Tag Archives: The 1960s

Deborah Gordon: Governor George Romney- 1968 Interview by Lou Gordon: On Being Brainwashed on Vietnam

Source: Deborah Gordon: George Romney 1968 Interview by Lou Gordon: On Being Brainwashed On Vietnam

Governor George Romney not only telling Lou Gordon that he was against America’s involvement in the Vietnam War in 1968, but that he had been brainwashed. Which is a very interesting point and for these reasons. Prior to Watergate and the Vietnam War, Americans tended to trust what their government was telling them until they saw real information that contradicted that. The Silent Generation is probably the last generation that tended to believe what their government was telling them.

The Vietnam War and Watergate, go up to the Iran Contra in the 1980s, and Bill Clinton scandals minor and major, real and fake, from the 1990s and of course that started to change. If Americans were to believe what their government was telling them, they need real hard information and facts first before they believe what their Representative or Senator, or President is saying. Americans today are more inclined to believe that their politicians are lying to them when they’re attempting to sound factual, than they’re simply just wrong or actually telling the truth.

But why do Americans tend to believe their government is lying to them, or at least not telling them the truth? Go back to the mid and late 1960s with President Lyndon Johnson over the Vietnam War, where President Johnson and his National Security Council were saying how great the Vietnam War was going and that we were winning that the Communist Vietnamese were close to surrendering. When the fact any solider or marine on the ground in Vietnam fighting for America and to free Vietnam from communism, knew the opposite was true. The Americans won the battles but the Communists were winning the war and holding their territory with Americans taking a lot of causalities and injuries.

What Governor Romney was telling journalist Lou Gordon in 1968 about his trip to Vietnam and what he personally saw there as far as the war there, was that America wasn’t wining this war even though that is what the American military and foreign affairs officers were telling Governor Romney is that America was winning. So Romney thought he was being brainwashed by his government officials there which is why he came out against America’s involvement in the Vietnam War after supporting it before.



Andrew Kaczynski: Governor George Romney- 1968 Presidential Announcement

Source: Andrew Kaczynski: Governor George Romney- 1968 Presidential Announcement

I love this George Romney speech because this is exactly what the Republican Party was once about at least, with a solid conservative-libertarian faction led by Senator Barry Goldwater and others. If this was the GOP today, I might be a Republican myself. And this coming from a JFK Liberal Democrat.

Just listen to this video of Governor Romney’s speech. He was talking about progressive solutions to real problems in America like Welfare and poverty, as well as fiscal situation in the country and the need for fiscal responsibility, but calling for progressive federalist solutions to these problems. He and Richard Nixon sound very similar on these issues because they were both part of that old progressive center-right wing of the Republican Party. Republicans who believed that progress could be made with government, but that it had to be limited and the states and localities had to be part of the solutions. Instead of setting up big Federal programs run by Big Government to serve every state especially the people who live in those states. Which was also a problem for Governor Romney because he and the GOP frontrunner Richard Nixon, sounded very similar on economic policy.

Governor Romney arguing for Welfare reform and federalism in 1968. President Richard Nixon in 1969 proposed Welfare reform and what he called a New Federalism. Which was about ( to use a Washington term ) block granting the New Deal and Great Society safety net and antipoverty programs over to the states and allowing for the states to run them. Which was the middle position between the George McGovern McGovermite Democratic Socialists in the Democratic Party who believed that not only should the Federal Government continue to run these programs, but that they should be expanded and that new programs should be created on top of the New Deal and Great Society and that taxes should be raised on everyone to pay for them. And the Conservative Libertarians in the GOP led by Barry Goldwater, arguing that these programs shouldn’t exist at all.

The only real difference that George Romney had with Richard Nixon, had to do with the Vietnam War. Romney arguing that the war was a failure and that it was time for America to get out of it. And there just wasn’t enough Republican voters back then to line up and vote for Romney on that issue. If anything Republicans back then believed the war need to be fought better and that we should go harder in Vietnam. But George Romney represents the old Progressive-Federalist wing of the Republican Party along with Nelson Rockefeller who also ran for President in 1968, at a time when that faction of the party was starting to get smaller.

