June 4, 2013

"The first liberal Democratic president took office exactly 100 years ago this spring."

"So why aren’t contemporary liberals bestowing the same praise on Woodrow Wilson as they lavish on Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson?"

50 comments:

pogo101 said...

Among other possible reason, it may be due to Wilson's fondness for racist jokes, and not just in private. He'd open political speeches with japes about the "darkies."

traditionalguy said...

Wilson was an aristocrat from the South. That really offends the New England and Mid-western liberals.

Jake said...

"After the U.S. entered the war in Europe, his administration began operating the railroads, lifting the hopes of leftists who had long advocated public ownership of what was then a rich and vital industry."

Funny how after the government seized the railroads they ceased being a rich and vital industry.

Mogget said...

I believe it was Wilson who RE-segregated public buildings.

chuck said...

Wilson was still taught as an admirable figure when I was in school in the early 60's. But it is not only Wilson who has slipped out of view, Johnson was disappeared almost immediately. Which is a bit odd, as he was the one mostly responsible for the current welfare state. No doubt the Vietnam War accounts for that. I knew students on food stamps who protested the war and despised Johnson. Go figure.

Nomennovum said...

What, with Wilson's racism and opinion that the Constitution was shit, you'd think the Dems would be trumpeting this anniversary.

Well, they probably are in secret.

Freder Frederson said...

Obvious answer to a stupid question:

Because Wilson's record was mixed, at best. (e.g., League of Nations good, Espionage Act and resegregating the civil service really sucky.

boldface said...

Because Wilson was a racist. Progressivism was born in sin. It purported to exalt "science," but back then, it included such lovely things as eugenics. So no wonder they want to hide it. Chasing fads can leave you embarassed after the fad is gone.

Mr. D said...

Wilson belongs pretty close to the bottom of the rankings. Racist, authoritarian and ruthless is a bad combination.

Chip S. said...

Wilson's mistake was the transparency of his beliefs in the incompetence of blacks and the justice of state repression to advance his goals.

O/w he's a thoroughly modern Dem.

Pettifogger said...

If you redirect the racial animus 180 degrees, Wilson is very much a modern liberal.

bbkingfish said...

I don't believe I've ever heard a liberal "lavish praise" on Lyndon Johnson. Examples please.

Virgil Hilts said...

Wilson was a complete asshole. Still, interesting theory in John Barry's book that had Wilson not got so sick (Barry thinks from Influenza) on way over to EU to negotiate Treaty of Versailles, he might not have been so out-maneuvered by French who succeeded in making TofV extremely punitive (thus leading to WWII, etc.). Whatever the reason, Wilson blew it.

Methadras said...

Wilson didn't go far enough by their standards. Unlike FDR and Johnson, the true pioneers of Marxism.

Anthony said...

Barack Obama has much to be grateful to Wilson for:

The Espionage Act of 1917
The Income Tax
Racial bean-counting in federal employment
The belief that the Constitution means what the President wants it to mean

William said...

It takes about a hundred years for the left to acknowledge the failures of their heroes. Wilson was awful, and his Presidency was a calamity for the world.....If Teddy had won the 1912 election, the world would have had a different and probably better history.......I read the piece. It was notable for its omissions. In the treaty he brought back to Washington, he made the USA the guarantor of Armenia's international boundaries. WTF........If I had my druthers, I would choose someone not undergoing the mental changes associated with a stroke to negotiate the boundaries of the world.

Bob_R said...

Racist, Eugenicist, Fascist - Everything the Progressive movement was about.

wyo sis said...

Sadly for Wilson he was a very open racist. Nearly everything he did was Marxist. (League of Nations in the positive column! really?)

But you cannot praise a racist today even if he was pure Marxist. Racism is a very Marxist thing, but it won't fly in today's world. At least not quite yet. The sheeple haven't been completely subdued yet and they still need useful low information voters.

Henry said...

What? No love for Grover Cleveland?

He wasn't "liberal".

Cleveland was the leader of the pro-business Bourbon Democrats who opposed high tariffs, Free Silver, inflation, imperialism and subsidies to business, farmers or veterans. His battles for political reform and fiscal conservatism made him an icon for American conservatives of the era. Cleveland won praise for his honesty, independence, integrity, and commitment to the principles of classical liberalism. Cleveland relentlessly fought political corruption, patronage, and bossism.

In this one list we can survey everything our current national parties are not.

The Drill SGT said...

Mr. D said...
Wilson belongs pretty close to the bottom of the rankings. Racist, authoritarian and ruthless is a bad combination.


The one below him is the first female President, Edith Wilson...

Scott M said...

Good question. Didn't Hillary say she wanted to be considered as a progressive in the Wilsonian type?

Big Mike said...

Raised in the South, he smiled on Jim Crow and did not object when two of his cabinet appointees re-segregated their departments.

In fact Wilson was a forceful advocate for segregation which he asserted was a "positive good" for Black people.

