George McGovern Dead At 90

Former South Dakota Senator, Democratic candidate for President, and liberal stalwart George McGovern has died at the age of 90:

George McGovern, the United States senator who won the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 1972 as an opponent of the war in Vietnam and a champion of liberal causes, and who was then trounced by President Richard M. Nixon in the general election, died early Sunday in Sioux Falls, S.D. He was 90.

His death was announced in a statement by the family. He had been moved to hospice care in recent days after being treated for several health problems in the last year. He had a home in Mitchell, S.D., where he had spent his formative years.

“We are blessed to know that our father lived a long, successful and productive life advocating for the hungry, being a progressive voice for millions and fighting for peace,” the family statement said.

To the liberal Democratic faithful, Mr. McGovern remained a standard-bearer well into his old age, writing and lecturing even as his name was routinely invoked by conservatives as synonymous with what they considered the failures of liberal politics.

He never retreated from those ideals, however, insisting on a strong, “progressive” federal government to protect the vulnerable and expand economic opportunity while asserting that history would prove him correct in his opposing not only what he called “the tragically mistaken American war in Vietnam” but also the American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

(…)

That was the cause he took into the 1972 election, one of the most lopsided in American history. Mr. McGovern carried only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia and won just 17 electoral votes to Nixon’s 520.

The campaign was the backdrop to the burglary at the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, and by the Nixon organization’s shady fund-raising practices and sabotage operations, later known as “dirty tricks,” which were not disclosed until after the election.

The Republicans portrayed Mr. McGovern as a cowardly left-winger, a threat to the military and the free-market economy and outside the mainstream of American thought. Fair or not, he never lived down the image of a liberal loser, and many Democrats long accused him of leading the party astray.

Mr. McGovern resented that characterization mightily. “I always thought of myself as a good old South Dakota boy who grew up here on the prairie,” he said in an interview for this obituary in 2005 in his home in Mitchell. “My dad was a Methodist minister. I went off to war. I have been married to the same woman forever. I’m what a normal, healthy, ideal American should be like.

“But we probably didn’t work enough on cultivating that image,” he added, referring to his campaign organization. “We were more interested in ending the war in Vietnam and getting people out of poverty and being fair to women and minorities and saving the environment.

“It was an issue-oriented campaign, and we should have paid more attention to image.”

Mr. McGovern was 50 years old and in his second Senate term when he won the 1972 Democratic nomination, outdistancing a dozen or so other aspirants, including Senator Edmund S. Muskie of Maine, the early front-runner; former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, the nominee in 1968; and Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama, a populist with a segregationist past who was gravely wounded in an assassination attempt in Maryland during the primaries.

Mr. McGovern benefited from new party rules that he had been largely responsible for writing, and from a corps of devoted young volunteers, including Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham, who took time off from Yale Law School to work on the campaign in Texas.

The nominating convention in Miami was a disastrous start to the general election campaign. There were divisive platform battles over Vietnam, abortion, welfare and court-ordered busing to end racial discrimination. The eventual platform was probably the most liberal one ever adopted by a major party in the United States. It advocated immediate withdrawal from Vietnam, amnesty for war resisters, abolition of the draft, a guaranteed job for all Americans and a guaranteed family income well above the poverty line.

Several prominent Democrats declined Mr. McGovern’s offer to be his running mate before he finally chose Senator Thomas F. Eagleton of Missouri.

Mr. McGovern’s organization was so disorganized that by the time he went to the convention rostrum for his acceptance speech, it was nearly 3 a.m. He delivered perhaps the best speech of his life. “We reject the view of those who say, ‘America, love it or leave it,’ ” he declared. “We reply, ‘Let us change it so we can love it more.’ ”

The delegates loved it, but most television viewers had long since gone to bed.

That was the cause he took into the 1972 election, one of the most lopsided in American history. Mr. McGovern carried only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia and won just 17 electoral votes to Nixon’s 520.

The campaign was the backdrop to the burglary at the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, and by the Nixon organization’s shady fund-raising practices and sabotage operations, later known as “dirty tricks,” which were not disclosed until after the election.

The Republicans portrayed Mr. McGovern as a cowardly left-winger, a threat to the military and the free-market economy and outside the mainstream of American thought. Fair or not, he never lived down the image of a liberal loser, and many Democrats long accused him of leading the party astray.

