It is an article of progressive faith that the 1950s were the worst of times. And that the 1960s were the best of times. Nothing like losing a war to make progressive hearts go pitter patter.
What was wrong with the 1950s? Any progressive worth his subscription to the Nation will tell you that America was then racially segregated.
They will not tell you that the Democratic Party was leading the fight to keep America segregated. They will not tell you that the civil rights movement began in the mid-1950s.
They will not tell you about integrating Central High School in Little Rock.
No, they believe that the 1960s, with their race riots and violent confrontations were a better time… for whom, it’s not very clear.
But the worst part of the 1950s was: not enough drama. You see, it doesn’t matter if people are burning down their neighborhoods. It’s the drama that counts. It’s the struggle that counts. The results… not so much.
Anyway, Kevin Williamson has offered us a riff on presidential golfers. I can’t say that it has ever crossed my mind to riff on golf at all, but someone had to do it. So, why not Williamson?
While sharing his thoughts about Barack Obama’s golf game— and noting that it’s the time of the day and week when Barack does the least damage—Williamson brings up another decent presidential golfer—one Dwight Eisenhower.
He notes, in passing, that the Eisenhower presidency lacked great drama. It was not a time of celebrity presidents or charismatic leaders. The reason was: the man in charge was competent. Ike knew what he was doing. He knew how to manage a crisis.
Progressives were bored out their mind. They prefer blood on the streets. They much prefer class struggle.
Williamson explains what did not happen during the Eisenhower years:
But of course, Eisenhower could afford to goof around on the golf course all day. Nothing of any interest or consequence happened during the years of his presidency, except: The death of Stalin and the Soviets’ acquisition of the hydrogen bomb, Germany’s ascension to NATO, the fall of Dien Bien Phu, the end of the Korean War and a near nuclear confrontation with China, the Suez crisis, the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh, the Congo crisis, revolution in Cuba, the Formosa Resolution, a military intervention in Lebanon, the U-2 incident, two major civil-rights acts, Brown vs. Board of Education, Little Rock, the further rise and chaotic fall of Joseph McCarthy, and the addition of two new states.
He concludes with the salient point:
The Eisenhower years were in fact crisis after crisis after crisis, and Eisenhower is the great illustration that great leadership often is leadership that nobody notices. It didn’t feel like the nation was in a constant state of crisis.
When someone is really in charge he does not have to pretend to be in charge. He does not have to mime being in charge. When he is charge no one notices.