visceral understanding that power corrupts and advocated a government which resisted corruption by being just efficient enough.

The modern cries of getting along and putting down criticism, however ugly it may be, is destroying the very thing Madison was trying to prevent.

Jay said...

leslyn said...


IMO that's a treasonous statement.


Says a proud voter of the party of "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism"

You're an idiot.

Saint Croix said...

This is a bit off topic, but kind of mind-blowing. Apparently Roberts wrote the majority of Scalia's dissent. Wow! That's got to be a first.

leslyn said...

@Jay. Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit! That's the first time I've been accused of being a member of a political party.

Bless your heart. You can't help it you're stuck on stupid.

leslyn said...

Saint Croix said... This is a bit off topic, but kind of mind-blowing. Apparently Roberts wrote the majority of Scalia's dissent. Wow! That's got to be a first.

That would be totally cool!

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Koch said...

My favorites are Washington, Franklin, and Madison.

David said...

I am a student and admirer of Jefferson. My first son has his name as a middle name. Deliberately.

But Jefferson does not begin to compare with Washington in importance or "greatness," whatever that is. Washington's military leadership, which had more to do with character than anything else, was the essential element of the success of the revolution. His restrained political leadership (including declining a third term and even monarchical suggestions) cemented the republican nature of the government.

Most of all, Washington's prestige, born
of the respect he earned over a lifetime,
enabled the failing Confederacy to forge the United States.

leslyn said...

@Jay. Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit! That's the first time I've been accused of being a member of a political party.

Bless your heart. You can't help it you're stuck on stupid.

leslyn said...

Chip S,

That was a very thoughtful and well-written piece, but I just don't think it's what edutcher meant when he said,

"They hated the place and still do. They loved Uncle Ho and rooted for the bad guys. And still do."

edutcher said...

leslyn said...

edutcher, this was no repose:

The slogan of the Lefties certainly wasn't America, love it and change it. They hated the place and still do.

IMO that's a treasonous statement.


Treason is defined in the Constitution as making war on the nation or giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war.

So leslyn needs to understand I had yet to accuse anyone of treason, but accusation is not a treasonous statement.

She also needs glasses because my aside to Oop was the riff off Mr Orwell.

And the word I used is "riposte", not "repose".

edutcher said...

PS In the latest post, I make an accusation of treason.

And thanks, Chip.

SunnyJ said...

Some good debate points all the way around.

I'm going with Washington because the citizens of his time did too and I'm not going to partake in revisionist histoy. They knew he was the leader...the greatest of them all, and to make sure they were successful, they chose him. Others were engaged in their vanity and rivalries...machinations all around with the exception of one...Washington. I'm satisfied to let this histor write itself.

Saint Croix makes some good points...and yes, word for word the dissent opinion was written by Roberts before he "changed" his mind..or had it "changed" for him. There is a reason this is being leaked, like nothing ever before from the Supremes. The corruption has made its way up to the top of the chain...The Dems were making speeches directed at Roberts well into late May (Sen. Leahy on floor of the Senate)well after the March conference for a reason. They had information, leaks of their own and they knew they had foot in the door and the pressure was on.

As Greg Gutfeld put it, "...Roberts sold out to be invited to the cockail parties..hope the weenies were worth it." Someone from the new center right alternative media is on this...and just like they have forced Fast and Furious into the open...surely, they will force this out there too.

Going to be a very interesting 6 months, following a very intersting 236 years!

Saint Croix said...

That would be totally cool!

At first it reminded me of that scene in Citizen Kane, where Kane finished the review because Joseph Cotten was too drunk.

And then you wonder, why is Roberts' opinion in the dissent? Are the dissenters too drunk to do their own work? Are they incapacitated? Why can't they write their own dissents, in this a case of national importance?

Of course, the Supreme Court is filled with lazy egomaniacs who often have their clerks write their opinions for them. We're used to that. But here is a dissent that simply regurgitates large passages from another Justice's original opinion, a work-in-progress. And they stamp their own name to it. Gee, I hope law students don't get their ethics from Supreme Court Justices. How embarrassing!