A crusading Presbyterian, he vowed to “teach the Latin American republics to elect good men” and dispatched troops to Mexico and Haiti when they didn’t follow his advice.

Gotta get that jab in at Christians, I see. A century later we are still coping with anti-Americanism in Latin America due to these invasions, as well as later ones.

During World War I, he enforced new laws that effectively outlawed most dissent from government policy.

The Federalists under Adams and Democrats under Wilson put "sedition" laws on the books. Modern Democrats avoid passing sedition laws; they just peck away at the First Amendment with speech codes.

The above, by themselves would be damning. But we also have to add in the Palmer Red Raids by Wilson's Attorney General, not to mention running for president in 1916 on the slogan "He kept us out of war" while actively maneuvering behind the scenes to get the US into World War I. Plus the way Wilson's "Fourteen Points" sowed the seeds for the next World War only 19 years later.

Typical Democrat, I'd say.

William said...

He was nearly totally incapacitated by a stroke. It never occurred to him or the people around him that he should resign. The same thing happened with FDR. He was visibly dying but both he and his followers felt that a half dead FDR was the absolutely best choice to guide America. Ditto with Clinton. His offense was not impeachable, but a decent man would have resigned. So give LBJ credit. He was the only Democratic President of the 20th Century to put the interests of the country above his own will to power.

William said...

Little known fact about his AG Palmer. The big scandal associated with Palmer was not the Palmer Raids, but his raiding of the patents held by German companies in the US. These patents were appropriated and, in a rigged bidding scheme, given to favored Democrats at the time of America's entry into WWI. The value of these patents far exceeded the far better known Teapot Dome scandal in the Harding administration.

Larry J said...

So give LBJ credit. He was the only Democratic President of the 20th Century to put the interests of the country above his own will to power.

Not hardly. There was a company that won most of the US construction projects in Southeast Asia during LBJ's day. IIRC, they were Raymond, Morrison, Knuteson, Brown & Root (and one or two others). Lady Bird just happened to be a major stockholder in that company. Just a coincidence, I'm sure. That's how LBJ left office worth over $40 million (well over $200 million in today's money). The Vietnam war lasted as long as it did in part because so many people like LBJ were making too much money to end it.

Also, his big War on Poverty programs were not only failures, they were done to expand the Democrats' political power. That's how the party of Lester Maddox, George Wallace, Bull Conner, etc. came to win over 90% of the black vote.

edutcher said...

Woody Wilson was an unreconstructed confederate and an arrant racist who segregated the US Navy and thought "Birth Of A Nation" was great history.

He started a domestic Gestapo and pioneered whole "Constitution is a living document" nonsense and wanted us to switch to a parliamentary system.

He was also as big a fool when it came to foreign policy as Choom.

Robert Cook said...

"Wilson didn't go far enough by their standards. Unlike FDR and Johnson, the true pioneers of Marxism."

Uh...wouldn't Karl Marx be the "true pioneer" of Marxism?

That aside, if you're trying to assert that FDR and LBJ instituted communism in America, well...that's just stupid.

Robert Cook said...

"Ditto with Clinton. His offense was not impeachable, but a decent man would have resigned."

Clinton's offense was impeachable. And he was impeached!

Drago said...

Larry J:"That's how LBJ left office worth over $40 million (well over $200 million in today's money)."

Brown and Root also got most of the road contracts in and around Houston in the 70's and 80's.

Of course, the 10 to 15 years the road construction was supposed to last never did.

There was a time in the early/mid '80's when just about every freeway thru Houston as under significant construction in order to make up for the lack of quality in B&R's work.

LBJ also used the federal gov't (FCC) to squeeze the owners of a radio station in Austin and resulted in the owners of that radio station to sell the station at a significant discount.

Who picked up this devalued property?

Lady Bird Johnson, of course.

But hey, Nixon was "a crook" or something.

Read Robert Caro's fantastic biographies of LBJ for all the hilarious hi-jinks of LBJ.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Yeah Fredo, that League of Nations worked out so fucking great.

It must take a lot of effort to consistently spout the most retarded thing imaginable every day.

Drago said...

Robert Cook: "Uh...wouldn't Karl Marx be the "true pioneer" of Marxism?"

I guess that might depend on what you mean by pioneer.

A "pioneer" might mean an actual implementer of a theory or that theory's "implications" as opposed to the creator/refiner of the theory.

Marx was certainly the intellectual father for Marxism (seems tautological), but did he ever actually implement policies based on that philosophy?

And speaking of Marx, now THAT is one overrepresented (in the academy) Dead White European Male!

Yet the left looooooves him.....

Kirk Parker said...

Ahem. Read all about it.

Skeptical Voter said...

Because Wilson was a fool; just like Da Bamstuh.

damikesc said...

So give LBJ credit. He was the only Democratic President of the 20th Century to put the interests of the country above his own will to power.

