Hamilton Jordan

Hamilton Jordan died today.

Hamilton was Jimmy Carter's Karl Rove.  He was the strategist who planned Carter's audacious victory in 1976.  That will always be number one in his obituary.

He also battled cancer for the last 22 years.  Wow.  WOW!

Hamilton made lots of mistakes in the White House.  The GOP attack machine went after him with fang bared ferocity.  We was always an outsider, even as White House Chief of Staff.  He was too much of an outsider who never adjusted to his role.  

We are all into politics here and most of us should have thick skins.  Politics should be about what we accomplish.  I met Hamilton in 1976.  He was a young man in a hurry who did not take much notice of me.  In fact, he was sort of a jerk back then but changed a lot as he had less power and more humanity.  Tip O'Neil called him "Hamilton Jerkin." That all pales against the real accomplishments of President Carter.  Thank you Hamilton.  You showed us a lot about living as you were dying.

Tags: cancer, Hamilton Jordan, Jimmy Carter (all tags)

Comments

4 Comments

Thanks for the report

I did feel a little sad as he was a known figure in my youth.  But, yes, I do remember Tip's unflattering nickname for him.

by lombard 2008-05-20 08:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Hamilton Jordan

Damn I'm getting old...

by nogo postal 2008-05-20 08:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Hamilton Jordan
Thanks for sharing that. May he rest in peace. After 22 years of showing us the meaning of courage and strength in the face of cancer, he deserves far more recognition than just his significant political accomplishments.
by Jeter 2008-05-21 12:02AM | 0 recs
March 1980

I was a paid communications staffer in Connecticut for the Carter/Mondale Primary re-election effort. (Later went onto Michigan as the campaign's local press secretary.) Of course, we were in a race against Ted Kennedy, and in a New England state adjacent to Massachusetts, to boot.

Hamilton Jordan was the onsite campaign spokesman and local spinmeister (before spin was even acknowledged as a slang word for this type of thing, I might add!) for the White House on Primary night.

We had a modest-sized room at the Hartford Hilton setup for a post-election press event with Gov. Ella Grasso, Lt. Gov. O'Neill, (then) State Senate President Joe Lieberman, various other dignitaries, and of course, Hamilton Jordan.

National press were there, but the press' focus that night was on the neighboring state's (NY) primary, so we were the second-tier event for the evening.

As Gov. Grasso began to speak, someone in the hotel cut all the power--lights and everything--to the room. I had to run around like a frantic chicken with my head cutoff to address the not-so-accidental "emergency." (Someone deliberately switched off the multiple circuit breakers feeding into the room.)

Jordan, and others, were cracking jokes up on the stage.

We lost CT by just six points that night. (The anticipated margin for Kennedy was supposed to be much greater. Somewhat of a backhanded, small victory for the evening.) I believe--I'll have to check on this--Kennedy won NY by a larger margin the same day. Of course, the rest is history.

Most of these folks are gone now, with Jordan's passing. I just turned 50. (This makes me feel quite old today!) Jordan was significantly more influential in the Carter circle than most ever gave him credit. He will be missed by many.

The announcement from Sen. Kennedy's office in the past 24 hours just makes this story all the more poignant to me.

by bobswern 2008-05-21 04:09AM | 0 recs

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