Obama Smears Rutherford B. Hayes, America’s Greatest President

  america loves tellyphones

Why does President Obama hate President Rutherford B. Hayes so, so much? Our Kenyan Overlord slammed the beloved Ohio beardocrat today for supposedly dismissing the hot new invention of his time, the telephone. That idiot hated the telephone like the dickens, Obama said, maybe. But what if Obama is wrong? What if Rutherford B. Hayes loved telephones? What if this blows your mind?

Here’s what Obama had to say about this dead old Luddite fail whale, via Politico:

“One of my predecessors, President Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone: ‘It’s a great invention but who would ever want to use one?’” Obama said. “That’s why he’s not on Mt. Rushmore.”

“He’s looking backwards, he’s not looking forward. He’s explaining why we can’t do something instead of why we can do something,” Obama said. “The point is there will always be cynics and naysayers.”

This prompted the New York’s cynical New York publication to call the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center and ask if Obama’s story is bullshit. It is Bullshit, they said:

Wait, so Hayes didn’t even say the quote that Obama is mocking him for? “No, no,” Card confirmed.

She then read aloud a newspaper article from June 29, 1877, which describes Hayes’s delight upon first experiencing the magic of the telephone. The Providence Journal story reported that as Hayes listened on the phone, “a gradually increasing smile wreathe[d] his lips and wonder shone in his eyes more and more.” Hayes took the phone from his ear, “looked at it a moment in surprise and remarked, ‘That is wonderful.’”

Is there any possible reason for keeping Rutherford B. Hayes off of Mount Rushmore now? Name one. You can’t do it. Name one. You’ve got nothing.

[Politico, NYMag]

Share This
 
Related video

About the author

Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined Wonkette.com in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

View all articles by Jim Newell

Hola wonkerados.

To improve site performance, we did a thing. It could be up to three minutes before your comment appears. DON'T KEEP RETRYING, OKAY?

Also, if you are a new commenter, your comment may never appear. This is probably because we hate you.

181 comments

  1. Callyson

    “looked at it a moment in surprise and remarked, ‘That is wonderful.’”
    Hayes was the first client of a phone sex operation? Who knew?

      1. Tundra Grifter

        Nope. Baconzgood's post about the first time the phone rang in 60 years is money in the bank.

      1. tessiee

        "Unless "Mount Rushmore" is a shitty indie band"

        And if it isn't, Hayes could still be in Z.Z. Top.

  2. Puffperney

    Damn! Now my right wing buddies have a come back when I tell Palin's historical ignorance stories!

    1. Barb

      Newt can't be on Mt Rushmore until they find a 400 ton hunk of cow patty to carve his giant head out of.

  3. Mumbletypeg

    about the telephone: ‘It’s a great invention but who would ever want to use one?’

    They went throught this sensibility-adjustment on Downton Abbey, too. Only "Downton" came across way sexier in its nonplussed outlook. Kinda like Sara Benincasa makes written accounts of poppin' Xanax so gnarlicious you'd forget Megs McCain claimed to have OD'd on anything else except ego.

  4. DarwinianDemon

    The election of Hayes is what began the Republican party's long tradition of screwing over the blahs and stealing elections. Frankly Im surprised the Republicans haven't tried to get him on Mount Rushmore.

      1. Pat_Pending

        don't forget those pushing for the Reagan Dime! Of course, that's mostly to get rid of that damn cripple Roosevelt.

  5. ChernobylSoup

    Obama really hates Hayes because he pulled Union troops out of southern state capitals after the Civil War. Obama reckons another century or so of occupation might have done some good.

  6. Baconzgood

    Now if he would have dissed Chester A. Arthur….OHHHHHH man it'd be on like Donkey Kong!!!!!!! Baconz don't play that shit on my man C to the A Squared!

    1. doloras

      Chester A. Arthur was of course the OTHER President who was harrassed by the opposition as being "not a natural born citizen".

  7. Goonemeritus

    President Rutherford B. Hayes was a total TAINT and if I lose sponsors for pointing it out so be it!

    Edit — as a New Yorker I will die as I have lived – a Tilden man to the last.

  8. nounverb911

    ‘It’s a great invention but who would ever want to use one?’”
    Santorum said the same thing about birth control.

    1. chicken_thief

      He further noted that priests have been fucking little boys for years without the use of contraception and not one – not one single solitary youth has gotten pregnant. It was god's will.

  9. SmutBoffin

    You know what else RBH (" the Hayesiest"!) hated?

    Telepromptars. And the Irish, probably.

