Thursday, June 29, 2017

"I Don't Care About My Dignity"

Gerard N. Magliocca

The President's recent tweets made me think about Andrew Johnson's ill-fated campaign for Democrats during the midterm elections of 1866. Johnson's conduct during what was termed "the swing around the circle" was widely seen as an fiasco because he got into shouting matches with hecklers and made several wacky statements ("Why don't you hang Thad Stevens?") When some of the President's supporters told him that some of his comments were undignified, the President was heard by reporters to reply "I don't care about my dignity," which became a national headline.

Two years later, one of the articles of impeachment against President Johnson alleged that comments such as these were a high crime and misdemeanor. Article Ten stated:  "Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, unmindful of the high duties of his high office and the dignity and proprieties thereof" did "make and declare, with a loud voice, certain intemperate, inflammatory, and scandalous harangues, and therein utter loud threats and bitter menaces . . . amid the cries, jeers, and laughter of the multitudes then assembled in hearing." [I love the touch about "with a loud voice."] Article Ten concluded with the following:
Which said utterances, declarations, threats and harangues, highly censurable in any, are peculiarly indecent and unbecoming in the Chief Magistrate of the United States, by means whereof the said Andrew Johnson has brought the high office of the President of the United States into contempt, ridicule and disgrace, to the great scandal of all good citizens, whereby said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, did commit, and was then and there guilty of a high misdemeanor in office. 
Hail to the Chief.


It couldn't be too important for impeachment; isn't mentioned in the song:

I wonder how they would have reacted if President Johnson had called his political foes "teabaggers"?

Fine, fine, compare 2017 behavior to 1866 mores. But at least try to be consistent about it.

When POTUS communicates like a Congress critter or an MSNBC talking head, it is an impeachable "high misdemeanor?"

So let's follow up with Brett's suggestion:

"Fine, fine, compare 2017 behavior to 1866 mores. But at least try to be consistent about it."

Johnson was a Democrat back in 1866 but by 2017 mores, Johnson would be a Republican. And back in 1866 the Republicans to whom Johnson was responding would be by 2017 mores Democrats. And ironically, in the mores of 2017 even Republicans are chiding the present day Republican President Trump.

While President Twit's tweets many not be impeachable, the lack of dignity on the part of President Twit does not auger well for America's National Security per a recent Pew poll. Perhaps our dynamic dyslexic duo, Bert and Brat, have no concept of dignity what with their personal photo illustrated comments.

By the Bybee [expletives deleted], what was the Senate vote on Johnson's impeachment trial?


When Trump descends to the level of calling his political opponents mass murders, traitors, Klan members and mentally ill then maybe you Democrats will be in a moral position to discuss the relative lack of dignity among our elected representatives.

Stone meet glass house.

Andrew Johnson had a reputed drinking problem. That's an issue in itself, of course, but he could at least excuse some of his other behavior by blaming alcohol. Trump doesn't drink.

SPAM continues with his head up his The Gilded Age of the late 19th century unaware that his Republican Party of today has long ceased to be the party of Lincoln.

Mark's comment brings to mind:

There is a famous anecdote featuring Winston Churchill and the British politician Bessie Braddock .... Supposedly Braddock encountered an intoxicated Churchill and said “Sir, you are drunk.” He replied:

"And you, Bessie, are ugly. But I shall be sober in the morning, and you will still be ugly."

This may be fictional. But as Mark suggests, President Twit doesn't have an excuse.

Shag: President Twit doesn't have an excuse [for name calling]

But Shag does?

In my Churchillian manner in response to SPAM, I am sober this morning (following yesterday's liberal - some progressives - lunch), but you, SPAM, are still ugly.

I wonder how they would have reacted if President Johnson had called his political foes "teabaggers"?

Fine, fine, compare 2017 behavior to 1866 mores. But at least try to be consistent about it.

The concern in the historical anecdote was not that AJ used somewhat offensive terms for his political opponents. Things of that sort was done [up to a point; not long before, you did that in Tennessee in a way that implies your opponent was a sexual reprobate, you might need to fight a duel]. Even then, once you actually were in office you personally wouldn't go around and do it out in the open in print.

It was the unbalanced level he took it, be it alcohol induced or otherwise.

Nor did GM say that things are the same now. He was using history as a lesson, which is repeatedly done, even if you aren't a conservative leaning (at Concurring Opinions recently, he again noted he is not a Democrat) historian of the era used. And, even then, Johnson wasn't convicted of the offenses he was impeached over. Plus, even to the extent people were impeached, that sort of thing was not usually what were in their mind. (Justice Chase is somewhat of an exception, but even there it was while he was doing his job in court.) It underlined how bad people thought he was taking it that it was seen as a credible thing to toss in.

