Father Drinan made his name as a figure of the anti-war left. There was a dramatic session at Lexington High School, where MassPAX, a local piece group, held a caucus to decide which candidate to support. Drinan’s campaign manager was Jerome Grossman, a local liberal and uncle of former DNC head Steve Grossman. The leading challenger was John Kerry just back from Vietnam. Drinan won the nod over Kerry. Writes Grossman in his memoir, “Relentless Liberal”: “The caucus was important because it ensured a single peace candidate.”
Interestingly, before Drinan, a passionate Jesuit priest, the Massachusetts Congressional delegation was not high profile on the war. Grossman reports that one reason he backed Drinan was that the state delegation was “quite conservative”. Remember, these were the days of blue collar Irish Catholic congressmen. Even Senator Kennedy “had not yet become a liberal icon; his actions in the Senate reflected the conservatism of the rest of the delegation.”
Well, no more. Perhaps it was Drinan’s influence. The current state congressional delegation is falling all over itself to lead the charge in Congress on Iraq. My Boston Magazine piece talks about this in detail. In reading the piece, written before Drinan’s death, keep the Jesuit in mind.