Where is our Calvin Coolidge?

We don’t need a president riding in on a white horse to solve our problems.  We don’t need a charismatic figure like John F. Kennedy or Ronald Reagan.  OK, I’d settle for a Reagan.  But what we really need is someone like Calvin Coolidge.

Our newspaper, the Daily Oklahoman, printed part of a Labor Day speech that Coolidge gave in 1924.  “Silent Cal,” by slashing taxes and cutting federal spending, presided over one of the largest economic expansions in American history.

What strikes me, though, in his speech, are his insights about work (or, as he calls it, “toil”), the dangers of dependency on the government, and how the main problem in America is always the character of its citizens.

Read the excerpts after the jump.  (I bolded the passages  that I thought particularly striking.) [Read more…]

The 4th most accomplished president?

President Obama on himself, speaking in an interview with 60 Minutes:

“The issue here is not going be a list of accomplishments. As you said yourself, Steve, you know, I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president — with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln — just in terms of what we’ve gotten done in modern history. But, you know, but when it comes to the economy, we’ve got a lot more work to do.”

via Blogs bash Obama’s historic claim – MJ Lee – POLITICO.com.

Covering for these grandiose claims, CBS edited out the remarks in the version shown on television.  They were, however, in the complete version posted online.  (Politico has the links.)

But let’s test his claims.  Since he considers Lincoln part of “modern history,” we can go back into the 19th century.  And he is talking about both his legislative and  his foreign policy accomplishments.  How would you say he measures up?  What other presidents had greater accomplishments in these areas?

Who do the Republicans have?

When Americans have to pay $60 to fill their cars up with gas, they usually aren’t going to vote for the incumbent president. And yet, who is there to run against him?

Mitt Romney? Newt Gingrich? Donald Trump? I can’t see Christian conservatives rallying behind any of those guys.

Ron Paul, the libertarian?

Mitch Daniels, who is calling for a truce on cultural issues to focus exclusively on the economy?

Sarah Palin, who for better or worse has been turned into a punchline?

Mike Huckabee, who may be happier as a pundit on Fox News?

Rick Santorum or Tim Pawlenty, but are they too obscure to win?

And do any of these individuals have the gravitas to seem presidential enough (which I’m convinced is a major factor in this era of image over substance) to compete successfully against the actual president?

Are there any potential candidates who might ride in on a dark horse to win this thing?

Books of influence

An interesting article on how most of our presidents have been big readers, and how the books they read have influenced their policies:  For Obama and past presidents, the books they read shape policies and perceptions.  Truman’s reading about ancient history led to his support of the founding of Israel.  Kennedy and Johnson read books on the poor in American that led to the “war on poverty.”  Nixon pored over histories in working through his foreign policies.  Jimmy Carter got his sense of national “malaise” from “The Culture of Narcissism.”   Reagan read Milton Friedman, which led to his free-market reforms.  Bush, contrary to stereotype, read extensively, and his reading of Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky’s books on democracy inspired him to attempt to spread democracy throughout the world.

What books have influenced YOUR political beliefs?