Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Compared to who?

I'm sure you've heard references between George W. Bush and Hitler, or Stalin, or Mussolini or even Satan. How about a comparison to Thomas Jefferson in the 1800-01 elections. Source: Presidential Campaigns - Paul F. Boller, Jr.:
By the end of December it was clear that the improbable had happened: not even one of the Republican electors had witheld his second vote from Burr after all and as a consequence there was a tie for first place: 73 votes for Jefferson, 73 votes for Burr, 65 for Adams, and 64 for Pickney. This meant that, according to the Constitution, the "high-flying Federalists" were going to have their way: it was now up to the House of Representatives, controlled by lame-duck Federalists, to choose the President. The obvious choice was Jefferson; everyone who had voted in 1800 knew he had been running for first place. But what was obvious wasn't necessarily palatable to die-hard Federalist Congressmen; many of them preferred Burr if only because they disliked Jefferson so much. And Burr did nothing to dissuade them from supporting him for first place, though he did nothing directly to advance his cause.

On February 11, 1801, the House of representatives met in the unfinished Capitol building in Washington to pick a President. The town was crowded with people; hotels and boarding houses were chock-full and in one place fifty men slept on the floor with their coats in blankets. When the balloting began in the House chamber, every Congressmen but two was present; and one of the two, who was ill, lay in bed in an adjoining committee room and had his ballot brought in for him to sign. Each state had one vote, which was determined by a majority of the state's delegation; but if the delegation was tied the state cast a blank ballot. On the first ballot Jefferson failed to get the nine votes necessary for election; eight states went for him, six for Burr, and the other two were evenly divided and did not vote. So the congressmen tried again - and again and again. As the balloting continued with no change in the results, many of the Congressmen sent out for nightcaps and pillows and took short naps between ballots in their chairs or on the floor wrapped in coats and shawls. Six more days and thirty-five more votes produced the same outcome. It began to look as though March 4, designated as inaugural day by Congress in 1792, would come and go without Adams's successor being chosen. Outside the Capitol building there were noisy demonstrations for Jefferson. A score of men in a huge sled went shouting through the streets waving a big banner bearing the words, "Jefferson, the Friend of the People."

There were numerous efforts to break the deadlock. Some of the Federalists approached Burr promising him their support if he agreed to carry on Federalist policies if he became President. Burr resolutely refused to give such assurances; he held back, though, from bowing out of the contest for first place. But Hamilton, who had helped bring Adams down, now intervened to prevent a Burr victory. He had not really changed his mind about Jefferson; but he held Burr in even lower esteem. He regarded the New Yorker as the "Catiline of America," utterly without principle, public or private, who would employ "the rogues of all parties to overrule the good men of all parties." Jefferson, by contrast, though a "contemptible hypocrite" and "inctured with fanaticism," at least had some "pretensions to character." "I trust the Federalists will not finally be so mad as to vote for Burr," he wrote New York Senator Gouverneur Morris. "I speak with an intimate and accurate knowledge of character. His elevation can only promote the purposes of the desperate and profligate. If there be a man in the world I ought to hate, it is Jefferson. With Burr I have always been personally well. But the public good must be paramount to every private consideration."

On February 17, six days after the voting had begun, several Federalist Congressman who had been supporting Burr and failed to get any commitments from him decided to cast blank ballots and end the dead-lock. On the thirty-sixth ballot that morning, one Vermont Congressman and four from Maryland abstained from voting and thus gave those states to Jefferson; and Delaware and South Carolina, previously for Burr, cast blank ballots. The outcome: Jefferson won with ten votes to Burr's four. As news of the House's decision spread through the land, exuberant Jeffersonians fired guns, rang bells, and proposed toasts to "Jefferson, the Mammoth of Democracy." But the Federalist Gazette of the United States huffily reported that the price of whiskey and gin had risen since Jefferson's election and sniffed: "The bells have been ringing, guns firing, dogs barking, cats mewling, children crying, and Jacobins getting drunk." Jeffersonians had jeered that Adams was "President by three votes" in 1796; Federalists now retaliated by calling Jefferson "President by no votes" because of Federalist abstentions in that "certain points of Federal policy...would be observed" if he became President. Jefferson vigorously denied giving any such assurances; but it seems likely that some of his supporters sought to reassure the Federalists about what he would do if he became Chief Executive.

Hrm...how many similarities to Bush and current times can you see in that? I see at least five. You should too. I highlighted them. Don't see the link? Here:
73 votes for Jefferson, 73 votes for Burr,

Didn't bush have a virtually deadlocked vote with Gore? I'm pretty sure everyone remembers this election. It has been the topic of debate between Republicans and Democrats for some time.
many of them preferred Burr if only because they disliked Jefferson so much.

WOW! If you can't pick this one out you may want to get a new prescription for your glasses...or check yourself into the moonbat wing of the loony bin.

Wasn't this most recent election supposed to be the "Anybody but Bush" election?
On the thirty-sixth ballot that morning,

These guys voted and re-voted for six days straight. They cast their votes a total of thirty-six (36) times in order to get a winner. There were no lawyers deciding who won the election, no judges deciding who would be president. It followed the path of a legitimate "checks-and-balances" democracy. For all of the whining and crying about how close this election or that election was Bush's "close calls" were nothing compared to what Jefferson went through. Remember that number the next time someone says that Gore or Kerry were robbed: Congress voted 36 times to decide the President over six days of continuous voting.
President by no votes

Okay, this is a pretty easy one. Anybody? No? Okay: Selected, not elected.

~~~~Side moral to this story~~~

If anyone can remember a while back to when I booted my first person you will remember that the last straw was his comparison of Bush to Hitler. I initially intended to throw this post up as a quick rebuttal but looked at the situation a bit more deeply and decided not to get into the pissing contest anymore. You can compare Bush to nearly any group or person if you dig deep enough. There is very little, save the current war on terror (and that's debatable), that is new or different than things that have already happened someplace, sometime in history.

I see both sides, left pissing and moaning about different things. They are outraged that there is a filibuster. They're infuriated that Bush stole an election. Terri Schiavo was murdered, or was given a merciful freedom from her prison. They both say that this or that is the first time [fill in the blank] has ever happened in [xx years, months, ever]. They really don't have a clue what they're talking about. The only thing it does is turn things into an angry issue with only two sides, both of which are usually wrong. Even though they tote their superior knowledge of history repeating itself they are too blind in their own rage and are destined to do just that.

[end rant]

Crossposted at: BNN


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