Jim Webb: ‘We can celebrate Harriet Tubman without disparaging Andrew Jackson’

webbMSNBCWriting in The Washington Post today, Jim Webb examines the recent debate about Andrew Jackson …

The dismissive characterization of one of our great presidents is not occurring in a vacuum. It offers an indication of how far political correctness has invaded our educational system and skewed our national consciousness.

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Author: craigcrawford

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73 thoughts on “Jim Webb: ‘We can celebrate Harriet Tubman without disparaging Andrew Jackson’”

  1. A shoutout to Mr Mudcat Saunders for being included in NPR’s story about Populism this morning.

  2. President Hillary Clinton would be historic. Let’s not lose sight of that
    Lucia Graves

    “To announce you’re excited about Hillary Clinton is an oddly subversive act, and to suggest others ought to feel the same, even more so.
    But following a decisive victory in New York and with her path to the presidency ever-more surefooted, the possibility of the first female president is sinking in. And whatever your feelings about Clinton as the vessel for this achievement, it’s an extraordinary one.
    Even Clinton herself will acknowledge she doesn’t have the magnetism of certain politicians, telling feminist writer Lena Dunham memorably of her candidacy, “If you can’t get excited, be pragmatic.” Clinton’s bid for president may not have the dreaminess of Barack Obama’s, but it’s on track to be every bit as historic. And to simply say she would be the first female commander-in-chief is almost too glib. Should she actually win in November, she’ll have overcome a political process that, until Obama, systematically kept everyone but white men from the presidency for the last 220-plus years.”

  3. Senator Webb writes a thought-provoking column. Unfortunately reading & the teaching of history have become lost arts in our society. We have been wikipedia’d into accepting the shallow end of the google & ignoring the deep end of reading books. Sound bites of history, not the whole well-rounded story. Btw, this applies to all people of note, not just this President.

  4. “Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.” Nicco Machiavelli

    Tony – It’s not that I won’t think about it between now an November, it’s that I sincerely don’t know what difference it will make.  I think a lot of people in both parties feel the same way.

    That was a great article Webb wrote.  It makes me wonder who is paying attention to their product over at Huffpo.

  5. sjwny – one of the great things about Wikipedia is that it is open to all for editing, except for certain pages.  I have been adding, correcting, and only once, deleting information.  Sign up, it is free.  There are rules for editing, which tend to be ignored by political operatives more often than others during campaign season.

  6. Jackson was a great man, Tubman was a great woman.  Replacing Jackson with Tubman on the front of the 20 begs the comparison. Everyone on a bill is a great person in their own right.  Jackson doesn’t need to be pilloried for his policies – in the early 1800s they made sense.  Tubman represents a shift from those policies that is more in tune with our beliefs today.  There is nothing wrong with pointing out the facts about either – good and bad.  We’ll argue over motives, just like we are doing in the current nominating contest. 

  7. One shouldn’t have had to go to extraordinary efforts to justify the replacement of Old Hickory from ‘his’ bill—just the length of his service in that lofty position should have sufficed as a rational reason. Who here thinks that Ms Tubman will be on the bill for eternity?

    FWIW I think that the Brits had already tossed in the towel before the Battle of New Orleans was fought because of our resounding victories along the Great Lakes.


    iow, yesterday’s pc is not today’s pc and today’s may not be tomorrow’s pc

  9. I’m a big Wikipedia fan and support them every year in a minor way.  No one should go in there thinking it is the be all and end all of info on any subject, but it is always a good starting place for just about anything you want to know if only for the footnotes, links, and references.


  10. The myth of universal white privilege and universal disadvantage among racial minorities has become a mantra

    Really?…  the myth of white privilege?….

    Well…  Jim Webb… here’s another oft quoted saying on this blog from Mark Twain which, IMO, fits…

    “It’s better to keep you mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.”

  11. That Monmouth poll was released last Thursday.  NBC poll released yesterday had same margin and the PPP poll released today showed a 10 point margin.  I’ve quit relying on PPP polling other than as a general drift phenomenon indicator.  Who knows, maybe they’ll convince me this time.

  12. Flatus, I well remember the Battle of New Orleans.  I loved the line about the gator losing his mind.  I always thought it woudl be interesting to watch someone try to “load” a gator.

    We fired our cannon ’til the barrel melted down
    So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round
    We filled his head with cannon balls, and powdered his behind
    And when we touched the powder off the gator lost his mind

  13. LOL

    I hate to be lectured on history by someone who displays such ignorance themselves.

