Political History

Quote of the Day

“This past week has certainly seemed like one major story per hour.  But before we get carried away, let’s remember one of the gold standards for a time when monumental stories occurred almost simultaneously. Within three days in late January 1973, Richard Nixon was sworn in for a second term, Lyndon Johnson died, the Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade and the U.S. agreed to a Vietnam peace accord. With no hindsight, it’s impossible for us to know yet what was the most important thing that happened this past week in March 2018. But with 20/20 hindsight, historians of the future will be able to show us what it may have been — and, if history is any guide, this may turn out to be something that we are not yet even aware of today.”

— Historian Michael Beschloss, quoted by Axios.

Americans Think Trump Is the Worst President

A new Quinnipiac poll finds that 41% of Americans think Donald Trump is the worst of the 13 presidents who have served since the end of World War II, followed by 21% who list Barack Obama and 10% who cite Richard Nixon.

Looking at the best president since 1945, 28% say Ronald Reagan, while 24% list Barack Obama, with 10% each for Bill Clinton and John Kennedy.

Said pollster Tim Malloy: “In 73 years, 13 men have governed from behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office and none of them have done so with less admiration from the American people.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s approval rating is a dismal 56% to 38%.

Dinner In Camelot

This looks great: Dinner in Camelot: The Night America’s Greatest Scientists, Writers, and Scholars Partied at the Kennedy White House  by Joseph Esposito.

Kirkus Reviews: “Looking back on a time when those in power capitalized on the possibilities and impact of the intellect only agitates our disbelief for today’s state of affairs… An exciting glimpse into a long-gone era of politics and cultural activity.”

‘A Year of Continuous Nightmare’

Just published: LBJ’s 1968 by Kyle Longley.

“1968 was an unprecedented year in terms of upheaval on numerous scales: political, military, economic, social, cultural. In the United States, perhaps no one was more undone by the events of 1968 than President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Kyle Longley leads his readers on a behind-the-scenes tour of what Johnson characterized as the ‘year of a continuous nightmare’.”

Just Like Nixon’s Last Days

Former Nixon speechwriter David Gergen told CNN that President Trump’s erratic tweeting “reminds me very much of the last days of President Nixon when he became deeply, deeply insecure, lashed out in all sorts of ways and didn’t remain focused on the job at hand. But this, I’m afraid, has been President Trump’s pattern for some time.”

He added: “I don’t know why he is so insecure. It certainly suggests that as Mueller closes in more, that there is he very much does not want us to know, and he is very afraid that Mueller is going to get there.”

Quote of the Day

“All should appreciate the FBI speaking up. I wish more of our leaders would. But take heart: American history shows that, in the long run, weasels and liars never hold the field, so long as good people stand up. Not a lot of schools or streets named for Joe McCarthy.”

— Former FBI Director James Comey, on Twitter.

How This Is Different Than Watergate

Greg Sargent points out “an important way that the current moment is different from Watergate — a difference that may point to the possibility of a more alarming endgame. The Nunes memo shows there is a massive propaganda apparatus out there — one that reaches deep into right wing media and into the Congress that has been pushing the alt-narrative and would back up Trump if he does take drastic steps — that didn’t really exist in Nixon’s time.”

He quotes journalist Tim Weiner: “You certainly had very influential columnists who were diehard Nixon men. But you did not have a Devin Nunes. You did not have a Sean Hannity. And you did not have an alternate universe of conspiracy theories, in which the FBI was painted as the equivalent of the Weather Underground.”

Gender Gap on Trump Approval Bigger Than Predecessors’

Gallup: “The gender gap in Donald Trump’s 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton was the largest in election polling history, with significantly more men than women supporting Trump. This sizable gender difference has carried over to his job approval rating throughout the first year of his presidency. The average difference in Trump’s approval rating between men and women was 12 percentage points in 2017, roughly double the differences for the three presidents who served immediately before him.”

“Trump’s annual average approval rating for his first year in office was 45% among men and 33% among women. These sub-50% ratings for a president’s first year in office are unprecedented, as is the 12-point gender difference.”