perlstein’s nixonland


Yippies met with Miami Beach’s glad-handing liberal police chief, who laid out the ground rules: “Fellas, I don’t believe in trying to enforce laws that can’t be enforced. If you guys smoke a little pot, I’m not going to send my men in after you.” They got the same welcome from Mayor Charles Hall. “Call me Chuck,” he said, before showing off his print of John and Yoko’s wedding day—“It’s the original, you know”—and offering them the city’s golf courses as campsites. When the Yippies staged their first march to the convention center, “Chuck” arrived to try to lead it. Abbie and Jerry were celebrities. Celebrity was power in 1972. Abbie and Jerry were all about the new youth vote. Youth was power, too.

At McGovern headquarters at the famous Doral resort, the usual haunt of golfing Shriners, hordes of kids awaited their hero’s arrival, “wearing,” Norman Mailer wrote, “copper bangles and spaced-out heavy eyes.” He imagined the reaction of the Democratic regulars: “Where were the bourbon and broads of yesteryear?”

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