Friends, enemies and political memories | Rich Elfers

"Friends come and go, but enemies are forever." This was a comment from a small-town mayor who had been involved in politics for almost 20 years. His statement is also true on the national level based upon an editorial from Theunis Bates, managing editor of "The Week," in the March 25, 2016, edition.

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  • Friday, April 15, 2016 2:43pm
  • Opinion

“Friends come and go, but enemies are forever.” This was a comment from a small-town mayor who had been involved in politics for almost 20 years. His statement is also true on the national level based upon an editorial from Theunis Bates, managing editor of “The Week,” in the March 25, 2016, edition.

Even soft-spoken presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson acted this way when he endorsed Donald Trump for president, although Trump had called Carson a “pathological liar” and intimated that Carson was a pedophile. It seems that some of Ted Cruz’ staff had insinuated that Carson was dropping out of the Iowa primary back in February.

The good doctor was so ticked that he endorsed Trump in payback for this deception.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also backed Trump, even though they are miles apart politically. Christie was angry with upstart Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for staying longer in the race than Christie and then requesting Christie’s endorsement in a condescending email.

According to Bates, Trump himself entered the presidential race because of a comment President Obama had made at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ dinner. Obama had derided Trump’s “birther” obsession and gaudy lifestyle. Trump was so angry after the event he decided to run for president.

Bates goes even deeper with his observation, suggesting that Trump’s followers are supporting him to undo the racial precedent Obama’s election wins have had on racial equality in this country.

Additionally, Bernie Sanders’ young supporters have risen up in anger with Wall Street and the super-rich 1 percent for getting even wealthier after they helped cause the 2007-08 economic meltdown and trampled upon the middle class and the poor in their greed.

Based upon my experience in politics, political grudges are the causes of numerous governmental decisions. I’ve seen candidates enter political races solely to get even with incumbents who dared to call them bullies.

Others have dished out dirt on political enemies because one or several elected officials took credit for some achievement without actually doing anything to earn that credit.

One very effective state official has a political policy that if someone attacks him during an election, he will come back and hit his opponent 10 times harder in response.

These blatant examples of grudge-holding and revenge go to the international level.

Global Futures leader George Friedman has suggested that Obama decided to come to the aid of Ukraine a few years ago because Russian President Vladimir Putin strutted and postured about his rescue of Obama when Obama waffled in following through with his threat to Syrian President Bashar Assad for his use of nerve gas against his own people.

What is it about politics that creates such a depth of feeling and anger? Is it because the people who run for office have sensitive egos and don’t want to be challenged? Are all the snide and cutting remarks we hear and see during and between elections just the beginning of the next round of and endless cycle of political paybacks?

It seems that the small town mayor’s observation was correct: “Friends come and go, but enemies are forever.”

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