Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bobby Kennedy may have won the Indiana primary, but his support slipped in the end.

Harris polling showed he had 50% of the vote 2 weeks before the primary and only 42% on the day of the primary. His victory edge came entirely from the cities, where he won "the industrial worker vote" and "83 per cent of the Negro vote." Pollster Harris thinks Indiana worked out for Kennedy because of the "lopsided ethnic vote," but that's not going to go well nationally, where his support is "sagging." Upscale professional types prefer Eugene McCarthy.

Me, I love Bobby Kennedy — and I never love politicians. I mean, look at this other article. Bobby was talking to white college students in Nebraska, and they're defending their draft deferments, which of course means that service falls to those who don't go to college. One student justified this state of affairs on the theory that it's a way of "helping Negroes escape from the slums of American cities." Bobby got mad:

"Here at a Catholic university, how can you say that we can deal with the problems of the poor by sending them to Vietnam? There is a great moral force in the United States about the wrongs of the Federal Government and all the mistakes Lyndon Johnson has made and how Congress has failed to pass legislation dealing with civil rights; and yet when it comes down to you, yourselves and your own individual lives, then you say students should be draft deferred."


ADDED: Rereading that quote of Bobby's, I have to say it doesn't cohere. It's a rambling set of phrases. He lists problems, then tells them they care about their draft deferments. There is a point in there that could be made, but it looks as though all he did was react emotionally to their selfishness. But are voters not supposed to care about issues that affect them personally? We're all expected to be directed toward the common good all the time?

AND: I tried to find video of that exchange with the students in Nebraska. I didn't find it, but I did find this clip of Bobby delivering the news — 6 weeks ago — that Martin Luther King had been killed. This is an astonishing speech — and it makes me sorry I called attention to what I thought was incoherence:


Ron said...

Perhaps Bobby is calling them out on their supposed idealism about helping "Negroes." Acting selfish is one thing; but doing so while saying you have loftier goals is what he's mad about.

George said...

Here are his advisors talking the 'what if' talk...he would have ended the war much sooner (even by 1969, according to Schlesinger), he would have bridged the racial divide, this would have been a more humane country, he wanted a revolution in the minds and souls of our people, he wanted to change people, etc.

Does this sound familiar?

(I think RFK also wanted multi-party power sharing in South Vietnam that would have included in the Viet Cong. Not sure about that, though.)

BillHall said...

Bobby Kennedy was really good at calling us out, similar to his brother ("Ask not..."), but with more soul. That's why he was mad at the college kids defending their deferments by placing themselves above poorer people; bobby was great at having high aspirations for us. I miss that in a Presidential candidate...oh wait, there is this one guy --- nah, he can't win, we're WAY too worldly to fall for all that high hopes stuff again.

rhhardin said...

All I remember about Bobby Kennedy was my father being bemused that RK's funeral train killed a couple people on the way to Washington. ``The Kennedys are killing people like flies.''

And Ted hadn't gotten into the act yet.

I paid no attention to any of it, having inherited only half of the defensive TV bemusement gene.

John A said...

I was in my last year of High School at the time, from a Republican background (and I am still Republican, at least mostly) and I liked Bobby. He was a so-and-so, but impressed me as being for people more than Jack and more impassioned/feisty. Teddy was then just another family member, would that he had remained in obscurity.