Comments on: Assemble your own Frankenstein President! History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sun, 21 Sep 2014 09:59:39 +0000 hourly 1 By: rootlesscosmo Tue, 05 Jan 2010 04:52:13 +0000 I wonder if this exercise doesn’t ascribe too much importance to the occupants of the office and correspondingly too little to their circumstances. Lincoln’s opinion of slavery changed dramatically while he was President; I’d attribute that mostly to the war, not to an inward reformation of character. FDR became the darling of the labor movement only after the Depression gave rise to the Wagner Act which conferred quasi-official status on recognized exclusive bargaining agents. Eisenhower inherited the Cold War, which he didn’t start, in a period of economic growth he didn’t cause; LBJ inherited a later phase in the Cold War, and Carter a later one still, when growth had plateaued. Reagan’s political skill lay mostly in being a pliant spokesmodel for corporate interests that annexed white ressentiment to advance their own anti-union, anti-regulation agenda. I agree with William Fulbright and Gore Vidal that the power of the Presidency has expanded enormously, and mostly for the bad, since the 1920′s; I don’t think that means Presidents are particularly powerful people.

By: Historiann Mon, 04 Jan 2010 15:33:02 +0000 Koshembos: I think it’s probably a big stretch to call Carter “racist.” I haven’t read anything about the history of his diplomacy in the Middle East, but it seems to me that he only became more openly pro-Palestine after his presidency (and perhaps esp. only in the past decade.)

Shane, Obama didn’t personally accuse Bill and Hillary Clinton of racism, but he didn’t have to. His campaign spokesperson implied it after the “fairy tale” comment by Bill, and campaign surrogates and allies made insinuations repeatedly in January and February of 2008. They were careful not to use the specific words “racist” or “racism,” but that’s what clearly was at stake when raising questions about the “tenor” of the Clintons’ remarks and asking if “this really [was] an isolated situation, or is there something bigger behind all of this?” Hillary Clinton’s defenders–Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Sheila Jackson Lee, for example–were more explicit in their rebuttals of allegations of racism.

By: Shane in Utah Sun, 03 Jan 2010 23:34:02 +0000 Perhaps the “brick and mortar” disciplines don’t have the same expectations as, say, historiography for citing sources or supporting claims with evidence . Nevertheless, I’d like to see a link to the Carter/Begin video that so unequivocally establishes Carter’s racism through the incontrovertible proof of “body language.” And I’d love to see any evidence at all of Obama (himself, not his supporters in the comments of some blog) playing a “fake racist card against Hillary.” In the absence of such evidence, these strike me as absurd claims, to the point of being offensive.

By: Paul S. Sun, 03 Jan 2010 23:24:17 +0000 I’ll give this a try –

My ideal President Frank Monster would have:

- Jefferson’s intellectual brilliance
- Lincoln’s ability to handle a massive crisis
- FDR’s ability to influence public opinion in his direction against bitter opposition
- The charisma of Kennedy or Reagan
- The willingness to speak bluntly of Teddy Roosevelt or Truman
- The commitment to a “moral vision” of the country’s future seen in several of the best-known presidents – Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ, even Reagan – never mind that those presidents had different and sometimes contradictory visions!
- John Adams’ (that’s right!) willingness to ignore political considerations in favor of doing what he felt was the right thing
- Eisenhower’s determined political moderation.

By: KoshemBos Sun, 03 Jan 2010 21:53:50 +0000 As representative of professors in the brick and mortar professions, e.g. engineering, many of us are newcomers. Our knowledge of American history is limited (on the average). I cannot form a monster or a god out of 43 presidents, but I can look at those I saw in action, namely from Carter to Obama. I know a lot about LBJ as well.

Fake like Reagan
Racist like Carter (He hated Begin from the get go; go watch the video and the body language; you’ll be astonished.)
Vision like the Bushes
Intelligent like G.w. Bush
Adult mature hormones like Clinton

As for Obama: he is faking it. He talks a great game but sells out at the tip of the hat. He isn’t a racist although he used a fake racist card against Hillary that made him, for me, beyond the pale. He may have a general vision of improvement and progress, but doesn’t have a detailed understanding of what it means. Part of it is due to just an average intelligence that is confused daily as bright. Obama is mature but green behind the ears; he has nothing until he became president.

LBJ domestic policy is a real gem one has once or twice a century; none of the presidents I saw comes even close.

By: Indyanna Sun, 03 Jan 2010 21:41:53 +0000 Eisenhower’s ability to (pre)envision in, c. 1939 (?) something like the Interstate Highway System, and then to actually begin building one on his watch. Only in this case it would be an improved version of Amtrak, with lots of affordable and comfortable overnight trains. Woodrow Wilson’s graciousness to have once lived in a house that could be turned into a plush faculty club. What am I leaving out here….?

By: GayProf Sun, 03 Jan 2010 20:51:40 +0000 I would blend the steely determination of Laura Roslin with the far-reaching vision of Rassilon and the calmness of David Palmer.

Oh, wait, did they have to be real people?