Monday, February 23, 2015

Could 'Grover the Good' win the White House today?

When Grover Cleveland ran for president in 1884, he was endorsed by Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World, which listed four reasons for encouraging its readers to send Cleveland to the White House: “1. He is an honest man. 2. He is an honest man. 3. He is an honest man. 4. He is an honest man.”…..such insistent praise for a candidate’s truthfulness and honor was as remarkable then as it would be now — voters…….had ample grounds to regard “honest politician” as a contradiction in terms….. He was never paralyzed by the fear of saying “no.” In his first term alone, Cleveland vetoed 414 bills, more than double the total of all the presidents who preceded him. Over his eight years in the White House, Cleveland rejected an astonishing 584 bills passed by Congress. That many of those measures were popular feel-good measures, such as authorizations for specious veterans’ pensions, makes Cleveland’s fortitude all the more impressive……Some presidents never met a principle they wouldn’t abandon for electoral gain. Cleveland, principled to the bone, was of a different breed.

“He was not averse to popularity, but he put it far below the approval of conscience,” H. L. Mencken wrote of Cleveland long after he left the White House. “It is not likely that we shall see his like again, at least in the present age. The presidency is now closed to the kind of character that he had so abundantly.”…….To Read More…..

My Take - Biographer Allan Nevins wrote:  "in Grover Cleveland the greatness lies in typical rather than unusual qualities. He had no endowments that thousands of men do not have. He possessed honesty, courage, firmness, independence, and common sense. But he possessed them to a degree other men do not."
 

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