This column was written before a vote was counted, so I do not know who, presumably, was elected president yesterday. What I do know is that this has been one hell of a slam bang election season. Assuming the lawyers don't over-litigate the results, pay no attention to the sissy, panty-waist, good government, sanctimonious, upstanding, highly principled, furrow-browed, chin pulling, thoughtful, easily shocked commentators, who complain about lying candidates, robo-telephoned slanders, whispering campaigns, stuffed ballot boxes, biased reporting. This is what a muscular, healthy democracy (or a constitutional republic, for you semantic, constitutional purists) looks like when it cares about the outcome of an election.
This is the kind of election our Founding Fathers and their first and second generation sons actually ran from Adams to Lincoln. They accused each other of treason, atheism, sexual misconduct, miscegenation (interracial copulation and child-bearing) and whore-mongering. They attacked the wives and children of the candidates. They set up newspapers for the express purpose of lying about their opponents. They wrote nasty anonymous letters. They gave whiskey to the voters. They traded offices for votes. They played off class against class, the monied against the poor, the bankers against the farmers. They fought duels, sometimes to the death. They may have written a high-minded constitution, but they fought elections about the same way that a New Orleans pimp keeps his women in line and fights off his competitors. And they approached the voters about the same way those prostitutes approached their customers.
The Founders and their early progeny were men who had known a lack of liberty before they had fought and bled to gain it, who knew that their form of government was not secure and fought at the ballot box with the desperate ferocity that attends such uncertainty. To the question: What price liberty? Their answer was: Whatever it takes. If their vision of a constitutional republic could only be gained by the exploitation of whiskey, calumny and vote fraud -- then that is what they would use to win the day. Because they were not willing to lose the day.
And if Americans, today, have that same sense of urgency and desperation about their government (on both sides), why should we be any less bold and ruthless than our honored ancestors?
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.