POTUS welcomes into its ranks 15 new members as of today. Since there was just one member before--me--that's a whole lot of new members.
I will tell you a bit about each one of them.
- Kathleen Dalton is the author of a biography of TR that is comprehensive, authoritative and a delight to read.
- Alonzo Hamby is the author of a biography of Harry Truman. Lon, as he is known to his friends, knows more about Truman than anybody (though he is too shy to say so himself).
- Joan Hoff is famous for her book about Richard Nixon, which ushered in a generation of fresh thinking about this much-maligned president.
- Jeffrey Kimball is well-known as a scholar on Vietnam; recently we had the pleasure of publishing one his pieces on HNN: Why It's Time to Use the"E" and"I" Words to Describe American Policies for 200 Years.
- Stanley Kutler is known chiefly for his fight to force the Nixon people to give up control of the Watergate tapes. But as readers of HNN know, he has scholarly observations to make about many subjects and he is always interesting.
- Allan Lichtman is known at the moment as a presidential historian at American University, but he may become more famous soon as a candidate for the US Senate in Maryland. We'll be watching.
- Timothy Naftali works for the Miller Center and recently published a dazzling history of counterterrorism (which was HNN's Book of the Month in July.
- Chester Pach is working on the University Press of Kansas history of the Ronald Reagan administration (earlier he did a book in the same series on Ike).
- James Pfiffner is a scholar of the modern presidency; you'll see him quoted just about everywhere.
- Mel Small did the Kansas book on Nixon, which was celebrated for its even-handedness.
- Gil Troy works in Canada, where he is a professor of history at McGill, but his area of study is the American presidency. Gil's latest book: Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s. (Disclosure: Gil is a member of HNN's Advisory Board.)
- Ted Widmer, a speech writer for Bill Clinton, now runs the CV Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College and recently wrote a wonderful biography in the Schlesinger series on Martin Van Buren.
- Larry Wittner is one of the leading scholars of American nuclear history and the author of numerous essays for HNN including, most recently, Will We Still Remember Hiroshima After the Last Victims Die?. I first encountered him some 30 years ago. He was leaving Vassar just as I was beginning there as a student.
- Julian Zelizer, Professor of History, Boston University, is another scholar whose name you come across frequently in the media. He writes about presidents and Congress.
And now--soon!--you'll be hearing from them all. (Pardon my boosterism. It's in my job description.)
So Bill Clinton's memoirs are about to hit the market. Should we expect them to be great? Or will they be, like his presidency, a bit of a disappointment?
There is only one memoir by a president that historians have paid much attention to. It's Grant's memoirs. Ironic, because Grant is usually listed as one of the two failed presidents in our history (the other is Harding; see yesterday's blog entry). To no one's surprise, the memoir, perhaps written with the help of Mark Twain, focused on Grant's military exploits not his presidency.
Why then are there no great presidential memoirs? First, only a few presidents were wordsmiths: Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson. In Jefferson's day presidents simply didn't write memoirs. Lincoln was assassinated before he could possibly have written his. Wilson suffered a stroke a year before leaving office, incapacitating him.
But more importantly a memoir to be successful must be honest. No president can afford to be truly honest. He can't explain the deals he made, the compromises he accepted, the sacrifices of his principles on the altar of personal ambition. So instead of the truth we get the president AS HE WOULD LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED. This is death to a good memoir. For a person who has spent their life concealing who they are--and all politicians do this to an extent--the memoir is especially unsuited as a literary form to presidents. For the memoir depends on revelation.
The gap between the image a president projects and the reality of his gaining and keeping power is so large as to make an honest memoir impossible. To be honest would be to admit that the person presented to the public through the years was something of an artificial invention. That would prove damaging.
Besides, there's the Lyndon Johnson syndrome, as identified by Doris Kearns Goodwin in her oral biography of LBJ (which is the memoir LBJ should have written). Goodwin noted that she had been hired to help the president write his memoirs. She dutifully complied, but was distressed to discover that Johnson wouldn't allow her to write anything interesting about him. He told her great anecdotes. She'd write them into the manuscript. And he would remove them. Why? Because they didn't sound "presidential" to him. In other words, he sounded too much like a human being. And presidents in their public image aren't really human. Their images are constructs.
