THE BLOG
08/15/2006 03:44 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Gene, Bobby, and Joe

In March 1968, Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy was campaigning against President Lyndon Johnson as a peace candidate in the New Hampshire primary. McCarthy had inspired a grassroots mobilization against the war in Vietnam. The pro-war Johnson wing of the Democratic Party responded by running several radio advertisements condemning McCarthy and his supporters. One spot stated that a McCarthy victory would be "greeted with cheers in Hanoi." Other pro-Johnson commercials claimed that "Hanoi is listening," and that McCarthy's grassroots supporters were "peace-at-any-price fuzzy thinkers who say 'Give up the goal, burn your draft card and surrender!'"

When New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy, (who had not yet entered the presidential race), heard about Johnson's attack ads, he defended McCarthy, telling an audience at a Democratic dinner in Des Moines, Iowa that the Minnesota Senator was "setting forth his honest views on what is best for our nation," and that his motives should not "be impugned." He also compared Johnson's swipes at McCarthy to similar charges that Richard Nixon had "made in 1960 against President Kennedy."

Citizen Joe Lieberman's recent statements about Ned Lamont's primary victory hark back to LBJ's old canards. But instead of saying "Hanoi is listening," Lieberman is saying, "Al Qaeda is listening." It is truly pathetic to see a "Democratic" politician -- Joe Lieberman -- who in his youth had opposed an unjust war in Vietnam, become such a shadow of his former self that today he denigrates those who wish to end another unjust war with the same kind of smears that LBJ and Nixon used against McCarthy and Kennedy.