Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
OpEdNews Op Eds

Mean-Spirited, Low-Lived Fellows Are Nothing New in American Politics

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Thomas Knapp       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   3 comments

Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)

Valuable 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H3 3/19/16

Author 76576

Mt Rushmore
Mt Rushmore
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org))
  Permission   Details   DMCA
- Advertisement -

Does Donald Trump have small hands? Is Ted Cruz a wimp (this is a family-oriented column, so I'm using that term instead of the word Trump used)? Are progressives who don't support Hillary Clinton misogynists if they're men and traitors to their sex if they're women? The 2016 presidential race is a bumper crop of insults, with the usual accompanying cries for a "return to civility."

Reality check: There's no era of civility for American politics to return to. It's always been a rough-and-tumble sport. Election campaigns have never consisted of the candidates holding hands and singing "Kum Ba Ya" with an occasional break for sober issues discussions.

In 1800, presidential challenger Thomas Jefferson's supporters described sitting president John Adams as possessed of a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman. Adams's supporters retorted that Jefferson was "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father."

- Advertisement -

Andrew Jackson's wife, Rachel, was the target of personal insults intended to politically damage him from well before his presidency. Jackson killed one critic, Charles Dickinson, in a duel after Dickinson insulted her and accused him of cheating in a horse race.

In 1836, Martin van Buren's opponents spread a rumor that he was the illegitimate son of former vice-president Aaron Burr, who had also famously killed someone (Alexander Hamilton) in a duel and had been tried for treason.

In 1884, supporters of Grover Cleveland chanted "Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine, The Continental Liar from the State of Maine!" Blaine supporters responded with "Ma, Ma, where's my Paw? Gone to the White House, Haw, Haw, Haw!" referring to the (true) rumor that Cleveland had fathered a child out of wedlock.

- Advertisement -

If you've been around long, you may have heard that George W. Bush was a cocaine fiend with a suppressed arrest record, that John McCain's adopted kids are actually the children of his affairs, that Al Gore got preferential treatment in Vietnam because he was a Senator's son, and that Barack Obama is from Kenya.

It's ALWAYS been dirty, folks. Like Finley Peter Dunne said, "politics ain't beanbag." Why? Because politicians want to win. There's an apocryphal tale of Lyndon Baines Johnson, in a pre-presidential campaign, suggesting that a press release be put out accusing his opponent of having sex with pigs. When a staffer objected that it wasn't true, LBJ supposedly replied "I know ... but let's make him DENY it."

I'll be the last person to suggest that there are no real scandals to be considered when evaluating candidates for public office. There certainly are. So pay attention. You may learn something important.

But when you've cleared the deck of the rumors and insults, what's left is what matters. Do you agree with the candidate's positions? Do you trust the candidate to tell the truth about the issues and to have the backbone to do the right thing? Choose carefully and vote accordingly.

 

- Advertisement -

Valuable 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.


Thomas Knapp Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Hypocrisy Alert: Republicans Agreed with Ocasio-Cortez Until About One Minute Ago

Finally, Evidence of Russian Election Meddling ... Oh, Wait

Chickenhawk Donald: A Complete and Total Disgrace

The Nunes Memo Only Partially "Vindicates" Trump, But it Fully Indicts the FBI and the FISA Court

Political Parties Should Say What They Mean. The Libertarian Party Does.

NATO: This Deal is a Turkey