Said Republican attacks on him were worthy of...

ROSS PEROT

June 29, 1992|By THEO LIPPMAN JR.

ROSS PEROT said Republican attacks on him were worthy of "Hitler's propaganda chief." The implication is that what's going on is un-American. Wrong!

Nothing is more American than dirty politics, and to paraphrase Harry Truman, Ross, if you can't stand getting dirty, don't mud-wrestle.

John Adams was accused of wanting to become king; Thomas Jefferson was accused of atheism and liking French people.

James Madison was called a war- monger. John Quincy Adams was accused of corruption. Andrew Jackson was called an adulterer and murderer, Henry Clay a gambler, James K. Polk a coward.

Franklin Pierce and Winfield Scott were called drunks, and the latter was denounced before nativist audiences because his daughter was a nun. John C. Fremont was denounced before similar crowds for being a secret Catholic (which he wasn't, but didn't deny in hopes of getting the Catholic vote). (I love this country!!)

Abe Lincoln -- saint Abraham! -- was called an imbecile, a scoundrel, a thief, a weakling, a despot, an ape, a baboon and a gorilla.

Horatio Seymour was victimized by rumors that insanity ran in his family -- and his opponents dredged up every rumor about his relatives they could find. U. S. Grant was called a fool, a drunk, a tyrant and the most corrupt man ever to seek the office.

James A. Garfield was called corrupt, Grover Cleveland excoriated for having fathered a child out of wedlock (boy, would Dan Quayle love to run against him!), James G. Blaine was called corrupt and a liar, Teddy Roosevelt a liar, Woodrow Wilson a hypocrite, Calvin Coolidge a machine pol.

Al Smith was said to be prepared to dissolve all Protestant marriages on orders from the pope, Herbert Hoover was called paranoid, a cheat, a racist and even a British citizen! Franklin D. Roosevelt was whispered to be a feeble-minded invalid, a dictator and a war-monger.

Harry Truman was demeaned as a ward level hack, a roughneck, corrupted by crooked cronies, a Soviet agent. Adlai Stevenson was called a traitor and, even worse, an intellectual. Dwight Eisenhower was called dumb, a political coward and turncoat and a racist.

Jack Kennedy was accused of plagiarism, buying the presidency, a Catholic who would put his religion over the Constitution. Richard Nixon was called sleazy, on the take, a liar. Lyndon Johnson was accused of stealing a Senate seat, abusing his office to make his fortune, conspiring to kill Kennedy. Hubert Humphrey was called a draft dodger and a Commie sympathizer.

Gerald Ford was accused of being dumb, clumsy and having xTC made a corrupt deal to pardon Nixon. Jimmy Carter was called Hitlerian, a redneck; Ronald Reagan was called senile and tied to organized crime, and George Bush -- well, he's said to be a wimp, a coward, an adulterer and in charge of a Nazi-like propaganda machine, among other things.

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