Richard Lamm, R.I.P.

Richard Lamm has died. He was 85.

Today, Richard Lamm is a forgotten figure but, for several years, he was a big deal. He served as governor of Colorado from 1975 to 1987 and he was a part of the “New Democat” movement that included Bill Clinton and Gary Hart. Lamm was nicknamed Governor Gloom because he always framed everything in apocalyptic terms. Lamm famously said that he supported euthanasia because the elderly sometimes have a duty to die so as not to overburden the social safety net.

Lamm ran for President in 1996, as a candidate for the Reform Party nomination. As soon as Lamm announced he was running, Ross Perot announced that he would be a candidate as well. It’s been speculated that Perot encouraged Lamm to run specifically so Perot could then beat him at the Reform Convention. In the summer of 1996, I was 13 and already getting into politics. C-Span aired the Reform Party Convention and I’ll never forget the look of shock, horror, and anger on Richard Lamm’s face as he realized that Perot had essentially set him up. Lamm ended up getting 34% of the vote in the Reform Party’s national primary. Perot received the other 66%. While I doubt Lamm would have made much of an impact if he had won the nomination, nominating Lamm probably would have allowed the Reform Party a chance to escape from Perot’s shadow. As it is, the Reform Party went from being a mini-major party to a political joke in the span of just one election cycle.

(It’s always amazed me how the Reform Party could go from nominating Pat Buchanan in 2000 to Ralph Nader in 2004.)

Richard Lamm, R.I.P.

Congratulations, Jake Ellzey!

Congratulations to Jake Ellzey, the newest member of the U.S. House!

Yesterday, Ellzey beat Susan Wright in the run-off for Texas’s 10th Congressional District. Both Ellzey and Wright were Republicans and they were running to replace a Republican, Susan’s late husband, Ron Wright. Trump endorse Susan Wright so this was considered by some to be an upset victory but Trump only won the 10th district by 3% in 2020, despite the fact that it’s usually a very Republican district. Tarrant County is certainly more Republican than Dallas County but it is in no way Trump Country.

I Can Hear

I’m overwhelmed right now.

Today, I finally got my hearing checked. I’ve had difficulty hearing for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been the person who has had to ask people to repeat themselves and I guess I got so used to it that I figured everyone had the same struggle that I did.

However, over the past few months, my hearing has gotten noticeably worse. Since the end of January, the world has sounded like it was underwater to me. I haven’t been able to enjoy music. I’ve struggled just to carry on normal conversations. I can no longer hear the ringing of the doorbell or even the ticking of a clock. I’ve spent the beginning of this year angry, frustrated, and depressed. I didn’t want to admit anything was wrong but I knew that wasn’t the case.

So, today, I finally swallowed my pride, faced my fears, and I got my hearing checked. I have moderate hearing loss, to the extent that the doctor who was checking my hearing said that she was stunned that I had managed to survive this long without being able to really hear. I also now own two hearing aids.

When the doctor first put the hearing aids in my ears, everything immediately cleared up. I could hear the doctor speaking clearly. I could also hear what sounded like static. When I asked the doctor about it, she pointed out that I was hearing — for the first time — the air conditioning in the office. That’s when I lost it. That’s when I started crying because I was so overwhelmed. It had been so long since I had heard clearly that I had forgotten what it was like.

I always knew that I would eventually have to get hearing aids. I never though I’d be wearing them before I even turned 40. But today, since coming home from the doctor’s office, I’ve heard so many sounds that I had forgotten about that I don’t care. I’m overwhelmed with happiness right now.

I CAN HEAR!

Mike Enzi, R.I.P.

Mike Enzi, who represented Wyoming in the U.S. Senate from 1997 until the start of the current Congress, died earlier today. He was apparently struck by a car while riding his bike.

While Enzi never got much national attention, he was a popular figure in Wyoming and he served his constituents well. He was respected and how many politicians can you say that about? Before Liz Cheney became the media’s favorite Republican, she tried to primary Mike Enzi by claiming he was insufficiently conservative and too moderate on social issues because he supported changing the law to allow gay men to donate blood. The voters of Wyoming weren’t buying what Liz was selling and she had to settle for a seat in the House. Enzi went on to serve his state and look after its interests. He may not have been a national figure but he was exactly what a senator should be.

Mike Enzi, R.I.P.

Rest In Peace, Jackie Mason

Jackie Mason was 92 years old and had been performing since 1955. He starred in movie and TV show and he performed all over the world. A countless number of comedians have cited him as an influence.

But, for those of us who grew up in the 90s, we’ll always remember Jackie as the voice of the stern but wise Rabbi Krustofski:

Rest in peace, Jackie Mason.

The Olympics Have Begun

The long-delayed Olympics have finally begun. Lisa and I watched some of the opening ceremonies last night. I’ve never really cared much about the Olympics but I am happy for the athletes who are going to finally get their chance to compete after the Games were canceled last year.

Jill Biden is the U.S.’s official representative in Japan. There’s no word on who is running the country in her absence.

Elder’s In

Elder Wins Recall Legal Victory, Shakes Up CA Race

Larry Elder has won the right to appear on the California recall ballot. If Gavin Newsom is recalled (and that’s a big if), Elder is currently the favorite to succeed him. That could change as the campaign progresses, of course. Elder has a following but this is also the first time he’s run for office. However, due to the way the recall is set up and the lack of a run-off for recall elections, Elder could easily win with just 10% of the vote. Recalls favor name recognition and, among Republican voters, that’s what Elder’s got.

Again, it all depends on whether or not Newsom is recalled. Right now, the polls are still in his favor but they’re tightening and there’s a lot that can happen, especially with the return of masks and crime. If you asked me right now, I was predict that Newsom’s going to survive but that could change depending on the next few weeks.

Governor Kristof?

NYT journo Nicholas Kristof mulls run for Oregon governor

Nick Kristof running for governor is one of those things that will always be more popular with the media than with anything else. That’s one reason why celebrity vanity campaigns are always so interesting to watch. A candidate can commandeer 40% of the coverage and still walk away with only 9% of the vote. Just ask Andrew Yang or DeRay.