  10. slithytoves

    Is there any possible reason for keeping Rutherford B. Hayes off of Mount Rushmore now? Name one.

    "Rutherford."

    1. tessiee

      Also Lumpy Wallace's real first name on "Leave it to Beaver".*

      *stuff like this is in my brain, instead of anything that could make me rich

  11. Baconzgood

    Call the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center on the phone about what Rutherford B. Hayes thinks about the phone? How delicious *in my smarmy voice*.

    1. Tundra Grifter

      Bzg:

      Nothing like going straight to an impartial source. Just what the Hell did they think the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center would say?

      What's next? Call the George W. Bush Presidential Library and ask if the Iraq War was a bigass mistake?

    2. tessiee

      I don't know what your smarmy voice sounds like, so I'm imagining Vincent Price going, "How delicious" and then doing his evil laugh.

  12. Baconzgood

    And now another 60 years will go by until the phone rings at Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center.

    1. Tundra Grifter

      Back in the day, most phone and mail inquiries were probably from Ohio school children writing reports on the life and times of President Hayes.

      The Internets have killed all that.

    1. SorosBot

      Wilt certainly did appeas'er – and her, and her, and her, and her, and ten thousand other hers.

  13. edgydrifter

    Rutherford, I know the phone was all magical and new-fangled, but scissors were old-school tech even in your time. Trim that stache back, bro. You're not a baleen whale. Carve a path for your fork.

    1. Tundra Grifter

      edgydrifter:

      Shaving back in the day was a bitch. Why do you think so many of those Civil War dudes had beards?

      It took King Gillette to invent the safety razor and give America a clean face.

  14. TheJasonAlexanderFanClub

    At least Hayes didn't puss out like William Henry "I died in thirty days" Harrison.

    1. Tundra Grifter

      Another great one from Ohio, the self-proclaimed "Cradle of Presidents."

      The problem is that, unlike Virginia, the ones from Ohio didn't actually turn out very well.

      Not that California has anything to brag about, of course.

  15. owhatever

    President Hayes graduated as valedictorian of his 1842 class at … wait for it … Kenyon College. Coincidence? I think not.

  16. MissTaken

    But I learned on Decoded that Mt Rushmore is really a KKK holy ground. Because Lincoln was totally cool with the KKK.

  17. SorosBot

    Hayes also pretty much stole the election of 1876; luckily America has managed to never screw up like that again.

    1. sewollef

      Wait a minute… wasn't he 'awarded' the presidency, by a congressional commission after he lost the popular vote to the democrat?

      This sounds awfully familiar…..

    1. GOPCrusher

      Probably it's the guys over at the Millard Fillmore Presidential Center checking to see if their phone is still working.

    2. Tundra Grifter

      LH:

      Somebody beat me to the Prince Albert wheeze and I used the refrigerator gag above, so I got nothin'.

  18. Schmannnity

    In 1876, Hayes was elected president in one of the most contentious and hotly disputed elections in American history. Although he lost the popular vote to Democrat Samuel J. Tilden, Hayes won the presidency by the narrowest of margins after a Congressional commission awarded him twenty disputed electoral votes. The result was the Compromise of 1877, in which the Democrats acquiesced to Hayes's election and Hayes accepted the end of military occupation of the South.

    A 19th Century GW.

    1. Tommy1733

      Let's be clear that the Republicans and the Democrats in those days were ideologically opposite to what they generally represent today.

    2. Tundra Grifter

      Schmannity:

      There is an entire chapter in John F. Kennedy, Jr.'s "Profiles in Courage" about Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar and his single vote to support the decision of the Electoral Commission.

      They don't make 'em like they used to!

        1. Tundra Grifter

          My Daddy taught me to shave with a straight razor. It's impossible to not cut yourself all up.

          The biggest, problem, however, is learning how to sharpen the damn thing. If you think sharpening a knife in Boy Scouts was tough, try a razor. It's just too hard. So, folks just gave up and didn't do it.

  19. anniegetyerfun

    Well, Confucius was supposedly backward-looking as well, but he gets to hang out in every bonzai pot just the same, doesn't he? Well, DOESN'T HE?

  20. sewollef

    How do we know it's Rutherford B. Hayes? All those old geezers had beards down to their shoes in those days.

    Who's to say it wasn't a disguise. Who?

  21. Neoyorquino

    Anyone else check out the woman labeled as "Solid South" whom Rutherford is mackin'? Dat ass.

  22. JackDempsey1

    Excuse me, but the hair is atrocious.
    What, Mr. Hayes, a couple of electoral college votes are thrown your way, and suddenly you're *too good* for hair care/barbering?

