Monday, April 11, 2016

John Quincy Adams: Raised to be President

John Quincy Adams was elected as the 6th president of the United States during the election of 1824.  He was the son John Adams, the second president, and therefore was the first son of a former president to become president.  He had the same temperament as his father, and generally tended to have the same big government views as his father.

He was actually raised to become president.  He watched the Battle of Bunker Hill from the top of Penn's Hill.  He served as his father's secretary in Europe.  He graduated from Harvard and became a lawyer by the age of 26.  He was appointed Minister to the Netherlands.  Then, in 1802, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, and in 1808 he was appointed Minister to Russia by President Madison.

In 1817 he was selected by James Monroe to become Secretary of State.  He would work with the president on writing the Monroe Doctrine.  In fact, he was the main author of the document that forbade European nations from forming colonies, or interfering in any way, in North or South America. He also helped the U.S. obtain Florida from Spain.  Generally speaking, he was considered a great secretaries of state.

This was a time in U.S. history when Secretary of State set a person up nicely to becoming a future president.  The fact that he was considered a great one bode well for him, making many assured that he was the political heir to the presidency.  However, their was public clamor at this time for electors to be chosen by direct vote of the people as opposed to by state legislatures.  So, after John Quincy Adams, the office of Secretary of State would no longer be a stepping stone to the presidency.

By 1824 political factions started to develop among members of the democratic-republican party, and so party unity started to break up.  So what happened was that a candidate was chosen from each of the different regions of the country: New England supported the large centralized government ideas of Adams; Kentucky supported the large centralized ideas of Henry Clay; Tennessee supported the small government ideas of Andrew Jackson; and Georgia supported the small government ideas of William H. Crawford.

These were the four democratic-republican nominees for president.

Jackson won the popular vote.  He also earned the most electoral votes, but not enough to seal the election. So the decision who the president would be was left to the House to decide.

Henry Clay finished in last place, so he was out.  So he brokered a deal where representatives from the states he won would vote for Adams in exchange for Adams naming Clay Secretary of State, a position that would set Clay up nicely (or so he thought) to becoming a future president.

So this was how John Quincy Adams became president of the United States despite losing both the popular and electoral votes to Andrew Jackson.  The deal that Clay made would ultimately backfire on him, as it essentially motivated backers of Jackson to defeating Adams four years later.  In the meantime, however, John Quincy Adams was the president.

The democratic party was now officially split: the followers of Adams and Clay became national republicans, and the followers of Jackson and Crawford became democrats.

Despite being raised to be president, he was not a very effective one.  He believed the U.S. should work as a national entity, with each region of the country focusing on a specific industry.  He also supported Henry Clay's American System and tried to enact it.  The American System included three parts:
  1. A tariff to protect and promote American industry (bad because it's a tax on imported goods)
  2. A national bank to foster commerce (bad because it gives too much power to a few people)
  3. Federal subsidies for roads, canals, and other internal improvements (government officials decided who got what and how much). 
  4. High western land prices to prevent people from moving from leaving eastern states to western states (unconstitutional because it favored the rich at the expense of the poor, or one group over another)
The American system pretty much made it so the Federal Government chose what projects would be completed and how much money would be doled out to what project.  This was contrary to Jefferson's approach to improving infrastructure, whereby he dole out surplus funds equally among the states and allowed them to decide what projects to fund. 

Adam's opponents, such as Crawford and Jackson, tended to support the ideas of Jefferson, and so they adamantly opposed the American System.  They claimed it was unconstitutional, and they were right.  But in his opening proclamation to Congress he endorsed this program.  He said a national program was necessary to bring the different sections of the country together through a series of canals and roads. Funds for this would be made by the sale of public lands. 

He also championed for a National University that would allow the U.S. to take the lead in arts and sciences. He also financed championed for expeditions and an observatory.

His opponents balked at such huge ambitions, especially considering he had barely become president in the first place.  So, for this reason, he was barely able to get any of his bold ideas through Congress.  Not helping matters was that he received a lot of pressure from Jacksonian supporters.  Not helping matters was that Jacksonian followers were able to gain 27 seats in the Senate, compared to only 21 seats by the followers of Adams.

He also accomplished in regards to foreign affairs.  This was partly due to the fact he had settled many foreign affairs while he was vice president.

