West: Need rain? Call on Good Ole Days

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Next time we have a drought ... let's schedule "Good Ole Days!"

Yep, it seems like we can always count on rain ... heavy rain ... when 'Good Ole Days' sets up on Woodbury's Square. This year was no exception. Just when I was pondering a nice serving of strawberry shortcake, it began to absolutely pour.

I can't complain about my timing. The onslaught began just before I headed out the front door of the Cannon Courier. It could have been much worse. I could have had shortcake in hand, ready to take a big bite when the rain started. It was a frog strangler.

"Good Ole Days" weather reminds me a bit of "Walking Horse Show Weather." Yes, it is hard to believe, but I worked several years on the staff of the Shelbyville newspaper and almost always it rained turning the "track" into soupy mud. Those high-stepping Walking Horses would send a hail of mud on those spectators who were "lucky" enough to have a box seat right next to the track. That's why you should never wear white clothing to a horse show.

I recall a particular occasion when a friend of mine showed up at the horse show wearing a lovely white dress. After competition's first class, it looked like she had been in a mud-ball fight. Needless to say, she made a hasty retreat.


Putting the literal mud-throwing aside for a second ... it doesn't take much of a political soothsayer to predict the upcoming presidential race might the the nastiest since 1828.

That election featured Tennessean Andrew Jackson against John Quincy Adams. (If you see him, ask Dan Whittle about that race. Yep, he covered it. In those days, he had hair.)

The 1828 race was extremely ugly with Adam's followers mudslinging about Jackson's marriage.

In case you didn't know, when Jackson married his wife Rachel in 1791, the couple believed she was divorced, unfortunately, her first husband hadn't signed the papers. Adams' campaign took full advantage of that problem. For example, the Cincinnati Gazette, asked: "Ought a convicted adulteress and her paramour husband be placed in the highest offices of this free and Christian land?" Jackson was also portrayed as a slave trader

To be fair, Jackson's campaign went after Adams as well. It was alleged Adams, while serving as Minister to Russia, had surrendered an innocent American servant girl to the prurient appetites of the Czar. Adams was also accused of using public funds to buy gaming devices for the White House. (A chess set and a billiards table.)

Jackson was the first presidential candidate to use modern campaign styles. No, he didn't appear on TV, but he hosted picnics, kissed babies and started many traditions still in practice today.

But, if current trends continue, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton will have the dirtiest campaign since the days of Jackson and Adams.

Nasty! And it doesn't take much in the way of political prognostication to foresee that. Few, if any, real issues have emerged yet. Given the past exploits of both candidates, both campaigns will hinge on who can come up with the nastiest scandals and there seems to be no shortage of them.

At this point, the two overriding issues seems to be Trump's taxes and Hillary's Benghazi "Affair." If the gospel truth manages to escape on either one of those issues, the campaign could be over.

Heck, the way things are going, a (pardon the expression) "dark horse" candidate could emerge like James K. Polk did in 1844.

Martin Van Buren, who was Jackson's vice president, was expected to win the Democratic nomination and face Whig Henry Clay of Kentucky.

At the Democratic convention, the elderly Jackson pushed a candidate dedicated to the ideal of "Manifest Destiny." Jackson got his way and Polk won the nomination on the ninth ballot. And yes, the Tennessee resident won the election.

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Mike West column
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