The Who2 Blog

“Don’t Mess With Grant!”

Ohio fans of President Ulysses S. Grant are fighting back against the proposal to put Ronald Reagan on the $50 bill.

“Don’t mess with Grant!” is the battle cry of Bob Proud, a commissioner in Clermont County, the county of Grant’s birth just east of Cincinnati. Commissioners in Clermont and Brown counties passed resolutions opposing the U.S. House bill.

Probably shouldn’t mess with Loretta Fuhrman, either. The caretaker of the Grant birthplace museum for the past 44 years is steaming about the proposal.

“It was terrible,” she said. “I just don’t understand why all of the sudden someone from North Carolina can try to change that. Why in the world aren’t they just leaving it as it is?”

That “someone from North Carolina” is Rep. Patrick McHenry, who says Reagan “renewed American self-confidence, beat the Soviets and transformed American political and economic thinking.”

Well, baloney.  I have to side with the feisty Ohioans on this one. (As the Enquirer points out, many of them are political conservatives themselves.)  Reagan wasn’t my favorite president, and I don’t buy the line that he “beat the Soviets” no matter how many times his fans repeat it.  As for transforming American political thinking, “Government is the problem” is a sweet catch-phrase that has practically no useful meaning in real life.

But none of that matters.  Thegrant2.jpg point is, Grant was a genuine American hero who actually DID beat the Confederates — the Soviets of their day! — at a time when the rest of the Union generals were busy staring into their beards.  Abe Lincoln got it right with his famous late-night pronouncement: “I can’t spare this man — he fights!”   

Also, Grant was president for two terms and he wrote awesome memoirs. And now you want to boot him off the fifty and into the dust just so Reaganites can pat themselves on the back? Pshaw.

But wait! There’s no need for brother fighting brother on this issue.  As an Ohioan, I am here to offer a compromise: bring back the $10,000 bill and put Reagan on it. 

That’s right: in the spirit of the NFL draft, we hereby offer to trade Cincinnati’s own Salmon P. Chase and the $10,000 bill for Grant and the fifty.  Reagan’s mug can replace Chase’s on the $10,000, where he’ll immediately have pride of place on what would be by far the largest bill in circulation.  (The $100 is currently tops.) 

As a bonus, “Ronnies” would almost certainly replace “Benjamins” as the new rap currency. And if we know anything about life in the 21st century, it’s that bankers will be itching to “drop a Reagan” at their local club. And those of us who aren’t Reagan fans can still console ourselves that he’s on the fat cat bill, right where he belongs.

It’s a win-win for everyone.  Except for Chase, but he got his fresh shout-out in Team of Rivals a few years back. I’m sure he’ll be glad to take one for Grant.

Do we have a deal?

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