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.

NEXT: Debate Alternatives

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  1. It has been raining all day here.

  2. Ashscroft should have sued to overturnt the result, dead people aren’t eligible to run for senator.

  3. See, even John Ashcroft is the Democrats’ fault!

  4. I always thought that it was profoundly wrong for Carnahan’s widow to take the position.

    The people voted for the dead guy (I would too) and he should have been allowed to serve his term, in whatever capacity he’s able. I’m sure he would have done a better job than Ashcroft, despite his, er, handicap.

  5. They don’t call it the frozen tundra of Lambert Airport for nothing. Wait, that can’t be right…

  6. Bobbing and weaving is so dangerous too.

    Carnahan was the victim of an instrument failure, not weather. You can’t fly long without a way to tell whether you’re turning or not. Actually you can leave the plane to fly itself just based on its own stability (not even an autopilot) and do better than trying it yourself, if you don’t have that orientation reference.

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