Mr. McGovern resented that characterization mightily. “I always thought of myself as a good old South Dakota boy who grew up here on the prairie,” he said in an interview for this obituary in 2005 in his home in Mitchell. “My dad was a Methodist minister. I went off to war. I have been married to the same woman forever. I’m what a normal, healthy, ideal American should be like.

“But we probably didn’t work enough on cultivating that image,” he added, referring to his campaign organization. “We were more interested in ending the war in Vietnam and getting people out of poverty and being fair to women and minorities and saving the environment.

“It was an issue-oriented campaign, and we should have paid more attention to image.”

Mr. McGovern was 50 years old and in his second Senate term when he won the 1972 Democratic nomination, outdistancing a dozen or so other aspirants, including Senator Edmund S. Muskie of Maine, the early front-runner; former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, the nominee in 1968; and Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama, a populist with a segregationist past who was gravely wounded in an assassination attempt in Maryland during the primaries.

Mr. McGovern benefited from new party rules that he had been largely responsible for writing, and from a corps of devoted young volunteers, including Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham, who took time off from Yale Law School to work on the campaign in Texas.

The nominating convention in Miami was a disastrous start to the general election campaign. There were divisive platform battles over Vietnam, abortion, welfare and court-ordered busing to end racial discrimination. The eventual platform was probably the most liberal one ever adopted by a major party in the United States. It advocated immediate withdrawal from Vietnam, amnesty for war resisters, abolition of the draft, a guaranteed job for all Americans and a guaranteed family income well above the poverty line.

Several prominent Democrats declined Mr. McGovern’s offer to be his running mate before he finally chose Senator Thomas F. Eagleton of Missouri.

Mr. McGovern’s organization was so disorganized that by the time he went to the convention rostrum for his acceptance speech, it was nearly 3 a.m. He delivered perhaps the best speech of his life. “We reject the view of those who say, ‘America, love it or leave it,’ ” he declared. “We reply, ‘Let us change it so we can love it more.’ ”

The delegates loved it, but most television viewers had long since gone to bed.

The convention was barely over when word got out that Mr. Eagleton had been hospitalized three times in the 1960s for what was called nervous exhaustion, and that he had undergone electroshock therapy.

Mr. McGovern declared that he was behind his running mate “a thousand percent.” But less than two weeks after the nomination, Mr. Eagleton was dropped from the ticket and replaced by R. Sargent Shriver, the Kennedy in-law and former director of the Peace Corps.

The campaign never recovered from the Eagleton debacle. Republicans taunted Mr. McGovern for backing everything a thousand percent. Commentators said his treatment of Mr. Eagleton had shown a lack of spine.

In the 2005 Times interview, Mr. McGovern said he had handled the matter badly. “I didn’t know a damn thing about mental illness,” he said, “and neither did anyone around me.”

With a well-oiled campaign operation and a big financial advantage, Nixon began far ahead and kept increasing his lead. When Mr. McGovern proposed deep cuts in military programs and a $1,000 grant to every American, Nixon jeered, calling the ideas liberalism run amok. Nixon, meanwhile, cited accomplishments like the Paris peace talks on Vietnam, an arms limitation treaty with the Soviet Union, a prosperous economy and a diplomatic opening to China.

On election night, Mr. McGovern did not bother to call Nixon. He simply sent a telegram offering congratulations. Then, he said, he sat on his bed at the Holiday Inn in Sioux Falls and wrote his concession speech on hotel stationery.

In his book on the campaign, “The Making of the President 1972,” Theodore H. White wrote that the changes Mr. McGovern had sought abroad and at home had “frightened too many Americans.”

“Richard M. Nixon,” Mr. White wrote, “convinced the Americans, by more than 3 to 2, that he could use power better than George McGovern.”

Mr. McGovern offered his own assessment of the campaign. “I don’t think the American people had a clear picture of either Nixon or me,” he said in the 2005 interview. “I think they thought that Nixon was a strong, decisive, tough-minded guy and that I was an idealist and antiwar guy who might not attach enough significance to the security of the country.

“The truth is, I was the guy with the war record, and my opposition to Vietnam was because I was interested in the nation’s well-being.”

(…)

George Stanley McGovern was born on July 19, 1922, in a parsonage in Avon, S.D., a town of about 600 people where his father, Joseph, was the pastor of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. A disciplinarian, his father, who was born in 1868, tried to keep his four children from going to the movies and playing sports. His mother, the former Frances McLean, was a homemaker about 20 years her husband’s junior.

