Calling Cal
Look to Coolidge for inspiration today

President Calvin Coolidge on the south lawn of the White House circa 1925 (Library of Congress)


Thousands of farms, and thousands of farmers’ banks, failed in the 1920s. Coolidge himself owned a farm, but he nonetheless twice vetoed legislation that would have driven crop prices or farm profits up. “Well, farmers never have made much money,” he told Robert Cooper of the Farm Loan Board at one of the many meetings on agriculture that took place in the White House over those years. “I don’t believe we can do much about it.”

Stand up to unions. While governor of Massachusetts, Coolidge faced a tough challenge. The Boston police had affiliated with a moderate union, the American Federation of Labor. The policemen were genuinely underpaid, but when they went on strike, riots ensued. The police commissioner fired the strikers, and Coolidge backed him up. Coolidge also called out the state guard, calmed the streets, and, most important, drew a line in the sand for public-sector unions with his statement that “there is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anytime, anywhere.” Coolidge’s tough handling of the situation calmed not only Boston but the country.

August 13, 2012    |     Volume LXIV, NO. 15

Books, Arts & Manners
  • Steven Hayward reviews How to Think Seriously about the Planet: The Case for an Environmental Conservatism, by Roger Scruton.
  • Samuel R. Staley reviews Debacle: Obama’s War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future, by Grover G. Norquist and John R. Lott Jr.
  • Scott Winship reviews The Great Divergence: America’s Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It, by Timothy Noah.
  • Florence King reviews Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England, by Thomas Penn.
  • Ross Douthat reviews The Dark Knight Rises.
  • Richard Brookhiser offers Kerouacian haikus.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
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Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .