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News: Don't forget to get your 2013 Gubernatorial Endorsements and Predictions in!

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51  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: Midwest May 2014 Election (Althing/Archduke) on: May 15, 2014, 02:10:36 pm
Ballot for Archduke:
[1] Arturo Belano (Labor Party-NE)
[ ] Write-In: ____________

Ballot for Most Serene Representative:
[3] Adam Fitzgerald (Labor Party-MN)
[4] Sol (Labor Party-MT)
[1] Spamage (Federalist Party-MN)
[2] Write-In: Rooney (Federalist Party-IA)
52  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 1896 U.S. Presidential Election on: May 13, 2014, 03:26:20 pm
Hoar. Every politican needs that last name.
53  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: Midwest Voting Booth: Amendment to I.4.5 of the Federal Constitution on: May 13, 2014, 03:23:49 pm
54  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: May 05, 2014, 08:59:35 pm
Election of 1916, continued

TR turned down the Progressive Party nomination in 1916. He wrote them a sad letter informing them: “There is no place for a third party in our politics.” TR decided to back Hughes, but not until, “He declares himself. We must know where he stands on national honor, national defense and all other great questions before we accept him.” Roosevelt assaulted Wilson for not going to war in Europe. He accused the “Byzantine logothete” Wilson of lacking a spine and perhaps being “pro-German.” The 1916 election is given great excitement by the energetic Theodore Roosevelt. If it had not been for Roosevelt the two major players, while both stately gentlemen, would seem quite bland. TR even wrote to a friend that the only difference between the clean faced Wilson and the bearded Hughes was “a shave.” The hilarity of Hughes’s campaign strategy in 1916 is memorable because of his inability to say anything on the war without insulting someone. Midwestern Republicans of German heritage encouraged him to assault Wilson’s overtly pro-British foreign policy but Hughes could not do this out of fear that this line of attack would be used to paint him as being pro-German. That would not work to unite the hawkish Republicans under the sway of Roosevelt and Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. Hughes decided to attack the Germans in anti-German areas and attack Wilson in the pro-German areas of the country. His refusal to take a place made TR compare Hughes to a bowl of jelly and gave Hughes a new, unflattering nickname: “Charles Evasive Hughes.”

Hughes was powerless to stop Roosevelt from blowing his horn over the war. It is not too much to say that Teddy the Terror cost the Republicans a million votes with his shilling for war in Europe. Wilson made great hay out of the “little war chief” Roosevelt. Wilson and Roosevelt shared a mutual hatred of one another so the president relished anytime he could make a joke out of the former president. A full page newspaper ad appeared on November 4, 1916, across the nation declaring:

You are working---Not fighting
Alice and Happy---Not cannon Fodder
Wilson and Peace with Honor


Hughes and Roosevelt and War
Roosevelt says we should hang our heads in shame because we are not at war with Germany on Behalf of Belgium…Hughes says He and Roosevelt are in Complete Accord


The Lesson is Plain:
If You Want WAR, Vote for HUGHES
If You Want Peace with Honor

This is the type of hyperbole that makes an election worth following. Hughes offered no decent response to these type of attacks. Like Romney, he appeared to be quite aloof when attacked on the big issues of the campaign. His surrogates made the attacks stick quite well. TR campaigned far more for war than he ever did for Hughes. After the election a wise guy New York Democrat sent an angry Teddy Roosevelt a congratulatory telegram. He congratulated Roosevelt on assuring Wilson’s reelection and four more years of the Party of Jackson in the White House. “You contributed more than any person [to Wilson’s victory,” the message read, “Wilson ought to give you a Cabinet position, as you elected him, beyond doubt…You made Wilson a million votes.” One can imagine that Roosevelt then went outside and shot a deer dead. Those Democrats had some real guts gauging the irascible Theodore Rex.

With the war too hot to handle, Hughes groped around for a good issue to attack Wilson on. Hughes’s attempt to gain mileage from the chaos in Mexico was not successful either. Wilson’s establishment of a joint Mexican-American commission to settle tensions between the two nations made this issue seem null and void to voters. Republicans attacked Wilson over his labor policies, including the Adamson Act which set up an eight-hour workday for railroad workers. Hughes attacked the law as “labor’s goldbrick” and a “force law” which would bankrupt the nation’s railways. This line of attack did more to alienate labor minded Republicans and labor unions from the Hughes campaign. Democratic financier Bernard Baruch asked President Wilson, who was running a front porch campaign from his summer home in New Jersey, if he wanted  to respond to the attacks. “I am inclined,” Wilson told Baruch, “to follow the course suggested by a friend of mine who says that he has always followed the rule never to murder a man who is committing suicide slowly but surely.” The Hughes Campaign, like the Romney/Ryan effort in 2012, suffered a death by a thousand cuts.

Despite the missteps by Hughes and Roosevelt, the election of 1916 came down to a single state and two different meetings. These two meetings are the type of presidential drama that even an Aaron Sorkin cannot write. In October 1916 Woodrow Wilson was so sure that he was going to lose that he wrote up a plan so Shakespearean that it boggles the mind. Meeting with his always sympathetic secretary Joe Tumulty, Wilson wrote out a plan to allow Hughes to become president early. Due to the war crisis, Wilson did not think the nation should suffer a lame duck period between his defeat and Hughes’s inauguration. Without telling Vice-President Marshall not Secretary of State Robert Lansing, he formulated a plan to appoint Hughes secretary of state and then to resign as president with the mustached Marshall also resigning his position. This would place Hughes in as president in November 1916 and allow him to take the reins of government months earlier. One can imagine a tortured Tumulty trying to talk sense to his depressed friend and chief.

The second dramatic meeting was one missed. Hughes needed California to win the election and to take California he needed the backing of Governor and senator candidate Hiram Johnson. TR’s running-mate in 1912, Johnson was the kingmaker in the Golden State. He had not endorsed Hughes and was seen as not a loyal Republican. When Hughes visited the state of California in August 1916 the famous “forgotten handshake” occurred. On that fateful day, Hughes stopped at the same hotel in Long Beach as Johnson. Johnson expected to hear from the 1916 Republican presidential nominee, but Hughes’s squeamish handlers never notified Hughes of the presence of Johnson in the hotel. They believed that if Hughes shook hands with Johnson it would reopen the wounds of 1912 because Johnson was seen as a loose cannon by the party’s rank and file. This turned out to be the “one dollar error.” Congressman John W. Dwight of New York commented after the election that Hughes’s chances in California rested on a single dollar. “If a man of sense with a dollar would have invited Hughes and Johnson into his room when they were both in the same hotel in California,” Dwight commented, “He would have ordered three Scotch whiskies, which would have been seventy-five cents and that would have left twenty-five cents for the waiter…that little Scotch would have brought the three men together; there would have been mutual understanding and respect and Hughes would have carried California and been elected.” Alas, the drink was not imbibed and Johnson did not campaign for Hughes. His powerful Golden State machine helped him win a landslide to the United States Senate over Democratic rancher George S. Patton, father of the famed general, but they would not lift a finger to help Hughes win the state. A drink missed and a plan hatched make for some great campaign drama in 1916.

The greatest drama of 1916 comes down the election results. The fate of the presidency and the world rested on the voters of California. When the results began coming in on November 7, 1916, it looked like a Hughes sweep. By midnight the justice was at 254 electoral votes and only needed California to win the presidency. At the White House a depressed Wilson prepared to concede the election. His poor, overworked secretary Joe Tumulty had to talk him out of doing it. As papers declared Hughes the “president-elect” and they demanded interviews with him, Hughes refused to give a victory speech to over 100,000 excited Republicans milling around outside of the Hotel Astor in New York. It turned out to be a good thing because he ended up losing. As the West and South came in strong for Wilson the president became a much happier man. The famous story of Hughes and the hotel room is so oft repeated it needs to be repeated again. While it is probably apocryphal, the story goes that in the wee hours of the night a reporter arrived at the Hotel Astor and asked a valet if he could speak with Hughes. “The president has retired,” the valet replied. “When he wakes up,” the reporter states in the tale, “tell him that he is no longer president.” A stunned Hughes did not manage to concede the election until November 22, 1916. The dry witted Wilson replied upon receiving the concession telegraph: “It was a little moth-eaten when it got here but legible.”

The election of 1916 has many other memorable moments. Republicans assaulted Wilson as “Peck’s Bad Boy” when some of Wilson’s love letters to Mary Peck, an old flame from the early 1900s, came to the public. In the end, however, none of the attacks could stick as the nation faced the crucible of war. 1916 is a dramatic election in which much hinged on the outcome. The fact that Wilson was reelected determined the course of the American nation in the war in Europe. Had Hughes, Weeks, Root, Roosevelt or Fairbanks won the 1916 election the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 would have been much different. It has been said that for want of a nail the army was lost. It is not too much to say that for want of a Scotch a presidency was lost.                             
55  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: May 05, 2014, 08:58:44 pm
#29: The Election of 1916

Number twenty-nine on the list is the election of 1916. The campaign was waged during a time of war in Europe. The American people were divided by the Great War in Europe. A nation which had emerged from splendid isolation in the late 19th century as a global political and economic power, the great question of 1916 focused on what role the United States would play in the bloody pageantry in Europe. The great issue of 1916 was what position would the United States take in World War I and what type of a world would wait for it after the great maelstrom of war was passed through by the global community. The internationalist Democratic president would run as a tepid non-interventionist and the Republicans would nominate a candidate whom attacked Wilson’s military adventurism without distancing himself from the pro-war members of his own party. In the end the election of 1916 ranks in the top thirty elections because it is an election between two strong personalities with the backdrop of Armageddon.  

