Magazine August 10, 2020, Issue

America in the World

Senator George McGovern accepts the Democratic nomination for president in 1972 at Miami Beach. (Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images)
On the burden of it all

For as long as anyone can remember, conservatives have been labeled “warmongers.” Gore Vidal called William F. Buckley Jr. “the leading warmonger in the United States.” Reagan was called a “warmonger” every day, as was Goldwater before him.

Bella Abzug, the radical congresswoman from New York, was a little more creative. She accused Reagan of conducting a “Rambo-Bonzo foreign policy.” (John Rambo was an action hero; Bonzo was the chimp in a Reagan movie, from 1951.)

John Bolton is a veteran Reaganite, and Goldwaterite, for that matter: On Election Day 1964, when he was 15, he got permission to be absent from

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