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Thu May 24, 2012, 03:05 PM

A question about RFK

If he had won the 1968 democratic party nomination, who might he have chosen as his running mate? Presuming of course that he wasn't tragically murdered the night he won the California primary.

Sergeant Shriver? Eugene McCarthy? Ramsey Clark? George McGovern?

I love history, and would enjoy hearing thoughts from folks here.

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Arrow 88 replies Author Time Post
Reply A question about RFK (Original post)
lovemydog May 2012 OP
hifiguy May 2012 #1
villager May 2012 #2
lovemydog May 2012 #81
villager May 2012 #82
zzaapp May 2012 #11
hifiguy May 2012 #13
zzaapp May 2012 #18
HiPointDem May 2012 #15
lovemydog May 2012 #17
zzaapp May 2012 #21
lovemydog May 2012 #27
avebury May 2012 #62
zzaapp May 2012 #3
yellowcanine May 2012 #7
goclark May 2012 #25
RFKHumphreyObama May 2012 #79
hifiguy May 2012 #8
zzaapp May 2012 #9
DemocratSinceBirth May 2012 #84
zzaapp May 2012 #4
broiles May 2012 #5
HiPointDem May 2012 #16
lovemydog May 2012 #38
yellowcanine May 2012 #6
villager May 2012 #12
yellowcanine May 2012 #37
WI_DEM May 2012 #28
zzaapp May 2012 #10
lovemydog May 2012 #19
zzaapp May 2012 #20
WI_DEM May 2012 #29
DemocratSinceBirth May 2012 #85
Capt. Obvious May 2012 #14
lovemydog May 2012 #22
Capt. Obvious May 2012 #24
hifiguy May 2012 #30
lovemydog May 2012 #39
craigmatic May 2012 #36
WI_DEM May 2012 #26
zzaapp May 2012 #31
WI_DEM May 2012 #33
zzaapp May 2012 #35
Capt. Obvious May 2012 #34
WI_DEM May 2012 #45
yellowcanine May 2012 #44
Capt. Obvious May 2012 #53
yellowcanine May 2012 #61
WI_DEM May 2012 #23
craigmatic May 2012 #32
WI_DEM May 2012 #41
craigmatic May 2012 #51
lovemydog May 2012 #49
hifiguy May 2012 #60
UTUSN May 2012 #54
craigmatic May 2012 #57
UTUSN May 2012 #74
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #66
craigmatic May 2012 #75
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #76
DemocratSinceBirth May 2012 #86
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #87
DemocratSinceBirth May 2012 #88
markpkessinger May 2012 #40
WI_DEM May 2012 #42
markpkessinger May 2012 #43
yellowcanine May 2012 #47
markpkessinger May 2012 #50
WI_DEM May 2012 #55
markpkessinger May 2012 #58
hifiguy May 2012 #67
markpkessinger May 2012 #73
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #68
markpkessinger May 2012 #72
markpkessinger May 2012 #46
trackfan May 2012 #48
hifiguy May 2012 #63
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #69
yellowcanine May 2012 #52
UTUSN May 2012 #59
yellowcanine May 2012 #64
UTUSN May 2012 #71
yellowcanine May 2012 #77
coalition_unwilling May 2012 #70
yellowcanine May 2012 #56
yellowcanine May 2012 #65
RFKHumphreyObama May 2012 #78
RFKHumphreyObama May 2012 #80
Tierra_y_Libertad May 2012 #83

Response to lovemydog (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 03:09 PM

1. That is an excellent hypothetical.

Not Shriver, who was his brother-in-law. Ramsey Clark may have been a possibility, as would have been the man Humphrey ultimately selected, Edmund Muskie, who was a highly respected Democratic Senator from Maine.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #1)

Thu May 24, 2012, 03:13 PM

2. Though in the Muskie hypothetical, that would put two "Northeasterners" on the ticket

Don't know if the Kennedys wanted anything more to do with Texas, at that point, but a liberal Senator like Ralph Yarborough?

He had a great campaign slogan: ""Let's put the jam on the lower shelf so the little people can reach it"

Would that we still had such Democrats.

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Response to villager (Reply #2)

Fri May 25, 2012, 04:24 PM

81. 'Let's put the jam on the lower shelf

so everyone can reach it.' I changed it to 'everyone' 'cause it sounds a bit better.
That's my new mantra.

Thanks for sharing the anecdote about Yarborough.

