ON the expressway leading to Chicago's International Amphitheatre, workmen slapped a new coat of silver over the mud-spattered dividing rail. On streets surrounding the hall—many of them barred to all but VIP vehicles-lampposts were painted kelly green. Even fire hydrants were touched up by the painter's brush. Redwood fences, in a rainbow of pastels, hid junkyards and trash-strewn lots from the eyes of passing drivers and their passengers.

However, no amount of cosmetics camouflaged breakdowns of the city's essential services. Nor could paint and rhetoric mollify the acrid atmosphere of a city mobilized for combat.

Afraid that antiwar demonstrators might paralyze the Democratic...