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RECENT NEWS has it that President-in-Wanting Donald Trump’s communications director Sean Spicer complained on national television that people should stop mocking his boss.
I suspect Spicer missed my earlier comment that political satire is the bellwether of the body politic. Maybe he forgot H.L. Mencken’s line: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”
Or maybe Spicer and others are ignoring history. Merriam-Webster can show him some real mocking of politicians. To wit.
Alexander Hamilton. The guy on our ten-spot was born without benefit of clergy, a tidbit that our second president John Adams employed in regular mocking when he called Hamilton “a bastard brat of a Scotch Pedlar.”
Adams tagged him with this moniker several times, even after Hamilton had passed on. Double points for that, right?
On the other hand, based on his tweets, Trump doesn’t think much of Hamilton either.
Franklin Pierce. Historians generally rank Franklin Pierce, the 14th POTUS, as one of our worst. Sort of a mock for all eternity.
Besides evidently having really bad hair, even worse than you-know-who’s, Pierce deserves mocking because of his moral ineptitude. He supported the Fugitive Slave Act, which required escaped slaves anywhere, even in the northern states, to be returned to their owners. This act, it can be noted, was a corollary of the Constitution’s Fugitive Slave Clause (Article IV, Section 2, Clause 3), which was later made moot by 1865‘s Thirteenth Amendment forbidding slavery.
Nor I am alone in this assessment of President Pierce. In 1855, a political rival called him, “… the pimp of the White House…. A man sunk so low we have hardly hate. We have nothing but disgust, pity, and contempt.”
Abraham Lincoln. Even great presidents have taken their mocking without whining about it.
Abraham Lincoln’s views on human dignity were in marked contrast to those expressed by predecessor Pierce. Indeed, Lincoln was great (not to overstress the honor bigly).
Nevertheless, even Lincoln had his mockers. During his presidency, Harper’s Weekly published a list of Lincoln descriptors, including “Ignoramus, despot, perjurer, swindler, buffoon, spavined and rail-splitting stallion.”
With regard to this last one, I can imagine a 3:00 a.m. tweet from the President-in-Wanting: “Don’t you wish!”
Warren Harding. Not cited by Merriam-Webster, but also worthy of mocking is Warren Harding, another POTUS whom historians rate as one of the worst.
Let’s ignore the racial sniping (opponents claimed he had Negro blood, ultimately disavowed by DNA in 2015). Let’s forget for the moment the Harding Administration scandals (c.f. Teapot Dome, the Veterans’ Bureau and The Ohio Gang).
No, I find amusing a mock attributed to no less than his father concerning Harding’s randiness: “It was a good thing Warren wasn’t a woman or he would always be in the family way.”
Don’t you wish! ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2017