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Response to lovemydog (Reply #81)

Sat May 26, 2012, 01:58 PM

82. It's a good mantra. Sadly, the current owners/sponsors of the Democratic Party

...wouldn't allow it.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #1)

Thu May 24, 2012, 03:57 PM

11. Didn't Muskie go kinda crazy at one point ...on a train?

 

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Response to zzaapp (Reply #11)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:03 PM

13. That was in 1972 when he was running for Prez.

Nixon's dirty-tricksters were planting slanderous stories about his wife and he freaked out a bit when reporters badgered him about it.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #13)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:12 PM

18. Thanks for clearing that up.

 

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Response to zzaapp (Reply #11)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:06 PM

15. no.

 

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Response to zzaapp (Reply #11)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:12 PM

17. When Muskie was the demoratic front runner in 1972

the Manchester (NH) Union-Leader (a right wing smear publication) printed a story suggesting a 'rumor' his wife was unfaithful. He (I think) got off a train in New Hampshire into cold and snow, surrounded by tv cameras. He defended her and said essentially 'say what you want about me but leave my dear wife out of it'. Cameras caught a glimpse of a tear from his eye and the press went hysterical with speculation. 'Is a man who cries fit to be president' blah blah. Most now believe a snow flake had melted near his eye. It was spun that Muskie cried and was therefore unfit for the presidency. It derailed his campaign.

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Response to lovemydog (Reply #17)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:21 PM

21. UNFAIR

 

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Response to zzaapp (Reply #21)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:29 PM

27. yes, another example of the inanity

and inherent conservatism and laziness among much of the mainstream media.

For good accounts, read The Boys on the Bus by Timothy Crouse or Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail by Hunter Thompson.

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Response to zzaapp (Reply #11)

Thu May 24, 2012, 05:08 PM

62. Unfortunately, Muskie was also an alcoholic.

That is what I heard from my father. He worked for a company that had to deal with government regulations so he got to know quite a lot of the government officials over the years.

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Response to lovemydog (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 03:25 PM

3. Was Jerry Brown in office then?

 

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Response to zzaapp (Reply #3)

Thu May 24, 2012, 03:41 PM

7. No but his father Pat Brown would have been a good choice. See below.

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Response to yellowcanine (Reply #7)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:26 PM

25. Pat Brown would have been an excellent choice


Ms. goclark is a CA lady

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Response to yellowcanine (Reply #7)

Fri May 25, 2012, 01:28 AM

79. Pat Brown had just lost to Raygun at that point

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Response to zzaapp (Reply #3)

Thu May 24, 2012, 03:44 PM

8. Jerry was first elected Gov of Cali in '74 IIRC.

So, no.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #8)

Thu May 24, 2012, 03:54 PM

9. Thanks, wasn't sure of the dates.

 

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Response to zzaapp (Reply #3)

Sat May 26, 2012, 03:03 PM

84. He Was All Of Thirty

.

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Response to lovemydog (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 03:26 PM

4. I've got it !!! Hunter Thompson.

 

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Response to lovemydog (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 03:32 PM

5. Henry B. Gonzales

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Response to broiles (Reply #5)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:07 PM

16. that would have been a great choice. gonzalez's work was the first time i got a clue about

 

the banksters.

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Response to broiles (Reply #5)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:36 PM

38. 'González was referred to as a "communist" in 1986

by a man at Earl Abel's restaurant, a popular San Antonio eatery. The 70 year-old representative responded by punching him in the face. González was acquitted of assault for this incident.'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_B._Gonzalez

My kind of guy.

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Response to lovemydog (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 03:39 PM

6. Pat Brown might have been an inspired choice.

He soundly defeated Nixon in 1962, inspiring Nixon's churlish observation to the press that "they wouldn't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore." Even if Brown could not deliver California for RFK, having him on the ticket would have reminded voters of Nixon's darker side and the press certainly would have made a big deal of it. And Nixon's margins of victory in California in both 1960 and 1968 were small, so Nixon by no means had California sewed up. There is no question that putting CA in the Democratic column would have boosted RFK's chances a lot given that JFK won without California in 1960. And there was a strong connection between Pat Brown and RFK in the form of Dick Tuck, a political fixer and prankster whom Nixon partially blamed for his 1960 loss to JFK and his 1962 loss to Pat Brown. Tuck was a genius at getting under a candidate's skin and the paranoid Nixon seemed to be the perfect foil for him. To have RFK, Pat Brown, and Dick Tuck on the same team would have brought out the worst of Nixon.

