30 people have now emailed David Plouffe, Steve Hildebrand, and Eric Holder to tell them they’re Having Nunn of It – thanks to all. To help out with the campaign, I created a Facebook group to convince the young ‘uns to join in – sign up if you’re interested.
The New York Times Magazine had a piece this weekend about Sam Nunn as a VP prospect, and gives the impression that (a) he’s mentioned every four years and (b) he never gets picked. True enough, but I think the fact that Nunn is, by all indications, friends with Obama, that his friends say he “seems more open to it”, and that Carolyn Kilpatrick is on record as saying Nunn is being considered, indicates that this time it’s more than just idle speculation.
Finally, as if I needed another reason to dislike Nunn, I read through this 19-year-old Time profile of him, dating to the John Tower confirmation hearings, and it’s pretty illuminating. Take this graf on how he won the general election to the Senate in 1972, after beating a Carter-backed candidate in the primary:
After defeating Carter’s man — a Harvard-educated lawyer whom Nunn chided for being “too used to air-conditioned rooms in Eastern Ivy League schools” — Nunn faced a conservative Republican in the general. The great coup, the stroke that many say put him over, was Nunn’s enlistment of Alabama Governor George Wallace as a public supporter of his candidacy. Nunn’s memory of that ploy is somewhat selective. “You have to keep the context in mind,” says Nunn — a “context” that also caused him to attack the “dictatorship created by lifetime tenure of federal judges.” “After the primary,” says Nunn, “Maddox was leaning toward supporting my Republican opponent, who was running an ad showing George McGovern with Coretta King over a line about how they were warming Georgia up for me. I counteracted that with Wallace. It was no big deal, and I didn’t get involved in actually supporting Wallace for President.”
Well, actually, Nunn was “talking up” Wallace for President — and before the threat of Maddox’s bolting was perceived. “Without George Wallace on the national ticket,” said Nunn before the Senate primary, “the Democrats cannot win. I fervently hope he will be on the ticket.”
Now, this isn’t to say Nunn was a racist or a segregationist himself – in addition to Wallace’s and Lester Maddox’s backing, he was supported by folks like Julian Bond and Andrew Young. But he was more than wiling to play into the racism of white Georgia voters – and their ensuing opposition to busing and support for prominent racists like Wallace – in order to get elected. It’d be more than a little bizarre if the first black major-party nominee picked a former Wallace supporter as his running mate.