An assassin's bullet took the life of former President David Palmer yesterday. Palmer was 55.
Like Senator Bill Bradley a basketball star at Princeton University and the NBA, Palmer served two terms as a congressman and one as a senator before being elected to the presidency. He served one term, as personal scandals undermined his campaign for reelection.
Palmer's political career was distinguished by his extraordinary level of integrity and honesty with the public. Likewise, he was noted for decisive leadership and exceptional courage in times of crisis. Facing down an assassination attempt during the California primary in his first presidential campaign, he later led the country through two serious terrorist threats involving weapons of mass destruction.
It was his personal life that proved his undoing, however. Estranged from his wife, Sherry, during his first presidential campaign, he was later undermined by her politically. His refusal to cover up his wife's activities, beginning with her attempt to hush up their son's involvement in the death of a man accused of raping their daughter, was seen by many as his greatest demonstration of integrity. Others, however, questioned whether a man with such a chaotic household could lead a nation.
Those who knew him personally often commented on Palmer's strength of character. Loyal and warm toward associates, he could nevertheless be steely in his determination. The "Palmer stare"--eyes set, nostrils flared, mouth firm--was legendary.
Out of office, Palmer served as a consultant to the administration of President Logan. He supplemented his income by serving as spokesman for Allstate Insurance.
He is survived by a son, a daughter, and one brother.
Speculation is that his assassination was part of an elaborate plot to derail the antiterrorism pact to be signed yesterday between President Logan and the Russian government. Some also wonder whether the Serbian radicals who sought to assassinate him during his first presidential campaign are somehow involved.
Ironically enough, on the same day of Palmer's death, speculation abounds as to the possibility of America's first real African-American president. Contrarian pundit and jazz critic Stanley Crouch discusses the possibilities of a run by Condi Rice, recently remarked by the first lady as an excellent presidential prospect. Rice, however, is reported by news services as again denying that she has any interest in the job.
Those interested in changing party politics forever may want to check out this site.