In putting what she obviously feels is the final nail in John "All the Wrong Moves" McCain's political coffin, syndicated columnist Marianne Means compares the Arizona senator to one Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson, possibly the most revered politician in Washington State history. Jackson, as Means reminds us, was the front-runner for the 1976 Democratic nomination, until he found himself mismanaging campaign assets and taking lunkheaded stances on things like, oh, an unpopular war. Here's what Means has to say about the pair's eery similarities:
"What happened to McCain is reminiscent of the fate of Sen. Henry Jackson, D-Wash., in the 1976 Democratic primaries. Like McCain, Scoop Jackson entered the competition as the clear front-runner. He had the experience and formidable political stature, and he was much admired in his party. Although a domestic liberal, he was a hawkish anti-communist who backed the Vietnam War and spawned a collection of backward-looking Cold War neo-cons who turned up later at Ronald Reagan's side and still bedevil Bush administration foreign policy thinking. Jackson raised enormous sums of money, as McCain initially did, on the assumption that he would be the nominee. But he spent it too early and too freely -- campaign manager Bob Keefe loved those lobster dinners in New Hampshire -- and by the primaries, Jackson was out of money and out of gas. McCain similarly raised $24 million and has spent all but $2 million of it on a bloated staff, chartered planes, limousines and other luxuries. Jackson went down in political flames and an unknown ex-governor named Jimmy Carter, operating on a relatively modest budget, took the big prize."
Now I've got nothing against Jimmy Carter, who only looks more prescient with age, but here's a question worth pondering: Would a moderate Scoop Jackson Presidency have prevented Ronald Reagan's rise to the nation's highest office, thus stopping the neocon revolution in its tracks? Or would a Scoop Presidency, as Means suggests, only have further nurtured the chicken hawk m.o. that's landed us in the quagmire we're in now? Reagan was the perfect antidote to Carter, but I can't help but think he'd have been marginalized by the likes of Scoop.