McGovern was right, says right-winger
November 15, 2001 12:22 PM   Subscribe

McGovern was right, says right-winger Conservative columnist Cal Thomas, upon reading a new Michael Beschloss book about the LBJ tapes, says Nixon's 1972 opponent was right in opposing the war, as were Senate critics. Says, in a column printed on a Heritage Foundation site, that the book should serve as a warning to fellow conservatives who won't tolerate dissent or any differing viewpoints. Via kausfiles.
posted by raysmj (8 comments total)
Many anti-war activists love this country as much as those who supported the Vietnam War.

Many people turn the brain off and support anything their "side" does. This holds for anti-war protestors as much as it does flag-wavers. The trick is to avoid getting mentally lazy. Question your own assumptions.

Great link. Thought-provoking and timely.
posted by marknau at 12:48 PM on November 15, 2001

Surprising- Cal Thomas has never been a person I looked to for common sense or reasonable, thoughtful commentary. And to find him writing this way, on of all places- well, that's just shocking. But I should hope people would heed what he says, and what marknau quoted. The greatness of America is shown when its most truly patriotic citizens can still fervently disagree without ever losing love of country.
posted by hincandenza at 12:54 PM on November 15, 2001

And let's recall again that it was Liberal Democrats who escalated the war and Republicans who finally ended it. This is especially significant in light of LBJs secret acknowledgement of the war's impossibility while publicly boosting it to the cost of thousands of additional young American lives.
posted by HTuttle at 12:57 PM on November 15, 2001

I love the HTuttle suggestion thaqt it took the GOP to end a war that the GOP had got us involved with. Such grace. In fact, the war was untenable andso we quit. Why not say that both sides --the GOP and the Dems were responsible for the war and the continuation of the war and that it was a terrible mistake? But no: even now must My side and Your fact we got taken by both sides, or many of us did. (Note: no I didn't. I was actively opposed to the war and yes I had served earlier in the military.)
posted by Postroad at 1:27 PM on November 15, 2001

And let's recall again that it was Liberal Democrats who escalated the war and Republicans who finally ended it.

Is this what you mean, HTuttle, by ending it:

"In the fall of 1968, Richard Nixon and some of his emissaries and underlings set out to sabotage the Paris peace negotiations on Vietnam. The means they chose were simple: they privately assured the South Vietnamese military rulers that an incoming Republican regime would offer them a better deal than would a Democratic one. In this way, they undercut both the talks themselves and the electoral strategy of Vice President Hubert Humphrey. The tactic 'worked,' in that the South Vietnamese junta withdrew from the talks on the eve of the election, thereby destroying the peace initiative on which the Democrats had based their campaign. In another way, it did not 'work,' because four years later the Nixon Administration tried to conclude the war on the same terms that had been on offer in Paris. The reason for the dead silence that still surrounds the question is that in those intervening years some 20,000 Americans and an uncalculated number of Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians lost their lives." (from "The Case Against Henry Kissinger")
posted by Vek at 1:41 PM on November 15, 2001

As Htuttle's post suggests, this is not quite the stretch one might imagine it. The hard right has been trying hard to have it both ways, ever since they embraced the Powell Doctrine -- in part, that America should never enter a war without popular support, or by increments, or contrary to a somewhat vaguely-defined national interest. But that Doctrine requires acknowledging Vietnam as a failure, thus it becomes necessary to blame that failure on someone. Voila! the Democrats. Although HTuttle's choice of the label "Liberal" is rather .. curious. Johnson certainly was no placard-waving firebrand, but a pragmatic wheeler-dealer, the master of the legislative compromise. He certainly wasn't liberal to the Humphrey-McGovern wing of the party, rather, a craven reactionary hoist on his own petard.
posted by dhartung at 5:09 PM on November 15, 2001

These tapes are a goldmine of presidential zaniness. In one conversation, he tries to cozy up to Jackie Kennedy, who sounds like a doped up pixie, a week after being sworn in. His conversation with J. Edgar Hoover in which they discuss how to spot a gay man (They walk funny) is way out there. This cspan page claims to have a searchable archive of the tapesbut its not working at the moment.
posted by euphorb at 11:38 PM on November 15, 2001

And let's recall again that it was Liberal Democrats who escalated the war and Republicans who finally ended it.
About six years after LBJ left the White House, yes.
Let's just ignore this troll, guys.

I agree, the LBJ tapes are an awesome read -- or you should listen to them, the CD's are even better.
David Foster Wallace's LBJ story is also a must -- his not so fictional LBJ is almost better than the real thing
posted by matteo at 12:09 PM on November 16, 2001

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