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Response to yellowcanine (Reply #6)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:02 PM

12. Good thoughts, but note that Brown had lost the governship to St. Ronnie in '66

Doesn't mean he couldn't have been on the ticket, but he'd already lost California to a Republican at that point.

As for Dick Tuck -- the Democrats need another one!

On edit: I went back and read up on that election again (I was just a tot, but remember my parents watching results, and everyone grim that someone like Reagan could be elected governor... little did any of us know!)

Brown's popularity was already sagging, he'd sought a third term when he promised not to, and lost to Reagan in convincing manner. Sadly, there would probably have been little to make him a "strong" choice for the ticket in '68 (though evidently he was considered by LBJ in '64, before Humphrey got the nod...)

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Response to villager (Reply #12)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:36 PM

37. Yes that would have been one thing against having Brown as VP. But beyond California, Brown

had some national recognition and credentials, because he did serve two terms as California governor and because he scored a surprisingly strong win over Nixon in 1962. So nationally Democrats would have been receptive, one of the most important roles for a VP candidate is helping with turnout of the base. And Brown could have reminded wavering Democratic voters why they didn't like Nixon.

Also by 1968 there was some buyer's remorse in California over Reagan, there was actually a failed recall attempt. Californians are notoriously fickle voters and it is difficult to win a third term, significantly, Reagan himself did not try for a third term in 1974.

Another possible rap against Brown as VP was age, he was 63 in 1968 and often VP candidates are younger than the Presidential candidate. RFK was 43. Of course this also could have worked the other way - Brown could have been seen as offering seasoned experience to balance RFK's youth. The age issue would likely have been a wash.

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Response to yellowcanine (Reply #6)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:29 PM

28. Brown lost to Ronnie Reagan by a million votes in 1966--so doubtful.

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Response to lovemydog (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 03:54 PM

10. How about Jesse Jackson...too young?

 

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Response to zzaapp (Reply #10)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:16 PM

19. Probably too young

and he didn't yet have middle of road or mainstream appeal.

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Response to lovemydog (Reply #19)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:19 PM

20. I need to start checking dates before posting. lol

 

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Response to zzaapp (Reply #10)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:30 PM

29. Too young, and too soon--RFK would not have selected a black or female VP

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Response to zzaapp (Reply #10)

Sat May 26, 2012, 03:04 PM

85. I Presume He Wanted To Win

.

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Response to lovemydog (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:04 PM

14. I first thought southerner

George Wallace.

Would have eaten/taken away the southern strategy and kept Nixon out.

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Response to Capt. Obvious (Reply #14)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:23 PM

22. But RFK was strongly in favor of civil rights

while George Wallace was virulently racist. Also, Bobby wanted us to get out of Vietnam. I don't think Wallace did.

They didn't like each other. Wallace considered Bobby one of the 'pointy headed' east coast ivy league liberals. I think Bobby as attorney general ordered federal troops to help desegregate some schools in Alabama, where Wallace would tell the press that he'd stand there with a baseball bat to prevent them damn feds from accomplishing that objective.

In 72, Wallace announced a running mate and it was an army general who urged dropping a nuclear warhead on Vietnam. Can't recall his name now.

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Response to lovemydog (Reply #22)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:25 PM

24. Oh, I'm sure they hated each other

but politics makes strange bed fellows.

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Response to lovemydog (Reply #22)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:32 PM

30. USAF General Curtis "Bomb 'em Back To the Stone Age" LeMay.

Crazier than a shithouse mouse, and one of the brass who wanted JFK to nuke Cuba during the Missile Crisis. And that was in 1968. Geez, I'm starting to feel old. I remember all this stuff first-hand.

And RFK hated Wallace's guts. Wallace was running as a third party candidate anyway. Never EVER would have happened.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #30)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:39 PM

39. yeah, LeMay

what a whacko.

I think Terry Southern wrote about him in what later became the brilliant Kubrick movie Dr. Strangelove. Might have been the George C. Scott character that was based on him.

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Response to lovemydog (Reply #22)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:35 PM

36. I think you mean Curtis LeMay.

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Response to Capt. Obvious (Reply #14)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:28 PM

26. Come on, RFK would never have selected George Wallace

that is ridiculous.

