Henry Martin "Scoop" Jackson (May 31, 1912 – September 1, 1983) was a U.S. Congressman and Senator for the state of Washington from 1941 until his death. Jackson was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972 and 1976.
As a Cold War anti-Communist Democrat, Jackson's political philosophies and positions have been cited as an influence on a number of key figures associated with neoconservatism, including Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle.
In 1961, Jackson, called by Time the Senate's "most eligible bachelor, married Helen Hardin, a 28-year old Senate receptionist, but Jackson didn't move out of his childhood home where he lived with his unmarried sisters for several years. The Jacksons had two children, Anna Marie Laurence and Peter Jackson; Peter is currently a speechwriter for Governor Christine Gregoire.
Jackson was nicknamed "Scoop" by his sister in his childhood, after a comic strip character that he is said to have resembled.
Jackson joined the Army when the United States entered World War II, but left when Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered all Congressmen to return home or resign their seats. As a representative, he visited the Buchenwald concentration camp a few days after its liberation in 1945. He attended the International Maritime Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1945 with the American delegation, and was elected president of the same conference in 1946, when it was held in Seattle, Washington. From 1945 to 1947 Jackson was also the chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs. In the 1952 election, Jackson relinquished his seat in the House for a run at one of Washington's Senate seats — he won that election, and remained a Senator for over thirty years. Jackson died in office in 1983 after winning re-election for the fifth time in 1982.
Though Jackson opposed the excesses of Joe McCarthy (who had traveled to Washington State to campaign against him in 1952), he also criticized Dwight Eisenhower for not spending enough on national defense, and called for more inter-continental ballistic missiles in the national arsenal. Jackson's support for nuclear weapons resulted in a primary challenge from the left in 1958, when he handily defeated Seattle peace activist Alice Franklin Bryant before winning re-election with 67 percent of the vote — a total he topped the next four times he ran for re-election.
In 1963, Jackson was made chairman of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, which became the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in 1977, a position he held until 1981.
Jackson authored the National Environmental Policy Act and was a leader of the fight for statehood for Alaska and Hawaii. In 1974, Jackson sponsored the Jackson-Vanik amendment in the Senate (with Charles Vanik sponsoring it in the House) which denied normal trade relations to certain countries with non-market economies that restricted the freedom of emigration. The amendment was intended to help refugees, particularly minorities, specifically Jews, to emigrate from the Soviet Bloc. Jackson and his assistant, Richard Perle, also lobbied personally for some people who were affected by this law — among them Anatoly (now Natan) Sharansky. Jackson also led the opposition within the Democratic Party against the SALT II treaty, and was one of the leading proponents of increased foreign aid to Israel.
For decades, Democrats who supported a strong international presence for the United States have been called "Scoop Jackson Democrats", the term even being used to describe contemporary Democrats such as Joe Lieberman and R. James Woolsey, Jr.
Jackson served almost his entire Senate tenure concurrently with his good friend and Democratic colleague Warren G. Magnuson. "Scoop" and "Maggie" — as they affectionately called each other — were one of the most effective delegations in the history of the United States Senate in terms of "bringing home the bacon" for their home state. Washington State received nearly one sixth of public works appropriations, even though it ranked 23rd in population.
Jackson was often criticized for his support for the Vietnam War and his close ties to the defense industries of his state. His proposal of Fort Lawton as a site for an anti-ballistic missile system was strongly opposed by local residents, and Jackson was forced to modify his position on the location of the site several times, though he continued to support ABM development. American Indian rights activists then protested Jackson's plan to give Fort Lawton to Seattle instead of returning it to local tribes, staging a sit-in. In the eventual compromise, most of Fort Lawton became Discovery Park, with twenty acres leased to United Indians of All Tribes, who opened the Daybreak Star Cultural Center there in 1977.
Opponents derided him as "the Senator from Boeing and a "whore for Boeing because of his consistent support for additional military spending on weapons systems and accusations of wrongful contributions from the company; in 1965, eighty percent of Boeing's contracts were military. Jackson and Magnuson's campaigning for an expensive government supersonic transport plane project eventually failed.
After his death, critics pointed to Jackson's support for Japanese American internment camps during World War II as a reason to protest the placement of his bust at the University of Washington. Jackson was both an enthusiastic defender of the evacuation and a staunch proponent of the campaign to keep the Japanese from returning to the Pacific Coast after the war.
Jackson ran for president twice; his campaigns were noted for the hostile reception they received from the left wing of the Democratic Party. Jackson's one-on-one campaigning skills, so successful in Washington state, did not translate as well on the national stage, and even his supporters admitted he suffered from a certain lack of charisma.
Jackson chose to run on social issues, emphasizing law and order and his opposition to busing. Jackson was also hoping for support from labor, but the possibility that Hubert Humphrey might enter the race caused unions to offer only lukewarm support.
Jackson made the fateful decision not to compete in the early Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, which Jimmy Carter won after liberals split their votes among four other candidates. Though Jackson won the Massachusetts and New York primaries, he dropped out on May 1 after losing the critical Pennsylvania primary to Carter by twelve points and running out of money.
Jackson died suddenly at the age of 71 in Everett of an aortic aneurysm, shortly after giving a news conference condemning the Soviet attack on Korean Air Lines Flight 007. News reports showed video of Jackson in which he was seen reflexively massaging the left side of his chest while talking, and speculated that this was his reaction to an early symptom of his coming fatal attack.
He was greatly mourned; Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan stated "Henry Jackson is proof of the old belief in the Judaic tradition that at any moment in history goodness in the world is preserved by the deeds of 36 just men who do not know that this is the role the Lord has given them. Henry Jackson was one of those men." Jackson is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Everett.
Scoop Jackson was convinced that there's no place for partisanship in foreign and defense policy. He used to say, 'In matters of national security, the best politics is no politics.' His sense of bipartisanship was not only natural and complete; it was courageous. He wanted to be President, but I think he must have known that his outspoken ideas on the security of the Nation would deprive him of the chance to be his party's nominee in 1972 and '76. Still, he would not cut his convictions to fit the prevailing style.
I'm deeply proud, as he would have been, to have Jackson Democrats serve in my administration. I'm proud that some of them have found a home here.
Jackson's influence on foreign policy has been cited as foundational to the George W. Bush administration's foreign policy, and the Iraq War. Jackson biographer Robert Kaufman says "There is no question in my mind that the people who supported Iraq are supporting Henry Jackson's instincts."
Peter Beinart, author of The Good Fight: Why Liberals — and Only Liberals — Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again, argues that the Democratic Party should return to Jackson's values in its foreign policy, criticizing current-day neoconservatives for failing to adopt Jackson's domestic policy views along with his foreign policy views.
In 2005, the Henry Jackson Society was formed at the University of Cambridge, England. The non-partisan British group is dedicated to "pursuit of a robust foreign policy ... based on clear universal principles such as the global promotion of the rule of law, liberal democracy, civil rights, environmental responsibility and the market economy" as part of "Henry Jackson's legacy." The Society, however, disclaims any neoconservative affiliation.