In the late 90’s, I was called a whore and a prostitute by someone I’d never met. He was a wealthy conservative who lived 5 miles from my house. Angered by a Letter to the Editor I had written for The Tennessean, he blasted me with baseless vulgarities.
The letter I had written was a simple defense of our then First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton. It simply stated that the style of the woman’s hair was being overly covered by a small minded press. I was shocked at the written outburst. My husband, being the hot tempered Irishman he is, paid Mr. Nasty a visit. Nasty never answered his door, but had turned out to be the first of many Nastys.
Last week, I wrote a satirical piece on gas saving tips. I got the business end of the liberal bat which I once brandished. I am slowly finding out that both parties have a taste for blood when it comes to dishing out insults. At one point in my philosophical development, I was certain Conservatives were far more childish in their attacks. Clearly this is not the case. One person of a similar species to humans actually said, “WAH! WAH! WAH! WAH! WAH!” I was no doubt dealing with a professional.
After being thoroughly maligned by both sides of the isle, I became curious as to the history of political insults. I’ve found hundreds of them dating back to our Founding Fathers. In the beginning, the insults sounded like a group of men who were trapped in the same room for too long. They have quickly evolved from name-calling to being dangerously irresponsible. Political insults dished over the past twenty years are particularly violent and hard to read. Public insults were once, “he’s mean and petty.” They soon became, “'imperfect enough to work with a former domestic terrorist.”
The following are insults made my first list of Political Insults:
~John Adams regarding Alexander Hamilton: “He’s the bastard brat of a Scotch peddler. A man devoid of every principle.”
~ Alexander Hamilton regarding John Adams: “He is petty, mean, egotistic, erratic, eccentric, jealous natured, and hot tempered.”
~ John Quincy Adams regarding Andrew Jackson: “A barbarian who cannot write a sentence of grammar and can hardly spell his own name.”
~ Millard Fillmore regarding James K. Polk: “May God save the country, for it is evident that the people will not.”
~John Sherman (U.S. Senator) regarding James Buchanan: “The Constitution provides for every accidental contingency in the executive ---except a vacancy in the mind of the president.”
~HARPERS MAGAZINE regarding Abraham Lincoln: “Filthy storyteller, despot, liar, thief, braggart, buffoon, usurper, monster, ignoramus Abe, old scoundrel, perjurer, swindler, tyrant, field-butcher, land-pirate.”
~Ulysses S. Grant regarding Andrew Johnson: “I have never been so tired of anything before as I have been with the political speeches of Mr. Johnson . . . I look upon them as a national disgrace. He is such an infernal liar.”
~ William Claflin (Governor of Massachusetts) regarding Ulysses S. Grant: “Early in 1869 the cry was for “no politicians,” but the county did not mean “no brains.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt regarding William Howard Taft: “A flub-dub with a streak of the second rate and the common in him . . . A fathead and a puzzle wit. Taft meant well, but he meant well feebly.”
~ Dorothy Parking regarding Calvin Coolidge: (After being told of Coolidge’s death.) “How could they tell?”
~ General George S. Patton regarding Franklin D. Roosevelt: “Thousands of pictures were taken, and none for the glory of the troops; all for the glory of FDR.”
~ Barry Goldwater regarding John F. Kennedy: “I sincerely fear for my country if Jack Kennedy should be elected president. The fellow has absolutely no principles. Money and gall are all the Kennedys have.”
~ John F. Kennedy regarding Richard M. Nixon: “He’s a cheap bastard; that’s all there is to it. He is a filthy, lying son of a bitch, and a very dangerous man.”
~ Lyndon B. Johnson regarding Gerald Ford: “Jerry Ford is so dumb that he can’t fart and chew gum at the same time. He’s a nice guy, but he played too much football with his helmet off.”
~ Lester Maddox (Governor of Georgia) regarding Jimmy Carter: He’s cold, cunning, cruel, and will destroy anyone who stands in his way . . . . He’s a typical politician, the type of person I have always detested in campaigning or in public office.”
~ Bob Dole regarding George Herbert Bush: “He’s never had to do a day’s work in his life.”
~ H. Ross Perot regarding Bill Clinton: “Nobody likes to be called a liar, but to be called a liar by Bill Clinton is really a unique experience.”
~Christopher Hitchens (Journalist) regarding George W. Bush: “Unusually incurious, abnormally unintelligent, amazingly inarticulate, fantastically uncultured, extraordinarily uneducated, and apparently quite proud of all these things.”
~ Sarah Palin regarding Barack Obama: "I am just so fearful that this is not a man who sees America the way you and I see America, as the greatest force for good in the world. I'm afraid this is someone who sees America as 'imperfect enough' to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country."