Finally, GM and others didn't just use history to address something Trump did. Trump did something. He's of particular note since he's in power now etc. GM cited a relevant historical anecdote like many conservatives do (often using biblical ones). A wider discussion is also helpful and it is done. Repeatedly, people talk about political campaigns now and in the past. A nuanced analysis, including what has and has not changed in this regard is fine enough. Won't help Trump much.

But, a quick snapshot -- be it online or elsewhere -- often just addresses the specific matter. There is no inconsistency here. GM, again not a Democrat, wasn't in the past unfairly positive about Democrats or something.

Did Shag ever say where he got his nickname?

He is at times ribald, so you have that, but the "shaggy dog" story often is a good reflection of his usage of humor.

Trump doesn't need to drink. His obvious dementia problem functions in a similar way to lower inhibitions.

Gee, I thought my reference to President Twit was at the most Polo locker room banter, as he is so famous for his "7.5 seconds chuckers" on Twitter. I thought even a rural criminal defense lawyer would recognize that "Twit" was short for Twitter. Alas, SPAM may never have mounted the "ponies" or attended a Polo match. In case SPAM does, this may serve to educate him:

Of course, SPAM as a member of the current Republican Party that is no longer the party of Lincoln is well experienced looking through Republican piles for a pony to saddle up on (e.g., the Bush/Cheney 8 years).

So what happened with Article Ten? Was he impeached under Article Ten? If so, did the Senate vote on Article Ten?


Dignified or not, the POTUS is offering a doctorate level course on trolling the political opposition.

Trump lives rent free, 24/7 in all of your heads and your media. The Donald tweets an attack on you Democrats and you repeat and discuss it endlessly. The man's tweets headline your news programs and blogs. You are discussing what he wants you to discuss and loving it.

Do we Democrats offer the voters a reason for our existence? Who cares, did you read Trump's tweet about Mika and Joe? Here, let's repost it in the TV screen or blog page so anyone who does not follow him can read it. OUTRAGEOUS! Can we impeach Trump for being undignified? :::furious gnashing of teeth:::

Wake up, boys and girls, you are being gamed.

SPAM seems to be a cheerleader for President Twit although SPAM during the 2016 campaign constantly referred to Trump as a fascist, and not favoribly as he might have about his countryman who made the trains run on time. In the past SPAM has self-described as an anarcho libertarian. Perhaps in SPAM's mind President Twit is a libertarian, and based upon his failures to govern effectively perhaps on the anarcho side. David Brooks' NYTimes column on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 with the title "The G.O.P. Rejects Conservatism." The column closes with this:


The best I can do is the atomistic mentality described by Alexis de Tocqueville long ago:

“They owe nothing to any man, they expect nothing from any man; they acquire the habit of always considering themselves as standing alone, and they are apt to imagine that their whole destiny is in their own hands. Thus not only does democracy make every man forget his ancestors, but it hides his descendants and separates his contemporaries from him; it throws him back forever upon himself alone and threatens in the end to confine him entirely within the solitude of his own heart.”


This is the best definition I have seen of a libertarian, including the anarcho variety. No wonder SPAM is in lockstep with President Twit. The G.O.P. controls Congress. But it is questionable whether Congress is similarly in lockstep as is SPAM. Once again SPAM contorts himself via his colon chuckle, apparently the source of all his ken. Imagine, Republicans in control of the Executive and Legislative branches and can't function.

By the Bybee [expletives deleted], President Twit's special counselor Kellyanne Conway, Esq. thinks the way President Twit treats women is just fine. Hmmm, Melania might be thinking of what President Twit was up to in the White House while she was in Twit Tower with Barron for several months. Even a First Lady can lawyer up.


I am unsure what is more pathetic and undignified - A POTUS publicly trolling the opposition party or the opposition party allowing themselves to be gamed and then responding with a blizzard of lies and slanders, proving Trump's #FakeNews meme.

As a point of history, Alexis de Tocqueville was arguably the biggest foreign cheerleader for America's classically liberal first century and was probably the first to warn against the coming soft despotism of the coming progressive political economy.

On the other hand, David Brooks is a NY progressive who fancies himself a conservative because he does not subscribe to communism.

As is your want, you are misusing both. Pathetic and undignified.


tSPAM emulates President Twit, whose tweets often close with "Sad." Note that SPAM closes his 5:20 PM with "Pathetic and undignified." Al's [I knew him well] words describe both SPAM and President Twit to a T. Perhaps SPAM might return to FL from whence he departed giving up a big law career to caddy for President Twit at the latter's golf course in a sequel of Caddyshack. President Twit is big with his drives but eh with his putts [sic].

