Ralph Hall, the 18-term Texas congressman who was defeated in a Republican primary last night, is the last member of the "Greatest Generation" serving in Congress and, at 91, the oldest-ever member of the House of Representatives. The Daily Beast explains:
Hall, a former Democrat who switched to the GOP in 2004, became a target of Tea Party affliated groups like Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund after he was held under 50% in his March primary. With his defeat, Hall becomes the first incumbent to lose in the 2014 election cycle."
The last World War II vets in Congress were John Dingell, the Michigan representative who called it quits in February, and Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died in June 2013.
In the aftermath of Hall's defeat to Tea Party candidate John Ratcliffe, there seemed to be a common thread linking the reactions:
So now everyone who declared the Tea Party dead last week will look at Texas and say WTF. When will they realize the Tea Party IS the GOP?— Frank Rich (@frankrichny) May 28, 2014
Texas Democratic Party statement: "The Tea Party is the Republican Party... The days of a pragmatic Texas Republican Party are over."— Aman Batheja (@amanbatheja) May 28, 2014
Since there's no particularly earth-shattering political wisdom to be gleaned from Hall's loss, it only seems fair that we pay tribute to Hall's enduring quirkiness. Consider this from a nonagenarian:
Rep Ralph Hall (R-TX) told me earlier this year if he didn't win runoff he'd go work at Wal-Mart. "I've got to have a job," he said.— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) May 28, 2014
And there was the time when, as a 12-year-old working at the local pharmacy, Hall sold cigarettes to the infamous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde.
“They wanted a carton of Old Golds, two Coca-Colas and all the newspapers we had,” he recalls. “I went and got what they wanted, they gave me $3 and they said keep the change.”
If you're still unconvinced about this man, consider that Hall may stand for everything you hate in this world. Then watch this campaign video and try not to be charmed.