The changing order

Staff Columnist

Young Icarus – he flew so high;

He really thought he’d reach the sky,

But many tears and little mirth

Accompanied his fall to earth.


When Vice-President Al Gore ran for the presidential term commencing in 2000, he not only lost the election, he failed to carry his home State of Tennessee.

The pundits all commented “How can a man expect to win an election when those who know him best, the voters of his home state, vote against him?”

Much the same sentiment was expressed about Senator Marco Rubio earlier this month when he was beaten in Florida by Donald Trump by an almost two to one ratio.

Rubio himself read the handwriting on the wall and immediately terminated his campaign and declared that he was retiring from politics and would not seek election to another senate term or to the governorship of Florida.

This column had previously called the candidate “not quite ready for prime time,” but the gentleman himself had surveyed the scene and realized that his rush for the nation’s top job had alienated the followers of his mentor, former Governor Jeb Bush.

He also recognized that the earlier victory in attaining his senate seat had benefited from a three-way race among the Democratic candidate and an independent former Republican in the person of Charlie Crist.  That type of splintered scenario was not likely to repeat itself.

But shed no tears for the gifted young man.  He has made many lucrative contacts during his race toward the top, and he is certain to have offers of seats on corporate boards or partnerships in prestigious law firms or maybe even a lobbying job or two.

And, as we pointed out on March 11, his Republican Party has signed its own death warrant and will be defeated, with or without him, in November.

As things presently stand, the election is the Democratic Party’s to lose, irrespective of who their nominee turns out to be.

In the 1948 presidential election, Harry Truman famously ran “with both my right wing and my left wing cut off,” but beat New York’s Thomas Dewey anyway.

Such a miraculous outcome is not likely to ensue this year because not only is the GOP losing its right and left wings, it is running like a chicken with its head cut off before the brain has signaled to the body that it is no longer there.

Mr. Trump’s antics have so outraged the party’s normal supporters that even such decade-long stalwarts as columnists George Will and Charles Krauthammer have urged the establishment to either find a way to dump him or mount a third party effort.

Trump’s response has alternated between threatening a “riotous” convention in July and promising to be “more presidential” by moderating his tone and announcing his ultimate slate of advisors.

Sadly, the advisors named so far are either unknown or not particularly expert in the necessary fields, particularly in the area of foreign relations, in which the New York businessman is clearly deficient.

As one pundit said, it takes more than an ability to “make a deal” to keep the peace in a complicated, but fractious world.

The sporadic primaries and caucuses will continue to spew forth choices, but the outcome is pretty much foreordained.


The Town of Longboat Key Commission conducted a statutory meeting last Monday to seat its new commissioners and swear in last year’s mayor and vice-mayor for additional two year terms.

After the traditional salute to the flag, Mayor Jack Duncan called for a moment of silence to commemorate the passing of LBK News Staff Columnist Tom Burgum, who died last week.

Tom’s death was not only a loss to the newspaper and the community; it represents a void that cannot be filled.

As Editor Steve Reid pointed out in his front page eulogy, Tom had a long and varied career that gave him a front row seat on the inner workings of Washington politics and lobbyists.

He also had a retentive mind and incredibly articulate ability to expose successes and failures at all levels, including those on the local scene.

Baseball and tennis were among his hobbies, and he could quote statistics on the relative status of baseball teams and players without ever having to look up printed histories.

The sad irony is that Tom died prior to the outcome of this year’s national election, the bizarre aspects of which he marveled at both publically and privately.

He would have loved to monitor the results as they came in election night, as he formulated copy for an up-to-date column.

For that matter, he deserved to hear the comments about him expressed by citizens and Editor Reid, although he might not have agreed with all of them. He was my mentor and my friend, and I miss him terribly.

Dick Hershatter is a retired Connecticut lawyer and novelist who writes an occasional column of interest to Floridians.  He can be reached at Banyan502@AOL.com.

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