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During his 1848 run for president, Gen. Zachary Taylor was pilloried as “a military autocrat,” “semi-illiterate,” “a cruel slavemaster,” “greedy” and given to cussing out underlings.
Old Zach subsequently groused that he had been besmirched by “the vilest slanders of the most unprincipled demagogues this or any other nation was ever cursed with…”
Taylor died of gastroenteritis less than two years into his presidency, but if he were around today, he might acknowledge that some of the “vilest slander” and “demagogues” were yet to come in the American experience.
It’s a shame, at least for those of us who cling to the quaint notion that campaigns represent opportunities for candidates to honor the voters with thoughtful presentations of their competing views on the serious problems they will face when the election is over.