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There was only one Scoop
My contention that there arent many Scoop Jackson Democrats around any more roused an old friend from my Olympia days to speak up on behalf of his onetime boss.
I knew Mike Parker, who now lives in Enumclaw, as a state representative in the late l970s. He was mayor of Tacoma from 1978 to 1982. He was a Jackson staffer back in the senators heydays when Scoop was the Senates Super Hawk and an also-ran presidential aspirant pushed aside by JFK in favor of Lyndon Johnson for vice president.
Ive often wondered how things might have gone if Scoop had been the vice president and become president instead of LBJ. Bobby wanted him on the ticket but House Speaker Sam Rayburn persuaded Joseph Sr. that Rayburns protege Lyndon Johnson would win Texas for them and help carry the South.
Anyway, commentators and polls often speak wistfully today of Scoop Jackson Democrats, loyal to their countries and unafraid to speak out against the administration, even when it was of their own party. Jackson gave Jimmy Carter fits.
Back to Mike Parker, whose three-page letter I had to boil down.
If Scoop was still alive, writes Parker, he would encourage every voter to get out and vote Democratic. Scoop Jackson Democrats dont support tax cuts for wealthy Americans at a time the country has record deficits and we are at war. Scoop Jackson Democrats dont believe we should privatize Social Security.
It was right to go to war in Afghanistan, he said, but we should have sent more troops and finished what we started. We should have put a Marshall Plan in place to rebuild the country. Why are we in Iraq? Democrats in Congress voted to give the president the power to go to war as he requested but he lied to them and to all of us.
Parker questioned our country abandoning the high ground in monitoring bank transactions and telephone calls and I find it hard to believe Congress is debating whether we can torture our prisoners. I was in New Orleans right after Katrina and I dont believe Scoop Jackson would have stayed on vacation during Katrina and I dont believe we have done what we need to do in the Gulf States even yet.
The Republicans have had Congress and the Presidency for six years and havent done anything about border security, said Parker. The reality is big business doesnt want anything to change in the illegal immigration situation. We are a country who takes advantage of illegal immigrants. We pay them substandard wages and they pay $11 billion into Social Security each year that they will never collect.
If we want to secure our borders, he said, we should help Mexico build a more productive society help them with roads, water, sewers and schools. The one thing I agree with George Bush on is we need a guest worker program.
I disagree with much of what Parker says, but I wont nitpick it. Scoop was a solid Democrat all right, and pretty liberal, but he was buddies with President Nixon and supported him in the Anti-Ballistic Missile Program while many others did not. Nixon asked him to be his Secretary of Defense and he accepted, I was told at the time and wrote, but it fell through before it was announced. I never knew why until recently when I read CBS Commentator Bob Schiefers book where he tells of Democrats learning of Jacksons decision and persuading him to forget it.
McCain comes the closest to Scoops popularity with both parties who contributed to his campaigns. But hes no Scoop Jackson Democrat. Hes too unstable. Lieberman? Hes my favorite D, but hes not one either. I guess there was only one Scoop.
Adele Ferguson can be reached at P.O. Box 69, Hansville, WA, 98340.