Some speculated that Symington's decision not to seek the GOP's nomination next year may have been related to his long-time friendship with Munger, or perhaps to the results of a poll by Public Policy Polling that showed Symington down 23 percentage points to Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard in a hypothetical matchup.
That speculation, while citing the standard and frequently accurate reasons for a move like Symington's, was wrong.
He may not have believed he was going to be here to run next year.
The key to the mystery of Symington's motives for withdrawing from the race doesn't go back to late September and the poll results, nor do does it go back the three decades or more of his friendship with Munger.
Nope, the key to Symington's withdrawal goes back only 12 years, to 1997.
It was mid-March. Symington was still governor, not yet having been convicted on federal bank fraud charges.
The weather was beautiful, the Cactus League was in full swing, and the nighttime views were spectactular.
...Ahhhh...Central Arizona in the spring...anyway, I digress. Back to the post... :)
Aside from the usual idyllic weather conditions, something unusual happened in March of 1997 to make it especially memorable in Phoenix history.
A series of them.
In the sky.
All witnessed by our then-governor, Fife.
At the time, many fantastic stories and explanations abounded, most centered around visitors from alien planets and the like. Those were later debunked.
In spite of that debunking, 10 years later Symington still believed that the lights were actually part of an alien spacecraft.
All of which brings us back to the present, last week to be specific.
The lights, and Symington's possible mothership, returned to Phoenix last Wednesday. They called them "flares" but we *know* that was just a cover story, don't we?
Symington spent Thursday tying up loose ends, preparing for the coming rapture (though "alien visits" frequently seem to include medical exams and rectal probes, so I'm not sure that "rapture" is the right word here :) ), certain of his ascension to a plane higher than that of the 9th Floor.
So imagine his disappointment when he woke up Friday still stuck on the Terrestrial plane, and that even his own fellow Republicans were part of the cover story.
From a press release from the House Republican caucus -
Those mysterious lights in the Southwest Arizona sky are not UFOs. They are flares being dropped in the night sky from attack aircraft onto targets below as part of a training exercise by the U.S. Air Force, which is scheduled to take place tonight at 8:00 p.m.The next meeting of Symington and Weiers could be so frosty that Sylvia Allen will cite it when claiming that global warming is a hoax... :)
“We do not want the flare activity to frighten and alarm citizens,” Rep. Jerry Weiers (R-West Phoenix) said.