  23. LiveToServeYa

    "The real difficulty is with the vast wealth and power in the hands of the few and the unscrupulous who represent or control capital."

    That is what he said. That is what Rutherford Birchard Hayes said.

    He was elected president in one of the most contentious and hotly disputed elections in American history, and this is what he said.

    "Partisanship should be kept out of the pulpit… The blindest of partisans are preachers. All politicians expect and find more candor, fairness, and truth in politicians than in partisan preachers."

    Rutherford B. Hayes was a brave man. He left a successful political career to enlist in the Union Army during the Civil War. Wounded five times, he had a reputation for bravery on the field. But when he talked of partisanship, this is what he said.

    "The President of the United States of necessity owes his election to office to the suffrage and zealous labors of a political party…. but he should strive to be always mindful of the fact that he serves his party best who serves the country best."

  24. chicken_thief

    It will never occur to Fox and Friends as they blather on about this that the two quotes are not mutually exclusive. I mean, Ol' Ruthy could have waxed poetic re: the new fangled device on several occasions.

    1. Tundra Grifter

      Alex Bell probably slipped him some phone company stock right before the IPO and President Hayes saw the light.

      That's the way things were done back then. Totally different from today.

  25. Tommy1733

    That story about the Compromise of 1877 is very interesting because it is an example of the South clinging to ideals that are not really defensible. Yet they refuse to cooperate and instead resort to various kinds of pressure to get their way, or to impose "Compromises". These Southerners are the intellectual ancestors of today's Conservatives, the more extreme of which have no logical basis for their "opinions" yet they cling to them out of some combination of defensiveness and greed, maybe? Can't you just see Ann Coulter speaking out eloquently on the side of slavery?

    1. tessiee

      "Can't you just see Ann Coulter speaking out eloquently on the side of slavery?"

      Ehhh, not exactly.
      I can see her giving one of her frothing at the mouth rants on the side of slavery, complete with some loony sound bite about how abolitionists eat babies — but I can't see her speaking eloquently about anything, ever.

  26. Doktor StrangeZoom

    Yes, it's not like a search on the alleged quote (excluding "Obama" to get rid of noise from today) wouldn't find it listed all over the place as a purported example of shortsightedness. Not that this really excuses sloppy fact-checking by White House speechwriters, but it's not exactly like Obama was just jonesing for the opportunity to slam Hayes.

    1. Tundra Grifter

      Actually, Mr. Obama said "reportedly." No one can dispute that quote was reported prior to Mr. Obama using it.

      Further, a quick check showed me that, indeed, Mr. Hayes is not on Mt. Rushmore.

      That's Obama 2, Right Wing Nutz 0.

      Again.

  27. Doktor StrangeZoom

    Strange. Wikiquote claims an actual source:

    "That's an amazing invention, but who would ever want to use one of them?"

    –To Alexander Graham Bell after a demonstration of the telephone, as quoted in Future Mind : The Microcomputer-New Medium, New Mental Environment (1982) by Edward J. Lias, p. 2

    So apparently this scurrilous Rutherford B Hayes bashing campaign has been going on nearly as long as the nefarious plot to install a Kenyan Usurper in the White House!!!

  28. Deportably_Jose

    Jim, I'm not sure why you're harping on the Compromise of 1877. Why, it says right in wikipedia:

    The following elements are generally said to be the points of the compromise:

    *The removal of all federal troops from the former Confederate States. (Troops remained in only Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida, but the Compromise finalized the process.)
    *The appointment of at least one Southern Democrat to Hayes's cabinet. (David M. Key of Tennessee became Postmaster General.)
    *The construction of another transcontinental railroad using the Texas and Pacific in the South (this had been part of the "Scott Plan," proposed by Thomas A. Scott, which initiated the process that led to the final compromise).
    *Legislation to help industrialize the South.

    In exchange, Democrats would:

    *Accept Hayes's presidency.
    *Respect blacks' rights.

    It may have been a hefty price to pay, but as a result, racism was ended forever and black people never had any problems exercising their civil or human rights in the South ever again.

    …Right?

      1. glamourdammerung

        Ending Reconstruction and allowing the South to fester into what it is now so that the guy that did not win the election could take office was pretty bad. Nixon, despite his many flaws and sociopathy was at least egotistical enough to do some good things (even if just because he wanted the praise).

        1. Tundra Grifter

          That Civil War was pretty bitter. I don't think keeping the US Army in the South would have helped much – any more than keeping the US Military in Afghanistan and Iraq has turned out very well.

          It was the Army that told former Confederate soldiers they couldn't continue to wear any part of their uniforms – when those were often the only clothes they had left.

