Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Andrew Jackson or Woodrow Wilson?

John Moser asks, "If Americans Want Andrew Jackson, Why Do Democrats Keep Giving Them Woodrow Wilson?" His answer, in part:

"It matters little that Kerry had explanations for all of these positions, and that he seemed to address them satisfactorily in his three debates against Bush. What mattered ultimately was that he needed to explain them at all. And this gets down to the real difference between the two men in this race—George W. Bush was Andrew Jackson; John Kerry was Woodrow Wilson.

The President, like Jackson before him, didn’t need to explain his views. Jackson’s views struck most people as nothing more than common sense: hostile Indian tribes had to be pacified, the Bank of the United States was a haven for monopoly privilege that had to be destroyed, nullification in South Carolina smacked of treason. Today most Americans immediately comprehend the basics: the 9/11 attacks were a turning point in our history, our enemies are evil, Saddam Hussein harbored hostile intentions toward the United States. Americans did not need their president to tell them that; when he did, they cheered, not because they were learning something new, but because what they heard resonated with their unschooled, gut-level understanding.

On the other hand, John Kerry had to explain his positions to the American people. Liberals rejoiced after the first presidential debate, because Kerry had scored rhetorical points. He did a fair job of reconciling the apparent contradictions in his record, and seemed to have a more solid command of the facts than did the President. More than one political cartoon portrayed Kerry as a teacher, lecturing a sullen-faced, dunce-cap-wearing Dubya.

And herein lay the problem. Americans might admire debating ability, but they do not like to be treated as students. What they seek in a president is someone who shares their commonsense understanding of the problems facing the country. In other words, they want Andrew Jackson. But what they keep getting from the Democrats—allegedly the party of the people—is more Woodrow Wilson."
Do read it all.

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