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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! That was one of Franz Josef Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, and this is your fractally genial host John Derbyshire with news of the hour.
There's a sort of Presidential theme this week. I haven't been saying half as much as I should about our current President, so he's the main feature. There'll be a supporting cast of previous Presidents doing various things, though: getting ranked, writing love letters, bowling … Let's see what we've got.
02 — The good, the bad, and the lucky. Here's a story from last week I didn't get to in time for the broadcast. It's been generating a lot of buzz: a front page all to itself in the New York Post, for example, which usually splits its front page over two stories.
The story is that Quinnipiac University did a poll in the last week of June asking the following question:
Thinking about the United States Presidents we have had since World War II, which one would you consider the best/worst president?
The pollsters put the question to fourteen hundred and some voters in nine states, roughly evenly divided between Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.
The headliner here was that our current President, Barack Obama, was leader in the "worst" catgory, with 33 percent of respondents rating him worst. Runner-up was George W. Bush, with 28 percent rating him worst. Third place: Richard Nixon, for 13 percent.
Leader in the "best" category was Ronald Reagan, voted best by 35 percent. Runner-up: Bill Clinton, 18 percent, then John Kennedy at 15.
I'm a bit lukewarm on this story, I must say. For one thing, it shows how present-centric we are in thinking about public matters. Ronald Reagan was pretty good; but was he really seven times better than Dwight Eisenhower, who was rated best by only five percent of respondents? I'd have been in that five percent if they'd asked me. I like Ike.
Likewise, George W. Bush was pretty awful, no doubt; but was he really three and a half times worse than Jimmy Carter, rated worst by only eight percent? I lived through the first half of the Carter Presidency here in the States, and watched the other half from across the Pond. It was bad, way worse than W's.
And then there's the matter of luck, a much under-estimated factor in public affairs. Here's a long quote from H.L. Mencken's obituary for Calvin Coolidge, long quote:
Well do I remember the hot Saturday in Chicago when he was nominated for the Vice-Presidency on the ticket with Harding. Half a dozen other statesmen had to commit political suicide in order to make way for him, but all of them stepped up docilely and bumped themselves off. The business completed, I left the press-stand and went to the crypt below to hunt a drink. There I found a group of colleagues listening to a Boston brother who knew Coolidge well, and had followed him from the start of his career.
End long quote.
Well, Harding wasn't assassinated; but he did die of natural causes two and a half years into his term, so Mencken's Boston colleague was on to something.
If the Quinnipiac people had asked me to rank the last twelve Presidents by how lucky they were, I'd put Bill Clinton head and shoulders above the rest. End of the Cold War; Internet boom; the early, good fruits of financial deregulation, not to be confused with the later, sour fruits, … plus the gifts of Ross Perot and Newt Gingrich.
For un-luckiest I'd choose Gerald Ford, a decent and intelligent man who knew where the corpses were buried in Congress, but got buffaloed by events and by a hostile media gleefully drunk on Nixon's blood.
Also making me lukewarm on this poll is the feeling that we make too much of our Presidents. The guy is, after all, only the temporary head of one of the three branches of one of the several levels of government we submit to. Can you name the President of Switzerland? Of course you can't: Neither can I, and neither can most Swiss people, probably. Yet Switzerland chugs along pretty well. Put not your trust in princes.
What about Obama, though? Is he really that bad? Should he be impeached?
03 — Impeachable offenses? My main impression of Obama as President is that he finds administration boring.
I'm not unsympathetic. I'm a lousy administrator, too. I can easily imagine how the guy feels.
I've never felt the urge to run for President, though. It's an administrative job; that's why we call it "an administration." You have to read a lot of memos about topics you're not interested in, and sit through endless meetings, and get into the weeds with personnel issues. May I quote Mencken again? Thanks. Quote:
All day long the right hon. lord of us all sits listening solemnly to bores and quacks … It takes four days' hard work to concoct a speech without a sensible word in it. Next day a dam must be opened somewhere … The Presidential automobile runs over a dog. It rains.
End quote. Some people like that stuff, but Obama plainly doesn't.
Some people don't like it, but peg away doggedly at it from a sense of duty or love of country. That's not Obama either. Duty involves caring about other people more than you care about yourself, and he's too much of a narcissist, to judge from his autobiography.