    One Jackson was judged quite harshly by folks in his own time. He was know as a brute, bully and bigoted even by the lax standards of those times. So enough of the Mark Twain quotes

    Much like GWB used 911 to attack Iraq,  Jackson used the Seminole wars as an excuse to ethnically cleanse the regions east of the Mississippi. These were people who had made peace with the government and were settled on farms often side by side with whites. They were playing by the rules. Like all ethnic cleansing it involved a great deal of forseeable loss of life. Jackson was a military leader so he knew what it takes to move large groups of people. He chose for them to starve.

    Jackson didn’t create modern democracy he took advantage of it. He was a populist in the worst way.

    His vetoing the  central bank put the big money in charge of our economy tie that to the spoils system he initiated on the federal level and you have a century of corrupt kleptocracy in this nation

    So yeah maybe it is time for a little less mythologizing of Jackson and portray him as he really was both by the standards of his day and yes by hindsight too.


  14. relegating him to the back of the buck isn’t exactly lynching the man. he’s still on the bill which is more than I can say for other equally qualified American heroes and heroines who aren’t but also deserve to be.

    telling the whole story of the man is not “disparaging” him.  too bad history books in our schools and stories we grew up with don’t paint the entire portraits of our pet patriots. showing the wrinkles, pock marks and character flaws helps us see them as the humans they were.

  15. and speaking of bursting inflated hero balloons

    A U.S. appeals court on Monday restored the four-game “Deflategate” suspension of New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady over allegations footballs were under inflated before an NFL playoff game last year.

    The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York reversed a federal judge’s ruling from September. The appeals court ruled that in imposing the suspension, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell properly exercised his discretion under a collective bargaining agreement.


    sorry ’bout that, renee

  16. Bitcoin never has this problem and our love of money…really?   How much does this really matter in a digital world.  Get rid of the penny, too.  Too bad for Lincoln…he already has paper.  I really had hoped for Betty Ford on any money.  A realistic depiction of money and drugs that have made us the nation we are today!!!

  17. I guess Webb didn’t have anything important to discuss.

    The most important thing about a $20 bill is its utility, not whose picture is on it.

    Flatus is right, Commodore Perry won the War of 1812 at Put-In Bay, making both Ontario and Quebec vulnerable.  

  18. mighten we also consider the strangeness of the present day american psyche that sees an unsullied hero in a slaughterer of indian women and children but lays dismissive judgments on a man lying about getting a blow job or on another president for his naïveté and piety.

  19. In his editorial New Rule, Bill Maher attempts to help self-loathing white Americans find a middle ground between being racist and seeing racism in everything.

  20. Xrep…  my thought over this discussion is similar to yours…  I don’t really care who’s on which bill or coin…  I care about how much less my money buys nowadays.

    patd…  of course the topic of Brady’s suspension is exploding on sports talk radio in Boston.  From my understanding (I’m certainly no lawyer), the appeal can be appealed.  It could go all the way to the Supreme Court.  All I know is that the Patriots have prepared for Brady not playing the first 4 games and they will be just fine.

  21. White privilege was a myth.  Shiploads of starving Irish are but one point in disproving that myth.   However, the disenfranchisement (and worse) of nearly all minorities was very real.  Still so many poor people of all hues in rural or urban areas.

  22. RR, the decision has 2 more potential stops – it can be heard by the entire 2nd circuit, then it can be appealed to SCOTUS.  If the player’s union asks for and gets a stay during the appeal, Brady can play.  If not, nyet.

  23. Jamie,

    What is going on with President Obama?  Before the primary elections are completed and a Democratic Party candidate is chosen by the people, or party bosses as the case may be, President Obama is publicly injecting his favorite.  I thought that the President was to refrain from expressing his support and remain neutral until after the candidate is selected to run for election.
    ■ President Obama has all but endorsed Hillary over Sanders for president long before the convention.
    ■ Now President Obama is endorsing former Clinton administration official Katie McGinty over former congressman and retired Navy two-star admiral Joe Sestak before the Pennsylvania primary election on April 26.
    President Obama has gone so far as to injected his beloved Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) “free trade” agreement with the EU into UK domestic politics.  President Obama has issued a threat with Britain’s upcoming referendum to withdraw from the European Union.  President Barack Obama said Britain would go to the “back of the queue” for trade deals with the US if it votes to leave the European Union.  The TTIP is a benefit to large multinational corporations but is a threat to jobs, the environment, food safety, and personal privacy.  No bilateral agreement with any industrialized nation has ever resulted in increased US investment.  Note that President Barack Obama replaced a bust of Winston Churchill in the Oval Office with one of Martin Luther King.

