Where Is Grover Cleveland When You Need Him?

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Congress just passed a bill that included spending on disaster relief. Clearly unconstitutional, of course, just like 99 percent of everything Congress does. Obama will certainly sign the bill. There was a time when a Democratic president would do no such thing. President Grover Cleveland vetoed a bill in 1887 that would have provided seed for farmers in drought-stricken Texas. In his veto message he stated:

I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the government, the government should not support the people.

He also said that aid from Washington only “encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character.”

Grover Cleveland was truly the last good Democratic president in the Jeffersonian tradition. Just look at what we have had since: Wilson, FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, Carter, Clinton, Obama. Of all these, I suppose Carter did the least damage.

8:53 am on September 27, 2011
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