Ohio Politicians Predictably Unhappy About Denali Decision

Ohio politicos are predictably unhappy about the decision to return Mount Denali to its rightful place.

Mount Denali

Not surprisingly, Ohio’s Congressional Delegation isn’t all that happy about the President’s decision to rename Mount McKinley to Mount Denali, the name that Alaskans have known it by for generations.

House Speaker John Boehner for example says he is “deeply disappointed” by the President’s decision:

“There is a reason President McKinley’s name has served atop the highest peak in North America for more than 100 years, and that is because it is a testament to his great legacy. McKinley served our country with distinction during the Civil War as a member of the Army. He made a difference for his constituents and his state as a member of the House of Representatives and as Governor of the great state of Ohio. And he led this nation to prosperity and victory in the Spanish-American War as the 25th President of the United States. I’m deeply disappointed in this decision.”

I realize that Boehner is from Ohio and that, other than Ohio State Buckeyes and the Wright Brothers, McKinley is probably that state’s biggest claim to fame (let’s not talking about that Harding guy), but this quite silly. McKinley may have been President and he may have served in the Civil War, but he never had any connection to Alaska, and the mountain only ended up bearing his name because a supporter led an effort to start calling it that shortly before McKinley ran for President in 1896. Moreover, I’m not sure that his legacy as the President who presided over the Spanish-American War is anything to be proud of. While the United States won that war, the end result was to turn to the nation into a colonial power, which led to decades of conflict in The Phillippenes. Not to mention the fact that the war was utterly unnecessary to begin with, and seems likely to have been sparked by an incident that now appears to have been an accident rather than an act of war.

Senator Rob Portman, meanwhile, went on something of a Twitter rant over the affair, and accused the President “going around Congress” to get this done, as did Ohio Congressman Bob Gibbs. In reality, it appears that the renaming was accomplished via the powers granted to the Department of the Interior, and ultimately the President, regarding national landmarks and monuments. It appears to have been entirely legal, and it seems unlikely that anything can be done about it any case.

I suppose this is all to be expected from Ohio politicians, but it really is quite silly. Unless you live in Alaska, I’m not sure why you should have a say in what the mountain is called in the first place, and since Alaskans have called in Denali for generations — even Sarah Palin refers to it in that way in her speeches — I don’t really see what the problem is. This is especially true considering that McKinley never visited Alaska or had any connection to the state. Nonetheless, our political system being what it is I’m sure we’ll getting comments on this from all the Presidential candidates before long.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Congress, Politicians, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Scott says:

    Not just Ohio politicians but the right wing entertainment complex. But what does Sarah say?

  2. SKI says:
  3. Jim R says:

    @Scott:

    Not just Ohio politicians but the right wing entertainment complex. But what does Sarah say?

    “Barack Hussein’s Kenyan Muslim/atheist (whichever) secular commie totalitarian, Murica-hating agenda rears its ugly head again!! Impeach this dictator!!!1one” or something along those lines. Just guessing (and looking forward to the infantile rage).

  4. gVOR08 says:

    I expect that Ohians who remember McKinley’s deep ties to Ohio are quite upset. All twelve of them.

  5. Jack says:

    Obama can do no wrong. If Obama came out tomorrow and told Americans that eating sh1t for breakfast would help him pass his requisite agend, liberals everywhere would convince themselves it was nutella.

  6. Ben Wolf says:

    @Jack: Would you approve if the mountain were renamed Jesus Top?

  7. Jack says:

    @Ben Wolf: I prefer Big Fwcking Mountain.

  8. Surreal American says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Jesus Reagan Peak, if you please.

  9. Mark Ivey says:

    And now we got: Mountain Gate! IMPEACH

  10. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    Obama can do no wrong. If Obama came out tomorrow and told Americans that eating sh1t for breakfast would help him pass his requisite agend, liberals everywhere would convince themselves it was nutella.

    I couldn’t agree more. Selling the naming rights to GM, and renaming McKinley for a Chevy Truck is just crass commercialism.

  11. Surreal American says:

    @Mark Ivey:

    Let’s rename it Mt. Benghazi.

  12. Hal_10000 says:

    I like the sentiment in this tweet.

    Honestly, the only two things people remember about McKinley is that there is a mountain named after him, for some reason, and he was assassinated. It’s not like the name is Mt. Lincoln or something.

  13. Boyd says:

    First off, I don’t really care what it’s named. I’ve never been to Alaska, I’m unlikely to do so in the future, and even if I did, I doubt I would get anywhere near it. Nor do I feel any particular affinity toward President McKinley.

