In case you haven’t seen it, David Greenberg -prompted by the news that Michele Bachmann suggested Calvin Coolidge’s mug as a possible addition to Mt. Rushmore– has another post on the popularity of Calvin Coolidge over at Slate. As the author of a biography on Coolidge (not the best one available, by a long shot), Greenberg appears to be Slate’s go-to guy when it comes to the 30th president. Typically for the left-wing slant at Slate, the piece is generally somewhat condescending to Coolidge and contains a number of debatable statements – Coolidge “benefited from Wilson’s wartime spending”? Puh-leeze. The economy was in a bad way when Harding took over from Wilson in 1921, and it took the policies of Harding, Coolidge, and Mellon to turn things around. And it’s somewhat disingenious to complain that wealth in the 1920s grew “unevenly” when it did provide greater incomes and a wider distribution of material goods for a greater number of people than ever before. Plus it seems a little unfair to not only misspell Amity Shlaes’ name, but also to dismiss her as a “right-wing journalist-cum-amateur-economist.” It gets worse when you go on to read the comments on Greenberg’s piece, with Slate regulars regurgitating the old Coolidge stereotypes and misrepresentations.
Over at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Robert P. Murphy (author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and The New Deal) sets the record straight on historian (and Coolidge biographer) David Greenberg’s Salon piece on Sarah Palin’s new book – at least where Greenberg’s characterizations of Coolidge and Hoover are concerned.