Love of country is completely alien to you if, like Obama, you have internalized the Cultural Marxist notion that our country is founded on evil and oppression and needs, actual quote from Obama, "fundamentally transforming," end quote.
So we have a guy who thinks our country needs "fundamentally transforming," but is too detached to take on the necessary administrative chores. So he's left the transforming to cronies like the appalling Eric Holder, while he plays golf and whoops it up at fundraisers.
Should we impeach him? There's a case for and a case against.
The case against impeachment was put by Pat Buchanan, and can be read at VDARE.com. Pat's approach is strategic, sample quote:
With the economy shrinking 3 percent in the first quarter, with Obama sinking in public approval, and with the IRS, NSA and VA scandals bubbling, why would Republicans change the subject to impeachment?
The case for impeachment was put by Peter Brimelow, also at VDARE.com. Peter pooh-poohs strategy and argues that extreme measures are called for. Sample quote:
This low-risk approach often doesn't work. After all, it's how (along with the expenditure of over $1 billion in campaign contributions) we got President Romney, to say nothing of Presidents McCain and Dole.
Read them yourself and make a judgment.
Where's Radio Derb on this? Pro-impeachment. You don't win wars without fighting, and there's an important war to be fought here: a war for the Republican Party. Mass Third World immigration across open borders will destroy our country if not stopped. The GOP leadership has no intention of stopping it, though, because it's what their donors want.
The Republican Party has to make up its mind whether to serve its donors or its voters. The donors have been enthusiastic this last couple of Presidential cycles, the voters not so much. Defeatism, and lack of interest in donorist candidates like Mitt Romney and Eric Cantor, have kept voters home. Let's stir 'em up. Impeachment might be the thing to do it.
04 — Laura sets Bill straight. Did I mention Eisenhower back there? I sure did; and in a minute I'll introduce you to another fan of the immortal Ike.
First, though, let me acknowledge that Ike had a mockable side. I am in fact old enough, just barely, to remember Eisenhower jokes. A classic one was Oliver Jensen's rewrite of the Gettysburg Address as Ike would have delivered it. Jensen's spoof is too long to repeat in full, but here's the start, quote:
I haven't checked these figures but eighty-seven years ago, I think it was, a number of individuals organized a governmental set-up here in this country, I believe it covered certain Eastern areas, with this idea they were following up based on a sort of national independence arrangement and the program that every individual is just as good as every other individual. Well, now, of course, we are dealing with this big difference of opinion, civil disturbance you might say, although I don't like to appear to take sides or name any individuals, and the point is naturally to check up, by actual experience in the field, to see whether any governmental set-up with a basis like the one I was mentioning has any validity and find out whether that dedication by those early individuals will pay off in lasting values and things of that kind …
Ah, the fifties. You had to be there.
As I said, another fan of Ike showed up the other day on the Bill O'Reilly show. O'Reilly's a squish on the immigration issue, but his guest wasn't having any of it. This was the lovely and sapient Ms. Laura Ingraham, for whom, as I have mentioned before, I have something of a soft spot. She set O'Reilly straight with an eloquent stream of concentrated common sense. Listen.
[Clip: Laura Ingraham on The O'Reilly Factor, 7/2/14.
I think so too, Laura. That was beautifully said. I totally forgive you for not responding to my emails … letters, phone calls, that sky-writing thing, the banner at Yankee Stadium, …
05 — Cheap audacity. Say what you like about Obama, you have to give him points for audacity.
Small points. There's no price for the audacity. Obama knows he can say and do pretty much as he pleases. For one thing, the Republican Party is too limp, timid, and race-whipped to put up any real opposition. On the immigration issue in particular, they pretty much agree with him anyway. His immigration policy is, after all, not easy to distinguish from George W. Bush's.
And then, he's spent most of his life as a black guy in the U.S.A. He knows that being black, well-dressed, and well-spoken, he can get away with anything. The late Larry Auster observed that blacks like Obama are holy objects to a huge segment of the American public, so that to criticize them in any way is a kind of blasphemy.
Hey, you'd be audacious, too — especially a year and a half into your second term, with no re-election to plan for, only the happy prospect of a lifetime giving gassy content-free speeches to billionaires in luxury resorts for six-digit speaking fees.