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Response to WI_DEM (Reply #26)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:33 PM

31. Are you sure that he didn't mean George Wallace, the black comedian?

 

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Response to zzaapp (Reply #31)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:33 PM

33. well then that is possible. But I think Bill Cosby would have been more universally

acceptable at the time.

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Response to WI_DEM (Reply #33)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:34 PM

35. George Carlin?

 

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Response to WI_DEM (Reply #26)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:34 PM

34. If it would get him the White House

I think he would

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Response to Capt. Obvious (Reply #34)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:42 PM

45. I doubt a RFK/Wallace ticket would even win

it would have certainly disenchanted many of Kennedy's own supporters--including black voters and the young. They would have seen RFK as just another hack.

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Response to Capt. Obvious (Reply #14)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:42 PM

44. No effin way. The Southern Strategy didn't kick in until 1972. It was a response to Wallace in

68. Wallace would not have run with RFK and RFK would not have asked him. RFK would have rightly lost a great deal of the black vote and the liberal white vote by doing something like that.

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Response to yellowcanine (Reply #44)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:55 PM

53. This thread is all about hypotheticals - I gave mine

But,

Lyndon Johnson was concerned that his endorsement of Civil Rights legislation would endanger his party in the South. In the 1968 election, Richard Nixon saw the cracks in the Solid South as an opportunity to tap into a group of voters who had long been beyond the reach of the Republican Party.


---

With the aid of Harry Dent and South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, who had switched parties in 1964, Richard Nixon ran his 1968 campaign on states' rights and "law and order." Many liberals accused Nixon of pandering to Southern whites, especially with regard to his "states' rights" and "law and order" stands.

The independent candidacy of George Wallace, former Democratic governor of Alabama, partially negated the Southern strategy. With a much more explicit attack on integration and black civil rights, Wallace won all of Goldwater's states (except South Carolina), as well as Arkansas and one of North Carolina's electoral votes. Nixon picked up Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida, while Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey's only southern state was Texas. Writer Jeffrey Hart who worked on the Nixon campaign as a speechwriter says that Nixon did not have a "Southern Strategy" but "Border State Strategy" as the campaign ceded the Deep South to George Wallace and that the press merely call it a "Southern Strategy" as they are "very lazy"


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_strategy#Roots_of_the_Southern_strategy

And,


Wallace's "outsider" status was once again popular with voters, particularly in the rural South. He won almost 10 million popular votes, carried five Southern states, came fairly close to receiving enough votes to throw the election to the House of Representatives, and became the last person (as of 2011) who was not the nominee of one of the two major parties to win electoral votes. He was the first such person since Harry F. Byrd, an independent segregationist candidate in the 1960 presidential election. (John Hospers in 1972, Ronald Reagan in 1976, Lloyd Bentsen in 1988 and John Edwards in 2004 all received one electoral vote from dissenters, but none "won" these votes.) Wallace also received the vote of one North Carolina elector who was pledged to Nixon.

Wallace was the most popular 1968 presidential candidate among young men. Wallace also proved to be popular among blue-collar workers in the North and Midwest, and he took many votes which might have gone to Humphrey.

Wallace lost North Carolina and Tennessee to Nixon by narrow, "statistically insignificant margins". Carter suggests that better organization would have allowed Wallace to achieve his goal of forcing the election into the House of Representatives: With either North Carolina or Tennessee in the Wallace column, a change less than 1% in New Jersey or Ohio would have thrown the election.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wallace_presidential_campaign,_1968#General_election_results

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Response to Capt. Obvious (Reply #53)

Thu May 24, 2012, 05:07 PM

61. Even for a hypothetical it is a bridge too far. The old South hated RFK. They would have swung to

Nixon in a heartbeat, even with Wallace on the ticket as VP. And Wallace was a segregationist and a bastard, but he wasn't a hypocrite. He would not have agreed to run with RFK.

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Response to lovemydog (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:24 PM

23. Not Shriver (family), Not McCarthy (Catholic) not Clark (LBJ's Attorney General)

maybe McGovern, but doubtful. Probably some new south governor like Terry Sanford who was progressive and good on civil rights.

That is if he had been nominated.

At the time of RFK's assassination, VP Humphrey was the clear leader in delegates. There weren't many primaries in 1968, most delegates were chosen by party conventions or organized labor, most were for HHH.

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Response to lovemydog (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:33 PM

32. RFK wouldn't have won the nod in '68 because LBJ wouldn't have allowed it.

LBJ was pulling the strings at the convention and hated the Kennedys. He would've backed Nixon and there's evidence that he and Nixon had collaborated against HHH.