The first  reason why the election of 1916 falls in the top thirty is because of the ordeal of Professor Thomas Woodrow Wilson. President Woodrow Wilson, a progressive Democrat from New Jersey, had no experience in foreign affairs when he took office in 1913. Recruited for the governor’s office in 1910 by reforming journalist Ray Standard Baker and Democratic publisher George Brinton McClellan Harvey, Wilson emerged as the front-runner for the 1912 Democratic presidential nomination due to the act that he was a progressive to the progressives and a conservative to the conservatives. In an election which will rank in the top five contests, Wilson was able to carve out a middle of the road stance in 1912 and win the election by a wide margin. As early as 1913 Wilson was forced to deal with foreign conflicts. Mexico was involved in a nasty civil war with multiple sides fighting for multiple goals. Wilson ordered General John “Blackjack” Pershing to invade Mexico in 1913 in order to capture the renegade bandit Pancho Villa. Stoked on by William Randolph Hearst, Wilson’s invasion of Mexico enraged the Mexican and the American people. The great tragedy of Woodrow Wilson is that he had no interest in foreign affairs when he took office in 1913. Wilson’s New Freedom program was pro-labor, pro-tariff reduction and pro-small business- the warfare state was not a part of the program. The explosion of the Balkan Powder Keg in June 1914 forced his hand. His narrow scoped New Freedom was coopted into Teddy Roosevelt’s New Nationalism- a warlike socialist program. Wilson took up “preparedness” and sponsored legislation to expand the nation’s armed forces. Wilson’s hope was that a prepared America- united by a strong army and a strong government- would emerge as a “Big America” when the war ended in Europe. In 1916 Wilson hoped that he could focus his reelection campaign on his progressive legislative accomplishments. Tariff reduction, farm land reform and labor legislation were just not all that sexy when compared to Mexico and Europe in flames. “[It] would be the irony of fate if my administration had to deal chiefly with foreign affairs,” Wilson told his Roman Catholic secretary Joe Tumulty in 1914. The irony makes for an intriguing election in 1916.

The Democratic Convention of 1916 is a good example of a convention that kept to message. In 1968 and 1992 the incumbent political party lost control of the convention and that caused incredible damage in the general election. 1916 was the exact opposite of those nightmares. As the Democrats convened in St. Louis in June 1916 the Democratic campaign slogan was marketed like soapflake’s. Former New York Governor Martin H. Glynn started his keynote address talking about Wilson’s progressive “Americanism.” Quickly the spellbinding Glynn realized this was not a good topic and so he threw his text away. Glynn then declared with a booming voice that the “paramount issue” of the campaign was the war in Europe. He then began to give examples of how the United States had handled foreign crises without going to war. The speech caused wild applause as the delegates shouted, “Go on! Go on!” Glynn then outlined how Wilson had avoided war over the 1915 Lusitania crisis as well as the extensive German U-Boat warfare. “What did he do?” the delegates screamed out as Glynn responded, “We did no go to war!” “This policy…”Glynn went on with a not so subtle attack on Teddy Roosevelt, “May not satisfy…the fire-eater or the swashbuckler…But it does satisfy the mothers of the land…” The next day Senator Ollie James of Kentucky and Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan hammered home the winning campaign slogan of 1916: “Vote for Wilson who keeps us out of war.” “He kept us out of war” ranks as perhaps the best remembered campaign slogan in American history. Wilson’s firm hope that he could run for reelection based off of his progressive agenda was more or less ended at the convention. What sprouted up in its place was an effective campaign slogan which would be used to flog Republicans over the head until November. The well managed and orchestrated 1916 Democratic National Convention adds much to the ranking of the campaign because it shows how effective a good convention can be on a major party presidential campaign. President Woodrow Wilson and Vice-President Thomas Riley Marshall, the first Democratic vice-president to ever be re-nominated for that office, faced the Republicans with a united party and a thankful nation behind them.

The Republican Convention is a fine example of an opposition party trying, and failing, to unite the disparate factions pulling it from one side to the other. Much like in 2012, the Republicans found a good middle of the road candidate whom seemed he could appease both sides. Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes, the man who had defeated Hearst for the New York governor’s office in 1906 and had gutted the multimillion dollar life insurance business in the Empire State, seemed to be the perfect choice to unite the party torn by 1912. Former President Roosevelt commented that he wanted the 1916 presidential nomination so bad he “could taste it.” However, his temperamental defection in 1912 made him a pariah to conservatives and party professionals. TR would not be able to win the 1916 nomination in his wildest fevered dreams. Justice Hughes emerged as the choice of progressive Republicans with Senator John W. Weeks of Massachusetts and former Vice-President Charles Fairbanks, a man so cold they named a city in Alaska after him, as the candidate of conservatives. Teddy Roosevelt liked Elihu Root, his much trusted cabinet secretary, for the nomination but Root’s ties to corporations made him far too toxic for Middle America. Party regulars fell in behind Hughes as Senator Warren G. Harding presided over the convention. Harding coined the term “Founding Fathers” as he chastised Wilson for his illegal and unconstitutional intervention in the Mexican upheaval. Hughes won an easy nomination on third ballot at the Coliseum in Chicago, Illinois. The “Bearded Iceberg” Hughes was paired with former Vice-President Charles “Ice-banks” Fairbanks and the Republicans wrote a platform attacking Wilson for his pro-labor polices as well as his opposition to women’s suffrage. Above all they assailed Wilson’s supine foreign policy. It seemed that Hughes was the perfect choice to oppose Wilson. He was a moderate, pro-suffrage former governor with a good working relation with conservatives and business elements. The 1916 Republican Convention shows political watchers that a compromise candidate usually does nothing more than make a the campaign tepid. Hughes refused to take a stand on the war in Europe and in so doing offended everyone. Above all he enraged Theodore Roosevelt, a belligerent war lover, who would take it on his own shoulders to craft the GOP into the “Party of War.” As was said later on, TR would have better served the party if he had just stayed home.

(Fixed image link - TF)
56  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Favorite Pizza Chain on: April 18, 2014, 05:53:38 pm
Little Caesars, because I'm cheap.
I agree with this statement. Sometimes as a teacher I buy my kids pizza for lunch and I thank goodness there is a Little Caesars. My biggest gripe with them is that their recipe can cause some nasty acid reflex at times.
57  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: Midwest special election- Most Serene Representative on: April 18, 2014, 05:48:11 pm
1. Write-in: Rooney'
2.  Write-in: Tmthforu94
3. Sol
58  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: April 2014 At-Large Senate Election on: April 18, 2014, 05:47:20 pm
1. JCL
2. Goldwater
3. Shua
4. Lumine van Reuenthal
5. a Person
6. Adam Griffin
7. Alfred E. Jones
59  General Discussion / History / Re: Most ~interesting~ President on: April 18, 2014, 05:30:13 pm
Abraham Lincoln by far. He was a man of many layers. Also, no president had the poetic writing abilities of Lincoln. His papers are a joy to read.
60  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: April 18, 2014, 05:28:51 pm
The Election of 1884, continued

The conventions are child’s play when compared to the wonderful wickedness of the general election. While Cleveland stayed at home with his ward Francis Folsom, Blaine took to the streets in a full campaign. Blaine loved campaigning and the platform he was running on. He barbed the Democrats by condemning them as “rebels” and “free traders.” The Mugwumps, according to Blaine, were “agents of foreign interests.” The Democrats responded with the first letter of the campaign, one of many. The Mulligan Letter was used to show that Blaine was a corrupt politician and a corrupt man. The first released in 1876, the letters from James Mulligan tied Blaine to insider trading deals connected to the Little Rock Railroad. One letter was written to the railroad’s legal counsel and it ended with these damning words: “Burn this letter.” Blaine was assailed as “Old Mulligan Letters” and “Burner Jim.” Democrats mocked Blaine with the taunt of: “Burn this letter!” Some clever New York Democrats even formed the most memorable line of the campaign: “Blaine! Blaine! James G. Blaine! The Continental liar from the State of Maine!” Yes, Blaine’s lies actually spread a whole continent. That’s the type of political assault we election fans like to see.

The fiendish Republican response to the Mulligan matter will live in the annals of dirty campaigning for generations to come. On July 21, 1884, the Republican Buffalo Evening Telegraph unleashed the dirtiest piece of dirty laundry they could find on the unimpeachable Grover Cleveland. “A Terrible Tale: A Dark Chapter in a Public Man’s History!” The story was of a young lawyer named Grover Cleveland whom had a sexual relationship with a local Buffalo runaround named Maria Halpern. It was from this little romp through Cupid’s Glen that a boy named Oscar Folsom Cleveland was born. Cleveland’s response to the story is great and adds much to the story of the 1884 election. In reality the child was not that of Cleveland’s at all. In fact, the child Oscar most likely was that of Cleveland’s friend, the late attorney James Folsom. The father of Francis, Folsom was a known womanizer who had asked Cleveland to take on responsibility for Oscar since he did not want to ruin his marriage and reputation. Cleveland, who had volunteered to stay home during the Civil War because he knew he was not needed, simply shrugged and accepted the expenses of the child. When Maria proved herself to be odd and erratic as a parent Cleveland found a new home for Oscar, who would become a successful man. “Above all tell the truth” Cleveland advised his political handlers when they faced the terrible news of the sexual misconduct. E.L. Godkin of the Nation applauded Cleveland’s honest response and commented that it contrasted greatly with the deceptive campaign of James G. Blaine. One Mugwump even joked that of Blaine was so honest in private life it would be best of he simply stayed in private life. The Maria Halpern affair might well have sunk Cleveland but he handled it like a seasoned professional and that is what makes it such a good story for such a nasty little campaign.

