Of everything that I read following Florida Primary, nothing stuck with me quite as much as the The Daily Telegraph’s statement that 92% of campaign advertising in the Sunshine State this election has been negative. The Daily Beast’s considerably more bilious commentary called the 2012 primary the most intense mudslinging seen in more than a decade.
In following this campaign, I am reminded of President Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment, which he learned from California GOP Chair Gaylord Parkinson: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican”. But, specifically in considering the place our campus is honored to have this primary season, I am reminded more of a story that my godfather once told me about Robert E. Lee’s tenure as president of our college following the Civil War. The general made it a matter of honor, it is said, that no one would, in his presence, be allowed to speak ill of his onetime-bitter rival, General Ulysses S. Grant.
Bringing prominent politicians to Washington and Lee’s campus places them by necessity in the shadow of two larger-than-life figures. Can a modern politician be expected to show his allies as much grace as Lee once showed his enemies? Perhaps this is what separates the politicians from the true statesmen. Just as the election reaches its fever pitch, we must consider the difference between candidates with the daring and swagger to attract our interest in an election, and those with the honor and dignity to lead our country in war and peace.
The cartoon above was contributed by Jim Huber, whose work appears in the National Review and on his websites, conservativecartoons.com and jimhuber.com.
Tue, February 7, 2012
by Jim Huber, Thomas Groesbeck filed under