Save the Senate

THE VACUITY of Humphrey, Nixon & Co. only underscores the need to put strong liberals into the U.S. Senate. Such men can be counted on the hands and feet, but there is work to be done for them in Massachusetts (where none happens to be running) and even by non-voters. Tonight's "11 Votes for Peace" benefit qualifies on both counts.

The Senate contests need not be looked on as outlets for the expression of anti-war sentiment only. Several candidates, like J. William Fulbright (Ark.) and Wayne Morse (Ore.), merit support despite erratic domestic records, and several others, like Leroy Collins (Fla.) and Birch Bayh (Ind.) merit the same despite weak Vietnam stands.

If the number of candidates who have stood fast both against the war and against domestic backlash is small, their caliber is unusually high. Paul O'Dwyer (N.Y.), William G. Clark (Ill.), Harold Hughes (Iowa), John Gilligan (Ohio) and Alan Cranston (Calif.) are five exceptional challengers who have done much to free their party from the likes of Mayor Daley and President Johnson. Similarly Abraham Ribicoff (Conn.) and George McGovern (S.D.) distinguished themselves at the Democratic Convention, while Ernest Gruening (Alaska), Gaylord Nelson (Wisc.), and Franch Church (Idaho) have performed yeoman service inside the Senate.

Most of these men are in trouble, some perhaps beyond rescuing, but together they represent the best political hope of 1968, and no length of odds can make time spent on their behalf a poor investment.