No general election is complete without a debilitating gaffe. On October 29, “black Wednesday” befell the beleaguered Blaine campaign. As Blaine gouged himself on a sumptuous feast in the toss-up state of New York, the Reverend Dr. Samuel Burchard, made this fatal statement: “We are Republicans, and don't propose to leave our party and identify ourselves with the party whose antecedents have been rum, Romanism, and rebellion.” Prohibitionist candidate John St. John was already being backed by the Democrats in New York to siphon votes from Blaine. The anti-Catholic gaffe was not good for the health of the Republican cause. While James A. Garfield had used a similar phrase in 1876, this time the Democrats took note of it. Cleveland operatives released copies of the speech into heavily Catholic precincts in New York City. Those Tammany voters who hated Cleveland now found a reason to hate Blaine more. Burchard’s bluster is one of the great moments of any presidential campaign.

The final reason why 1884 stands as a fine campaign is that it came down to just one state and a little over 1,000 votes. Anger over Blaine’s anti-Roman Catholic banquet and the votes for John St. John handed New York over to Cleveland. In the end a razor sharp race was decided on public integrity, though Cleveland’s private virtues were dragged through the mud. The bitterness of the 1884 election was one of many reasons why President Grover Cleveland told a four-year old Franklin D. Roosevelt: “I have a very strange wish for you my little man. May you never become president of the United States.”       
61  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: April 18, 2014, 05:28:08 pm
#30: The Election of 1884

Coming it an even number thirty is the election of 1884. A wonderfully nasty and vitriolic campaign, the election of 1884 involves all that sex, filth and mudslinging that makes presidential campaigns worth watching. A presidential assassination three years before, coupled with a long running recession, had changed the nation’s politics once again. A walrus of a reformer rose up as the presidential nominee of the Democrats and he faced off against the patron saint of shady politicians, a certain Monumental Liar from the State of Maine. The dirty laundry was spilt and the ink ran deep with accusations and counter assaults. Yes, 1884 is a gem of an election.

“I am going to the Lordy, I am so glad,” prayed presidential assassin and would-be ambassador to Austria Charles J. Guiteau deliriously before he was hung for shooting the president of the United States. The quirky communal coed turned wayward barrister and plagiarist preacher, Guiteau had killed Garfield in an attempt to save the nation from James Gillespie Blaine, the secretary of state who had told Guiteau to stop bothering him about the ambassadorship. Blaine, an ebullient politician christened “the Plumed Knight”, had been with President James A. Garfield when he was shot in the back at Union Station. He had held Garfield’s hand as the president lay bleeding on the train station floor. Blaine had seen the deed done and it affected him enough to change his views on civil service reform. President Chester Alan Arthur, a former Conkling-Platt political neophyte, rose to the occasion and signed the Pendleton Act to change the way a few civil service jobs were selected. This decision changed the political dynamic of the nation. The era of stand patism on government reform drew to an end when Garfield died and the Pendleton Act was brought to life. Voters struck out against the crusty Republicanism which had dominated state and national government for far too long. The 1882 midterms were a disaster for Arthur, Blaine and the Grand Old Party. In New York State, the administration’s own Treasury Secretary was handily beaten by Buffalo Mayor Stephen Grover Cleveland, a reforming sheriff turned reforming mayor. On the eve of the election of 1884 those Republicans who made up the Liberal Republican Party of 1872 were preparing to jump ship to the Democrats. Carl Schurz, Henry Ward Beecher, William Graham Sumner and Charles Francis Adams declared that they could never support the “Tatooed Man” Blaine for the White House. New York State Assemblyman Theodore Roosevelt rolled his eyes at the Mugwumps, as the New York Sun Charles Dana derided them. He referred to them as “effeminate” and “lacking a spine.” These types of attacks would pepper to national conversation of 1884.

The Republican Convention in Chicago is as “fun as a goat” to quote Secretary of State John Hay. The Reverend F.M. Bristol prayed as the convention opened that the coming contest would be marked with, “decency, intelligence, patriotism and dignity of temper which becomes free and intelligent people.” God does not always answer prayers. Blaine stood out in 1884 as the most popular and well known candidate, even more than President Arthur. “Elegant Arthur” was dying of Bright’s Disease and, while desiring re-nomination, failed to utilize his popularity among Southern delegates to contest the nomination. When Blaine was nominated for the presidency for the third straight convention “whole delegations mounted their chairs” the New York Tribune reported. As every American flag in the vicinity was marched up and down the aisles the Half-Breed Republicans stewed in their chairs. Teddy Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge and Benjamin Harrison, three Republican reformers, hoped for the nomination of little known Vermont Senator George F. Edmunds. It was hoped by the reformers that Blaine could be stopped by retired Major General William T. Sherman but his oft quoted Shermanesque statement stopped that dream cold. So did the refusals to mount candidacies by Robert Todd Lincoln and Phillip Sheridan. Blaine’s overwhelming nomination was welcomed by liberal Republicans as much as a flu is welcomed by a school. One observer noted that the reformers, “applauded with the tips of their fingers held immediately in front of their noses.” While Teddy Roosevelt would reluctantly support Blaine many of his fellow eastern Republicans bolted the convention and set up a camp in Boston and New York. At these conventions they added much fuel to the fire of 1884 by announcing they would support the Democratic nominee for president in 1884. The fact that the Republicans split and entered a tough election year as a wounded, divided party adds to the flavor of the election.  The Mugwumps should have recalled the words of the holy scriptures: Proverbs 11:29, which in the King James Bible reads:

He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind:
and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.  

The Democratic Convention is not that thrilling but the nominee who emerged from it is larger than life. New York Governor Grover Cleveland had been an anonymous lawyer in Buffalo, New York, just eight years before he was nominated for the highest office in the land by one of the two major political parties. The New York World, a reliable Democratic publication, backed Cleveland for three reasons: “1. He is honest, 2. He is honest, 3. He is honest.” Cleveland worked well with Republicans in the State Assembly and passed multiple laws limiting the power of cities over public improvements. These laws enraged Tammany Hall, who needed public works dollars to doll our graft, and delighted the liberal press. Influential Republican journals such as the New York Times, the Nation and Harper’s Weekly gushed for Grover the Good and turned their GOP backs on Blaine. When Cleveland was hailed for the “enemies he has made” Tammany Boss Jim Kelly rushed the stage and declared he was honored by the compliment. Tall and wide, Cleveland was a bachelor who had loved Biergardens as a youth and had more than once dalliance with the German fraus of Buffalo. Accepted by the vast immigrant voter base of the big cities and also the small town reformers, Cleveland seemed to be loved by everyone except Jim Kelly. Mugwumps pinned their hopes of reform to Cleveland. His nomination is one of the highlights of the 1884 election. While Cleveland would do no campaigning, his broad mustached visage served as the symbol of cross partisan reform. Not since Grant was there such a figure in American politics.
62  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: April 15, 2014, 09:04:30 pm
The Election of 1976, continued

The incredible primary season of 1976 eclipses the general election. While it was by no means a boring campaign, it just does not shine as bright as the sterling primary campaigns. Carter started out the campaign thirty points ahead of Ford. Carter then went to work chipping away at the huge lead. Before the campaign began he had foolishly sat down for an interview with the pornographic Playboy magazine. After telling the magazine that he had committed adultery by “lusting in his heart” and claiming “I’m human…I’m tempted” the media made a huge joke out of the honest responses. The Washington, D.C., news corps- a more out of touch, pompous group can rarely be found- wrote a clever parody of the barbershop song “Heart of my Heart” called “Lust in my Heart.” Carter also stayed vague on almost all important issues. While Ford laid out clear plans to combat inflation and poverty Carter seemed to only want to discuss lofty platitudes. One reporter joked that while paying bridge with Carter he raised the contract to three spades. Carter replied, “Well then I’ll bid four.” “Four what?” the reporter asked. “I’ll tell you after the election,” Carter replied in kind. Another story relayed that when young Jimmy Carter was asked if he had cut down the family’s peach tree he replied, “Well perhaps.” Ford assailed Carter for being “everything to everybody” and “wavering, wiggling and waffling.” Carter’s poor performance in the first debate cost him ten-points in the polls.

Odds are quite good Ford would have won had he canceled the second debate. I do not need to retell the story of the infamous “No Soviet domination” gaffe as it has been told a million times. What does need to be said is that the gaffe reversed the Ford momentum. One cannot imagine Reagan making a similar gaffe in 1976. Yes, Reagan may well have lost the general election but in 1976 he was no old and doddering. He could be well trained and rehearsed like any good actor. Ford’s gaffe allowed Carter and the media to hammer him for days and made the president look just like the Chevy Chase parody on the new show Saturday Night Live. Ford retreated to a “Rose Garden Strategy” of making speeches from the White House and Bob Dole assaulted the Democrats for, “Starting every war in the 20th century.” Racist comments by Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz forced him from Ford’s team and alienated minorities that he needed badly to win in Ohio and New York. In the end for Ford the campaign fell apart at the seams. That was no good for Ford but for election watchers it is always unique to see an incumbent president’s campaign melt like cheese.