Biographies tell us who presidents are. No president can be elected on the basis of who they are. Their image must comport with the public's desires at a particular time. So a few elements of the person's personality and character are highlighted by their campaign to create an image pleasing to the public. There are no shades of gray allowed; the public won't have it.
I cannot imagine Clinton writing a dull book. His publisher won't let him (they have to recoup their investment) and he isn't dull. But I wouldn't expect it to be honest. How can he be honest? He'd have to say that he cheated on his wife repeatedly. He'd have to admit he celebrated welfare reform for political expediency (and then was surprised that things turned out as well as they did!). He'd have to explain why he attacked Sister Soljah in the 1992 campaign. He'd have to explain why he selected Madelaine Albright as secretary of state over other candidates more qualified (was it because she was a woman? If it was, he cannot admit it). He would have to explain honestly why he told a group of fat cats that he raised their taxes too much; was it because he is just an inherent panderer? He would have to say what he thought of George Stephanopolus's own memoir. And on and on.
So I don't expect he is capable of writing a greatr memoir. I do expect he will write one that is readable and enlightening on certain poiints.
What stops us from admitting this basic fact? Well, the obvious one is that we are uncomfortable wearing an imperial crown such as might have fitted Napoleon comfortably. No country that owes its birth to a fight for independence from a colonial empire can turn around and embrace empire without a twinge of self-acknowledged hypocrisy.
To ask us to give up on our birthright is to ask us to do something that no people anywhere at any time has ever been known to surrender willingly: it's identity. Ferguson as a British subject is not in a position to understand this apparently.
In this case our identity is the product of illusion, as Ferguson rightly claims. Who can really argue that we are not an empire when we have, as Chalmers Johnson points out, some 700 bases around the world. Please.
And illusions are powerful things. Another word for an illusion is myth. And as I have argued in several books, myths are what define us as Americans in that we do not share a common ancestry. In a polyglot nation like ours it is our myths that give us a sense of ourselves.
And it has been the case for as long as we have been in existence as a nation, even before the great sweeping surge of immigrants (my grandparents among them) in the late 19th century. Crevecoeur's great question,"What then is the American, this new man?", is several centuries old by now, proving that we were puzzled by our own identity even before we achieved nationhood. (Crevecoeur:"Whence came all these people? They are a mixture of English, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, Germans, and Swedes. From this promiscuous breed, that race now called Americans have arisen."
Even Teddy Roosevelt, our first self-proclaimed imperialist president came to realize that imperialism isn't in our DNA even as we act out imperial schemes. As Kathleen Dalton writes in her splendid biography of TR (how many times can I toot this book? Watch!), Roosevelt concluded that "public opinion in the United States was not ready to sustain the work of ‘civilizing’ people from less advanced civilizations." We weren't ready then and we aren't ready now. To be sure, if it were easy, well, maybe, we'd embrace it. But it's not easy to take on the "White Man's Burden." As TR told the Kaiser, how very "difficult it is for men in highly civilized countries to realize what grim work is needed in order to advance the outposts of civilization in the world’s dark places."
Difficult indeed--as we are now finding out in Iraq.
Tom, Question. You keep hammering the Democratic Party. Do you really think the Democrats are the problem? Or is it just easier to focus anger on them. The problem is that Americans are conservative. Roberts seems conservative. You can get them [Americans] angry over Scalia or Thomas when they seem radical. But conservatives who don't seem radical go over well with Americans. That's the problem.Am I wrong?
But then there is the TR who is so admirable. TR the conservationist (who fought Congress and the western ranching interests to save wilderness for future generations). TR, the Road show Hero (at times he dressed up as a cowboy, making some people think he looked like one of those colorful characters in Buffalo Bill's shows). And TR the Reformer (he championed the 8 hour day as governor for government employees and for contractors doing business with the state, among other reforms).
All this is well-known, and makes TR such a fascinating figure, whether you love him or hate him. But I was surprised to read Dalton's account of TR's book about Oliver Cromwell.
I had never paid much attention to this book. I should have. We all should. Here we have an American politician who employed a moral vocabulary in his everyday political speech studying a moral leader who employed a moral vocabulary in his everyday political speech.
