19 February 2017

Prescient



Snopes confirms that Mencken did make such a pronouncement in 1920 (using the term "downright moron").
In this case the attribution to Henry Louis Mencken, a prominent newspaperman and political commentator during the first half of the 20th century, is accurate. Writing for the Baltimore Evening Sun on 26 July 1920, in an article entitled “Bayard vs. Lionheart” (and reprinted in the book On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe), Mencken cynically opined on the difficulties of good men reaching national office when the scale of their campaigns precluded them from directly reaching out to large segments of the voting public:
The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
Mencken biography.

19 comments:

  1. Many folks would argue this happened in 2008, rather than 2016.

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    1. True, people argue it every election year. It's a side effect of being passionate about the country. But regardless of politics, I'd be hard pressed to characterize someone who earned a scholarship to Harvard as "a downright moron".

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    2. Im not sure I would agree that he "earned" his scholarship. The same people who idolize Obama call Bush " a downright moron" and he graduated from Yale.

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    3. I'm curious how you think Obama got accepted to Harvard Law School without earning it.

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    4. Its difficult to know, considering all of Obama's records are sealed.
      It has been postulated that he was an affirmative action scholar, or even that he was sponsored by a rich Saudi benefactor.
      A different anonymous.

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    5. Could you please cite source material? I realize that many conservative voters believe this, but I cannot find a reliable source. What's the source of this speculation?

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    6. The source of said speculation is yet more... speculation.

      I'm no Obama fan but he "graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School (J.D.) in 1991, where he also served as president of the Harvard Law Review. From 1992 until 2004 he taught constitutional law part time at the University of Chicago Law School, first as a lecturer, then as a professor." -Daily Herald

      I don't think W or Trump accomplished anything quite similar- although the latter does have 5 deferments to his credit.

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    7. By many folks, you must mean many morons. No one smart thinks Obama was a moron. None.

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  2. If Trump represents the soul of America, I don't think I belong here now.

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  3. Dear bold Anonymous,
    Make even a small attempt to compare.
    Really, try to.

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    1. Actually, rocky, he's quite correct. Many folks WOULD argue this way, which is why we're where we are today.

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  4. What's more amazing to me is that it didn't take long to happen. Our 7th President, Andrew Jackson, is basically a 19th century version of Trump, if you swap martial achievements with entrepreneurI'll. Quite a few folks (wrongly, at this point) compare Trump with Hitler, but Jackson is the much closer comparison.

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  5. "Downright moron" just fits the current bill so well...

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  6. It would be funny if it weren't so terrible.

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  7. It is fascinating to consider why the person who created this meme felt that the real quote just wasn't enough, so they had to add extra words to it which were not in the original. I see that all the time with my friends on both sides of the political isle.

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  8. Interesting Mencken's comments came shortly after the nominations of Harding and Cox to oppose each other in the 1920 election. Harding's promise of a return to "normalcy" won over the electorate as Harding won in a landslide. This was the first national election in which all women had the right to vote. Harding was pro-business and wanted to limit immigration.

    Apropos of nothing, Harding and Cox were both successful newspaper publishers. Harding was also the first sitting US Senator elected as president.

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  9. The idea that Obama was not a genuine scholar is beyond me. He was editor of the Harvard Law Review and taught constitutional law. Even if there was an affirmative action program involved--for which I see no evidence--it would be a great example of how well such programs can work. Secondly, Trump has authored books, but not without a ghost writer. Obama's best sellers were written by him alone. Lastly compare the density of content in an Obama speech with one by Trump. It's true that Trump has a kind of instinctual genius, but his command of language, if that be any measure of intellectual strength, is far inferior to Obama's. All of that aside, if the Democratic Party cannot figure out how to reach more low income, white voters, it will fail more than succeed. Charges of elitism--that is, in what is supposed to be the "people's party"--ring true. And Hillary was a very, very unpopular candidate. The perfect storm.

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  10. As a sociopath and therefore habitual liar, he isn't really representative of the electorate or a moron. But their difficult relationship to truth, in my experience prevents sociopaths from academical achievement. Less intelligent sociopaths are likely to become criminals, while more intelligent ones they become doctors, lawyers and CEOs.

    Sociopaths are cunning, versed in manipulating the perception of others, which makes them ideal politicians. They avoid all responsibility by shifting blame and - lacking empathy - can be ruthlessly relentless.

    A sociopath can get things done, and has a lot less inhibitions about how to get there. He enjoy hurting others. The intelligent ones just use mobbing tactics, psycho terror and absolutely love rhetoric. Their lies are subtle, just a bit of spin and lacking detail and confusion.

    A sociopath is a social predator, the natural villain in all things big and small. They are in common terms assholes, sons of bitches and loners, despite their superficial charm and promiscuity. Eventually all their acquaintances recoil.

    Being a liar and a twat is definitely limiting, but so is having a conscience.

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  11. I am so happy trump got elected, as it brings the scum to the surface with all the hate.

    This is America and I don't give one shit if you like the president or not you should support them.

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