I used to be an admirer of Eugene McCarthy. While Senator from Minnesota, he was just about the first prominent figure in the political establishment to come out unambiguously against the Vietnam War. When he started to campaign for the Democratic nomination for president in 1968,
McCarthy heartened thousands of young people who had been struggling to make opposition to the war a major issue in American politics. The more
dogmatic elements of the New Left refused to support McCarthy (he was not for the revolution. . .), but others joined with a growing number of
liberals to work in his campaign. Had it not been for McCarthy’s intelligence and courage at that point, Bobby Kennedy probably would not have entered the 1968 primary as a somewhat less forthright critic of the war.
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