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A Few Hurrahs for '72

By Leo F. J. wilking

A casual history of the Kennedy Administration tells us that "Camelot" could not have been without Cambridge. John F. Kennedy relied heavily on advice from Harvard faculty members, both during the campaign and in the White House. Similarly, the stunning performance by Eugene McCarthy in New Hampshire in 1968 was certainly aided by Harvard professors and their disgust with the war. But those optimistic days have passed, and the Harvard faculty may be abandoning its enthusiasm for the political dogfight. Although McGovern, Muskie and McCarthy have some support here, speeches and position papers no longer command the high priority they once had.

McGovern's backers are an especially fervent group. They know their candidate is behind, and they are more than willing to try harder. This group includes George Wald, John Kenneth Galbraith, Mary Bunting and Abram Chayes. The McGovern student organization, coordinated by Jamie Galbraith '73, is the only one yet established at Harvard. It has an office on Dunster Street and boasts 40 to 50 part-time volunteers.

Wald's enthusiasm for McGovern is almost contagious: "I think he comes to this candidacy with the cleanest hands of any politican I know," Wald says. "On all the issues I know, George McGovern's been there for a long time....He's a man who has almost singlehandedly fought for better nutrition, food-stamps, labor and welfare rights, a guaranteed minimum income, and of course, an end to the war."

Bunting and Chayes are only slightly less excited. Bunting did confess however that "I've had a hope that someone would come along with a position like McGovern's but a little more pizzazz." And when asked how he rated McGovern's chances realistically. Chayes--clearly irritated at the pessimism surrounding his candidate--replied quickly: "Better than everyone else rates them realistically."

Activity on behalf of Muskie is strong at the Law School. Professor Charles M. Haar has been helping the Maine Senator on such domestic issues as welfare, housing, consumer protection and transportation. Haar contends that support for Muskie at Harvard has not been substantial because "the intensity of the campaign is not upon us."

Professor Donald F. Turner, also at the Law School, is for Muskie because he (Turner) is nearer to the center of the political spectrum than most of his colleagues, and because he believes that Muskie has the best chance of beating Nixon. Turner is quick to add that McGovern "is a very nice fellow, an admirable fellow--much more impressive in personal appearances than on TV."

If there is additional support for Senator Muskie among either the faculty or students, and there probably is, it is of a quiet nature--waiting for Muskie to take a commanding lead before making its presence felt here.

McCarthy's most loyal follower on campus is Martin Peretz, acting head of the Committee on Social Studies, and a key 1968 McCarthy financial supporter and political confidant. Peretz is unhappy with the announced and unannounced Democratic candidates because none have proposed a real alternative to Nixon's economic game plan. "The President has seized the initiative on both foreign and domestic policy." Peretz contends. "The Democrats passed the executive wage-price power largely because they didn't feel Nixon would use it. They wanted it as a stick to beat him with. But now there is no alternative economic policy coming from the opposition....I think it's a mistake to try to revive the economy by stimulating the production of large automobiles: someone should be worried about that."

Peretz shares a general Faculty concern that McGovern will be unable to attract wide-scale support, and he distrusts Muskie's political judgment. Referring to Muskie's trip to South Vietnam in 1967, during which the Senator said that the Thieu victory of that year was a free election. Peretz says: "I'm like the Old Baptists: people can redeem themselves with secular versions of penance. But this is pretty late. I would be very wary of the type of judgments Muskie would make."

As for McCarthy himself, and what his real intentions are. Peretz said, "I think he wants to be President, but he doesn't think he's indispensable. He may think he's better than the other candidates being talked of now. Those of us who worked for McCarthy made him into a white knight and made his every failing a maximum sin. I do not understand why the liberals feel so bitter about him."

Wald's comments on the potential candidacy of the enigma from Minnesota were less generous: "McCarthy is very, very bright, a fine person, but he cannot successfully run again...The only problem with the 1968 McCarthy campaign was Gene McCarthy...I love him as a person but he's very unreliable."

Finally, there are the many faculty members who apparently have not made up their minds yet, waiting for the crowded field to narrow down. Edwin O. Reischauer, former United States Ambassador to Japan, and one of Mr. Muskie's "Braintrust" according to Newsweek, notes that he is more interested in foreign policy than domestic politics. Stanley Hoffman, an expert on international relations who has not been hesitant to offer ideas on how to get out of Vietnam, says he hasn't given the subject much thought. Paul A. Freund, also mentioned in the Newsweek article as a Muskie contributor of intellectual resources, notes that he would probably do whatever he was asked to do for several candidates for whom he had "high regard."

Samuel Huntington describes himself as "up in the air" over the issue of a Democratic nominee, but did say that there was an unusually large-number of good candidates: "Both Jackson and McGovern are eminently able and intelligent men," Huntington said.

President Bok is also noncommittal on the subject, although he does concede, "that I probably have more sympathy for more of McGovern's positions than anyone else's." Bok hastens to add that there are many issues involved, few of which he has had the time to study in depth.

Those faculty members queried seemed to split evenly on whether the potentially large youth vote would make an actual difference in the election. Chayes and Wald thought that students would be active and would affect the campaign, Bunting and Peretz were less sanguine.

In his first speech to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, President Bok mentioned that in his opinion, the real strength of the University lay in its skills in teaching and research, and that professors interested in contributing to society might better do that here than in research papers for politicians or before Congressional committees in Washington. Bok himself says he regrets the time he spent on some of his public battles (Carswell being a significant exception). Hoffmann agreed with Bok, saying. "I'm not sure that someone who does his job as an educator isn't more useful than a D.C. gadfly."

The faculty's apathetic attitude toward the Democratic Presidential candidates could be the result of several divers factors: a wide field of politicians, the unexciting personalities of the men involved, and the earliness of the hour. But if the views of Bok and Hoffmann are characteristic of the faculty as a whole, then perhaps the concept of the "action professor"--so popular in the early 1960's--is dead at Harvard. Perhaps the men who travelled back and forth between Cambridge and Washington so often ten years ago are ashamed of their part, or lack thereof, in the deterioration of this country and the debacle of Vietnam. Perhaps they are disenchanted with the folly of the New Frontier and the Great Society, tired of slogans, and are now looking for the answers back here in Cambridge instead of Washington.

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