Long time readers of this blog know that I have an intense dislike for Newsweek. Their liberal bias is annoying of course, but most of the dislike comes from Jon Meacham, who is somehow respected as an expert. His ignorance and distortion is appalling.
Recently on the Charlie Rose show, Jon Meacham said that Ted Kennedy was in the top three senators of all time. Specifically, Meacham said:
One of the two or three senators who will be remembered forever. Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Ted Kennedy. I think that it gets -- there's quite a drop-off there, quite a falling-off there, as Hamlet would say.
Now, usually Clay and Webster are counted as two of the three best of all time. John C. Calhoun is the other member of the legendary Trio. According to Meacham, Calhoun will not be remembered and is a far drop off from Ted Kennedy. Now even if you disagree with Calhoun's take on Nullification, it really ought to be admitted as a powerful force in American history for that alone. Disregarding all of that Calhoun still helped bring an end to the crisis in South Carolina averting a Civil War in 1830. Calhoun did a great many things as a Senator that put him far above Ted Kennedy. Speeches that are forever remembered. In fact, Webster would probably not be remembered if it were not for his sparing with Calhoun.
What does Meacham think of other great senators like Stephen Douglas? Surely the Lincoln-Douglas debates ought to be remembered in our nations history? Douglas by the way won those if you count who won the actual senate seat. Douglas was tied to Popular Sovereignty, which again directed the country's future. Douglas helped Clay come up with the Compromise of 1850, which put off the Civil War for another decade and got California into the Union as a Free State, helped New Mexico become a state with all of its current territory, and a few other things too.
And what about William Seward? He was considered the front runner for the Republican Nomination for President in 1860 because of his long time work against slavery in the Senate. Or Thomas Hart Benton, who was leading man during his time, and even had a gun drawn on him during debate in the Senate once? Charles Sumner and Benjamin Wade led the Radical Republicans in the Senate. Surely their influence on the history of America ought to have some sway over Meacham's choices. Are they really such a far drop off to the author of the Minimum Wage Bill and the disastrous No Child Left Behind Policy?
Maybe Meacham thinks that bringing down a Supreme Court Nominee like Robert Bork with that memorable speech about Bork's America puts him up in the upper crust of Senators. But then would that not make John Randolph even higher since his "Black Dan" speech helped bring down a President.
Kennedy was around for some monumental legislation. I think he was in for the end of the Civil Rights stuff, but he was hardly a leader in that cause. Heck, even Gerald Ford was more beloved as a Senator than Kennedy. So much so the Senate almost asked him to be the VP for Nixon.
Such a bold statement by Meacham demands defense . . . or more likely scorn for the stupidity that it is.