Friday, August 04, 2006

Clinton and the Fords

I watched Harold Ford, Jr. and Bill Clinton speak at the LP Field last night, and all I can say is that both those guys can work a room. It was a refreshing change from the standard stiff bullshit that comes out of the mouths of the regular politicians, you know, the ones who all look like Trent Lott with the exact same haircut -- severe part on the side with bangs sprayed tight across the forehead. The haircut that I had in third grade.

So Ford got the nomination, no surprise there. And the powers-that-be are obviously grooming him for a future run at the White House. But there is a Senate race to deal with first. Now the fun begins. If you aren't from Tennessee, you know that he comes from a power hungry political family, and one that doesn't always play by the rules. I don't know exactly the details of how they are all related, but there are uncles and cousins and the like who have won races in West Tennessee by getting votes from dead people and pets. I don't know if this guy is going to be able to distance himself from guilt by association in addition to any other obstacles he may face in his campaign. (No one trusts a bachelor. Is he gay or a playboy?)

I think the most telling factor when you look at how his family will do anything to gain power, is to look at his father. Junior followed in his dad's footsteps by getting his law degree from Michigan, where Senior was an All-American football star. Senior had a long and distinguished career in congress, but that wasn't enough power for the cagey politician. So, through a series of backroom dealings, he became the only man to ever gain the presidency who was never elected to the office in any way. For you youngsters, the Nixon administration was mired in controversy before the whole Watergate thing came up. Part of the controversy forced the Vice President, Spiro T. Agnew, to resign. I can't remember exactly why he had to resign, I was around the age where I had the severe part and bangs combed over my forehead. Anyway, when Agnew resigned, Tricky Dick appointed Ford to Vice President, then Nixon stepped down, making Ford the President. He was never elected, and was soundly beat by Jimmy Carter in the next election. But he did have a few years as the most powerful man in the free world, a position Junior desperately wants to attain.

So, Clinton is helping groom the Fords to be the next Father/Son team in the White House. Just politics as usual, I suppose.


At 6:37 PM , Blogger ceeelcee said...

Between this and the George/Bill Clinton reference, you're becoming Nashville's answer to Emily Litella. Or Mr. Magoo. I like it.

"Never mind."

At 7:38 AM , Blogger bridgett said...

I've seen Clinton speak a couple of times. (That's what you get for going to school in Iowa.) It doesn't really matter whether you're at a Labor Day barbeque with 500 people or in Carver-Hawkeye Arena filled to capacity, he just draws the audience in and connects with them.

In the early 80s, I also saw Gerald Ford speak on foreign policy in a speech obliquely critical of Reaganism. Since I hated Reagan with the purple passion of youth, this made Ford alright in my book. I held a bit of affection for him even earlier than that because I saw Ford riding in an open car at the Elkins, WVA Forest Festival Parade sometime during his presidency. This was right after Squeaky Fromme and Sarah whatshername tried to kill him, so I remember thinking he was pretty courageous. Then again, I was eight or nine. I was pretty easily impressed.

Spiro T. went from being a county commissioner in Maryland to a Veep in six years. Not bad for an insurance salesman and night-school lawyer. He resigned over allegations that he had evaded taxes and helped buddies launder money in Maryland -- he was indicted and convicted, but given probation rather than a jail term.

At 5:30 PM , Blogger newscoma said...

Back in the day of the Clinton presidency, there were a series of black churches that were burned in west Tennessee. Clinton, the wife, the VP, and Tipper all came to Fruitland, which is a small unincorporated town over near Jackson and made a speech at one of the churches. It was hotter than hell, but man, could he give a speech. One of the cameramen from Fox who was from Washington got really hot and complained from the press section the whole time about us (being southerners) and the heat.
He wasn't impressed with us and he covered Clinton all the time so he didn't give a crap.
But the rest of us were mezmerized.


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