And you wonder why. Pure laziness? Or perhaps, on a subconscious level, they wanted their dissent to appear odd, a non-dissent dissent, a dissent that reads like a majority opinion. So, out of pure spite, they publish large chunks of Roberts' work as their dissent. But then people notice and comment on it. So then one of the Justices says, oh, I'll go on secret background and insist that we wrote everything ourselves!

I know a lot of people are mad at Roberts right now. But I'm not at all happy with the dissenters. I see intellectual shortcuts, a cut-and-paste job like you might do on a blog. I see glibness. And in the Jan Crawford interview I see a dishonest and egocentric attempt to hide the truth.

If you're on the side of the angels, shouldn't you be open and honest? And do your own work?

kimsch said...

@leslyn,

Thank you for your service.

I feel the same way about that oath I took. It was forever.

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

leslyn said...

edutcher,

I know what treason means.

I'll stick with my opinion--that your words--lies--
lend aid and comfort to the type of person who wants to destroy. Perhaps the next Timothy McVey or Richard Reed? That's not so much of a stretch. The Rick Perry secessionist post started with a stupid quote and ended in all sorts of dire warnings--or happy fantasies--of armed insurrection, murder and the revival of Nazi-type gassing.

And stop hiding behind your "riposte" to Oop. That's not what I quoted. As to "repose"--so sue my autospeller.

Before you start riffing on freedom of speech, I give up. No demonstrated imminent danger.

Bye.

Luke Lea said...

Whether or not the greatest Franklin was probably the most indispensable in the sense that without his diplomacy with France it is unlikely the revolution would have succeeded. It's hard to imagine anyone else charming and persuading the French to bankrupt themselves for America. Certainly not Adams. There could have been other generals besides Washington to lead us to victory;, Hamilton and political genius; Jefferson turned a phrase (though Franklin put in the word "self-evident" in place of Jefferson's "sacred and eternal" ) and many of the ideas in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were in the air even without Madison. So, yes, the country would have turned out very differently had no all these founders existed. But it wouldn't exist at all had not Franklin been in Paris.

yashu said...

Saint Croix,

Allahpundit at Hot Air suggests another possible reason:

They borrowed it because they were pressed for time and/or because they wanted to make a point — or, just maybe, because they held out hope to the bitter end that he’d switch back and join them in striking down the law. By keeping the dissent intact as a potential majority opinion rather than larding it up with language lashing out at Roberts, the four conservatives made it as easy as possible for him to reconsider and climb back aboard right down to the wire. To my mind, that’s the best explanation for the tone of the opinion, the inclusion of the otherwise gratuitous severability section, and the lack of any references to Roberts’s opinion. They weren’t working on a dissent, they were working on a shadow majority, ready to go right out of the box in case Roberts came back into the fold. (Crawford notes that Kennedy was lobbying Roberts up to the last minute, in fact.)

Love that scene in Citizen Kane.

leslyn said...

St. Croix,

I'm going to do what I usually rail against and indulge in speculation.

I think it's mostly Scalia. He's checked out and would prefer to be a commentator on Fox. I can imagine him asking Roberts if he could look at Roberts first draft, then laughing like hell when he plagiarized it. Did the rest of the dissent know.

Intellectual laziness.

rcommal said...

Talk about a scary "what if [he hadn't]?"! See this:

http://www.historynet.com/the-marksman-who-refused-to-shoot-george-washington.htm

SunnyJ said...

@Saint Croix...consider that the large passages were left intentionally to make it obvious that Roberts was writing that majority opinion, far into the process, when he slipped them a mickey and darted to the left to join the opposition/now majority and turn what was the majarity opinion into dissent.

Remember, the CJ assigns the writing and he assigned himself and then flipped sides...they are now left with his "majority" opinion and must submit it as minority. That is not good leadership in any way...or team building. So they left much of it the way he wrote it, so the world would see how easily he could justify one side and then flip to the other. And, as you see, the world did not miss this.

One man's junk is another man's treasure and there are some legal minds that believe Kennedy wrote a very logical and succinct dissent around Roberts sections. You don't.

What's interesting now is the hunt for the who, what, where, when and why...given the SC history, this is going to be bomb when it goes off. We'd like that the court maintained their inner sanctoms and decorum but, these are guts that are going to be spilled. The nation is now Wisconsin...and the evidence is still not in...to choke or not to choke that it is the question.

lemondog said...

