Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 7, 2006 / 16 Kislev, 5767

The sacred college of historians

By Bob Tyrrell


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There are certain questions frequently asked of eminent minds in public that must be avoided lest that eminence reveal himself to be a moron or at least moronic in certain areas of intellectual endeavor. Recently the Washington Post addressed one of these questions to Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton professor of history at Columbia University. Naif that he is, Foner exuberantly rushed forward to prove my point. The question asked was one variation or another of "rank the present president of the United States on the historians' scale of 'great' to 'failure.'" Foner, though the author of distinguished historical studies of 19th century America, bemanured his scholarly credentials by ranking George W. Bush as "the worst president in U.S. history." Now I like a good joke, but nowhere in his tortured exposition was there a hint of humor.


Obviously in the area of contemporary history the professor is a moron. We may even extend his moronism to include the ranking of presidents throughout American history. He claims that Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan "occupy the bottom rung," because they "were simply not up to the job" of facing a "national crisis." Well, I can agree to that. Then he throws in Calvin Coolidge and Warren G. Harding, because of "the corruption of their years in office," though Coolidge's administration was not particularly known for corruption. If Foner is still placing the blame for the Depression on Coolidge he might devote some time to reading economics, particularly Milton Friedman's explication of the Depression, which makes clear that it was a monetary crisis made so by the Fed's tight money.


Finally, he places Richard Nixon at "the bottom rung" for his "disdain for the Constitution and abuse of presidential power." Nixon's opening to China and navigation of the tricky waters of the Cold War apparently amount to nullities in Foner's analysis, as does Nixon's fairly successful management of a government that is gigantic in comparison to those of the earlier failed presidents.

Donate to JWR


Onto this junk heap of inferior presidents he now heaves George W. Bush. Note, nowhere at "the bottom rung" does he place Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton. Carter blundered both in foreign policy and in economic policy, leaving office with interest rates at 21.5 percent, inflation at 13.6 percent and unemployment at 7.1 percent. Americans abroad were embarrassed to show their passports, and at least 52 were being held hostage in our Tehran embassy. Clinton got himself impeached by practicing the same abuse of power and ithyphallic compulsiveness that some of us reported he had practiced as a mediocre governor of Arkansas. Clinton's economy was healthy (save for its bubble), but that was mainly because he followed Republican economic policies. His plan to "grow the economy" via the reduced interest rates that he promised from a balanced budget (balanced mostly through military cuts) failed. Interest rates went up.


Foner adjudges Bush 43 guilty of all the failings of his aforementioned inferior presidents. Then he throws in an invidious comparison of Bush with President James K. Polk, whose Mexican-American War still embarrasses the Columbia University historian. Don't get him started on our acquisition of Alaska!


How does one respond to such tendentious pish-posh? It would do no good to mention Bush's vibrant economy with historically low unemployment, steady growth and a stock market at historic highs. Nor would the professor be persuaded that Bush's tax cuts brought the economy from the mild recession he inherited from Clinton and the attacks of 9/11 that he might also have inherited from Clinton. Foner utterly ignores the Bush administration's reform of the military that now allows us to project force around the globe and with little of the inter-service redundancy, thanks to retiring Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Bush has successfully pursued a war on terror, reversing Clinton's procrastination. Iraq has proven to be problematic but only because Bush is pursuing the idealism of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman in attempting to spread democracy. Had he been Machiavellian enough to topple Saddam and hand the country over to its generals or some other circle of power I doubt Foner would applaud.


The present administration has undertaken other admirable endeavors such as Social Security reform. Though now at a standstill, Bush's efforts surely will fetch the admiration of future historians. Clinton's neglect of Social Security is already under the historians' fire. May I direct Foner to James Patterson's recent volume in the Oxford History of the United States covering the Clinton years? Bush's inchoate efforts at healthcare reform are also admirable. Yet Foner remains unimpressed. He has, in his eagerness to answer a stupid question, revealed himself to be a hopeless partisan. That is why in the area of contemporary history he is a moron.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.

Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles