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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Friday, February 26, 2010

Kristin Davis: Madam Governor?

From LoHud.com

Gov. David Paterson may be out of the running for election this fall, but another candidate just announced her plans to run for the seat: Eliot Spitzer’s former madam Kristin Davis.

From her news release announcing her campaign event on Monday:

Kristin Davis, known as the Manhattan Madam who supplied call girls for Eliot Spitzer when he was Attorney General and Governor, will announce her candidacy for Governor of New York State as an Independent Candidate... on March 1, 2010... [Davis had earlier said she would seek the Libertarian Party's nomination].

Davis will announce her intention to petition her way onto the ballot and will outline her platform, which includes legalization, regulation and taxation of prostitution and marijuana to generate urgently needed new revenues for New York State and her support for gay marriage.

In attendance will be Penthouse Pet Ryan Keely and Penthouse Columnist Dr. Victoria Zdrok. Also in attendance will be supporter Susan Austin, Madam of The Mustang Ranch.

Thanks to Ballot Access News for the link.

Politics in the 1970s and 1980s

Another of my missives to that group of political junkies...


The 1978 U. S. Senate election in Mississippi was actually a 4-way race, although the litigious Henry Kirksey of Jackson, another black independent, wasn't a factor. The Republican Thad Cochran got 45.0 percent; the Democrat Maurice Dantin of Columbia 31.8 percent; Fayette mayor Charles Evers 22.9 percent; and Kirksey 0.3 percent (Evers ran as an independent).

Evers was endorsed by boxing great Muhammed Ali and actor-singer Kris Kristofferson, who were shooting the movie Freedom Road in Mississippi.

I doubt that any Democrat-- Governor Cliff Finch, former lieutenant governor Charles Sullivan, or ex-Governor Bill Waller Sr.-- could have won under the circumstances, although the colorless Dantin's campaign would not have been hard to top. About all he said was, "Vote for me because I'm a Democrat." Retiring Senator James Eastland's endorsement and formidable organization didn't seem to help Dantin a whole lot. It was only Dantin's second statewide race-- he ran third in the '75 Democratic primary for governor-- so Sullivan had better name ID; it was his fifth statewide race. Sullivan won only one of those races, and only made the Democratic runoff in one other.

In 1972, Cochran had intended to run for the U. S. House as a Democrat until the Republican leaders approached him. He's led a charmed life: He benefitted from President Nixon's coattails and from a black independent running who was from the Democratic nominee's home county. Cochran carried only Hinds and Adams counties and won with 47.9 percent.[1]

In 1980, Republican congressman Jon Hinson, denying charges of homosexuality, was re-elected with 39.0 percent. The black independent Leslie McLemore was second with 31.6 percent, and the Democrat Britt Singletary got 29.4 percent. Hinson, of Tylertown, had succeeded Cochran two years earlier.

The blacks finally wised up and started working in the Democratic Party. Evers (age 87 this year) got only 3.9 percent as an independent in the 1983 governor's race (of course, his '80 support for Ronald Reagan for president had hurt him with many blacks).

On Christmas night, 1979, I went to see Kramer vs. Kramer at Deville Cinema in Jackson. The lobby was very crowded, but I spotted Hinson, and said, "There's our congressman!" He was wearing jeans and a pullover sweater, and he just looked at me with a blank expression. I thought that was a strange reaction for a politician, but subsequent events made it all clear (there was talk of the Libertarians running Hinson for U. S. senator in 1988, the year that Trent Lott was first elected).[2]


[1] State senator Ellis Bodron (D-Vicksburg) got 44.0 percent, while the independent Eddie McBride received a critical 8.2 percent.

[2] In early 1981, Hinson was arrested in a Capitol Hill restroom for committing oral sodomy with a black male employee of the Library of Congress. Hinson resigned in April. He died of AIDS in 1995 at age 53.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mark Levin Chides Glenn Beck

Starting a third party from the tea party movement would be a major mistake... a boon to the Democrats. Conservatives should, in my view, regain and keep control of the Republican Party.

I thought Glenn Beck's CPAC speech was fantastic. He was the first keynoter I ever saw use a chalkboard. George Will also delivered a great oration.

