Happy Presidents' Day

Let's do something day-appropriate, and look at Jeff Jacoby's story about How the most qualified presidential candidate became America's worst president.

When James Buchanan was elected to be the 15th president of the United States in 1856, America was riven by sectional tensions and a deepening antagonism over slavery — an antagonism that had descended to violence in "Bleeding Kansas," where scores of pro- and antislavery settlers were murdering each other in a fight over the territory's future status.

To many Americans, it must have been reassuring to see a president with Buchanan's extraordinary record in public life take the helm. The 65-year-old Pennsylvanian had begun his political career as the youngest member of the state legislature before winning five terms in the US House of Representatives. In 1832, Andrew Jackson appointed him ambassador to Russia. He was elected twice to the Senate, served as secretary of state under James Polk, and was chosen by Franklin Pierce to be ambassador to Great Britain.

When Democrats in 1856 sought a standard-bearer untainted by the polarizing furor over slavery and Kansas, Buchanan, with his scintillating resume, seemed ideal. In a three-way election, he handily defeated John Frémont, the candidate of the fledgling Republican Party, and former president Millard Fillmore, who represented the nativist Know-Nothing Party.

If you need to brush up on your mid-19th century American history, and who doesn't, Jeff's column is a good start.

New Hampshirites can take a bit of solace that Buchanan was so bad that he saved our Franklin Pierce from grabbing "Worst President Ever" honors.

Briefly noted:

  • George F. Will breathes a sigh of hopeful relief: The Supreme Court finally gets a shot at Biden’s student-loan lawlessness.

    In his State of the Union address, President Biden had thoughts about almost everything, even unto the crisis of hotel “resort fees.” He was, however, parsimonious with words — just a three-word boast about “reducing student debt” — concerning his policy of student loan forgiveness. His reticence about unilaterally spending, by executive fiat, about $400 billion perhaps reflected foreboding.

    He knew that on Feb. 28 the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments about his plan’s constitutionality. An amicus brief from 11 conservative intellectuals, with impressive judicial and executive branch experience, demonstrates that Biden’s behavior is a particularly egregious example of lawlessness committed by presidents of both parties. Were Biden to succeed, the nation’s constitutional architecture would be irrevocably altered.

    The Magnificent Eleven note that the framers considered the power of the purse “the central and most important constitutional power reserved exclusively to the legislative branch, enabling it to oversee and control virtually every activity of the federal government.” Hence the clarity of the appropriations clause: “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.”

    Biden's contempt for Constitutional restraints on his power should be an impeachable offense.

    But then we could have said that about many recent presidents.

    And we probably should have said that about many recent presidents.

  • Michael Graham covers a topic we mentioned yesterday in our Nikki-a-thon: Attacks on Haley's Race Part of Left's Hypocrisy, NH Republicans Say.

    “Nikki Nimrata Haley shamefully [is] using her Indian heritage to launder white supremacy and GOP talking points,” wrote MSNBC progressive Wajahat Ali, later adding: “Looks like Haley is trying to use White grievance and hate to pave a lily-white road to the White House.”

    Since Haley formally launched her campaign, social media sites have been full of these attacks, including the debunked claim she “changed her name” to hide her identity.

    “First, let’s point out ‘Nikki’ is the name on my birth certificate. I’ve been called ‘Nikki’ all my life,” the former U.N. Ambassador told NHJournal after a meet-and-greet with the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women in Manchester. She called the attacks “crazy,” and a sign of how worried Democrats are about her ability to reach voters of color.

    Graham quotes NHGOPers Daryl Abbas (whose family includes his "Italian Catholic mother, Egyptian Muslim father, Irish wife, and multi-racial son") and Ryan Terrell (African-American).

Last Modified 2023-02-21 5:24 AM EDT