Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Perpetuating the Ford Political Machine

Control of the Senate, at this point, is centering on Tennessee. And that’s because the Democrats have an unusually attractive candidate who has, with considerable media success, reinvented himself as a moderate. HAROLD FORD certainly is iintelligent, rather charismatic, and all that. But, people of Tennessee, check him out more closely. These’s a controversy over his claim that he’s a lawyer. He did graduate from the University of Michigan Law School, but he also flunked the bar the one time he took it. He probably didn’t bother to study because he didn’t need to pass it. He didn’t need to work! Immediately afer graduation, at the age of 26, he assumed, almost by hereditary right, his dad’s seat in Congress, perpetuating the Ford political machine in Memphis.

The best case against Ford is that he’s never held a real job! He’s a political hack! His oppponent, by contrast, has achieved great success as a very entrepreneurial contractor and volunteer civic leader. Check out the BOB CORKER story. In this key case, Republicans need to shout that our candidate is the one with the admirable record of real accomplishment.

Discussions - 8 Comments

"He’s a political hack!"

You just flunked Cheerleading 101.

According to your analysis, Peter, neither Richard Nixon nor JFK ever had a real job. Ditto FDR. President Bush is a marginal case.

Steve:

Hey, be fair. Bush had some real jobs. He was just terrible at them, and he only got them because of family connections.

I guess now we’re into the ressentiment phase of the campaign. Good sign for Dems.

And let’s not forget Harry Truman, a favorite of NLT. Like GWB, Truman was a failed businessman - though less lucky than GWB. But Truman had extraordinary experience relevant to politics: he commanded men as a volunteer in World War I, and he was a Democratic machine guy in Kansas City. Let’s hear it for political hacks!!

Having said that, Steve, of course it’s the case that background isn’t everything. But it is, as they say, something. And the appeal against machines and parasitical professional politicians is effective. Nixon passed the bar, and then nobody would hire him. Nothing, to say the least, was ever handed to him. JFK was a war hero, same with Bush the elder. Roosevelt overcame incredible personal adversity. Truman was a REAL machine guy who worked his way up through his personal merit. GWB learned lots from his various kinds of failures as a young man.

Ah yes: Bentsen’s rhetorical immortality, and Quayle’s. Nice move, Peter, but your point was too strong - as was Quayle’s.

I actually thought that Quayle’s point was silly (not strong, I wish he had made more strong points), while Bentsen got away with a ridiculous cheap shot, given his own mediocrity.

Peter - I think we’re saying the same thing: Quayle drew too strong a connection with JFK based on "experience" alone.

How do we probe the admirable qualities (often) of professional politicians, and the political weaknesses (often) of people successful in business?

As for Bentsen, all he needed on that occasion was a little gray and a bit of gravitas (since Quayle, poor guy, had none).

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