Election shenanigans: Predictable or perplexing?

Frank CagleFrank Talk

Every election season I like to look up and read again excerpts of the most famous speech never given. It was allegedly used in a 1950 Democratic primary in the Florida panhandle. Its origin has been lost in the sands of time but my theory is that bored newspaper reporters, who had to listen to the same speech all day long, constructed it as a parody of mud-slinging politicians and stupid voters.


George Smathers won the senate seat over Claude Pepper allegedly by telling voters that his opponent “openly masticated in front of his parents” was known in Washington as a “shameless extrovert” whose brother was “a homo sapiens” and that his wife was a known “thespian” before her marriage and was paid to perform on public stages. Before his marriage, Pepper “practiced celibacy” and now engages in “nepotism with his sister-in-law.” Various iterations of the speech are floating around, but those are my favorite lines.

Frank Cagle

Smathers denied having anything to do with the speech and offered a $10,000 reward to anybody who could prove he did. He was actually content to just call his liberal opponent “Red Pepper” and accuse him of being a communist. It was enough for Smathers to win by 10 points and hang around for three terms.

Some people believe the Florida panhandle is still home to “low information voters” and should be annexed by Alabama. But, hey, Florida managed to get through the election without messing it up this time.

Change of venue: Glenn Reynolds, UT law professor and the creator of Instapundit, has parted company with USA Today. His column has moved to the New York Post. It will be weekly after the first of the year. Until then it will be “fortnightly” which is British for every other week. Reynolds is taking every other week off for a while “because I’m tired.”

Reynolds hasn’t said, but other bloggers have speculated that USA Today censored his column about the Bidens.

He loved the speech: Jon Meacham is a Tennessee boy who went up north and made good, editing Newsweek until the print edition folded. He wrote a really good biography of Andy Jackson which qualifies him as a “presidential historian.” Cable news only quotes historians who are “presidential historians.” Meacham often appears on MSNBC on Morning Joe and on panels during elections. He has been a frequent critic of President Trump and had high praise for Joe Biden’s speech accepting his win. The New York Times reveals that, unbeknownst to MSNBC, Meacham has been helping Biden write his speeches for some time, including his acceptance speech that Meacham liked so much. The Times reports that MSNBC would no longer pay Meachum as a contributor but he could appear as a guest. He appeared on Morning Joe as usual yesterday.

They know better: Contrary to what you might believe, or the impression you may have garnered from news coverage, there are some very smart and capable people in Tennessee General Assembly.

The Non-Moronic Caucus governs well, by and large, while the morons are busy generating news and press releases with unconstitutional bills to subjugate women, discriminate against gay people and attempt to turn state government into a theocracy.

The non-moronic majority is smart enough to know that Donald Trump’s lawsuits thus far have failed. That even if he were to win all the suits it isn’t enough votes to overturn the election. That polls show that only three percent of Americans think Trump won the election. That while Biden was winning, Republicans down ballot, on the same voting machines, counted by the same election workers, won their races. The Democrats did not take the Senate and the party lost seats in the House. How do you rig a vote scanner to turn Trump votes into Biden votes and re-elect other Republicans?

How then do you explain that 24 of 27 state senators voted to urge Trump to keep fighting the election results? There are certainly some of them who have made no attempt to look at the facts, but blindly follow Trump’s lead. As for the rest, I said they were smart, I didn’t say they were courageous. The House voted 66 of 73 members to follow suit.

Trump not only carried Tennessee, in most of the smaller counties he carried it by whopping margins.

Locals who didn’t sign the letters include Sen. Richard Briggs and state Reps. Justin Lafferty and Eddie Mannis.

Frank Cagle is a veteran newspaper editor and columnist.

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