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Response to craigmatic (Reply #32)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:40 PM

41. Actually Johnson did a lot to try and help HHH win

He was certainly a mercurial man, and didn't like HHH's Salt Lake City speech, but, he did campaign appearances for HHH in NY, WVA, KY, TX & TN. He appeared with HHH, in fact, at a packed rally for Humphrey two days before the election in Houston, TX and gave an enthusiastic speech for HHH. He did radio speeches for HHH.

Most importantly he announced on October 31, 1968 a bombing halt on North Vietnam. The country responded and briefly HHH went ahead of Nixon in the polls. Then Nixon's campaign (like that of Reagan in 1980) committed treason when it told Hanoi to wait that they could get a better deal under Nixon.

http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/archives.hom/speeches.hom/681031.asp

Johnson found out about this (yes, he bugged Nixon's campaign plane) and threatened to go public but at the last minute decided not to because he felt it would destroy the country. A big mistake.

Now, I agree RFK, might not have gotten the nomination, but not because of Johnson (though maybe because of him, too), but because most delegates were selected at that time at party conventions and by labor leaders. The party heirarchy was behind HHH and, in fact, he was leading in the delegates at the time of the California Primary.

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Response to WI_DEM (Reply #41)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:52 PM

51. You're right overtly LBJ did alot for HHH but behind the scenes he believed HHH was disloyal.

In the Book "Nixonland" Pearlstein cited a quote fom LBJ saying that he wanted the kind of loyalty where sombody would kiss his ass no matter what. Nixon called LBJ and promised to follow his policies and be loyal to what he had done up to that point. This was right before HHH delivered that speech in Salt Lake and Nixon got to LBJ first to tell him all this then HHH called 5 minutes later. LBJ had mixed feelings about Nixon and both of them hated Bobby. It's hard to see how he would've won the nomination.

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Response to craigmatic (Reply #32)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:50 PM

49. Great points

regarding HHH locking up many delegates.

Also, in Nixon transcripts, LBJ was on his mind. In 72, he's often asking associates whether it would be wise to threaten leaking info about LBJ wiretapping, and LBJ essentially sends back the word of 'if you do that, I'll leak word that you sabotaged the paris peace talks in 68. What schemers.

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Response to lovemydog (Reply #49)

Thu May 24, 2012, 05:06 PM

60. You had to have brass balls to try to blackmail LBJ.

And Nixon didn't have them. LBJ knew where many of Nixon's bodies were buried and was fully aware that Tricky Dick's people - mainly intermediary Anna Chennault IIRC, had torpedoed his peace efforts.

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Response to craigmatic (Reply #32)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:56 PM

54. Whatever bad traits he had, LBJ was a real Democrat and would NOT have backed NIXON

Until I read CARO's bio of LBJ, I had no idea how far back he and HUMPHREY went. I had thought LBJ had just picked him for veep as a political expedience. But LBJ sized him up when HHH first arrived at the senate in full flaming Lib mode and schooled him and drilled the realities of politics into him on the topic that making pretty speeches in front of adoring choirs don't get things done and the way to get actual results "into the books" was sometimes to compromise, sometimes to settle for partial/incremental results (CONCRETE results), and to BE REAL in assessing what is possible, knowing when you've got the votes to win and when you don't.

Yes, LBJ humiliated HUMPREY and even emasculated him, as he did many others, but by the time LBJ was in the White House and it was time to capitalize on the emotions after JFK, it was HUMPHREY that LBJ put in charge as the captain of getting the Civil Rights bill passed through the humongous obstacles of the Southern Caucus, with LBJ's hand on the tiller. And LBJ's tutelage of HUMPHREY paid off.

And, yes, LBJ hated Robert KENNEDY (not JFK), but most assuredly, Robert KENNEDY hated LBJ in the most vicious, ruthless, and irrational way, too.

On behalf of the Civil Rights law, the Voting Rights law, the war on Poverty, Medicare/Medicaid, the no-descrimination on housing, and the much more in the Great Society programs: I will take HUGH offense to the aspersion that LBJ would work with NIXON, not only against HUMPHREY but against his Democratic party.

If you can produce the "evidence," let's see it.

