Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Reply to Anonymous

One reader seems to be repeatedly upset at my Jefferson bashing based on his comment to the last post and at least one previous comment. I can assure him that my feelings have little, if anything, to due with any recent biographies, as he suggests. The last two books I can recall reading about Jefferson were both written by self admitted Jeffersonphiles. In fact, I disagree with some recent sentiment that modern scholarship has tried to paint Jefferson in a bad light or that David McCullough’s John Adams biography somehow leapfrogged Adams over Jefferson in the hearts of Americans. It’s just hard for any competent biographer to ignore his many faults, even when they try. I admire Jefferson’s abilities and some of his ideals, but he was a lousy president and an awful, awful vice president. He also gets too much credit for the Declaration of Independence.

I see that time will soon come for a complete posting on “Why I don’t like Thomas Jefferson”. Not what I had in mind this month, but coming sometime in the reasonably near future.

Nor do I accept Anonymous' pronouncement that all VPs plot against their presidents. Not so. I can only put John C. Calhoun in Jefferson's category, but Jefferson runs away with the booby prize. Of course, if you believe Lyndon Johnson was involved in JFK’s assassination, you will disagree.

As to why I did not include Andrew Johnson among the others – in the first part of the blog he would have given away who the list was about. The second part was about my favorite VP’s – AJ is not among them, although I would agree he is a very interesting subject and objectively more interesting in his whole life than the ones I included, some who are best known for dropping dead. However, most of what makes Johnson interesting came after he was president, such as the impeachment trial and related controversies. All that being said, I am not above amending a post to please a righteous reader, and possibly should have included:

“Andrew Johnson – Lincoln ran as a Republican in 1860, but technically as a National Union Party man in 1864 (not to be confused with the Constitutional Union Party of 1860), determined to make a bigger tent out of the party (it soon reverted to the Republican Party). Nominating Johnson was seen as a demonstration of Union solidarity, his being the one Senator from a seceding state who stayed in Congress. Johnson managed to show up drunk on his first day on the job, giving an embarrassing speech before Lincoln stood up to give his famous second inaugural, and he also became the first VP to ascend to the presidency after the president was assassinated.”

Hope all is forgiven and wait for the Jefferson piece, where I will invite “Anonymous” to a blog duel.

1 comment:

  1. Jefferson wins the booby prize!?! In your dreams! One of the greatest political philosophers and Presidents of all time. A bad Vice President because he plotted agains the Pres? Ever heard of George H.W. Bush? Richard Nixon? Teddy Roosevelt? It's a job requirement, you moron! As for a blog duel, bring it on, you cretinous inkstained wretch!


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I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .