Think the 2010 election year is unusual?
In 1972 Sen. George McGovern was running for President against an incumbent Richard Nixon. His first vice presidential nominee, Thomas Eagleton, was replaced when it was discovered he had received "shock" or electroconvulsive therapy for depression. McGovern's second VP choice was Robert "Sargent" Shriver, brother-in-law to John F. Kennedy.
Richard Nixon was re-elected by a landslide. But his victory was short-lived. He later resigned over the "Watergate" scandal.
This story is interesting because of who came to the Tri-Cities to campaign for McGovern.
Mr. Spock says he senses movement for McGovern
By Tom Rigert, Herald staff writer
Published on Oct. 11, 1972
"In the last 12 to 14 days, I'm beginning to sense the same kind of movement for Sen. McGovern as in the primaries," Leonard Nimoy said at a rally in Richland today.
Nimoy, who stars as Mr. Spock in the television series Star Trek, said he's seen the growing movement during his nationwide campaign for the South Dakota Senator's election.
He has spoken in 30 states in a tour that began in January during the New Hampshire primary.
"I'm at a disadvantage. I've spent most of my previous life on Vulcan, so I don't know too much about the people in this country," he said with a grin, referring to the extraterrestrial background of Mr. Spock.
But he does know that people are intelligent enough to start asking questions about the issues, and these questions will ultimately win the election for Sen. McGovern, he said.
One of the most important questions is what the Watergate affair really means, Nimoy said.
The event was not just a case of political trickery or even of spying and espionage, he contended. It was a case of sabotage.
Even worse, it was attempted sabotage of one of the two political parties of the country. There are names, dates and places linking the president's secretary to the Watergate events, he asserted.
Another question is why the defense department budget isn't examined in total each year, he said. The budget is simply taken from the preceding year and added onto.
Nimoy said people also ask why the nation's spending deficit has been greater during Nixon's four years than during all the years under Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy.
And they wonder why the Pentagon needs 6,000 public relations employees, he said. They want to know why the armed forces have one officer for each enlisted man, and one general for only 1,800 other soldiers.
Nimoy said it is tragic that this country ranks 14th in the world in mortality rate among infants up to one year old, yet has the capacity of to kill everyone in the world 20 times.
"We don't need another campaign that avoids these issues, another nice guy campaign," Nimoy emphasized.
He said that since Sen. McGovern's recent television appearance, there has been an overwhelming response by mail from people who feel the senator does have the answers.
Still the campaign has had its bad moments, he admitted. One was the Eagleton affair.
Sen. McGovern had no choice but to ask Sen. Eagleton to resign, he contended.
"If Sen. McGovern had kept Sen. Eagleton on, the entire campaign would have focused on Eagleton," he said, and important issues would have been ignored.
In an interview after the rally, Nimoy said he sees the growing support for Sen. McGovern coming from labor, farmers and senior citizens.
When asked about the role of Henry Kissinger in the Vietnam negotiations, he said the frequent use of the presidential adviser has weakened the entire Untied States State Department.
He also questioned why these moves to end the war are being made now, during an election year, instead of four years ago.
Nimoy, who was mobbed by autograph-seekers at the end of the rally, had some bad news for his television fans. He doesn't expect the canceled Star Trek series to be renewed.
You can see video of Sen. George McGovern's campaign at youtube.com/watch?v=GCuZd4UyCMQ