    Is President Obama becoming desperate for a legacy since UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest health insurer, said that in 2017 it will exit most of the 34 states where it offers plans on the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges?  Obama’s disaster of a health care law, Affordable Care Act, is disintegrating before his very eyes!

    This is what Hilary is supporting?

  24. Pogo…  yeah… I’ve heard all of that and more today.  Lots of lawyers weighing in on what this means.  Not only for Brady but for labor law in general.  One thing you might find interesting is that the appeal ruling was split 2-1.  The one who ruled in favor of Brady(and wrote the dissent) happens to be the chief justice of the entire 12 judge court.  It’s been speculated that that means it’s more likely that the entire 2nd circuit will rehear the appeal.

  25. Yeah those are en banc reviews of panel decisions.  The split on the court is 8 Dem appointees and 5 Rep appointees. No telling how it would turn out.  And it would take a while before it wended its way to a SCOTUS decision if it went that far.  One odd aspect of the decision is that the commissioner’s decision was referred to as an arbitral decision.  I cannot imagine the NFLPU would have agreed to allow the NFL commissioner to sit as an arbitrator over disputes of his own decisions.  Could be it’s used since Goodell is an arbiter (not an arbitrator) under the CBA.  Just found the use of the word odd.

  26. PiT, you do understand that Obama’s job approval numbers are positive and have been so since January – when all this bad news about Obamacare, TPP, etc. has been front and center in the ‘pugn primary race, and Sanders has called his trade deals “disastrous”? It’s pretty odd to have a contender for the office criticizing the sitting prez of the party he’s running under. Not sure why Obama has even suggested (that’s all he’s done) any preference in any primary races, but what I’ve heard has been in the nature of a defense of his former Sec. of State.

    Obama said that he and HRC probably agree on more issues than he and BS, but he hasn’t endorsed her. The only endorsement I know of is his endorsement of Debbie Wasserman Shultz, who he appointed as DNC chair and who has been very supportive of his agenda while in congress.

  27. PIT

    Pogo is right.  The President is the President all the way until January of next year.  Nothing the GOP can do about that no matter how useless they manage to be between now and then.  That leaves Pres Obama free to do anything he darn well wants to do in the face of now almost eight years of lack of cooperation and even active obstruction.

    He hasn’t truly endorsed Hillary, but she was his S of S and serving at his pleasure.  It makes sense he would support her.  Bernie is being particularly angry and petty right now, so he can’t really expect a whole lot of approving nods from 1600 when the convention he’s trying to screw with may be Obama’s last major show.



  28. Did a little research on the Obama/Biden McGinty endorsement.  Man, they don’t like Sestak. Neither does the DSCC.

  29. Blue Bronc, Jamie44,

    Wikipedia is a good starting point for subjects. Unfortunately too many people stop there. I asked my employer if we could have applicants write a paragraph or two about their favorite book & why they liked it. I work in an industry where attention to detail is vital & readers tend to pay attention. I was literally laughed & scoffed at. What happened to standards, expecting the very best out of oneself & thy fellow beings? Seriously, if you own a business, ask to see the applicant’s Library card. Oh… excuse me. Apparently this is not allowed 😉

  30. purp: guess they’re trying for the most likely dem to get elected.


    politico: McGinty is running in a tight primary against former Rep. Joe Sestak, whom many establishment Democrats don’t like, and feel would be a weaker candidate in November against Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican that they’d like to make one of the most endangered incumbents in the fall.

    what emily’s list says about her:

    Katie McGinty grew up in northeast Philadelphia, the ninth of 10 children. She is the daughter of a police officer and a restaurant hostess and has said that watching her mother work nightshifts at a local restaurant inspired her commitment to raising the minimum wage for all workers. Katie is pro-choice, and supports Roe v. Wade. She understands that voting rights are under attack nationwide, and will fight back against Republican attempts to stifle and silence voters. With roots in the middle-class, Katie has been a consistent champion for hardworking families, for job creation, and for the environment her entire career. Her election will be a game-changer for the state of Pennsylvania, which no woman has ever represented in the Senate.

    A progressive leader, with a history of getting things done

    Katie McGinty is a smart, pragmatic leader, who’s spent her more than 25 years in public service “finding positive ways to get things done” for everyday families. Katie McGinty was the first person in her family to complete four years of college, which she attended on a full scholarship to study chemistry. After graduating from law school at Columbia University, her interest in environmental issues brought her to Washington, where she worked as a congressional fellow in Al Gore’s senate office. When she was just 29 years old, Katie was appointed by President Clinton to serve as his special assistant for environmental and energy affairs, later chairing the White House Council on Environmental Quality, which no woman had ever led. In 2003, Katie was appointed to lead the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, a role in which she championed clean water initiatives and created jobs by growing the state’s clean energy economy. Serving until recently as Governor Tom Wolf’s chief of staff, she worked to expand the state’s Medicaid program and create a budget that invests in public education.