Of course opposition from Jacksonian supporters didn't help either.  However, he did succeed at keeping the United States out of foreign affairs and out of foreign wars, and that in and of itself can be cited as a major accomplishment.

By the end of his term he signed a tariff into law, and it was called the "tariff of ambition' by his political opponents.  It protected American manufacturers, but it raised the prices of many goods, particularly in southern states.  The tariff was so unpopular that it is often sited as sealing the fate of Adams.

He would run as the first and only national republican in 1828 against democrat Andrew Jackson.  The Jackson camp made sure  voters knew about the failures of Adams, and made certain they were well aware of the "corrupt bargain" that made Adams president.  Andrew Jackson defeated Adams in a landslide.

He was known as a great diplomat as Secretary of State before his presidency, and as a great U.S. Senator after his presidency.  However, he is generally considered a poor president, and rightly so.

Further Reading

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

4 differences between liberals and conservatives

Dennis Prager recently wrote a series of columns, beginning with "To Defend a Position, You Must Understand Both Sides," explaining the differences between conservatives and liberals.  He said, and correctly so, that "At the very least, you need to understand both the liberal and conservative positions in order to effectively understand your own.

Difference #1: Liberals Believe Man is basically good.  That's what liberals think.  Since everybody is already innately good, there is no need for religion to teach people how to be just and moral. Since they believe all people are innately good, when people do something bad it's because they were influenced by outside forces, such as poverty, despair, and hopelessness.  When black people riot and commit crimes it's because they live in poor communities.

Democrats often excuse violent crimes by saying things like, "It's the fault of society," or "It's our fault because we didn't help them."  This is why liberals tend to feel guilty when crimes occur, because they feel there might have been something they could have done.  If a teenager goes on a rampage with an assault rifle, they may say something like, "This happened because of republicans."  Meaning that republicans oppose bans on such guns.

Conservatives, on the other hand, understand the undeniable truth that people are born morally flawed. This is why conservatives believe religion, and the morals and values it teaches, is important to a functioning society.  Lacking a good religious upbringing, children are more likely to commit crimes and less likely to succeed in life.  When a person commits a crime it's because that person made a bad choice.  Religion essentially teaches people how to be good, and it teaches personal responsibility.  If you make bad choices, it's your fault, not the fault of society or anyone else.

Of course, the idea that poverty causes people to commit crime doesn't make sense when you consider that the vast majority of people who are equally poor do not commit crimes.  Many liberals explain radical Muslim behaviors by saying these people come from impoverished nations.  The fact that most radical Muslims come from middle class families, and Osama Bin Laden was a billionaire, seems to elude them.

Difference #2: The Left Rejects Many Basic Facts of Life.  Conservatives, on the other hand, understand the basic fats of life, and base many of their beliefs on them.  For instance, conservatives understand that man is inherently flawed, and therefore needs religion to learn how to become good.  The left doesn't understand this fact, so liberals are are more likely to lose their religion, or at least not see the importance of learning about religion at school.  This is why conservatives are more likely to appreciate religion, and liberals more likely to be secular.

Conservatives understand that poor choices result in people committing crimes, and so they enforce laws to make people responsible for their own actions.  Liberals think things beyond a person's control lead them to commit crimes, and so they may be more lenient toward them, and feel bad for them.  They may blame republicans.

Conservatives are more likely to acknowledge what has become known as politically incorrect truths, but what they refer to as facts.  For instance, blacks are overwhelmingly more likely to commit crimes than whites.  Indians are the only people to have lost a war yet are treated as the victors.  They are more likely to display confederate flags as symbols of southern life, or to support teams using Indian names such as the Redskins and using Indian war chants to rev up crowds.

Liberals don't see these undeniable truths, and so they see it as offensive to blacks to say them.  Liberals think it's offensive when whites name their teams after Indians and use Indian war chants.  Liberals think it's offensive to blacks to say that blacks commit most crimes.  The undeniable truths that conservatives see are elusive to liberals.  This was how the political correct movement was formed.

Liberals don't like to hear undeniable truths, so they come up with speech codes at school.  If you speak certain truths you are punished, or called a race baiter, homophobes, bigot, inconsiderate, or some other offensive name.

