Thursday, June 10, 2010

TODAY'S RIGHTWING ALTERNATIVE HISTORY LESSON. In a post about Mitch Daniels' transparently insincere offer of a "truce" on social issues, Ramesh Ponnuru sighs over what might have been with... the Phil Gramm Presidential campaign.
I also can't help but think of Phil Gramm's presidential campaign in 1996. Like Daniels, Gramm was an enthusiastic budget-cutter. Concern about big government was running strong in the years just prior to that election. Gramm had a solid social-conservative record, but consciously chose not to campaign on it; he famously flew out to Colorado Springs to tell James Dobson, "I'm not a preacher." That approach helped to doom Gramm's campaign.
Actually Gramm's campaign was doomed by the fact that he made Boss Hogg look like John Kenneth Galbraith. I recall wondering in 1996 whether Gramm actually thought anyone outside Texas could tolerate him, or whether he was just padding his post-political resume. He was a miserable, unpleasant candidate who received a grand total of 71,456 primary votes, less than even the clinically mad Alan Keyes.

As to his stump style, I regret that I cannot remember the name of the writer who said that the bizarre rictus which overtook Gramm's face whenever he attempted to show amusement was like the stricken visage of a sufferer from gas pains.

And age hasn't improved him any:

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