Jump to content

Another Party Hack President - Michael Barone


Recommended Posts

Real Clear Politics

"The language people speak in the corridors of power is not economics or politics. It is history." So says former Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, quoted in a column on Ukraine by historian Niall Ferguson.

Thus Democratic insiders and sympathetic journalists liked to describe President Joe Biden as another Franklin Roosevelt, even though Biden in 2021 didn't face an economic collapse or have overwhelming partisan majorities as Roosevelt did in 1933.


But few politicians warrant comparison with the few universally recognized great presidents. The relevant comparison may be to what I call the partisan hack presidents.

Understand, please, that "partisan hack" is not meant as an insult. Any democratic political system needs a certain number of dependable and dogged party loyalists. Sometimes one will rise to the top job and compile a more creditable record than most people predicted.

The problem is that, historically, partisan hack presidents' policy successes have ended up hurting hurt their party. My examples are four partisan hack presidents -- two who succeeded to the office from the vice presidency and two who were "dark horse" candidates chosen after the ninth and 10th ballots at party national conventions.

My first partisan hack president was James K. Polk, a 20-year veteran Jacksonian Democrat elected in 1844. He successfully accomplished all four of his partisan policy goals: a lowered tariff, an independent treasury, peaceful acquisition of the Oregon Territory, and acquisition of California and the Southwest after victory in the Mexican War.

But that last success raised the issue of slavery in the territories, which split the Democratic Party and produced the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. That led to the Civil War and to Republicans holding the White House for 44 of the next 52 years.:snip:

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Putin Misunderstands History. So, Unfortunately, Does the U.S.

Biden is making a colossal mistake in thinking he can bleed Russia dry, topple Putin and signal to China to keep its hands off Taiwan.

Niall Ferguson

Mar. 22 2022

“The language people speak in the corridors of power,” former Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter once observed, “is not economics or politics. It is history.”


“American officials are divided on how much the lessons from Cold War proxy wars, like the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan, can be applied to the ongoing war in Ukraine,” David Sanger reported for the New York Times on Saturday.

According to Sanger, who cannot have written his piece without high-level sources, the Biden administration “seeks to help Ukraine lock Russia in a quagmire without inciting a broader conflict with a nuclear-armed adversary or cutting off potential paths to de-escalation … CIA officers are helping to ensure that crates of weapons are delivered into the hands of vetted Ukrainian military units, according to American officials. But as of now, Mr. Biden and his staff do not see the utility of an expansive covert effort to use the spy agency to ferry in arms as the United States did in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union during the 1980s.”


Now, I may be too pessimistic. I would very much like to share Francis Fukuyama’s optimism that “Russia is heading for an outright defeat in Ukraine.” Here is his bold prediction from March 10 (also here)


The collapse of their position could be sudden and catastrophic, rather than happening slowly through a war of attrition. The army in the field will reach a point where it can neither be supplied nor withdrawn, and morale will vaporize. … Putin will not survive the defeat of his army … A Russian defeat will make possible a “new birth of freedom,” and get us out of our funk about the declining state of global democracy. The spirit of 1989 will live on, thanks to a bunch of brave Ukrainians.

From his laptop to God’s ears.


Taking no sides in this, but trying to find The Truth or something approaching it, I once again ask my 3 small Simple Questions.

1. What Do You Want?

2. How Do You Get It?

3. Then What Happens?

I am beginning to think the Biden administration has not thought of let alone asked Any of these questions. Their response is based solely on the latest Polling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • 1720837555
  • Create New...