Biographer: Obama Could Learn From Coolidge's Humility

Friday, 17 May 2013 03:44 PM

By Courtney Coren and Kathleen Walter

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Calvin Coolidge biographer Charles Johnson tells Newsmax that President Barack Obama could learn a lot from Coolidge's humility.

"I think Barack Obama would do well to learn from Coolidge's humility, his sense of himself, his sense of his own limitations and that's something we're not seeing very often from Washington today," said the biographer in an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV.

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Johnson, author of "Why Coolidge Matters: Leadership Lessons from America's Most Underrated President," says that Ted Cruz is carrying the Coolidge torch today.

"He, in many respects, embodies a Coolidge-like understanding of limited government and constitutional government," Johnson said.

According to Johnson, Coolidge was greatly admired by President Ronald Reagan.
"What's important to note is that the only president Reagan ever claimed to have studied was Calvin Coolidge. If you go to the Reagan Library, there's some 270 mentions of Coolidge in President Reagan's speeches and he even got gifts and things from admirers who knew of the connection."

He also says that Coolidge is a president tea party conservatives should study.

"For conservatives who want to go back to the Constitution, want to go back to sort of this tea party understanding of the Constitution, they often go back to Reagan but Reagan, of course, went back to Coolidge and Coolidge went back to the American founding and to Abraham Lincoln," Johnson added.

When asked why Johnson believes that Coolidge is the most underrated president, he says, "Many of the issues he dealt with such as immigration, civil rights, economic growth, lowering taxing and spending, all those issues we're still dealing with today and Coolidge had a conservative, highly successful approach to them and so for people who want to go back to limited government, Coolidge offers a way to kind of get back to the Constitutional understanding of the country."

Johnson believes that the key to understanding any president is his education.

"What's important to understand here is that presidents are products of their education," he says. "Barack Obama very much has been educated in a shall we say non-American way in the sense that many of the things that he learned in school are things that are hostile to the principles of the Declaration of Independence, which was one of the guiding things of Coolidge's day."

The next book that Johnson is currently working on is a political biography of Obama.

"I've gone to Indonesia to Hawaii to parts of California, virtually every place that Barack Obama was ever educated . . . I'm very fascinated in this question of how did we go from Coolidge to Obama in, essentially, the lifetime of my grandparents and what does that mean about the country as a whole?"

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