Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Circus Tournament

It was a rare event indeed that completely recognizable personages wandered into the swamp. There was a fear that the person might die or suffer a personal tragedy in the period between drawing the strip and publication, usually a period of 6 to 8 weeks in Kelly's case. A lot can happen during that time. But on this Sunday, Eugene McCarthy rode in on a horse of a different color, looking Quixotic and even like a vision from Alice's wonderland. He was a survivor of the New Hampshire primary.

In that Democratic primary McCarthy was challenging the incumbent President Johnson for the nomination, a long shot as seen by most. But the Vietnam War was taking its toll on Johnson—and McCarthy was running as a peace candidate (notice the doves of peace swarming around our fair knight). McCarthy DID survive, doing quite well, and was ready to move on.

Less than 2 weeks after this strip saw print, President Johnson stunningly announced that he would not seek the nomination. I remember exactly where I was, as a kid, when I listened to that live radio speech, when Johnson started out with that "Muh fellow Amuricans...Uh come to you tonight with a heavy heart..."

And the way was clear for McCarthy, oh but for that other shining knight, Bobby Kennedy.

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