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Senator Henry “Scoop”Jackson was one of the most powerful and successful Senators in U.S. history – serving from 1952 until his death (while in office) in 1983.
The elements that made Jackson the most successful vote-getter in the history of the state did not work as well in the national primaries. Unremarkable at best as a public speaker, Jackson was an excellent one-on-one campaigner, with a remarkable ability (assisted by detailed notes) to remember voters’ names and important personal information. Over the years, he and his staff built up numerous political connections throughout the state. Community leaders, newspaper writers, and average voters all referred to Jackson simply as Scoop, and felt a personal connection to him. Jackson was not able to make the same connection with voters across the country in the short time-frame of the presidential primaries.
Jackson’s hard line on the Soviet Union and his strong support for Israel made him a favorite of an increasingly influential group of formerly liberal but strongly anti-Communist intellectuals and politicians who came to be known as the neoconservatives. Many neoconservatives who supported Jackson’s presidential bids gravitated to Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) and the Republican party after Jackson’s defeats. Among these were Richard Perle, a longtime Jackson staffer who worked under Dorothy Fosdick, Jackson’s top foreign policy adviser, and Paul Wolfowitz, another member of the Jackson circle, both of whom went on to play prominent roles developing Middle East policy in the George W. Bush administration.
In 1973 he was Chairman of the Interior Committee and the permanent sub-committee on Investigations. He was also a member of the Armed Services and Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. This was a particularly busy time for Jackson, as he was dealing with the coming Energy Crisis and the looming issue over Watergate. With the potential energy crisis, concern was shared by many that the issue was going to be fuel shortages going into the end of 1973. Jackson’s position was that the Nixon Administration wasn’t tough enough on allocating fuel supplies. Bills were being introduced to address the issue of mandatory allocations of fuels on a priority basis; public services needed to be taken care of, but the President wasn’t acting effective enough (in Jackson’s view). Also being discussed on this episode of ABC’s Issues & Answers was the Watergate matter and to address speculation that Henry “Scoop” Jackson was going to run President in 1976.
Here is that half-hour episode of Issues And Answers as it was heard on September 9, 1973