Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Quote of the Day

In Part Three of John F. Kennedy's Pulitzer Prize-winning book Profiles in Courage, Kennedy describes the American political scene in the decades after the Civil War:
Thus by the end of the nineteenth century the Senate had come to very nearly its lowest ebb, in terms of power as well as prestige. The decline in Senatorial power had begun shortly after the end of Grant's administration [1869-77]. Prior to that time, the Senate, which had humiliated President Johnson and dominated President Grant, had reigned supreme in what was very nearly a parliamentary form of government. Senators even claimed a place at the dinner table above members of the Cabinet (who had previously outranked them at social functions). "If they visited the White House," [Massachusetts Sen.] George Frisbie Hoar later recalled, "it was to give, not to receive advice."
But the peak of Congressional power passed as Presidents Hayes, Garfield, Arthur and Cleveland [the presidents from 1877-1889] successfully resisted Senatorial attempts to dictate Presidential appointments, and the government returned to the more traditional American system of the Constitution's checks and balances. (emphasis mine)
My question is this: if John F. Kennedy, one of (at most) only two great Democrats to hold the White House in the last 50 years, could see that the Constitution forbade "Senatorial attempts to dictate Presidential appointments," why can't today's Democrats see the same thing?

What's that you say? Something about Kool-Aid?


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