Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Eugene McCarthy and the molecules

David Broder praises Eugene McCarthy, who died two days ago. Although he died a bitter and unforgiving man, in 1968 you had to agree that McCarthy was an admirable, thoughtful, and learned fellow, even if you disagreed with him, which I did. He opposed the Vietnam War and Johnson, and because he did so well in the New Hampshire primary, Robert Kennedy--by now he repudiated his brother’s war--entered the race. Kennedy won the California primary, but was killed on election eve. Powerline recalls one of the great and funny political lines of all time: A reporter asked McCarthy if he was upset that Kennedy had come in only after McCarthy had done the heavy lifting. McCarthy’s response: "You don’t blame the molecules for obeying the laws of physics."

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Let us remember also that McCarthy endorsed Ronald Reagan for president in October 1980, because McCarthy could see the unmitigated rot of the Carter presidency. He was also a consistent opponent of campaign finance reform, because he understood its threat to political speech. (Also, he could not have run his 1968 campaign under the current rules. I wonder what liberal sentimentalists think of that. . . if they think at all.)

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