Saturday :: Dec 10, 2005

Thanks, Gene. You Tried


by pessimist

Eugene McCarthy, former presidential candidate and anti-war activist, has died. A dramatic era in American history is closing.

(A tip of the Titanium Tam O'Shanter to reader Ann for the lead)

Eugene McCarthy challenged President Lyndon B. Johnson for the 1968 Democratic nomination during growing debate over the Vietnam War. The challenge led to Johnson's withdrawal from the race.

Helped by his legion of idealistic young volunteers known as "clean-for-Gene kids," McCarthy got 42 percent of the vote in the state's 1968 Democratic primary. That showing embarrassed Johnson into withdrawing from the race and throwing his support to his vice president, Hubert H. Humphrey.

Although he supported the Korean War, McCarthy said he opposed the Vietnam War because "as it went on, you could tell the people running it didn't know what was going on."

Just like Afghanistan and Iraq, eh, Gene?

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, McCarthy said the United States was partly to blame for ignoring the plight of Palestinians.
"You let a thing like that fester for 45 years, you have to expect something like this to happen," he said in an interview at the time. "No one at the White House has shown any concern for the Palestinians.
In an interview a month before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, McCarthy compared the Bush administration with the characters in the William Golding novel Lord of the Flies, in which a group of boys stranded on an island turn to savagery.
"The bullies are running it," McCarthy said. "Bush is bullying everything."
McCarthy was an advocate for a third-party movement, arguing there was no real difference between Republicans and Democrats. He blamed the media for deciding who is and is not a serious candidate and suggested he should have kept his 1992 candidacy a secret, since announcing it publicly did no good.

They are wrong who think that politics is like an ocean voyage or military campaign, something to be done with some particular end in view.
- Plutarch

Farewell, Gene. Rest In Peace.

We won't.


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