The 1976 election was nearly as close as the epic campaign that happened 100 years before it. Ford’s advisers told the president the day before the election that Carter had 24-hours to make a fatal error. If that did not happen then the president would be sent back to Grand Rapids. The comments were correct. The voters gave Carter 50.1% of the vote to 48% for Ford. In terms of the electoral college the results were also quite tight: 297 to 240. One Republican elector from Washington voted for Reagan because she could not stomach to vote for Ford. Carter had campaigned as an “outsider” and it was a brilliant campaign move. Many would copy the Carter candidacy but none would ever perfect the art of hating Washington as well as the down home peanut preacher from Plains. In the end the 1976 campaign is a lot of fun and involves two incredible primary battles. Carter’s outsider appeal is perhaps best summed up in what he said to disillusioned Southerners: “Isn’t it time we had a president without an accent?”       
63  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: April 15, 2014, 09:03:54 pm
#31: The Election of 1976

Landing at number thirty-one on the list is America’s bicentennial campaign. The election of 1976 involved the rise of a Southern dark horse candidate and a spirited conservative primary challenge to an incumbent president. The election was one of “insiders” versus “outsiders” with both sides claiming victories in America’s two-hundredth year.

The campaign of 1976 is a truly wonderful election because it allows the election watcher to witness the rise of not one but two Washington outsiders, both of whom would become president. The nation hungered for an outsider following the incompetence, dishonesty and government meddling of the Nixon and Ford years. President Richard Milhous Nixon, a perennially sinister Washington man, and his well-meaning vice-president for a few months Gerald R. Ford had mismanaged the nation’s affairs for eight long years. The nation was crushed under the heel of stagflation and betrayed by the lies of Watergate and Vietnam. Nixon’s resignation and pardon showed the country that the nation’s capital could not be trusted to deliver change. To find that agent of change the Democratic Party would turn to a peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia. The Republicans would make a selection between President Ford, a politician since 1949,  and a former actor and businessman who wanted to take the left-leaning Republicanism of Nixon and Ford and transform it into a conservative alternative in American politics.  
The 1976 Democratic Primaries are fascinating for one reason: the metamorphosis of Jimmy Carter. Former George Governor Jimmy Carter had transformed himself from a small town, petty racist state senator into a progressive executive of the New South. A fiscally conservative governor who spoke the populist talk, Carter entered the 1976 primaries soon after the McGovern travesty in 1972. Hamilton Jordan and Pat Caddell, Carter’s political brain trust, sat with the governor in December 1974 and put together their game plan for victory in November 1976. Carter, they said, was not a lawyer, not from Washington and not a career politician. In short, Carter was everything President Ford was not. Carter was also everything his better known primary opponents were not. Carter’s announcement for president was mocked at first. Even his mother did not believe it when he told her he was running for president. “President of what?” Ms. Vivian Carter had asked. A famous newsreel from 1975 portrayed people giggling in confusion when asked the question, “Who is Jimmy Carter?” The best answer came from a young man who replied with a smile, “I know who Jimmy Carter is. Jimmy Carter’s a basketball player!” As Birch Bayh, Terry Sanford, Sergeant Shriver, Hubert Humphrey, Mo Udall, Scoop Jackson, Frank Church and George Wallace laughed; Carter began to show that young man that while he did not have the skills on the court he did have them on the trail.  

Carter’s campaign made effective use of public funding. He was able to tackle one obstacle after another and attain public funding of his campaign. This was a public relations coup because it showed the nation that his campaign was one to be taken seriously. Carter was determined to prove to the media that he was no also run. Carter’s fervent religion proved to be a media attention getter as much as his successful campaign for public financing. A devout Baptist, Carter picked up support from the newly minted evangelical movement. George Gallup, Junior, called 1976 the “year of the evangelical.” The economic hardships of the 1970s coupled with the black despair of the unwinnable Vietnam quagmire drove thousands into the fold of born again Christianity. Carter’s sister Ruth Stapleton was a famous evangelist and he had served in the inner cities as a missionary in the 1960s. Just ten years after meeting with black youth leaders in New York City he was not running for president. The evangelical flair of his young campaign staff and workers was equaled only by his pious observance of the Bible. The Carter Campaign of 1976 is one of the most interesting case studies in presidential politics. It was half-political campaign and half-tent revival. Carter was, according to Time, the “most unabashed moralist to seek the presidency since William Jennings Bryan.” In a nation betrayed by war and scandal, the Sunday School teacher who wanted public funding for his campaign and a Bible on his campaign busses was just the moralist they wanted.

The story of the 1976 Democratic Primary is one of Carter running ahead of everyone else. A long series of “anti-Carters” rose and were punched down by the plucky peanut picker. Carter’s strategy to win the Iowa Caucus, despite the fact that it had no delegates at stake, proved to be wise as it gave him a lot of airtime with very little money spent. His big win in the Hawkeye State created a media buzz around the former Georgia governor. By the time he arrived in New Hampshire his opponents were campaigning that the media was ignoring them. Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, “the Senator from Boeing”, made a fateful decision not to compete in the early Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, which Jimmy Carter won after liberals split their votes among four other candidates. Carter then stormed into the South and walloped Governor George Wallace, a former arch-segregationist and presidential gadfly, in the Florida and North Carolina Primaries. While Jackson won victories in Massachusetts and New York, his campaign ran out of military-industrial complex money and he was beaten badly by Carter in Pennsylvania. Mormon Congressman Mo Udall, a gifted wit, then took the place as the “anti-Carter.” Udall ran closely behind Carter in several primaries before staking his campaign on Wisconsin. Carter’s evangelical campaign workers overwhelmed the Latter Day Saint powered Udall team. Carter beat Udall in Wisconsin with the clever congressman quipping, “The people have spoken, the bastards.” As Carter closed in on the nomination, an "ABC" (Anybody But Carter) movement started among Northern and Western liberal Democrats. They saw Carter as far too tightfisted with public collars and not at all in love with the Great Society. The leaders of the "ABC" movement - Idaho Senator Frank Church and California Governor Jerry Brown – decided to destroy their chances at stopping Carter by both announcing their candidacies for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination. The divided opposition divided their victories and Carter won the party’s nod at the 1976 Democratic Convention in New York City. The exciting primary season ended with a spirited speech by Congresswoman Shelia Jordan and the nomination of Senator Walter “Fritz” Mondale for vice-president. “Gritz and Fritz” were off and running into a wild general election.

The real marquee race of 1976 does not lie in the Democratic fold, but on the right side of the aisle. Neoconservative and social conservatives in the Republican Party were sick of the Nixon and Ford years. After toying with the idea of forming a conservative third party, the William F. Buckley crowd called former Governor Ronald W. Reagan from his ranch and into the sling and arrows of outrageous political fortune. Reagan entered the campaign assaulting the “evil incarnate in the buddy system of Washington.” This thinly veiled assault on Ford’s pardon of Nixon started off the Republican Primary on rocky ground and it only got more vicious. The 1976 Republican Primary is exciting because Ronald Reagan was always an interesting player to watch on the public stage. Folksy and witty, he could be serious and determined when he needed to be. President Ford, with all the powers on the presidency behind him, was able to spend freely and won a narrow victory in the New Hampshire Primary. This was followed by large wins in Florida, Massachusetts and Illinois, the birth state of Reagan. When it looked as if the Reagan campaign was finished the Gipper pulled out what would become his signature issue: military spending. Reagan assaulted Ford and Henry Kissinger for “allowing” the Soviet military to surpass that of the United States. Pounding away at the “arms gap”, like JFK in 1960, Reagan was able to cream Ford in the North Carolina and Texas Primaries. The pipe smoking Ford nearly swallowed the tobacco accessory when he saw that he was behind in delegates to the renegade Californian. Ford came back to beat Reagan in his home state of Michigan and ran neck and neck with Reagan as the two arrived in Kansas City for the convention. Very rarely in modern presidential history has the nominee of a major party not been selected by the time the convention opened. Reagan and Ford faced off in a duel of wills in the old cow town of Kansas City and Reagan blinked. By selecting liberal Pennsylvania Senator Richard Schweiker as his running-mate, Reagan alienated conservatives in Mississippi who threw their support to Ford. Reagan gained no support from liberal Republicans who never vote for conservatives but often whine that conservatives will not vote for them. Had Reagan named the conservative Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina as his running-mate odds are he would have held onto Mississippi and won the nomination. However, only one outsider campaign could win in 1976 and Reagan’s was not it. Ford was nominated on the first ballot and selected moderate Senator Bob Dole of Kansas for vice-president. In a fairly boring address Ford defended his policies and did what people who are behind in the polls always do: challenge their opponent to a ridiculous number of face-to-face debates. Reagan’s impromptu speech following Ford’s was more memorable and left many delegates thinking they had nominated the wrong guy. They were right.  
64  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: Midwest Redraft Amendment on: April 14, 2014, 07:47:03 pm
65  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: April 14, 2014, 07:42:47 pm
#32: The Election of 1848

In the revolutionary year of 1848 the election that year will land at thirty-two on this list of lists. As Europe plunged into fire and socialist chaos the United States experienced the first election after the great land grab at Guadalupe-Hidalgo. A vastly expanded nation faced vast problems in terms of slavery and sectional rights. 1848 was the first presidential election to occur on the same day. The same day voting was directly correlated to the incredible economic and technological strives the capitalist United States had experienced since the dawn of the 19th Century. The 1848 election would be fought in a nation in transition.

The election of 1848 can be included in the aftermath of the U.S.-Mexican War. President James Knox Polk, elected by the whisker of a hair in 1844, had put forward a plan to achieve four main goals for the United States in four years. He wanted to lower tariffs, establish an Independent Treasury System, gain the Southwest from Mexico and acquire the Oregon Territory from Great Britain. Through an ingenious mixture of diplomacy, warfare, double dealing and intense political angling Polk achieved all four goals. The Democrats in 1848 would run with the Polk Legacy proudly as their platform. The gaining and tired president had no interest in the presidential nod and he did not have a preferred candidate. The Whigs, in contrast, sought to reverse most of the Polk Administration’s accomplishments, especially in the economic sphere. The Mexican Cession, one of Polk’s greatest accomplishments, reintroduced an old political issue with new, steaming vitriol.

