Nat Hentoff on McCarthyism. No, the OTHER McCarthyism.


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April 25, 1968, Vol. XIII, No. 28

by Nat Hentoff

Eugene McCarthy on the indictment of Spock, Coffin, Goodman, Raskin, Ferber: “The indictment is inexcusable…It seems to be part of a general policy of intimidation.”

Would some reporter somewhere ask Bonnie Prince Charlie what HE thinks about the indictment?

The prince is rousing the countryside. “I need your help!” And he’s getting it — from O’Brien, McNamara, Sorenson, Salinger, and many more radical humanist existentialists of that order. Can Walt Whitman Rostow be that far behind?

If he gets the nomination, would I vote for Kennedy against Nixon? Why not? What else is new? But at this stage, while I have a choice between Kennedy and McCarthy, it’s the latter. Easily, I think neither has the remotest idea of the degree of redistribution of power and decentralization necessary to even begin to change this country. But Kennedy, like his brother, will manufacture the illusion of change, co-opting as he goes. With McCarthy, we’ll be a lot clearer as to where we are and where we ought to be going. And besides — no small matter — what a rarity it would be to have a President you can trust to some degree. Whom you can trust to be what he is, with his limitations. I really would not prefer a “leader” mounting a new version of Camelot. The past production almost got us all killed. Yet the Prince is still proud of that eyeball-to-eyeball American “victory” during the Cuban missile crisis.

“I need your help!” If you have the help of Travia and Steingut, oh Bonnie Pretender, you don’t need mine.

Meanwhile the Times has been telling us on its editorial page how fortunate we are that Rockefeller and Humphrey are going to widen our area of choice. Both, the Times say, are competent, honorable men. And of Rockefeller, Clayton Fritchey (New York Post, April 15) proclaims: “…there are few men in public office who have more experience in domestic and foreign affairs.”

Murray Kempton (same paper, next day) has left nothing more to say about Hubert the Loyal “…when a man is described as the candidate of organized labor, organized industry, and organized Governors of the South, he is plainly trusted by all these enemies of the public to mean nothing he says to the public”…

The Alternate as Hero: Politics in a New Key
by Stephanie Harrington

The spectacularly ill-timed re-entry of Robert Kennedy into the Presidential courtship has had the effect on the anti-war constituency of a sexy old love coming back to town just when the rebound marriage was beginning to work.

Immediately the rumors began to fly. Speculation was rife. Would McCarthy’s men remain true? Could they withstand the sex-appeal of money and power, the come-hither glance of a “winner”? Or would they go scrambling back into Bobby’s bed the minute the covers were turned down?

Granted, just a few months ago the glamorous old flame had whispered sweet nothings into their eager ears — like how immoral the war was — and then jilted them, declaring his intentions to support the ten-gallon sugar daddy who had been pouring billions into that same immoralwar. But damned if Bobby didn’t still look good.

Was it true then that even members of the McCarthy inner core were, in the moral light of day, proclaiming their fidelity to the good and faithful political mate they had chosen and won with in New Hampshire, and by night were sneaking over to Bobby’s for a quick one?

Well, the returns are coming in now, and it looks like the rumors that McCarthy and his loving legions were headed for divorce with Bobby as correspondent were greatly exaggerated.

The idealistic young whose hearts were said to belong to Bobby before he finked out are still solidly for McCarthy. The intellectuals are sticking, and, indeed, the writers and artists have been imbuing the deadeningly predictable social scene in New York, with a new sense of purpose, with cook-ins for McCarthy, cabarets for McCarthy, intimate dinners for McCarthy. You can even get proximity to Paul Newman…

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