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A Public Service Message from the American Income Life Insurance CompanyExecutive offices, Waco, Texas Bernard Rapoport, Pres. Humphrey hasn’t stopped talking long enough in twenty years to hear anything. because the man is too much of an obdurate loner to use it. The least political of all the men mentioned for the job, the former Minnesota metaphysician has been acting like the unblinking, infinite eye in the triangle on the back of the dollar bill. He glows and he glows, but despite his charm and luminescence, fewer and fewer people can put up with him or even understand him. If there is to be a fourth party and he leads it, it will not have any material effect on the election’s outcome. At this writing, McCarthy’s most telling effect on the process we are about to see unfold may be his continuing ability to keep a small group of large contributors hypnotized, thereby blocking off from McGovern the money he badly needs. Humphrey and other follies HUBERT HORATIO HUMPHREY doesn’t have a campaign staff yet. That may be just as well because, when he did, it was reputed to be awful, one of the, worst, which, as you see, was no bar to his seizing and holding major office. HHH says he hasn’t made up his mind, but one does get the feeling that he’s waiting for the other guys to kill themselves off, so he can jump into the last couple of primaries and, hand iri hand with George Meany and Dick Daley, swipe the nomination to the disgust of millions. Officially his position is a marvel of mixed metaphor: “I’ve got my sails up. I’m testing the water. I’m not salivating but I’m occasionally licking my chops.” Even Hubert knows he has a problem, and so he’s jumping around in his hyperenergetic way, armed with a horrendous dark-red dye job that makes his real hair look like a wig, while he tells people things like, “I don’t think I’m old hat. I think I’m with it. … I am one emancipated Senator.” But if Humphrey is laughable to you, he isn’t to the residual powers, organizations, lobbies, and contributors that have dominated Democratic party politics for two generations. If the people who can’t stand him sit home pouting with their thumbs in their mouths, he will be nominated, thus causing a dreadful overload on our mental health facilities, as well as guaranteeing a fourth-party split and Nixon’s reelection. Although by nature a moderate and humane man, Hubie’s political enthusiasms have made him an unacceptable extremist in his own party, first to the left many years ago, and now to the right. The greatest service he could perform is to get out of the race and play a supporting role, but he’s not about to do that, so what is needed is a compromise candidate … which brings us to Edmund S. Muskie. Ordinarily, compromise candidates arrive late. It is unheard of for one to be a front-runner a couple of years before the election, but Muskie isn’t only an intraparty compromise, he is a national compromise: the good, grave, kindly, but not unfirm man’who won’t do anything crazy. He offers little besides sobriety, stability, and the feeling you get when you look at him that he will not get us all blown to kingdom come. With that face he betokens long, dull, but safe evenings. And it is quite a face. Study it carefully, stare at it till your eyes get teary, and it begins to resemble the hind end of an elephant, all sags and bags and wrinkles, not pretty, but reassuring the way an elephant is when seen from the rear; large, swaying, but strong, not easily knocked off those weighty feet that can be almost dainty avoiding small, furry ground animals. Lincolnesque, his admirers will say. Maybe, but it’s true that, more than any of the other men who push themselves forward for consideration, Muskie’s appeal is his personality. He doesn’t have a program; he doesn’t need one. In fact, it would hurt him, because his strongest point is a diffuse and expanding goodwill and decency that will get him elected if Mitchell/Agnew/Nixon wage a campaign of small murders and large libels. Edmund Muskie is the backlash candidate of the people who abhor anger and rancor as governing principles in public life. You may sniff and think that ain’t much, but remember the squads of Mitchellisti issuing forth from the Justice Department with their insincere and close-clipped sideburns, their electric chair tie tacks, and their attache cases heavy with the transcripts of phone conversations and grand jury indictments. The upcoming election is the wrong one to sit out. There is a difference, even between them and a Muskie, meandering and unformed as he is, as likely as he is to rely on the Clark Cliffords and Harry McPhersons, old Johnson guys, for advice. He’s using them already, but if you’ve changed in the past couple of years, so have they, and, if they’re incapable of overseeing the turn in another direction that so much of America awaits, they will swing the prow a few points the hopeful way on the compass. By vote of those who claim to know, Muskie has the worst staff of all. They mess up mailings, fail to phone key contacts, leave important local politicos uncovered and open to be snapped up by their man’s opponents. On the other hand, the shambling Senator from Maine has been attacked by Evans and Novak for having been tricked by