Home / General / Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 1,045

Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 1,045


This is the grave of Paul Tully.

A largely forgotten figure today, Tully was an important Democratic Party strategist in the 1980s and early 1990s. He is one of the rare people to have a full New York Times obituary and yet not have a Wikipedia wage. Born in New York in 1944, Tully worked up in the working class of the postwar city. But he managed to get into Yale, did well, and then to law school at Penn. He graduated and quickly transitioned into a Democratic Party lawyer.

Tully was a Democratic Party strategist who had worked on every presidential candidate since 1968. By 1980, he was a major figure in the party. He worked for Ted Kennedy‘s doomed and pretty badly run 1980 challenge to Jimmy Carter. He worked for Walter Mondale in 1984. He briefly worked for Gary Hart in 1988 before becoming one of Michael Dukakis’ top advisors. Tully was partially responsible in 1988 for torpedoing Joe Biden’s campaign by leaking the plagiarism tape, which caused him and his top deputy to resign for the dirty tricks. Didn’t hurt him overall though. Probably helped him really, especially since the Democratic Party in these years did not have a clear leader and cutthroat tactics were going to appeal to many politicians. In 1992, he became an early supporter of Bill Clinton. He was noted, among other things, for being one of the few optimistic voices for the Democratic Party in 1991, saying that Bush was vulnerable over the economy even as the president’s approval ratings were skyrocketing after the Gulf War. In 1992, he became Director of Political Operations for the Democratic National Committee.

Tully died in 1992 in a hotel room in Little Rock, probably of a heart attack unless it was Hillary who killed him like she killed Ron Brown, Katharine Hepburn, and Andre the Giant, among her many, many victims. He was 48 years old. Same age as I am. Great.

Paul Tully is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Now, I had never heard of Tully before. But if your grave is a giant political monument to Bill Clinton in 1992 primary, well, I am going to check that out. And so here we are. Interestingly, this monument was only put up in 2014, with his family wanting to honor his love of the Democratic Party.

If you would like this series to visit other advisors of Bill Clinton, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. Warren Christopher is in Forest Lawn, California and Lloyd Bentsen is in Houston. Previous posts in this series are archived here.

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