The expansion of slavery was the dominant issue of the 1848 election. Democratic fire breathers in the South saw the Wilmot Proviso as a Northern scheme to deny them their rightful political place in the new territories. More and more Americans were beginning to form strong opinions about the moral and economic place of slavery in American society. Pro-slavery southerners argued strongly that slavery was protected by the U.S. Constitution and could not legally be kept from the new territories. Northern and border state Whigs and Democrats began to espouse the theory of popular sovereignty- the idea that slavery should be determined by a popular vote in the territories. The idea that human rights can be put to a vote is, as Abe Lincoln would later say, a doctrine that is as morally robust as, “a broth made of the shadow of a crow which starved to death.” However, in 1848 one can see why popular sovereignty was so appealing. The idea that slavery would go down to a handful of voters in the Western territories is a nice idea because it does not require deep political and philosophical thought on morality and economic policy. In 1848 the Democrats would run proudly on the doctrine of popular sovereignty. This would lead to a rebellion in their ranks and the rise of a new, dynamic political party.   

1848 is an exciting race because it introduced a political party which would contest two national elections and poll well in both of them. As some argued that slavery was Constitutionally protected and could not be limited, some Northern Democrats and Whigs contested that the Congress was given power to regulate the territories by Article I of the U.S. Constitution and pointed to the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 as proof that slavery could be banned from territories. These individuals, mostly Northern Democrats who belonged to the radical reformist Locofoco faction in New York State, rebelled against the Democratic Party as a whole and met to form the Free Soil Party. The Free Soil Party stood for, “Free labor, free men and free soil.” Radically opposed to the spread of slavery into the territories they would play the role of spoiler in the 1848 contest and in so doing make the election much closer than it should have ever been.

The Democratic Convention of 1848 is interesting because of the battle inside the New York State Delegation. Following the death of former New York Governor Silas Wright, a former U.S. Senator who declined the 1844 Democratic vice-presidential nomination, the state party began to tear itself apart. The “Hunkers” were conservatives who “hunkered down” in their views to win office squared off against the “Barnburners”, antis-slavery men whom Hunkers charged would burn down the barn to get rid of the rats. Hunkers from New York liked Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan, the general who famously broke his sword over his knee at Fort Detroit to protest General William B. Hull/s surrender of it. Barnburners liked former President Martin van Buren or New Hampshire Senator John Parker Hale for the presidential nomination. Senator Cass, who had almost won the nod in 1844, was an easy winner over Van Buren, former Secretary of State James Buchanan and Associate Justice to the Supreme Court Levi Woodbury. His nomination was coupled with the nomination of General William Orlando Butler for vice-president. Butler, who had been in charge of the administration of Mexico City after General Winfield Scott captured it in, was a southerner and slave owner. Cass and the Democratic Platform endorsed popular sovereignty whole heartedly and in so doing alienated the Barnburners. They walked out of the convention and in June and July held a convention which created the Free Soil Party. This convention nominated Martin van Buren for president and Charles Francis Adams, the son of the late, great John Quincy Adams, for vice-president. The histrionic storming out of the convention coupled with the creation of a new political party headed by a former president is excellent political theater. The Democratic Convention in Baltimore in May 1848 is a good convention and one that adds to the story of the campaign.

The Whig Convention in Philadelphia is also quite entertaining. Perennial candidate and soothing statesman Henry Clay threw his hat into the ring one more time. Clay, who stewed angrily that he had been denied the 1840 nomination when he was sure to win, was afraid that the Whigs would nominate a Mexican War general only because they wanted to win. Clay had lost his son in the war and was bitter towards anyone who had achieved glory in the war. He compared military glory to a rainbow over a field of skulls and he meant it too. Senator Daniel Webster, another candidate, was equally unimpressed with the warlike candidates. He referred to General Zachary Taylor as “an illiterate frontier colonel” and warned there were thousands of Whigs who “will not vote for a candidate brought forward only because of his successful fighting in this war against Mexico.” The Whigs were not united behind Major General Zachary Taylor, the nominee who had never voted in an election and did not even vote for himself. Taylor also refused to even read the letter informing him of his nomination because the postage was not paid in advance on it. The Whigs eventually had to send a prepaid letter to Baton Rouge and made a big deal out of how frugal their nominee was. Senator Webster was nominated for vice-president but declined the honor, quipping: “I do not wish to be buried until I am actually dead.”

The general election of 1848 is a wonderful ride. The Whigs attacked Cass as being corrupt and dishonest as the Democrats called Taylor stupid, unhealthy and purposefully vague. Taylor never took a firm stance on the issue of the expansion of slavery. A Louisiana slave owner, it was assumed that Taylor was for the expansion of slavery to the West. A dark joke went around the campaign trial that Taylor had died of lockjaw. The Whigs never attempted to put forward a wordy platform that said much beside praising Taylor’s war record. Outgoing Congressman Abraham Lincoln addressed the Democrat’s point in a memorable speech on July 27, 1848. Lincoln made a virtue of vagueness. “The people,” he said, “say to General Taylor, ‘If you are elected, shall we have a national bank?’ He answers, ‘Your will, gentlemen, not mine…If you do not desire [one] I will not attempt to force [it] on you.’” Lincoln also insulted Andrew Jackson’s love of forcing his will on the people and viciously ridiculed Lewis Cass’s war record. Indignant Democrats on the House of Representatives floor threw up their arms and left the room crying out, “We give up!” It was one of Lincoln’s finest hours.

Taylor remembered the campaign as one marked by the “vilest slanders of the most unprincipled demagogues this or any other nation was ever cursed with, who have pursued me like bloodhounds.” Yes, the Democrats called Taylor semi-literate, England’s candidate and a man so cheap that he refused to wear nice clothes, but the Whigs gave as good as they got. They found in Cass a fountain of evils. He was accused of encouraging white slavery in the Northwest Territory, engaging in graft as chief of Indian Affairs and making millions off of insider land speculation deals as Secretary of War for Jackson and Van Buren. One Whig newspaper simply entitled a headline: “GEN. CASS IS NOT A TRUTHFUL MAN.” In the end it is quite a safe bet to state that neither side told the full truth.

The election results are intriguing. Van Buren’s Free Soil campaign took 10% of the vote and outpolled Cass in New York State. In a nation experiencing massive economic growth and incredible land expansion over the past four years, one would have expected the Democrats to have won easily. The Whigs ran a smart campaign by nominating a vague, uncontroversial war hero and exploited the Democratic weaknesses on slavery. The narrow Taylor win can be directly tied to the Van Buren candidacy and the votes he syphoned from the Cass ticket. The election of 1848 is a memorable campaign because it introduced a third party political force and focused on the major issues of the post-Mexican War political sphere. The issues of slavery’s expansion would dominate the elections of 1852, 1856 and 1860. 1848 was the first election dominated by this important issue and that makes this election an important one in U.S. history.
66  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: April 12, 2014, 07:19:40 pm
Hancock's II Corps faced Pickett's charge on Cemetary Ridge, not Cemetary Hill, which the XI Corps defended along with what remained of the I Corps. I should note that elements of the I Corps were also reinforcing Hancock's position partically between the Angle and Cemetary Hill and towards to the South of the Angle where the Vermont brigade and a few others were stationed.
Senator, I meant ridge and not hill. I will make a change. One has to admit that for all I wrote one error is not too shabby.
67  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Your governors during your lifetime on: April 12, 2014, 02:56:32 pm
I have had Terry Branstad as my governor for most of my life. I had Bob Ray from 1980-1983, Branstad from 1983-1999, Vilsack from 1999-2007, Culver from 2007-2011 and Branstad again from 2011 to most likely 2019. Good gracious that man can governor it up. He makes it boring for these types of exercises.
68  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: April 12, 2014, 02:42:22 pm
The 1880 election, continued

The great conventions of 1880 are only partially complimented by a good general election. The two parties spent little time discussing the serious economic or social issues of the day. Congressman James B. Weaver of Iowa, the Greenback-Labor Party nominee, and former Augusta Portland Neal Dow, the nominee of the dry and daring Prohibition Party, were the only candidates to make serious comments about the new industrial order in the U.S.A. Dow, who had notoriously taken all the rum in Portland and killed those who tried to take it back, spoke passionately about the evils of “Demon Rum” and the need to give women full property and voting rights. Congressman Weaver introduced the Progressive Party platform decades before TR would don the Bull Moose antlers. Weaver’s party called for full civil service exams, the regulation of interstate commerce, the eight hour day, an income tax, the direct election of U.S. Senators, the abolition of child labor, free and funded public schools and a uniform national sanitation code. These radical theories, for the 1880s, played well with European ethnic voters and urban city dwellers. As Dow and Weaver spoke about issues it is upsetting to note that all the major parties wished to do was insult one another. Dow and especially Weaver make for great characters in this election and did much to elevate the discussion. The Republicans and Democrats did a great deal to deflate it.   

