The Democratic convention in Charlotte will be held during the week of September 3, and the President is expected to receive the traditional bounce in the polls. Conservatives should not panic.
On July 26, 1988, the Gallup Poll for Newsweek was published. It was Gov. Michael Dukakis (D-MA) 55% vs. Vice President George H.W. Bush 38%. This was the first survey after the Democratic convention. Before the convention Dukakis was leading 47% to 41%, and this would be his peak.
Bush would carry 40 states, and was the last Republican to win many “blue states” that favor the Democratic Party. These states were Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois and California.
His victory percentage, 53.4%, has not yet been surpassed in any subsequent presidential election, and he was the last candidate to get a majority of the popular vote until his son’s 2004 election. This was also the last election in which a Republican nominee won a majority of Northern electoral votes.
In 1984, Walter Mondale’s (D-MN) standing rose 12 points after the Democratic convention that year, but the improved performance dissipated within ten days.
WHO WILL IT BE? Today’s New York Times is claiming the Romney vice presidential choice may be announced this week. Reporter Jeff Zeleny says, “Romney has reached a decision, his friends believe, and he may disclose it as soon as this week.”
Zeleny believes former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) is the frontrunner with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) as the backup.
Jim Geraghty of National Review says the best way to get a scoop on Romney’s decision is to watch his campaign plane.
Geraghty remind us that John Kerry’s 2004 selection of then Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) was broken by the U.S. Aviation Network website. Their members made the announcement after witnessing the repainting of the Kerry aircraft.
There are many candidates for this distinction, but the consequences were certainly devastating for Gov. John Gilligan (D-OH) in 1974. He is shown in 2009 with his daughter, Obama’s HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. She is a former Kansas Governor and they are the only father-daughter governors in U.S. history.
The 1974 election occurred in the wake of the Watergate scandal, which had forced President Richard Nixon’s resignation. The scandal allowed the Democrats to take 49 seats from the GOP in the U.S. House, and increased their majority above the two-thirds mark. One of the few bright spots for Republicans was Gilligan’s defeat for re-election.
Gilligan was an advocate of the first state income tax, and it was passed during his tenure. It was the major issue in the campaign, and Gilligan made it worse when he visited the state fair. He was asked if he was planning to attend the sheep shearing contest, and responded “I don’t shear sheep, I shear taxpayers.”
The comment was repeated endlessly and Gilligan lost by fewer than 1500 votes. Jack Germond of the Washington Star believes the joke may have also cost him the presidency.
He wrote: “Even before the returns were in from the 1974 elections, I had 1976 all figured out. After Watergate, Americans would be sick of anything connected to Washington, so the Democrats would nominate a governor.
“I even knew which one, John Gilligan. . . . My scenario fell apart, however, when Gilligan lost his campaign. . . Gilligan’s quick mouth didn’t help matters.”
Posted in Democrats, Flashback, Jimmy Carter, Notable People, Ohio, Trivia Questions
- Tagged 1974 election, first state income tax, Gov. John Gilligan, jack germond, john gilligan, John Rhodes, Kathleen Sebelius, politics, president richard nixon, shear sheep, watergate scandal
President Kennedy proposed cutting the top rate by 30%, and after his death Congress agreed to a 20% cut. Kennedy’s rhetoric is missing from today’s Democratic Party and he said:
“This nation needs a tax cut. . . A tax cut means higher family income. . . taxes siphon out of the private economy, too large a share of business and personal purchasing power. Taxes reduce the financial incentives for personal effort, investment and risk-taking.”
Speaking of the Kennedy tax cut, Harvard economist Ken Rogoff says “It wasn’t just that he pulled the country out of recession, but he put a tax system in place that laid the foundation for the boom that happened in the ’60s.”
ANSWER: Senator Ed Muskie (ME) actually won the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary by 10%, but the news media interpreted it as a significant loss because he ran behind the expectations his own campaign had set.
Muskie had been the 1968 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee and would go on to serve as Secretary of State in the Carter Administration. The Senator received excellent reviews after his 1970 nationally televised address which was the Democratic Party’s official response before the midterm elections.
Senate Majority Whip Ted Kennedy (D-MA) could have easily won the 1972 nomination if it had not been for the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident, and he was not a candidate.
During his 22 years in the Senate, Muskie was always a liberal, but he was not the leftwing choice that year. Muskie was the frontrunner among the party establishment and moderates. The liberal choice in 1972 was Sen. George McGovern (D-SD), and his slogan was “Right From The Start.” Similar to Barack Obama and the Iraq War in 2008, it meant McGovern was an early opponent of the Vietnam War.
