Fuzzy’s Five Favorite Presidential Moments
In honor of President’s Day
In order to honor President’s Day, I thought I would share five of my favorite presidential moments. I’ll present them in historical, rather than “top” or favorite, order.
Abraham Lincoln: “Gettysburg Address”
Like many conservatives, I have serious reservations about much that Lincoln did, but this speech is a winner from beginning to end.
“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
JFK: Inaugural Address, “Ask Not . . . “
Listening to JFK ask Americans to ask not what their country can do for them but what they can do for their country is a vivid reminder of just how far Democrats have fallen.
Ronald Reagan: Berlin Speech, “Tear Down This Wall”
Was there ever a president who was a greater defender of freedom and American values and foe of communism than President Reagan? Not in my book.
Bill Clinton: 1996 SOTU, “The Era of Big Government is Over”
No fan of the Clintons, I do love this moment because it was exactly what America and Americans demanded (and still demand). This was back when Washington listened, at least occasionally, to those they were elected to represent.
George W. Bush: Speech at Ground Zero
President Bush struck just the right note, and his strength, confidence, and resolve made a real difference to me after 9/11.
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I would have put Reagan’s address to the country after the Challenger disaster as #2 on that list. Perhaps the only Presidential address that honestly moved me to tears at the time.
It looks like Lincoln was wrong about people not remembering what he did there. But then, is his speech even taught in schools now?
Not remembering what ,b> we say here. But [the world] cannot never forget waht they did here.
I love what you had to offer. Too bad Bill Clinton had his fingers crossed at the time.
I’m going to cheat and offer up something from Lincoln, before he was president. It is the best description of what it means to be an American that I have ever read. It may not be a “moment,” but it is powerful. Not coincidentally, Powerline posts it every 4th of July – The Eternal Meaning of Independence Day ( http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2016/07/the-eternal-meaning-of-independence-day-9.php ).
And since I link to that post from my church small group’s website, why not do a shameless plug? We link to it from our page on America’s Foundation ( http://www.unshackledaction.com/founders ). Among other things, it includes some great quotes, one of my favorites being one most have never heard:
“Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet.”
– Robert Winthrop (Speaker of the House 1847-1849)
Never thought much of the Gettysburg Address. All he’s saying is that anything he’d say would be superfluous. But it was a breakthrough in American politics because he didn’t take two hours to say that he wasn’t going to say anything. As I recall, Edward Everett had spoken for two hours just before him, and although he started—as usual—with the Spartans and worked forward, he didn’t say anything, either. But audiences in those days expected diffuse windiness; they apparently thought that Lincoln had just started and hadn’t yet gotten to the really boring stuff yet, and were surprised and puzzled, even disappointed, when he turned and walked off.
A strange era in many ways.
The only speech that was spontaneous was Bush’s at the WTC. It is powerful because it reflects the emotions we all were feeling at the time.
Clinton’s comment should be part of many speeches and TV ads. Can’t you see the heads explode if President Trump says
“In the words of President Clinton over twenty years ago…
We know that big government does not have all the answers. We know there’s not a program for every problem. We know and we have worked to give the American people a smaller, less bureaucratic government in Washington. And we have to give the American people one that lives within its means. The era of big government is over.”
And then he announces that X program started in xxxx and has grown to cost the government $Y per year and $YY in total since then. Add more statistics on the economic cost to the American people. And then hand Ryan and McConnell the specific bills to reverse the regs and laws. Get them to pass the bills and have them on his desk by a certain date.
At the same time, Trump needs to explain to the American people why it is a good thing, whether it is a function of the states, or a reduction in duplicate programs or just a mere waste of money. Then thank the people who ran the programs for their dedication over the years.
Of course, the rest of us will be thinking that they shouldn’t let the door hit them in the rear as they leave their offices. And then sell the desks and the buildings to prevent regrowth.
I thought Clinton’s “I did not have sex with that woman” speech ranked up there – it was certainly unprecedented.
That Bill Clinton is PURE GOLD.
1996 Democrat Gold Standard President: big government is dead.
2016 Democrats: GOVERNMENT DOMINATED ENERGY AND EMISSIONS! SINGLE PAYER!! GOVERNMENT DONINATED HIGHER EDUCATION!!
First – “President’s Day” was the result of leftists’ brainchild-wish to erase the importance of Washington (and Lincoln) – who both have birthdays in February – from our nation’s history – and Washington’s complete absence from this “Top Five” shows they have been wildly successful. (BTW – Snopes and others say this is a “myth” – but I lived it, and I remember well when it happened. Revisionist historians abound, but can’t erase what we were taught back in the Nixonian era.) Lincoln’s birthday was February 12th, and Washinton’s was February 22nd. How could you leave out The Father of Our Country and include others who were less relevant, to say the least?!
