Wednesday, September 07, 2005

More Great Moments in American Leadership

We’re happy to provide exclusive excerpts from the forthcoming book, Great Moments in American Leadership due to be published in October, 2006 by the Heritage Foundation Press. The recommended uses of the book, according to the promotional material provided to booksellers, include as a history text for home-schooling, for re-sale as a fundraiser at Lincoln-Reagan Day dinners, and stacked to provide emergency protection against flooding for “the self-sufficient citizen”.

February 12, 1778 – Today General Washington responded to criticism from members of the Continental Congress concerning the future of the war in Pennsylvania by saying that the Continental Army was “making good progress” in the struggle against the British. “The British resistance is in its last throes,” Washington said.

Concerning reports his troops had inadequate protection against the winter cold and were scrounging the Valley Forge countryside for food, Washington said that additional supplies were in the pipeline. “No one could have foreseen the conflict lasting this long,” Washington maintained. "You have to fight with the army you have, not the army you want."

When asked by a reporter from the New Amsterdam Times as to whether he was receiving adequate appropriations from the Congress, Washington stated there was no need for additional financing. “As soon as the wheat harvest is in outside Lancaster, Pennsylvania will be self-supporting,” Washington said through a spokesman.

April 22, 1861 – Newly-inaugurated President Abraham Lincoln met today with President Jefferson Davis of the Confederate States of America in a highly-anticipated meeting of the leaders. “I looked into his eyes and I saw the soul of a good man,” Lincoln said of Davis. “He’s a man I can work with.” When asked about the government’s reaction to reports of fighting in the breakaway state of South Carolina, Lincoln replied that he had full confidence in Davis’ ability to handle the situation without outside interference.

August 1, 1876 – President Grant today addressed the US Congress, asking for broad new police powers in what he called “the ongoing War on Global Scalping.”

“I am asking Congress for its support in battling the evil-doers, the Lakotah and the Oglalalala, who without provocation attacked the peaceful exploration party headed by General Custer in South Dakota last month,” Grant said. “They claim the land there is theirs by treaty, and use excuses about prospectors invading their lands as a pretext for unleashing their hatred of freedom,” Grant continued.

The Grant administration also issued a $25 million reward for Scalper leader Sitting Bull. “We will not rest until Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse are brought to justice,” said a spokesman for Vice President Henry Wilson, long thought to be the administration point man behind the scenes in the Global War on Scalping.

May 3, 1930 – The Hoover administration today released new data showing the economy was “turning the corner” out of “a mild correction” relating to the stock market “adjustment” of last October. “Employment in the apple-selling and street-vending sectors are at an all time high,” according to the report, which also cited the extremely low inflation rate and cheap cost of fuel as among the many indicators that economic activity was picking up. Hoover later criticized reports of widespread economic disruption as “products of the imagination of the media” and blamed holdovers from the Wilson administration for the leak of previous data which contradicted the White House report.

December 8, 1941 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt today took a break from his month-long pre-Christmas vacation at his Hyde Park estate to attend a political fund-raiser in South Hampton, Long Island. Asked about the developing situation in the Pacific, President Roosevelt released a statement through his press secretary that the President was monitoring events closely and that he was waiting for a request for assistance from the Territorial Governor of Hawaii.

December 10, 1941 – President Roosevelt decided today to cut his vacation short one day and take the train back to Washington, according to White House sources. ‘He’s taking the express, not the local,” said first lady Eleanor Roosevelt to a throng of reporters waiting outside Union Station. The President earlier today praised Secretary of State Cordell Hull for the conduct of ongoing negotiations with the Empire of Japan over the trade dispute. “Cordie’s doing a heckuva job. Or should I say a Hull of a job?” the President quipped.

December 14, 1941 – A day after an aerial tour of Oahu from the window of his DC-3, President Roosevelt announced that “a bigger, better Honolulu will be built.” Responding to criticism from opposition Republicans that his administration has been slow to respond to the growing crisis, President Roosevelt bristled. “This is not a time for the blame game. I just want to find out which vessels can sail, and which are going to need some time to recover. I’m concentrating on saving lives in the USS Arizona, not pointing fingers,” he said to reporters as he played with his dog, Fala, on the south lawn of the White House.

September 24, 1963 – In the daily briefing of the White House Press Corps, Press Secretary Pierre Salinger jousted with a reporter today concerning President Kennedy’s proposed manned mission to the moon. Kennedy’s proposal, which created a stir when he first made it over a year ago, continues to languish on the NASA drawing boards. “We’re studying the issue very carefully, and things are moving forward,” Salinger said. The US Space program has been grounded since 1961 after questions concerning the safety of the Mercury capsule were brought up after Astronaut John Glenn’s heat shield problems aboard the Freedom 7 spaceship.

August 11, 1974 – In a stirring Rose Garden ceremony, President Ford today awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former White House aides John Haldeman and G. Gordon Liddy, and retired four-star General William Westmoreland. “The Watergate committee investigation showed the heroic efforts of these two great patriots in uncovering misdoings in the government,” President Ford said of Haldeman and Liddy at the ceremony. Press Secretary Ron Nessman later released the White House citation of General Westmoreland, which noted his important role in the “triumph of democratic forces” in Vietnam.

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