More fun news from CNS today: the history of Ted Kennedy’s secret plan to conspire with the Soviets to derail Reagan’s reelection in 1984! The amusing tale unfolds thusly:
Specifically, Kennedy proposed that [Communist Party General Secretary Yuri] Andropov make a direct appeal to the American people in a series of television interviews that would be organized in August and September of 1983, according to the letter.
“[Former U.S. Sen. John ] Tunney told his contacts that Kennedy was very troubled about the decline in U.S -Soviet relations under Reagan,” [Prof. Paul] Kengor said. “But Kennedy attributed this decline to Reagan, not to the Soviets. In one of the most striking parts of this letter, Kennedy is said to be very impressed with Andropov and other Soviet leaders.”
In Kennedy’s view, the main reason for the antagonism between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1980s was Reagan’s unwillingness to yield on plans to deploy middle-range nuclear missiles in Western Europe, the KGB chief wrote in his letter.
So Kennedy disliked Reagan’s foreign policy and wanted to keep him from being reelected. And his solution is to have the leader of the Soviet Union address the nation on TV and tell us all why America is wrong and the USSR is right? You don’t have to be Patrick Swayze or Lea Thompson to think that’s a bad idea.
It does suggest, however, the only condition under which Reagan could have won an even larger landslide in ’84 — if Ted Kennedy had gotten Yuri Andropov to officially endorse Walter Mondale on national television.
It also reminds me of my single favorite story thread from the 2004 election, that being the attempt by readers of the notoriously left-wing British newspaper The Guardian to sway the election to Kerry by writing bossy, obnoxious letters to voters in Ohio. Amazingly, Ohio voters didn’t particularly like foreigners telling them how to vote. From the USA Today story two years ago:
Each Guardian reader who signed up was given the name of a different Clark County voter taken from a list purchased from the local board of elections.
Among the letters and e-mails that deluged the Manchester offices of The Guardian were comments such as these:
– “Real Americans aren’t interested in your pansy-ass, tea-sipping opinions.”
– “We don’t need weenie-spined Limeys meddling in our presidential election.”
– “If you want to save the world, begin with your own worthless corner of it.”
An Oct. 15 headline in Ohio’s Springfield News-Sun read: “Butt out Brits, voters say.”
“I found it quite insulting,” said Terry Brown, a retiree in Springfield who received a Guardian letter. “I was under the impression we settled the matter of how we vote and who we vote for in 1776.”
Here, here Mr. Brown.