Getting His 2 Per Cent Worth
Published On 3/6/1980 12:00:00 AM
By WILLIAM E. MCKIBBEN
BRIGHT SUN in your eyes, tooling south down the highway from Concord, drifting into the Amsokeag-Bridge-Manchester exit, past the big Holiday Inn ("Welcome Gv Reagan Wife"), and on the right the billboard squats in a weedy lot. "Make the Dollar Sound as Gold--Vote LaRouche." And on the blue-tinted forehead of this Democrat, in red spray paint, someone has scrawled a swastika.
Elm St. is most of Manchester, a north-south collection of aging offices and new bank towers. Three days before the New Hampshire primary, politics permeates the strip--Phil Crane's headquarters features a one-story full-color poster of the Illinois congressman's face. Jerry Brown wafts in a cloud of reporters, up and down the sidewalk, greeting Bush supporters gathered in the doorway of the Republican's office. A diversionary force of 3000 college students marches down one lane, leaving enough room for cars to pass, stopping to heckle the headquarters staff of candidates who favor draft registration. John Anderson workers hand New Hampshire residents pamphlets on "What New Hampshire Residents Say about John Anderson." Politics as carnival.
But LaRouche headquarters, an unmarked third story suite, bustles with serious people. This is the state office, not to be confused with the four other offices in Manchester alone, and only the most diehard LaRouche supporters spend their days here, distributing the bumper stickers to all corners of the state. "We can't keep this one in print," a beaming aide says, holding a blue and white sticker which reads "Jerry Brown Goes Down More Than Nuclear Power Plants."
A few steps through the sunlight, and then into the McDonalds, where the LaRouche press secretary agrees to talk huddled in the gloom over a cup of coffee. Ted Andromidas is tired, and a little bitter. "We know the election is in the can--bought, rigged and paid for," he says. But there's a little fight left in him. "Kennedy is one of the most immoral scum ever to hit the country... Brown's not even a flake--he's organized crime. Reagan's a nice uninformed old man. Bush, Anderson--these guys are Trilateral Commission all the way." Andromidas lives in a world where the Skull and Bones club appointed William Sloane Coffin to handle the "left Jacobin mob"; where the government, trying to repeat Britain's "opium sedation" of the Chinese, paid Leary and Alpert and Kesey and all his pranksters to popularize LSD; where George Bush is nuts for considering nuclear war. It's an intense world. It feels good to stride back out into the Elm St. sun and talk with the elderly man whose sign reads "Iran Still Holds Our Hostages--Put Kennedy in the White House" sign.
A GOOD political pamphlet is a work of art; the art has been corrupted in recent years by the willingness of candidates to gloss over even their nearest approaches to real positions in an out-pouring of feel-good-about-America, new-direction-for-the-70s, time-for-a-man-with-character froth.
But Lyndon H. LaRouche is an old-schooler, and the piles of literature that bow the card tables of his devoted workers are vintage. Every few days during the Granite State contest, the two-page "Campaign News" would appear in LaRouche offices around the state. The paper proves LaRouche is no squeamish campaigner; "Khomeini Backer to Head Procession in Manchester" screams one headline in the Feb. 21 issue, and who can resist reading on? "Ramsey Clark, the defender of the terrorist Red Brigades and the Baader-Meinof gang in Europe, reportedly will be leading a march on the streets of Manchester on Saturday as a member of the International Association of Defense Lawyers. It's the closest Manchester citizens will come to seeing the Ayatollah Khomeini face to face."
The staff of the Campaign News sees foreign influence everywhere; the Portsmouth Herald, "controlled by the foreigner, Lord Thomson of Fleet Street," won't allow the docks at Portsmouth to be expanded, the publication complains. Instead, it insists on a pleasure boat marina, with all the attendant "pleasures of Sodom and Gomorrah keeping the local inhabitants employed as low-paid dishwashers, croupiers, shills and errand boys for the wastrel "industries' of Babylon."
And there are messages from the candidate to the faithful and the faithless. "LaRouche Derides Carter Supporters as 'Immoral'" one headline reads. LaRouche "tonight derided any person who publicly endorses President Jimmy Carter as 'immoral,' a person to be pitied by his friends and neighbors... There is no error or exaggeration in saying that the economic policies of the Carter administration are Nazi," the LaRouche onslaught continues. Then, the telling blow. "LaRouche qualified his denunciation of Carter by indicating that Republican George Bush was far worse than Carter." The reason? "Bush's campaign has consciously adopted the policies of Nazi Herrmann Goering...(who) proposed to crush the German civilian economy with a massive arms drive."
AT THE DOOR, the private security force checks everyone attending this final statewide rally for Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche Jr., Democrat for President, running the metal detector over their bodies. "We'd prefer you didn't take pictures of the security operation," one guard says, and the request has no escape clause. "People are finally beginning to realize they won't be able to defraud us out of the election--we just don't know how desperate they're going to get," Laura Cohen, a campaign aide says in explanation.
On stage, the pre-speech entertainment, soprano Joan Moynaugh, director of Musicians for LaRouche, speaks with a strangely moving rhythm. "We sing because it is natural to do so... The spirit moves and the spirit sings--it is an informed spirit to be sure... We have been in the company of geniuses... Tonight we play the work of these musical geniuses for a man who in his own realm is a genius..." And then, for 45 minutes the great religious homages of the masters, "And the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed," "And he shall purify," "I know thay my redeemer liveth on the earth," building to the Alleluia chorus, and the crowd of 600 on its feet for the climax "And glory will reign forever and ever."
"And now let's welcome the next President of the United States of America, Lyndon LaRouche."
Not a bit abashed by the buildup, LaRouche takes the microphone. He starts slowly, with the expected discussion of massive vote fraud and the remarks about the nastiness of the press, including an offhand reference to "Katharine Meyer Graham's Washington Post." A comparison of himself to DeGaulle. Then the speech starts to build; and if some of the words resemble those of other candidates, the message doesn't. "The U.S. has a moral destiny to fulfull among other nations, on the behalf of civilization." From the audience, an echoing "Amen." "We have to start from finding what our mission is, and then work to make ourselves strong, productive, healthy and educated enough to fulfill that mission." Before he's done, the crowd is on its feet, chanting "Win with Lyn," even the guards smiling, chanting.
It's a comedown when LaRouche starts to answer questions, telling 11-year-old kids he will improve the schools by ridding the ranks of teachers "of SDS graduates who can't teach anything except how to smoke a joint and rock dancing." But before he leaves, someone asks him about how to convince others to jump aboard the LaRouche bandwagon. In a moment of weakness, LaRouches tells of his campaign trail frustrations. "You talk to people, and they say that Milton Friedman would disagree. What you've got to do is remove the influence of Milton Friedman. Milton Friedman is a Nazi."