So TR liked Cromwell, right? Wrong. TR, says Dalton, believed that Cromwell's "goal of creating a world 'where civil government and social life alike should be based upon the Commandments set forth in the Bible'" was dangerous. "Though he judged that the Lord Protector's fearlessness and moralism had been virtues, he 'lacked the power of self-repression possessed by Washington and Lincoln,' notably when he lost his temper after a fruitless negotiation between Parliament and the army and childishly threw a pillow at the speaker before he stomped out of the room.'"
TR opined that Cromwell had become arrogant, in other words, in his use of power. Being right and moral weren’t sufficient. To achieve wise leadership Cromwell needed to exercise restraint.
TR himself worried about his own powers of self-restraint. Some may wonder if he always achieved the correct balance. One can imagine him throwing a pillow at fellows with whom he disagreed. But he at least was aware of the possibility he might go too far--evidence of self-knowledge not often in evidence in moral politicians of his type.
The focus on Rove has obscured this secondary story involving McClellan, but it is actually critical. It is hard to believe that Mclellan knew the truth of Rove's involvement and lied about it. Much more likely is that Rove lied to him. If that in fact happened then Mclellan must be doing another form of lying--he may be lying awake at night wondering if he was set up by Rove. If he reaches this conclusion he will have to resign or face the humiliating truth that he is a stoodge. If he takes himself seriously he can't reach tha conclusion, I'm guessing, so he'll resign. He may even leak some unfavorable information about Rove.
McClellan is unlikely to seek open revenge against Rove. That could put the career of his brother, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in jeopardy. But he can't sit and do nothing. He would have to be a chump to do that.
It is possible of course that McClellan was not lied to by Rove. McClellan, new to the job as press secretary 2 years ago when he made his strong defense of the White House, may have simply been vamping. But even if that was the case, surely he would have expected Rove to tell him the truth as soon as he returned from the pressroom.
A Times editorial on the CIA leak case says no reporter can choose the circumstances for upholding a principle."It doesn't matter whether we think a source is a good person or has good motivations. A reporter promises confidentiality, and the paper backs up the journalist because otherwise the public will not learn what it needs to know. ...Reporters cannot apply ideology when protecting their sources, any more than civil liberties lawyers can defend the First Amendment rights of only the people they agree with."
Nice theory--but the fact is that reporters do make moral choices based on ideology. In the journalistic pantheon of noble gods there's Deep Throat. From a reporter's perspective, he was critical to getting the Watergate story. Yet the inconsistencies were palpable in the way reporters handled his story and those in the Nixon administration. The narrative for Haldeman et al was about the abuse of power and law breaking. The narrative for Deep Throat was heroic. Yet consider that both Haldeman and Deep Throat were guilty of the abuse of power. Haldeman abused power to keep Nixon in office--and to keep his enemies at bay. Deep Throat abused power to nail Nixon. What abuse of power was Deep Throat guilty of? Revealing grand jury testimony, secrets from FBI files, and more. As Woodward says in his new book, The Secret Man, Mark Felt--AKA Deep Throat--was considered guilty by a top Justice Department attorney of violating his oath by revealing secrets.
Haldeman was a snake. Felt is a hero.
Morality, in short, counts. Reporters aren't neutral. If they were, Woodward would have had to blow the whistle on Mark Felt's abuse of power.
He holds as chief justice a great deal of power. It is not unreasonable for reporters to wonder if he plans to continue holding onto this power in light of his physical ailments. To treat their question with contempt, as he did, is beneath his office--and an insult to democracy.
But the deeper question, suggested by history, is whether he ought to hold onto power when his own ability to execute his responsibilities is in question.
As the conservatives like to say, Let's go back to first principles.
The reason justices are given life tenure on the Court is to protect them from outside political influence. The Court of course is deeply influenced by outside events (as Mr. Dooley noted a century ago, they follow the elections). But life tenure affords them needed independence from daily political concerns.
Justice Rehnquist in staying on the Court is exercising a right given to him by the framers. But in doing so he is not honoring a principle of the framers. Indeed, he is abusing the right he was given. It was given him to protect the independence of the third branch of government even at the risk that some might abuse the right by hanging onto the office after they were no longer able to fill it. The founders were aware that some men might abuse the right. Within 15 years of the making of the Constitution one man did: New Hampshire Judge John Pickering, who lost his mind while a member of the federal judiciary. But the framers were convinced that few men would abuse the right and that in any case the risk of some men abusing it was a risk worth taking so that all men might be protected in the independent exercise of their judgment.
