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Mrs. Patrick Lucey, George McGovern, And Why I Post This

August 27, 2018

In 1972 there was a mad dash to find a vice-presidential candidate for George McGovern.  The Democratic Convention that year was one of the most perplexing and disorganized events that could possibly unfold on live television.  At least in 1968 the party could blame the protesters, but in ’72 they could only blame themselves.  In the hunt for a V.P. nominee many names were considered.

Patrick Lucy, governor of Wisconsin, also Catholic? (His wife, some people feared, was another Martha Mitchell.)  The party was seeking a Catholic running mate.

I am not a fan of reality television and can honestly say to have never watched any such programming over the many years such fare has been offered on TV.  But after reading that line today in the closing pages of Nixonland by Rick Perlstein I thought what a delight it might have been to have had Jean Lucey, who made many a colorful story in Madison, the famed Martha Mitchell, and the always character-rich Alice Roosevelt Longworth all drinking wine and telling tales.   Allow nothing to be censored and let the cameras roll.  Just imagine!

After Thomas Eagleton was nominated the storm came crashing down as his medical past caught up with him.  He announced that he had undergone electric shock therapy.  As such the political class came up with jokes.

(The week’s funniest came from Julian Bond, riffing on reports that Nixon has several times come close to dumping Sprio Agnew: “At least we know ours had treatment.”)

As the fall campaign continued the polls showed bad news and then at one event a glad-handing emcee announced at the South Dakota Democratic Convention, “Come January I’m going to stop calling him George and start calling him Mr. President.”  A New York Times reporter murmured under his breath, “If you do, people are sure gonna look at you funny.”

Why do I post this tonight?

This morning after waking up I was greeted with some vile feedback on articles I had posted about Senator John McCain.   They were from those who felt the Arizona senator had undermined his party and had not propped up Trump to the degree they wanted.  Later this afternoon one even posted that she wished he rotted in hell.

So it was then and there I turned off all my devices and picked up one of the several books I am reading, grabbed a large mug of coffee, and headed outside.  I sat in a chair and read the stories above, along with others about the ’72 election and started laughing.

Not a snicker but full-out laughs as the entire chapter at this point in the story is just crafted in a truly remarkable fashion.  Or at least I thought so since I needed to get off the crazy train that passes for our current political culture,  The pages from the past keep me rooted to the stronger foundations of our nation and its people.

Yes, the Nixon Administration was another time of high drama and stress in our nation.  In ’72 we still had tens of thousands of soldiers in Vietnam and at the time of the above nuggets the Watergate break-in had already occurred.  Outside of Nixon giving a shove to his press secretary people still had large doses of civility and decency.   Many were determined to get to the bottom of the criminal activity but the professional political class still needed to be mindful that voters back home expected common-sense to guide their actions.

Today it seems nothing is too bombastic, horrid, or rancid to be outright stated.  And I am profoundly dismayed at that fact.

When there are those–and many if you start looking on social media, including a progressive who ranted on Facebook that McCain was a “***** racist”–who can attack a dead person who fought a year-long battle with a most dreadful cancer then I say matter of factly something VERY disturbing has happened to our nation.

I find, more and more, that I just turn everything off for chunks of the day and get into a book as what the current headlines offer are unreasonable and utterly dismaying.   And to top it off the civility of the nation seems to have taken a severe dive.

At least Nixon had a modicum of honor and resigned.

And so it goes.

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