Second – Washington’s Farewell Address is vitally important to our nation’s history and should be, IMHO, on your list, as well as Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. There are no videos of these, but they are MUCH more important to our republic’s history, and certainly more enduring, than a Clinton BS-laden head-fake, for example.
I had Washington’s farewell address, but the whole thing is fabulous. I was going for moments, not full speeches. That said, my fave prez moments are my faves … Now, if it were “most significant,” etc., there’s room for debate. But in that case, the list would be different.
Everything had to be a Monday holiday.
“Snopes and others say this is a “myth””
Snopes and others are mostly commie hacks.
How about George Washington nearly being shot?
On September 11, 1777, an army of 12,500 British troops who had recently landed at the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay marched through Pennsylvania toward the patriot capital of Philadelphia. Covering their flank, a detachment of green-clad British marksmen hid in the woods along Brandywine Creek, near Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and kept a lookout for American forces led by General George Washington. Suddenly a cavalry officer dressed in the flamboyant uniform of a European hussar rode into view, followed by a senior American officer wearing a high cocked hat.
Captain Patrick Ferguson, a 33-year-old Scotsman reputed to be the finest shot in the British army, commanded the British marksmen, who were equipped with fast-firing, breech-loading rifles of Ferguson’s own design. He whispered to three of his best riflemen to creep forward and pick off the unsuspecting officers. But before the men were in place, he felt disgust at the idea of such an ambush, and ordered them not to fire. He shouted to the American officer, who was riding a bay horse. The American looked his way for a moment, and turned to ride on. Ferguson called again, this time leveling his rifle toward the officer. The American glanced back before slowly cantering away.
A day later, after he had been seriously wounded himself, Ferguson learned that the American officer he let ride off was most likely General George Washington. “I could have lodged half a dozen balls in or about him, before he was out of my reach,” Ferguson recalled, “but it was not pleasant to fire at the back of an unoffending individual, who was acquitting himself very coolly of his duty—so I let him alone.”
If Ferguson had taken aim and fired at the officer who turned his back and rode away, there is no telling how the American Revolution would have turned out. Washington lost the Battle of Brandywine and then the city of Philadelphia, but lived on to win the war.
The day after Ferguson passed up the chance to shoot the stately American officer with the high cocked hat, a patriot ball shattered his right elbow. A surgeon who had attended wounded American officers told Ferguson that General Washington had been out just before the battle with light troops, escorted only by a French officer in hussar dress, and wearing exactly the uniform Ferguson had seen across his rifle sights. The surgeon’s revelation prompted Ferguson to reflect on his decision not to fire; he was unsure what he would have done if he had recognized that Washington was his target. “I am not sorry that I did not know at the time who it was,” he wrote.
Some doubting scholars have maintained that the near-victim of Ferguson’s marksmanship could not have been Washington. They asserted that no commanding general would have been riding without armed escort so close to the enemy. But later researchers found a letter from Washington’s headquarters to Congress confirming that “His Excellency” was “out reconnoitering and busily engaged.” And the Polish hero Count Casimir Pulaski, recently arrived from France, did in fact dress as a hussar, and he was with Washington as an aide de camp until being sent into action later on that crucial day. The novelist James Fenimore Cooper would write that his father-in-law, serving with Ferguson, believed the near-victim was Pulaski, rather than Washington. But Cooper’s account had dates and other details wrong. Apparently the evidence will never be conclusive, but it leans strongly toward Washington, who was the only ranking American officer in the vicinity.
Reagan saying, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!” always gives me the chills and tears, at the same time.
President Carter being chased by a swimming assassin rabbit sticks out for me. Or his UFO sighting report. That was cool, explained a lot.
Washington’s speech ending the Newburgh Conspiracy. (Technically, not a presidential speech.)
“Gentlemen, you must pardon me. I have grown old in the service of my country and now find that I am growing blind.”
FDR’s call for a declaration of war against Japan.
“…a date which will live in infamy…”
A clear, short presentation of the moral case for US entry into conflict. It also marks the date the US became a superpower.