Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Henry Who?

Why does National Review embarrass itself by giving platforms to people like Mark Levin? His post about Russ Feingold's Censure resolution contains the usual treason charge: "He has now officially joined the pack of shrill leftists who -- during the course of a war -- embrace the tactics of Tokyo Rose and Jane Fonda." Yeah, wanting to have the president go to an extremely deferential FISA court before listening in on the phonecalls of Americans is exactly like Tokyo Rose.

Levin then engages in a mini "history" lesson:
The censure of a president was employed once in our history. In 1834, The Whig-controlled Senate voted to censure President Andrew Jackson, a Democrat, for vetoing an extension of the charter of the Bank of the United States. While legally meaningless, Jackson was deeply offended by it. And when his party regained control of the Senate in 1836, he insisted that the record be expunged -- and it was. The primary proponent of Jackson's censure is largely unknown to history, as Feingold will be.(emphasis added)

It took about five seconds to find out how little Levin knows. The "unknown to history" proponent of censure was Henry Clay, one of the more prominent Americans from the first half of the 19th century.


Wirkman Virkkala said...

Apparently those who do not know history feel free never to repeat it.

MTM said...

I wonder if students of history are familiar with those who flacked for Jackson, eh?

Man of the West said...

With respect, I'm not sure, based on no more than I see here, that criticizing Mr. Levin over not knowing what role Clay played is all that warranted. To my mind, there is all the difference in the world between "largely unknown to history," which is what he wrote, and "unknown to history," which seems to be basis on which you chose to make your critique.

I knew, off the top of my head, who Andrew Jackson was, and knew that he had once been censured. I had no idea who lead the charge, and it appears that you had to look it up yourself. Is it possible that this is what Mr. Levin meant by "largely unknown?" That most people would not know Clay's name without having to look it up? That Mr. Feingold will likewise be someone that no one to speak of will remember without having to Google him?

I don't know, of course, but it seems enough of a possibility that fair-mindedness demands bearing it in mind.

I say this as nothing more than a passerby; I have only heard Mr. Levin on the radio once or twice, and have not yet read any of his written work. I am likewise unfamiliar with your work and am only offering a thought.