Cambridge Residents Slam Council Proposal to Delay Bike Lane Construction


‘Gender-Affirming Slay Fest’: Harvard College QSA Hosts Annual Queer Prom


‘Not Being Nerds’: Harvard Students Dance to Tinashe at Yardfest


Wrongful Death Trial Against CAMHS Employee Over 2015 Student Suicide To Begin Tuesday


Cornel West, Harvard Affiliates Call for University to Divest from ‘Israeli Apartheid’ at Rally

McCarthy Schism

Brass Tacks

By Parker Donham

POLITICIANS and intellectuals have always been the uneasiest of bedfellows. Members of the academic community constantly complain that too little attention is paid to their insights on policy matters; party stalwarts respond to academic criticism by observing that John Kenneth Galbraith gets out very few votes in East Boston on election day.

In 1968 the schism between these two groups is wider than ever. The liberal intellectual coalition with labor is breathing only with difficulty. The Vietnam war has choked off what few channels of communication existed between the academic community and the Democratic Administration.

Ironically this lack of accord is felt very deeply in the McCarthy campaign, where one might least expect to find it. For McCarthy is nothing if not an intellectual, and he is certainly not a very political politician.

Yet from the beginning his campaign has been subjected to attacks from the academic community. "He is not fiery enough," people keep saying; why doesn't he pound his fist on the table once in a while. Some intellectuals have even gone so far as to suggest that time would be better spent working for the election of Nelson Rockefeller. (Rockefeller, despite the silence he has maintained on Vietnam during his coy search for the Republican nomination over the past year, has a hawkish record which rivals that of Richard Nixon.)

"For years these guys have been complaining about politicians who are all style and no content," one McCarthy aide grumbled last week. "Now at last they have a candidate who is real, who talks to the issues, and they run the other way."

When this assessment was presented to Senator McCarthy he nodded agreement. "That's the way they talk down at the Harvard Club." He looked up at the CRIMSON reporter, smiled slightly and added, "or at M.I.T." "It's almost as if they wanted me to be a demagogue." he continued, "after they've been trying to get away from demagoguery all these years."

Observers of McCarthy's Minnesota campaigns say that his timing in those contests--he has won seven out of seven, including two against favored Republican incumbents--has been perfect. Indeed the increased pace and tougher sound of McCarthy's campaign over the past three weeks in New Hampshire has left many reporters wondering if he just might do well in the Granite State after all.

McCarthy himself is a vocal proponent of this line of thought. "Nothing looks deader than the New England sugar maple in early February," he notes whimsically. "But in March the sap starts to rise and the tree surprises everyone by coming to life."

Much of the vituperation expended on McCarthy's campaign style by intellectuals is unjustified. The Senator's response to Senator MacIntyre's charge that he had not spelled out his programs--"I'm beginning to think the Senator either can't read or doesn't hear very well"--might equally be applied to the liberal intellectuals.

The Senator should not, however completely ignore this criticism. His campaign does not need to become more radical or even more fiery. But he could be more specific. He could begin to respond to policy moves by President Johnson quickly and with toughness. Johnson provides McCarthy with plenty of mistakes to capitalize on; the Senator has the wit and intelligence to bring the full implications of these mistakes home to regular Democratic voters.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.