  31. Another peeve: Parents, don’t dump your children on the school system without preparing them for learning. Read to them. Teach them how to read, how to write. Explain what numbers are; do basic math. The best teachers are family members. No excuses here: Library cards are free to anyone. The example starts with you.

  32. politicususa: Hillary Clinton Displays Historic Candidate Courage

    Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has shown unprecedented courage in taking on the gun lobby – a position no other presidential candidate has taken on.


    Scott McLean, a political science professor at Quinnipiac University, told the CTPost that this is the only position on which Clinton is to the left of Sanders but it will play better in Connecticut than in most places, “It’s probably the only position where she appears to be further to the left than Sanders. It’s going to play better in Connecticut than it will most places in the country. The Sandy Hook shooting is still a major turning point in politics in Connecticut in favor of gun control.”

    Actually, Clinton was one of the most liberal Senators during her time in that chamber (538 used three metrics to determine this and yep, she’s actually always been a liberal) and some might say further left on issues of women and girl’s rights for her entire career. Additionally, while certainly the tragedy of Sandy Hook means gun control issues are a big deal in Connecticut, Clinton is running on stricter gun controls in the strong hunting state of Pennsylvania as well. She did it in Ohio, as well.

  33. sjwny, amen to that! and when it comes to teaching the importance and respect for lifetime learning, a big yes to your “The best teachers are family members”

  34. The weaknesses of Bernie’s excuses are beginning to show.

    Poor people don’t vote?

    I really find that tone deaf.  And it depends on how you draw the line of “poor” and who you compare that to.  Voting rates definitely correlate with income, but overall the voting participation rate is nothing to write home about, regardless of income group, with participation rates ranging from 24.5% to 56.6%. Age, education level, marital status & race also are predictors – and are as good as income.  If his message about income inequality doesn’t motivate the poor to vote, it must not be ringing the chimes it needs to ring among them.  Bernie may have made inroads with the young voter – but I haven’t seen data to suggest that the median age of voters in the dem primaries has gone down compared to other primary cycles, and comparing primary voting rates to presidential elections is not a good comparison I’d wager.

  35. alexandra petri: With Cruz-Kasich alliance, the campaign goes full reality TV

    The Hunger Games are weird this year.
    Finally, John Kasich (District 12) and Ted Cruz (District 10) have realized that they are not in fact in a Republican primary election for president but in a reality TV show loosely inspired by the concept of a presidential election and starring Donald Trump, and are beginning to act accordingly. At first, Cruz thought Kasich was dead weight, given that his only skill was compassion and camouflaging himself to look like a rock. But his strategy has changed. Now Kasich and Cruz are huddled together atop the Cornucopia, clutching nightlock berries in their hands

    And the other trouble with the Reality TV Strategy portion of the evening is — this is what Trump has been doing from day one. This is his domain. It’s good that we’re all playing the same game now, but the cannons may have already sounded in the sky.

  36. On the home stretch it’s Senior D.T.s in orange, leading Rafaelo in maroon by a length, with Dull Guy wearing flat grey in 3d.

    So far, all horse race, all color, all the time. Fortunately for the droolers in the bleachers, there hasn’t been any substance.

  37. “White privilege was a myth.  Shiploads of starving Irish are but one point in disproving that myth.   However, the disenfranchisement (and worse) of nearly all minorities was very real…”

    BlueinDallas, I’m glad you are leaving remarks such as this in ‘our’ group. We can set you straight.

    Virtually all of us here realize that racism was firmly established in our Constitution and people in this country are still divided by color. Even until the Vietnam War, white soldiers and black soldiers couldn’t fight together in the same units. In World War !! black soldiers weren’t allowed to fight, although they could drive trucks and work in supply units. If they went to Tuskegee, they might be able to fly. I won’t even mention segregation in schools schools and de facto housing segregation.

    What about The Scots-Irish? Any prohibitions there? I’m a proud member of Clan MacPherson. I’ve not faced discrimination. I also have an Irish surname–none there. And I never heard of my Welsh grandmother bemoaning the fact that the people of her country were stuck in the mines–instead they got their asses out of them.