When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.

T. Jefferson (?)

Happy 4th of July

Great thread.

Agree on the synergistic coming together at a particular point in time, a group brilliant people contributing their strengths in different ways in the founding of this great country.

But who created the fire?

Samuel Adams.

SunnyJ said...

@Saint Croix, you might be interested in an article from the Atlantic, Jeffrey Rosen, an interview with CJ Roberts from seveal months ago that was recently published. Turns a light on his view of the role of CJ and the court in general.

leslyn said...

@kimsch,

Thank you for your service.

I do not wish to mislead; I work for the military now, but I took my oath as a police officer. So I didn't have to put the UCMJ in mine. :)

Saint Croix said...

I think it's mostly Scalia.

I've been (wrongly) calling it "Scalia's dissent" but of course it's unsigned, a joint dissent. That's a Kennedy speciality, he also did a joint opinion in Casey. Althouse suggested that Kennedy was the man who gave Jan Crawford an interview. And of course Kennedy read the dissent from the bench. So I say it's Kennedy.

Did the rest of the dissent know.

I would imagine they all know. When you write an opinion you circulate it to the entire Court. People have to decide if they are going to sign onto it or concur. And dissenters can't write until they have an opinion to dissent against.

leslyn said...

There is a reason this is being leaked, like nothing ever before from the Supremes. The corruption has made its way up to the top of the chain...The Dems were making speeches directed at Roberts well into late May (Sen. Leahy on floor of the Senate)well after the March conference for a reason. They had information, leaks of their own and they knew they had foot in the door and the pressure was on.... Someone from the new center right alternative media is on this...and just like they have forced Fast and Furious into the open...surely, they will force this out there too.

Criminy. Yeah, like there's never been any politival fire directed at the Court before, never any surprise decisions, and never any justices who departed from the role politics had ordained they should follow.

Conspiracy theories are the last refuge of a conservative, and I can see the beginning of it right...("they will force this out too") there!

kimsch said...

@leslyn, police officers also serve. My grandfather was a police officer, then chief of police in both Kalamazoo, MI and Denver, CO. He went on to direct the Traffic Institute at Northwestern University.

Astro said...

Deborah said - An interesting part of the renovation is that they had decided to preserve a first-floor room decorated in the Art Deco style, that a DuPont daughter had decorated after they bought the place. Is it still there?

If the Art Deco room was still there, it wasn't shown during the tour. The place seemed empty except for a number of 'period' pieces that were not even owned by the Madisons. There were some artworks (portraits) that were very nice.
There were audio recordings in some rooms of people readings words written by, or about, the Madisons. These were awful, as was the dining area with cardboard cut-outs of the Pres., First Lady, and guests. Nothing was said of any of the events of the War of 1812.

lemondog said...

It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.

S. Adams

Bertram Wooster said...

@William
I think you're probably right about Burr trying to set up as king in the midwest and not Hamilton. That's what I get for not double checking my memory. I'll go read about it again.

Hamilton was still a schemer and likely was planning something just as sneaky when he was most fortunately shot by another schemer. He should have been nicer to John Adams.

The code of the Woosters allows me to admit error but not to take up laying out Jeeve's suits. There are limits.

hombre said...

Dems are history illiterates as well as economics illiterates. All you need to know to favor Jefferson is that he wrote the Declaration of Independence. To choose any of the others, particularly Madison, you need to know the history of the Revolution and the Constitutional Convention.

Of course, if, as with most lefties, you have little regard for the Constitution and are also unfamiliar with most of his anti-federalism writings, Jefferson is also the obvious choice.

hombre said...

3:19 pm: That should be "anti-federalist", not "anti-federalism."

edutcher said...

leslyn said...

edutcher,

I know what treason means.

I'll stick with my opinion--that your words--lies--
lend aid and comfort to the type of person who wants to destroy.


Try again. No one's ever heard me advocate breaking the law.

Secession, maybe, but leslyn would have had to have read the Federalist Papers to understand the Southerners weren't breaking the law by seceding.

Firing on Fort Sumter (treason, literally), of course, was another matter because it gave Lincoln the pretext to move against the Confederacy.

Perhaps the next Timothy McVey or Richard Reed?

