Four Long Years Ago


The last time two major-party presidential nominees flew into St. Louis for a debate, the Show Me State's weather was so treacherous the night before that several planes (including the one I was in) had to pass Lambert Airport several times, bobbing and weaving in a brutal, zero-visibility thunderstorm, before (if they were lucky) smacking down on the runway.

One small plane over Jefferson City didn't make it. Democratic Senatorial candidate Mel Carnahan and his son Randy were confirmed dead in the wee hours, casting a large shadow over what turned out to be an extremely muted debate (which the Bush camp intially suggested postponing). Before the crash, Carnahan's electoral prospects were looking shaky against the Republican nominee, John Ashcroft. It was too late in the race to name a new candidate, so Carnahan's widow Jean encouraged mourning Missourians to vote for the dead man. They did, and Jean was soon named to fill her husband's shoes. Ashcroft would have been little more than the answer to a trivia question, but President Bush nominated him for attorney general, and the Democrats -- despite the Left's well-established loathing of the man -- chose to spend their confirmation-hearings energy going after Linda Chavez' illegal immigrant nanny.

At any rate, here's hoping for good weather in St. Louis.