Thursday, February 16


By Grant Davies

On this day (-1) in 1801, Thomas Jefferson was elected third President of the US on the Democratic-Republican ticket.

You probably thought it was just recently that Democrats and Republicans were one party. But this party had a precisely opposite platform than today's version. While the more recent incarnation runs on the "ever bigger more powerful" theme, Ole Toms pushed for the "small is better" and "let 'em screw it up on the local level" plan.

Anyway, it was the culmination of a bizarre series of events. The race was even closer than the Bush/Gore contest that hung by a chad. This one got hung in the House of Representatives and his bitter enemy Alex Hamilton (no relation to the guy with the sun tan) ended up supporting him to keep his (Alex's) even worse enemy, a guy named Burr (no relation to the TV lawyer) from being elected. That guy, (Burr) got so pissed at him (Alex) that he later shot him to death in a gun fight that in those days went by the quaint name of "duel."

Whew, I know that's confusing, but no more so than what's going on in the GOP nominating process today. The candidates back then had some friends say very rude things about each other in the media, there was a lot of name calling and backstabbing, all while the participants pretended to respect each other. So, exactly like today.

In the end, Tom Jefferson became President, John Adams became a "one and doner", and Aaron Burr was VP. Huh? How the heck does that work? (That's for a different day in history.)

I'm just glad there wasn't a presidential sex scandal back then. Oops, I forgot poor Sally. But then, the person writing this is no Hemmingsway.

So, if you think there is anything new going on today, well, you haven't been reading the history on this site enough.

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