Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, July 19, 2012 8:33 pm

Happy 90th, George McGovern. And, um, sorry.

Filed under: America. It was a really good idea — Lex @ 8:33 pm

All you need to know about McGovern is  that Bobby Kennedy, the last politician with national ambitions who truly gave a damn about the least of us, called him “the most decent man in the Senate.” I’m trying to finish a class project, so I’ll outsource this to Charlie Pierce and Hunter Thompson.

Pierce: “The worst thing that ever happened to the Democratic party in this country is that, when McGovern lost so big to history’s yard waste in 1972, the rest of the party was complicit in turning him — and the politics he represented — into a punchline for the next 20 years. He was the template. He was the first war-hero Democrat — you don’t fly 35 missions in a B-24 and come away with a DFC without a big clanging pair of brass ones, kids — who was accused of being a wimp by a flock of chickenhawks.”

Thompson: ” The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his mistakes … understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon.”

Actually, I’ll let one of Pierce’s commenters, Barry Friedman, have the last word: “Forget the birthday greetings. This country owes him an apology.”



  1. Well, nobody knows. I do remember some wisp of the prospect of McGovern running for president again (a 60 Minutes interview, if memory serves) and thinking to myself, that would be interesting, but he was an old guy even then.

    Now, help me out, was his 1972 running mate the guy who it was discovered had received treatment for mental problems?

    Comment by Roch — Thursday, July 19, 2012 10:28 pm @ 10:28 pm

  2. Yeah, Tom Eagleton, replaced by Sargent Shriver, who had married into the Kennedy clan. Eagleton had received what today is called electroconvulsive therapy — electroshock — for depression, I believe. Hell, today Prozac and its ilk are among the most consumed drugs in America. If your biggest problem in VP vetting is that your top candidate is being treated for depression, you’re looking pretty good.

    Comment by Lex — Thursday, July 19, 2012 11:08 pm @ 11:08 pm

  3. Unfortunately, McGovern’s problem with VP vetting was that because he got stuck with Eagleton (who wasn’t on his initial list of running mates) he got the guy who first pushed the “candidate of amnesty, abortion, and acid” line to Robert Novak (according to Novak’s autobiography).

    Comment by Darrel Plant — Friday, July 20, 2012 10:10 am @ 10:10 am

  4. Yeah, I think I recall reading that. But imagining what might have been had RFK won in ’68 or McGovern in ’72 offers a brief, pleasant interlude to the crap we’re dealing with today. OTOH, the reactionary movement has been so strong, so determined and so willing to play the long game that it might not have made much difference.

    Comment by Lex — Friday, July 20, 2012 10:15 am @ 10:15 am

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