The family moved to Mitchell, in southeastern South Dakota, when George was 6. He went to high school and college there, enrolling at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell in 1940. After Pearl Harbor, Mr. McGovern joined the Army Air Corps, and before going overseas, in 1943, he married Eleanor Stageberg, who had grown up with an identical twin on a South Dakota farm. They had met at Dakota Wesleyan.

Mr. McGovern was trained to fly the B-24 Liberator, a four-engine heavy bomber, and he flew dozens of missions over Germany, Austria and Italy.

On his 30th mission, his plane was struck by enemy fire and his navigator was killed. Lieutenant McGovern crash-landed the plane on an island in the Adriatic. He earned a Distinguished Flying Cross for the exploit.

After his discharge, Mr. McGovern returned to Mitchell — his father had recently died — and resumed his studies at Dakota Wesleyan. He graduated in 1946 and went to Northwestern University for graduate studies in history.

With a master’s degree, he returned to Dakota Wesleyan, a small university, to teach history and political science. “I was the best historian in a one-historian department,” he said in an interview in 2003. During summers and in his free time, he continued his graduate work and received a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern in 1953.

Mr. McGovern left teaching to become executive secretary of the South Dakota Democratic Party, and almost single-handedly revived a moribund party in a heavily Republican state.

Month after month, he drove across South Dakota in a beat-up sedan, making friends and setting up county organizations. In 1956, gaining the support of farmers who had become New Deal Democrats during the Depression, he was elected to Congress himself, defeating an overconfident incumbent Republican. He became the first Democratic congressman from his state in more than 20 years.

After two terms he left the House to run for the Senate in 1960 and was soundly beaten by the sitting Republican, Karl E. Mundt. He then became a special assistant to the newly elected president, John F. Kennedy, and director of Kennedy’s Food for Peace program, an effort to provide food for the hungry in poor countries.

In 1962, Mr. McGovern ran for the Senate again, and this time he won, by 597 votes, defeating Joseph H. Bottum, a Republican filling the term of Senator Francis H. Case, who had died in office.

McGovern largely left politics after that election. Indeed, I don’t recall him showing up at a Democratic National Convention after 1972. Instead, he entered into the private sector, started his own business, and seemed to become more conservative in his later years. Several years ago, he told Larry King in an interview that he had voted for Gerald Ford in the 1976 Presidential Election.  In the end, McGovern was proven right about Vietnam. Indeed, the United States began the withdrawing from the war shortly after the Paris Peace Accords were signed mere days after President Nixon’s Second Inauguration. In that, I suppose, he could claim at least some measure of victory.

As we’ve seen with some other obituaries of famous people, The New York Times appended this to the end of the article about McGovern:

David E. Rosenbaum, a Washington correspondent for The New York Times, died in 2006. William McDonald contributed reporting.

FILED UNDER: Obituaries, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. JoshB says:

    Interesting trivia that was pointed out on twitter: the NYT obituary writer for McGovern died in 2006 (obviously there was a contributor to the obit).

  2. DC Loser says:

    George McGovern stands apart as a man of courage and integrity and never sought to enrich himself after his political career was over. He was a great and decent man. Rest in Peace.

  3. ernieyeball says:

    “It doesn’t require any particular bravery to stand on the floor of the Senate and urge our boys in Vietnam to fight harder, and if this war mushrooms into a major conflict and a hundred thousand young Americans are killed, it won’t be U. S. Senators who die. It will be American soldiers who are too young to qualify for the senate.” George McGovern

    I can’t find a date for this quote but if it was before the 26th Amendment to the USCon (1971) those soldiers were also too young to vote the SOB’s out of office that would shanghai their sorry butts into service to get their heads blown off in the jungle.
    Fuk the Draft!!!

  4. Tano says:

    In the end, McGovern was proven right about Vietnam.

    This points out one of the great enduring myths of that time. It seems that many people have been taught that Nixon was for the war and McGovern was against it, and the American people somehow preferred war, and Nixon, and later regretted it. But, as you point out, the war was in fact just about over (for the US) by election day.

    McGovern wasn’t proven right “in the end” – it was accepted that he was right AT THE TIME. In fact, – and this too is often forgotten – the American people had turned against the war four years earlier. When Nixon first ran, in 1968, he ran on a platform of ending the war – not winning it.

