Number 16 in a series

schle•miel n [Yiddish shlumiel] (1892): an unlucky bungler : CHUMP
Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, Merriam Webster, Inc., Springfield, MA. 1986

In case there was any question.

Garry Boulard has written The Worst President: The Story of James Buchanan. Others have written much the same book, but Boulard’s was within my budget. Boulard describes how Buchanan obtained his notoriety:

The problem was that Buchanan, tired and hoping that somehow the crisis would simply fade away, or at the very least not reach a point of explosion until Lincoln took office in March, was stumped.

He had, in mid-November, asked Attorney General Jeremiah Black to research the constitutionality of secession. On December 3, drawing heavily on Black’s opinion, Buchanan declared in his annual message to Congress that while it was certainly unconstitutional for any state to leave the union, if one did, there really wasn’t much he could do about it.

“The fact is that our Union rests upon public opinion and can never be cemented by the blood of its citizens shed in civil war,” Buchanan said. “If it cannot live in the affections of the people, it must one day perish. Congress possesses many means of preserving its conciliation, but the sword was not placed in their hand to preserve it by force.”

Buchanan’s argument bombed. The New York Times condemned what it characterized as an “incendiary document” that “promises the seceding states that the power of the federal government shall not be used for their coercion.”

Boulard, Garry. The Worst President–The Story of James Buchanan (Kindle Locations 89-98). iUniverse. Kindle Edition.

By nearly all accounts, Buchanan’s mishandling of the situation ushered in this country’s most costly war in terms of human life. By contemporary accounts, Boulard may need to re-issue the book under a revised title.

Mar 18
Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes…..
Mar 18
…vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!

This statement by the current President reflects a total misunderstanding of the situation, or else it is a deliberate mis-characterization. Regardless of what Mr. Trump thinks or what he says, the relationship between the United States and NATO is not a pay for protection arrangement:

Security experts quickly attacked the flaws in Trump’s logic. On Twitter, former U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder wrote that increased defense budgets by Germany aren’t transferred to the United States. He also pointed out that NATO decided to make the 2 percent requirement mandatory just a couple of years ago. The alliance gave all member states until 2024 to reach that goal, and Germany is on track. 

“Trump’s comments misrepresent the way NATO functions,” Daalder told us. “The President keeps saying that we need to be paid by the Europeans for the fact that we have troops in Europe or provide defense there. But that’s not how it works.”

Despite these critiques, this line of argument has been a near-constant refrain for Trump and his administration. Since the campaign, he’s argued that other countries aren’t contributing what they should for the defense alliance. NATO members are urged to contribute 2 percent of their GDP to defense spending. Germany pays 1.2 percent; the United States kicks in more than 3 percent. Four other countries — Greece, Estonia, Poland and Britain — also meet their obligation.

I am hoping trumpette readers of this post will push back and tell me I’m leaning on FAKE news reports for my facts. Any such respondent will be advised to go to the ultimate sources for the facts, something the Schlemiel-in-Chief seems unwilling to do.

160 years ago President James Buchanan fumbled this nation into its most disastrous war. President Trump says, “Here, hold my beer.”

And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.


One thought on “Schlemiel-in-Chief

  1. Pingback: Schlemiel-in-Chief | Skeptical Analysis

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