Panhandle (W.Va.) Grassroots for Democracy

The Panhandle Grassroots for Democracy is working to improve our corner of eastern West Virginia, our state and our nation.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

'The President is always right'

Crossposted at Political Cortex, skippy, Booman Tribune, and my blog, The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire.

Asked to explain the differences between the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Hamdan and President George W. Bush's description of the case, the U.S. Department of Justice's head of the Office of Legal Counsel Steven Bradbury told the Senate Judiciary Committee: "The President is always right."

In decision after decision, we have seen that this was not a lone statement from a sychophant. Remember, George W. Bush could not think of any mistakes he had made despite failing to prevent the worst attack to the United States in modern history. "The President is always right" is a view  held by George W. Bush himself.
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On a spring afternoon in May 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that separate but equal was anything but equal.

"We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate ­but­ equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."

But the schools did not become desegregated overnight. When the Little Rock Nine enrolled and were scheduled to attend school in September 1957. It prompted one of the most dramatic moments in U.S. history.

When Governor Faubus ordered the Arkansas National Guard to surround Central High School to keep the nine students from entering the school, President Eisenhower ordered the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock to insure the safety of the "Little Rock Nine" and that the rulings of the Supreme Court were upheld.

What is often forgotten, but important to remember today, President Dwight Eisenhower had opposed desegregation. Before the Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs. Topeka, Eisenhower had appealed personally to Chief Justice Earl Warren. He invited him to the White House to meet with segregationists in an attempt to persuade Warren to maintain "separate but equal" as the law of the land.

President Eisenhower, who later described the appointment of Earl Warren as chief justice as the worst decision he had ever made, was not as jubilant. At a White House dinner, he told Warren, "[Southern whites] are not bad people. All they are concerned about is to see that their sweet little girls are not required to sit in school alongside some big overgrown Negroes." Eisenhower added, "It is difficult through law and through force to change a man's heart."4 His heart, however, seemed to be with the opponents of integration.

One can say many things about President Eisenhower's personal views on racial inequality.

But when the time came, he set aside his own desires. He sent the federal troops in to enforce the Supreme Court's decision.

Eisenhower knew the president is not always right. And that alone makes him a better human than George W. Bush will ever be.


At Sunday, October 01, 2006 7:42:00 PM, Blogger Lenny Herschkins said...

I don't know much about Eisenhower. I don't know whether or not he was in favor or segregation, but the fact that he fought for segregation may have strictly been a political fight to preserve the Southern vote.

Remember to factor in frame of reference. He was in a country where "separate but equal" was the norm. We know now that there was no way to be segregated and equal, but a lot of people were holding onto the hopes that we could be, and if he could President Eisenhower wanted to let them keep that becuase Presidents don't like to challenge status quo.

The President wants to give voters what they want because he and his party members get elected. It takes an "activist judge" like Warren to stand up for what's right, regardless of what the masses want. Just like the President, the masses are not always right.

I like your piece. Sorry if I sound preachy. Honestly, I'm sorry if I do. I came across your blog because I had stumbled across Chief Justice Warren earlier in the week and became intrigued by him. I wrote a piece about how the US could use a lesson from him at my blog The Getaway a day or so ago. Today, I did a search and found your blog.


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