Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Jimmy Who?

I'm reading through Barack Obama's remarks today for another post, but I was struck just now by this paragraph:
I’m signing this bill for all the leaders who took up this cause through the generations -- from Teddy Roosevelt to Franklin Roosevelt, from Harry Truman, to Lyndon Johnson, from Bill and Hillary Clinton, to one of the deans who’s been fighting this so long, John Dingell.  (Applause.)  To Senator Ted Kennedy.  (Applause.)  And it’s fitting that Ted’s widow, Vicki, is here -- it’s fitting that Teddy’s widow, Vicki, is here; and his niece Caroline; his son Patrick, whose vote helped make this reform a reality.  (Applause.)
Not to rain on anyone's parade, but...I can't help but wonder if that wasn't deliberate.  FDR, HST, LBJ, WJC, and EMK.  Four Kennedys are mentioned, actually (although not, oddly enough, JFK).  But no mention of the other Democratic president, who did, in fact, push for health care reform, but if I recall correctly grudgingly and mainly in reaction to Kennedy's initiative.  Of course, it was entirely appropriate to praise Ted Kennedy, and FDR, Truman, and Johnson all belong, and it would have been impossible to omit the Clintons -- and Teddy Roosevelt is there for partisan cover, and because, anyway, almost everyone likes TR.  Not everyone likes Jimmy Carter, and I do wonder which, if any, of those who regret that Carter was twice nominated by the Democrats for president was responsible for that paragraph.


  1. Nixon was also left out of the list, which was too bad in its own way, as well.

  2. JFK didn't do anything health-care wise (or civil rights wise, or anti-poverty wise, or education-wise); why would he be included? Oh, my mistake, he did try to suppress the Civil Rights movement because he thought it'd anger Southerners and cost him his coalition. Nice speeches can't stand in for actual legislation; and his ineptitude in that regard was so great that hardly any of his initiatives got passed until LBJ got into office and was finally allowed to push for them. Indeed, JFK's refusal to make any use of LBJ's vast legislative knowledge at all was one of the greatest failures of his presidency (really, who gets the greatest legislator of his time as vp then wastes his time sending him out on foreign relation good will missions?). JFK may be a martyr, but this myth of his being a decent president outside of foreign policy needs to end.

  3. You forget your Simpsons, Jon.


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