Saturday, February 17, 2007

42. The House at work

246 to 182. That's the tally in the United States House of Representatives on a vote with the title "Disapproving of the decision of the President announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq." Thank you.

As each of those 246 votes represents 1/435 of the Census Bureau's population estimate of 301,192,792 souls in our Republic (as of the point of this writing), that means the voices of roughly 170,329,717 citizens have finally been heard in the 68.3 square miles which consititute our nation's capital some 610 miles east northeast of the Ohio River's Left Bank at Milepost 606.

I'm very proud to say that my congressman, John Yarmuth, as well as the congressman of those on the Right Bank of the Ohio River at Milepost 606, Baron Hill, were among the 246 who voted in the affirmative. Joining Yarmuth as a Yes vote in Kentucky's congressional delegation was Sixth District Congressman Ben Chandler, representing the Bluegrass region of central Kentucky. I am hopeful that Yarmuth's presence in the House will allow Chandler to be a little more to the left than he has been on a number of issues during his service to the Republic.

I had written a few weeks ago, after the president's State of the Union address, my opinion that George W. Bush is the worst president in my lifetime, now in its 47th year. I've been joined in that thought - actually in a far more expansive thought, being that Bush fils is the worst president ever - by Al Neuharth, the president and CEO of Gannett Publishing, and founder of the newspaper (with the word "news" used ever so loosely in this context) USA Today. Neuharth had previously listed his five worst presidents as Andrew Jackson, James Buchanan, Ulysses S. Grant, Herbert Hoover, and Richard Nixon. I would concur in part with his list.

It is a long practice of historical writers to try and develop points by which our Chief Magistrates can be compared to and against each other. Oftentimes, however, we allow personal feelings for or against a president to interfere with a true record of their performance. I would not have Richard Nixon among my worst five because some of what he did as president would keep him from that distinction. I've written before that some of the measures he supported, and saw passed, would very likely keep him from enjoying the support of today's Republican Party. Among my worst five would be Ronald Wilson Reagan, someone Neuharth does not list.

The practice of writers to rank the presidents is purely academic unless you are presently being governed by one of the worst ranked, as we are under George W. Bush. Then such a ranking becomes an issue of national importance and security. And when a country is governed by one of the worst, or as Mr. Neuharth is now proclaiming, the worst ever, president, the need arises for the Congress, as one of the three equal branches under our experimental form of government, to step in, as is their power of checks and balances, and correct the actions of such a president. The vote of the House of Representatives yesterday is just such a check and balance of power. However, it is not and will not be enough. I am hopeful that Speaker Pelosi will continue the piece-by-piece, vote-by-vote long-needed correction of the policies and abused-powers the current Commander-In-Chief, and his lieutenants, have undertaken at undermining our Constitution and our republican form of democracy. Our votes in November indicated that she, and by extension the house of congress she controls, should take just such action. Similarly, Senator Reid, the Democratic leader, has the same responsibility to the American public as his end of the capital changed hands as well. We are waiting to hear if he can lead his end as Pelosi is leading hers.

Here is the roll call in the House of Representatives from yesterday:

On a lighter note, it is snowing in the Ohio Valley as we speak. We are expecting about an inch here in Louisville. Hallelujah!

1 comment:

Nick Stump said...

Grant and Hoover for sure. Nixon, I hated him, but there have been worse Presidents. I'm gonna go with an unpopular choice and put Reagan in there, as from what I've read, he's certainly the classic empty suit, plus we're still suffering the results of all the deregulation his administration is responsible for--not to even mention Iran-Contra.

I like Andrew Jackson even if he's not politically correct these day, mainly as a result of his treatment of American Indians and his other failings on abolition

. Nevertheless, Jackson is the father of American Populism, and I alway love a President who supports the little guys. For his failing in the area of American Indians, I see him as a man of his times. Every President who lived in the days before we had entirely taken this country from the original owners was, in part, responsible for the treatment of native Americans, so I'm keeping Jackson off the list. I've always liked Jackson's politics and see him as a true visionary. His fight with the 2nd National Bank was the first shot over the bow of big business

I'm still stuck on my last choice as I'm certain our current President is the worst White House resident in my lifetime, and probably the worst in history.

The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.