Liberals want to avoid pain at all costs, and so nothing offensive can be said.  This also explains why they use bumper stickers like, "War is not the answer."  They do not understand the undeniable fact that wars are won with guns and tanks, not with pens and good wishes.  For instance, the Nazi's did not voluntarily stop slaughtering Jews, the Allies came in with guns and tanks and bombs and forced them to stop.

Conservatives understand that the only way to peace is through strength.  This explains why conservatives like Ronald Reagan believe it's important to build up our military.  Yet liberals don't understand this undeniable fact, and they believe strength on our side can be seen as offensive by the other.  So if they get mad at us and hate us and want to kill us, then it's our fault.

Conservatives understand the undeniable truth that marriage means something; it is necessary to hold the fabric of society together; it brings with it culture; it teaches culture; it teaches morals; it teaches right from wrong.  Liberals don't see this, and so they don't see a problem with changing the definition of marriage to include men marrying men.

Difference #3: Liberals believe the way to a better world is by doing battle with society's moral defects (real or perceived).  This makes sense, considering they believe people are morally good, so if there is a problem with a person, it's societies fault.  So, the way to make the person better is by improving society.  Unlike conservatives, they believe a perfect society is possible, and so they are continuously aiming for this goal by championing for laws to direct people in one direction or another.

This explains why those on the left are more involved with politics.  They must make laws in order to get people to act the way they want them to.  This explains why when you hear the terms "activist" or "social activist" you are usually referring to a liberal.  They want to change society so that it is constantly "moving forward," as they like to say.  And their efforts to perfect society is called "social justice."

Conservatives, on the other hand, believe the way to a better society is with the moral improvement of the individual.  They believe the person must constantly do battle against inner forces to make himself or herself morally better.  They are less concerned with politics.  They don't want to change American politics, they aim to preserve tradition.  They are, in essence, trying to preserve the religious fabric of a society.  They are the defenders of religion.  They are the defenders of traditional marriage in order to preserve culture.  They understand that culture is important in order to improve the moral character of each person.

Conservatives believe improving moral character is important, although this culture must be taught one generation after another; it must be taught by mothers and fathers.  This is why conservatives tend to believe that poverty in impoverished inner city areas is caused by the break down of culture.  For instance, the fact that 9 in 10 black children are born to unwed mothers explains why crime and poverty is so high among the black population.  So they believe the way to end black poverty is to find ways to teach these people better morals and values.

Prager wrote:
The noblest generation ever born still has to teach its children how to battle their natures. If it doesn't, even the best society will begin to rapidly devolve, which is exactly what conservatives believe has been happening to America since the end of World War II.
Liberals believe the way to improve poverty is to create "social justice" programs that provide welfare and food stamps to these people.  They believe the state can make their lives better, and thus make the world a better place.  Yet conservatives understand the basic fact that the state cannot teach morals and values, only culture can do that, and (again) culture is taught by churches and families.  But the build-up of culture, and making the world good, takes time, and so is a slow process. It must be taught by each generation.

Liberals believe they can fix culture fast simply by making laws.  Or, in the case of the United States, where they cannot force people to act a certain way, they create "negative incentives."  Negative incentives means that you tell someone they have to act a certain way, or do a certain thing, or they will not receive government funding.  For instance, hospitals won't receive funding unless they go to paperless charting, or schools won't receive funding if they don't meat government set goals.

Prager wrote:
The Left does not focus on individual character development. Rather, it has always and everywhere focused on social revolution. The most revealing statement of then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, the most committed leftist ever elected president of the United States, was made just days before the 2008 election: "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America," he told a large rapturous audience.
Furthermore, he added:
Conservatives not only have no interest in fundamentally transforming the United States, but they are passionately opposed to doing so. Fundamentally transforming any but the worst society -- not to mention transforming what is probably the most decent society in history -- can only make the society worse. Of course, conservatives believe that America can be improved, but not transformed, let alone fundamentally transformed... The Founders all understood that the transformation that every generation must work on is the moral transformation of each citizen. Thus, character development was at the core of both childrearing and of young people's education at school... As John Adams said: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."... And in the words of Benjamin Franklin: "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. Why is that? Because freedom requires self-control. Otherwise, external controls -- which means an ever more powerful government -- would have to be imposed."
He said that the old adage "You must fix yourself before you can fix society" holds true for conservatives but not liberals.

