Jerry Mander has retired.
Jerry has been a political junky since at least age 8 when (back in the days when the TV networks covered political conventions in their entirety) he watched the 1956 Republican and Democrat conventions gavel-to-gavel. Jerry liked Ike.
From that young age Jerry has watched – and often been involved in – politics.
In 1960, despite (or perhaps because of) having grown up in Lyndon Johnson’s Texas, he supported Nixon over Kennedy/Johnson. Jerry read J. Evetts Haley’s “A Texan Looks at Lyndon”, a book that confirmed what (even at Jerry’s young age) he intuitively knew about Johnson: ruthless, completely corrupt and willing to do anything to grasp power.
Despite having supported Nixon in 1960 (as much as a 13 year-old could support a presidential candidate), Jerry liked what Barry Goldwater had to say. He read Goldwater’s “Conscience of a Conservative”. From that point on, Jerry identified as being a Conservative more than being a Republican.
Jerry was sitting in Jody White’s red and white ’58 Ford Custom with Jody, Kelly Clower and Peter Overgaard, an exchange student from Denmark, in front of Tulia High School at lunch on 22 November, 1963. The 4 of them were sipping cherry schnapps Peter had brought from Denmark. (Algebra class was next after lunch. Evidently the 4 of them were trying to anesthetize themselves from the pain of algebra …) They were listening to radio station KOCY in Oklahoma City, whose powerful signal could be picked up all across the Texas panhandle, when the news came that Kennedy had been shot. Peter, not being particularly familiar with American or Texas politics, didn’t know much about LBJ – but the three Texas high school kids sitting with Peter in Jody’s car had the same reaction simultaneously:
“Lyndon is behind this.”
Jerry was 17 in 1964 and living in Lubbock, Texas. He became a one-kid campaign for Goldwater. He canvassed door-to-door. He had a big “Goldwater ’64” sign on the roof of his Dresden Blue ’57 Ford Custom – with “AuH2O” bumper stickers on each corner of the bumpers in case the roof sign didn’t get enough attention
Jerry had an “AuH2O” bumper sticker on all four corners of his car.
In the afternoons after his school day ended, he was a bagger at the Furr’s Supermarket on 50th Street. He took a paycheck and went to radio station KFYO and bought a flight of radio spots and recorded his own radio ad for Goldwater.
The Democrats in those days were beginning to develop their techniques for destroying opposition. They went after Goldwater with a vengeance. Remember the infamous “Daisy” ad? Goldwater was strong on national defense and the Democrats convinced a large swath of the voting public that Goldwater would get the country destroyed in a nuclear war. They very successfully painted Goldwater as an “extremist”.
While it is highly unlikely that Goldwater would have been able to unseat Johnson with the ’64 election having come so soon after Kennedy’s assassination, Goldwater sealed his fate by playing right into the Democrats’ hands with these lines in his Republican nomination acceptance speech:
“Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.
Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”
Watching the ’64 GOP convention, when Jerry heard those words, his heart sank. He knew immediately that Goldwater would lost the election. Nonetheless, he continued to campaign for Goldwater in Lubbock, as if he could turn the tide in Lubbock
When he learned that his parents had voted for Johnson, he was furious with them and didn’t speak to them until well into the spring of 1965.
In the ramp-up to the 1968 political conventions, true to his Conservative leanings, Jerry supported Ronald Reagan. He was a student at West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M) in Canyon, just south of Amarillo. When Nixon won the Republican nomination in 1968, Jerry rolled up his sleeves and worked in Randall County (where Canyon and part of Amarillo are located) to elect Nixon. Jerry became the Nixon campaign chairman in Randall County. He was all of 21 years old.
In the election, Randall County was carried by Nixon, one of the first counties in Texas to break away from the Democrat’s stranglehold. Jerry was rewarded with a trip to Washington, D.C. for Nixon’s inauguration.
In one sense, it has been natural for Jerry to align with the Republican Party. One of his ancestors on his mother’s side of the family, John Sarchet, owned a music store in Cambridge, Ohio in the 19th century. John Sarchet dabbled in music composition. He was also active in the anti-slavery movement of the 19th century. As such, he supported Lincoln in Lincoln’s bid for the White House and wrote a song for the Lincoln campaign that included the words “the grand old party”. Thus one of Jerry’s ancestors gave the Republican party the GOP nickname.
Jerry’s ancestor John Sarchet gave the Republicans their “GOP” nickname.
Fast forward to 2016. For several years, Jerry had been fed up with what the Bush family and the GOP establishment had done to the party of Ronald Reagan. He vehemently opposed Jeb Bush’s bid for the Republican nomination. Jerry was fed up as well with Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, both of whom seem to be overly beholden to the U.S. Chamber of
Crony Capitalists Commerce.
