Presidential politics hasn’t changed one bit

Published 4:32 pm Tuesday, October 11, 2016

If you think there is no love lost between the two major party candidates for president this cycle, you’re right. But, is it the worst in history as many are saying? Not really.

Despite what the news media say, the 2016 race does not rate in the Top Five Nasty Presidential campaigns. Here are a few historical highlights (or lowlights) of some past campaigns.

Ever since our United States was born and political offices were sought, some of the men who pursued the offices were doozies. Ever heard of Aaron Burr.

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He was Vice-President in 1804 in the Thomas Jefferson administration and had his sights set on the presidency until the man whose face is on the ten-dollar bill, Alexander Hamilton, challenged him. To make the long story short, Hamilton made Burr mad and was challenged to a duel by Burr. Burr shot Hamilton graveyard dead in 1804. I saw some deadly “looks” in Sunday night’s debate, but at least no lead bullets were flying!

George Washington was the first president and I don’t think he had too much opposition, but it didn’t take long before running for president became the contact sport we know today.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson opposed each other in 1800 and it included some pretty colorful language. At that time, the person with the second most votes automatically became vice president. Adams and Jefferson served as president and vice president, respectfully, during the four years after Washington.

During the election, Jefferson hired a writer so he could appear to keep his hands clean. The writer was quite a wordsmith. He called John Adams “a hideous hermaphroditical character which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.” Take that, Mr. President!

President Adams didn’t take it lying down and fired back, “Are you prepared to see your dwellings in flames… female chastity violated… children writhing on the pike? GREAT GOD OF COMPASSION AND JUSTICE, SHIELD MY COUNTRY FROM DESTRUCTION.”

The interesting thing about this battle between Adams and Jefferson was that, although you could never tell by their political campaigning, but they were great friends until the day they both died, July 4, 1826.

That was two years before what most historians consider the nastiest presidential campaign in history. Of course they didn’t know about this current one.

In 1824 Andrew Jackson had run for the presidency against the aristocratic John Quincy Adams. Jackson was what we call a populist, like Donald Trump, and a common man, perhaps not like Trump.

Adams used some political shenanigans in 1824 to finagle a 1824 victory. Jackson didn’t like Adam’s actions and started immediately running for 1828.

Adams was a professional politician and Jackson was the “people’s man.” Adams said his opponent wasn’t smart enough to be president and lacked the temperament. Sound familiar?

Jackson’s mother was called a prostitute although the word they used began with a “wh” and rhymes with “more.” Old Hickory’s wife was said to be prone to “open and notorious lewdness.”

Jackson, who had actually killed a man in a duel in 1806, called his opponent a “pimp” for the Czar of Russia. Even way back then, Russia played a part in our nation’s politics. Did the Bible really say “There is nothing new under the sun?” Yes.

One more thing. The Lincoln-Douglas debates have been the most famous presidential debates in history, but I thought it was interesting what Abe Lincoln, who was mentioned the other night, said about Douglas.

Honest Abe said, “He talks a great deal, very loud, always about himself.” Is that from 1860 or 2016?