Wednesday, November 10, 2004

'The More Things Change' Dept. 

New York, 1968:

Jimmy Breslin, Murray Kempton, and Bill Barry, who had been bodyguard to Bobby Kennedy in his campaign, were having a sad drink together.

Kepton had written in a column that morning, which began, "We are two nations of equal size ... Richard Nixon's nation is white, Protestant, breathes clean air and advances toward middle-age. Hubert Humphrey's nation is everything else, whatever is black, most of which breathes polluted air, pretty much what is young....
"There seems to be no place larger than Peoria from which [Nixon] has not been beaten back; he is the President of every place in this country which does not have a bookstore...."

Bill Barry finished his drink and left. This day was almost too much for him to bear.

Breslin was talking of leaving the country. Moving to Ireland. It seemed an appealing idea.

"That's a marvelous commentary on the progress of the twentieth century," Murray Kempton said. "Joyce begins it by leaving Ireland to be free and Breslin ends it by going back."

Joe McGinnis, The Selling of the President

(New York, 2004)

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