January 17, 2020

SUPER ON-BRAND (profanity alert):

Mike Pence's Impeachment Hero Is a Corrupt 19th Century Politician (MARK JOSEPH STERN, JAN 17, 2020, Slate)

Pence writes that Johnson "shared Lincoln's desire to bring the Southern states back into the fold as soon as possible" and wished to "continue Lincoln's policies." Is that true?

No. Johnson was not continuing Lincoln's policy. First of all, no one knew exactly what Lincoln's policy would be in the first place--he hadn't formulated one, but he was open-minded, which Johnson never was. Second, Lincoln had suggested that he was very open to giving the vote to black men, particularly those who had served in the Union army.

Johnson's position, by contrast, was very clear; he said: "This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men."

Johnson not only opposed votes for blacks--he opposed political and civil rights for blacks, too. He vetoed civil rights legislation. He campaigned against the 14th Amendment. And instead of calling a special session of Congress after Lincoln's assassination, he began to reconstruct the Southern government along his own lines. That included pardoning nearly 100 former Confederates a day, allowing them to rejoin the legislature, and letting those legislatures pass "Black Codes," which were ordinances that reinstituted slavery by another name because they denied all civil rights to blacks, including the right to marry, to serve on a jury, even to move freely. [...]

One obvious goal of Pence's op-ed is to favorably compare Trump to Johnson by framing Johnson as a principled president unfairly vilified and undermined by a partisan Congress. Where does Pence's rosy view of Johnson come from?

Until the rise of the KKK in the early 20th century, Johnson was a toxic figure. The Democrats, his own party, wouldn't even nominate him for president in 1868. He was inept, vulgar, and an abuser of power. He was unfit for office, and across the board, it was understood that he was in over his head. His reputation was in the cellar until Birth of a Nation, the 1915 movie that popularized the "lost cause" point of view. It depicted Radical Republicans as power-hungry fanatics. After Birth of a Nation, the KKK began popularizing Johnson again.

the only president Donald is more like is Wilson.

Posted by at January 17, 2020 4:09 PM