The GOP And Vietnam’s Point Of No Return – Senator Peter Dominick – Meet The Press 1967 – Past Daily Reference Room
April 2, 1967 – The war in Vietnam was grinding on – almost three years since the infamous Gulf of Tonkin, but a year before the 1968 elections. Turning point times, for sure. But even though there was strong support for the war in Vietnam back home, that support was flagging – between calling up reserves and increasing draft quotas with no real short term or even long term plan – other than the depressing possibility this was going to be a protracted war and it could conceivably drag on for decades.
In this interview with Senator Peter Dominick (R-Colorado), the questions hover around two main areas; the War and the 1968 elections. Dominick, who referred to himself as a “more moderate conservative” who was also a strong supporter for Civil Rights, saw the war as falling into the trap of “past the point of no return” – pulling out was, in his estimation as it was with many of his colleagues, becoming less and less a likelihood the long we stayed. And that the only conceivable solution was a stepped up bombing of North Vietnam, coupled with a stepped up cutting off of supply routes for Vietcong and North Vietnamese regulars in an effort to force North Vietnam to the negotiating table. That was the only solution Dominick saw as workable – otherwise, it was destined to drag out with no visible end in sight.
How would this bode for a GOP Presidential candidate in 1968? Dominick felt the likely candidate was George Romney who was in favor of a negotiated settlement. Nixon was mentioned, but Dominick felt he would favor a stepped up commitment with increased troop strength which could trigger a shooting war with China – there had to be another way, but no one was finding it.
So it was only natural, as 1967 dragged on, that the war would continue and the voices against any further involvement and our immediate withdrawal would be getting louder by the day.
To get a better idea of where the political positions on the war and the upcoming elections were, this interview with Senator Peter Dominick should provide at least more illumination on a very complicated and contentious period of our history.