NIXON: AND THE BIG LIE!
NOW MORE THAN EVER
While sorrowing over George McGovern's defeat, by the second largest margin ever, the SUN has put together a brief analysis of what happened Nov. 7.
A lot did happen. And almost all of it was regressive, even in local elections.
Many Ann Arbor young people got discouraged and went home without voting, after standing in line for as long as four hours, when they heard from the television networks that the presidential debacle was already settled. In one precinct of 1400, as many as 200 voters are estimated to have left early.
So there will be no pot-smoking prosecutor in Washtenaw County , and no HRP legislator in Lansing.
Abortions also remain iIlegal; property taxes still burden us; and the ban against a graduated income tax was not lifted. And in California, the initiative to legalize weed also failed.
But HRP did receive enough votes to stay on the ballot. The bond issue to build a new county ja il monstrosity was defeated. Although it was the only county in the state to do so, Washtenaw County did go for McGovern.
Following is our analysis of what happened. On the centerfold is a position paper from the Rainbow Peoples Party on where we go from here.
- SUN Editorial Board
Richard Nixon (61%), George McGovern (38%), John Schmitz (1%)
How could so many people be fooled into voting for Richard Nixon?
The answer is not that people didn't know what Nixon was and still is. The answer is that they were conned into forgetting.
The opinionmakers, those hucksters who turn the medium into the message, did the job.
George McGovern's disintegration, as if his candidacy had been hit with a laser beam, was caused by a combination of a $37 milliob clever-as-a-snake ad campaign and the misapprehensions of the media. (Almost 90 percent of all daily newspapers endorsed Nixon.)
McGovern was portrayed as a paradox, a creature as impossible as a hard-shelled amoeba, someone who could be hardboiled enough to be the first presidential candidate to fire his running mate or to tell a heckler to "Kiss my ass" - and yet appear wishy-washy while doing so.
That is what Nixon wanted people to focus on. And he was devastatingly successful.
He knew from the beginning he could not allow the people to get a good look at him, to scrutinize a man who had built a career on lies and suppression. If they had, he would have been sent packing like some incorrigible kid expelled from school. So Nixon became the invisible candidate, hiding in the White House, refusing to answer reporters' questions, shifting all blame to surrogates and even pretending he did not control his party or his re-election committee or the government.
Only a few times, under extremely contrived circumstances, did he appear in public. At one airport he had a small stadium built so the crowd could be screened, letting elephant worshipers in and keeping critics out.
In the end, most people did not vote for Nixon. He is much too gross for people to be fooled about him. But they voted against McGovern because they were fooled by Nixon, fooled into making too much of McGovern's shortcomings.
McGovern's credibility problems began at the Democratic Convention when an SDS regiment confronted him for allegedly backing off on his seven-point plan to end the Indochina War. McGovern actually had not retreated, and did not retreat, from that plan during his campaign.
But from that point on, he was wrung out over a dilemma that should never existed. One day "progressives" would claim he was too revolutionary. The next day "revolutionaries" would argue he wasn't progressive enough. How many of these harpies were actually Nixon provacateurs is anybody's guess.
The fact is that McGovern was honest from the start in telling people he only wanted to lead a progressive movement, not a revolutionary one. Yet many people got confused about this.
More confusion was injected when McGovern gave Torn Eagleton "1,000 percent" support and then canned him. Nixon claimed McGovern was "putting politics ahead of principles," as if Nixon would never think of doing that.
McGovern had made a mistake, certainly, but not one that should have mattered so much. It had nothing to do with the issues, nothing to do with tax loopholes or shipping guns and bombs to the most totalitarian regimes in the world.
But McGovern was crucified for that mistake, for being human, crucified by a man who would make Barrabas look like Christ.
And so the confusion continued, compounded by the merciless, microscopic faultfinding of the media - which earlier had been embarrassed and chagrined by McGovern's unforeseen sprint to the nomination.
The media sifted through McGovern chit-chat and pored over his old speeches to promote the myth that he was continually switching sides on issues. Very seldom was there any foundation for that charge. The major exception was McGovern's withdrawal of an impressive soak-the-rich scheme.