Difference #4: Liberals Ask the Question: Does it feel good? On the contrary, conservatives ask: does it do any good?"  Prager uses affirmative action as an example.  In 1987 a conservative New York Times editorial asked the question: Does a minimum wage do any good?" The answer was this:
"Raising the minimum wage by a substantial amount would price working poor people out of the job market . … More important, it would increase unemployment. … The idea of using a minimum wage to overcome poverty is old, honorable — and fundamentally flawed.”
So the answer was: no!  So the editorial suggested that the best minimum wage was $0.00.

A more recent post by a now liberal editorial staff at the New York Times championed for a rise in the minimum wage.  They did not pose the question: "Does it do any good?"  Instead, as liberals, they asked the question: "Does it make me feel good?"  The answer was yes.  It makes me feel good that I'm helping my fellow man by allowing them to make a better wage.  It makes the worker feel better because he is making more money.  The fact that my raise may cause my boss to go out of business, or to at least not hire any one new, or lay off one of my coworkers so I can get my raise doesn't matter.  Does it make me feel good about myself is all that matters to a liberal.

Another example Prager used was peace activism.  Does it do any good? No.  In fact, it actually makes matters worse.  If you get rid of all our weapons, and bad guys learn about this, then the bad guys will know that he can have his way with us.  During WWII the Nazis were killing Jews, and it wasn't a peace activist that got them to stop.  In fact, sending a peace activist to talk to Hitler would have gotten the peace activist killed.  So, does peace activism do any good?  No.  So conservatives won't do it.

However, the liberal asks, "Will it make me feel better?"  Well sure it will.  It will make me feel like I'm helping.  The fact that I'm making matters worse doesn't matter: I feel good about myself.  Does leaving Iraq do any good.  No, it only made ISIS.  But does it make Obama feel good about himself? Yes.

Prager concludes by saying:
Perhaps the best example is the self-esteem movement. It has had an almost wholly negative effect on a generation of Americans raised to have high self-esteem without having earned it. They then suffer from narcissism and an incapacity to deal with life’s inevitable setbacks. But self-esteem feels good.
And feelings — not reason — is what liberalism is largely about. Reason asks: “Does it do good?” Liberalism asks, “Does it feel good?”
There you go.

Further Reading:

Monday, April 4, 2016

Thomas Jefferson: What he meant by 'Wall of Separation'

The statement "wall of separation between Church & State" is a vastly repeated statement by those who believe the federal government should have no influence over religion. These words by Thomas Jefferson are taken out of context more so than any other words by a founding father.
Jefferson became our third president in March 1801, following one of the dirtiest presidential campaigns in American history. Among others, he was called a weakling, a libertine, a coward, an infidel, a deist and an atheist. The later two probably stemmed from his own words, such as ones he wrote to his nephew Peter Car in 1787:
"Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear."
Jefferson was brought up as an Anglican, which was a Christian religion associated with the Church of England.  He was later influenced by men like Bolingbroke and Shaftesbury, who were deists. They believed that God created the earth and that evidence of this can be found by reason alone, not by supernatural events.

Jefferson was also a strong supporter of the French Revolution, and reports made their way to American homes that the French were violently disrespecting religious structures and symbols. So when word got out that Jefferson was "an atheist," many housewives "were seen burying family Bibles in their gardens or hiding them in wells because they expected the Holy Scriptures to be confiscated and burned by the new Administration in Washington," said Daniel L. Dreisbach of the American Heritage.

Dreisbach explains that New England politics in 1800 were generally dominated by Federalists.  However, New England Baptists tended to support Jefferson, making them a minority political and religious faction in New England.

In October of 1801, the Baptist Association at Danbury wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson Congratulating him on his victory and letting him know that they shared his ideas of religious liberty, and criticized those who called him an atheist for his views.  They said he was not, as his enemies said, "an enemy of religion... because he will not, dares not assume the prerogative of Jehovah and make Laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ."

So, on January 1, 1802, it only made sense that Jefferson would sit down and write a return letter to them. He wrote, in part:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
In essence, the letter from Jefferson was meant to affirm that he supported the Constitution, and would not push for laws that would take away Bibles and Churches.  In essence, his letter was meant to allay fears that the government planned to interfere with how the Baptist Church went about its business.

