Forty years ago this spring, a virus disguised as a campaign jingle began boring its way into the frontal lobes of Georgia voters.
“Sam Nunn is tough, Sam Nunn is young, put Sam Nunn in Washington….”
What can I say? We were a simpler people in 1972. The owl-eyed, state Democratic lawmaker was elected to the U.S. Senate that year, ultimately becoming one of Washington’s foremost military experts. He retired from the Senate in 1997 –– but even now, he can startle you on matters from nukes to Afghanistan.
Although they both had roots in rural Georgia, Nunn was not particularly close to Jimmy Carter, who had followed him to Washington four years later. But in retirement, the two Georgians now have much in common: Both have created spectacular post-public careers.
Carter’s retirement can be tracked by the books he churns out year after year. Twenty-two at last count. By contrast, the first published –– but still partial –– account of Nunn’s life hit the bookstores only last