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Friday, July 17, 2015

A good man

A presidential candidate complains the incumbent president should be faulted for using big words; his brother's minions attacked his opponents as being elitists, and even "French."

Attacking higher education is de rigueur among the Ivy-educated contenders of 2016. One authentic thing about Governor Scott Walker is that, in college, he blow off his classes to run for student association president; defeated, he blew off his degree to run for the Wisconsin state senate.

Anti-intellectualism is a strain of American political strategy going back to the earliest days of the Republic. The phrase "bunkum," shortened to "bunk" sprang from a cant-filled speech by North Carolina Congresscritter Felix Walker around 1820, the inanities of which he defended by saying, "I'm from Buncombe, I have to speak for my people."

Still, sometimes American has benefitted from the service of men of the mind. One of the better presidents America never had, Adlai Stevenson, died fifty years ago July 14. American had two chances to elect him. At a rally during one of those doomed campaigns, a man in the crowd shouted, "Governor, all thinking Americans are voting for you!"

Stevenson beamed, then replied,"That's not enough, I need a majority."

Adlai Stevenson II (1900-1965)
Governor of Illinois
Democratic nominee for President, 1952, 1956
US Ambassador to the United Nations

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