Appearing as a panel member on the weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show, Huffington Post editoral director Howard Fineman - formerly of Newsweek - praised former President Eisenhower's decision to advise then-President Johnson to "carry out Jack Kennedy's agenda" in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination.
Fineman ended up referring to Eisenhower's advice as "amazing statesmanship and foresight." Fineman:
(Video can be found here.)
But more important and interesting is the advice that Ike gave to Lyndon Johnson about what LBJ should say before a joint session of Congress. Ike was a Republican President and really more of a conservative one in certain respects than we remember.
But what he told LBJ was that LBJ should promise to carry forth the sweeping liberal agenda of Jack Kennedy, who had been assassinated, that the best thing that LBJ could do for the country and for LBJ's own standing within his party than the presidency, was to promise to carry out Jack Kennedy's agenda.
So here, you really have, at a pivotal moment, a Republican President advocating a Democratic agenda for the good of the country. Amazing statesmanship and foresight really on Ike's part.
A caller to Thom Hartmann's radio show Friday offered what he described as an "absurd" suggestion. That it certainly was, though Hartmann didn't think so.
The caller complained that President Obama missed "a great opportunity" to rein in defense spending and asked Hartmann what he thought about "completely closing down the military." Here's a transcript of the conversation and Hartmann's response (audio) --
CALLER: You inspired me to give you a call and I have an absurd solution. It seems like this is the time for absurd solutions because the right seems pretty absurd.
CALLER: But Obama missed a great opportunity when he came in to not pick up the war. Under Obama, I mean, he's spending around $1.3 trillion. If he cut a trillion from the war, brought the troops back, closed the bases, stop the Petraeus-led war on Americans and took that budget and put it on the economy, in terms of creating jobs in the United States and also trying to deal with climate change. I'm a climate scientist and so, I was working at NASA, and so, do you think it's an absurd idea, that idea of completely closing down the military and cutting off a trillion dollars?
HARTMANN: No, I think it's a really good idea and I totally agree with you. And in fact President Eisenhower has, you know, would have agreed with you. Back in, it was a speech he gave to the American Association (Society) of Newspaper Editors and it's famously known as the Cross of Iron speech.
... whereupon Hartmann played an excerpt of Eisenhower's speech, delivered in April 1953 three months after he took office. (transcript and audio).
That Eisenhower loathed waste in the military, having seen plenty of it during his decades in the service, and did not trust what he later derided in his farewell address as the military industrial complex, is beyond dispute.
That the man who led Allied forces in Europe against a ruthless Nazi military emboldened by pre-war weakness in the West would want to close down the American military is beyond absurd.
Hartmann, not surprisingly, has a bit of a following in Russia, presumably extending to the like-minded pacifists in the Kremlin.
(Illustration credit, Lala50 via Flickr)