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Response to UTUSN (Reply #54)

Thu May 24, 2012, 05:03 PM

57. I like LBJ too but politicians have been known to buck party loyalty in private.

JFK said that if he didn't get the nod in '60 he'd vote for Nixon. Read Nixonland if you don't believe me about what LBJ said. LBJ did alot but also had a huge ego to go along with it and I guarantee that he took HHH's Salt Lake City speech as disloyalty especially because he hadn't been consulted beforehand.

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Response to craigmatic (Reply #57)

Thu May 24, 2012, 05:43 PM

74. It's not a matter of "liking LBJ" but somebody of his party accomplishment would be like FDR turning

Rethug.

I don't know the book/author, so I'll have to table (for myself) your original assertions. But if you don't believe me about how tight LBJ and HHH worked or what Post #41 said about how much LBJ helped campaign for HHH, I'll just leave it there.

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Response to craigmatic (Reply #32)

Thu May 24, 2012, 05:24 PM

66. Are you saying that, even after he won the California Democratic Primary and

 

had he survived, that RFK would not have been the Demcratic nominee? If indeed such had come to pass, what would have transpired in Chicago made what actually did transpire there seem like a Sunday garden party.

California was it and I personally doubt LBJ would have been able to prevent an RFK nomination, had RFK lived.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #66)

Thu May 24, 2012, 09:25 PM

75. I'm saying exactly that.

LBJ was done and had nothing to lose by denying him the nomination especially because he hated him anyway due to RFK trying to get LBJ dropped from the ticket in '60. Also, RFK was popular with certain segments of the country as a whole that weren't well represented in the party structure back in '68 namely minorities and young people. I doubt that RFK could've won over enough delegates at the convention to win just because HHH was so strong in the party with labor, power brokers like Daley, and people in the congress who viewed him as opportunistic for waiting to jump in the race after McCarthy almost upset LBJ in New Hampshire. Then there's also RFK's reputation as ruthless which alot of people hadn't forgotten. Alot of the southern dems didn't like him. Some political historians thought that his run in '68 was a set up for RFK to run in '72 which is what he was planning all along.

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Response to craigmatic (Reply #75)

Thu May 24, 2012, 10:18 PM

76. Everything you write is true. However, RFK's victory in

 

the hard-fought California primary gave RFK crucial momentum and would, I believe, have led to a 'bandwagon effect' whereby uncommitted delegates flocked to the RFK standard, leaving McCarthy and HHH in the dust.

We'll never know for sure and therein lies the rub.

As to RFK's reputation for ruthlessness, I think the arc of the 60s had pretty much thoroughly transformed him. I remmeber reading an anecdote of his New York Senatorial Campaign when RFK and some aides were touring one of the really nasty housing projects (Bedford Stuyvesant, maybe?). RFK saw a really dilapidated building and wanted to go in and meet voters but his aides were highly resistant. RFK over-ruled them and went into the building anyway.

That little anecdote captured my heart because it seemed to encapsulate within it the seeds of a truly evolving human being. Call me a sucker if you must. I plead mea culpa.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #76)

Sat May 26, 2012, 03:09 PM

86. His Ruthlessness Is What Made Him Appealing

He was a liberal that couldn't be pushed around.

Being tough and being liberal aren't mutually exclusive.

As to the OP's question RFK would have tried to balance the ticket. He would not have chosen another liberal and certainly not Eugene McCarthy who despised him, even long after the assassination, for starting his campaign, at least in McCarthy's mind, after he had "taken out" LBJ in New Hampshire.

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Response to DemocratSinceBirth (Reply #86)

Sat May 26, 2012, 05:51 PM

87. I beg to disagree. His ruthlessness that had morphed into

 

full-blown evolved humanity by 1966 made him appealing. Working people "knew" he was on their side, as did youth and minorities to a large extent. Maybe I have romanticized him a bit, as I was just a very little boy. But I have read biographies (Arthur Schlessinger's) and histories of the time (notably William Manchester's "Glory and the Dream") that paint this softer side of RFK as that which made him so endearing.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #87)

Sat May 26, 2012, 07:05 PM

88. But His Affinity For The Underdog And Being Ruthless Or Tough

But his affinity for the underdog and being tough or as critics would call ruthless aren't mutually exclusive.

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Response to lovemydog (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:39 PM

40. McGovern would have balanced the ticket nicely . . .

. . . a conservative Democrat from the northern plains.

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #40)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:41 PM

42. McGovern was a conservative?????

I believe he had a better liberal rating than even RFK in the Senate and came out against Vietnam before RFK, too.

