Newstalgia Reference Room - An Issues and Answers Interview with Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson on the state of the economy and foreign policy on September 1973.
October 11, 2010

Sen. Henry Jackson - unintentional driving force behind the Neoconservative movement.

I suppose you could say Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson was a man of many contradictions. An advocate for Civil Rights, who supported the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964, he was also opposed to Japanese relocating on the West coast after World War 2. An advocate for a Foreign policy that believed evil should be confronted with power and a firm believer that the U.S. should be a force for good in the world inspired many of his aides (among whom were Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams and Douglas Feith) as well as Ben Wattenberg, who was Jackson's political aide during his unsuccessful runs for President in 1972 and 1976. Jackson, along with fellow Senator Ted Kennedy opposed Gerald Ford's request to end price controls on oil. Jackson was also an advocate of increased military spending and earned the nickname "The Senator From Boeing" because of his strong ties with the defense industry.

Jackson died while in office, of a heart attack in 1983 shortly after delivering a press conference on the occasion of the shooting down of Korean Air Flight 007 and his condemning the Soviet Union for its action.

This recording, an episode of ABC News Issues and Answers from September 9, 1973, features Jackson speaking on a number of subjects of interest at the time - primarily the energy crisis, the wheat sale to Russia and our economy.

Sen. Henry Jackson: “I for one want to help the President in every way possible. The American people expect the Congress, and they expect the President to act responsibly in this period ahead. There’s three and a half more years of the administration, we have nothing but trouble in the domestic areas, inflation, the economy, energy. You’ve got the problem of the Middle East. We’ve got the serious situation along the Sino-Soviet border and I think the American people expect us not to be petty partisans and I’m going to do my part regardless of what goes on. Now one of things I think they need to do is to give serious consideration in bringing in some new people, especially in the economic area. It’s in the economic area where there has been nothing but a mess and confusion. I think there needs to be some improvements in the Department of Agriculture. My lord, we have the admission now from Secretary Schultz that we got burned in the Russian wheat deal. Why, to hear Mr. Butz, he says it’s the greatest thing since the beginning of anything. And I must say that it was a disaster and I’m not sure that the Department of Agriculture is getting geared up to meet what I think is a serious problem, this year and for the period ahead there’s a world-wide shortage of grain.”

Fascinating stuff, considering the legacy Jackson has left behind.

Who would have thought?

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