Featuring essays by Elizabeth George on the future of our country
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A LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
MEA CULPA
GIVE THE GOP A LANDSLIDE VICTORY
THE ELEPHANT, THE ROOM, AND THE PEOPLE
PART II
THE ELEPHANT, THE ROOM, AND THE PEOPLE
PART I
MONEY GRUBBING FEMALES, UNITE!
WE AREN’T ELECTING A HOMECOMING QUEEN
DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN
THE TOOTSIE ISSUE
Toddlers 4 President!
CRYING BABIES AND OTHER PRESSING MATTERS OF STATE
Democratic Convention 2016: How It Might Have Been
I’D LIKE TO FEEL THE BERN, ONLY…
AN UNFORTUNATE REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST
On Matters of the Lie, the War, and Judgment
EGO, POLITICS, AND THE PRESIDENCY
On Getting What We Deserve
HOW JANUARY 2017 WILL LOOK
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AN UNFORTUNATE REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST


I voted in my first Presidential election in 1972. The Vietnam War had been going on since I was an eighth grader, and the military draft was still in force. Massive street protests against both the war and the draft were a feature of the nightly news. So was memorable footage of the war itself taken by newsmen embedded with the troops. It was the first time one was able to see film of a war outside of a movie theatre, and doubtless the nightly news helped to fire the growth of the antiwar movement. The President at that time was Richard Nixon, elected first in 1968. Nixon had done nothing to end the war, so he was enormously unpopular with that part of the electorate who wanted the war stopped n-o-w.

The Democrats had several strong candidates, but the two most appealing were Senator Edmund Muskie and Senator George McGovern. Muskie looked good because he was less liberal than McGovern and thus more likely to draw the votes of moderates from both parties who wanted the war to end as well. But just before the primary in New Hampshire, the Manchester Union newspaper ran a story with information in it about a letter they’d received in which the writer claimed that Senator Muskie had laughed at a slur against French Canadians made by one of his staff. When Muskie denied the accusation, he began to weep. Although weeping is not a game changer today (We’ve seen Presidents weep at funerals and weep at the mass shooting of first graders, among other things.), in 1972, that moment ended Muskie’s bid for the Presidency. The primaries continued, and George McGovern was the candidate chosen by the Democratic party. But George McGovern, representing what was then the radically liberal wing of the party, ended up suffering one of the greatest defeats in the history of Presidential elections.

Within months, of course, the unraveling of that election would begin, and one of the threads of that unraveling was the fact that the abovementioned letter—which became called “the Canuck letter”-- was a forgery manufactured by a dirty tricks team employed by the Committee to Re-Elect the President, which was given the apposite acronym CREEP. This team was willing to do just about anything to re-elect Richard Nixon, and the trail of slime they left eventually led right to the Oval Office and resulted in Nixon’s resignation.

What the nation learned only later was that CREEP was desperate to have Nixon run against McGovern because they were afraid that Muskie would beat him. So while they undermined Muskie’s campaign with ‘the Canuck letter” they launched no attempt to undermine McGovern’s efforts. For they knew that they would be able to destroy him in the general election, not only because of his liberal positions but also because of the vast resources they had at hand.

I’ve been reminded of 1972 during this election. Of course, while it bears no actual resemblance to the McGovern-Nixon race, it has turned out to be similar in one regard. While the Republican Party through their talking heads has been happy to eviscerate Hillary Clinton, they have maintained an interesting distance from Bernie Sanders. So what I’ve found myself wondering for a number of weeks is this: Are they keeping their distance from Bernie Sanders because they have so much trouble in their own party right now that they have no time for their talking heads to go after Hillary and Bernie? Or are they keeping their distance from Bernie Sanders right now because they learned an important lesson from their own Presidential disaster of 1964 in which their own radical candidate lost? And could it possibly be that they learned from 1964 what the Democrats may have failed to learn from 1972?

If that’s the case, it seems to me that what they would be intent upon doing at this point is making sure neither Ted Cruz (extreme right) nor Donald Trump (extreme idiot) gets enough delegates to win the nomination. Then in a brokered convention they can either choose John Kasich or draft Paul Ryan with the proviso that Governor Nickie Haley be either man’s running mate. At the same time, they would be attempting to make sure that Bernie Sanders (extreme left) either gets the Democratic nomination or in the process of seeking it, inflicts enough damage upon Hillary Clinton as to make her unelectable should she get nominated.

Regardless of what the GOP is up to, it’s my personal belief that a socialist cannot be elected to the Presidency as we are not a democratic socialist country but rather a democratic capitalist country. To turn this country into a democratic socialist society would require the participation of millions upon millions upon millions of people electing democratic socialists at all levels of government but particularly into the House of Representatives and the Senate. Yet as far as I know—and I admit that I’m no expert when it comes to this—there are no democratic socialists aside from Bernie running for national office right now. There certainly might be in the future but since Bernie Sanders will be 75 when he takes office should he win the election, I think it’s safe to assume he won’t be around long enough to see both the House and the Senate have democratic socialist majorities.

I believe that the Republican power brokers behind the scenes are aware of this. I believe that they are also aware of Bernie Sanders’s praise of Fidel Castro and that they will use the film of the interview in which he praises the dictator in political ads that run across the country. They will also take Bernie’s laundry list of proposals and they will cost them out and they will use that information as well, showing how much people stand to lose in tax increases to fund everything Bernie plans to do. All of these things will fuel their campaign against him. Because he represents a radical wing of the Democratic party and because recent history has demonstrated to both Democrats (George McGovern, 1972) and Republicans (Barry Goldwater 1964) that the radical wing of either party cannot take the Presidency, let alone the Presidency and both Houses of Congress, he will lose the election.

But…..what if that’s not the case? What if this election turns history on its ear? What if Bernie wins? Well, the last eight years have shown us how far the Republicans are willing to go to throw the country to the wolves in order to destroy the Presidency of a Democrat. Destroying the Presidency of a Democratic Socialist will be child’s play for them. For they have made temporizing into an art form. Putting Bernie’s plans off for four years till they can regain the Presidency will be very small potatoes to them after what they’ve done to President Obama.

In the parking garage in Washington D.C. where Bob Woodward met his source Deep Throat during the Watergate scandal, the man said something quite memorable to the reporter with regard to what CREEP had been up to during the 1972 campaign: “You’ve got to remember: these aren’t very smart guys, and things got out of hand.” What remains to be seen in this election of 2016 is just part of what Deep Throat said back in the early 70s. We already know that things have gotten out of hand among the GOP. But are they smarter about other things now?

I guess we’ll know in just a few months.

- Elizabeth George
Whidbey Island
Washington State

 

 
 

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