Unfortunately, what made the charge seem believable was McGovern's own behavior at times, inviting guilty-by-association when he publicly embraced Richard Daley after kicking him out of the convention.
By that time most voters seemed to have forgotten that unemployment and inflation have risen at record rates under Nixon, or that the latest cost of living increase is a new high. And when bread-and-butter issues like that are submerged in a presidential race, then it is not surprising that people didn't get upset when the Nixon Supreme Court sent a Newark News reporter to jail for refusing to divulge confidential sources, a la Greece and South Vietnam.
Or even that they did not get outraged over the Watergate affair.
After viewing so many similar episodes on Mission Impossible, it was probably difficult to be shocked when ex-FBI and ex-CIA agents bug and burglarize Democratic headquarters. And it may have seemed to be just part of the plot when one of Nixon's private guards sticks a hypodermic in Martha Mitchell while she's talking over the phone to a reporter, or when Gulf Oil flies $200,000 in cash from Mexico to Washington to pay off some saboteurs.
And it must have been downright comical to read that a Nixon lackey had broken up a Democratic fund-raising party by sending over 400 anchovie pizzas C.O.D., by inviting the entire African diplomatic corps on fake stationery and by hiring a puppeteer to entertain non-existent "children."
These times when Nixon did get crowded for harboring criminals in the White House he paraded out his slick television commercials calling McGovern a "radical," thus defining him as a "enemy" who deserved to be spied on.
The ruse worked; Nixon succeeded in reducing a deadly serious business to the level of Halloween pranks. And McGovern was too lame and too late and too moralistic in explaining that Watergate was only an extension of government subterfuge throughout the country and across the globe.
Even when the Washington Post finally exposed Nixon's chief of staff, crew-cut Bob Hadelman, for signing checks to pay the saboteurs, Nixon escaped responsibility, passing it off on the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP).
While the media was out hunting for secret documents to tie Nixon directly to the sabotage, they seemed to ignore that Nixon is officially in charge of CREEP, in charge of the Republican Party and in charge of the White House. They had forgotten that either Nixon was so spaced out from watching football games that his aides had usurped carte blanche authority or Nixon was personally giving the orders for every underhanded and heavyhanded play they made.
"If five people from my campaign staff had been caught sneaking into Republican headquarters, I would have had to resign immediately," McGovern complained. And he was right.
But Nixon, masquerading as being high-minded when he was really being high-handed, managed to circumvent Watergate. And when Watergate faded into a shadow ITT and the other scandals also paled away.
Nixon also was not caught in his "peace treaty" fiasco. Here was a president so cynical he would wait for four years and 200,000 deaths so he could pander votes from a peace treaty and yet so arrogant he would renege on signing the treaty to pacify the right-wing when General Thieu raised hell for being cashiered in the deal.
But McGovern, encumbered by the barnacles of distortion and confusion, could not surface at the 11th hour as a believable alternative.
He got no help, of course, from Democratic bigwigs, who intended all along to sacrifice the next four years so they could
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regain control of the party. Not that they minded a preacher's son like McGovern so much. But they feared the people he tried to represent - young people, feminists, national minorities.
So we can look forward to Spiro Agnew n 1976. And if not to Mayor Daley himself , then to someone he wants, perhaps Ted Kennedy or Ed Muskie. And maybe after four more years George McGovern will look damn good to a lot of people.
That s a morbid and sobering thought.
Robert Griffin, Republican (52%), Frank Kelley, Democrat (47%). Others (1%)
Robert Griffin's re-election (combined with Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott's unpopularity with Republican conservatives) will probably make Griffin the number one Republican in the Senate next year. But electing Frank Kelley would not have been much of a gain.
This race is only important because HRP's Barbara Halpert received nearly 16,000 votes, less than half a percent, but enough to keep HRP on the ballot through 1974.
Marvin Esch, Republican (57%), Marvin Stempien, Democrat (43%)
The two Marvins were peas in a pod. Maybe next time someone who will talk about issues, instead of pretending it's 1955, will get elected.
Fred Postill, Democrat (42%), Harold Owings, Republican (32%), Doug Harvey, AIP (28%)
Fred Postill s one of the few candidates endorsed by the SUN who won. But that means very little considering that the SUN made it perfectly clear he was only the lesser of three evils.
