A 45-Gun Salvo in the Battle for America’s Past -- and Present
“The past is not dead. It is not even past,” William Faulkner once said, and leftists today have learned this well. They know the truth of George Orwell’s declaration in 1984 that “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” Controlling the present, and the future, is what the left’s war on our history is all about, from the tearing-down of statues to the 1619 Project. The leftist political and media elites are determined to destroy our freedoms and impose an authoritarian state upon us. In service of that goal, they’re working hard to make us ashamed of being American, and hence unwilling to defend our nation or our heritage. But now an important new book is fighting back.
Disaster, Robert Spencer gives us a strong defense of the greatness, and goodness, of America, through an evaluation of each of the 45 presidential administrations based on the simple criteria of Were Americans safer and more prosperous at the end of this administration than they were at its beginning?
It’s a simple and common-sense standard, but one that has been lost amid the prevailing bipartisan commitment to a utopian and messianic internationalism that has had the not-so-paradoxical effect of weakening, rather than strengthening, America’s position in the world. Under both Republican and Democrat Presidents, we have been so busy saving the world that we have scarcely noticed that our jobs are flowing out of the country as well as our troops, while our infrastructure is crumbling and our standard of living is progressively declining.
We have scarcely noticed, that is, until the presidency of Donald Trump. Spencer here makes a compelling case for Trump, even after just three years in office, being ranked with the greatest of Presidents, in large part because he has put the welfare of America and Americans first. In his appraisals of all forty-five, Spencer is consistent in ranking high those whose policies aided America politically, militarily (although he shares Pre
sident Trump’s distaste for today’s endless wars), and economically. Hence Barack Obama ranks at the bottom, for a presidency that was essentially the obverse of the Trump administration: internationalist, socialist, and drifting toward authoritarianism, while Trump has been all about aiding American enterprise and strengthening America’s freedom.
Robert Spencer has up to now written mostly about jihad terrorism and related issues, but he demonstrates throughout Rating America’s Presidents a thoroughgoing command of the material, and an engaging gift for storytelling. Several years ago, he and I were speaking at the Union Club in Philadelphia; after the event, we were among a small group that remained in one of the club’s meeting rooms to chat. On the walls were portraits of various American Presidents. Spencer began to tell stories about each one and explain why they were good or bad for America, and I found it all fascinating. This book contains those stories and more.
With the left now fully committed to its all-out war against our history, these stories become far more important than just matters of abstract historical interest. Now they are vital for Americans to recall, and to tell to our children, so that they come to know what the left is so energetically working to deny: that the United States of America is indeed the greatest country in the world, the freest, the most open for opportunity for all people, the most generous to its own people in need and to the rest of the world (Wilsonian nation-building misadventures aside).
The left’s sinister agenda depends upon our not knowing who we are, or where we came from, or how we got here. Many Americans know more about their family history from before they came to America than they do about what they did here. The American intelligentsia has forgotten, if it ever knew, Theodore Roosevelt’s assertion that there should be no hyphenated Americans, but simply Americans, whatever our national origin. We have forgotten what made us great, and that renders us vulnerable to those who would destroy us. Rating America’s Presidents is, finally, a weapon Americans can use to fight back in this all-important and little-noted war.
Pamela Geller is the President of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), publisher of The Geller Report and author of the bestselling book, FATWA: Hunted in America, as well as The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America and Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.