CBS News: Face The Nation- George Romney: Addresses 1964 Republican National Convention


Source:  CBS News

Source: CBS News: Face The Nation- Governor George Romney: Addresses 1964 Republican National Convention

What I get from this short five minute vision of Michigan Governor George Romney speaking at the 1964 Republican National Convention, is that he wasn’t necessarily against Senator Barry Goldwater and his presidential campaign. But he was worried about the Republican Party moving right and even Far-Right.

From 1964-68, the GOP was moving in transition from a center-right moderate conservative party with a solid progressive Northeastern base that Governor Romney was part of, to expanding the base of the party and moving south as well as west. Bringing in Christian-Conservatives from the South and Conservative-Libertarians from the West. Barry Goldwater was one of those Western Conservative-Libertarians.

Governor Romney and Governor Nelson Rockefeller and other Progressive Republicans, were worried that America wasn’t ready for this hardcore what was called back then conservative message,  but what today would be a conservative-libertarian message as far as Goldwater that was about individual freedom both economic and personal, as well as limited government and personal responsibility, as well as federalist when it came to government. And as a result the GOP would get wiped out in the 1964 general elections which was exactly what happened. And they were worried that the GOP couldn’t compete with just a small percentage of the electorate.

What Rockefeller and Romney got wrong, was that they were only correct in the short-term. Millions of Southern Democrats who voted for President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, voted for Richard Nixon for President in 1968. Congressional Republicans had a big comeback in 1966 by winning in the South in the House and Senate and winning out west. Richard Nixon was part of the Progressive Republican base in California and New York, but being the great politician that he was, was also able to communicate with Goldwater Conservatives and Christian-Conservatives in the South, while retaining his Northeastern Republican Progressive base, to win the presidency in 1968 and win going way reelection in 1972. But the remaking and renovation of the modern GOP that we see today started in 1964. Romney and Rockefeller, were wrong about the long-term affects that moving right would have on the GOP.

Dartmouth College: Michael A. Cohen- Nelson Rockefeller, The 1968 Election & The Disappearance of The Republican Moderates

Source: Dartmouth College: Michael A. Cohen- Nelson Rockefeller, The 1968 Election & The Disappearance of Republican Moderates

I disagree with Michael Cohen right off the bat in his lecture about Nelson Rockefeller. Nelson wasn’t a Moderate, but was a Progressive and a Progressive Republican. Progressives in the real sense might look like Moderates compared with Socialists on the Far-Left who expect the national government to do practically everything for people. And in the case of Communists, want the national government to literally do everything for everybody. Perhaps even check people’s shoes to make sure they’re tied correctly before the central government allows for people to leave their homes. And Libertarians on the Right and if you’re talking about Anarchists on the Left, who don’t want government to do anything for everybody. That government in any form is corrupt and incompetent, and a form of enslavement.

Michael Cohen made my point that Nelson was a Progressive in his own lecture when he said that Rockefeller was a doer. He believed in government and that government can create positive change and do positive things for people. What do Progressives believe? They believe that progress can be made through government action. Limited government action since Progressives aren’t Socialists or Communists, and there not even Liberals. Less ideological than Liberals and really everyone who is not a Moderate or Centrist and stress individual rights and individualism less than Liberals.

By the time 1968 comes around Richard Nixon essentially takes over the Republican Party in order to not just win the presidential election, but to serve him politically. By campaigning strongly for Congressional Republicans in 1966 and contributing to their comeback both in the House and Senate and making the GOP players in Congress again. But also by campaigning in the South that was traditionally Democrat, but Dixiecrat and even Confederate, and even religious as far as how they looked at their politics. What we today call the Christian-Right comes to the Republican Party by the late 1960s thanks to Richard Nixon and others. With Northeastern Republicans leaving the GOP except for Nelson and a few others and become Democrats. Which left Nelson Rockefeller without a major political party to run for president for.

The Film Archives: Book TV- U.S. Representative Bobby Rush Interviewing Catherine Wilkerson: The Legacy of The Weather Underground & The New Left Movement of The 1960s

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

From Wikipedia about The Weather Underground.

