Hitting the "campaign trail" is the proverbial long and winding road. It's usually months, sometimes years long. And for most there's no pot of gold waiting at the end--you may have to do it more than once before success comes your way if it ever does. There are endless fundraisers and you might even get tired of barbecue if that's possible. I hate asking people for money but money is the mother's milk of politics. You have to buy advertising on multiple platforms and then there are the bumper stickers, yard signs and transportation costs. Sleep is not an option.
But you're not the only one on the trail--lonely it ain't! Besides your staff and closest confidants there's your spouse and, if you have children, they might be along for the ride too. They can be a serious asset. One of my favorite from yesteryear is Jim Kingston, former First District U. S. Congressman Jack Kingston. Jim is literally a "chip off the old block." He was with dad on many occasions and on several occasions when he was older he was Jack's proxy and no one seemed to mind.
It can be fun and it can be satisfying but politics being what it is there is the opposition. And this day and age (perhaps forever thus) vicious opposition. They will do their dead-level best to dig up any dirt on you they possibly can. And if they can't find any, they'll go ahead and make it up. Then just try to disprove it. As the late, great Paul Harvey used to say, "You can't unring a bell." But what happens to the family under these circumstances? It's rough to say the least. And if it's especially vicious it can even cause you to drop out.
Such was the case of Herman Cain. It has been my honor and pleasure to be his friend for 15 years or more. Herman is one of those people you like the moment you meet. We had just started my morning talk show in 2002 here at WTKS and Herman was running for the U. S. Senate seat that was eventually won by Johnny Isakson. But we had Herman on with us (co-host Brian Mudd and me) on a regular basis every Friday morning after the election giving us his perspective on the political scene. He was a natural as well as being wonderful on the air. He enjoyed it so much he went on to pursue it as a career and got on with WSB in Atlanta. Then he gave it up for awhile to run for President of the United States. And he started getting traction. But the left couldn't have that--he completely shattered the myth that all black people are supposed to think alike, be Democrats, be victims and be liberal. Cain was the exact opposite and therefore had to be destroyed!
Suddenly women who Cain had never met started accusing him of all sorts of sexual harassment long before the #MeToo movement ever existed. As soon as one story got squashed, another one popped up and that became the story. The left could not afford a conservative black role model becoming President of the United States. Unfortunately it worked. Herman Cain is, as far as I'm concerned, the best president we never had. He later told me that he had to drop out of the race because of what all the negative publicity was doing to his wife, his marriage and his family. How very sad and disgusting at the same time. And once Herman dropped out of the race where did all these accusers go? The seemed to evaporate unlike the accusers of Bill Cosby who have been relentless, Cain's accusers vanished like they went into the Witness Protection Program. Gone!
On Monday I went to the Brian Kemp fly-in...I'd have gone to the Cagle fly-in earlier but his campaign never mentioned it to me. With Brian was his wife and two of his three daughters. I spoke briefly with Lucy Kemp (a high school junior) about her feelings traveling with and campaigning with dad since she may have to turn on the TV or radio and hear the opposition says unkind things about her father. But this young lady set me straight. She said she'd never known anyone more honest and hard-working than her dad. She knew how much he cared for Georgia and her citizens. Nothing is going to shake her faith but she's in for a rough ride. She has the kind of inner faith that won't be shaken but that doesn't mean it won't hurt. We always look at what kind of effect these races have on the candidate but rarely do we look at the collateral damage done to the family.
No matter who wins, I hope their families come out unscathed--as far as possible in this political climate.