Don’t Mess With Mo

Udall 1976

Republican candidates are forever trying to prove they’re real people and that Democrats are “not one of us” and, even worse, second generation politicians. Cory Gardner in Colorado is the latest with this deceptively pleasant attack on Senator Mark Udall:

Notice that Gardner’s father is a tractor dealer. He’s clearly not a prole. The ad is an effective one.  It’s real point is not that Mark Udall is a nice guy, but that he’s a CAREER POLITICIAN. Run in terror. In the pre-Wallace/Carter/Reagan days, we called people like the Udalls PUBLIC SERVANTS. Mr. Udall was not amused:

“This race should be about who can better represent the great state of Colorado, not personal attacks on our families,” Udall said in a statement. “So, to see Congressman Gardner decide to go after my late father and members of my family in a negative ad. That’s just low.”

“Folks loved my dad, I loved my dad,” he said. “and that isn’t gonna change no matter how personal and negative Congressman Gardner’s campaign gets.”

Those of us who are old enough to remember Mo Udall’s gallant campaign for the Democratic nomination in 1976 agree with his son. He was a snake bit candidate who kept finishing second in primaries to Jimmy Carter. By the time Carter did his typical end of campaign fade, Udall had run out of money and dropped out of the race. Mo was the candidate of the party’s liberal wing as well as one of the nicest and funniest people to ever run for President.

There are several collections of Mo Udall’s best quips on the internet. This is perhaps my favorite Udall line:

I have learned the difference between a cactus and a caucus. On a cactus, the pricks are on the outside.

Very salty for a Mormon but Mo Udall wore his religion lightly. I can’t blame Mark Udall for sniping at his opponent. On the other hand, reminding Democrats that Mark is Mo’s boy is not the worst thing in the world.

All I can say is: Don’t mess with Mo.