At this posting, there are 253 comments on the piece below. ~~ SR


by Andy Barr

Conservative radio host Mark Levin is criticizing Glenn Beck’s widely publicized CPAC speech this weekend attacking Republicans.

Beck trashed the GOP as being “addicted to spending” during the keynote speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee Saturday and has been a major advocate of the tea party movement, even suggesting the formation of third party of grassroots conservative activists.

But on his show Monday night, Levin called on Beck to “stop dividing us” and suggested he "stop acting like a clown."

“What I see across the horizon today in my 40 years or so of conservative activism is unity like I’ve never seen before,” the popular radio host and author said, which was first flagged by the blog Radio Equalizer. “It’s unity not because of hate for [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell or [House Minority Leader John] Boehner or whatever. It’s contempt for this president and [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid and what they are doing to this nation.”

“That’s what’s happening. That’s what’s going on,” he continued. “If Republicans deserve a lashing they should get it. But they are holding the fort and they deserve reinforcements.”

Levin also warned Beck to be wary of the mainstream media and told the Fox News host to stop “acting like a clown.”

“The mainstream media is not your friend. It will promote you for the purpose of destroying you,” he said, seemingly alluding to the somewhat favorable coverage of Beck’s speech. “Be careful playing footsie with the mainstream media.”

“Decide what you are,” Levin added, “A circus clown, self-identified, or a thoughtful and wise person. It’s hard to be both.”

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Political Career of Charles Sullivan

This is a copy of an email that I sent to a group of political junkies in other states.


In 1960, Charles Sullivan of Clarksdale, Mississippi was the presidential nominee in Texas of the Constitution Party and got some 18,000 votes. His running mate was the party's presidential nominee in Washington state, the only other state in which the CP was on the ballot. Sullivan, a former district attorney, was simultaneously a candidate for presidential elector on a slate of unpledged electors in Mississippi, which won the state with 39 percent of the vote.

My understanding was that the strategy was that, if neither the Democrat John F. Kennedy (JFK) nor the Republican Richard Nixon had an electoral majority, the unpledged electors would bargain with both candidates and give their votes to the one who promised to "go slow" on civil rights legislation.

Nixon was age 47, JFK 43, and Sullivan 35. A couple of years ago, former Governor William Winter (now age 87) told me in an email that he debated Sullivan in 1960 and chided him for "wearing two hats" in the campaign. Winter, Senator James Eastland, and former Governor J. P. Coleman backed JFK, who finished a close second in the state. Winter was then state tax collector, whose job it was to collect the black market tax on liquor; it was a fee-paid position (the unpledged electors, all of whom are now dead, wound up voting for Senator Harry Byrd Sr. of Virginia, as JFK had won a majority of the electoral votes).

In the 1963 governor's race, Sullivan, who had first run in 1959, had an audiotape of Coleman praising JFK in '60, which he played on TV ("This Irishman from Boston, who wears the scars of battle!"). JFK, of course, was very unpopular here, and Coleman said that Eastland had asked him to back the Massachusetts senator. After finishing third in the Democratic primary, Sullivan endorsed Coleman over lieutenant governor Paul Johnson Jr. in the runoff. I later learned that Johnson's minions had spread rumors that Sullivan, who advocated ending Prohibition, had a drinking problem (Mississippi, of course, legalized local-option liquor sales in 1966, twelve years after Oklahoma had become the next-to-last "dry" state to legalize liquor).

In 1967, Sullivan ran for lieutenant governor. Governor Johnson, unable to succeed himself and seeing this as an opportunity to knock Sullivan out of the '71 governor's race, also ran for lieutenant governor. In what turned out to be Johnson's last campaign, he missed the Democratic runoff by a little over 300 votes. Sullivan beat state representative Roy Black of Nettleton in that runoff, which was tantamount to election.

In 1972, Sullivan, who ran all of his Mississippi races as a Democrat, endorsed the Republican Gil Carmichael over Senator Eastland, who had helped to defeat Sullivan in the '71 governor's race. (And Rubel Phillips [age 85 this year], the '63 and '67 GOP nominee for governor, backed Eastland-- go figure!) President Nixon tacitly supported Eastland in '72. Vice President Spiro Agnew headlined a GOP campaign rally here in Jackson, which I attended. All the GOP candidates down to dog-catcher were seated on the platform-- except for Carmichael (age 83 this year). [In the first-ever statewide GOP primary, Carmichael had beaten civil rights activist James Meredith, 79 percent to 21 percent.]