However, Postill's victory means Sheriff Doug Harvey's well-deserved retirement after eight years of police riots and constant harassment. (See page 3 for story on Harvey's reaction to losing.)
Whether Postill will be a jump out of the fire back into the pot will only be known after Jan. 1 when he gets his chance to carry through on campaign promises to fire all 23 command officers, to institute work-release programs for inmates, to radically minimize pot busts and to arrest brutal cops. And if he keeps his promise to concentrate on violent criminais, Harvey should be in jail by Ground Hog Day.
William Delhey, Republican (51.5%)
George Sallade, Democrat (48.5%)
At a Michigan Marijuana Initiative party last summer, a mild-mannered, bald-headed lawyer walked in and puffed enjoyably on a giant joint. George Sallade went from there to run for prosecutor and came within a few thousand votes of winning. His loss could be the biggest setback to local justice in some time.
William Delhey's re-election is bound to encourage his practice of prosecuting freeks and blacks and winking at crimes like Sheriff Harvey's "borrowing" of a snowmobile and camper trailer for a year.
Perry Bullard, Democrat (45%), Mike Renner, Republican (32%), Steve Burghardt, HRP (22%), Alan Harris, Conservative (1%)
Perry Bullard's smashing upset is a serious, but not fatal, blow to HRP.
HRP's entire campaign, including that of Steve Burghardt and its county commissioner candidates, did not throw off the kind of sparks needed to get people excited. Also, because Bullard espoused many issues straight from the HRP platform, it was diff cult to see many crucial differences between Burghardt and Bullard.
That hurt HRP two ways.
One, it meant that many voters, especially those voting for the first time and thus unfamiliar with voting machines, did not make the effort to split their tickets.
Two, it meant that HRP's anti-McGovern position became the main campaign issue in a race that was supposed to stress state-oriented issues. Bullard understandably took great pains to display his umbilical cord to McGovern, even procuring a personal but meaningless letter of support from McGovern. But HRP joined in, chastising McGovern and forcing a major but meaningless debate between HRP workers and McGovern workers.
What HRP could not get across, unfortunately, was its argument that building a left-radical third party is more important than reforming the Democratic Party.
County Commissioner - 14th
Kathy Fojtik, Democrat (55%), Letty Wickcliffe, Republican (25%), Susan Newell, HRP (20%)
County Commissioner - 15th
Liz Taylor, Democrat (64%), Susan Winning, HRP (21%), William Young, Republi:an (15%)
State Supreme Court (Two elected)
Charles Levin. Independent (22%). Mary Coleman, Republican (20%), James Thorburn, Republican (13%) Zolton Ferency, HRP(11%).0thers (34%)
County Circuit Court (two elected)
Patrick Conlin (40%), Shirley Burgoyne (30%). Edward Deake (15%), S. J. Elden (15%)
Abortion Reform: No (61%), Yes (39%)
Abortion reform, and the thousands of women it would have benefitted had no chance in the face of the unholy wrath of the country's largest Corporation, the Roman Catholic Church.
Funneling more than $5 million into front groups like "Lover and Let Live" and "Voice of the Unborn," (so the church wouldn't lost its tax-exempt status), the Catholic hierarchy spewed out more propaganda than on any referendum since Prohibition. In fact, the Catholics allied with quack abortionists to defeat abortion reform much like the Southern Baptists united with bootleggers to keep some southern counties dry.
Catholic students were bribed with days off from school to distribute literally tons of pamphlets and brochures, swamping the poverty-stricken pro-abortion forces who had labored nearly a year collecting signatures to put the issue on the ballot.
The Catholic literature and advertising panicked voters by hammering at the theme that abortions could have been obtained up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, when the fetus has developed features but has not yet "quickened." They even showed printed color pictures, in varying shades of red, of feti that had been aborted; and some Catholic clergy carried formaldehyded feti in glass jars to demonstrations.
Nowhere did they bother to explain that the 20-week limit had been set because it takes that long to detect congenital birth defects.
Pro-abortion advocates, however, have sworn not to give up.; So abortion will petitions will likely be circulating again soon.