In hanging on the chief justice is demeaning himself and his Court. He should resign forthwith and let the president pick a replacement in a timely manner.
So did the Bush administration really buy the argument it was making? Probably not. But they settled on a simple easy to understand argument that the public could grasp. The price of this rhetorical legerdemain is that public opinion is now unprepared to digest the news of the attack on London properly. London presumably was safer too because of Iraq. And yet London was hit. President Bush can mno longer make the argument he has been making--that Iraq makes us safer. This means he will have to sell the war on yet another new basis.
He is running out of arguments.
If only he levelled with the American people he wouldn't be in this situation. But he can't speak the truth apparently without admitting some dark secrets--either about the real cause for the war (whatever the real cause is; I don't know) or the nature of the threat we face from terrorists (do they really hate us because they hate our way of life or because we are in their face, occupying their lands, backing dictators, and giving support to Israel's occupation policies).
He has been the miseducator-in-chief. The chickens are coming home to roost.
And I come back again to what I have been saying for several years: Leaving a Christian army in the Muslim Middle East can come to no good in the end.
At the time I was blogging I didn't have John Ehrman's new book on The Eighties handy to refer to, but now I do. He offers a parallel strategy pursued by Ronald Reagan. (Pmage 143.)
In 1986 Chief Justice Burger resigned. This gave Reagan two openings. He made Rehnquist chief justice and made Scalia an associate justice.
Rehnquist's elevation drew fire from liberals and they opposed him. But having opposed Rehnquist they were not in a position to simultaneously oppose Scalia. Except in extraordinary circumstances--think Carswell and Haynesworth--senators don't like to court controversy by opposing two of a president's nominees in succession. Doing so makes them look like purists to their political colleagues. In the world of politics this is tantamount to the mark of Satan.
In this case President Bush would be employing a similar strategy. He would be using the elevation of Scalia to chief justice to draw the support of the right to cover his nomination of his great friend Gonzales. To sweeten the meal he'd toss the right the bone of another rightwinger for his third nomination.
But all this depends on Rehnquist resigning.
Bill--are you reading this?
If I understand Karl Rove, he is hoping the phone will ring and at the other end will be the Supreme Court clerk announcing a second resignation from the bench.
Having one resignation is good. But it gives him little freedom to maneuver between the competing interest groups that have a stake in a new justice. A second resignation would give him just the freedom he needs. And if that second resignation turns out to be William Rehnquist's Rove will be in Supreme Court heaven. For then he would have 3 confirmation fights on his hands. And three is what he needs.
Imagine. He could elevate Scalia to chief justice, appeasing the hard right while also picking another hard right-winger to repalce Rehnquist. Those two moves would buy him enough credibility with the right that he would be able to put his friend Gonzales on the bench, winning the hearts of Hispanics--and giving cover to moderate Republican senators who otherwise might be reluctant to vote for more hard right nominees.
Rehnquist is not much of a politician. But if he thinks about the politics of the situation, he'll have the clerk make that phone call.
The America people, as Lawrence Kaplan showed in a great piece in the New Republic 2 years ago, want victory in war. ("Willpower" New Republic, September 8 & 15, 2003.) Bush cannot deliver victory, however defined. So the poll numbers will drop. (I usually hesitate to make predictions. Historians can't agree on the past let alone predict the future. But I am confident about this prediction.)
Bush's challenge was to lift people's spirits at the same time as he answered the criticism of Democrats that he and Dick "last throes" Cheney are out of touch with events. Not even Demosthenes could have delivered a speech that addressed both concerns. They are mutually exclusive. If you recognize the ominous course events have taken it is impossible to provide hope. If you downplay the mayhem on the streets in order to provide hope people would conclude that you are out of touch.
Hence, this speech was a failure. It only helped in showing that Bush is not out of touch, which is not an achievement of which too many presidents would want to crow.
The use of 9-11 imagery to draw support for the war in Iraq was clumsy--and misguided. The well of fear he can draw on has gone dry. And in any case, more and more Americans now see clearly the difference between the wars waged in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the course of the speech President Bush engaged in the gross rewriting of history. He said that he had warned the nation after 9-11 that the war would be long and hard. But this war was not supposed to be long and hard. Paul Wolfowitz predicted it would be short as did Secretary Rumsfeld. Cheney said our soldiers would be greeted as liberators. To forget this history is to engage in the worst form of revisionism.
