Will The Last Liberal Republican Please Bring The Flag


NEW YORK TIMES: Mr. Hatfield served in the Senate from 1967 to 1997, spending eight years as chairman of the Appropriations Committee. But he came out against the war even earlier, while serving his second term as governor of Oregon. At a meeting of the National Governors Association on July 28, 1965, as his colleagues rallied behind President Lyndon B. Johnson, Mr. Hatfield said, “I cannot support the president on what he has done so far.” He complained that Mr. Johnson’s escalation of the war had American troops taking over South Vietnam’s responsibility “to win or lose.” Citing “the deaths of noncombatant men, women and children,” he said the American bombing campaign “merits the general condemnation of mankind.” At the time, a few prominent Democrats, including Senator Wayne Morse, a fellow Oregonian, were opposing the war. But Mr. Hatfield was the first prominent Republican to come out against it. By the time he reached the Senate, opposition to the war was growing. In 1970 and 1971, he worked with Senator George S. McGovern of South Dakota on unsuccessful efforts to set a deadline for withdrawing American troops. Mr. Hatfield said at a Washington prayer breakfast in 1973 that it was time for repentance for the “sin that scarred the national soul.” President Richard M. Nixon, who was in attendance, had just signed a cease-fire that ended the combat role for American forces. MORE

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