While Republicans boosted Garfield they did all they could to insult Hancock. He was attacked because his son married a Southern girl, called him a coward on the battlefield, questioned his leadership at the Battle of the Wilderness in spring 1864 and released a pamphlet of blank pages entitled, “A Record of the Statesmanship and Political Achievements of General Winfield Scott Hancock.” If one issue was discussed in full it was the tariff. Republicans mocked Hancock for declaring in his acceptance address, “The tariff is a local issue.” The Republican-leaning Harper’s Weekly declared in amazement that Hancock’s statements were, “loose, aimless, unintelligent, absurd.” More and more it looked as if Hancock did not understand political issues. Thomas Nast famously drew a cartoon of a perplexed Hancock whispering into someone’s ear as he spoke: “Who is tariff and why is he for revenue only?”

The Democrats answered the “Hancock is ignorant” charge with “Garfield is corrupt.” In 1868 Garfield received a $329 check from the corrupt Union Pacific dummy corporation Credit Mobilier. Garfield never once allowed the money to nudge him toward Union Pacific’s way of seeing things but the Democrats called it a bribe. The Democrats reminded voters that as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee Garfield had made $5,000 off of a pavement contract for D.C. Above all the Democrats tried to jockey for half-breed support by reminding voters that Arthur, the Republican VP nominee, had been removed from his job as Collector of the Port of New York because of corruption. It was a Republican president who removed him and Republicans had stopped the reform-minded Theodore Roosevelt, senior, from taking the job. The October Surprise of 1880 came from the Democrat’s campaign. On October 20, 1880, a New York newspaper called the Truth published a letter allegedly written by Garfield to an H.L. Morey of Lynn, Massachusetts, the preceding January. Just three sentences long, this letter—written on congressional stationery—implied that Garfield fully favored Chinese immigration. It also charged that Garfield was in favor of importing Chinese whiskey. The fear of the “Yellow Peril” was felt so strongly on the West Coast that Garfield was forced to attack the letter. He called it a forgery and it turned out that it was. However, it would cost him California and almost the election.

The election results of 1880 are highly entertaining and dramatic. Many Republicans feared that their run of luck was over. In Plymouth Notch, Vermont, a young Calvin Coolidge asked his father, Justice of the Peace John Coolidge, for a penny to buy some candy. John told Calvin that the Democrats were going to win the presidency soon and that this meant hard times were coming. No pennies could be spared for candy. When Garfield and the Republicans narrowly kept the White House the ever dry Calvin asked his father, “The Republicans won so may I have the penny now?” The Republicans won but it was by the skin of their teeth. Garfield won the popular vote by a little more than 9,000 votes. Hancock won 53% of all the counties in the country, including Adams County, Pennsylvania, where he had struggled for the Union at Gettysburg. Both sides won 19 states and the switch of only a few thousand votes in New York would have changed the winner of the popular vote. Republican shenanigans in Indiana returned that state to the GOP Column as did vote buying in Connecticut. In December 1880, Vice-President-elect Arthur enjoyed a sumptuous feast at Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City. He laughed about the voter fraud in Indiana as Conkling and Cameron applauded the dirty tricks that won the election. In the Democratic Solid South voter suppression was used to keep Republican blacks from the polls as well as lynching, shootings and other forms of violence. Both sides used voter intimidation and dirty tricks to try to win in 1880. This is just one of many reasons why it is a dramatic and interesting election. It shows what lengths people are willing to go to in order to triumph in our nation’s quadrennial contest.   
69  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: April 12, 2014, 02:41:51 pm
#33: The Election of 1880

Placing at number thirty-three on this election list is the election of 1880. A contentious Republican Convention and a truly narrow victory for “Boatman Jim” Garfield place this otherwise placid campaign in the number thirty-three spot.
Compared to 1876, the campaign that preceded 1880, the election is fairly dull. At one point Pulitzer’s New York World gave higher billing to the arrival of English actress Sarah Bernhardt in America than the nomination of the Democratic presidential nominee. One could argue that the election of 1880 was ignored by many at the time because the nation had gone through hell and back during the Grant and Hayes years. Reconstruction’s end in 1877 was followed by massive labor unrest. The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 paralyzed much of the Eastern seaboard. As Maryland National Guardsman fired on railway strikers in Baltimore the unpopular President Rutherford B. Hayes sent in the military to break up strikers in Pennsylvania. As the Pennsylvania Railroad burned in a Pittsburgh evening, the military opened fire on strikers. In Scranton vigilantes shot and killed three strikers. The strike would spill over into Illinois and Missouri before it was all said and done. The controversial election of  1876, the bloody Reconstruction and the disastrous Great Upheaval of 1877 made many Americans turn from politics in 1880. A power vacuum in the Republican Party would save the campaign from political oblivion and make for one of the most entertaining conventions in American history.

“I believe in a party that believes in good crops, that is glad when a fellow finds a gold mine, that rejoices when there are forty bushels of wheat and acre,” Republican orator Robert Ingersoll waxed as the 1880 Republican Convention opened in Chicago, Illinois. “The Democratic Party is the party of famine, it is a good friend of an early frost, it believes in the Colorado beetle and the weevil.” This highly partisan, if fairly odd, diatribe began a truly intriguing political convention which should rank with the 1912 and 1924 Democratic Conventions. As delegates filed into the convention hall they all had one name on their mind: Ulysses S. Grant. Encouraged by his incredible world tour from 1877 to 1879 and the calls of conservative Stalwart Republicans to “save the party from itself”, the former president openly declared he would seek a third term in the White House. Backed by New York Senators Roscoe Conkling and Thomas Platt, Grant was the choice of Pennsylvania Railroad President Tom Scott and the board of the New York Central Railroad. Mocked as “a Trojan horse’ by the reform minded Half-breed Republicans, it appeared as if Grant was going to walk away with the nomination. Ingersoll’s “Plumed Knight” James G. Blaine, senator from Maine and 1876 candidate, was only one of many anti-Grant candidates. Pennsylvania boss J. Donald Cameron, Illinois boss John Logan, and Conkling were attacked as the “triumvirate” who would rule the nation if Grant was elected president in 1880. However, there seemed to be no way to stop the “Hero of Appomattox.” Conkling came up with the brilliant scheme of forcing a Unit Rule on the convention. If passed, it would have meant that every delegate in a state’s delegation would have to vote for the choice of the majority of the state’s delegation. This rule would have handed Grant the nomination. This was the first real battle of the convention where Congressman James Garfield would boldly declare, “I regard it [the unit rule] as being more important than even the choice of a candidate.”

J. Donald Cameron, the chair of the convention, planned on using his position of power in the party to adopt the unit rule without a vote from the delegates. When Stalwart delegate William E. Chandler heard about this he recruited Colorado Senator Jerome Chafee to oppose the ruling. The Half-breeds removed Cameron as chair and the convention would have fallen apart had Conkling lieutenant Chester Arthur not intervened. In a deal he made with the 30 most anti-Grant delegates, Arthur brokered the decision that Cameron would return as chair and the unit rule would be voted on by the convention. This deal is what opened the way for James Garfield. A longtime Ohio Congressman and Civil War veteran, Garfield was the son of a widowed mother who had one almost drowned in the Erie Canal. Known as “Boatman Jim”, “Sunny Jim” or “Preacher Jim” Garfield, the Ohio congressman had offended no one on either side of the debate. When the unit rule was voted down the convention was thrown open. The high drama of the unit rule debate is only eclipsed by the balloting itself. Grant, Blaine. Senator John “the Ohio Icicle” Sherman and ex-Secretary of State Elihu Washburne all competed for the nomination, along with many favorite son candidates. James A. Garfield, who was representing the Ohio delegation, gave a major speech in support of Sherman, but soon found himself among those receiving delegate votes. When a rogue elector from Pennsylvania decided to vote for Garfield on the eight ballot a slow and steady tidal wave began to overtake the convention. Senator Ben “Kid Gloves” Harrison was sent to Garfield’s hotel room in Chicago to ask him to accept the nomination. The teacher from Mentor Ohio reluctantly agreed to seek the nomination and by the 36th contentious ballot he had beaten Grant and Blaine. Arthur, the man who saved the convention and killed the unit rule, was made vice-presidential candidate in order to appease Conkling, Cameron and the other pro-Grant bosses. The high drama of this convention is one of the finest moments in American political history.

The Democratic Convention was no bad either. Meeting in Cincinnati, the Democrats could taste victory. The nation was in recession and the incumbent president was an unpopular Republican. All they needed was a top tier candidate; however Governor Samuel Tilden, the 1876 nominee, had withdrawn his name from consideration. Congressman Samuel Randall of Pennsylvania, a Copperhead during the Civil War, emerged as the top choice of the Tilden men. Wary of naming another Seymour or Greeley, the Democrats looked to someone else to lead the campaign. Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, a West Pointer who served with bravery at Cemetery Ridge as Pickett’s legions were thrown at it, emerged as a potential game changer. He had tried for the party’s nod in 1868 only to be denied. With his opposition divided and weak, Major General Hancock was nominated easily on the third ballot and given businessman and pro-gold Hoosier activist John English as his running-mate. A conservative ticket adopted a conservative platform calling for the end of greenbacks, withdrawal from world affairs, reduction of the tariff and even a nod for civil service reform. “Hancock was superb,” Major General George Brinton McClellan said of Hancock’s serve on the field of Gettysburg and it was hoped by the Democrats his campaign would also be superb. After two excellent conventions the general election would be messy and vindictive. Mud would fly and sully the superb uniforms of both General Hancock and Garfield.  
70  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: April 11, 2014, 09:32:13 pm
The Election of 1868, continued

The Republicans gave as well as they took. “Scratch a Democrat,” cried the New York Tribune, “and you’ll find a rebel under his skin.” Seymour was portrayed as a Devil by the Republican media machine. The New York Tribune led the cartoon campaign with the picture of Seymour standing on the steps of the City Hall calling a mob of murderers "my friends." The Hartford Post called him "almost as much of a corpse" as ex-President James Buchanan, who had just died. Additionally, Republicans alleged that insanity ran through the Seymour family, citing as evidence the suicide of his father. As for Frank Blair, he was attacked as a drunkard. A famous anecdote of the time was when Blair stayed in a Harford, Connecticut, hotel and spent $10 on room and board but over $60 on liquor and lemons.

