The bust of Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest was removed from the Tennessee state capitol this morning.
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Nate Cohn: “Democrats have proposed or enacted trillions of dollars in federal spending, usually under the seemingly nonideological auspices of coronavirus relief and infrastructure.”
“That tack has provided Mr. Biden a way to enact an ambitious policy agenda without sparking the kind of ideologically divisive fight that has derailed the first term of so many recent presidents. If the polls are any indication, he may be pulling it off: Around 60 percent of voters appear to approve of Mr. Biden’s big spending initiatives.”
“Over the last 30 years, nearly every incoming president opened his term with an ambitious but ultimately unpopular push to remake America’s health care system. It sapped public support. It contributed to the inexorable polarization of American politics. And it ended in a drubbing in the midterm elections.”
9to5Mac: “Apple TV+ today announced a new documentary special airing later this year. The show is entitled 9/11: Inside the President’s War Room and will explore the 2001 terrorist attack from the perspective of the immediate response of the people in charge.”
“In Louisiana, a state notorious for colorful politicians, Edwin Edwards blazed for half a century, a near-perpetual neon rainbow,” the Washington Post reports.
“The former Louisiana governor and U.S. congressman, 93, who died July 12 of respiratory problems, was a brazen practitioner of the corrupt-politics-as-theatrics style mastered by the legendary Depression-era demagogue Huey Long.”
“Mr. Edwards served three full terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, four terms as governor and, starting in 2000, eight years in federal prison for racketeering, extortion and related crimes. He staged an unsuccessful political comeback in 2014, running once again for a House seat, and was quick-witted and resilient even at the lowest points of his career.”
“A statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was hoisted away from its place of prominence in Charlottesville on Saturday and carted off to storage, years after its threatened removal became a rallying point for white supremacists and inspired their violent 2017 rally that left a woman dead and dozens injured,” the AP reports.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) rebuked the conspiracy theory that former President Donald Trump will be reinstated, Newsweek reports.
Said Greene: “I would hate for anyone to get their hopes up thinking that President Trump is going to be back in the White House in August because that’s not true and I’m telling you that as a member of Congress, that’s a very difficult thing to do.”
“Workers removed a statue of Harry F. Byrd Sr., a former Virginia governor, U.S. senator and staunch segregationist, from the state’s Capitol Square on Wednesday morning,” the Associated Press reports.
“Byrd, a Democrat, ran the state’s most powerful political machine for decades until his death in 1966 and was considered the architect of the state’s racist ‘massive resistance’ policy to public school integration.”
“If we teach that the founding of the United States of America was somehow flawed. It was corrupt. It was racist. That’s really dangerous. It strikes at the very foundations of our country.”
— Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on Twitter.
Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany declared on Fox News that “all of” America’s founding fathers were “against slavery.”
Said McEnany: “The haters never take a day off from hating, that is clear. And they never take a day off from getting the facts wrong. We know most of our forefathers, all of our main Founding Fathers were against slavery, recognized the evils of it.”
Jonathan Bernstein: “Joe Biden’s approval rating fell to its lowest point during his presidency last month, and he exits the July 4 holiday weekend at just 51.9% approval, close to that June low (as usual, I’m using the excellent FiveThirtyEight estimate, based on an adjusted average of all the reputable polls). At the same time, it’s just as likely that Biden’s popularity is holding steady rather than actually slipping. He remains in a narrow range, between a high of 55.1% approval and a low of 51.7%. It’s possible he’s fallen a bit; it’s also possible that his approval rating has been unchanged from Jan. 20 and that any apparent fluctuations are just statistical noise.”
“Either way, Biden’s numbers place him right about in the middle of recent presidents. At the 166-day point in their presidencies, he’s beating four presidents from the polling era: Donald Trump, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and, by a very narrow margin, George W. Bush. The other nine polling-era presidents are all beating him. What distinguishes Biden continues to be how flat his approval line is. Every previous president except Trump had either started his presidency above 60% approval or had spiked up to that level at some point by now. And they all had a larger range observed in the polls at this point; Ronald Reagan, for example, had already experienced a 17-percentage-point surge and then a 10-point drop.”
George Packer: “Rumsfeld was the worst secretary of defense in American history. Being newly dead shouldn’t spare him this distinction. He was worse than the closest contender, Robert McNamara, and that is not a competition to judge lightly.”
“Rumsfeld was the chief advocate of every disaster in the years after September 11. Wherever the United States government contemplated a wrong turn, Rumsfeld was there first with his hard smile—squinting, mocking the cautious, shoving his country deeper into a hole. His fatal judgment was equaled only by his absolute self-assurance. He lacked the courage to doubt himself. He lacked the wisdom to change his mind.”
A new C-SPAN Historians survey of U.S. presidents finds Donald Trump enters the ranks for the first time in the #41 position out of 44 presidents.
The historians ranked him dead last for “Moral Authority” and “Administrative Skills.”
- Barack Obama rose to #10 from his #12 ranking in 2017
- George W. Bush continued his steady incline, now ranking at #29, from #33 in 2017 and #36 in 2009
- Bill Clinton began at #21 in 2000 and held steady at #15 in 2009 and 2017 before declining this cycle to #19.
In the last 10 months, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) “has wrongly said in a speech that James Madison signed the Declaration of Independence, wrongly said Congress voted to have Lincoln issue the Emancipation Proclamation, and now in another speech attributed a famous John Adams line to Jefferson,” CNN reports.
Variety: “Each year on June 19, Opal Lee makes a two-and-a-half-mile pilgrimage to commemorate the date in 1865, two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, when more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in Texas learned that they were finally free, marking the true end of slavery in America.”
“For more than 40 years, she had carried on the tradition, working with the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation and leading local Juneteenth events. But (in 2016) she was particularly inspired, coming up with a plan to walk the 1,400 miles from Fort Worth to Washington, D.C., to petition the Obama administration and Congress to grant the holiday an official position on the calendar.”
Said Lee: “I just remember thinking, ‘Gee, I’m 89 years old and I think that there’s lots more that needs to be done.’”
“Two branches of government haven’t acted in concert this speedily at least 10 years,” Axios reports.
“The Senate passed a Juneteenth national holiday on Tuesday, the House followed Wednesday, President Biden signed it Thursday, and Friday is an official federal holiday (although the Postal Service will operate, saying there wasn’t time to shut down).”
NBC News: Juneteenth Day is a victory, but there’s still work to do.
The remains of Confederate general and KKK leader Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife were dug up from a Memphis park and removed, along with a statue, to the National Confederate Museum, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports.
“A former Tennessee governor’s administration helped fund a contract murder of a key federal witness decades ago while embroiled in the state’s largest political scandal,” the AP reports.
“The new details revealed for the first time Wednesday have elements that ring of a movie: a trusted ally of union boss Jimmy Hoffa gunned down after testifying about a corrupt governor selling prison pardons and a gunman who donned a wig and blackface to throw authorities off the scent.”
“The scandal ultimately led to the ousting of Democratic Gov. Ray Blanton, who was never indicted in the investigation — but three of his aides were. However, questions have lingered about the extent to which the governor’s administration actively worked to thwart the investigation.”