Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Flashback to 1972's election

Can a John McCain take a Barack Obama's early opposition to the war in Iraq -- even though history makes it look good -- and make it seem weak-kneed in 2008 to enough paranoid American voters, rather than astute?
The handbill above is one I did for a fundraiser in September of 1972 at the Biograph Theatre, which I then managed.

With the art, hall-of-fame underground cartoonist R. Crumb's trucking man style was deliberately being imitated in the George McGovern caricature I crafted, as I was trying to reference Zap Comix and its appeal to hippies. The other movie theater operators in Richmond and lots of other mostly conservative local know-it-alls told me we were crazy to take sides in politics, by sponsoring a McGovern benefit.

To me, they didn't yet understand the role in the community the new repertory cinema would play. Fortunately, my fairly liberal bosses at the Biograph in DeeCee went along with their 24-year-old manager's rather cartoon take on what was what; it was our first year of operation at 814 W. Grace St.

Note then state senator Doug Wilder's appearance at the event (click on the art to enlarge it).

In the election, incumbent Richard Nixon was able to sell the notion that McGovern, a decorated
bomber pilot -- he flew 35 missions over North Africa and Italy during WWII -- was holding an anti-war stance in Vietnam that was weak-kneed and worrisomely anti-American.

Is that same sort of thing possible, again, in an Obama vs. McCain race?

McGovern was right in '72. But the voters in that election year couldn't cotton to the idea of accepting any sort of an American defeat in any
blood-sucking war.

Today, the war in Iraq remains bogged down, surge or no surge. Getting out of there will be a tricky mission -- it can't be done in a snap.

Still, I wonder how many people have already forgotten there were damn good reasons for an Obama to have been speaking out against launching an invasion to capture weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, before the folly got started?

Perhaps the better question is this: Will a desperate Hillary Clinton beat John McCain to the punch, to play the weak-kneed/
anti-American card against front-runner Barack Obama?

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