Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Bob Dole at 93

The former senator and presidential candidate was initially reticent to endorse Donald Trump, but has become quite a vocal supporter.  Not surprising since Paul Manafort was a top strategist in his '96 campaign.  However, Uncle Bob seems to have a bad memory.  Republican operatives, with the help of Manafort, decided to cut loose the floundering presidential candidate and focus on Congressional seats, which they were determined to maintain control of.

This so-called "blank check" strategy wasn't unleashed until October, blindsiding poor old Bob who was drubbed in the national election, losing by nearly 10 per cent of the popular vote and over 200 electoral votes, pretty much bringing to an end any influence he had in the GOP.   Looks like we can expect to see this strategy again, but the situation is different now, according to Andrew Romano.  Dole may not have been very popular among voters, but he wasn't a drain on the GOP.  Trump threatens to bring everyone down around him.

Why Bob would even get involved in this election is beyond me.  Sit back, watch it from the sidelines as your contemporary George H.W. Bush is doing.  But, no, Uncle Bob feels a need to give his two-cents worth, not that anyone really cares, least of all Donald Trump.

It seems Uncle Bob still harbors a grudge against the Clintons for robbing him of his political moment.  It wasn't a particularly nasty election as I recall.  Bob was 73 at the time, clearly on the downside of a long political career.  He had tried to push his WWII creds, but no one was much interested.  The economy was rebounding thanks to the burgeoning dot-com bubble, and Bob was simply too old to have any idea what was going on.  Kind of like Mackie in 2008.

His wife Elizabeth, 13 years his junior, would have been a better candidate than him.  She was a rising star in the GOP, having served in both the Reagan and Bush cabinets, and excited the crowd much more at the 96 convention than did her husband.  She had a sharp sense of humor and I think could have given Bill a run for his money.  She would run in 2000, but her campaign never got off the ground.  She did win the retired seat of Jesse Helms in 2002, serving one term in the Senate.  Ironically, she was in the same chamber with Hillary and Barack Obama. Unfortunately, she was a victim of the 2008 blowback against Republicans and lost her seat to Democrat Kay Hagan.

It seems Liddy has no horse in this race.  She hasn't spoken out like her husband, content to see this election play out as it will.  Gone are most of the strong women in the GOP, replaced by shrill Teabaggers like Joni Ernst and Kelly Ayotte.  One has to think she is none too happy about the direction the Republican Party has taken, but being a good trooper has opted for silence.

Not Bob.  I suppose every four years his political spirit awakens, and regardless of who the Republican nominee is, he wants to play a part in the campaign.  It doesn't seem like Trump is interested in Uncle Bob's unsolicited advice, as I don't recall any mention of Dole on the campaign trail.  Still, he got a shout out at the Republican Convention.  He also got a seat next to Amber Smith.  That must have made him feel good.

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