When I and Mick Jagger
were born, Franklin Roosevelt was president. Some people, including
my great-aunt Anna, said he was a socialist. She wouldn’t be voting
this year for Bernie Sanders. She wouldn’t have supported Hillary
just because she’s a woman and some early version of Madeleine
Albright threatened her with hell if she didn’t support women at
every political opportunity. She was no fan of Eleanor Roosevelt
But the choice of
Republican candidate wasn’t much easier back then than it is today.
As one of the early women Republican activists, Great-Aunt Anna may
have supported Wendell Willkie in the election of 1940.
Or maybe not. Get this.
Wikipedia, “Willkie was a longtime Democratic activist, changed
his party registration to Republican in late 1939. He did not run in
the 1940 presidential primaries, but positioned himself as an
acceptable choice for a deadlocked convention. He sought backing
from uncommitted delegates, while his supporters, many youthful,
enthusiastically promoted his candidacy.”
Great-Aunt Anna may have
supported the Republican candidate, Thomas Dewey, who was an
isolationist in the middle of WWII; as a teenager, I listened enrapt
to her stories, but can’t remember the names of all her favorite
candidates. Because she was Catholic, Al Smith, who would have been
the first Catholic president, could have been one of them, although
he was a Democrat; she would have approved of his active opposition
to Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Well, my birthday week is
coming up and I’m delighted that Mick Jagger, at my age, is doing so
well, though we have lost John Denver and Janis Joplin. But politics
intrudes even on my birthday musings about mortality. I’ve been
asked if Mitt Romney could be “drafted” by a Republican convention
that can’t coalesce around one Republican who ran in the primaries
Just as some people
foolishly rejected Romney because he was a Mormon, others rejected
Al Smith because he was Catholic; the suspicion of a papist
presidency lasted until John Kennedy, whose looks and charm got him
past it. Hopefully those who sulked Obama into the presidency regret
it enough that they could support Romney this time, because as
nearly as I’ve been able to find out, a deadlocked Republican
convention could ask him to run again.
It would be easier if he’d
stayed out of the Republican primary fray, instead of attacking
Trump for “his comments about Hispanics,” which I seem to recall as
comments about illegal immigrants; the Hispanic part was incidental.
Mitt had better reason to disagree with Trump’s favorable comments
about Putin, whom Romney was the first to identify as a threat to
the United States.
Anyhow, it seems that
Romney has already been “drafted” into the establishment campaign to
get an establishment candidate elected: While chastising Trump, he’s
said good things about Rubio and Bush. I think they were tweets,
heaven help us. I use my age as an excuse not to tweet. Opinionated
people like me need to take time to think about what they are going
to say; that’s why I write a column and chat on
Facebook instead of impulsively sharing with the world the first
thing that comes to mind in a tweet.
As I write this, I’m
expecting Kasich to do well in New Hampshire, and that might keep
the establishment happy enough. If I lived there I might have voted
for Chris Christie: he was so good in Saturday’s Republican debate
that I’d pick him as the best to debate the eventual Democrat
nominee. My partner Chip Ford is right in assuming that Ted Cruz
would do well in that debate too. Not so sure about Donald Trump,
who often lacks specifics; I could still support him though.
Not living in New
Hampshire, I have a few weeks to decide until the March 1
Massachusetts primary. I just know I won’t vote for Marco Rubio. I
don’t hold his questioning Obama’s motivations against him, though
he lost points in the Republican debate for making his query sound
robotic. My problem with him is that again during Saturday’s debate
he said he could not support abortion for any reason, and that means
he cannot win a general election. Most of those Independent women we
need to vote with us might go along with wanting to restrict
abortion after 20 weeks, as I can, but not from the moment of
conception. I think this could be a problem for Cruz as well.
So, imagine a deadlocked
Republican convention: could it draft Mitt Romney to run, with
Romney voters saying generously, “we forgive all of you who
foolishly elected Barack Obama long enough to change America for the
worse?” Rubio is right to bring up Obama’s motivation; it’s a good
discussion for grown-up voters to have. Let’s also discuss how
amnesty will essentially change America, Sen. Rubio, kiddo.
Is Obama just
inexperienced and incompetent, or did he deliberately set out to
destroy the America I grew up in? I can’t decide which, myself.
Either way, it’s going to take a competent, even extraordinary
leader to fix what the president has broken.
Many things have changed
since I was born in 1943: a new house cost $3,600; now a new house
costs close to $350,000. Of course my father provided a nice little
ranch without my mother working outside the home; more and more I
see that as a good thing for society, though I myself didn’t support
it for long. Great-Aunt Anna encouraged me to pay attention to
politics, and while in 1943 a movie ticket was 35 cents, Vitamin D
milk 62 cents, and gas 15 cents a gallon, politics doesn’t really
change. The issues of freedom of the press and executive privilege
came up during the Adams vs. Jefferson campaigns.
All I can do is celebrate
my birthday and hope I’ll be still alive and prepared to vote when
it’s our turn on March 1, 2016.
Barbara Anderson of
Marblehead is a weekly columnist for the Salem News and
Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company.