In the end the 1868 election came down to the black vote. 500,000 or so freemen voted for Grant and that is how he won the day. The electoral college was a landslide for Grant but the popular vote was fairly narrow. Had the freemen not voted for Grant the New Yorker Seymour would have won the White House in November 1868. This is one of the main reasons why within four months of the election the Fifteenth Amendment was passed by the Republican state legislatures. This amendment was focused on protecting suffrage for blacks. This amendment is one of the great heritages of the 1868 election.

The 1868 election is a great election with some good candidates. While Grant should have been an easy winner a tough campaign was needed for Ulysses to cross over the finish line first. 1868 took place during an incredible moment of time and is a fine election which fits the temper of the times like a glove. It is a great campaign that only is placed in the thirties because there are many others which are even better.               
71  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: April 11, 2014, 09:31:43 pm
#34: The Election of 1868

Coming in at number thirty-four is the election of 1868. The first general contest after the end of the American Civil War, the contest pitted a national hero against a classical liberal New York politico. The 21st presidential campaign was marked by both national unity and deep, vicious racially charged division. The campaign focused on one major issue: Reconstruction. Perhaps the most divisive and transformative moment in 19th Century America, Reconstruction deeply divided the nation in terms of North and South, black and white and Grant and Seymour.

Following the tragic martyrdom of Abraham Lincoln at the hands of John Wilkes Booth, a mischievous and vainglorious actor, the nation was handed over to Andrew Johnson. A tailor by trade and hell raiser by temperament, the Johnson Administration passed through the stormy tempest of Reconstruction with very little easy sailing. Following a brief honeymoon with the Radical Republicans, Johnson then insulted them by declaring that presidential reconstruction was the way of the future. During 1866 and 1867 Johnson vetoed one Reconstruction act after another and even encouraged states to not ratify the Fourteenth Amendment. In an epic struggle over civil rights, Johnson agreed to giving ex-slaves limited rights while Radicals called for full suffrage and equality. General Ulysses Simpson Grant, the savior of the Union, was greatly in favor of full rights for African-Americans. His relationship with Johnson soured during Grant’s brief, unpopular tenure as acting Secretary of War and Johnson’s humorously inept “Swing around the Bend” campaign tour in 1866. The Radicals in Congress eventually plotted to replace Johnson with Senator Benjamin Franklin Wade of Ohio and in 1868 the House of Representatives impeached the president. The president survived conviction because eight Republicans in the Senate decided that being a son of a bitch was not enough of a reason to impeach a president. “The country is going to the devil!” the bald, crippled Pennsylvania radical Thaddeus Stevens steamed histrionically on the floor of the House when the acquittal was announced.

It was in this highly partisan and volatile atmosphere that a most pacific nominee for president would be nominated. The campaign of 1868 ranks as an election which put forward two qualified, honest candidates for the nation’s highest office and honor. On May 20, 1868, the Republicans convened in Chicago, Illinois, and the Windy City swept General Ulysses Simpson Grant into the position as presidential nominee. Grant was by no means the most politically savvy choice, nor had he spent years struggling to become the president. Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, Senator Ben Wade, Senator Zachariah Chandler of Michigan, Governor Andrew Curtin of Pennsylvania or Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax from Indiana would have all been better politicians to serve as the GOP nominee. General Grant was something far more than a mere politician. Grant was the savior of the Union, the conqueror of Donaldson, Vicksburg and Lee. Perhaps the greatest military mind to ever wear a U.S. uniform, Ulysses Grant represented far more than just military glory. His simple, American features showed the people that he was a common man who was forced to become great. Grant was honest, simple and quietly intelligent. A math genius and lover of novels, Grant had risen slowly through the Union ranks through hard work, victories and the constant efforts of Congressman Elihu Washburne. His nomination for the presidency in 1868 was a message to the nation: the struggle of war and Reconstruction will soon end. Paired with the perennial politician Colfax, Grant shrewdly declared to the convention: “Let us have peace.” The great irony of this statement is that Grant’s close friend and military aide John Rawlins wrote most of Grant’s acceptance speech, all of which has been forgotten except the comment “let us have peace.” Grant read and approved of Rawlins’s speech, signing the bottom of the address, “Let us have peace, U.S. Grant.” “By God!” Rawlins declared, “That clinches it!” The comment was added and has become one of the most well-known campaign slogans in political history.

On the opposite side of the political coin, the Democrats met in New York City. The seat of a great deal of political corruption and talk of treason during the late war, the Democrats wanted to shake the shadow of Fernando Wood and Clement Valandigham. The 1868 Democratic Convention is a great show of wonderful political theater and drama. The front-runner for the presidential nod was the party’s 1864 vice-presidential nominee, former Ohio Congressman George H. Pendleton. A Copperhead during the war, Pendleton was hardly a good candidate to face off against the man who saved the Union. Several candidates lobbied to pick up Pendleton’s slack, including Lieutenant General Winfield Scott Hancock, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Field,  former Congressman Francis P. Blair and even ex-Republican Party grandmaster Salmon P. Chase, the U.S. Chief Justice. No candidate managed to emerge with the needed 2/3rd majority. The Curse of Jackson deadlocked the convention until Governor Horatio Seymour of New York broke through with the backing of Ohio Democrats. Chase withdrew in favor of the heavily whiskered Seymour and a massive stampede occurred for Seymour.  “I must not be nominated by this Convention, as I could not accept the nomination if tendered!” Seymour cried out as the stampede continued. Finally, by the 21st ballot Seymour was declaring from the floor that he would accept the nomination if it would help the country and the Democratic Party. “Then accept the damn nomination then!” a wily Illinois delegate cried out. Seymour reluctantly agreed to run against the popular Grant. His constant refusals to take on the mantle as Democratic nominee gained him the unshakable nickname “the Great Decliner.” General Francis P. Blair was named as running-mate after not one but three other men declined the honor. The 1868 Democratic Convention is a lot of fun and should be remembered as one of the great conventions in American politics.

The general election of 1868 would, at first glance, seem like a mismatch. Grant, a popular war hero in a nation that sorely needed heroes, took on a tainted New York politico in Seymour. Seymour was mocked as “the rioter” because his apparent encouragement of Irish riots in New York City in July 1864. Despite this different the volatile issues of the campaign made it a close and memorable race. Reconstruction was the only issue of the campaign and the Democrats felt that it was one which worked well for their side. Blair wrote a nationally published letter which declared boldly that the “real and only issue in this contest was the overthrow of Reconstruction, as the radical Republicans had forced it in the South.” The Democrats attacked Grant mercilessly as a Black Republican whom wanted to force whites to serve free blacks. They sung a grotesque song to the tune of the minstrel ditty “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines”: “I am Captain Grant of the Black Marines/The stupidest man that ever was seen.” The intelligence of Grant was a favorite Democratic punching bag in 1868. The only time Grant had ever voted was in 1856 and he voted for the Democrat James Buchanan. The Democrats mocked Grant as a “deaf and dumb” candidate who was a mere puppet of Wade, Stevens and Sumner. Seymour went on the stump and toured the nation speaking against Radical Reconstruction while Grant stayed at home in Galena, Illinois, in the house that the admiring citizens of the town erected for him. A silly little Democratic pamphlet entitled “The Lively Life of U.S. Grant, the Dummy Candidate” mocked the general by claiming, “Grant has nothing to say and says it day and night.”

With little ammunition to use against Grant, the Democrats unleashed even more vicious assaults on the free African-Americans of the North and South. Blair, the veep nominee, unleashed the most vitriolic assaults on the Republicans and their Reconstruction Plan. Blair accused Thad Stevens of wanting to “Africanize” the South. “This is a white man’s country, let white men govern it,” a popular Democratic slogan in Southern states proclaimed. One of the most interesting aspects of the Seymour Campaign is that it was two campaigns in one. In the South the Seymour men ran as strong anti-black, anti-Republican crusaders. In the North, however, Seymour’s supporters tried to win the votes of newly enfranchised African-Americans. A writer in Nashville offered some unique logic to encourage freed slaves to vote for the Democrats: “If your State and her sister Southern states had not seceded from the Union you would not today be free…If you are indebted to any party or power for your present liberty, you are indebted to the Southern People [and]….the Democratic Party.” Most African-American voters did not fall for this pretzel logic.
72  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 1972 democrat presidential primary on: April 10, 2014, 08:13:48 pm
I like Senator Hughes. He was a Great Society liberal, which I am not fan of, but he was also a good dove, supported McCarthy in 1968 and was excellent on civil rights and civil liberties. I also respect how he overcame a difficult struggle with alcoholism and depression. Harold Hughes would have been a decent president.
73  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: April 07, 2014, 08:43:13 pm
#35: The Election of 1852

The number thirty-five spot goes to the election of 1852. The last election to field a Whig Party candidate, the election of 1852 is a unique race. It is one in which a major political party was torn apart by its own inner demons and an intriguing Democratic convention produced a unique dark-horse nominee.

