Eugene McCarthy, the former Democratic Senator from Minnesota who made three unsuccessful bids for the presidency, told an audience of 300 last night in the Science Center that he campaigned in 1976 against militarization, the personalized presidency and the two party political system in the United States.
"There was no real discussion about arms limitation in the 1976 campaign," McCarthy said. "So far, we've had nuclear tests banned from outer space, the bottom of the sea and underground. But nobody lives there. Why don't we start in Moscow and New York and work backwards?"
McCarthy also warned against contingency plans drawn up by the military.
"We develop contingency plans for all possible situations and inevitably the bottom line of all these plans is 'victory'. So we quit trying to negotiate and resort to the military course of action--like the Bay of Pigs."
McCarthy, a visiting Institute of Politics fellow, said President Carter is personalizing his office and that what the nation needs is a "constitutional president" who will observe legal restrictions imposed by other branches of the government.
McCarthy criticized America's devotion to the two-party system. "Sadat said the other day that Egypt's political system was mature enough for three political parties. But experts here seem to think we're just barely mature enough for two--really one and a half," he said.
To say that our system is successful simply because it survived Watergate, McCarthy said, is like saying the Titantic was a good ship because some of its life rafts stayed afloat.
McCarthy spoke for an hour and then answered questions from the audience.
Make Cars, Not War
In response to a question about inefficiency in the government, he said that if we eliminated all the waste in the automobile industry by building smaller cars, we could save $100 billion every year--five times more money than if we eliminated all the waste in the defense industry.
"If Marx had known about the automobile, he would have written another chapter. Marx would have said a capitalistic economy could not survive without a war or the automobile," McCarthy said.
In a press conference held yesterday before his speech. McCarthy said he did not know if he would run in 1980.
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