"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Eugene McCarthy was my parents' candidate in 1968, and I believe we have a picture somewhere of my eldest brother, who'd gone Clean for Gene, graduating from college with a McCarthy pin on his robe.
In an appreciation in the Weekly Standard last year, Andrew Ferguson wrote:
McCarthy stands out from recent political history as a uniquely appealing man: funny, thoughtful, eccentric, allusive; a professional politician whose mind had plenty left over when the politics was done. He's hard to figure out. No one, early in McCarthy's career, could have predicted that his political life would reach a climax with an effort to unhorse a president of his own party. As a young man he had entered a Benedictine seminary, dropped out, joined up again, and dropped out again, and he never shook the habits of a mind steeped in Catholic scholasticism. His classical training would emerge at the unlikeliest moments. Watching from a hotel window as a phalanx of Chicago police-men waded into protestors during the chaotic 1968 Democratic convention, he turned to a companion and said the horrible scene reminded him of the Battle of Lake Trasimeno…
THROUGHOUT HIS CAREER, when the professorial mood was upon him (as it often was), McCarthy had called for "the de-personalization of politics"--a phrase that sounded just as pompous then as it does now, but which nonetheless expressed a thought-through belief about how self-government should work. McCarthy thought institutions deserved more care and attention than the men who run them, and that a political campaign should be bigger than its candidate. His favorite politician, he said, was Edmund Burke--pompous again, maybe, but revealing. His reticence seemed principled as well as personal. He attended Mass every day, for example, yet never spoke in public of his private faith--a blessed contrast to candidates who seldom go to services yet won't shut up about how much religion means to them. McCarthy despised charisma, deemed it dangerous and undemocratic--Bobby Kennedy horrified him, partly for this reason--and his disdain, paradoxically, made him all the more charismatic. When he campaigned in 1968 huge crowds would greet him, rafter-swinging crowds, roof-raising, thunderous crowds, and he would refuse to amplify the enthusiasm that poured over him. He never played to the crowd. The crowd loved him for it.