For quite some time now, liberals who supported Kennedy have been forced to overlook a series of disappointing maneuvers by sagaciously telling themselves that the young man from Massachusetts was making "the shrewd political moves."
This rationale served while Kennedy's machine rolled relentlessly toward the nomination. Hopefully, the expediency motive could be tucked away after the convention victory; but the apologists had to drag it out again to abort the North's small uproar over the inclusion of Johnson on the ticket, and to excuse other disappointing aspects of the Kennedy campaign.
Even those who accept the postulate that the ends justify the means reach the point where ends must be distinguished from means. Kennedy has now been elected, and with the selection of his cabinet will be giving a very explicit indication of the type of government that is in the making.
Thus far, the indications seem a bit depressing. The retention of Hoover and Dulles has again dismayed liberals, who after swallowing the news, excused it in the name of non-partisanship, and (familiarly) shrewdness. But Hoover has antagonized liberals by his close identification with Congressional investigatory committees, and in keeping Dulles, Kennedy may be mutely accepting the misguided U2 policy.
During the campaign, progressives insistently told compatriots who expressed disgust with the Kennedy drive that he still had "fine men around him." The "fine men" such as Stevenson and Bowles might well be dumped as ingloriously as the others that Kennedy no longer had use for.
Non-partisanship is rich soil in which to bury the Democratic platform; and while "Continuity" is a legitimate objective, it should not be the fundamental one for an opposition candidate. It would be tragic for all those who seek a return to forward-looking government, if Kennedy's liberal program must someday be explained away as a mere campaign expedient. This, of course, would require some ingenuity on the part of the liberals. But the experience they have gained recently should stand them in good stead if worse comes to worst.
Waiting for LeftyThe news of the death of the liberal left has been greatly exaggerated. --Michael Harrington T HE LEFT WING of
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