By 1852 the nation had lived through four tumultuous years. The presidency of Zachary Taylor had been a rough road to hoe. The crotchety Old Rough and Ready was prone to butting heads with Congress. Secretary of War George W. Crawford was investigated for improprieties involving the Galphin land purchase in Georgia while Taylor threatened to veto the special interest fueled Compromise of 1850. Taylor’s death from bad milk and cherries in July 1850 elevated the consummate New York politico Millard Fillmore to the president’s chair. President Fillmore’s administration signed off on the Compromise of 1850, including the opening of slavery into the New Mexico Territory and the controversial Fugitive Slave Act. Despite the fact that both technically existed before the compromise, Northern “Conscience Whigs” broke with the administration over what appeared to be major concessions to slave holders. Some formed their own “Union Party” and declared they would nominate a strong anti-Southern man for the presidency in 1852. The Democratic Party, divided by warring factions as per usual, was little more united when the canvass of 1852 came around. With Fire-eaters in the South and the sliver tongued abolitionists in the North it is no wonder why 1852 was a great election.

Neither party knew who they were going to nominate for the highest office in 1852. This makes for two highly intriguing and dramatic national conventions. Rarely in American history do both the major parties struggle to find a nominee for president. In 1852 the Whigs and the Democrats went into the convention cities with no front-runner and no idea on who they would pin their hopes for the White House in November. The Whigs, having won the election of 1848, with a Mexican-American War hero looked to rally around General Winfield Scott. The brilliant conqueror of Mexico City, General Scott was a career soldier. A lover of uniforms and a blustering martinet to his good friends, Scott was known as “Old Fuss and Feathers.” As a young soldier he was so impressed by his figure in uniform that he purchased three body length mirrors and set them up so he could look at three different angles of his martial form. Scott was known for primping like a prima donna before meetings and as a the commander of the Mexico City Campaign he had worked above the Polk Administration’s head to make peace with Santa Anna. Extremely rank conscious, he constantly battled with Democratic General Gideon C. Pillow over who got to lead parades down the main thoroughfare in the conquered Mexican capital. Scott was vulnerable to attacks because of his flamboyant nature. Democrats warned of a “Reign of Epaulets” if Scott was elected president. When the Whigs met in Baltimore, Maryland, their party was bitterly divided. New England Whigs clamored for the long-awaited nomination of “God-like Daniel of Massachusetts” for the presidency. Secretary of State Daniel Webster was openly interested in the nomination and felt he deserved it after decades of loyal service to the anti-Jacksonian Democracy cause. Rank-and-file Whigs from the West and Mid-Atlantic states liked Scott because he was a national figure. Southern Whigs and office holders stood behind President Millard Fillmore. A deadlock occurred because most New England delegates supported the hopeless Webster. On the first ballot, Fillmore received all delegate votes from the South except four, but only received 18 northern delegate votes. The vote was 133 for Fillmore, 131 for Scott, and 29 for Webster. This type of close voting would occur for the next fifty-two ballots until on the 53rd ballot Scott bested Fillmore 159–112. The final ballot was an entirely sectional vote with Northern Whigs siding with Scott and Southern Whigs joining with Fillmore. The party was badly divided. The placing of Secretary of the Navy William Alexander Graham, a sometimes poet but a constant North Carolinian, was done to bridge the divide between the Cotton Whigs and Conscience Whigs. In the end this would prove to be a bridge too far.

The wonderful Whig Convention appears boring when compared to the raucous Jacksonian convention the Democrats convened in Baltimore. There was no candidate who stood out as the Democratic front-runner but there were a good deal of candidates who wished to have that role. Former Secretary of State James Buchanan, the 1844 front-runner, returned to the fold as the choice of Northern moderates on the slave and sectional issue. 1848 nominee Lewis Cass trumpeted the call of popular sovereignty, but his age made him a less than ideal nominee. Supreme Court Justice Levi P. Woodbury appealed to Northern Democrats who leaned against the South but were not abolitionists. Former Secretary of War William Marcy counted on his home state of New York to deliver the nomination to him. The loudest of all the candidates was Senator Stephen Arnold Douglas of Illinois. “The Little Giant” was the represent of the Young American Movement. Tammany Hall politician Daniel Sickles was Douglas’s man at the convention and raised considerable hell when he called Buchanan, Cass and Marcy “Old Fogies.” Douglas was running as a man who wanted a young and vibrant nation to expand West with railroads, canals, roads and land grants. Realizing he stood to make a lot of money off of building a Transcontinental Railroad from Chicago to San Francisco, Douglas attacked the Democratic policy of opposing internal improvements. The “Old Fogey” comments of Dan Sickles, who would kill Francis Scott Key’s son in a rage of passion in the same house where William Seward was almost stabbed to death, did not endear the little Douglas to the big Democratic Party. In fact, none of the candidates seemed to be able to break through. Former Senator Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire, who was supporting Woodbury, rose as a compromise choice when a few Pennsylvania delegates through his name in contention as a possible compromise choice. By the 49th ballot Pierce had emerged as the second dark-horse Democratic presidential nominee in eight years. The Buchanan delegates were given the right to name Pierce’s running-mate. They chose Buchanan’s close friend and associate Senator William Rufus Devane King as Pierce’s running-mate. Known to some as “Mr. Buchanan’s Wife” or “Mr. Buchanan’s better half”, King was dying of tuberculosis in Cuba when he was nominated. He would never campaign for the office and would die before ever arriving in Washington to assume his vice-presidential duties.
The general election of 1852 was highly negative and that is mostly because the two candidates differed so greatly in terms of background and temperament. Hen being told of Pierce’s nomination, a friend from his home town in New Hampshire commented wryly: “Now Franks a good fellow…and nobody can’t complain of him as a Congressman, but when it comes to the whole United States I do say that in my judgment Frank Pierce is going to be spread durned thin.” This low opinion of the former Granite State Senator was one of the Whigs major talking points. Accusing him of making money off of public land grants, the Whigs also maligned him as an alcoholic. Criticizing Pierce’s decent war record in the Mexican War, the Whigs mocked him as the “hero of many a well fought bottle.” As Democrats maligned the martinet Scott for his love of pomp and protocol, the Whigs called Pierce “the fainting general” because at the Battle of Conteras his horse was startled by a cannon blast and injured Pierce’s groin. The pain would cause Pierce, a general named by President Polk, to faint during the heat of the struggle at Churubusco. Pierce was accused of cowardice by General Scott himself at Churubusco, so it was to be expected his campaign would do the same. It was said that when one Scott orator in Ohio fell from his platform on a church’s step he commented that he had only been showing, “How General Pierce fell from his horse.” It is to be noted that General Ulysses S. Grant, the military genius who saved the Union, wrote this about Pierce in his memoir: "Whatever General Pierce's qualifications may have been for the Presidency, he was a gentleman and a man of courage. I was not a supporter of him politically, but I knew him more intimately than I did any other of the volunteer generals." This is not half a bad endorsement.

Scott, knowing that his party was falling apart at the seams, engaged in an unheard of “non-political” tour of the West in October 1852. On his “non-political” tour he made sure to attack the Democratic platform and speak on behalf of several Whig Party congressional candidates. Scott’s claim that he was traveling to find a suitable spot for a soldier’s home fooled no one and the first ever campaign swing embarrassed Scott more than bolstering his party with “drum and fife” enthusiasm.

The election of 1852 was made exciting by the conventions and by the general election, but the final incredible moment of the election was the utter destruction of the Whig Party. The Whigs were badly fractured in 1852. The Union Party, led by angry Southern Whigs, had nominated Webster for president and the Sage of Massachusetts had agreed to accept votes. The Union Party nominated Webster while attacking Scott as nothing more than a military figure used as a puppet by Northern Whigs like William Henry Seward. The Democrats, on the other hand, ran a united, organized campaign. The Locofocos supported Pierce over Senator John P. Hale, the Free Soil Party nominee, and the Southern Fire-eaters backed him over the Southern Right’s Party. In the end “Gunpowder Glory” failed to save the Whig’s campaign or their party. Pierce’s overwhelming win the electoral and popular vote began the rapid deterioration of the party of Clay and Webster.

The death of a party is always a dramatic and unique experience in American political history. While the final outcome of 1852 was never in doubt the conventions and campaign do a great job entertaining election followers. The piercing of the Whig’s overinflated balloon would cause a massive explosion that would produce another major party and eventually a bloody civil war.     
74  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Should NASA's budget be increased? on: April 04, 2014, 08:37:16 pm
Oh God no! NASA should be eliminated and space exploration privatized. The government monopoly on space travel needs to be ended. NASA is a government backed monopoly which stifles scientific and technological advancement. For example, in 1987 and 1988, a Commerce Department-led working group considered the feasibility of offering a one-time prize and a promise of rent to any firm or consortium that could deliver a permanent manned moon base. Several private sector firms said that it could be done if NASA was not involved. Immediately NASA claimed that a moon base was not feasible and the idea was scuttled. This is not progress or scientific thinking.

There is a great market for privatized space exploration and study despite the fact that it seems out of Jules Verne. NASA refused to work when the government shutdown occurred in 2013. Thus, it appears the future can be put on hold if it is government run. While NASA scientists threw a fit about the shutdown a private company launched a rocket. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon spacecraft launched without a dime from the government. NASA demanded more money while the private sector simply did its job. While the private companies did benefit from prior NASA technology the fact that they could build a rocket themselves and launch it is a testament to the market for privatized space travel.   

As long as NASA dominates civilian space efforts, little progress will be made toward inexpensive manned space travel.
75  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: April 04, 2014, 08:15:21 pm
Why isn't 1932 above 2012? That's a pretty important election.
Important, yes, but the ending was a sure thing. It got a pretty high rating so no need to complain.
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