New Albany, MS– Saturday afternoon I attended the ribbon cutting for the opening of the “Trump for President” headquarters here in New Albany.
In spite of the uproar that started a day earlier over a recording of Trump’s lewd and juvenile comments 11 years ago, there was a pretty good crowd at the New Albany Trump HQ opening. A few seemed a little downcast, but not overly discouraged. They still love “The Donald.” Some were, perhaps, a little defiant, angry at the big-time establishment Republicans who had abandoned Trump during the prior 24 hours. How can we possibly avoid recalling the “rats jumping from a burning ship” simile in this instance?
Perhaps the jaunty faithful at the new Trump headquarters had reflected on the fact that the election was still four weeks away. While many more embarrassing scandals about both candidates are likely to come to light in the coming weeks. What Yogi Berra famously said is still self-evident:
“It ain’t over til it’s over.”
During the 1980s, I worked for the daily newspapers in the capital city of a neighboring state. The best news source in town was a meeting that occurred in the late afternoon of each day the state legislature was in session. The meetings were also held every Friday, whether the legislature was in session or not.
These gatherings were held in the spacious offices of a wealthy, elderly lawyer, one who had probably not seen the inside of a courtroom for decades. In fact, the old gentleman practiced no law, but was a powerful lobbyist.
He had been a lobbyist, “influence peddler,” “personal adviser,” “fixer,” — whatever name you want to call it — since he had been a coat-holder for a popular state governor in the 1950s. He was the guy people went to see if they wanted some action (or lack of action) from the state government. You paid him a substantial “legal fee” and, very often, he was able to fix whatever needed fixing, if it pertained to the governor’s office, the legislature and/or some part of that state’s highly developed bureaucracy.
These friendly assemblies generally commenced around 3 p.m. each day and lasted into the evening. Food was served — potato chips, corn chips, dips, peanuts, pickled eggs — and thirsts were quenched at a well-stocked bar. The food and drink were free, courtesy of the old “lawyer’s” famous hospitality.
The meetings were well-attended: supreme court justices, legislators, other lobbyists, people who sold things to the state, bureaucrats, news people and some who were merely political junkies. Not every day, but a couple of times each week, a former governor, a jovial Scotch-Irishman who enjoyed hoisting a glass, would attend, and was a good-natured participant in the joviality. Several cigars would be fired up, and sometimes it got loud and stuffy. But a little business got done at these informal gatherings.
On the wall of the largest room in the office was a sampler that had been embroidered for the host by one of his daughters.
It expressed a brief and simple sentiment:
“Politics is a dirty, rotten, low-down game — especially when it’s done right.”
I have been reminded again and again of that pithy saying during the current presidential campaign. It, along with The Yog’s timeless wisdom, sums it up for the 2016 presidential campaign.
This is what’s most troubling: regardless of whether we elect The Crook or The Narcissist come November 8th, we will have elected the most despised American president ever — even more hated than Lincoln in 1860. The “winner” of this election will be bitterly hated by half the people in the country.