How about the last William Ayers and Rap Brown?

Saint Croix said...

One man's junk is another man's treasure and there are some legal minds that believe Kennedy wrote a very logical and succinct dissent around Roberts sections. You don't.

I don't think the dissent is bad in terms of legal argument. The dissent even sounds like Roberts, actually, including his ambivalence.

It just doesn't read like a dissent. It reads like a rough draft of a majority opinion that has been hijacked, with a dissent spliced on at the end.

People like the dissent because they want a different result in the case. But it's not actually a very good dissent, not the least of which it fails to attack the majority opinion for pages and pages and pages.

And quite simply it's lazy to use somebody else's work. And it's sloppy to throw up a majority opinion as if that's a dissent. And it's horseshit political sabotage to call up a CBS reporter and try to make Roberts look bad and Kennedy look good.

I feel like this case was a fiasco for the Court. It still seems utterly partisan. I feel like Roberts was trying to take the high road here. And what did he get for his troubles? He got no votes from the liberals on any limits to Congressional power. Which is insane!

Meanwhile, one of the angry four conservatives steals his work-in-progress, labels it a "dissent," and then badmouths Roberts (and the Supreme Court!) to the press.

It's a disaster, truly. But this too shall pass.

Don said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SunnyJ said...

@leslyn... just because your paranoid doesn't mean everyone isn't picking on you.

The leak is not business as ususal at the SC, period. There are leaks to the NYT on security secrets. Leaks on Fast & Furious and the murder of agent Brian Terry. There are leaks sprouting everywhere. I suggest only that leaks are the physics of the universe...finding the path of least resistance...and coming from pressure from within. The leaks are just looking for someone to probe the opening already there and let the information flow.

Gotta love that on Independence Day. There's a dickery at work in the colonies...lol. Have a great day.

Don said...

Samuel Adams was the gasoline that kept the fires of the Revolution burning.

Dale Light said...

Washington was the "indispensable man", the greatest man of his generation, and was recognized as such by his contemporaries. Only he and Franklin among the founders count as world-historical figures. Adams and Madison, despite significant contributions, are diminished by their unsuccessful presidencies. Jefferson was a first-rate wordsmith snd self-promoter, and led the republican revolt at the end of the century, but as president he was more lucky than good. Hamilton was indeed a visionary but was more an administrator than politician and he never was president. For those reasons he is overshadowed by Jefferson. Franklin was too old to play the post-revolutionary political games and so is undervalued by posterity. Just being president counts for a lot in the minds of most people today, and that is unfortunate.

lemondog said...

Historian Ira Stoll arguing the case for Samuel Adams as underestimated and under appreciated.

Roadkill said...

Dale Light said:

"Hamilton was indeed a visionary but was more an administrator than politician and he never was president."

The fact was, Hamilton could never have been President; he wasn't a natural born citizen.

La Pasionaria said...

"Roadkill said...

The fact was, Hamilton could never have been President; he wasn't a natural born citizen."


No one of the founding generation was a "natural born citizen", were they? They were all grandfathered in. Why wouldnt that apply to Hamilton?

Jake Diamond said...

edutcher I:

"So leslyn needs to understand I had yet to accuse anyone of treason"

edutcher II:

"Should have executed the lot for treason"

edutcher is full of shit.

David R. Graham said...

"... he had a visceral understanding that power corrupts ..."

Perhaps he did, I do not know. However, the concept, irrespective of persons, is a canard. Niebuhr [in]famously expanded the concept/statement -- or quoted someone who did -- to justify resistance to government, whose modern proponents, knowing their infallibility, disregard it when their hands lie on the machinery of government and shriek it when they do not.

Power corrupts no one and nothing. The impulses in a heart do that, or do not. Power is truth, reality, one half (the feminine half) the phenomenology of Being Itself (the other half is structure or form, the masculine half). The unity of power and meaning is spirit, spirituality, the dimension of life unique to humanity.

The US Constitution guards not against power but against evil impulses springing from the hearts of those granted or grasping power. The Army is the ultimate guard of the Nation and thus of the US Constitution. To "fundamentally transform" the Nation one must disregard or subvert the US Constitution and convince the Army to facilitate that activity.

