Junior Ganymede
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Quote of the day

November 24th, 2009 by Vader

Stephen Green:

If there really was a Party Of No, I would so join.

Sign me up too.

Comments (4)
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November 24th, 2009 11:27:42

John Mansfield
November 24, 2009

Back in ’04, I wondered if electing John Kerry might be the best political outcome. He seemed like someone who would be a weak president, and with an opposing Congress, nothing would happen. I’m mostly for gridlock, considering the alternatives.

Ben Pratt
November 24, 2009

Ditto, John. I was just thinking about that yesterday.

John Mansfield
November 24, 2009

There was this great bit at National Review a couple months ago:

John, your post below and yesterday’s about Ted Kennedy repeating the old canard about not being able to get Reagan to focus on policy issues shows what a slow learners all these folks still are. Calvin Coolidge used to say that most people who come to see you in the Oval Office are after something they ought not to get. Coolidge’s answer to this was to sit very still like a cigar store Indian for about three minutes, by which time folks would run out of gas and leave. That’s part of how Coolidge got the reputation as “Silent Cal.” Reagan, a Coolidge fan remember (I have a couple pages about the Reagan-Coolidge affinity in the new book), was much too gregarious to adopt the Coolidge strategy, so he told Hollywood stories and talked about shoes instead. This gave rise to the view that he wouldn’t focus on policy. What is really meant that all these Washington greybeards were being had, and some still haven’t figured this out.

John Mansfield
November 24, 2009

Here are the shoe stories:

The senator said it had been difficult to get Reagan to focus on policy matters. He described a meeting with him that he and other senators had sought to press for shoe and textile import limits.

The senators were told that they would have just 30 minutes with the president. Reagan began the meeting, the book said, commenting on Mr. Kennedy’s shoes — asking if they were Bostonians — and then talking for 20 minutes about shoes and his experience selling shoes for his father. “Several of us began conspicuously to glance at our watches.” But to no avail. “And it was over!” Mr. Kennedy said. “No one got a word in about shoe or textile quota legislation.”


Sometimes Reagan had to be shrewdly diplomatic in the way that he handled protectionist demands. Senior aides told of an incident in which a group of northeastern shoe manufacturers came to see Reagan. These men, big Republican donors who had contributed to his campaign, wanted him to help block cheap foreign shoes from being sold in the United States. … [Reagan] launched into a lengthy reverie about how much he liked to wear cowboy boots on his ranch in Santa Barbara, finishing up with a lament about how difficult it was to find a good pair these days. The businessmen listened politely and then left, commenting among themselves that Reagan was an awfully nice man but had seemed not to follow their line of reasoning at all. As the press reported it, this was another one of those “anecdotal non-sequiturs,” as Morton Kondracke put it in the New Republic. Yet it turns out that Reagan knew exactly what he was up to. Under the guise of being distracted, he was doing something that we all do when pressed to discuss something we don’t want to talk about: he was changing the topic. When the shoe manufactureres left, Reagan commented to his aides, “No way was I going to give in to that crew.”

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