    That being said, I wonder what was the impetus being renaming the mountain, as well as the timing. If it was done just because “we can,” I object to that, but not the renaming itself.

    So, what’s the point?

  14. ernieyeball says:

    @JackSprat:.. eating sh1t for breakfast…

    Much like the crap that you digest and regurgitate.

  15. James Pearce says:

    @Jack:

    Obama can do no wrong.

    I guess the flip side of this is that there are people who think everything Obama does is wrong, including changing the name of a mountain.

    With his low-effort tweets, Portman’s tapping into that. No real downside for him. Didn’t have to break a sweat or push a single paper across a desk.

    The talk radio guys have hours of airtime to fill and Donald Trump hasn’t said anything dumb this week. Of course, they’ll talk about this. It confirms all their darkest fears of this president. Not only will he send a drone over your house, but he’ll change the name of your favorite mountain. Honey Badger don’t give a shit.

    But really…boil it down, cut out all the bullshit, and it’s a mountain out a molehill. The name change, which has gradually occurred in the culture over the last few decades, has just been made official.

    So what?

  16. Mikey says:

    @Jack: On the other hand, if Obama came out in favor of orgasms, Republicans would unanimously embrace celibacy…

  17. ernieyeball says:

    @Boyd:..So, what’s the point?

    20,237 ft.

  18. Mu says:

    Congress could of course block the spending of any funds to implement the renaming.
    Can’t wait for the fight when they tackle Mt Taylor – and find out that at least four tribes of four different language groups claim it as their most holy mountain.

  19. Jack says:

    @Boyd:

    That being said, I wonder what was the impetus being renaming the mountain, as well as the timing. If it was done just because “we can,” I object to that, but not the renaming itself.

    Someone promised a large donation to the Obama Presidential Library and Community Activist Center.

  20. Mikey says:

    @Jack:

    I prefer Big Fwcking Mountain.

    You should be pleased, then, to know that’s what “Denali” actually means.

  21. Boyd says:

    @ernieyeball: Nyuk, nyuk.

  22. Jack says:

    @Mikey:

    On the other hand, if Obama came out in favor of orgasms, Republicans would unanimously embrace celibacy…

    If the choice is having sex with Moochelle or celibacy, conservative would prefer the latter.

  23. gVOR08 says:

    I sense a strong smell of Kabuki. Nobody here in Ohio cares, including Boehner. Just an excuse for people like Boehner, Portman, and the rest of the GOPs in our delegation to bitch about Obama.

    In her farewell address as Gov, Palin said:

    And getting up here I say it is the best road trip in America soaring through nature’s finest show. Denali, the great one, soaring under the midnight sun.

    But I expect she’ll be criticizing Obama as soon as the Twitter machine warms up.

  24. gVOR08 says:

    @Jack: @Jack: You are one sick puppy.

  25. Moosebreath says:

    “McKinley is probably that state’s biggest claim to fame”

    No, that would be William Howard Taft (all 325 pounds of him).

  26. James Pearce says:

    @Boyd:

    That being said, I wonder what was the impetus being renaming the mountain, as well as the timing.

    People have been trying to (officially) change the name for years. For the most part, that effort was successful long before officialdom weighed in.

    As for the timing, it coincides with the president’s visit. From CNN:

    All week long, Obama will try to call attention to Alaska as a kind of climate change ground zero. (snip)

    To maximize the impact of the historic trip, which will make Obama the first sitting U.S. president to visit the arctic, the White House plans to devote all of the resources of its potent social media operation.

    It’s also using the trip to formalize the Denali name change, which native Alaskans have sought for decades.

    Not that this is obvious to most opponents, but despite the president’s clever messaging scheme, one doesn’t want to get too distracted protesting this name change if what you really want to do is protest the president’s climate change agenda….

  27. Boyd says:

    @James Pearce: Ah, I’d forgotten about his trip. Thanks for the reminder, James.

  28. Neil Hudelson says:

    So, if facebook is any indicator, when Conservatives were bemoaning all that PC crap, and liberals getting offended over silly things like proposed mass deportations and police brutality, what they really meant was that we should be saving our outrage for important things, like mountain names.

  29. ernieyeball says:

    @Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper:..or celibacy, conservative would prefer the latter.

    “I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.”
    “I, uh… I do not avoid women, Mandrake…But I… I do deny them my essence.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1KvgtEnABY
    Thank You Stanley Kubric RIP

  30. Ron Beasley says:

    @James Pearce: Yes, the Alaskans have always called it Denali. McKinley’s only real accomplismement getting assiniated so we could have President Teddy Roosevelt.