    The American people, or at least a majority, wanted out of there throughout Nixon’s first term. McGovern’s antiwar stance was less some radical new direction for America than a demand that the government actually do what it had promised – get us out of there. Nixon’s “secret plan” to end the war turned out to be a long, drawn out disengagement, causing tens of thousands of further American casualties, probably well more than a million Vietnamese casualties, and all for some nebulous concept of “peace with honor”, i.e. saving face.

    But in the end, right around Election day, the end did come, and with it evaporated the entire premise of McGovern’s rahter single-focused campaign. That is why he lost.

  5. legion says:

    McGovern failed as dramatically as he did against Nixon because he made the fatal mistake of presuming the other party was still on the same team – “Team America”. But Nixon was the beginning of the full-force, party-uber-alles philosophy that we see cresting today in the modern GOP actively sabotaging the US economy and employment just to make the other side’s candidate look bad. The idea that Nixon was Just Plain Evil was something that either never occurred to McGovern, or was something he wasn’t prepared to call him out on. To our continuing regret.

  6. Ron Beasley says:

    Perhaps the best eulogy for McGovern appeared on the pages of The American Conservative in 2006, Come Home, America. It concludes with this:

    Oh, how the Democrats could use a bracing shot of McGovernism.

  7. FredW says:

    McGovern largely left politics after that election

    Well, he did successfully run for re-election to the Senate in 1974 and was defeated for re-election in 1980. That sounds like politics to me.

  8. superdestroyer says:

    @Tano:

    It is amazing that all of the progressives have forgotten that North Vietnam signed a peace treaty and then quickly reneged on the treaty. One of the messages was that the U.S. will sign treaties knowing that the other parties will reneged. Vietnam also taught the rest of the world that the U.S. was weak.

    Can anyone image if McGovern had won and the U.S. would have gone down the path of guaranteed incomes, massive social spending, and a massive increase in social engineering. Does anyone think that the economic boom of the eighties and 90’s would have occurred in all of the economic and social policies of a McGovern Administration would have occurred.

  9. legion says:

    @superdestroyer: That’s impressive. Paragraph 1: The things the Republicans did with Vietnam taught the rest of the world that the US is weak and irresponsible. Paragraph 2: Republican policies made America great!

    You truly have a fascinating brain, SD. It should be studied in pathology courses.

  10. Tano says:

    @superdestroyer:

    The peace treaty was obviously a cover that Nixon felt was needed in order to proceed with a pullout that left some atmospherics of an “honorable” settlement. The North Vietnamese understood that. The truth, of course, was that the US had stumbled into a decades long Vietnamese war of independence from foreign occupiers and its attendant civil war for eventual control. Our entrance into that war was a profound mistake, and everyone understood it long before McGovern started running. The issue was about how to get out, not whether. How many more should die for what we all understood was a mistake?

    It was not a question of weakness. Do you think it is “weak” to admit a mistake and change course? Is is “strength” to engage in a march of folly – to continue down a road that you know is wrong because to change course would be to admit that your critics were right about something? “Strength” coupled with stupidity seems to be the formula you are pushing, and that is the worst combination of all.

    And, btw, it was Nixon who was entertaining ideas of guaranteed incomes….

  11. ralphb says:

    Just so we don’t forget, Sen McGovern was also against the war in Iraq. That makes him right at least twice on matters of war and peace.

  12. al-Ameda says:

    “We were more interested in ending the war in Vietnam and getting people out of poverty and being fair to women and minorities and saving the environment.

    Well no wonder he lost!

  13. superdestroyer says:

    @legion:

    What do you think is the Democrats has established more entitlement spending in the 1970’s which would have prevented in Reagan tax cuts of the 1980’s. What would the U.S. be if we were a country of 70% plus marginal tax rates, with limited economic growth. What would have happened to the U.S. is getting up in the morning and going to work did not provide anyone a better quality of life than just stay at home and living off of the dole.

  14. superdestroyer says:

    @al-Ameda:

    McGovern was not for equal rights but for special rights. Do you really think that Americans would have agreed to massive social engineering such as forced busing, race morning, and hard racial quotas on every aspect of economic and social activity. Do you really think that the U.S. would have had the economic booms of the 1980’s and tech boom of the 1990’s in a country where winner and losers are picked by the government and there is no result of personal effort?