“The Weather Underground Organization (WUO), commonly known as the Weather Underground, was an American militant radical left-wing organization founded on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan. Originally called Weatherman, the group became known colloquially as the Weathermen. Weatherman organized in 1969 as a faction of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)[2] composed for the most part of the national office leadership of SDS and their supporters. Their goal was to create a clandestine revolutionary party to overthrow the U.S. Government.[3]

“With revolutionary positions characterized by black power and opposition to the Vietnam War,[2] the group conducted a campaign of bombings through the mid-1970s and took part in actions such as the jailbreak of Dr. Timothy Leary. The “Days of Rage”, their first public demonstration on October 8, 1969, was a riot in Chicago timed to coincide with the trial of the Chicago Seven. In 1970 the group issued a “Declaration of a State of War” against the United States government, under the name “Weather Underground Organization”.[4]

The bombing campaign targeted mostly government buildings, along with several banks. The group stated that the United States government had been exploiting other nations by waging war as a means of solidifying America as a greater nation. Most were preceded by evacuation warnings, along with communiqués identifying the particular matter that the attack was intended to protest. No people were killed in any of their acts of property destruction, although three members of the group were killed in the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion.

For the bombing of the United States Capitol on March 1, 1971, they issued a communiqué saying that it was “in protest of the U.S. invasion of Laos”. For the bombing of the Pentagon on May 19, 1972, they stated that it was “in retaliation for the U.S. bombing raid in Hanoi”. For the January 29, 1975 bombing of the United States Department of State building, they stated that it was “in response to the escalation in Vietnam”.[4]

The Weathermen grew out of the Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM) faction of SDS. It took its name from Bob Dylan’s lyric, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”, from the song “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (1965). “You Don’t Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows” was the title of a position paper that they distributed at an SDS convention in Chicago on June 18, 1969. This founding document called for a “white fighting force” to be allied with the “Black Liberation Movement” and other radical movements[5] to achieve “the destruction of U.S. imperialism and achieve a classless world: world communism”.[6]

The Weathermen began to disintegrate after the United States reached a peace accord in Vietnam in 1973,[7] after which the New Left declined in influence. By 1977, the organization was defunct.”

I think a good way to look at The Weathermen would be look to Fidel Castro’s revolutionary movement in Cuba in the late 1950s. Except that the Castro Marxist-Communists in Cuba were looking to overthrow a dictatorial authoritarian regime there. But then what happened there is that they replace one dictatorial regime with another and turned Cuba into Marxist-Communist state which it still is today 60 years later. The Weathermen were looking to overthrow a liberal democratic government and society in America and replace it with a socialist society. Where things like racism, materialism, individualism, sexism, homophobia, religious bigotry, masculinity, would be eliminated or those would be the goals of this group.

The 1960s is not just a fascinating time but a revolutionary time in America. The 1950s and 1960s are only one decade apart and the people who came of age in both decades are only a generation apart, but the two decades have almost nothing in common with each other and looked completely different culturally and politically. The difference between America and Russia, or North Korea and South Korea. Two very different looking and completely different societies. The 1950s was the Christian-Right’s utopia where men worked and paid the bills. Women stayed home and raised their kids. Gays were buried in the closet culturally and perhaps you would need a rocket launcher back then to break the door down to let them out. African-Americans as well as other racial and ethnic minorities were treated like second-class citizens compared with European-Americans. Especially Anglo-Saxon men.

But thanks to Dr. Martin L. King and his civil rights movement African-Americans woke up and said they want their rights and would march for them and even give up their health and lives to get them. And had help from Caucasians who agreed with them and thought treating people as second-class citizens simply because of their race was evil. The Dr. King movement was the start of three left-wing movement’s in America. The King movement was a social-democratic movement.

The Baby Boomers start to come of age in the 1960s and start the Hippie movement ( the real Liberals back then ) because the 1950s lifestyle that they were part of as kids wasn’t good enough for them. They wanted the freedom to be themselves and be Americans which is what being an American is about which is the freedom for people to be themselves.

But then you have this radical socialist movement in America ( not to be insulting ) that believed the social-democratic movement of the 1960s led by Dr. King and others wasn’t good enough and didn’t go far enough. Dr. King and Social Democrats of the 1960s, weren’t looking to overthrow the American Federal Republic and our liberal democratic system, but instead improve on it and establish an economic system that benefited more Americans so more Americans could benefit from our capitalist system.