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Response to WI_DEM (Reply #42)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:42 PM

43. Yes, as a matter of fact . . .

. . . At the time, McGovern was indeed regarded as a moderate-to-conservative Democrat!

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #43)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:46 PM

47. And McGovern was a WWII vet. Not that it helped him in 1972.

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Response to yellowcanine (Reply #47)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:50 PM

50. Indeed...

... And would even, prior to 1972, have been considered a bit of a hawk (although he came to oppose Vietnam).

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #43)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:58 PM

55. Sure doesn't sound like a moderate/conservative democrat....

In his first speech on the Senate floor in March 1963, McGovern praised Kennedy's Alliance for Progress initiative, but spoke out against U.S. policy towards Cuba, saying that it suffered from "our Castro fixation". In August 1963, McGovern advocated reducing the $53 billion defense budget by $5 billion; influenced by advisor Seymour Melman, he held a special antipathy towards the doctrine of nuclear "overkill". McGovern would try to reduce defense appropriations or limit military expenditures in almost every year during the 1960s. He also voted against many weapons programs, especially missile and anti-missile systems, and also opposed military assistance to foreign nations. In 1964, McGovern published his first book, War Against Want: America's Food for Peace Program. In it he argued for expanding his old program, and a Senate measure he introduced was eventually passed, adding $700 million to the effort's funding.

In a speech on the Senate floor in September 1963, McGovern became the first member to challenge the growing U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. Bothered by the Buddhist crisis and other recent developments, and with concerns influenced by Vietnam historian Bernard Fall, McGovern said:

“ The current dilemma in Vietnam is a clear demonstration of the limitations of military power. ... is a policy of moral debacle and political defeat. ... The trap we have fallen into there will haunt us in every corner of this revolutionary world if we do not properly appraise its lessons."

In the wake of several high-profile reports about hunger and malnutrition in the United States, the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs had been created in July 1968, with McGovern as its chair. Seeking to dramatize the problem, in March 1969 McGovern took the committee to Immokalee, Florida, the base for 20,000 mostly black or Hispanic migrant farm workers. They saw graphic examples of hunger and malnutrition firsthand, but also encountered resistance and complaints about bad publicity from local and state officials. McGovern battled the Nixon administration and Southerners in Congress during much of the next year over an expanded food stamp program; he had to compromise on a number of points, but legislation signed in 1970 established the principles of free food stamps and a nationwide standard for eligibility.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_McGovern

Of course, I would have to see his individual votes in the Senate to be sure, but according to McGovern's own autobiography he had been a strong liberal his entire life, much to the chagrin of many South Dakota voters.

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Response to WI_DEM (Reply #55)

Thu May 24, 2012, 05:03 PM

58. What you're not getting ...

... is that there were even Republicans, in those days, who would have agreed on many of those points. BOTH parties had liberal, moderate and conservative factions, and there was considerable overlap between the two on numerous issues. The current state of affairs is not the way things have always been.

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #58)

Thu May 24, 2012, 05:24 PM

67. You bet. There were Republicans like Ed Brooke, Jacob Javits,

Chuck Percy and others who would, in today's terms be considered liberal Democrats.

And there were Democrats, mostly Dixiecrats, like John Stennis and Richard Russell who would be more than comfortable in today's race-baiting, batshit crazy Repuke party.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #67)

Thu May 24, 2012, 05:40 PM

73. +1 n/t

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #58)

Thu May 24, 2012, 05:27 PM

68. One can argue pretty convincingly that, pre-1972, Nelson Rockefeller was to the left of Carter,

 

Clinton and Obama.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #68)

Thu May 24, 2012, 05:39 PM

72. One can certainly make that argument, and credibly so ...

... and all in all, it was a much healthier time in our politics, as members of the various factions of both parties found common cause with members of certain factions of the other. Things weren't so exclusively driven by party identity -- not, of course, that we have much choice since the GOP has uniformly embraced hard-right, radical extremism.

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Response to WI_DEM (Reply #42)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:43 PM

46. Shows how far to the right we've slid, n'est ce pas?

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Response to lovemydog (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:47 PM

48. Stuart Symington. Senator from MO.

He would have brought regional and age balance to the ticket.