  31. Slugger says:

    This is a great opportunity for Ohio to rename Cleveland. The city has taken quite a hit over the last fifty years from a thriving center of the steel industry to being the home of a team that can’t win the big one even with Lebron on board. Naming it McKinley would allow a total rebranding as well as honoring a son of the state.

  32. JKB says:

    Well, you forgot William T. Sherman, Major General (Civil War), General of the Army (post-Civil War) as an Ohio native. One might say he had a more impactful role during his stint in the Army during the Civil War than McKinley.

    The whole habit of naming things after politicians is a bit ignorant anyway. Understandable, but in general a politician, even Presidents, or Prime Ministers of the British Empire at its peak pale in comparison to the impact of the accomplishments of just one inventor

    For example : The question being propounded, What is the value of the combined services to man of Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Disraeli, as compared with those of Sir Henry Bessemer? Ninety-nine out of a hundred men of sound judgment would doubtless say, ” The value of the services of the two statesmen is quite unimportant, while the value of the services of Mr. Bessemer is enormous, incalculable.” But how many of these ninety-nine men of sound judgment could resist the fascination of the applause accorded to the statesmen ? How many of them would have the moral courage to educate their sons for the career of Mr. Bessemer instead of for the career of Mr. Disraeli or of Mr. Gladstone?* Not many in the present state of public sentiment. It will be a great day for man, the day that ushers in the dawn of more sober views of life, the day that inaugurates the era of the mastership of things in the place of the mastership of words.

    Yet, it is hard for people to avoid the lure of celebrity and, in politics, power.

  33. elizajane says:

    @Slugger: And given that Grover Cleveland was from New Jersey, why should Ohio have to endure this insult any longer?

    This chain could go on and on, but as a current resident of California, I fear the deluge of Reaganvilles, Reagen Cities, and Mount Reagans that would ensue here.

  34. Franklin says:

    @Boyd: From the NYT article, Obama’s rationale was to honor the Native population.

    What I find interesting is it was changed to McKinley (in 1896) well before Alaska even became a U.S. territory (in 1912). The fact that it was ever named that seems nonsensical, other than looking at it as an imperialistic imprint.

    Anyway, Mount McKinley can still be a trivia question in the future – “What was Mount Denali called for over a century, just before the Zombie President Apocalypse?”

  35. JKB says:

    On the current politics side however, I do see this as a great opportunity to represent the Democratic party as having greatly demonstrated their disdain for the voters of swing-state, Ohio.

  36. Surreal American says:

    @JKB:

    Because most Ohioans really give a crap about McKinley?

  37. TheoNott says:

    @elizajane: If I recall correctly, Cleveland the city was founded by a guy named Moses Cleveland, it’s not named after the President Cleveland.

  38. Mikey says:

    @Surreal American: If more than 5% of the Republicans currently bloviating about this non-issue gave a crap before the change was announced, I’ll eat my own underpants.

    And 5% might be too high.

  39. gVOR08 says:

    @JKB: The twelve voters who were even aware McKinley was from Ohio?

    There must be McKinley High Schools and McKinley Streets, but I don’t recall ever seeing anything named after him in Ohio.

  40. JKB says:

    @Surreal American:

    It’s politics. Small things can be made to seem relevant. Let’s see if the Trumpinator picks up on this theme.

  41. gVOR08 says:

    @JKB:

    How many of them would have the moral courage to educate their sons for the career of Mr. Bessemer instead of for the career of Mr. Disraeli or of Mr. Gladstone?

    I wish I could remember the source, but I remember a line to the effect that Britain began her decline when the sons of the ironmongers went into banking and insurance.

  42. grumpy realist says:

    @Moosebreath: I was at school with President Taft’s grandson. Shall we say he took after grandpappy?

  43. C. Clavin says:

    @Mikey:

    @Jack: On the other hand, if Obama came out in favor of orgasms, Republicans would unanimously embrace celibacy…

    They already do…see; Palin, Bristol…paid promoter of abstinence, and mother of two children born (or to be born) out of wedlock.

  44. C. Clavin says:

    It’s really too bad Republicans weren’t more worried about the very real, very serious damage being done to Alaska by Climate Change, and less worried about this nonsense. The Party of Stupid continues to burnish it’s already well-earned reputation.

  45. gVOR08 says:

    @Mikey: I’ve said many times that Obama needs to take a strong stand against jumping off bridges.

  46. Mu says:

    Looks like the first written name for the mountain was Bolshaya Gora. We should just use that.

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jack: WTF do you think Denali means?

  48. C. Clavin says:

    @gVOR08:

    I’ve said many times that Obama needs to take a strong stand against REPUBLICANS jumping off bridges.

