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Zephyr Teachout

Zephyr Teachout

Posted: December 6, 2007 12:32 PM

John Adams To Mitt Romney: "Silly and Wicked"


The following piece is produced by HuffPost's OffTheBus.

Yesterday, Romney quoted John Adams as saying that: "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people."

Adams was a good pick for Romney (Mitt's named his scholarship program in Massachusetts after the Adams); he was more open to Christianity than some other founders. Though, he said, "I mix religion with politics as little as possible."

He also forgot to mention Adams' views of campaigning; he stayed at home while others spoke for him. "I am determined to be a Silent Spectator of the silly and the wicked Game."

And as for the prize itself? "No man who ever held the office of president would congratulate a friend on obtaining it," he said.

I too admire John Adams, but I can't say 1798 was his best year--the year he wrote, in a tossed-off letter to Massachusetts Militia--the quote lifted by several church groups in recent years, and now Romney. 1798 was also the year that the American Congress passed the Alien & Sedition acts, signed by John Adams just a few months before. I hope this is not a signal that Romney is interested in reviving the dead acts.

But let history live a little. It elevates us all. For Hillary Clinton's big speech--if there is one--I hope she takes on Adams more cheerful ideas, such as this one: "Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide."

Or perhaps Ron Paul can make his long awaited "The Speech" on the Gold Standard, following Adams' concern that one of the greatest failings in government was the ignorance of people on "coin, credit, and circulation."