Our View: It was all Cleveland’s fault

Posted: November 4, 2012

In The Wall Street Journal’s “Best of the Web” column, James Taranto points to The New York Times and columnist Nicholas Kristof’s complaint that reporters are ignoring “climate change.” And also to another piece about major storms hitting the East Coast and a president who does nothing about it. To wit:

“Matthew Algeo, author of ‘The President Is a Sick Man,’ describes how severe the weather has become. ‘On Tuesday, Aug. 22, in the Atlantic Ocean, four hurricanes were swirling simultaneously, an event never before recorded . . . Wednesday night, one of the hurricanes slammed into New York City. At least 30 people were killed.’ Four days later, an even more powerful hurricane killed some 2,000 in and around Savannah, Ga.”

You don’t remember those storms, Mr. Taranto wrote, because they occurred in 1893. “‘Grover Cleveland did nothing,’ Algeo writes. The 24th president, a Democrat, ‘opposed government intervention in natural disasters,’ which he thought, as he once wrote in a veto message, ‘encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character.’”

Stepping in to help the unfortunates, Mr. Taranto notes, was Clara Barton, foundress of the Red Cross. He writes, “[E]ven though private charity proved sufficient in the absence of federal action, the history Algeo recounts is an indictment of Cleveland. To see why, connect the dots with the Kristof column. America was already experiencing severe weather in 1893. Yet history records that Stephen Grover Cleveland, despite having been president twice, did nothing to stop global warming.”