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Charleston Gazette
April 13, 1960


McNamara's Pre-Judging Does State Disservice

Sen. Pat McNamara (D-Mich), whom we've always regarded as an untypical United States Senator in that he generally follows the so-called liberal line, has decided and so declared that the state of West Virginia is not "typically American."

What inspired this tasteless remark is the primary clash here between Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Humphrey. It came on the heels of a McNamara affirmation that someone other than a Protestant can be elected to the presidency by the rest of the nation. Said McNamara:

"I think it (West Virginia) is what has been recognized as a borderline state. And hasn't this been the hotbed of the Ku Klux Klan activities and such other movements in the past. I don't think this is a typical American state."

We'll pass over what is the typical American state, leaving the identification to McNamara, because we're frank to admit we don't know and would not have the slightest idea of where to start to find out. We will not, however, pass over McNamara's remark or more particularly what we believe to be the reason behind it.

We suspect McNamara favors strongly the candidacy of Sen. Kennedy for the presidency. We suspect further that McNamara thinks Kennedy may lost in West Virginia to Sen. Humphrey. There is no evidence to support this belief, but in the event the defeat does come to pass McNamara apparently feels obliged to supply an alibi in advance. What better alibi than a not-too-carefully guarded implication of religious prejudice?

Perhaps, McNamara hopes that injecting the religious issue before the results are in will have a reverse effect on the outcome and cause the citizens of this state to act impartially and in a fair-minded manner. It is obvious, though, that McNamara's thoughts on impartiality and fair-mindedness are decidedly arbitrary, since they recognize only the election of Kennedy by our Democratic voters.

This, of course, is poppycock. There are good and sufficient reasons to vote either for or against Sen. Kennedy:and on criteria other than religious. It should be noted that Kennedy, himself, does not share McNamara's low opinion of West Virginians, for he has said repeatedly he can win and that his religion will not materially influence the course of the election.

McNamara has accused our citizens of bad faith without giving them the chance to prove their intentions one way or the other. He has also by indirection impugned the motives of the candidate he tried to help, because in some quarters Kennedy will be blamed for this gross indiscretion. Finally, McNamara has dismissed any Humphrey victory as being nothing more than a testimonial to religious bigotry, which is a slur against a conscientious, intelligent and articulate fellow Senator.

It is our considered opinion that to date the most bigoted statement concerning the West Virginia primary battle between Sen. Humphrey and Sen. Kennedy has come from Sen. Pat McNamara.

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