Donald Trump and George Wallace

On a Sunday talk show Trump refused three times to disavow support from the KKK.  This doesn’t fit the narrative, so I doubt it will be big news.  Things that hurt Trump are not publicized by the Queen and her hive.  Trump is their preferred Republican candidate.  He’s the only one Hillary or Bernie could possibly beat, so everything they’ve got on him will be closely held.  If he gets the nomination, all hell will break loose.

Most people don’t remember George Wallace in ’68.  He wasn’t just a Southern phenomenon.  I believe he won Michigan.  In contrast to Trump, Wallace was caricatured as an ignorant bigot.  The media did all it could to destroy him.

Wallace and Trump are highly similar in one respect.   Anger  — simmering, hot.  Both the candidates and their supporters enjoyed venting their frustration, rage.  When you’re royally pissed off you don’t let the small stuff  — like rationality, the facts — interfere with your rage.  You just want to vent.  This is what the Republican Party gets for 30 years of lies on illegal immigration.  I’m totally pissed off at it myself, so I thought I understood where the Trump cult was coming from.  But these people are beyond pissed off.  They’re white hot with rage, or else they’re just dopes being taken in by a con artist.  It makes a potent political combination.

Politics can get real personal.  Sen. Vitter is not the Governor of Louisiana today because the incumbent, Bobby Jindal, would rather have a Democrat succeed him than Vitter.  So that’s what Jindal helped happen, all because he hated Vitter, personally.  Now Christie, Sen. Sessions, and Maine Gov. Lepage have endorsed Trump.  Christie hates Rubio, deeply, personally.  He blames him for his loss in New Hampshire, his one big chance to break through.  Marco couldn’t help himself, when Christie withdrew, from rubbing it in.  He emailed him this totally snarky request for an endorsement.  It’s like he was trying to provoke him.  Well, he did.

Like all or virtually all of his colleagues, Sen Sessions personally dislikes Cruz.  He was willing to defend him on the Gang of Eight controversy with Rubio, but only because he and Cruz agree on this issue.  Other than that, he can’t stand him personally.  I don’t understand LePage’s endorsement.  It could be anything.  LePage is kind of a nut himself, though not in the Donald’s league.  Trump’s in a league of his own.

I can’t defend Cruz on this.  I guess he’s just an arrogant man, at least when he’s around his colleagues in the Senate.  I admit I was a little arrogant myself, when I got elected to the Alaska State Senate in ’82.  But I always had some friends.  I wasn’t a complete jerk.

My district, South Anchorage, despised Juneau Senator Bill Ray.  The big paper then, the Anchorage Times, was constantly running stories about he was screwing Anchorage and the rest of the state over.  Anything Juneau wanted, it got.  Anchorage and South Central could go to hell.

I was walking down the street in Juneau, the day before the beginning of the session.  On the other side of the street was Bill Ray.  I knew what he looked like, but I’d never actually seen him before.  So I looked him over pretty good.  I was sizing him up.

The next day I found out he’d kicked me off the Judiciary Committee.  He was the Chairman, and he could do that.  This was my one committee assignment.  I had no other.  I was a lawyer, the only Republican one in the Senate.  So I went to Senator Ray’s office to introduce myself, and ask to be put on his committee.  He relented, and as it turned out, that was good move for him.  Bill wasn’t a lawyer, and he was no liberal.  He was a union man, pure and simple.  Besides Bill and me, the other three committee members were liberal Democrat lawyers.  When legal questions came up, Bill wanted to know what I thought.  I was a valuable member of the committee, and Bill appreciated that.

So, on a personal level, Bill and I were sort of friends.  And even on the everyday politics of the Senate, we didn’t go after each other unless we really had to.  I actually went out of my way one day not to embarrass him on the Senate floor.  He appreciated it.

So Bill told me stories, and he had some good ones.  In ’66 or so, when Mike Gravel was Speaker of the House, he and Bill were staying in a waterfront hotel in Sitka, on state business.  They were at the front desk checking out, when Gravel asked him to go back up the stairs to his room and fetch his bags for him.  So Bill went back to Gravel’s room, opened the window, and threw Gravel’s bags in the ocean.  Bill liked telling that story.

I don’t know how many people I served with in my eight years in Juneau.   But there weren’t really that many that I didn’t get along with O.K.  By and large, they were good Alaskans, trying to do what was right for the people of the state.  They’d all gotten up off their ass and done something.  There was no money in it.  Our secretaries made more than we did.  The thing is, when you’re a state legislator you’re somebody.

And that’s a good feeling.

 

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