In other words one must deactivate West Point, which was conceived by Washington and founded by Jefferson. Failing that, the Republic is safe.

deborah said...

Thanks, Astro. IIRC, it is in the front right corner of the house (as you look at the house from the front.) It was rather dreary, although pretty cool. I see they did restore it:

http://travelwithterryvirginia
.blogspot.com/2008/09/montpelier.html

Gary Rosen said...

"Conspiracy theories are the last refuge of a conservative"

Right, no leftists among JFK conspiracy theorists or 9/11 truthers. What the fuck is your point, leslyn?

deborah said...

Ooops, Astro. It would help if I read my link. I had no idea that the added wings of the house had been taken off and the stucco taken off the house! Anyway the Art Deco room is restored and displayed at the visitors' center.

Roadkill said...

"No one of the founding generation was a "natural born citizen", were they? They were all grandfathered in. Why wouldnt that apply to Hamilton?"

People were considered "Natural born" if they were born in one of the signatory 13 colonies. Hamilton was born in the West Indies, and it was commonly understood in the Revolutionary era that he was ineligible for the Presidency.

William said...

It's true that Jefferson and Madison were dead set against the efforts of Washington, Hamilton, and Adams to strengthen the power of the federal government. This had nothing to do with liberty. Rather the opposite, in fact. They were afraid that if the federal government became strong enough it would use that power to abolish slavery. They got that right.....Jefferson and Madison threw around charges of monarchism the way their descendants now throw around charges of fascism. They claimed that the Federalists were trying to deprive Americans of their hard won liberties. Madison even intimated that Washington was scheming to become King. All of these arguments would have been so much forceful and persuasive if they had not been made by slave owners.

Jack Wayne said...

George Mason is the greatest American. He understood the fatal flaws in the Constitution.

leslyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leslyn said...

Gary Rosen, If you don't read, then what the fuck is your point in asking what the fuck is my point?

leslyn said...

David R Graham,

Interesting but odd arguments. They seem at times to fold back on themselves.

I take just a teen bit of issue with your conclusions about the Army. I think it's dangerous to repose too much power in the hands of the military. Look at Egypt, for example. The power protecting the republic is in the hands of the people. I think our military knows and respects that--even wants it that way.

But about West Point--they are the students, not the leaders. The military has enough tested leaders and staff colleges and senior NCOs that I think the republic would survive even if WP were shut down for, say, budget reasons.

And, don't forget, we can always call in the Marines.

JAL said...

The present administration seems hell bent on creating the environment which existed in France where the class warfare was so hostile that aristocrats' grave stones inside little village churches were defaced.

So no, Obama & Co. were virtuous enough to be given charge of this exceptional republic.

They appear to be engineering a return to superstition and depostism. Easier to control.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

Madison was the most clear-eyed political theorist of any of them. Jefferson was an excellent polemicist, Hamilton an outstanding technocrat, and of course Washington as the guy who made it all happen, but Madison was the one with a handle on human nature and how to harness it within a government.

If you want to believe divine intervention had a hand in the US Constitution then God arranging to have Jefferson safely out of the country at the time of the drafting would be a good place to start your argument.

Rob said...

Ask yourself. Where was Jefferson during the Revolutionary War? IMHO, the answer (sitting in safety on his self absorbed butt at Montecello) says a lot about the founder of the Democratic Party, and the party itself.

rcommal said...

but Madison was the one with a handle on human nature and how to harness it within a government.


Hm

rcommal said...

"to harness": the eternal question

rcommal said...

the eternal quest: "harnessing"

Astro said...

Deborah - Thanks for that info. With those before/after pictures of the restoration I now have a much better appreciation of the restoration effort. Those people deserves some kudos. THAT ought to be emphasized at Montpelier rather than the sophomoric history and cardboard cut-outs.

Patrick said...

Garage Mahal wrote (long before this thread died)

Thomas Paine in my opinion gets shortchanged by liberals and conservatives. How many colonists that had chosen a neutral stance were swayed by Paine's booklet logical call for independence? Common Sense sold over 150,000 copies and was read by 1/5 of the colonial population. Adams once complained to Jefferson, “History is to ascribe the American Revolution to Thomas Paine."

That is roughly the equivalent of twenty million today. Hard to overstate that impact.

rcommal said...