  15. legion says:

    @superdestroyer: Every single time you open your mouth, you display how uneducated and bad at logical thought you are. The US had 70% + marginal rates throughout the 40s, 50s, and 60s – when we had the biggest sustained economic growth in modern history to that point. Republican policies disassembled that entire economic engine over the last 30 years.

  16. michael reynolds says:

    A very belated “sorry,” to Senator McGovern.

    My first vote was also my first political mistake. I was young. I was dumb.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @legion:

    McGovern failed as dramatically as he did against Nixon because he made the fatal mistake of presuming the other party was still on the same team –

    No. He failed because America does not hold the same values he does:

    I went off to war. I have been married to the same woman forever. I’m what a normal, healthy, ideal American should be like.

    “But we probably didn’t work enough on cultivating that image,” he added, referring to his campaign organization. “We were more interested in ending the war in Vietnam and getting people out of poverty and being fair to women and minorities and saving the environment.

    Because Criminally Corrupt enterprises are so much more American than trying to better the world. Image and all. ya know??? I mean, ending wars, being fair to people, ending hunger… so passe’…

    When the end of American History is written, this will be the first chapter.

    I went off to war. I have been married to the same woman forever. I’m what a normal, healthy, ideal American should be like

    Somebody find fault with that…. I dare you.

  18. bandit says:

    a guaranteed job for all Americans and a guaranteed family income well above the poverty line.

    Handouts today, handouts tomorrow, handouts forever!

  19. ernieyeball says:

    @michael reynolds:
    So it was you who voted Republican in 1972 and threw the election to Nixon!
    Don’t beat yourself up about it for more than a day or so.
    Just think. Without Watergate life would not have been near as dramatic as it was.
    First came the revelation that the tapes existed and then the power struggle between the Executive and Judicial over ultimate Constitutional authority.
    I for one was convinced that Nixon had destroyed the tapes when he initially refused to turn them over.
    No author could have composed a tale so gripping.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I went off to war. I have been married to the same woman forever. I’m what a normal, healthy, ideal American should be like

    And for the record, my old man did the same. He was a life long Republican. In the end, he had Alzheimer’s and my mother would never vote GOP again. And Yeah…. she saw thew GWB.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @bandit:

    a guaranteed job for all Americans and a guaranteed family income well above the poverty line.

    You got a problem with every American who wants to work, being able to work above the poverty level Bandit? Really?

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @bandit: @bandit:

    Handouts today, handouts tomorrow, handouts forever!

    You are a disgusting example of the worst of America.

  23. michael reynolds says:

    @ernieyeball:

    I was living in DC during Watergate which made it extra exciting. Back in the days when you’d wake up early just to grab your Washington Post. In fairness to me I quickly realized my mistake and ended up demonstrating for impeachment at the White House.

    I remember that moment when we learned about the taping system. Heart-stopping. Reality-warping. One of those, “Did I just hear that?” moments. Pre-DVR. Ah, we lived like cave men.

    I happened to be in Spain, riding a crowded Madrid metro when I saw the decision by the Supremes, using my extremely weak Spanish to read the paper over a guy’s shoulder, and knew that was it, that was the end.

  24. superdestroyer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    A guaranteed income means that people get paid for not working. Look at how the Democrats love President Clinton when he did nothing that would have been supported by McGovern.
    If you make the government very powerful and have the government deciding who is a winner and who is a loser, then people stop trying and let the government do the work.

  25. michael reynolds says:

    @superdestroyer:
    Taking out the oil sheikhdoms and the mailboxes pretending to be countries (sorry, Luxembourg and Caymans, you’re not really countries,) the list of the 10 highest in per capita GDP:

    1) Norway
    2) Switzerland
    3) Australia
    4) Denmark
    5) Sweden
    6) Netherlands
    7) USA
    8) Canada
    9) Ireland
    10) Austria

    Now, which of those is not a socialist country by your lights?

    Now, there are slightly different versions of this list, some will have Finland higher, for example, but what you see there is a list of countries that have a national health insurance system of some sort, and a safety net, and regulated capitalism. Some have government ownership of businesses.

    Not quite making the list? The French, the Japanese, the Brits — all, again, with mixed economies, srong government, and ample safety nets.

    Now, why don’t you show me the libertarian paradise on earth?

