Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

No Thanks to Presidents

Seal of the Vice President of the United States

Image via Wikipedia

This year will be no different than any other. We give no thanks to presidents till they’re out of office. Till then, we give them a lot of lip, like kids who think their parents are dumb and later realize they’re were pretty smart after all.

This is especially true since JFK. The so-called “seer” Jeanne Dixon claimed to have predicted his assassination, but did no such thing: she merely said he would be an “unlucky president,” a broad statement to catch anything during his administration.

The White House, after all, is the home of Bad Luck. LBJ, after starting the War on Poverty and getting the Civil Rights Bill into law, had to forfeit a second term because of the war in Viet Nam. How unlucky can you get?

Then there was Nixon and Watergate, and ‘nuff said, there. Ford is remembered for falling down stairs. Carter choked on a nearly 20% interest rate brought on by Paul Volcker, who knew it would cost Jimmy a second term, but there was also the hostage-taking in Iran (and who could have prevented that? Nobody, that’s who) and U.S. copters that fell in the desert in a blown rescue operation. Bad luck? You betcha.

Carter’s “malaise” speech, by the way, was notable for his never having said that word, but everything stuck on him, unlike his successor, Reagan, whose failings have been blessed with American amnesia: like his ridiculous visit to Bitberg Cemetery where SS troops are interred, only because Helmut Kohl wouldn’t let him back out, and Reagan preferred to honor Kohl’s sensitivities rather than those of Americans.

We should also add that while he was the darling of the Religious Right, Ronnie was not much of a church-goer during his terms, always citing security concerns, which never bothered Carter or Clinton; and he never invested serious political capital in issues the Moral Majority cared about, like abortion. He always talked a good game but never did anything.

Then there was the financial crisis in ‘87 when the Gipper’s economic policy came home to roost and the markets fell apart. He didn’t know a damn thing about the economy save for a little tax-cutting mantra that he thought was the answer to everything. That, by the way, was when the Federal Reserve decided that someone had to run the country in that crisis, since Reagan wasn’t, and now we have a more powerful Fed than before. Guess who we can thank for that, this Thanksgiving? But no one remembers this, so the Gipper gets to be the one lucky prez in fifty years. Not that he deserves it.

Bush the Elder said we should read his lips but we didn’t hear the word “new” tucked between “no” and “taxes.” That meant all the old taxes got to stay. Then he failed to storm the gates of Baghdad when the iron was hot, and the rest is a legacy of war. Oh, and he puked on Japan’s prime minister.

That brought in Clinton, the only prez whom Alan Greenspan said understood the economy, and Alan had served both Reagan, who he said didn’t know jack about it, and the First Bush, who did, but “didn’t have the courage of his convictions.” But Bill & Co. gave us and left us huge reserves, which it took George the Shrub less than a year to blow. Call it Bush’s Folly.

Remember too that he and his veep Dick Cheney were both unwelcome at the last GOP convention when a Republican was in the Oval Office. Bush hopes his recent book will turn his luck from bad to good: Fox News is leading the cheers, as if to influence history, but that that won’t work. You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. And if Georgie’s biggest downer while prez was being dissed by Kanye West, he needs to get over himself. But his is a shallow mind.

Now we come to the unluckiest of all presidents since JFK. Obama has accomplished a lot in a mere two years but is painted with the broadest brushes of revisionism since his election. Imagine if he cried the way John Boehner did. And he doesn’t dare ever to show pique: we won’t stand to have an angry black man in the White House.

And like Lincoln, there are people out there who want to kill him. Militarist groups among the populace mince no words about that. Sure, there have always been crazies who try to pot-shot our Chiefs but these are no lone gunmen who want to do in Barack. How his wife stands it, I don’t know. And even Michelle is the constant target of vile words, and sometimes they too hurt like bullets. And she doesn’t talk like a lunatic, a la a certain Supreme Court Justice’s wife. Right-wingers forgot about that in a hurry whilst they parse every word of Ms. Obama’s.

Every president since JFK has left office under a cloud of derision. That’s our thanks to them, and not only at Thanksgiving. Not till they’re out to pasture do we look back on them with any fondness. Silly us.

If there’s any lesson to this it must be that the only way to leave office with a nation’s love and affection, is feet first. What a shame.

2 Responses to “No Thanks to Presidents”

  1. Shameful, indeed!

  2. that’s why this American model of democracy isn’t the greatest – in the Parliamentary model there is an appointed head of state who is above partisan politics – the Queen and the various Governors General perform a very useful function –


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