Some more on the events:

"things turned sour, especially as journalists began noticing the repetitiveness of Johnson’s speeches"

Chris Christie was particularly alert.


"America's classically liberal first century"

This was the period of mass, governmentally supported human chattel slavery. This can't be said in response to this nonsense enough. When your 'Golden Age' had as a significant characterstic your chief ostensible rhetorical bugaboo, then someone is missing something BIG.

Happy 4th July weekend.

GM, besides recently reminding us he is a Republican, had a post at Concurring Opinions on Trump's Twitter account that might interest some:

Asher Steinberg, he was impeached under all 10 articles, including article 10. In the subsequent Senate trial, the first vote was on article 11, which was basically a summary of all 10 articles, including article 10. The vote was 35-19, failing the 2/3 requirement. They then voted separately on the articles concerning the replacement of Secretary of War Stanton, with the same result. The Senate never voted on article 10 by itself.

Mr. W:

Most republics in history enslaved non-citizens. This did not mean the republics did not exist or their citizens any less free or prosperous.

The solution to involuntary servitude for a minority is to ensure freedom for all, not to reduce a majority to some degree of serfdom as do the various totalitarian isms like progressivism.

SPAM's "solution" might suggest that he's all in with white supremacy. Is SPAM suggesting that progressivism in America reduced such a majority or threatens to do so in the future? Mr. W responded to a claim by SPAM about America which SPAM avoids addressing by referring to other republics. Perhaps SPAM fears competing as a minority.

By the Bybee [expletives deleted], there is a tad of a difference in America's history of slavery/Jim Crow and involuntary servitude.

Perhaps SPAM's "solution" is steps to change the changing demographics. Now what does history tell us of the types of "solution" employed by a dictator in my lifetime?

"Most republics in history enslaved non-citizens."

Then it's silly to look at any of those Republics as models of 'Liberty.'

"This did not mean the republics did not exist or their citizens any less free or prosperous. "

Slaves in the U.S. were citizens-well, 3/5ths of one I guess.

Slaves were persons. So, e.g., unlike cows, were subject to criminal punishment. And, minimum protections, if often in breach. Counted 3/5 for certain purposes.*

It was generally understood that they weren't citizens. It looks like indentured servants could have been counted as citizens.

Free blacks were accepted as "citizens" in at least some states. This also was widely accepted (if subject to some dispute) to mean that at least a few were U.S. citizens. Dred Scott v. Sandford, notwithstanding.


Justice McLean in Prigg v. PA noted:

"The slave, as a sensible and human being, is subject to the local authority into whatsoever jurisdiction he may go. He is answerable under the laws for his acts, and he may claim their protection."

He was writing in dissent, but he was correct all the same.

In a republic, all citizens are free and equal. That's the very meaning of the word "republic". As an example, here's Justice Iredell in Penhallow v Doane's Estate: “[I]n a Republic, all the citizens, as such, are equal, and no citizen can rightfully exercise any authority over another, but in virtue of a power constitutionally given by the whole community….”

The structure of the US created cognitive dissonance from the beginning: the US called itself a Republic, yet millions toiled in slavery. Taney, like others, sought to resolve this by holding that slaves couldn't be citizens. But that didn't solve the problem, that WAS the problem. As Madison had recognized 60 years before, “In proportion as slavery prevails in a State, the Government, however democratic in name, must be aristocratic in fact. The power lies in a part instead of the whole; in the hands of property, not in numbers.”



Equating freedom with white supremacy goes way beyond pathetic and undignified. Sick comes to mind.

Mr. W:

For their times, all the slave holding republics were models of liberty for their citizens. The idea of individual liberty started in the Greek and Roman republics despite their slave holding.

Once again, the remedy for slavery is not a more equal serfdom, but rather liberty for all.

SPAM avoids America's history on liberty for all, centuries after the Greeks and Romans. SPAM seems to have forgotten his claims while boosting the Cruz Canadacy that Trump, aka President Twit, was a fascist. Does SPAM, now on President Twit's bandwagon, believe that there is liberty for all in America under his administration? SPAM changes the subject with his reference to "a more equal serfdom." No one has suggested that as a solution. Rather, SPAM ignores America's history on liberty for all. SPAM's references to ancient history is dodging the issue. Why SPAM ignores the Enlightenment of more recent centuries than the Greeks and Romans. Over the years at this Blog SPAm has expressed his disdain for the civil rights movement and the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s that followed Brown v. Bd. of Educ. )1954, Unanimous), becoming a card-carrying member of the Republican Party formed by Nixon's Southern Strategy in the 1968 campaign.

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