Give me Calvin Coolidge

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Gracy Olmstead has written an article that highlights the differences between a minimalist president, such as Coolidge who “made a virtue out of inaction” and the “modern presidency [which] is in perpetual motion.”  From the brief article:

Many contemporaries underestimated Coolidge as a politician and a president. They mistook his restraint and inaction for weakness. Coolidge realized: “The people know the difference between pretense and reality. They want to be told the truth. They want to be trusted. They want a chance to work out their own material and spiritual salvation. The people want a government of common sense.”

Walter Lippman, a leading political commentator of the day, wrote perceptively during Coolidge’s presidency: “Mr. Coolidge’s genius for inactivity is developed to a very high point. It is far from being an indolent activity. It is a grim, determined, alert inactivity which keeps Mr. Coolidge occupied constantly.”…

 (T)he clamoring call of the day is for a president who will “do something”—though what, exactly, is often unclear. For Republicans, it seems they just want someone who will do the opposite of what Obama’s done, though they don’t have an articulate understanding of what that might be. In supporting a politician like Trump, many are choosing to replace one overreaching, energetic executive with another.  They can’t—or won’t—consider the importance of a prudent or minimalist president, a politician who makes a “virtue of inactivity” and a policy of “alert inaction.”

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