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MAROON LOYOLA UNIVERSITY IMEW ORLEANS NOVEMBER S ,1976 VOL.. Llll IMO.B From Plains to Pennsylvania Avenue Inside Campaign '76 Ed. note: Since the beginning of the fall semester. Jim ladden and Sean O'Keefe have presented Inside Campaign '76 as an overview of this year's presidential campaign. In honor of the election and to reward their hard work, as well as that of MAROON cartoonist John Woods, "Woody", we arc devoting our entire front page to their editorial comment. "Early on, Carter's people engineered a minor coup by planting him as a guest on. . .'What's My Line?" Even without blindfolds, no one recognized him. 'You seem to have a certain aura about you,' said one panelist with insight. 'Do you recruit nuns for a living/'" NEWSWEEK, Sept. 13. 1976 In October, 1972 Jimmy Carter's executive secretary, Hamilton Jordan, and six advisors sat in the upstairs sitting room at the governor's mansion in Georgia urging Carter to run for the presidency. That is where the Cinderella story began for the smiling peanut farmer. Since that time. Carter has devoted himself to many presidential election homework assignments: sharing foreign policy sessions with Dean Rusk, habitually reading the Times, Post and Wall Street Journal, writing a popular book which sold at fund raisers and studying all of the losing party platforms in U.S. history. The Viet Nam war was over by election day in 1972 but it had gravely scarred the nation's consciousness. Sobn after Nixon was elected, the Watergate fiasco began to erupt into a lenghthy litany of governmental corruption, and the mood of the country was one of mistrust. After the horrors of war and the embarrassments of Watergate, innocence was lost and it appeared that it would never be regained again. During these chaotic times, Carter was stylistically grooming himself into the image of a truth-telling, simplistic soul who had reaffirmed his faith in the Lord. He insisted publicly that the character of the American people hadn't changed, rather it was their government that had failed them. Public furor increased daily in reaction to the pathetic acts which were unfolding in Washington. Finally, the Ervin Committee's work filled daytime, prime time and in-between time T.V. with all sorts of scurrilous activities from the real world. The public wanted to retreat from the maddening Washington crowd. They felt rejected and sick over all ills which they never suspected could happen in our modern form of democracy. Meanwhile, back on a Plains, Georgia peanut farm, a Baptist nuclear physicist was designing a campaign which would provide the country with "strong leadership". It was attractive, yet not glamorous, and provided just enough information for rapid acceptance by the public. It was as streamlined a package as anyone in New York might have produced, only this one was designed by a Southern farmer with a heavy drawl. Humble Beginnings Carter's campaign flourished in his home state as his own entourage of good ole' boys heralded his gubernatorial record. He moved quickly to capture national attention as he courted the Wallace vote as well as the support of many important black leaders. He belatedly opposed the Viet Nam War, and appeased both whites and blacks when he claimed that the Civil Rights Act had liberated Southern whites as much as it had Southern blacks. He then was appointed Chairman of the 1974 Democratic National Campaign, which is usually nothing more than a letterhead position. But it provided the ambitious Carter with the opportunity to set foot inside Washington's elaborate machinery. Hamilton Jordan was sent to Washington a year in advance of the election. During this time he kept in close touch with the Carter camp. Carter personally campaigned for sixty candidates in thirty states and compiled a list of "friends" he would need in the upcoming presidential election. His election plans began with a modest $47,000 and a schedule which required 250 days of full-time campaigning. He won 17 primaries, while his closest opponent won only four. Like a slow-starting locomotive. Carter's plan continually built momentum. A splintered party united around his campaign drive. Deceptive Lead The 33-point lead Carter had accumulated after the Democratic Convention was deceptive. There were too many undecided voters and these were the votes he needed to win. From the back of a train, in the fashion of Harry Truman's campaign, he toured this country and Bigots and Blacks unite the Stolid South One of the most amazing facts about this campaign was Carter's ability to garner the loyal support of black America while also enlisting the support of his white Bible Belt homeland. Indeed, there have been very few men with the capacity to unite them both into one camp, yet Carter was able to do so with unequaled grace and unparalleled rhetoric. Carter would not be president-elect today if he had not received the support of these two factions. They were absolutely necessary for his victory. He had already blatantly abandoned big business, thereby excluding a large bloc of voting power. He had forsaken the "big-shots" and appealed to the common man. His only hope for winning industrial states was to receive solid union support. This he received, but it wasn't enough for him to win important states such as New Jersey, Illinois, and Michigan. The key to his ingenious scheme for \euniting the solid South was his ability to appear as a progressive candidate with traditional Baptist mores. He was an artful political chameleon. Even more important, his talent for articulating the best of both worlds while not stirring up controversy was procedurally skillful. In essence, he practiced at home what Henry Kissinger had practiced overseas: back-slapping diplomacy where deals are agreed to by important political leaders behind the comfor of closed doors. His appeal wasn't as individualistic as it was political. Southern voters in marginal states voieu more lor who Carter was seen with than for what he said or who he was. The list of supporters was impressive. Eastland, Stennis, Wallace, Edwards and many more identified with Carter's indigenous roots more than with his expressed political goals. Carter took the South not necessarily because he was a Southerner but because he wasn't too aloof to approach Southern leaders for advice and political favors. President Jimmy? If Carter can deliver the leadership he has promised us, he would probably be viewed as a modern-day saint. He could become the first president ever to be placed into the PRESIDENT'S HALL OF FAME, an institution which would be founded in iiis honor. In all likelihood, he will not deliver all that he has promised-not necessarily because he won't try, but because the Democratic Congress will not be as cooperative as the public seems to think. The Kennedy Administration serves as a glaring example of inhouse conflict which halted many najor reforms. Carter must develop a broad view ot his new surroundings if he is to serve us an effective leader. He should understand Iho tremendous difference between where ho has been and where he is going, lies position is succinctly described in Robert Penn Warren's 111 the kings Men. "And soon now, we shall go out of Ihe house and go into the convulsion of the world, out of History into History and the awful responsibility of Time.
|Masthead||The Maroon Vol. 53 No. 8|
|Publisher||Loyola University (New Orleans, La.)|
|Coverage||United States; Louisiana; New Orleans;|
|Source||Loyola University New Orleans Special Collections & Archives (http://library.loyno.edu/research/speccoll/) New Orleans, LA|
|Subject||Loyola University (New Orleans, La.)|
|Rights||Digital rights are held by Loyola University New Orleans. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright law.|
|Creator||Loyola University (New Orleans, La.)|
|Relation-Is Part Of||http://www.louisianadigitallibrary.org/cdm/search/collection/LOYOLA_UMN|
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