Early Returns

U.S. History Doesn't Stop at the Civil War

Jonathan Bernstein's morning links.

George Marshall, model of a modern major general.

Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

I spent last week in Washington, did a fair amount of walking around the city, and wound up with a conclusion I didn't expect, and don't recall having back when I lived in there some time ago: It's time for the nation to put some real effort into honoring 20th-century heroes of the republic. Of course, there are memorials to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr., and to World War II and the wars in Korea and Vietnam. But I'm not thinking as much about the National Mall as I am about the rest of the city. You know (if you've spent a lot of time in the area) where Logan Circle, McPherson Square, Farragut Square and Dupont Circle are -- all named for Civil War officers. 

Which is great. Honoring the heroes of the first 100 or 150 years of U.S. history is without a doubt worthwhile.

But as far as I know (and as far as I can tell from searching the interwebs) there's no statue of General (and Secretary of State) George Marshall. Nor one honoring General Omar Bradley. Not in Washington, at any rate. Nothing for Admiral Chester Nimitz, either. 

It's not just soldiers that have gone out of style. There are statues of Daniel Webster, the great 19th-century senator. But while there's a Hubert Humphrey building, there doesn't seem to be any separate statue of that giant of 20th-century politics. True, Robert Taft has a memorial, and I'm all for that, and several other 20th-century politicians have buildings named for them, but that doesn't seem sufficient to me. My preference would be for more honors for political leaders who didn't reach the White House, including those within living memory. If there's room to honor Samuel Hahnemann, I think we can do better.  

1. Robert Griffin and Paul Gronke at the Monkey Cage on the effects of automatic voter registration

2. Seth Masket at Mischiefs of Faction on political violence and the health of democracy.

3. Dahlia Lithwick on Donald Trump's judicial nominees.

4. The best and brightest State Department recruits just got an unpleasant shock from the Rex Tillerson regime. Josh Rogin reports. 

5. Here at Bloomberg View,  Narayana Kocherlakota argues for another term for Janet Yellen.

6. Lisa Rein and Abby Phillip report on how all those empty desks are getting harder and harder to fill because, well, who wants to work for Trump? 

7. And Jonathan Rauch at Brookings on why no one should expect Trump to be removed by impeachment and conviction anytime soon. It's an important corrective to some who are jumping the gun. At the same time, I'd point out a few things. One is that Richard Nixon, unlike Trump, was elected in a landslide; that alone may have made him a bit more of a legitimate president than Trump. A second is that public opinion (among Republicans) isn't the only relevant factor here; Trump's professional reputation matters, too, and while Nixon's was terrible, Trump's is already considerably worse. And then there's the question of succession. It's true most Republican voters tell pollsters they approve of Trump, but they're at least as likely to approve of a President Mike Pence if it comes to that, and Republicans in Congress know that. None of which is to say that Trump is about to be tossed out of office -- just that I don't think it's correct to believe Republican support in Congress is as solid as it might seem to be. 

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    Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net

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