RCP Morning Note, 04/14/2017: Tax Marches; Is Iran Next? Turkey’s Referendum; Threats to the President


Carl Cannon’s Morning Note

Tax Marches; Is Iran Next? Turkey’s Referendum; Threats to the President

By Carl M. Cannon on Apr 14, 2017 09:13 am
Hello, it’s Friday, April 14, 2017, Good Friday on the Christian calendar, just as it was in 1865, when the president of the United States decided to celebrate the end of the long Civil War by attending a play. The production being staged at Ford’s Theatre, some six blocks from the White House, was called “Our American Cousin." President Lincoln and first lady Mary Todd Lincoln, accompanied by their guests, Clara Harris and Maj. Henry Rathbone, arrived after it had begun. Yet, as the presidential party entered, the actors on stage stopped briefly as the house orchestra broke into “Hail to the Chief," and the theater patrons applauded warmly. When Lincoln took off his silk top hat and sat, the play resumed. All during his presidency, those closest to Abraham Lincoln had pleaded with him to pay more attention to his personal safety. (A riveting Lincoln book by James B. Conroy shows just how vulnerable the president was the entire time he lived in Washington.) But on April 14, 1865, with the war finally behind them, the men who had cajoled the president into being more mindful of danger let down their own guards. No one was on duty protecting Lincoln as he watched the play. At 10:15 p.m., actor Harry Hawk was on stage alone, ready to deliver the biggest laugh line of the play. Meanwhile, another well-known performer waited with malevolent intent just outside the president’s box. You know what happened next. History cannot be undone, no matter how hard we wish for it. In a moment, I will offer one observation regarding that fateful evening, however. First, I’d point you to RealClearPolitics’ front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion pieces spanning the political spectrum. We also offer a full complement of original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following: * * * Dems Hope Tax Marches Will Pressure Trump on Returns. Protests planned for Saturday have a dual intent, James Arkin reports: to spotlight the president’s lack of transparency, and generate a campaign issue well ahead of the 2018 midterms. Is Iran Next? In RealClearDefense, Sean P. Morrisroe writes that Trump’s attack on Syria is a wake-up call to all of America’s enemies that he will use hard power to achieve the national security interests of the U.S. Referendum May Seal Turkey’s Drift Away From Europe. In RealClearWorld, Aaron Stein warns of grave consequences when Turks vote Sunday on a slate of sweeping changes to the country’s constitution. Is Drug Pricing at an Inflection Point? In RealClearHealth, Express Scripts senior official Steve Miller discusses who the players are in lowering drug prices. Civil Disobedience as a Business Model. RealClearFuture editor Rob Tracinski hails Uber’s attempts to resist authoritarian rules. Civil Asset Forfeiture Harms Innocent Americans. In RealClearPolicy, Rep. Doug Collins calls for reforms. SchoolSmartKC Aims to Serve Kids Inside, Outside the Classroom. RealClearEducation editor Christopher Beach spotlights the innovative nonprofit, which is also the subject of this week’s “First 100 Days" podcast. What It Takes to Truly Personalize Learning. Also in RCEd, Joel Rose explains how to make personalized learning a reality in the classroom. Under the Ivy. Peter Wood analyzes a new report on the amount of government funding Ivy League schools receive. Men Were Dying All Around Me. RealClearBooks has this excerpt from Peter Van Buren’s novel “Hooper’s War." Can We Ever Find Jesus’ DNA? In RealClearReligion, George Busby marks Good Friday with this examination of new scientific inquiries. * * * The assassination of President Lincoln by 26-year-old stage actor John Wilkes Booth was not the solitary act of a madman. It was part of a larger, Booth-led conspiracy of racist-minded Southern sympathizers. Two of them, including Booth, had been in the crowd at the White House three days earlier when the president mentioned extending voting rights to black Union Army veterans and other, limited classes of African-Americans. “This means n—– citizenship," Booth muttered to co-conspirator Lewis T. Powell. “That is the last speech he will ever make." The Alabama-born Powell had marched for the Confederacy after enlisting at 17. He fought at Fredericksburg and had been wounded and captured at Gettysburg. Afterward, he escaped from a military hospital and rejoined the rebel cause. On the night of Good Friday in 1865, Powell burst into the home of Secretary of State William H. Seward armed with a pistol and a knife, and attacked everyone he encountered, including Seward’s bodyguard, nurse, and children before viciously trying to murder the secretary of state. Seward was grievously wounded, but not killed. As he had been at Gettysburg, Powell was captured. This time he would not escape. George A. Atzerodt, the accomplice Booth assigned to assassinate Vice President Andrew Johnson, lost his nerve and fled into the night. In taking aim at the president of the United States and two of his likely successors, John Wilkes Booth was attempting to destabilize the U.S. government. Harsh invective is loosely tossed about in American civic discourse these days, especially from the left, much of it aimed at the man who occupies the Oval Office and his supporters. These slurs often include such phrases as “coup" and “fascist" and “racist" and “white supremacist." But when college students and professors shut down debate by violence and protests in which they apply such names to duly elected office holders and respected public intellectuals, they are betraying themselves and their own cause, just as John Wilkes Booth did. They are also revealing a profound historical ignorance. Even through the cloudy lenses of time, Booth and his co-conspirators show us what a real “coup" attempt looks like — and what actual white supremacists do. Before fleeing into the night on April 14, 1865, Booth shouted to the Ford’s Theatre audience that Abraham Lincoln was a “tyrant." His saying those words didn’t make it so. Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics
@CarlCannon (Twitter)

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