...provided one ignores how well he tended to make out due to his "public service".

Oso Negro said...

You want to read all about some shit? Read this piece by Garet Garrett.

http://mises.org/daily/2726

jimbino said...

I find it interesting that Wilson, in spite of his advanced degrees and classical studies, was not fluent in a foreign language.

Sadly, fluency in a foreign language is something no president has shown since Teddy Roosevelt, and some couldn't even speak English, like GWB or had to take lessons in pronunciation of American English, like Carter.

Amazing that even the smarter ones, like Nixon and Clinton, were monolingual, though you never caught Nixon saying things like, "For Hillary and I."

Chip S. said...

you never caught Nixon saying things like, "For Hillary and I."

True. But didn't he say "America can't stand Pat"?

Mitch H. said...

Wilson's method for befriending a new acquaintance: "discover a common hate".

That writer really soft-balled Wilson's intense and activist racism, making it sound like he was just going along with the program of others. And he didn't even mention Wilson's European-influenced contempt for the Constitution and eagerness to replace and supplant that document.

I don't believe I've ever heard a liberal "lavish praise" on Lyndon Johnson. Examples please.

Hubert Humphrey? A leftish member of my usual Tuesday Night drinking crew is an ardent fan.

Nearly everything he did was Marxist.

Not true, Wilson despised Bolshies to the point of sending divisions of American troops into Russia during the early days of the Russian Civil War. He was more of a fascist than a communist, and had no use whatsoever for any of the Marxian sects' dogma.

Lady Bird just happened to be a major stockholder in [Brown & Root]

That wasn't necessary for LBJ to throw government contracts at B&R in boxcar loads. The two entities were in each other's pockets from nearly the beginnings of LBJ's career. He greased the skids in Washington for Brown & Root, and they kept him afloat on a sea of dodgy political contributions, which really should have put him and most of Brown & Root's executives in prison for egregious felony violations of even the rudimentary campaign finance laws of the time.

Carl said...

Because Wilson was a snobby prig, and he dragged the country into a futile and divise war, and then inconveniently had a stroke and turned into a drooling moron when it came time to reap the fruits of victory, such as they were.

Well, that and the fact that he was "liberal" to about the same degree as Hitler headed a democratic party.

Sam L. said...

jimbino, I've lived my life west of the Mississippi and never had a problem understanding W. Maybe it's an eastern thing?

Baron Zemo said...

Woodrow Wilson was the perfect Democrat.

Michael K said...

"he was the one mostly responsible for the current welfare state. No doubt the Vietnam War accounts for that. I knew students on food stamps who protested the war and despised Johnson. Go figure."

I figure that everybody but lefties have realized what a disaster the welfare state has become, even as they exist on food stamps because there are no jobs.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

jimbino said...

Sadly, fluency in a foreign language is something no president has shown since Teddy Roosevelt

Wikipedia would disagree.

Marty said...

The Lib Dems have always been the party of paternalism; Wilson pioneered bringing this politicopathology into the White House. Since that time, the poor masses whom our overseers believe cannot exist without their exquisite guidance have yet to make up our minds once and for all what America is to be. Are we a nation of sovereign individuals pursuing happiness with limited government intrusion, or are we a nation of clients and wards, content to be taken care of by experts who know better? And until we stop being so easily bought off with our own money, the ambivalence will continue.

The Libs are silent about Wilson because they do not want to bring attention to the simple truth that paternalism always involves coercion and tyranny. For any of the rest of us to point this out is, I fear, hurtful.

Paco Wové said...

"Wikipedia would disagree."

When Jimbino learns how to spell "America", I will give his opinions some weight.

ken in sc said...

My grandmother, whose married name was Wilson, hated him. According to her, he took us into a war we didn't have to go into after he said he would not take us into it. I think she was right.

pst314 said...

Don't forget Wilson's gangs of thugs who threatened and beat people who publicly dissented from Wilson's policies.

pst314 said...

It's very appropriate that the question was raised in the New Republic: The New Republic was founded as an organ of Progressive propaganda. The New Republic was a champion of Woodrow Wilson. It also did a lot of cheerleading for European fascism...and Woodrow Wilson was more than a tiny bit of a fascist.

rcocean said...

Wilson was a perfect example of a Scot-Irish politician. LBJ and Jimmy Carter was his true heirs.

Internationalist, world-saver,and wanna be pacifist who sent men to war. He single-handedly saved Lenin and Bolsheviks. And he supported the establishment of Zionist State.

The Palmer raids were his finest hour, where he finally recognized the Bolshevik menace, and sent subversive commies back to the USSR.

rcocean said...

Like most Southern Liberals you could never trust him and figure out what side he would land on. One minute "Peace at any Price" the next "War without stint". One minute, appointing Brandeis to the SCOTUS, the next locking up WWI pacifists and the Palmer raids.