Ok, maybe the White House Press Secretary had never been as bold (or arrogant) as Scott McClellan was when he publicly as the NYT put it ,
pressed Newsweek on Tuesday to go beyond a retraction and"help repair the damage" to the image of the United States in the Muslim world after the magazine mistakenly reported that a Pentagon investigation had found that interrogators at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, tried to flush a Koran down a toilet.
But White Houses going back to the Kennedy administration have been managing the news and directing reporters how to write their stories. Kennedy famously told the NYT not to report on the Bay of Pigs disaster and repeatedly tried to shape the coverage provided by his friend Ben Bradley and the Alsop columnists.
What? The American media taking its cues from the American president? Yes, Virginia, it has happened. And for the media to pretend to be shocked--shocked!--that it has happened again is plain balderdash.
During the 1960 campaign candidate Kennedy's TV media advisor, J. Leonard Reinsch, told the director of the first Kennedy-Nixon debate to broadcast a reaction shot of Nixon sweating. This was as good as telling the NYT to publish a smear story against Nixon on the front page--and was probably more effective.
A few years later, the Kennedy State Department told NBC not to run a documentary about the digging of a tunnel underneath the Berlin Wall out of fear it would increase Cold War tension.
Richard Nixon, impressed with Kennedy's management of the news, tried repeatedly to influence the way the media covered stories. Usually, he failed--but it wasn't for lack of trying. Egged on by Henry Kissinger, Nixon even instituted court proceedings to stop the NYT from publishing the Pentagon Papers. John Mitchell, the atorney general, once flatly threatened the Washington Post, warning reporter Carl Bernstein that"Katie Graham’s gonna get her tit caught in a big fat wringer" if she published a piece critical of the Nixon campaign. And then there was the strange incident in which Kissinger tried to stop Time Magazine from naming him Man of the Year -- Kissinger feared that a magazine cover story in the prestigeous Timewould alienate Nixon, who craved the positive media attention Kissinger was receiving.
Going back even further ... FDR's aides famously told the press not to report on the difficulty he had walking (and even forbade the taking of pictures in his wheelchair)?
So what's really new here?
In the 1970s I was working for a brief time for the Jackson Papers Project. Harriet Owsley, the widow of celebrated Southern historian Frank Owsley, was working in the office as a key editor. One day Wilkinson's name came up. She hissed when speaking his name.
It is worth remembering that we had a Wilkinson as we watch events unfold in Iraq. It is particularly important when considering the strange career of Chalabi. His up/down/up again mercurial career both astonishes and appalls. But we shouldn't be too shocked. Characters like him came along in our own salad days.
Like Chalabi, Wilkinson kept popping up again and again despite the mud coming off his boots because he was, like Chalabi, scheming, ambitious and lucky. By all counts he should have been washed up when he became entangled with Burr; at the least he should have been cashiered from the army. But Jefferson kept him on because a fight just then with Wilkinson would have proved damaging to the national administration. So instead of going down in history as another Benedict Arnold Wilkinson went down as a minor leader of the Revolution and was largely forgotten.
Chalabi should be so lucky.
Great idea. I wish the Bush people would take their own advice and try this wonderful strategy of conciliation at home.
Fat chance of that happening. Thi kind of democracy is good for the Iraqis but not Americans, Bush officials repeatedly seem to imply. Remember Dick Cheney's pithy comment about the Bush tax cuts,"It's our due." What kind of message about democracy did that comment send?
Bush people are always complaining about the partisan warfare in Congress and Washington. IT'S THEIR OWN FAULT. If Bush II had governed like Bush I there would be a lot less of the partisan squabbling.
Imagine for a moment that Bush I, realizing he had a thin claim on legitimacy after the election of 2000, had governed in a bipartisan manner. How different the atmosphere there would be! He might even have included a couple of prominent Democrats in the cabinet to create a unity government after 9-11. But he chose to wield power by dividing the country not uniting it. And now we are supposed to feel sorry for him because the dastardly Democrats are railing on him all the time.
One cannot govern like a divider and then complain when the country is divided.
We need another John Marshall.
I am not especially fond of his conservative approach to government--or his sympathy with the High Federalists who pushed through Congress the Alien and Sedition Acts. (He opposed them publicly but privately considered them meritorious.)
