If you are looking for snow, we’re getting snookered. If you don’t want snow, you’re in luck. I’ve been telling you about the prospects for snow on Thursday. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the snow machine. There is a cold front approaching from the west with an area of low pressure running up along the front. The low will by-pass us to the northwest. There is a low running up from the Gulf of Mexico that will cross the Florida Panhandle and clip Southeast Georgia. It had looked as if the low from the gulf would slide far enough north to throw moisture over us and maybe even over the advancing front. As it appears now, the gulf low is too far south and keeps its moisture from us and the low to the northwest is taking its moisture with it, leaving us in between. The moisture we have has no mechanism to lift it. And we warm up a bit to boot. So, we get a little rain with a little snow and that’s about it. If you get snow it may come for Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, but the sleds will be left gathering dust. But you will need to break out the heavy coats. This weekend we have an Arctic front that will leave us with highs in the teens and low 20′s and Sunday morning will be in the single digits.
On This Date In History: Did you ever wonder how the Democratic Party adopted the Donkey as its symbol and the Republicans got the Elephant? Well, it all goes back to the latter half of the 19th Century and a cartoonist for Harper’s Weekly named Thomas Nast. Harper’s Weekly was a political magazine that reached its zenith at the outset of the Civil War with a circulation of over 200,000. Nast was a feared and popular political cartoonist that came on board in 1862. President Lincoln’s Secretary of War was Edwin M. Stanton. Stanton is widely quoted as having said “now he belongs to the ages” at Lincoln’s deathbed upon Lincoln’s passing. The rest of what he is quoted as saying was “there lies the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen.” I’m not sure why that part is generally lost to history except that maybe it would make the quote too long. We like short, catchy phrases in America. It’s also interesting to note that just prior to Lincoln’s death, Stanton had advocated the execution of a man named George Vaughn for spying. Lincoln instead issued Vaughn a pardon…one hour before the 16th President was assassinated.
Anyway, Stanton was a holdover Secretary of War when Andrew Johnson took over. Remember, Johnson was a slave holding Democrat whom Lincoln put on the 1864 ticket in order to woo pro-Union Democrats. Johnson’s reconstruction policies were not in tune with the group of Republicans known as Radical Republicans. Stanton eventually openly challenged Johnson on his policies. The Republican Congress had unconstitutionally passed a law that said the President couldn’t remove a cabinet official without prior congressional approval. Johnson challenged that by firing Stanton. That action led to his impeachment, the only presidential impeachment until Bill Clinton. In both cases, neither man was convicted and removed from office. Keep in mind that impeachment proceedings are largely political and not criminal.
So, Stanton survived but he died in 1869 and I guess the Democrats continued to attack him even in death. So, cartoonist Nash created the drawing above on this date in 1870 depicting the “Copperhead” Democrats, or southern Democrats as the donkey kicking the dead lion, Stanton. The eagle on top depicts the Federal dominion over the South….it was still Reconstruction.
Later, toward the end of President Grant’s second term, there was talk of a third term. This flies in the face of what we’ve been taught in school that Grant was terrible. Truth is he was very popular and might have won a third term. In 1880, he came reasonably close to gaining nomination for a third term as he concluded a world tour. One of his last stops was on December 11, 1879 in Louisville. The New York Herald newspaper vigorously opposed a third term so Nast created a cartoon with a Donkey in a lion’s skin (labeled Caesarism) chasing away other small animals. Those animals were labeled as with other newspaper’s names. Going nuts in the picture is an elephant labeled “Republican Vote” and he’s perched over a deep gorge labeled as “chaos”.
For some reason, the Donkey and Elephant stuck as icons for the opposing parties. Probably due to the popularity of Nast and partly due to lack of creativity on the part of others. So, if someone sticks you with a nickname that you didn’t necessarily ask for, just remember it happened to the two political parties who have dominated the electorate since 1860. May you have such a long and prosperous life.