Iowa: shades of Eugene

Jennifer Lee of the New York Times meets and talks with the youngsters who are staffing the presidential campaigns in Iowa. Makes me think of March, 1968, which I largely spent working for Eugene McCarthy in rural Wisconsin. A strange time. Some of my favorite memories date from days in Rice Lake, Ladysmith, and Dallas.

More and more, this political season’s beginning to look like that political season. There are important differences–no one running reminds me of Gene, or Bobby, or Hubie–but the groundswell seems similar, and the issues of this time have echoes of that time. It’s going to be an interesting time, and I’m looking forward to it.

I heard Allard Lowenstein, who was recruiting folks like this for Gene’s campaign, speak at Macalester a few days before the New Hampshire vote. He offered a telling comment when someone asked about about a press corps which clearly believed Johnson had everything sewn up: “Pundits have got to pundit.” I’ve since come to understand how true the comment was.

Johnson won the day, McCarthy won the campaign, Humphrey won the nomination, and Nixon won the election. The year changed my life–mostly for the good.

Link courtesy of Dave Winer/Scripting News

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