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Warren G. Harding
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It has happened again. Our gaffe-prone president has filed another blunder on his presidential record. At the dedication of George W. Bush's presidential library, he invoked history with his usual mastery of detail. He placed President John F. Kennedy in Air Force One, "on the flight back from Russia, after negotiating with Nikita Khrushchev at the height of the Cold War."
Pomp and circumstance, esteemed guests, historical moments — none of that much matters to the many noisy protesters on hand for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library on Thursday.
I am indebted to Amity Shlaes for gently correcting a joke of mine that dates back to July 8, 1972. On that day in the New York Times, I joshed that President Calvin Coolidge "probably spent more time napping than any President in the nation's history" and therefore was a successful president.
Newt Gingrich predicted he'll win Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday and vowed he is in the running all the way to Tampa — in part, the former history professor said, because Mitt Romney "is probably the weakest Republican front-runner since Leonard Wood in 1920."
In November, Republicans will face an incumbent whose failed presidency makes Jimmy Carter look worthy of Mount Rushmore. And they will lose unless they focus like a laser on the two intertwined strands of disastrous DNA that define the Obama era: Obamanomics and Obamacare. It is mystifying, then, that the GOP would risk surrendering either of these issues.
"I don't smoke, and I don't chew, and I don't go out with girls who do." My, how times have changed since kids amused each other with schoolyard doggerel like that one. Tobacco's out, but now nearly everything else is "in." Modern voters no longer pursue clean-living good boys, but good ol' boys with a little sin on their rap sheets.
The news media seem obsessed with the serial affairs of a younger Newt Gingrich back in the last century. The anger of his second of three wives mysteriously became national news on ABC's "Nightline" on the eve of the South Carolina primary. Millions watched Mrs. Gingrich II complain that Newt and the current Mrs. Gingrich III had done to her (while ill) just about the same thing that she and Newt had earlier done to Mrs. Gingrich I (while ill).
Thomas Jefferson collected old books and French wines, Warren Harding collected poker buddies, and FDR collected stamps. Harry S Truman collected sheet music and played the piano. But not so long ago, wife-collecting was regarded as over the line. Cats do it, dogs do it and even educated fleas are said to conduct serial impermanent romances. But presidents were held to a tougher moral standard.
The Obama administration's failure to address our nation's gut-wrenching unemployment stems from a fundamental mistake about how jobs are created in the first place. We are now in the third year of policies predicated on the assumption that government spending creates jobs. We have squandered three years and trillions of dollars of the nation's wealth on such policies, and they have not worked because they cannot work. The sad but incontrovertible fact is that, ultimately, government cannot inject a single dollar into the economy until it first has taken that same dollar out of the economy.