Presidents Day Thoughts

This past weekend I was reading about the election of 1860.  The nation had come to a day of reckoning and restructuring over slavery.  The Whig party had imploded because it lost touch with its voters in both New England, the new state of California and the growing Midwest.  The Democrats were fracturing along regional lines.  

Illinois was a key battleground as both frontrunners were from Illinois. In fact, Lincoln narrowly lost his home county of Sangamon to Douglas. 3,556 to 3,598 although he won the city of Springfield itself by a whopping 22 votes, not including his own.  In tune with an era in which presidential candidates remained above the fray and let surrogates campaign for them, Lincoln had torn the presidential contest off his paper ballot before turning it in.   

Today the political climate is similarly roiled. In the words John EllisThe Reckoning is all this debt coming home to roost. The Restructuring is what we're going to do about it.

Against the background of today's Tea Party movement, there is a lesson in the pre-election thoughts of a then unknown private citizen whose life would be forever changed by the impending reckoning of the Civil War and the Reconstruction.
The fact is I think the Democratic Party wants a little purifying and nothing will do it so effectively as a defeat.  The only thing is, I don't like to see a Republican beat the party.

  - Ulysses S. Grant.


Grant had a great many flaws, but muddled or wishful thinking during a crisis was not one of them.  In 1860 the bonds that had held the nation together for 80 years had frayed apart and no one seemed to know what to do.  Lincoln had made it clear he wasn't going to make the first move if elected, but it was also clear that wasn't going to punt the issue further into the future as the Whigs had been wont to do. 

Today the unifying idea about how society should be organized and the role of the central government is also frayed apart. The modern social welfare state model adopted in the early 20th century has proven not to be sustainable and the unfunded future liabilities at all levels of government are coming due.  Until those who seek to lead talk plainly about that what government needs to look like in the future in order to pay off all the debt,  expect a lot of voters to have Grant's attitude towards the two political parties.
This past weekend I was reading about the election of 1860.  The nation had come to a day of reckoning and restructuring over slavery.  The Whig party had imploded because it lost touch with its voters in both New England, the new state of California and the growing Midwest.  The Democrats were fracturing along regional lines.  

Illinois was a key battleground as both frontrunners were from Illinois. In fact, Lincoln narrowly lost his home county of Sangamon to Douglas. 3,556 to 3,598 although he won the city of Springfield itself by a whopping 22 votes, not including his own.  In tune with an era in which presidential candidates remained above the fray and let surrogates campaign for them, Lincoln had torn the presidential contest off his paper ballot before turning it in.   

Today the political climate is similarly roiled. In the words John EllisThe Reckoning is all this debt coming home to roost. The Restructuring is what we're going to do about it.

Against the background of today's Tea Party movement, there is a lesson in the pre-election thoughts of a then unknown private citizen whose life would be forever changed by the impending reckoning of the Civil War and the Reconstruction.
The fact is I think the Democratic Party wants a little purifying and nothing will do it so effectively as a defeat.  The only thing is, I don't like to see a Republican beat the party.

  - Ulysses S. Grant.


Grant had a great many flaws, but muddled or wishful thinking during a crisis was not one of them.  In 1860 the bonds that had held the nation together for 80 years had frayed apart and no one seemed to know what to do.  Lincoln had made it clear he wasn't going to make the first move if elected, but it was also clear that wasn't going to punt the issue further into the future as the Whigs had been wont to do. 

Today the unifying idea about how society should be organized and the role of the central government is also frayed apart. The modern social welfare state model adopted in the early 20th century has proven not to be sustainable and the unfunded future liabilities at all levels of government are coming due.  Until those who seek to lead talk plainly about that what government needs to look like in the future in order to pay off all the debt,  expect a lot of voters to have Grant's attitude towards the two political parties.