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The “down” Years 1972-74
A Senator’s View
August 1976 | Volume 27, Issue 5
… I don’t suppose there is one member of the United States Senate who has not sometime during his life suffered from nervous depression, or nervous exhaustion, as it is commonly called. Senator Margaret Smith tells me that she doesn’t recall any such instance in her life, but the fact remains that she is a most unusual person, so I have to accept her statement at face value.
For the first part of the week the Senate worked on the Military Procurement Authorization bill, with the principal activity directed toward what are called end-the-war amendments.
At the suggestion of executive-branch representatives, I offered an amendment which I felt was … practical. … It provided for an internationalized cease-fire over all Indochina and the withdrawal of all our forces within four months from the time an agreement could be reached. … It did not provide a complete cutoff of funds, for the reason that such provision would encourage North Vietnam and its allies to renew the war promptly after we had completed our withdrawal. …
… on Wednesday about one o’clock President Nixon called me to say that he very strongly supported my amendment and felt that it would help bring the end of our involvement in Indochina nearer [the amendment was later shelved by the Senate]. …
The bill now goes to conference with the House, and no one knows what will happen there, but I don’t worry about it, for no end-the-war provision approved by Congress can work without an agreement with the enemy—and with an agreement we don’t need an amendment anyway.
At the present time it looks as if the Republicans could coast to victory in the November 7 election provided the leadership can hold their overly ambitious—and, in my book, irresponsible—assistants in check. The raid on the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate a few weeks ago smells to high heaven, and the political world apparently believes, as of today, that this despicable and fruitless act was planned within the headquarters of the Committee to Re-elect the President. While complete proof has not been shown, there is a general feeling that it will be shown before election time and will be costly in terms of votes for Republican candidates.
… A small company in Bennington, Vermont, has been trying desperately to get a contract for tabulating cards and is apparently well qualified to fill such a contract, but was left completely out in the cold while a large contract of which it could have had a share was given to a Minneapolis concern. I may be hypercritical, but I think Minnesota is likely to play a key part in the coming election, and besides it is the home state of Clark MacGregor [a former Nixon counsel who was subsequently chairman of the Citizens’ Committee for the Re-election of the President]. I may be too cynical, but I don’t like what is going on in some parts of the executive branch of our government.
The Republican convention at Miami Beach came and went. Nothing exciting and nothing unexpected happened. …
As matters stand now, I fear that we are in for a bad ten weeks before the November 7 election. President Nixon ought to win in a breeze. Certainly he has made mistakes- his advocacy of the expansion of many so-called left-wing programs in education, health, and social affairs has displeased many conservative Republicans. No one can deny, however, that the world is in a more stable and peaceful condition because of his efforts. Business is much better this year, also farm prices. The fact that our national debt has soared and our balance of foreign trade has become worse will have little effect on the average voter.
On Monday night L.P.A. and I and a few other members of the Senate were permitted to view the first showing of the new movie 1776 . This documented the wrangling and difficulties which took place among the colonies during the spring previous to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. …
The significance of this historical movie … lies in the fact that human traits have not changed to any degree in the last two hundred years. While we have fifty states in the Union now, about half a dozen of them containing our largest cities feel that it should be their prerogative to decide on the rights of all fifty of them.
Had the New York and Pennsylvania colonies had their own way in 1776, the course of history would have been vastly different. Had a few of the larger states had their way in 1972, the future of our country could no doubt have been changed, too. …