By Henri Loridans
Much ado is being made these days about the imperfections of the leading candidates in the race for President of the United States. Let us compare with some of our greatest holders of that office in the past.
Thomas Jefferson performed poorly as a wartime governor of Virginia, 1779 to 1781. When the Redcoats got close to Richmond, he jumped on the fastest horse he could find and skedaddled. He dallied with one of his slaves and sired offspring who in turn became slaves. Despite his flaws, this Founding Father drafted the Declaration of Independence, one of history’s most enduring and endearing documents
During his debates with Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln said he believed that Whites were superior to Blacks. He proclaimed that he was opposed to mixed marriages and that Blacks were not fit to serve as Jurors. In the 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago he had counterfeit entrance passes printed that were used to flood the floor with his supporters. Never-the-less, as President, and after he gained control of the Union Army, he preserved the Union. His administration maneuvered passage of the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt had long lasting affairs, not only with his own secretary, but also with his wife’s personal secretary. His grandfather Warren Delano made a fortune in the opium trade (legal at that time). As President, his qualities of leadership and vision led us through the Great Depression and World War Two. His New Deal left the United States with such sacrosanct legislation as Social Security and the National Labor Relations Act. He is the prime candidate for the Greatest President of the Twentieth Century.
Harry S. Truman failed in the only commercial venture he ever entered. He and a partner opened a haberdashery after WW I which ended in bankruptcy. He owed his early political successes to the Missouri Prendergast Machine, which had nefarious connections. His competence as President is now unquestioned. With the Marshall Plan his administration rehabilitated enemy nations which are now valuable allies.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy had affairs too numerous to mention. The Mob supported him in his campaign for president. As President he stood down the Soviet Empire and brought the US into the Space Age.
We can even throw Winston Churchill into the mix. When he was First Lord of the Admiralty in World War One he proposed a naval convoy through the Dardanelles to Russia as part of the Gallipoli Campaign. It was a colossal blunder and he was replaced as First Lord. He was reputed to consume excessive amounts of Brandy. In World War Two he rallied the British against the threat of Hitler, and is considered by many scholars to have been Britain’s greatest Prime Minister.
Hillary Rodham Clinton should not have supported the invasion of Iraq. It is worrisome that she received huge fees for Wall Street speeches. She was careless in the way she managed State Department communications. Much is being made of these indiscretions by her political opponents. However, a balance sheet of her political participation and the causes she supported over the past thirty years leaves her bottom line clearly in the affirmative.
Hillary’s husband Bill has been included in the political attacks. As he is an active supporter of hers, he is fair game. Bill was guilty of an indiscretion with a White House intern. His detractors seem to believe that his subsequent I did not have sex with that woman was worse than the act itself.
In Louisiana, when a wife is accused of adultery, the testimony of the correspondent must be corroborated, and, received with great caution. This ruling came from a former Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court who reasoned “A man who would not lie under those circumstances is unworthy of belief.”