No matter what one's politics, Senator John Kerry's concession speech, delivered on Wednesday at historic Faneuil Hall in Boston, was gracious and classy. I've been watching Kerry since 1971 and never realized what heart his Brahmin style concealed.
Baseball fans of a certain age will remember that slugger Reggie Jackson once described himself as the one who stirred the New York Yankees of the late-70s to greatness. (Much to the chagrin of Yankee catcher Thurman Munson.)
Sometimes, it seems, the media serves a similar egotistical stirring (and grating) role in our national life. Twenty-four hours after John Kerry conceded and President Bush acknowledged victory in the election, the media punditocracy had apparently decided on the obsession-du-jour: Asking whether President Bush had a mandate to govern.
This is silly! Irrespective of the margin of victory, the President received a clear majority in both the popular and Electoral College votes. (He's the first presidential winner since his dad in 1988 to get a majority.) Mr. Bush received more votes for president than any candidate in US history. (Second place on the list? John Kerry.)
I thought that it was gracious and statesmanlike for Willy Brown, former Democratic mayor of San Francisco and one-time Democratic leader of the California legislature, to say on tonight's Newshour with Jim Lehrer that of course, Mr. Bush has a mandate to pursue his program.
The History Channel's documentary on Dwight Eisenhower, about three-quarters of which I was able to view, was pretty good. I'd give it a B-minus. Although two hours in length, it still managed to be a bit thin in some places. It could have gone into a bit more detail on Eisenhower's World War Two-efforts and it failed to convey the extent to which this man, once thought to be little more than a presidential figurehead, ensured that America was at peace during his watch.
But it was fair in its negative assessment of Ike's failure to respond appropriately to the civil rights movement.
There were a few facts shared of which this Ike-afficionado had been unaware. I hadn't known, for example, that Eisenhower was so opposed to the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War Two, believing that Japan had already been beaten. I also hadn't known how sternly he had counseled both Presidents Kennedy and Johnson not to send US soldiers into Vietnam.
For my money, Eisenhower was one of the three best presidents of the twentieth century. (My other two choices: Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt.) He is also, I believe, one of a small pantheon of greatest US leaders of all time. On that list, I include George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, George Marshall, and perhaps a surprise entrant, Billy Graham.
I often wonder what counsel Eisenhower might have given President Bush regarding the invasion of Iraq had Mr. Bush been able to ask Ike.
Chris Williams asks in his November 1 blog posting if there's a cure for stupidity. It's a good question and he's seeking your input on how best to encourage more concern for personal responsibility rather than entitlement in today's world. Click on his blog here.
She identifies herself as a liberal evangelical Christian. She voted for Kerry and she's pro-life. Deborah White presents atypical, intriguing thoughts on her presidential candidate's loss and the state of America. Whether you agree with her or not, it's worth a read here.
As usual, Mark Roberts has interesting things to say on his blog. This time he's doing so in a series of post-election posts on Christian reaction to the election results. In these wise, judicious, and faithful articles, Mark commends civility, compassion, and a balanced appreciation of the fact that far more important than our politics or government policies is the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the good of all our neighbors, even those with whom we may disagree. Great stuff, Mark!