No surprise on the audacities, then. Here's the latest one: Tuesday this week Obama asked Congress for an emergency $3.7 billion to deal with the illegal immigrant invasion — or, if you prefer, the surge of terrified infants fleeing rising mayhem in Central America, fleeing at such velocity they shoot clear through Mexico into Texas.
Obama claimed in his request that the money would increase detainment and court capacity to speed decisions, while expanding law enforcement and prosecution of the criminal networks that smuggle people over the border.
The Center for Immigration Studies took a magnifying glass to that and declared it bogus.
Half the $3.7 billion, they found, was resettlement costs to be appropriated to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — and not just for kids, but for adult men and women, too. Much of the so-called "enforcement" portion of the budget is not really for removal; it's a recouping of costs for temporary detention and subsequent transporting of aliens — again including adults — within the U.S. Sixteen million dollars is for attorneys to argue in court against deporting the illegals. And thirty percent of the money is at the administration's disposal, to do whatever they like with.
What a joke. Read the CIS document for yourself, it's on their website and there's a link in my Radio Derb transcript.
Tom Coburn, the junior senator from Oklahoma, had scathing things to say about Obama's request. For less than $20 million, he said, we could fly all the illegals back to their home countries, first class, saving ourselves 99.5 percent of the requested appropriation.
Lefty websites had some sport with that, showing that in fact you couldn't do the flights first class for the sum Coburn stated. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin closed down the issue by hunting out discount flights on the internet and showing that you could in fact fly them all home for about $14 million, just not first class.
That only leaves me to point out that if you divide $3.7 billion by 1,940, which is the number of miles in the U.S.-Mexican border, you get almost precisely two million dollars a mile, or about $30 an inch. You could erect and staff a pretty neat fence for that kind of money … if you wanted to.
06 — Obama's taste in preachers. Just another note here about Obama's blackness, or semi-blackness.
I no longer have any religious faith myself, but I do my best to be tolerant and understanding of the majority who do, which includes several people personally dear to me.
I must say, though, I constantly marvel at how little self-awareness people have when their faith is rather obviously just a thin coat of paint covering crudely biological attitudes and resentments with no spiritual content whatever. Don't those people know how phony they sound?
Here's an instance of what I'm talking about: Dr Jim Wallis. Who he? Let me quote from the Daily Caller story, quote:
Dr. Jim Wallis has been an icon in the liberal evangelical world for decades, through his political advocacy and as the editor-in-chief of the liberal Christian magazine Sojourners. Currently, in addition to his editorial duties, he is also a spiritual advisor to President Obama, one that visits the White House on a regular basis. The White House visitors' log has 65 mentions of a Jim or James Wallis, often marked specifically as a meeting with the President or the First Lady.
So this divine is a very big player in the nation's religious life. What does he have to say to us poor sinners? More quotes from the Daily Caller story. Quote:
On Sunday, June 29th, Wallis gave a speech at Wild Goose Festival, a progressive Christian music festival in Hot Springs, North Carolina, entitled, "Racism is America's Original Sin." In his speech, Wallis called America a country founded on racism and accused all Americans, especially those who take conservative political stances, of being racists.
Wow, that's pretty darned original! I never heard anything like that before. Quote:
Wallis later implied that all white Americans are afraid of a multiracial nation. "By 2020, 2025, we're going to be a country where a majority will be minorities … and do you think white America is ready for that?"
Wallis presented a list of grievances he believed proved America was inherently racist, including the shootings of black teenagers Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, stand-your-ground laws, the Washington Redskins, and the Tea Party.
"Do you know what stand-your-ground means, that law in Florida?" Wallis asked, who then proceeded to make it perfectly clear that he had no idea what stand-your-ground laws mean. "Here's what it means … if a white man just feels or thinks or believes or fears he might be in danger from a black man, armed or not, he can shoot him. That's what the law means, that's what it says."
OK, Rev'm Jim, we get it: You're a semi-literate low-IQ race hustler who hates white people and hasn't had an original thought since you got out of grade school. Fair enough, and plenty of people have these little bees in their bonnets. Here's my question, though: Why do you feel the need to dress it up in God talk? What's it got to do with the Christian message?
