Politics Ain’t Beanbag
posted by Gerard Magliocca
I’m rather fond of this exchange between John Bingham and one of his colleagues in the lame-duck session after he lost his congressional race in 1862:
Mr. COX: I desire to ask the gentleman whether he was not beaten in his canvass for Congress because he belonged to a sectional party?
Mr. BINGHAM: I think the gentleman should not ask a question like that; but I answer the gentleman that I do not believe that I was beaten at all, but simply swindled out of the election. The district in which I got some ten thousand votes myself, and which had sent, I am informed, about nine thousand men to the war, is reported and certified to have increased its Democratic vote over that of any former election. According to the returns of that district, the more of its citizens that volunteer and go to war, the larger the Democratic vote in the aggregate by reason of the absence of thousands of its voters on the battlefield on election day. I beg the gentleman further to remember that no county of the district which I represent has, either at the last election or any other, repudiated me or my principles. Let the gentleman put that in his pipe and smoke it.
No doubt we will soon see an originalist article describing the “Put That in Your Pipe and Smoke It” theory of equal protection.