When Mick Jagger and I 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 either.
But the choice of Republican candidate wasn't much easier back then than it is today. As an early woman Republican activist, Great-aunt Anna may have supported Wendell Willkie in the election of 1940.
Or maybe not. Get this. According to 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 I 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, and 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 this year.
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. Let's hope those who sulked Barack 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 Donald Trump, he's said good things about Marco Rubio and Jeb 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.
A was expecting John 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 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 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 would 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 Sunday Eagle-Tribune columnist.