Obama having dumped the Rev'm Jeremiah Wright under the proverbial bus, I guess this is the replacement act. Obama really seems to like this stuff. I find that fact deeply shocking, but apparently very few citizens agree with me.
07 — Miscellany. And now, our closing miscellany of brief items.
Imprimis: I mentioned several Republican Presidents in this broadcast. Here's a current news story concerning one of them.
This month the Library of Congress is releasing a batch of over a hundred letters written to his mistress by Warren Gamaliel Harding, the twenty-ninth President. The recipient of these letters was Carrie Fulton Phillips, the wife of one of his best friends. Their affair went on for fourteen years, 1905 to 1918.
Sample of the Harding epistolary prose, quote:
I hurt with the insatiate longing, until I feel that there will never be any relief until I take a long, deep, wild draught on your lips and then bury my face on your pillowing breasts.
Not bad: better than Fifty Shades of Gray, anyway. People got a decent literary education in those days.
We learn from these letters that Harding referred to his male member as "Jerry." Personally, in his situation, I would have gone with "Gamaliel," but there's no accounting for taste in these matters.
Item: Psychiatry's a funny sort of business. Most people are obviously sane, and a few are obviously crazy. In between there's a gray zone where the judgment of sane or crazy is open to manipulation on ideological or religious grounds. We all know about the dissidents in the old Soviet Union who were locked up in mental hospitals.
Here's a case in point from today's world: Mr Mubarak Bala of Kano in Northern Nigeria. That's a Muslim zone and Mr Bala was raised a Muslim. Then he decided he didn't believe any of it, and told his family he was an atheist. The family promptly had him institutionalized and medicated.
Fortunately this was in Nigeria. The hospital staff went on strike for some reason and the patients were let go. Mr Bala is a free man at the time of writing, in an undisclosed location.
I'm curious to know what the Reverend Dr Jim Wallis thinks about this case. Perhaps he'll favor us with a sermon on it.
Item: Fans of that fine movie The Big Lebowski will recall the poster of President Nixon bowling that was displayed on the wall of Jeff Bridges' living-room. That picture of Nixon was taken in the bowling lanes below the Executive Office Building, installed there for the use of White House employees and their guests.
Those two lanes are still there, and still in use, though now over sixty years old. They need some repairs and maintenance, so the GSA, the General Services Administration, asked for bids from contractors.
Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee Chairman, sent out a sarcastic tweet about this on Wednesday. The White House promptly backed down, and said the GSA won't after all be taking bids.
One more reason to hate the Republican Party. What could be more Republican than ten-pin bowling? Are White House staffers supposed to bowl on dilapidated lanes? Who does this Reince Priebus cove think he is? And why doesn't he have a real name? Reince? What are his middle names — Lather and Repeat?
In my younger days I was quite a keen bowler. At one point I carried an average of 165, which is not bad for a guy who's chronically unco-ordinated. It's a fine American pastime, and if White House flunkies want to bowl a few frames in their lunch hour, they should have up-to-date, well-maintained lanes to bowl on. Write your Congressman!
Item: The Mayor of San Pedro Huamelula, a village in southwest Mexico, has married a small crocodile. BBC News has aired footage of the happy couple dancing at the wedding feast, the bride fetchingy attired in a white gown and veil.
I await calls for a campaign to legalize crocodile marriage in the U.S.A. We don't want to be less progressive than Mexico, do we?
If I were Mayor Vasquez, I'd be very careful in the area of conjugal relations, I must say. On the upside, though, in the sad event that anything fatal should befall the new Señora Vasquez, he can at least get a nice belt and wallet out of the deal.
08 — Signoff. That's it, ladies and gents. Now, the date on this podcast is July 12th, which, as well as being my old Dad's birthday, is the day when Ulster Protestants commemorate the battles of the Boyne and Aughrim. So naturally I'm going to play us out with some Orange music.
Now I don't want listeners of the Fenian sympathy to be upset. Didn't I play us out with a Gaelic song three weeks ago? This is an equal opportunity podcast, everyone gets a hearing.
So here are the bold lads of Ulster with, of course, The Sash. Happy Twelfth!
More from Radio Derb next week!
[Music clip: 52 Shades of Orange, "The Sash My Father Wore."]