In a recent blog on the Greensboro, N.C. News-Record site, Doug Clark proclaims that “Maybe it’s time to send for President Andrew Jackson, who called the nullification movement of his day–also centered in South Carolina–treason.”
What on earth would prompt Mr. Clark to channel “Old Hickory”? Why, none other than South Carolina’s “right wingers,” celebrating the recent passage of a South Carolina house bill “that supposedly nullifies parts of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.” Mr. Clark also mentions that Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center, “crowed” his approval of the South Carolina push-back.
Bringing Jackson back may not help Clark’s argument–as it is–against the time-honored practice of nullification. Clark explains why Jackson is the go-to guy to put the S.C. nullifiers in their place when he references South Carolina’s revolt against President Jackson and the federal government’s 1828 “Tariff of Abominations,” which not only raised the ire of South Carolina, but of other Southern states as well.
To make his “point” against nullification, Clarke quotes Jackson, who tried to put South Carolina in its place by saying, “If one drop of blood be shed there in defense of the laws of the United States, I will hang the first man of them I can get my hands on to the first tree I can find.” (Jackson was good at bluster.)
Clark conveniently leaves out the part where President Jackson eventually backed down when Henry Clay brokered a compromise with South Carolina lowering the tariff, bringing relief to all of the other affected states as well–just like the partial nullification of Obamacare example. He also fails to mention Jackson once allowed Georgia to ignore Supreme Court orders relating to the treatment of the Cherokees.
Clark also doesn’t mention that Jackson himself turned