Thomas Paine, born in 1737, arrived on (emigrated to) these shores in 1774. Note the date. (And also that none other than Benjamin Franklin had to do with it.)

Regardless, to classify Thomas Paine as writing from a quintessentially American standpoint is--on the face of it--pure bullshit. To base any sort of native-colonial American philosophy on what he wrote (as opposed to on what others wrote who actually had true roots in the nascent U.S. of A.) is to deliberately NOT base that philosophy on a root of a native plant.

Something to ponder, is all.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

the eternal quest: "harnessing"

When designing a government the harnessing of human nature is a fine idea, unless you like despotism. Humans are vain and power-seeking, but these same humans are put in charge of the machinery of government. How can you harness the non-Angelic nature of men in order to create a government that respects liberty, or at least controls itself? That was Madison's central problem.

Jefferson would have come up with some utopian nonsense that would have quickly collapsed. (He was in favor of a new constitution every 20 years or so.) Hamilton would have created a strong and effective executive that would have failed to check itself within a generation or two, maybe a president or two. And then we'd have seen some real harnessing going on.

rcommal said...

The more I live, the longer I see common sense as a mirage.

rcommal said...

All that aside, here (listed in alphabetical order) are my favorite Founding Fathers if you were to absolutely insist that I name just three, and only three, and--to further hamstring me--without further comment:

John Adams
Benjamin Franklin
George Washington

Saint Croix said...

George Mason is the greatest American. He understood the fatal flaws in the Constitution.

That made me google George Mason. I don't know if he was the greatest American, but he was pretty damn awesome. Refused to sign the Constitution unless they added a Bill of Rights. Jumped up and down. Yelled at people. Pissed off George Washington. Refused to sign the Constitution! Said we need a Bill of Rights. Jumped up and down some more. Made enemies. Pissed off everybody. Got himself a Bill of Rights, just by being a pain in the ass. Got us a Bill of Rights! Yay, George Mason.

Died peacefully in his sleep.

deborah said...

Washington
Adams
Hamilton
Madison

Popville said...

Alexander Hamilton, the architect of Federalism.

Ramesees TheRam said...

James Madison - he wrote the Constitution for God's Sake!

Nathan Alexander said...

Leslyn,
I'll stick with my opinion--that your words--lies--
lend aid and comfort to the type of person who wants to destroy. Perhaps the next Timothy McVey or Richard Reed?


Why do you so quickly disown Bill Ayers and his disciples?

Embarrassed by truth? No leg to stand on?

But you wrap yourself in the flag so quickly!

Typical.

If stupid is as stupid does, the left/liberal/progressives are deliberately unconcerned about the long-term good of the US in pursuit of their own comfort.

And your arguments have placed you squarely in the left/liberal/progressive camp.

At least have the courage to face up to the consequences of your advocacy, please.

leslyn said...

rcommal said... Thomas Paine, born in 1737, arrived on (emigrated to) these shores in 1774.....[THEREFORE] to classify Thomas Paine as writing from a quintessentially American standpoint is--on the face of it--pure bullshit.

The influence of was so great that John Adams said "Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.”

Sadly, because Paine wrote , which advocated deism and criticized Christianity, only six people attended his funeral. I guess he was good enough to continually influence and advocate for the Revolution, but not good enough to be considered merely one's neighbor.

leslyn said...
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SukieTawdry said...

And the 11% are still here because...

Ralph L said...

Where was Jefferson during the Revolutionary War? IMHO, the answer (sitting in safety on his self absorbed butt at Montecello) says a lot about the founder of the Democratic Party, and the party itself.
He was in the Continental Congress and was then governor of Virginia, a reasonably important post at the time, from 79-81. So you're right, he was on the government payroll, telling other people what to do, just like a Dem.

rcommal said...

Sukie Tawdry: The first time I ever heard/heard of The Beggar's Opera, it was when I the littlest of persons, before kindergarten, even. I got to learn in more detail about that just a scant bit thereafter, via all the explanation and knowledge surrounding a production of Brecht's + Weill's "Threepenny Opera" when I was around 8 years old.

Shorter version:

Sukie Tawdry. Really? Why?

rcommal said...

I mean, hell. It is arguable as to whether you even have the spelling of the character's name right.