Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Election Day 2008 - Political Trivia and Memories

For your election day entertainment:
1854: The Republican Party is formed "Under the Oaks" in nearby Jackson, Mich.
1859: William Bond Pratt and son Wilmer M. Pratt emigrate to Michigan. Both of their biographies subsequently indicate that they were staunch Republicans but did not choose to run for office.
1860 & 1864: Adult Woodruffs and Pratts vote for Abraham Lincoln.
1875: My great-grandfather Newton R. Woodruff is elected to the Michigan House of Representatives.
1884: My grandfather A.N.Woodruff is elected to the House of Representatives.
1912: The Woodruff family abandons the Republican Party to support and vote for Teddy Roosevelt of the Bull Moose Party. He splits the normally Republican vote with William Howard Taft resulting in Woodrow Wilson becoming President. Third party candidates caused Bill Clinton to become President in 1992 and George W. Bush to become President in 2000. Is there a lesson there?
1916: Woodrow Wilson wins reelection with slogan "He kept us out of war".
1917: We get into war.
1921: Allen knocks up Genevieve and I am on my way!
1926:: Calvin Coolidge sworn in as President on Harding's death. Happens right up the hollow from the Asa Pratt homestead at Plymouth, Vermont.
1928: First memory: Sitting with Grandma Woodruff next to a table with a radio on it straining to hear the election returns as Herbert Hoover defeats Al Smith. We were next door to their house on Sutherland Avenue at the Emersons. The announcer was reading off a teletype like they used to do for out-of-town baseball games.
1932: The first time I realized that there were any real, live Democrats in Watervliet. The Roosevelt victory resulted in Phil Cutler, who had the farm across the street on Paw Paw Avenue, becoming a Deputy Sheriff because his brother got elected Sheriff. Doric Hawks, the father of my playmate down the street, Ed Hawks, got a job with the Highway Dept.
1936: Genevieve Woodruff and Aunt Margaret Cannon are walking in Greenfield Village. Down the street comes a Model T Ford driven by Henry Ford himself. His passenger is Governor Alfred F. Landon of Kansas, Republican nominee for President. Mr. Ford and Candidate Alf nod and smile at ladies who are suitably awe-struck. Alf got buried in the Roosevelt landslide. Karen has Landon Sunflower campaign buttons used that year.
1936: Leon Case, publisher and editor of the Watervliet Record who bought the paper in the 1890's from Grandpa A.N.Woodruff, elected Michigan Secretary of State..
1930's and 40's: Golden age of Chicago Tribune political cartoons. Mostly anti-FDR. I spent a lot of time doodling in imitation that should have been spent paying attention to the teachers.
1940: Wendell Wilkie, who is the Republican Candidate for President running against FDR (for a third term), is a member of Beta Theta Pi. As a pledge of Beta at the Colorado School of Mines I am requred to answer the telephone with "Beta House, at the foot of the Rockies, vote for Wilkie". I was not yet old enough to vote.
1944: My first vote wasted on Tom Dewey running against FDR's fourth term mostly because he was from Owosso, Michigan and we had never had anyone from Michigan elected President.(Still haven't, Jerry Ford was not elected).
1945: I am on Okinawa 12 days after the invasion when word of FDR's death (on April 12, my birthday) reaches us.
1948: Famous Chicago Tribune premature headline "DEWEY BEATS TRUMAN"
1952: The whole country says:"I LIKE IKE". Karen born.
1956: Two-time loser Adlai Stevenson says "It hurts too much to laugh but I'm too old to cry". Jim born.
1960-1963: JFK
1964: Barry Goldwater buried by the most effective TV ad ever (only shown once). The little girl picking daisey petals followed by the mushroom cloud.
This is far enough. You are all mostly old enough to have your own memories. Why don't you share them?
1998: One more thing. I still have a copy of the Starr Report if you want to read the details about what Monica Lewinski and Bill Clinton did to and for each other.

Emailed Nov. 4, 2008

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