Capitol Report New Mexico - By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog - He never had his image carved on Mount Rushmore and he was best-known as a man of few words but thanks to a surprising best-selling book, Calvin Coolidge is getting an historical makeover. And with the United States staggering under a $1- billion national debt, perhaps “Silent Cal” can offer some lessons for modern-day politicians.
“We can’t imagine having a conservative hero like Coolidge who would cut the budget but that’s because our interest rates are so low,” said Amity Shlaes, the author of “Coolidge,” which landed for seven weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. “When the interest rate goes back 6 percent, you know what? Americans will be looking for someone with the authority to cut the deficit, (with) the confidence, the willingness to do the hard thing and people like Coolidge will be models.”
It seems every politician — whether in Coolidge’s times or today — is afraid to say no to increased spending. But the man from New England who became president during “The Roaring ’20s” afterWarren G. Harding died and handily won election in the 1924 presidential campaign, didn’t seem to mind if people called him parsimonious, tight-fisted or cheap. In fact, he relished it.
Slaes points out that Coolidge vetoed some 50 bills during his five years in office and as vice president and president managed to slash the national debt from its post-World War I level of $27 billion to $17.65 billion by the time he famously announced, “I do not choose to run” for re-election in 1928. “He was a silent New Englander,” said Slaes, who appeared in Albuquerque on Monday, signed books and spoke at a luncheon sponsored by the Rio Grande Foundation. “The main thing to know about Coolidge is that he cut the budget as president. He didn’t just reduce the growth, he actually cut it and (he did) this over a long period. He’s an unknown president from the 1920s, but he did that thing that we want to do (now).” More