What The Weather Underground and other New-Left socialist groups were looking to do was to overthrow the U.S. Government literally and create a socialist state in America. Some of these people might have been Democratic Socialists, but a lot of them were Communists like The Black Panthers and other groups who literally looking for revolution in America.

The 1960s and 1970s was a very violent time in America. We were going though terrorist bombings every week in the early and mid 1970s. Wealthy people were being kidnapped by Far-Left terrorists to get their money and then give it to poor people. Not everyone on the Left are pacifists. Only Social Democrats and some Democratic Socialists are. Communists are not obviously and believe violence even if they don’t like it can be an effective and justifiable tool to accomplish their political objectives. And that is what The Weather Underground was which was a socialist militant political organization in America.

The Film Archives: Book TV- U.S. Representative Bobby Rush Interviewing Catherine Wilkerson: Legacy of The Weather Underground and New Left of The 1960s

A Room With a View: Meet The Press- Governor Nelson Rockefeller: June 12th, 1960

Source: A Room With a View: Meet The Press- Governor Nelson Rockefeller: June 12th, 1960

Nelson Rockefeller and Richard Nixon, seemed to have a political rivalry in the Republican Party even though ideologically they were pretty close. They were both basically Progressive Republicans. Certainly Governor Rockefeller was, but Rockefeller and Nixon were very similar on economic policy and probably foreign policy as well. They were both cold warrior anti-Communists who believed in a strong national defense and protecting America from Communist Russia with a strong national defense. They both supported the civil rights laws of the 1960s and the environmental protections of the 1970s.

And yet the way that the media back then would talk about Nelson Rockefeller and Richard Nixon, you would think they both came from different ideologically wings of the GOP. As if one was a Conservative and the other was a Moderate or Liberal. When the fact was both were basically Progressive Republicans in the classical and real sense. Not the stereotypical big government socialistic sense that Progressives especially in the Democratic Party today get labeled as. It was Senator Barry Goldwater who was a Conservative-Libertarian Republican who strongly differed from the Rockefeller’s and Nixon’s in the Republican Party ideologically.

But when Meet The Press interviewed Governor Rockefeller in 1960, they were asking him questions implying that Rockefeller and then Vice President Nixon, were different ideologically. And that Rockefeller wasn’t sold on the candidacy of Vice President Nixon and wasn’t sure if he was going to support Vice President Nixon against Senator John Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election. But the fact is Rockefeller and Nixon, were both essentially Progressive Republicans at least on economic and foreign policy, as well as social issues, who politically at least could’ve been strong running mates for a presidential election.

The Film Archives: Mississippi Freedom Riders- Civil Rights Movement

Source: The Film Archives: Mississippi Freedom Riders- Civil Rights Movement

The Mississippi Freedom Riders, were young adults and civil rights activists and even volunteers, who had the gaul to march and ride for freedom and equal rights for African-Americans in 1961 and then several times after that in the 1960s. To challenge non-enforcement of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions Morgan v Virginia and Boynton V. Virginia. Which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional. States like Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, and others in the South, were not enforcing these Supreme Court decisions. Even though under law they were supposed to.

Keep in mind Dr. Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement, was already up and running by 1961, but it didn’t have the backing of the media and especially not Congress, or the Eisenhower Administration, or even the Kennedy Administration, by 1961, at least not officially. They were working what’s called backchannels and staying in touch with each other and the U.S. Administration working with Dr. King and his organization behind the scenes. But even if President Kennedy was privately in favor of civil and equal rights for all Americans in 1961, he certainly wasn’t making that position public yet. It’s not until 1963 after big bombing in Alabama where President John Kennedy comes out strongly in favor of civil rights laws in a prime time speech that the networks broadcast.

The civil rights marchers and even the Freedom Riders, were considered radical especially in the early 1960s especially pre-civil rights laws of the mid 1960s. Imagine that, radicals because they not only believed in individual freedom, but then would march for that, but take that even a step forward and march for civil rights and equal rights for all Americans. But that what life was like in the early 1960s which didn’t look much different culturally and politically as 1955. Where racial and ethnic minorities in America, were seen as second-class citizens. Even though under the U.S. Constitution they were entitled to the same rights, freedom, and responsibility as European-Americans and even European-American men and even Anglo-Saxons and Anglo-Saxon men.