U.S. No ‘want of a monarch’

Jeopardy question: This U.S. president was a major driver behind federal regulation of broadcasting, surface transportation, air transportation; who promised to banish poverty; expanded civil service; set aside millions of federal acres for national parks; and increased the Justice Department’s anti-trust powers; who traveled to foreign nations promoting the U.S. as a good neighbor.

Further: Who proposed massive public works spending to combat an economic downturn; raised taxes; pushed for fair wages and limited work hours in public construction; who was bitterly criticized by his re-election rival of the opposition party for tax-and-spend policies, raising the national debt and  leading the country towards socialism.

Would your answer be Theodore Roosevelt? Franklin? Richard Nixon? Bill Clinton? Barack Obama?


Try Herbert Hoover.

History and the reporting thereof sometimes works in strange ways. I was thinking about old Herb Hoover because at their game Sunday, the Washington Nationals handed out bobbleheads of their Hoover “racing president” mascot, one of six such mascots. The others are Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Taft. A politically diverse group. Two great grandchildren of Hoover were on hand, filling the Jumbotron.

I love the July 4th national celebration. The overhead highway signs, admonishing us to drive sober, stated something about baseball, hot dogs and fireworks. Growing up in an traditional New England town, I always looked forward to the local parade, the events, the big fireworks display at night.

Once around 1970, during the parade, my father called out to our local congresswoman, Margaret Heckler,  as she glided by, seated atop the seat-back  of a convertible Impala. “Stop the war funding!”, referring to the Vietnam war. She hollered back, “I’m trying!” Or so I recollect.

The signers admonished King George III. He answered with continued “blows” to decide the question of independence.

Before the fireworks, the baseball and the hot dogs, of course, the 4th of July is about liberty. Do yourself a favor today between beers. Read the entire text of the Declaration of Independence, signed on that fateful July 4th. Read the middle section, the long list of grievances the revolutionary colonists tallied against the Crown.

One of the great movie scenes occurs in the miniseries about John Adams, played by Paul Giamatti. It depicts the 1785 meeting between Adams, first ambassador to England, and George III himself, played by Tom Hollander. Absurdly, the king tells Adams he prays the fledgling United State will somehow overcome its want of a monarch.

I guess it did. Happy 4th!


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