Reason magazine has posted a short item on Why Coolidge Matters. Katherine Mangu-Ward begins by noting that Coolidge was the only president sworn in by a notary.
This seemingly incidental historical fact was apparently enough to spur the National Notary Association to pour considerable resources into Why Coolidge Matters: How Civility in Politics Can Bring a Nation Together, a new glossy coffee-table book filled with celebrity testimonials and sepia-toned snaps that feature Silent Cal.
The resulting grab bag of low-key Coolidge worship is odd but curiously satisfying. Former Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis praises Coolidge’s grassroots organizing. Black Republican activist Ward Connerly revels in Coolidge’s “minimalist view” of his own abilities. And Sen. John Kerry D-Mass. declares: “America Needs a New Coolidge.” The man may have a point.
The Coolidge rehabilitation seems to be spreading, thanks in part to the publication of Why Coolidge Matters (which has gotten a rather remarkable amount of press). Here’s an item I ran across today:
The Vermont Republican is well known, perhaps, for what he didn’t do. In some history classes, he has been referred to as lazy, with some rumors even suggesting he was clinically depressed. But if you were to ask historians and family members of Coolidge what they think, the opinions and memories change dramatically. In fact, they are more like rebuttals to several decades worth of redicule by casual observers.
“Coolidge was our President during a time of peace and prosperity, between the two wars,” said Vermont Governor James H. Douglas (R). “He has a lot of offer the current American political scene. Fiscal responsibility, for example. He came at a time when our debt was quite high, when tax burdens were quite high, and he worked hard to reduce them.”
As one of the first radio presidents, Douglas claims President Coolidge was actually quite the conversationalist, connecting on levels to the American public in ways that are often overshadowed by historically great communicators like FDR and Ronald Reagan. A new book, “Why Coolidge Matters,” showcases some of the political victories and Presidential precedents set by Coolidge.
via 9NEWS.com | Colorado’s Online News Leader | Worst President ever, or simply misunderstood?.
C-Span has posted a short clip from the August 3 Coolidge event at the Library of Congress. Organized to mark the publication of Why Coolidge Matters, the event doesn’t seem to be available in its entirety anywhere on the web (despite suggestions from the LOC press release that it will be.) But the clip is worth a quick look anyway.