Muskie was widely expected to be the nominee throughout 1971, but the first major warning was the Iowa precinct caucuses. Muskie won but McGovern did far better than expected. Muskie received 36% to McGovern’s 23%.
The mainstream media said McGovern had momentum but they expected New Hampshire to be landslide victory for Muskie. Many comparisons were made to the huge win of Sen. John F. Kennedy in the 1960 New Hampshire primary.
Both Kennedy and Muskie were Catholics from adjoining states and were well known in New Hampshire. The state Democratic Party was led by Sen. Thomas McIntyre (D-NH) and they were in full support of Muskie.
McGovern devoted 24 days to the state, while Muskie spent 13. The Maine Senator was significantly criticized by the conservative Manchester Union Leader, but that was to be expected. The Senator made a significant mistake when he decided to hold a rally in front of the Union Leader on a Saturday morning two weeks before the primary.
Speaking of the publisher, he said: “This man doesn’t walk, he crawls. . . By attacking me, by attacking my wife, he has proved himself to be a gutless coward.” Muskie himself later called it “a watershed incident.”
David Broder of The Washington Post wrote: “With tears streaming down his face and his voice choked with emotion, Muskie stood in the snow outside the Manchester Union Leader this morning and accused its publisher of making vicious attacks on him and his wife, Jane…
“In defending his wife, Muskie broke down three times in as many minutes — uttering a few words and then standing silent in the near blizzard, rubbing at his face, his shoulders heaving, while he attempted to regain his composure sufficiently to speak.”
Muskie won the primary by a 46% to 37% margin, but he failed to achieve the 50% goal his campaign had set or the 60% the news media had expected.
Coming in fourth in the Florida primary in March sealed Muskie’s fate, and he withdrew the following month. McGovern would go on to take the Democratic nomination, only to lose in a landslide to Richard Nixon that November.
Posted in Flashback, Jimmy Carter, Maine, Richard Nixon, Trivia Questions
- Tagged “Right From The Start”, Chappaquiddick incident, democratic presidential primary, Ed Muskie, government, iowa precinct caucuses, Jane Muskie, Manchester Union Leader, politics, Sen. George McGovern (D-SD)
Our quote of the day is from former Speaker Newt Gingrich: “President Clinton and the Republican Congress created a bipartisan work oriented reform of welfare in 1996. Obama is single handedly destroying our work.”
The GOP Congress passed welfare reform but Clinton deserves credit for signing the measure in August of 1996, despite significant liberal opposition. Clinton’s approval rating at the beginning of the year was similar to Obama’s (46%), and the Gallup Poll had him losing to Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS) by 10% in late 1995.
Clinton’s approval rating jumped six points after his January 23, 1996 State of the Union address, and he received one of the largest ratings boosts in history. He did it by abandoning liberal policies of 1993/1994, such as Hillarycare.
Clinton received numerous standing ovations from the GOP during his address that year when he spoke of welfare reform and said “The era of big government is over.” He then went on to talk of a government that “lives within its means,” and asserting that “deficit spending must come to an end.”
Later in the speech he boasted that the “federal government today is the smallest it has been in 30 years.” Obama has never received a similar response from the GOP.
Doug Schoen who was Clinton’s 1996 pollster says “He had his own health-care and spending baggage, but he shed it by adopting an agenda that included a balanced budget, frank acknowledgment of the limits of government and welfare reform. Clinton would almost certainly have lost the 1996 election had he not taken that approach. Democrats would have suffered major losses in the 1998 midterm election had they not followed him.”
ANSWER: Today is Friday the 13th. We are not superstitious but there was at least one President who tried to avoid this day. Franklin Roosevelt did not like the number 13 in general. He once counted 13 people at a dinner table, and insisted on finding someone else to join the group.
He thought 13 would bring bad luck. In the 1944 campaign he could not avoid traveling on Friday the 13th. His solution was to have his train leave at 12:50 pm on the 12th.
PHOTO: President Roosevelt is shown accepting the 1944 Democratic presidential nomination. He spoke from his private railroad car, the Ferdinand Magellan, in San Diego. The balding naval officer at left is Dr. Howard Bruenn, the cardiologist who saw FDR almost every day during the final year.
The President did not complain about the daily examinations but never asked one question about his health. FDR died on April 12, 1945.