Political analysts saying about Paul Tsongas...


March 10, 1992

WHAT WERE political analysts saying about Paul Tsongas earlier in his career?

Here's a look at how "The Almanac of American Politics" viewed him in 1986, two years after he had completed a decade in Congress:

"Incumbent Paul Tsongas stunned almost everyone in the state by announcing that he would retire, after one [Senate] term, at age 42 . . . Tsongas had attracted national attention by questioning some of the tenets of liberalism, first in a speech at an ADA dinner, then in his book, 'The Road From Here.' This and his retirement seem less startling looking at the course of his life: This is a man who has seen some of America's elite institutions -- Dartmouth, Yale Law, the Senate -- up close and found them wanting; the experiences he found gratifying were working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia and serving as a county commissioner and helping rejuvenate the city of Lowell."

Two years earlier, the 1982 edition of the Almanac had described then-Senator Tsongas as "more interested in national than local issues." It also discussed his ADA speech in which he told the audience "Democrats were going to have to rethink their programs and come up with new ideas . . . . Tsongas had articulated the sense that their list of goals had become more a theological litany than a program for action."

The Almanac concluded that Mr. Tsongas "has succeeded in establishing himself as a thoughtful national figure and as advancing the public discussion in a direction that seems

inevitable now but was not where it was going before."

Ten years later, this inevitability may finally have arrived.

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