He essentially reaffirms the first amendment.  It is often referred to as the establishment clause, whereas Congress shall make no law...
  • Respecting an establishment of religion
  • Impeding the free exercise of religion
  • Infringing on the freedom of speech
  • Infringing on the freedom of the press
  • Interfering with the right to peaceably assemble
  • Interfering or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.
Basically, the establishment clause prevents the government from denying the natural right of practicing faith, speaking out against the government, writing about the government, assembling in protest against the government, and petitioning the government.

This is important, because in Britain the Government had forced people to be a part of certain religions, such as the Church of England, and punished those who did not do as they were told. The people of the young nation feared that their new government leaders might take actions that would deny their natural right to worship as they chose, and this explained the fear of a Jefferson Presidency among the Baptist community.

So Jefferson's "Wall of Separation Letter" was nothing more than an affirmation of the establishment clause, and nothing more. And the establishment clause says the government cannot endorse a religion, it does not say that people working for the government (i.e. teachers, legislators, judges, etc. ) can't endorse a religion. It does not say that schools and teachers cannot endorse religion.

Further reading:

William Henry Harrison: A Public Relations Success

Some people like to insist that William Henry Harrison was the worst president ever, claiming he was president for only 30 days, 12 hours, and 30 minutes, was sick for most of that time, and accomplished nothing.  I think the evidence will show that his presidency was, at worse, a moderate success.

In 1835, at the age of 62, he was already famous as a war hero, and his nickname -- Old Tippecanoe -- was a testament of just how popular his actions against the Indians along the Tippecanoe River were.  He appearance was very presidential, and he had been a successful politician, brokering various treaties.  And, perhaps most important, he had been away from Washington long enough to be considered an outsider.

Still, in 1835, Andrew Jackson was president and he was very popular.  His choice to be his successor was Martin Van Buren, who pledged to continue the popular policies of Jackson.  The leaders of the newly formed Whig party knew they would have trouble defeating Van Buren, so they devised a strategy that had never been done before or since: they nominated four candidates from different parts of the country. Harrison was the nominee from the northwest region, Daniel Webster was from Massachusetts, Hugh L. White was from Tennessee, and Willie Person Mangum was from North Carolina.

The Whigs figured each of their candidates would win enough votes to defeat Van Buren in their respective region.  Since neither candidate would receive enough electoral votes, the decision on who would be the next president would go to the House, which would choose among the Whig Candidates.

The strategy failed.  Van Buren won the electoral and popular votes.  However, Harrison had made a good showing, gaining a third of the popular vote and 73 electoral votes.  This set him up nicely for becoming the Whig candidate in 1840.

While Van Buren did continue the policies of Jackson, and while he signed no bills into law that would take away natural or state rights, he was unable to get the nation our of the depression that was caused by the Panic of 1837.  Plus, while Van Buren was a brilliant politician, he was a better adviser than president.

Henry Clay and Daniel Webster had more experience in government than Harrison, but for the good of the party they stepped aside -- however reluctantly -- for the good of the party and allowed Harrison to be nominated.  They also nominated John Tyler to be vice president.  These were both decisions that would result in short term dividends, but would haunt the Whigs long term.  You'll see what I mean by this in a moment.

So this set the stage for the first great public relations campaign of a presidential candidate.  The Whigs knew they had to come up with a great strategy for winning, and the one they chose was one of slogans.

Because it had worked so well for Jackson, they wanted to take advantage of his war hero status, so they created the slogan: "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too."  They wanted to paint him as a common man, so they painted him as a person who drank hard cider (an inexpensive and common drink) and who was born in a log cabin.  One cloth handkerchief from 1840 depicts Harrison as a farmer living in a log cabin.

This is what was done even though he was actually born to a distinguished plantation family, and lived in mansions as opposed to a simple log cabin. He was also fond of drinking wine, not cider.  Still, according to the campaign, he was "A man of the people."

The campaign was such a success that it inspired a record (at that time) of 42.4% of the voting age population to vote.  Harrison won by an electoral vote of 234 to 60.  However,  considering the circumstances of the economy, Van Buren lost the popular vote by only 146,000.

