Of Course, Dear, Whatever You Want
The old joke asks: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Answer: “Practice, practice, practice.”
How do you get to the United States Senate? Twice in history it helped to be the First Lady, married to a southern Governor.
Consider the case of Dixie Bibb Graves (pictured here).
Senator Graves represented Alabama in the Senate for less than five months in 1937 and 1938. Dixie could thank her husband for that distinction. David Bibb Graves was Governor of Alabama (also Dixie’s first cousin) and when Franklin Roosevelt tapped Senator Hugo Black for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, the Governor tapped his roommate to fill the Senate vacancy.
Governor Graves said he appointed his politically active wife to avoid giving an advantage to any of the other Alabama Democrats who aspired to run for the seat in a special election. Not everyone was convinced that his motives were so fair minded. As the Encyclopedia of Alabama points out, some “denounced the appointment as a political move by the governor to control events not only in the capitol building and the state legislature, but also the U.S. Senate.”
Thirty-five years later, another southern governor, Edwin Edwards of Louisiana, appointed his wife to fill a Senate seat that fell vacant as the result of Senator Allen Ellender’s death. Elaine Edwards served only three and a half months, a lot less time than her husband has served in jail.
Former Governor Edwards – he famously said the only way he would ever lose an election in Cajun County was “to be caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy” – continues to serve out a ten year sentence for a host of corruption charges.
Governor Edwards and Senator Edwards divorced in 1989.
Tomorrow, a final post in this series will feature two Northwest Governors who appointed themselves to the Senate. You can guess how well that turned out.
Of Course, Dear, Whatever You Want
Filling the Vacancy with the Spouse
It didn’t take long for the suggestion to surface that Ted Kennedy’s widow – Victoria Reggie Kennedy - would be a suitable replacement for her husband in the United States Senate. There is a long and rich tradition of just that kind of political move.
Among the more celebrated examples of “wife replaces husband in the Senate” were Hattie Caraway of Arkansas (widow of Senator Thaddeus) and Rose McConnell Long of Louisiana (widow of the assassinated Kingfish – Huey Long).
Hattie Caraway went on to become the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate in 1932. Huey Long brought his campaign smarts north to Arkansas and barnstormed the state with the diminutive Senator Caraway to help her secure a full term in the Senate. Their rollicking, nine-day tour of Arkansas spawned a good little political book by David Malone called Hattie and Huey: An Arkansas Tour.
Huey Long’s widow replaced him in 1936, and then Rose Long won her own special election and served until 1938 when she did not seek re-election.
Senator Caraway won re-election again in 1938, but lost the Democratic primary in 1944 to the young J. William Fulbright who, of course, went on to fame as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where he became outspoken opponent of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Muriel Humphrey served less than a year in 1978 after the death of Minnesota Senator and Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Maryon Allen of Alabama also served for a few months in 1978 after her husband Senator James B. Allen died. Vera Bushfield (now there’s a household name) replaced her South Dakota Senator husband Harlan following his death in 1948 and Joceyln Burdick served a few months in 1992 after the death of her husband, long-time North Dakota Senator Quentin Burdick.
My favorite Senate wife who became a Senator is Oregon’s impressive Maurine Neuberger. She was elected in a special election in 1960 to replace her husband, Richard Neuberger, who had died. Senator Neuberger also won election to her own term and served until 1967.
Most speculation has Mrs. Kennedy passing on any chance to replace her famous husband, but if it were to come to pass she would be in some good and interesting historical company.
Tomorrow: Two Governors actually appointed their wives to fill Senate vacancies. Talk about keeping it all in the family.
Cece Andrus: Developing Region’s Biomass Will Take Time and Transparency
A couple of months ago, the former Idaho Governor and Interior Secretary offered his take on increasing utilization of biomass for energy.
The assessment came in a major speech to a conference of U.S. Forest Service managers in Boise. While not a pessimistic assessment of biomass as a greater source of energy, the speech was a typically Andrus-like accounting of opportunities and challenges.
Andrus was particularly pointed in warning the foresters that meeting policy objectives for the National Forests, including increased energy production and encouraging local economic development, while still protecting the environment, will require a lot of transparency and many trade-offs.
The former four-term governor also challenged the forest managers to be clear about whether and how they are managing the public’s land based on the reality of climate change.
You can find the full speech here. Here is a key section:
“We do not like making trade-offs and we do not like having to choose. For years the Forest Service has been caught in this struggle. We continue to debate what exactly the purposes of the national forests are, and how we approach an agreement around that question.
“One Idahoan would tell you the national forests exist to produce wood fiber. Another would tell you they exist to provide hunting and fishing opportunities. Another would tell you the forests help drive the economy of the state, particularly rural communities. This Idahoan would tell you that there is a measure of truth in each of those answers.