    And the wonderful people here who have identified themselves as being of color are also people of accomplishment and substance. People who I an proud to call my friends if they will have me.

  38. PiT – Yep.  And what he’s pushing is Hillary’s true agenda; it isn’t anything that Bernie’s popularity pushed her toward.

    Flatus – So, there were no ships filled with poor, Irish immigrants whom were despised by American-born white people? OK, then.

    I guess my great-grandmother from Denmark had a pretty sweet deal in that sweatshop in Chicago when she was 14, too.

  39. Due to a simple twist of fate I wound up with two tickets to the Prince concert in Columbia, S.C.   It was the “Musicology” tour.  Don’t remember when it was but I  had nice binoculars.  Going in the main gate we were each handed a CD and program or brochure or whatever…….I found out later that the $90 ticket cost was broken down to so much for the concert and so much for the CD.  ie, everyone who bought a ticket also bought a CD.    A master stroke.
    It was a masterful concert……….and I’ve seen Barry Manilow, Liberace, Ray Charles, The Grateful Dead, frank Zappa, and frank Sinatra, Jr.

  40. Not to mention Lee Dorsey, Gary “US” Bonds, Ernie K-Doe, the Dixiecups and Doug Clark Nd the Hot Nuts……

  41. It oughta  be criminal to leave Maurice Williams, and Doc Severinson off a list like that.

  42. Wow, what an offensive post! “The myth of universal white privilege and universal disadvantage among racial minorities ”  , thats right up there with climate change deniers, birthers too.   Guessing all those young black men killed by police brutality were just in the wrong place at the wrong time- it would have happened to young white boys too.  

    Anyways, the post sure brought all the uglies out – read some of the comments, had to stop, couldn’t continue reading the haters any more..

  43. The only reason Kasich has gotten any votes at all is because his name is neither Trump or Cruz. Now he aligns himself informally with Cruz in an effort to stop Trump.

    I thought Kasich was supposed to be the thoughtful adult in the republican room. He must be as dumb as the rest of them.

  44. BiD.  The Irish didn’t come in chains, weren’t sold, and they assimilated into the white culture.   Your great grand mother’s great grandchild doesn’t have to suffer the prejudice her skin color would bring had she (or her great grandmother) come here in chains. There is no myth of white pivilege, and if you believe that, frankly I think you may have lost your mind.

  45. April 25, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Flatus, thank you. Honest to god I couldn’t believe Jim could write such drivel.

  46. The questions ought to be,

    1. Who do you want your kids & grandkids to admire ?

    2. Whose attitudes and behavior do want your kids & grandkids to emulate ? Incidentally, I admired Julius Caesar and Sveyn Forkbeard, but I turned out okay by the time I was in high school. Mostly. Well . . . .  Uh.

  47. 2 and a half million Irish were allowed to die in Ireland during the Potato Famine. all of which could have been avoided if not for the English rule and their economic sanctions.  The lucky ones came to America,the land of promise, golden opportunity, proud to be here and become Yanks. And those millions came in search of a myth?


    My great great uncle came America as an orphaned child, yet became a Dr. by the young age of 20.  No one wanted to be his patient because he was so very young.  So they “sent him back to Ireland to age him”.  Upon his return he became the Dr. for the City of Buffalo, lead a fine life and built a small house outside the city, in Hamburg on the lake. None of that generation in my family was without work, except the one who drank too much- but he helped his mom around the house.  My great great grandfather was a Capt. on the lake, the other a conductor on the miles and miles of track at the steel mills. Whenever I complained about the stench of Lackawanna’s steel mills my grandmother always replied that she loved it “the smell of people working”.  One great uncle did open a speakeasy- the Bon Ton, where my grandmother ran the numbers for him during her days off from her office job for the city.  They all had homes, money enough to go out for fish fry on a Friday night, Crystal Beach amusement park even take vacations- back to Ireland or to NYC to see the Yankees. They came from the world renowned beauty of County Kerry; Dingle and the island of Fenit. They loved their irish roots, yet were all thankful to be Americans, and came to consider Buffalo “God’s Country”. What a grand myth they led.

  48. pogo and sea, bid’s not nuts about remembering tales of the irish being treated with disdain in this country.  in many parts of the south catholics aka the irish and Italian whether they were or not, jews and native ameircans were looked down upon, hated in some cases even more than black  people (the colored as they were known in polite company back then) and considered untrustworthy papists or shysters or savages… ironically, many of those haters were progeny of the folks they hated and not the esteemed w.a.s.p. who owned the banks and ran the local gov’t.  there was such a time in America.

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