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A little bitty tear let me down...

Way back in 1972, one of the leading Democrats running for president was Maine's Senator Ed Muskie. That is, until he came to New Hampshire.

From the 60's through the early 80's, the single most influential figure in New Hampshire politics was William Loeb. Loeb was an out-of-stater who bought a newspaper and pushed it into the only statewide newspaper. And he parlayed that into a position of tremendous political power -- no politician could do anything without taking Loeb's positions and preferences into account, and lived in fear of being lambasted in one of his flag-bedecked front-page editorials.

Loeb took it as his personal mission to "take down" the Senator from the state next door. He gave huge play to the infamous "Canuck letter," where an anonymous letter-writer said Muskie had referred to Canadian-Americans (a significant voting bloc in New Hampshire) as "Canucks." Loeb also attacked Muskie's wife personally.

That was enough for the gentleman from Maine. He rented a flatbed truck, and parked it right in front of the Union Leader's building in downtown Manchester. Then, in a snowstorm, Muskie denounced Loeb before a crowd of reporters and voters. (Another good photo here.)

But when he defended his wife, Muskie got choked up. In fact, some even said he started to cry a little. Others said it wasn't tears, but melting snowflakes, but regardless, the damage was done. That was the end of Muskie's presidential aspirations.

That little section of Amherst Street has changed a bit in the last 32 years. A bit over a decade ago, the newspaper moved out to an industrial park, and turned the building over to the city. And recently, Mr. Duckie and I visited the block.

Here is a good shot of the building, and here's one where we tried to recreate the angle of the Muskie shot linked above. And here Mr. Duckie discovering that the Halls Of Justice are closed to stuffed animals -- at least after 6:00 p.m.

The neighborhood has gone a bit to seed since the newspaper left, though. This is the courthouse's neighbor across the street. We would have investigated further, but certain rules kept Mr. Duckie from gaining admission.

I was a bit young for the '72 campaign (I was all of four that picture of Muskie was taken), but from what I understand, he was a pretty decent guy. It's a pity that he ended up tangling with such an asshole as Loeb was, but there's an old saying -- "don't get into a pissing match with a man who buys ink by the barrel." Loeb utterly destroyed his campaign in the most vile, despicable manner possible -- and it was just one example of what a swine Loeb was.

Comments (13)

Psssst. If the duck needs p... (Below threshold)

Psssst. If the duck needs papers, maybe I can hook youse up. Of course, dere's a price, but we're both reasonable men. We can woik sumtin out.

Politics on that level are ... (Below threshold)

Politics on that level are a test of how well you can take criticism. Muskie blinked first, or seemed to. Just imagine if he was running today. How well do you think he'd stand up to a hatchet-job movie being made about him by the likes of Michael Moore and having a good portion of the public being weak-minded enough think it was true? I'm nine years odler than you so I remember the attack on Muskie pretty well, it was definitely playground stuff, if he couldn't handle that any better than he did how we have he have ever stood up to Brezhnev?

I love ducks, Jay Tea, and ... (Below threshold)

I love ducks, Jay Tea, and your new theme here, and consider the Travels With Ducky series as the bearer of great promise for interesting reading times ahead (but the pictures really help). Heaven knows, we all need it (help, pictures and the promise of interesting reading).

I, too, had little voter ex... (Below threshold)

I, too, had little voter experience with Muskie as that, and his candidacy, occured but from what I've read, he was the best guy who lost. No surprise that a corrupt, wealthier person trounced him but it's becoming something we can now anticipate, particularly when you see the higher hand of media arrogance from anyone in politics. The world still loves the underdog.

I spent a good deal of time... (Below threshold)

I spent a good deal of time up in Kennebunk after he retired and played golf with him once at Webhanet -- I dunno what sort of Senator he was (my antedeluvian republican father said he was a fool and a horse's ass), but in his retirement he was a cranky old fart whose golf course manners were atrocious.

It has been my lifetime experience that you can tell a lot about a person from his behavior on the golf course.

Well, wavemaker, in that ca... (Below threshold)

Well, wavemaker, in that case, I believe you.


...visions of Tony Soprano ... (Below threshold)

...visions of Tony Soprano and Furio with the golf club chasing the doctor wit' da' bee on da' 'ed comes to mind here.

An Adult Store closing at 1... (Below threshold)

An Adult Store closing at 12 midnight? I bet the McDonald's stays open later.

Multiple stories with strip... (Below threshold)

Multiple stories with strip clubs and ducks -- interesting.

Bet all the dancers come running when they see a single guy sitting there with a little yellow duckie on his table...

Please read and sign this p... (Below threshold)

Please read and sign this petition.


Anon:I don't watch ... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

I don't watch the 700 club and I don't have children. It was possibly more despicable than Janet's breast, but nothing could be more horrific.

Sorry, I just don't feel strongly enough about this to lie for you. Some of us have realized Pat Robertson was a loose cannon for some time now and don't really give much credence to his opinions. I am sorry you seem to think him important.

Damn! Jay, we're the same a... (Below threshold)

Damn! Jay, we're the same age!

I feel decrepit!

I'm a NH native and a bit o... (Below threshold)
John S.:

I'm a NH native and a bit older. Edward (Skunk, Skunk) Muskie never became president. For that Wild Billy Loeb deserves our undying thanks.






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