But as a man--as a high official--we have not seen his like in many a generation.
He was a general in the Revolution, a congressman from Virginia in the late 1790s and then in quick succession--secretary of war (though he never accepted the post he was confirmed by the Senate), secretary of state and chief justice of the Supreme Court. And he was qualified for each of those posts.
He actually complained to John Adams, who appointed him to war, state and the Supreme Court, that he wasn't qualified to be secretary of war--and even that is proof of his sterling qualities. When's the last time you heard of a person declining a high office because they felt they lacked the qualifications?
All this comes to mind as I am reading James Simon's What Kind of Nation: Jefferson, Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States. If you have a few hours to spare I highly recommend the book. But I warn you. It may make you depressed.
To reflect on where we started and where we have ended up ... well, it's nothing anybody would want to dwell on too long.
President Bush obviously wasn't paying attention in history class in his historical methods course. (I assume he had to take one.) History teaches us to step into the shoes of those whose story we are telling. It is necessary to do so to resist the temptation, gained by the 20/20 vision available to those of us living in the future, to cast aspersions on those in the past.
In this case, President Bush would have us believe that FDR blew it at Yalta when he excused tyranny in the pursuit of stability. What would Bush have done were he in FDR's shoes (God forbid that he was!). I suppose we are to believe that he would have spurned Stalin's overtures to cut a deal and instead would have raced back to the US to fire up the Pentagon for another war.
Of course, one can argue, as some have in articles excerpted at HNN, that FDR could at least have insisted that Soviet POW's not be returned to face certain death or detention. But Bush seems to be arguing less subtly that NO DEAL WITH STALIN was moral.
Well, Bush should be lucky no subsequent president, speaking half a century from now, takes him to task similarly for his cruel handshakes with the leader of Pakistan, whatshisname, as Bush stumbled during the 2000 campaign.
The fact is politics is not solely to be judged by the moral standards of priests or preachers, as Bush seems to imply. Down that road lies misery for all. Once take the attitude that politics is a fit career only for those who are morally pure and you end up with misguided santimounious crusades which usually end with a lot of people getting killed.
Come to think of it. That's what we have got.
He is a perfect symbol of the extremes to which Americans on the margins swing in times of war. While most remain in the middle, some swing left and some swing right.
In the 60s he swung left, aligning himself with the SDS and others of that ilk. Now in the war on terrorism he has swung right, aligning himself with the Old Right (i.e., the people who in the 50s believed that America faced an enemy within that was every bit as dangerous as the enemy without).
How one makes the transition from one extreme to the other is puzzling to me even after reading several of his books. Is there something about his personality that inclines him to reach for extremes? I don't know. Though we have corresponded numerous times I cannot even make an educated guess.
Oddly, while it is difficult to determine why an individual would swing from extreme to extreme, it is easier to determine why a country as a whole would. By now it is a commonplace that millions of Americans in times of danger and insecurity are susceptible to appeals based on the fear of enemies from within. From our earliest history this has been a pattern. When war with France loomed in the late 1790s High Federalists demanded a crackdown on sedition. In speeches on the floor of Congress they demanded that suspect aliens be rounded up and deported.
Horowitz's demands therefore sound a familiar and unfortunate ring. We've heard it before. And always in retrospect these appeals to our fears result in ill-considered public measures.
Why Horowitz wants to be this generation's Paul Revere of fear is beyond me.
As I have been writing for years with stupefying redundancy -- and obvious lack of success -- this idea is a hoax. There is no trust fund. The past Social Security surpluses were spent the year they were created. The idea that in 2017, when the surpluses disappear, we will be able to go to a box in West Virginia to retrieve the money we need to make up the shortfall (between what Social Security takes in and what it pays out that year) is a deception. There is no money there. It will have to be borrowed or garnered from new taxes.
And as I have been writing for years, the Trust Fund is real. The coming crisis is a fiscal crisis not a Social Security crisis. The pols have been spending the Social Security surplus. It was morally wrong. It meant we were balancing the budget on the backs of workers. All those tax cuts to the wealthy? They came out of the hides of working class people.
What will happen to our politics when the American people figure this out? Ah, that will be something to behold. It will churn up our politics and parties and maybe even lead to the birth of a new party. It is one of those milestones that will mark a true change in our politics. And it is coming.
You heard it here.