LBJ movie in the works; Trump is Andrew Jackson?; was the Constitution proslavery?; Clemson U is asking for it

FILE -- This is a Nov. 17, 1967 file photo of former president Lyndon B. Johnson. More than 80 hours of President Lyndon B. Johnson's telephone conversations from the White House, from early 1964, were released Friday, Oct. 11, 1996 by the National Archives and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library. The tapes reveal an administration struggling to form a Vietnam policy while keeping quiet about the escalating death toll. (AP Photo/File)

Good cast, good director, so I hope this new LBJ movie in the works will be good. I wonder if this is in any way a reaction to the unfair treatment he got in the Selma movie?

Just in time for the Republican debate tonight, Paul Finkelman offers us a history of US birthright citizenship. “Any attempt to take citizenship from people born in this country would flagrantly violate the United States Constitution and existing statutes and legal precedents, and run counter to the entire legal history of the country.”

And speaking of Trump: We’ve got a lot of essays comparing him to other rhetorical bomb-throwers like Coughlin, Wallace, and McCarthy. But is he actually more than that?  Is he another Andrew Jackson? Good question, and the parallels are interesting. (Let’s hope he isn’t, or we are looking at him getting elected and serving TWO disastrous terms).

Lots of problems in this piece appearing today in the New York Times by Sean Wilentz, in which he argues that the Constitution was not “proslavery.” There are a number of lines of attack that one could take on this essay (including the difference between “proslavery” and providing protections for slavery), but he is basically just rehashing some elements of an old argument by Lysander Spooner, a 19th century political theorist whose ideas about the Constitution and slavery most people rejected, including Lincoln and most abolitionist. But the most insane thing here is that he calls the 3/5ths clause a “consolation prize.” Huh? Isn’t it one of the biggest reasons why the South continued to have a larger than justified representation in the House for the next 60+ years, thus giving them the power to use the Constitution to protect and in some cases spread slavery? That’s a hell of a consolation prize.

And speaking of the Constitution, there was that one time when FDR used the 150th anniversary of the Constitution to give a speech to justify what many saw as him trying to get around the system of checks and balances.

So you remember how Clemson University decided to form a task force to discuss how to deal with the racist history of one of their founders (the deplorable Ben Tillman)? Well, it seems their next step is to start a website to ask for the public’s input. Wow, can you just imagine the responses this thing is going to generate? Have fun with that one, Clemson.

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