“So what you do, and what policy makers must do, is find the delicate balance that creates an equilibrium and gives the American public the opportunity to have it all; an increase of energy from biomass, a stronger economy and the hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation we so enjoy in Idaho and the West.”
Mark Trahant: Health Care Discussion too Narrow
Thoughtful commentary from Fort Hall, Idaho native Mark Trahant on the current health care debate. Trahant writes in Indian Country Today.
Trahant, the former editorial page editor of the Seattle P-I, is serving a stint as a Kaiser Media Fellow assessing the Indian Health Service and what it can tell us about the current controversy.
Tribune Soft on Cubs?
Has the Chicago Tribune, long the owner of the city’s National League baseball club, always taken it easy on the Cubs? Nah…it is merely perception according to a piece on the Tribune sports page. Right.
Still, the Cubbies’ new ownership removes the stigma that baseball coverage of the northsiders always slighted the White Sox on the Second City’s southside.
Favorable coverage or not, the Cubs are still wallowing in a 100-plus year World Series drought and the 2009 post-season is looking more and more, well, doubtful.
As they say: “Anyone can have a bad century.” There is even a website.
Times Picks on J.C. Penney
My blood runs cold this time of year as I remember the dread I would feel as my mother hustled me off to J.C. Penney to acquire a new season of “school clothes.” I hated the whole experience, not least because mom’s ideas about “new” fashion never seemed to be on the same page with mine.
When I was growing up, however, it was pretty much a trip to Penney’s or ordering from the Montgomery Ward catalog.
The New York Times found out that the James Cash Penney’s stores – the first was in Kemmerer, Wyoming – still enjoys some brand loyalty. The Times “reviewed” the new store in Manhattan and got lots of push back for a pretty snarky piece by a fashion reviewer. Executive Editor Bill Keller even saying, as reported by the Times’ Public Editor, that he wished the story hadn’t run. His mother shopped at Penney’s, too.
Do you think all this will serve to re-enforce the notion that the Times is out of touch with middle America?
I was pleased to be asked recently by the Idaho Press Club to pen a piece for the venerable organization’s newsletter. The experience certainly dated me, however. I served as president of the Club in 1978.
We hardly had color TV in those days.
Idaho Humanities Council Features Lincoln Scholars
Yours truly will have the pleasure of speaking twice in Boise in the next few weeks on two aspects of Abraham Lincoln’s remarkable presidency.
The talks will take place at the Main Boise Public Library at 7 pm on September 10th and at the outstanding new library at Cole and Ustick at 7 pm on October 15th.
Here is a link to the Boise Library’s site with more information about the events.
The talks, helping to commemorate the bicentennial of the birth of the 16th American president, were developed as part of the Idaho Humanities Council’s Speakers Bureau.
On September 10th, the subject will be Re-electing Lincoln focusing on the pivotal election of 1864. I will make the case that it was the most significant presidential election in the country’s history with literally the future of the nation depending on the outcome of the voting.
On October 15th, I’ll delve into Lincoln as War Leader. Lincoln had no real military experience and found that he had to invent the role of “commander in chief.” Ultimately he became a better military strategist than most of his generals.
If you find Lincoln as endless fascinating as I do, come on down to the Library!
Labor Day approaches and a baseball fan’s thoughts turn to, well – baseball.
One of the best new baseball books is Satchel: The Life and Times of An American Legend by Larry Tye.
David Davis reviewed the book a while back in the Los Angeles Times and point out that there has long been mystery about Paige’s age. Tye settles on the great pitcher’s birthday most likely being in 1906 making him 42 when he made his major league debut!
A good book about a great baseball player and an even greater character. Good stuff also at the “official” Satchel Paige site, including this quote: “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
The Great Ichiro
Last Sunday’s New York Times had a fine piece on the Seattle Mariner’s remarkable right fielder, Ichiro Suzuki, who has missed a few starts this week due to an injury.
Sometime after Labor Day, Ichiro will ring up his ninth consecutive season with 200 or more base hits. It is a remarkable achievement. The last player to have eight straight 200 hit seasons was Wee Willie Keeler – yes, he has a website – who quit playing in 1901, a century before Ichiro showed up to begin owning records.
Here is a great statistic from the Sports Network: “Suzuki hasn’t gone hitless in consecutive games since August 13-15, 2008, a span of 157 straight games without going hitless in back-to-back contests. The streak is the longest in the majors since Stan Musial (174 games) in 1943-44 and the longest AL streak since Doc Cramer (191 games) in 1934-35.”
Amazing. The guy is a hitting machine.
Now, Go Giants! If only those damnable Dodgers would falter…