By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Lest we forget

Mega-kudos to Marjorie Arons-Barron for working Milton Shapp into her analysis of the state auditor’s race.

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  1. charles pierce

    Dan —
    We in the Udall campaign kicked Shapp’s ass all over the country in ’76. Birch Bayh’s, too. And Fred Harris’s. And Scoop Jackson’s. And Terry Sanford’s…
    Damn Carter.

  2. Charles, you’re being sarcastic, right? Udall one fewer states than Brown, Church, and Jackson in 1976. He came in fourth in the Iowa Caucuses that year and fourth in total primary votes, way behind Brown and Wallace. He was never going to be president in 1976.

    • Dan Kennedy

      I totally love the idea of refighting the 1976 Democratic presidential primaries.

  3. Dan, have you read “Marathon”? It’s one of my favorite political books. An amazing time in our political history. I remember when I was 11 or 12, trudging around through the snow to get to a Fred Harris rally with my father and his soon-to-be-second wife like it was yesterday …

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Tony: Can’t say I have. I remember taking a bus home in a snowstorm so I could vote – and being amazed that Scoop Jackson had won liberal Massachusetts. Went to a George Wallace rally during that campaign, too.

  4. Ben Rivard-Rapoza

    Dan, did you see George Wallace in Middleboro? I’ve read that it was a local hotbed for him and that he spoke there a couple of times. Strange but true…?

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Ben: No, it was in Boston. But yes, Middleborough was a center of activity by the John Birch Society. The local head of it, Leo Kahian, ran for governor in 1974 as the American Party candidate, allied with Wallace, and actually carried South Boston. Mr. Kahian, who’s still alive and well, owned a furniture store. Was and is a great guy. You just can’t talk politics with him.

  5. Bill Hanna

    I believe that it was in 1972 that George Wallace played to a packed house at the old Lincoln Park in North Dartmouth, Mass. He had surprising support not only in places like Middleborough, but also in the urban centers of New Bedford and Fall River. He was pretty much channeling Tom Watson or W. Jennings Bryan around this area and downplaying racial issues, but he had a following.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Bill: When I saw him in 1976, it was in a ballroom at a Boston hotel. He’d survived the assassination attempt, and his health hadn’t started to deteriorate yet. As I recall, he even pulled himself into a standing position to speak. He was running as an independent. At one point, there was a noise that sounded like a gunshot from one of the balconies. He flinched, and everyone got very nervous.

  6. Nial Lynch

    Massachusetts was a very early primary in 1976 and Jackson was among the front runners after his 1972 campaign. He was opposed to busing (although having a strong civil rights record), “old labor” – GE, Sylvania, Raytheon- was influential in a big field and Carter was still Jimmy Who?, finishing fourth behind Jackson, Udall, and Wallace.

  7. Bill Hanna

    In February 1976, as Carter prepared for the upcoming Mass. primary, his campaign people practically bent over backwards to persuade me to bring a high school class down to meet him at a scheduled appearance at the Taunton Daily Gazette. Lunch, transportation, etc., were promised, as well as photos for everybody with the candidate. They were desperate for live bodies, even if they hadn’t yet reached voting age. I, in my great wisdom, decided that some unknown long shot from Georgia wasn’t worth the inconvenience involved and declined, despite a couple of chances to change my mind. Not my best moment.

    • Dan Kennedy

      My favorite moment of the 1976 campaign took place in Woonsocket, R.I., where I was a 19-year-old co-op student at the Woonsocket Call. The Rhode Island primary was held very late — in June, if I’m not mistaken. Frank Church had jumped in to try to stop Carter. I was sent to the Call-owned radio station, where I grabbed Church in the parking lot as he was leaving and asked him a question. I can’t even remember what, though I imagine it was about the CIA hearings he’d presided over. Fun stuff.

  8. Bill Hanna

    Frank Church did not come to Taunton in 1976, but Fred Harris did. He spoke at the local VFW to a restless crowd of me and nine others. Half of us were there because we were political junkies, the other half was there because they had never seen anyone from Oklahoma. I came away thinking that Harris was the next president of the United States. ’76 was not a good year for me.

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