Quotes #8 and 9

June 10, 2008

“Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ‘72″ by Hunter S. Thompson. Page 371.

The other vice-presidential finalists were rejected for a variety of reasons that don’t really matter much now, because the point of the whole grim story is that McGovern and his brain-trust were determined from the start to use the VP as a peace offering to the Old Politics gang they’d just beaten. It was crucial, they felt, to select somebody acceptable to the Old Guard: The Meany/Daley/Muskie/Humphrey/Truman/LBJ axis – because McGovern needed those bastards to beat Nixon.

Which may be true – or at least as true as the hoary wisdom that said a maverick like McGovern couldn’t possibly win the Democratic nomination because Ed Muskie began the campaign with a lock on the Party Machinery and all the pols who matter.

So, now that Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee, he must choose his running mate. A CNN poll shows that 22 percent of Hillary supporters would stay at home and another 17 percent would vote for McCain if Clinton is not named as VP. So, the selection of Hillary is obvious, correct? Or, will the selection of a Clintoncrat dissuade young supporters of Obama that he really seeks change from the past 28 years of Bush/Clinton?

Which leads to this quote on page 174:

“I’ve always thought that the blue-collar vote had to be a source of his strength,” said Frank Mankiewicz, McGovern’s main strategist. “It always seemed to me that McGovern – not as the anti-war candidate but as the ‘change’ candidate – would appeal more to Middle America than he would to any other group. They’re the ones with the most to gain from change and they’re the ones who get screwed by the way we do business in this country.”

With Clinton’s already strong support among the blue-collar vote, and the increasing probability of recession due to rapidly increasing oil prices, an Obama/Clinton “Change” candidacy in the face of a crumbling economy may be the surest thing this side of a New England pro sports franchise.


Quote #7

May 21, 2008

So, I talk to more and more people, and they see Barack Obama as an unstoppable juggernaut. All the other election results confirm this result as the Republicans are suffering through an unpopular war and a bad economy. It certainly looks like it will be a shoo-in for Obama, but I have reservations.

Here’s your next quote from “Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ‘72″ by Hunter S. Thompson. Page 374-375.

But Hart has been talking like that since last Christmas: relentless optimism. There was never any doubt in his mind – at least not in any conversation with me – that McGovern was going to win the Democratic nomination, and then the presidency. One of his central beliefs for the past two years has been that winning the Democratic nomination would be much harder than beating Nixon.

He explained it to me one night in Nebraska, sitting in the bar of the Omaha Hilton on the day before the primary: Nixon was a very vulnerable incumbent, he’d failed to end the war, he’d botched the economy, he was a terrible campaigner, he would crack under pressure, nobody trusted him, etc….

So ANY Democratic candidate could beat Nixon, and all the candidates knew it. That’s why they’d been fighting like wolverines for the nomination – especially Humphrey, who was a far more effective campaigner than Nixon, and who had just inherited enough of the “regular” old-line party machinery, money, and connections from the Muskie campaign to make McGovern go into California and take on what amounted to the entire Old Guard of the Democratic Party…California was the key to both the nomination and the White House; a victory on the coast would make all the rest seem easy.

Hart and I agreed on all this, at the time. Nixon was obviously vulnerable, and he was such a rotten campaigner that, four years ago, Humphrey – even without the Youth Vote or the activist Left – had gained something like fifteen points on Nixon in seven weeks, and only lost by an eyelash. So this time around, with even a third of the 25 million potential new voters added to Hubert’s ’68 power base, anybody who could win the Democratic nomination was almost a cinch to win the presidency.

Substitute Clintocrats for old-line party machinery, and it is not far off from today. Of course, that machinery got Hillary Clinton a win in California this time, so it isn’t a perfect analogy. But, McCain doesn’t have the baggage of the incumbent either.


Quote #6

May 12, 2008

Ok, I think I’ve figured it out. It’s not about the game. It’s about the similarities to this year. It’s about thinking Obama is going to lose handily. It’s wondering why this pattern keeps repeating itself.

Here’s your quote from “Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72” by Hunter S. Thompson. Page 341.

“Okay,” I said finally, “the reason Nixon put Agnew and the Goldwater freaks in charge of the party this year is that he knows they can’t win in ’76 – but it was a good short-term trade; they have to stay with him this year, which will probably be worth a point or two in November – and that’s important to Nixon because he thinks it will be close: Fuck the polls. They always follow reality instead of predicting it…But the real reason he turned the party over to the Agnew/Goldwater wing is that he knows most of the old-line Democrats who just got stomped by McGovern for the nomination wouldn’t mind seeing George get taken out in ’72 if they know they can get back in the saddle if they’re willing to wait four years.”

When you use change as a talking point, you’ll attract the disillusioned youth. However, you’ll alienate those most likely to go vote in November. Especially when they don’t feel they get a voice in your campaign (read kickbacks).