  26. legion says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    No. He failed because America does not hold the same values he does

    Well, that’s kinda what I meant. But, of course, I couldn’t say it as eloquently as McGovern himself.

  27. legion says:

    @superdestroyer:

    A guaranteed income means that people get paid for not working.

    Wrong again. Just because guys like Rush and Donald Trump tell you something doesn’t mean it’s true. In fact, you’d make good money betting on the opposite of what they say. It refers to “fair pay” – if my productivity helps the company grow, I should see some sort of benefit from that. Right now (and for the past 30+ years of “trickle-down economics”) that ain’t the case for many of the largest companies – profit increases from improved worker efficiency go directly into the pockets of management, who sit on the board and approve their own raises, while the people actually doing the work make the same inflation-adjusted wage they got in the 80s.

    You are Wrong about pretty much everything.

  28. bk says:

    @superdestroyer: Yours are perhaps the stupidest series of posts I have seen on this blog. And the fact that you have written them in an otherwise laudatory tribute to a decent man makes you even more of a jerk.

  29. bk says:

    @superdestroyer:

    What would the U.S. be if we were a country of 70% plus marginal tax rates,

    America in the 1950’s? You seem to yearn for that era; so what is the problem?

  30. bk says:

    @bk:

    You seem to yearn for that era; so what is the problem?

    I can answer that question in two notes! Black guy.

  31. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @legion: I would go with disection as the study method.

  32. superdestroyer says:

    @legion:

    Do you have a cite to prove what you are saying. When I looked at http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAmcgovern.htm it said :

    but an already dismal performance was exacerbated by his rash promise of a guaranteed annual income for every American family. With no consideration of financial controls, he proposed a tax credit of $1,000 a year to every citizen. He was never able to give a convincing analysis of the plan, and it served mainly to outrage blue-collar and middle-class voters unable to grasp why their tax payments should apparently be offered to layabouts.”

    What part of giving tax payers money to people who do not work do you not understand? McGovern, like too many progressives, believe that people would work hard be productive even when they receive no individual benefit from working hard. McGovern, like too many progressives, were willing to tolerate a large number of grifters as long as it was with other people.s money.

  33. superdestroyer says:

    @bk:

    The 1950’s were over by the 1960’s. Jimmy Carter wanted to maintain taxes at over 70% and he was voted out of office in a rout. High taxes along with high unemployment, high inflation, and a bad economy is what you get when you follow the McGovern plan for government. Unless you are willing to bomb most of the factories of the world out of existence, there is no going back to the 1950’s.

  34. superdestroyer says:

    @bk:

    I am not surprised that no one is quoting McGovern when he tried to operate a private business after leaving the Senate. From http://www.themoneyillusion.com/?p=17208

    In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business, especially during a recession of the kind that hit New England just as I was acquiring the inn’s 43-year leasehold. I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender.

    McGovern was from the part of the Democratic Party that believe that there could be employees without employers. However, in the long run, economic realities caught up with progressives like McGovern. He was like the old cliche that socialism work until one runs out of others peoples money.

  35. legion says:

    @superdestroyer: I would counter by asking what part of “tax credit” isn’t clear to you? Reducing _every citizen’s_ tax burden is simply not the same as “giving money to people who don’t work”, no matter how loudly you yell it.

  36. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “The 1950′s were over by the 1960′s. Jimmy Carter wanted to maintain taxes at over 70% and he was voted out of office in a rout. High taxes along with high unemployment, high inflation, and a bad economy is what you get when you follow the McGovern plan for government. ”

    Except, of course, that the high unemployment, high inflation and bad economy that plagued Carter all sprang from the economic policies of the Nixon and Ford administrations. I realize it’s now right wing “truth” that inflation only happened post-1976, but those of us who were alive at the time remember Ford trying to beat it by handing out WIN buttons.

  37. ernieyeball says:

    @michael reynolds: Did you see Franco?

  38. legion says:

    @wr: Not to mention the huge influx of vets to the job market in the post-Vietnam demobilization. Remember, there was a helluva lot less support (and respect) for vets in that era than the Iraq/Afghan vets are getting today…

  39. superdestroyer says:

    @wr:

    Of course, you realize that the Democrats control both the U.S. House and Senate during the 1970’s. To blame everything on Nixon when Nixon was giving the liberal Democrats what they wanted is laughable.