Saturday, October 17, 2015

Bill Handel's Historical Ignorance

KFI-AM's Bill Handel often brags about his lack of knowledge, legal and otherwise. But he really outdid himself on October 15, 2015, during his radio show's 7 a.m. hour.

President Obama has reneged on his promise to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The troops will remain. In defending Obama from the charge of "flip-flopping," Handel said that it is appropriate for presidents to change policy when circumstances change.

Fair enough. Whether that principle applies to this situation -- Do circumstances in Afghanistan justifies Obama's change of policy? -- is another matter. We'll leave that open to debate.

But it was in discussing past presidents that Handel displayed his vast ignorance of history. In particular ...

* Handel said that Woodrow Wilson was re-elected president in 1916 on a platform of "He kept us out of the war." That Wilson then changed policy and supported a war against Germany in 1917. The reason for this change of policy, said Handel, was the sinking of the Lusitania.

NO, Bill. You are WRONG.

The Lusitania was sunk in 1915 -- two years before Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany. The sinking of the Lusitania had nothing to do with Wilson's change of policy.

* Handel also discussed President Richard Nixon's attempt to curb inflation with a policy of wage and price controls. Handel then mocked Nixon's WIN button campaign -- WIN for "whip inflation now."

NO, Bill. You are WRONG.

Nixon did indeed call for wage and price controls. But the WIN campaign was sparked by President Ford. Not by Nixon.

You can listen to these examples of Handel's historical by clicking here. (The MP3 file is edited so that the Wilson gaffe is followed directly by the Nixon gaffe, removing some of Handel's other historical examples there were -- by some fluke -- accurate.)