Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Don't count your chickens...

Steve Kornacki offers some encouragement to those who remain unimpressed by the Hillary juggernaut.
    Another instructive example is that of Ed Muskie, “the man from Maine,” who was all but penciled in as the 1972 Democratic nominee before the race even started. Mr. Muskie gobbled up all of his party’s big-name endorsements and—as Mrs. Clinton’s campaign is now doing—sent out word that the train was leaving the station and that anyone wishing to board should do so promptly.

    But “Big Ed,” as Hunter S. Thompson called him, was hopelessly out of touch with the heart and soul of the Democratic Party, which yearned for a leader willing to speak clearly and unequivocally against the Vietnam War. Mr. Muskie instead embraced a risk-averse, November-minded approach, serving up intentionally mushy rhetoric designed not to offend Richard Nixon’s “silent majority.” Channeling the frustrations of any number of rank-and-file Democrats, Dr. Thompson dismissed Mr. Muskie as “a bonehead who steals his best lines from old Nixon speeches.”

    That left the door wide open for George McGovern, the gentle preacher’s son from South Dakota, who derailed Mr. Muskie’s mighty bandwagon with sincerity and moral purpose. Mr. Muskie was defeated, one of his aides later said, simply because he’d never given anyone a reason to vote for him.

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