After Tuesday’s primary election, we now have five more months of campaigning until the November general election. Frankly, five weeks seems too long for me. What more do we need to know that we already don’t?
I’m also reminded how fickle political fates can be. For example, in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson ran against Barry Goldwater and achieved the largest post-war landslide in history. This was during the early days of Vietnam and, ironically, Johnson ran as the peace candidate whereas Goldwater was portrayed as war-like.
Little did we know that LBJ had plans of escalating the war whereas Goldwater pledged that within one year of taking office the U.S. would be out of Vietnam, win or lose. The point is, only three years later LBJ was so unpopular he couldn’t even seek a second term.
In 1972 Richard Nixon’s landslide victory over George McGovern was even bigger than LBJ’s. And yet in less than two years Nixon resigned in disgrace from the Watergate scandal. (Add Vice-President Agnew’s resignation earlier and that was some classy administration.)
While there are many examples of presidential falls from grace, I’ll end with George Bush who went from an 89% approval rating in 1991 to losing to Bill Clinton in 1992. On the subject of Bushes, Jr. had a final approval rating in 2008 of 22% or essentially the same that think Elvis is still alive.
This brings us to the Tea Party which, in 2008, came to “prominence” with Obama’s election. Their loudest outrage was over his deficit spending which peaked in 2009 at 9.8% of the overall size of the economy. But it has fallen every year since and this year the Congressional Budget Office projects it will come in at 3.4% of GDP and drop to 2.1% by 2015.
And yet many Tea Partiers still revere Reagan who practically invented deficit spending. They also seem to have forgotten that Bush inherited from Clinton the greatest surplus and left Obama the greatest deficit in history. (Not to mention the Iraq War which might end up costing a mere $5 trillion.)
In 2010 the Tea Party came into its glory when it helped the GOP win the House. But in 2012, while the Tea Party Senate candidates in two states won the Republican primary, there were, shall we say, “hiccups.”
Each Tea Party candidate was adamantly against a woman’s right to an abortion even in the case of a pregnancy from rape. Like a complete fool (as opposed to an incomplete fool?) Missouri’s Todd Aiken commented, “In the case of a legitimate rape I understand from doctors, that the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Good grief.
And then in Indiana, Richard Mourdock called a rape pregnancy “God’s will.” I would say, “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Tea Party” but there’s more.
Less than two months ago we had the case of Clive Bundy the Tea Party cattle rancher in Nevada. In addition to owing the government $1 million in grazing fees Bundy also wondered if blacks weren’t “better off during slavery.”
Now I’m not saying that all Tea Partiers are ignorant, racist, nut jobs, but, then again, if you happen to be an ignorant, racist, nut job, and you’re affiliated with a political party, the chances are real good you’re a Tea Partier.
And who could forget Tea Party-backed Congressman Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla) who vehemently supported a bill to allow states to require all recipients of welfare to be drug tested. Unfortunately Radel was busted in November, 2013, for cocaine possession and just recently resigned from Congress. Oops.
In Tuesday’s primaries across the county the Tea Party got shut out except for Mississippi where six-term Senator, Thad Cochran, appears to be headed toward a June 24 runoff with Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel.
But the race took a bizarre turn with the arrest of four McDaniel supporters who allegedly conspired to photograph 72-year-old Rose Cochran, Cochran’s wife, who suffers from dementia, in her nursing home, all I suppose to embarrass Cochran. (If guilty I hope they get life.)
Sarah Palin campaigned for McDaniel and now she’s in the news again. (Won’t she ever go away?) She’s apparently suggesting that Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the Duck Dynast family, made famous by an inane reality TV show (are there any other kind?) should run for President. Maybe Robertson could get Cliven Bundy as his running mate?
During the 1970’s former quarterback Don Meredith was an announcer on Monday Night Football. When time was running out and the losing team had no chance, Meredith used to sing, “Turn out the lights, the party is over?” That’s how I feel about the Tea Party. But the truth is, I hope I’m wrong. I need the material.
Jack is at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth or firstname.lastname@example.org.