Grover Cleveland: "Ma, ma, where's my Pa?"

The campaign of 1884 got ugly, even by presidential election standards. Blaine was chosen to run over the incumbent President, Chester Arthur. This choice greatly divided the party in to factions and even drove some Republicans who declared themselves part of the 'mugwump' faction to break away from the party and vote for the Democratic candidate, Grover Cleveland.

Blaine was known as the "Plumed Knight" and served in the cabinet of many administrations from the time of Lincoln all the way up to the turn of the century. He had an uncanny knack for crisis management and survival evidenced by the fact that he somehow stuck around after letters were brought to light that he had taken over the equivalent of over $1.5 MILLION dollars in bribes from various industrial and rail road interests. And that's just what we know about! Just like I can promise you that there were more than one intern that Bill Clinton had his way with, it's safe to assume that in Blaine's day, there was other money from special interests that found its way into his pocket.

The letters Blaine wrote that were published as evidence of his corruption allegedly instructed the reader to 'burn this letter'. Therefore, the Democrat's campaign slogan became 'Burn this letter!'. In my opinion, that's a catchier slogan than 'We are the 99%' or 'Yes we can'.

The Republicans countered by having party plants make public statements that the Democrats supported 'Rum, romanism and rebellion'. Rum was a reference to the temperance movement that had reached a fever pitch by the mid 1880's, romanism referenced the teeming masses of immigrants that were overwhelmingly Catholic and suspected to owe their loyalties to Rome, rebellion was a nod to the fact that historically, the democrats had been the party of the South and the confederacy.

Their biggest gem however came when it was revealed that Cleveland had fathered a child out of wedlock and it was alleged that he had provided housing for the boy and his mother only at 'the point of a shotgun'. They even came up with a catchy slogan for his bastard child: "Ma, ma, where's my Pa? Gone to the White house, ha, ha, ha."

Ultimately, the Republicans ended up looking worse during the ugly campaign and Cleveland gained sympathy when he didn't try and deny his 'illicit' relationship with the woman who had his child and made clear that he had provided for both of them.

You would have thought that Republicans in the 1990's would have remembered this lesson when they held the sham impeachment trials of Clinton, only to have their own affairs come to light shortly thereafter.

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