Friday, May 23, 2008

All Of This Has Happened Before. All Of It Will Happen Again.

Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72, pg 260-1:

But first, a few realities: (1) George McGovern is so close to a first-ballot nomination in Miami that everybody except Hubert Humphrey, Gene McCarthy, Shirley Chisholm, and Ed Muskie seems ready to accept it as a foregone conclusion . . . (2) The national Democratic Party is no longer controlled by the Old Guard, Boss-style hacks like George Meany and Mayor Daley —or even by the Old Guard liberal-manque types like Larry O'Brien, who thought they had things firmly under control as recently as six months ago ... (3) McGovern has made it pain­fully clear that he wants more than just the nomination; he has every intention of tearing the
Democratic Party completely apart and re-building it according to his own blueprint ... (4) If McGovern beats Nixon in November he will be in a position to do anything he wants either to or with the party structure . . . (5) But if McGovern loses in November, control of the Demo­cratic Party will instantly revert to the Ole Boys, and McGovern himself will be labeled "another Goldwater" and stripped of any power in the party.

The pattern is already there, from 1964, when the Nixon/ Mitchell brain-trust—already laying plans for 1968—sat back and let the GOP machinery fall into the hands of the Birchers and the right-wing crazies for a few months . . . and when Gold-water got stomped, the Nixon/Mitchell crowd moved in and took over the party with no argument from anybody . . . and four years later Nixon moved into the White House.

There have already been a few rumblings and muted threats along these lines from the Daley/Meany faction. Daley has privately threatened to dump Illinois to Nixon in November if McGovern persists in challenging Daley's eighty-five-man slave delegation to the convention in Miami . . . and Meany is prone to muttering out loud from time to time that maybe Organized Labor would be better off in the long run by enduring another four yea under Nixon, rather than running the risk of whatever radical madness he fears McGovern might bring down on him.

The only other person who has said anything about taking a dive for Nixon in November is Hubert Humphrey, who has al­ready threatened in public—at the party's Credentials Committee hearings in Washington last week—to let his friend Joe Aliolo, the Mayor of San Francisco, throw the whole state of California to Nixon unless the party gives Hubert 151 California delegates— on the basis of his losing show of strength in that state's winner-take-all primary.

Hubert understood all along that California was all or nothing. He continually referred to it as "The Big One," and "The Super Bowl of the Primaries" ... but he changed his mind when he lost. One of the finest flashes of TV journalism in many months appeared on the CBS evening news the same day Humphrey formally filed his claim to almost half the California delegation. It was a Walter Cronkite interview with Hubert in California, a week or so prior to election day. Cronkite asked him if he had any ob­jections to the winner-take-all aspect of the California primary, and Humphrey replied that he thought it was absolutely wonderful.

"So even if you lose out here—if you lose all 271 delegates— you wouldn't challenge the winner-take-all rule?" Cronkite asked.
"Oh, my goodness, no," Hubert said. "That would make me sort of a spoilsport, wouldn't it?"

8 comments:

Seven of Six said...

Any mention of RFK's assasination yet?

idiosynchronic said...

Lotsa times. For Hunter, all the assassinations were still in the front of his mind.

Seven of Six said...

...to let his friend Joe Aliolo, the Mayor of San Francisco...

I'm sure it's a typo... must be 'Joe Alioto'.

Man, had almost forgot about what a major political player he was. He was mayor of San Francisco during some turbulent times.

Milo Freeman said...

All before my time, I'm afraid. But I think you're right, Idio. You have to be a fool not to see the patterns reiterating.

As for that other set of bullshit--dude, TLC right now is going batshit.

idiosynchronic said...

Holy Frak - so that's what you meant, Seven. Jeezus. I have Fridays off so I spend a good portion of them doing things that pile up during the rest of the week, and I rarely look at the internet after a post in the morning.

There's gaffes, and then there's statements like that. When do we stop giving someone the benefit of the doubt and start saying, "This is a pattern. This is a sign of the candidate's unsuitability for this office."

Fuck. If Sen. Clinton hadn't already been in public office, I'd say it's a sign of her complete complete unsuitability for ANY public office.

idiosynchronic said...

In case anyone's curious - Amazon allows you to text search some of it's inventory, the older stuff obviously is more available. I have the current printing, so I went to the right keyword, grabbed screen shots of the pages I wanted, & forced them through an OCR program. And then cussed at how bad the the old printing rendered even through I high-quality scan. That how I misspelled Alioto.

Anyone who's ever tried to retype a passage or scan from a mass market paperback knows it's absolute hell. This method was a better circle with fewer gang wars.

Seven of Six said...

Yes Id, that's what I meant.

Anonymous said...

Every lefty should read Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. It's Thompson's best work, unless one is sentimentally attached to his first book, Hell's Angels. It's also incredibly insightful about American politics.

~ dj moonbat