Post election day was filled with an array of parties and parades, all using the slogans of the campaign, such as "Log Cabin March," and "Log Cabin Candidate."  Details of Harrison's heroic campaigns as a war hero were retold or sung, and the outgoing president was referred to as "Martin Van Ruin."

He chose Daniel Webster to be his secretary of state.  He offered Henry Clay, the man who should have nominated for president, a job too, although he chose to stay in the Senate where he could use his skills to get Whig bills passed for Harrison to sign.  It appeared that the Whigs were in a great position.

Yet then their luck started to turn.  The president elect was in no hurry to get to Washington, and he made many stops along the way.  His wife became ill, and so she was unable to join him.  Inaugural day was cold and rainy.  His advisers recommended he wear a hat and coat, although he refused in order to keep up his image.  He was also advised to give a short speech, and he refused this too, although his speech was trimmed down to 10,000 words.

The speech went on for an hour and forty minutes.  It was a great speech as far as his Whig supporters were concerned.  The Whigs hated Jackson for making the presidency too powerful, so he called for scale back the role of the president.  He also promised to be a one term president, and called for a constitutional amendment to limit future presidents to one term.

In light of increased tensions between the north and south, he talked of the importance of keeping the union together. He said Congress did not have the power to end slavery, although he said some compromise must be made regarding slavery to preserve the union.  He championed for the the establishment of free land grants to appease northern voters, and pleased his fellow soldiers by championing for pensions for those who serve in the U.S. military, either as sailors or soldiers.

He also called for an end of the spoils system that was created by Van Buren and enacted by both the Jackson and Van Buren administrations.

While the campaign and victory were exciting for Harrison, he seemed to be overburdened once he actually took the office.  He had political leaders who wanted decisions made right now, and he had pressure from members of Congress, leaders of federal agencies, local Whig leaders, and even foreign officials.

Canadians began a revolt against the rule of Britain.  Some Americans supported them by attempting to bring them supplies to the rebels along the Niagara River, along the border of U.S. and Canada.  Canadian loyalists set fire to their ship, the Caroline, and pushed it down the Niagara Falls.  Police in Buffalo, New York, arrested one man accused of burning the Caroline and killing an American.  The British demanded he be released and threatened war.

This was a situation that would have to be dealt with by the John Tyler Administration, because Harrison fell sick.  Many suspect that he fell sick as a result of his long inauguration speech, although he also enjoyed going on errands.  He would walk on mornings to buy food for the White House kitchen.  On March 27, 1841, rain interrupted his walk, and so he paid a visit to the home of a military officer to offer him a job. It was on this day that he started to feel ill.

Later that night, after dinner, he called for a physician who diagnosed him with pneumonia.  Today pneumonia is a relatively treatable disease, and the death rate is less than five percent.  Back in 1841, however, pneumonia was a disease that killed as many as 30% of those inflicted with it.

Harrison would spend the last two weeks of his presidency in bed.  On April 4, 1831, he passed away.  He had been in office for a few hours less than one month.  He was 67 years old when elected, and 68 years old when he died (his birthday was February 9).  He was the oldest president to ever be elected until Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980.  He was also the first president to die in office, and the president with the shortest term.

So it is true that he did not accomplish much as president.  In fact, you can argue that he accomplished nothing.  But this is not so bad, as later presidents would learn that doing nothing is often better than doing something stupid. Doing nothing is better than passing laws that take away personal liberties and cannot be undone.

The Harrison campaign was a big winner for the presidency.  All candidates prior to Harrison refused to campaign for themselves, mainly because doing so was considered impolite.  To help his chances, Harrison was encouraged to campaign for himself, although he was encouraged to not give away any of his political positions.  So Harrison became the first presidential candidate to campaign for himself.

His campaign was also the first time a public relations campaign was used to create a positive image of a presidential candidate.  In fact, some would argue that "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" was the greatest presidential slogan ever.

So, while he accomplished little during his short presidency, his campaign set a new style for presidential campaigning that would be used by nearly every presidential candidate since.

Plus, while John Tyler proved to be a Burden to the Whig cause, he would prove to be a champion of the Constitution and a protector of natural rights.  He would go on to fight against Henry Clay, refusing to sign bills that Harrison probably would have.

So Harrison's administration was not the failure most would say it is.  Harrison was not the worse president ever.  In fact, he was indeed a moderate success.