    FTFY….

  49. Scott says:

    IF Obama wanted to have real fun he would return Reagan National back to Washington National.

  50. anjin-san says:

    @Jack:

    If the choice is having sex with Moochelle

    Jack – A guy like you probably does not have enough experience (if any) with women to see that Mrs. Obama is, by any standard, a very attractive woman.

  51. Boyd says:

    @Scott: And you’d be cool with a Republican president changing the name of Thurgood Marshall Baltimore Washington International Airport (what a mouthful!) back to BWI Airport, right?

  52. Scott says:

    @Boyd: Actually, I don’t really care. I was just mocking the freakout.

  53. DrDaveT says:

    @Scott:

    IF Obama wanted to have real fun he would return Reagan National back to Washington National.

    Heh.

    Overheard on the Metro, where the stop is now called “Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport”(*):

    Who was Ronald Reagan Washington?

    (*)DC’s subway stop names have metastasized. Perfectly good names like “Archives” have ballooned to “Archives / Navy Memorial / Penn Quarter”. Someone has lost track of the idea that the station name is a label, not a TripAdvisor entry.

  54. M. Bouffant says:

    @Jack: Judging by reactions to healthy eating messages from Mrs. Obama, Republicans would prefer Americans eat you-know-what for breakfast, just as long as it was manufactured by a corporation that makes contributions to the G.O.P.

  55. M. Bouffant says:

    Also, a bit o’ (Wikipedia, so who knows?) history:

    In 1896, a gold prospector named it McKinley as political support for then-presidential candidate William McKinley, who became president the following year. The United States formally recognized the name Mount McKinley after President Wilson signed the Mount McKinley National Park Act of February 26, 1917.[25] The Alaska Board of Geographic Names changed the name of the mountain to Denali, which is how it is called locally.[6] However, a 1975 request by the Alaska state legislature to the United States Board on Geographic Names to do the same was blocked by Ohio congressman Ralph Regula, whose district included McKinley’s hometown of Canton.[26]

    So not even named after an assassinated martyr, but for a candidate, & Ohio’s been on about this for forty yrs.

  56. JohnMcC says:

    The closing line from the breitbart story “Obama Ranames Mt McKinley Denali” by Ben Shapiro:

    “The only question now: when (sic) will President Obama change the name of the American Southwest to Aztlan?”

  57. nitpicker says:

    @JKB: Let’s rename Stone Mountain after Sherman. After all, he spent far more time in Georgia than McKinley spent in Alaska.

  58. Surreal American says:

    Shorter wingnuts: How dare Obama do this inconsequential thing that somehow makes us very, very angry. – Round 240

  59. grumpy realist says:

    Actually, since most of the people who live near the mountain call it Denali, I’m sort of surprised that the name of the mountain wasn’t changed earlier.

    I mean, Peking –> Beijing and no one has been making a fuss about THAT.

  60. Andre Kenji says:

    No one would care if we were talking about the former Mount Coolidge or Mount Benjamin Harrison. But McKinley came from Ohio, a very important swing state, so, it´s irresistible to use it for political gain.

  61. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    I mean, Peking –> Beijing and no one has been making a fuss about THAT.

    In fact, I recall some fuss about it at the time that Mao issued the order. But mostly, there isn’t any fuss because Peking and Beijing are pronunciations of the same word in 2 Chinese dialects, much the same way as Daegu, Daejeon, and Busan are pronounced Taegu, Taejeon, and Pusan by many people in Seoul.

  62. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist: For spits and giggles I looked at Red State. Forget if it was a post or a comment, but yes, complaining about exactly that. Having to learn “Beijing”, “Mumbai”, and “Myanmar” when there were perfectly good colonial era names he’d learned in school.

  63. wr says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: “In fact, I recall some fuss about it at the time that Mao issued the order. But mostly, there isn’t any fuss because Peking and Beijing are pronunciations of the same word in 2 Chinese dialects, ”

    It’s not so much that the name changed as the Chinese-preferred system of transliteration changed. The current pinyin is a little closer to Chinese pronunciation in a lot of ways — but in a lot of others it’s still an approximation, so that, for instance, a (roughly) TS sound is indicated by a C while a (sort of) CH sound is a Q…

  64. JKB says:

    Trump on Denali: “Great insult to Ohio. I will change back!”

    The Donald, in for the much unconcerned swing-state Ohio.

    “Use everything, leave nothing”

  65. Tyrell says:

    This is shameful. McKinley was an elected president who was assassinated. He deserves to be treated with honor, not this shabby pushed under the carpet deal.