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Response to trackfan (Reply #48)

Thu May 24, 2012, 05:08 PM

63. That is a first rate surmise.

I'd forgotten about Symington, who had been around DC for a long time.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #63)

Thu May 24, 2012, 05:28 PM

69. Excellent choice. I too had forgotten Symington, whose reputation

 

tends to be forgotten because of the somewhat larger shadow cast by Thomas Eagleton.

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Response to lovemydog (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:54 PM

52. John Connally would have been an interesting choice but probably too much of a hawk

on Vietnam. However it would have helped soften up LBJ a bit, maybe not enough though.

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Response to yellowcanine (Reply #52)

Thu May 24, 2012, 05:04 PM

59. CONNALY had already declared independence from LBJ & by the time of the JFK trip to Dallas

he wasn't even cooperating and LBJ was considered useless in controlling Texas money and machine.

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Response to UTUSN (Reply #59)

Thu May 24, 2012, 05:11 PM

64. The Texans were all fighting each other but they also all would make nice if it meant

getting ahead politically. Look at how LBJ linked up with JFK.

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Response to yellowcanine (Reply #64)

Thu May 24, 2012, 05:35 PM

71. Wait a minute, the topic is WHO RFK would have picked.

RFK and LBJ hated each other to the totally, extreme, irrational MAX. Neither would RFK be the slightest bit interested in doing anything to "soften LBJ" up, nor would LBJ consider any Dem, much less one of his former cronies, being on any RFK team. And despite that CONNOLY had declared his independence from LBJ totally, on his trek toward turning Rethug, he wouldn't be a partner to RFK.

LBJ's accepting JFK's invitation to be veep (against RFK's desperate efforts) is very different, a Democratic partnership, than CONNOLY's trek Rightward (not Leftward toward RFK).

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Response to UTUSN (Reply #71)

Thu May 24, 2012, 11:32 PM

77. RFK still needed LBJ to at least be somewhat neutral. As for Connoly, he was a political chameleon

and an opportunist. He would have jumped at a shot to be VP. Whether RFK would have offered it is another question, probably not unless he thought he needed to in order to have any chance at winning Texas.

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Response to yellowcanine (Reply #52)

Thu May 24, 2012, 05:30 PM

70. Bwa-ha-ha. Reminded me of an old joke about Connally's latter-day

 

conversion to the Republican Party just as Watergate heated up. Connally, it was said, was the first case in history of a rat swimming towards a sinking ship

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Response to lovemydog (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 04:59 PM

56. If it had been a brokered convention, it probably would have been HHH.

HHH had a lot of delegates and they would have been very loyal. They would not have let RFK have the nomination without HHH being on the ticket. In fact, the more likely ticket would have been HHH/RFK, if you really think about it realistically.

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Response to lovemydog (Original post)

Thu May 24, 2012, 05:14 PM

65. My last word is that the premise of the OP is wrong. It would have been HHH/RFK had RFK

not been shot. And they probably would have beat Nixon. Oh happy day.

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Response to lovemydog (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 01:27 AM

78. Terry Sanford or George Smathers

George Smathers of Florida was an old friend of JFK. Smathers was a reactionary on civil rights but he wasn't an extremist like Wallace and he did give some limited support to civil rights measures (he did for example vote for the Voting Rights Act) so he may have been an acceptable compromise choice if RFK was looking to woo southern Wallace voters while keeping his progressive base

Terry Sanford, the former Governor of North Carolina, is another possibility. He was also close to JFK and Evelyn Lincoln, JFK's press secretary, writes that JFK was entertaining the option of replacing Johnson with Sanford on the ticket in 1964. Sanford was a southerner very progressive on civil rights issues so he probably would have been a perfect fit for RFK

What might have been...

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Response to RFKHumphreyObama (Reply #78)

Fri May 25, 2012, 01:36 AM

80. That having been said

I doubt RFK would have got the nomination in 1968. LBJ intensely disliked Bobby and there are some indications that he was preparing a smear campaign against him to erode his momentum. Plus the party bosses and Democratic leadership had much more influence over the nomination back then (it was only in the aftermath of the tumultuous events of 1968 that McGovern and his accolytes succeeded in changing the rules to make the process more open and accountable) and the powers that be were backing HHH to the hilt. Even RFK's campaign manager has said, if my memory serves me accurately, that RFK would not have won the nomination that year.

I think he may have got it in 1972 or '76', however

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Response to lovemydog (Original post)

Sat May 26, 2012, 02:06 PM

83. I'd have been thrilled with a McCarthy/RFK ticket. But, we got Humpty.

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