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Thus, Humphrey — LBJ’s vice president, who had stepped in as Johnson’s surrogate candidate — eventually got the votes of 67 percent of the delegates.
YET IF HUMPHREY controlled a majority at the Democratic convention, he did not control them well enough to prevent the anti-war minority from causing trouble.
Connecticut Sen. Abraham Ribicoff, a Kennedy loyalist, took the podium to give a speech nominating Sen. George McGovern for president (McGovern got nearly 150 votes at Chicago, presaging his doomed 1972 presidential candidacy).
After praising McGovern as “a man who has peace in his soul,” Ribicoff then looked directly at Mayor Daley — who was seated up front with the Illinois delegation — and declared passionately, “And with George McGovern as President of the United States we wouldn’t have to have Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago!”
At that, the convention hall erupted, with Daley standing up to shout a few choice words at Ribicoff (although it seems unlikely that “Jew bastard” was among those words, as some claimed).
Ribicoff’s insult to Daley and the Old Guard was the kind of unvarnished realism that the Democrats are unlikely to produce this week in Denver. Despite murmurs of discontent by Hillary Clinton’s disgrunted supporters, no Democrat is likely to deviate from the script inside the Pepsi Center, or during Thursday’s spectacle at Invesco Field.
While political junkies might hope for some spontaneous outburst on the convention floor — unruly supporters of Dennis Kucinich, perhaps? — it’s far more realistic to expect tightly orchestrated made-for-TV tedium.
THE PHONY SHOW at the Pepsi Center will be perfectly matched by the phony protests outside. Saturday, Denver police asked one protester to move his car after he illegally parked near Civic Center Park.
“The police want so badly to crack some skulls. It’s so obvious,” the protester told reporters, as if regretting his failure to give them an excuse.
Karl Marx’s old jest about history repeating itself as farce is as close to a revolutionary sentiment as anything I expect to hear on the streets of Denver this week.
If I catch a whiff of tear gas, I’ll let you know. Waitress, another Corona, please. And don’t forget the lime.