          It was the death of Lincoln that killed a fruitful Reconstruction. US Grant's generous surrender terms started to set the right tone. Stationing troops in the former Confederacy didn't move the process forward much.

          Richard Nixon was astonishingly corrupt. He accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash "campaign contributions." He know many of these things he did were illegal. But he did them anyway. In my view he remains the flat out worst.

          1. glamourdammerung

            Stationing troops in the former Confederacy didn't move the process forward much.

            Given how delightful the blacks were treated, especially once those troops were withdrawn, I have to respectfully disagree about whether their presence was helpful.

          2. Tundra Grifter

            glamourdammerung:

            I completely agree with you that keeping the peace in the South – and keeping the Black folks from being reinslaved – was very important. No doubt they needed to be protected.

            I was addressing thie issue of reconcilitation.

            Like Mr. Miyagi said – "Balance."

          3. Negropolis

            Honestly, I'd beg to differ. One of this nation's greatest sins after slavery was getting lazy on Reconstruction. What could have been one of the most glorious opportunities to set the nation up for long-term glory was dropped like it was hot, and the Civil Rights Movement a hundred years later was only ever able to address a few of the failures. I can not even imagine how much further we'd have been along in 2012 were it not for setting back an entire group of people a hundred years more than they were already set back.

          4. Tundra Grifter

            Reconstruction was a horrible mess. Grinding the South wasn't "with malice towards none, and with charity for all."

            The mid-19th century was rampant, unregulated capitalism. Contractors sold the army wooden hams and paper shoes and "gunpowder" that was nothing but charcoal.

            Scalawags and carpetbaggers saw a quick buck, and plundered the South. Remember, Reconstruction went on almost three times as long as the Civil War, with miserable graft, corruption, and massive theft.

            A Marshall Plan to actually rebuild the South would have made a huge difference. And the Panic of 1873 certainly didn't help.

            Once the North made the War about freeing the slaves, it was inevitable the Black folks would be blamed for the loss once the War was over. Former slaves needed protection, education, and the opportunity they deserved. You are so right – it was a terrible waste, and we all would be so much better off today if Lincoln had lived and Reconstruction had actually reconstructed something.

            Perhaps the North won the War. No question our Nation lost the peace.

  29. barto

    Little known fact is that the other end of the line was also the first known phone-sex operator.

    1. Tundra Grifter

      Unfortunately, this did the good President no good, because back the day you needed both hands to hold the phone.

  30. Tundra Grifter

    Over the next few years, as his dinner was interrupted almost every night by solicitation calls from fake cancer charities and bogus law enforcement organizations, President Hayes' enthusiasm for the telephone waned a wee bit.

  31. Doktor StrangeZoom

    Actual comment at FoxNation: "Obama speech writers don't care who they hurt or how many lies they tell."

    Yes. Something must be done (*sob*!) to protect poor Rutherford! LEAVE RUTHORFORD B HAYES ALOOOOONE, YOU ANIMALS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Tundra Grifter

      At his age, Rutherford should be damn happy anyone is talking about him at all.

      I sure don't recall my grade school closing for his fuckin' birthday.

  32. Doktor StrangeZoom

    From Free Republic:

    Sarah Palin was right about Paul Revere, and Obama is ignorant when it comes to Presidential history!

    (srsly, this is in like 72-point typeface…and 2 posts later it's followed by:)

    Alinsky’s rules for radicals: Ridicule is the most potent weapon. So the Orwellian leftist rewrites history, ridiculing perhaps the best man, and one of the better presidents of the second half of the nineteenth century.

    and the thread winner:

    With a name like “Rutherford Hayes” he probably thought he was a “brother” at first, and felt let down that he wasn’t….

    Shit, where's my RightWing Bingo card?

  33. CessnaDriver

    Cooledge ordered the telephone removed from the Oval Office as one of his first acts as President.

    His actual first act as President was to go back to bed after he swore the oath.

  34. Schmegeg

    "a gradually increasing smile wreathe[d] his lips and wonder shone in his eyes more and more."

    First presidential phone sex?

  35. Negropolis

    That'll definitely teach Obama to reference obscure persidents, again, won't it? I sure as hell hope so. There are so many better (and more easily referenced) historical figures to shit on.

  36. Preacher_Griz

    Republican President R. B. Hayes was the 2nd Greatest ever Republican Friend of the Negro because he removed the Tyranny of Federal Occupation from the negro homeland, allowing themselfs to get back on the plantations to perform the job God intended when he created them.

Comments are closed.