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Turning point

Today's political landscape in the US was largely created by the McGovern Commission, that moved the levers of power in the democratic party from the urban (and largely Catholic) bosses to the college-educated liberals.

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You can find a similar, more personal account here, in an article about the old democrat Sargent Shriver:

Most people have forgotten, if they ever knew, that Sarge was almost Lyndon Johnson's choice for vice president, instead of Hubert Humphrey. Johnson liked and admired Shriver and knew he could be his salesman on Capitol Hill--and also a hedge against the ambitions of Bobby Kennedy. He entrusted Sarge with the War on Poverty. Again, it may not mean much today, but the French loved Sarge when he was ambassador to France. He was everywhere, and glamorous, and intellectual, and all the things the French admire.

In his late-starting 1972 race for the vice presidency, the cause was hopeless. But Mickey Kantor, Mark Shields, Jeanie Mains, Doris Kearns, and a host of talented volunteers poured out to join him. McGovern assigned us the task of winning back the Catholic ethnic vote that Nixon had so knowingly cut into in 1968. We saw a lot of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, occasionally St. Louis, and then around and back again. Toward the end, when the crowds were huge and enthusiastic, we began to feel--unbelievable as it now seems--that the press must be wrong, and the campaign might have a chance of winning. What the crowds were actually saying is that they weren't going to vote for us, but we shouldn't take it personally, because they really did like Shriver.

At a factory gate, on one occasion, I watched one of the advance team hand out flyers in a see-through blouse, a miniskirt, high boots, and a big red "Abortion" button. Turning away from her in disgust, the older workers weren't meeting Shriver's eyes, and I saw two spit on the ground in anger--this in a factory in Joliet, Illinois, from which the Democrats should have gotten, maybe, 114 percent of the vote. It wasn't Sarge's fault. But such experiences of the Democratic party that year, not respecting its own base, were enough to make a neoconservative out of me.


October 31, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterSanti
October 31, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterSanti

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