In 1978, the year that the Republican Thad Cochran was first elected U. S. senator, Sullivan finished third in the Democratic primary for the Senate. Former governor Bill Waller Sr. (now age 83), who had defeated Sullivan in '71, ran fourth. Maurice Dantin of Columbia beat incumbent Governor Cliff Finch in the Democratic runoff.

Sullivan was acquainted with tragedy, as two of his children predeceased him. An experienced military pilot, he had flown a number of supply missions to Vietnam. One spring day in 1979, he was having trouble with his landing gear, and the Memphis airport offered to let him land there, but he decided to fly on home. While trying to fix the landing gear, he didn't realize that he was losing altitude, and he crashed into some trees. He was age 54.

Prior to his death, there was talk of Sullivan running in '79 for governor or attorney general as a Republican.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Idaho Open Primary Lawsuit Progresses

The Idaho Republicans' challenge of the state-mandated open primary[1] is proceeding toward a trial in U. S. district court in Boise (Idaho Republican Party v. Ysursa, 08-cv-165). The party wants to be able to block non-Republicans from voting in GOP primaries.

All of the Gem State's major Republican politicians are opposing the lawsuit and have not helped raise money to pay for the evidence gathering and the expert witness (politicians do not usually favor changing the system by which they were elected). The suit's proponents have nonetheless come up with the funds and have now submitted their evidence to the state, which is the defendant. The state has 90 days to study the GOP's evidence, take depositions, etc., and produce any evidence of its own. The Republicans will then have 60 days to review any such state evidence. District judge B. Lynn Winmill will then schedule an evidentiary hearing (or trial), after which he will issue his ruling, possibly in September.

Former state Senator Rod Beck, one of the suit's top advocates, says, "... our evidence is strong and compelling." The GOP's expert witness is Dr. Michael Munger, chairman of the political science department at Duke University and an expert on political parties (and the 2008 Libertarian nominee for governor of North Carolina). Munger reports that 50-plus percent of self-identified non-Republicans have voted in at least one Republican primary.

The suit's advocates have proposed a new primary election law, a draft of which has been submitted to state legislative leaders and the state defendants. Notably, this legislation-- which has not been introduced in the legislature-- features party registration, but it also provides a way to avoid the upheaval of a statewide voter re-registration. In the two primary election cycles following the bill's passage, each already-registered voter would check a party box at the polls on primary day. A registered voter who did not vote in either of those primary cycles would then be designated an independent.

Each party, to be sure, would be authorized to invite independents to vote in its primaries.

This lawsuit has the potential to prompt a landmark ruling from the U. S. Supreme Court.


[1] The state does not register voters by party, and each voter picks a party on primary day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

How the "Stimulus" Works

As the "Barack-y Horror Picture Show" plays on...

It is the month of August; a resort town sits next to the shores of a lake. It is raining, and the little town looks totally deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

A rich tourist unexpectedly arrives in town.

He enters the one hotel, lays a 100 dollar bill on the reception counter, and goes to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one.

The hotel proprietor takes the 100 dollar bill and runs to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the 100 dollar bill and runs to pay his debt to the pig farmer.

The pig farmer takes the 100 dollar bill and runs to pay his debt to the supplier of his feed and fuel.

The supplier of feed and fuel takes the 100 dollar bill and runs to pay his debt to the town's prostitute, who in these hard times [no pun intended] provides "services" on credit.

The hooker runs to the hotel and pays off her debt with the 100 dollar bill to the hotel proprietor for the rooms that she rented when she brought her clients there.

The hotel proprietor then lays the 100 dollar bill back on the counter so that the rich tourist will not suspect anything.

At that moment, the rich tourist comes down after inspecting the rooms, takes his 100 dollar bill, says that he does not like any of the rooms, and leaves town.

No one earned anything; however, the whole town is now free of debt and looks to the future with a lot of optimism.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the United States government is doing business today.

~~ Author unknown