In the 2016 primary season, Jerry was an advocate for Ted Cruz’s bid for the GOP nomination. He was appalled by the rough-and-tumble Donald Trump. He didn’t trust Trump, who up until 2012, had been a registered Democrat.
As long-time readers will recall, Jerry became a Never-Trumper and remained one right up until – and even after – the election. He went into the voting booth intending to write in Ted Cruz – as if any vote he cast would make one whit of difference in Crazifornia. Several readers encouraged Jerry to drop his opposition to Trump. Jerry wouldn’t budge. Thus Jerry was – and remains – quite surprised at himself that he actually voted for Trump.
On his blog, he remained dubious of Trump until well after Trump took office. But it was soon apparent that Trump was governing in a manner Ronald Reagan would be proud of. Gradually, Jerry came ’round to Trump’s corner.
For the 2018 mid-term elections, Jerry was pleased at how hard Trump campaigned to save the GOP majority in the Senate. He was appalled, however, at Ryan’s tepid (at best) efforts to keep the GOP majority in the House. This wasn’t entirely surprising given that RINO Ryan had become a vociferous Never-Trumper. Jerry believes that Paul Ryan employed passive-aggressive tactics designed to hand the House to the Democrats.
Nonetheless, Jerry was cautiously optimistic that the 2018 mid-term elections would run counter to historical patterns and that the GOP would be able to retain its majorities in the Congress. It’s a good thing Trump worked as hard as he did to save the Senate. It’s a pity that the rest of the GOP couldn’t/wouldn’t get its act together to save the House as well. Even with the destructive politics the Democrats increasingly deploy, the Republicans seem to be oblivious to the threat the Democrats represent to the Republic. Jerry believes that Ryan and the GOPe are secretly pleased that the GOP is lost control of the House.
Jerry also misread the tea leaves in Crazifornia. He supported Travis Allen’s bid for the GOP gubernatorial nomination but supported John Cox when Allen faltered in the primary. He thought that Carl DeMaio and the others who had pushed for the repeal of California’s new and onerous gasoline and car license taxes had enough moxie to offset the deliberately misleading description of the ballot measure the Democrats had pasted onto the ballot regarding the gas tax repeal and would carry the day in repealing Governor Moonbeam’s pet new
union contributions taxes. Make no mistake – these new taxes are part of the symbiotic relationship between California Democrats and the unions.
Jerry also thought – quite mistakenly as it turned out – that the Republicans, thanks in no small measure to Donald Trump, would be better prepared then they historically have been to fight Democrat vote fraud. As the Florida, Georgia and California election results showed, the GOP still (in George Bush’s term) “misundersetimates” the willingness of the Democrats to steal elections. The vote harvesting the Democrats used in Orange County, CA caught the GOP completely flat-footed.
Quite mistakenly, Jerry thought there were enough “quiet” Trump supporters to hold the Congress for the president.
There is one small bright spot, unrelated to the 2018 Congressional elections. It seems that beginning with Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, Mitch McConnell realized that THE place he needs to dig in and fight (for once in his career) is over the Judiciary. The Stalinist campaign the Democrats waged against Justice Kavanaugh seems to have made the scales fall completely from McConnell’s eyes. Jerry believes that McConnell now sees Chuck Schumer for what Schumer really is whereas previously McConnell was all about go-along-get-along with Chuck-the-Schmuck. Jerry never thought he would write or say anything positive about McConnell.
Cameras rolling, Trump owns Schumer and Pelosi in the meeting at the White House. Hang your head in shame, Schumer!
The 2018 Congressional elections proved to Jerry that the Republican party, aside from Donald Trump, isn’t up to the fight that it will take to save this Republic. As an example, the House Republicans selected RINO Kevin McCarthy as Minority Leader instead of the solid Conservative and Trump supporter Jim Jordan. The GOP isn’t worthy of Trump. Two years ago, Jerry wouldn’t have thought that.
Don Surber very accurately labels the Republican Never-Trumpers “Cruise Ship Conservatives“.
Trump has arrived on the scene when the situation calls for an Attila the Hun. Too many in the Republican party still don’t see the destructiveness the Democrats are all too willing to use to get their way. Jerry is worn out. The fight is out of him. He has retired.
Please continue to read Steven Hayward’s always entertaining “Week In Pictures” on Saturdays. Unlike Jerry, Steven Hayward has managed to keep his sense of humor. Steven has many other posts at Power Line during the week that will be worth your time to read. Check in with Don Surber each day. Jerry has hung it up. He thanks all of you who have read him these past several years.