Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Monday, August 31, 2015

You Say McKinley, I Say Denali

William McKinley was an affable man.  Portly in the way of most late 19th century men-of-substance, genial with children, considerate of people in general.

He was also, in many ways, the first modern Republican president.

Having served credibly in the Civil War and hailing from Ohio, he was the last of the 19th century Republicans (Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Harrison) who hailed from that conflict and that state.  But he was also the first creature of Big Business put into office against a populist uprising - led by the Populists and eventually the Democrats under Bryan - that threatened their wealth by advocating for a managed, inflationary money supply.  "If Bryan wins on Tuesday, don't come to work on Wednesday." was a refrain heard from bosses to their workers in the election of '96.

He was also the first imperialist President, annexing huge swaths of land from the Philippines to Hawaii to Puerto Rico.

He was a "consequential" president.

He was also a pretty mediocre one.  While he was president, the bloody Philippine War was fought, complete with waterboarding.  He ushered in a half century of enmity between the US and Latin America.  His monetary policy was garbage.

So, enjoy the teeth gnashing from the usual suspects in the Ohio GOP, as their progenitor has his name stripped from the continent's tallest mountain.  For today, it really is the Party of McKinley, not the Party of Lincoln.

But don't worry.  If a Republican wins the White House, the mountain will be changed to Mount Reagan.  The way the baby Jesus intended.

No comments: