Monday, October 22, 2012

McGovern obituaries

This is a video of the late George McGovern's most famous speech, McGovern's 1972 Democratic Convention Acceptance Speech:

And an interview with Charlie Rose from 01/06/2012 (that the date of the video publication, the actual date of the interview isn't given but it was clearly sometime close):

Chuck Raasch and Jonathan Ellis provide an obituary, A man of peace: George McGovern influenced a generation of Americans Argus-Leader (Sioux Falls SD) 10/21/2012:

Though routed by Richard Nixon, McGovern's 1972 campaign influenced the Democratic Party in the decades that followed and greatly changed the party's rules over how future presidential candidates and party leaders were chosen. He devoted much of his last three decades to anti-hunger issues, teaming with former senator Bob Dole, a Republican and one-time adversary in the Senate, to establish school-lunch programs in some of the world's poorest nations.

"In the storied history of American politics, I believe no other presidential candidate ever had such an enduring impact in defeat," former president Bill Clinton said while was speaking in 2006 at the opening of the McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell.
On his wartime service:

During World War II, McGovern flew a B-24 bomber in the European Theater, completing 35 combat missions and earning the Distinguished Flying Cross for completing harrowing missions in which he nursed his wounded bomber to emergency landings, including one off the Yugoslav coast. On his final mission, with a gunner seriously wounded, McGovern managed to land his badly damaged bomber back at his home airfield in Italy.

After his combat missions were over, McGovern spent his final months as a military pilot flying food into cities of war-ravaged Europe. He would later say he vividly saw the effects of hunger.
On his early political inclinations:

As a veteran who had fought in war, McGovern said he was attracted to Progressive Party nominee Henry Wallace, who opposed the military buildup of the Cold War.

"The Russians had 27 million people killed in World War II; the whole country was laid to waste – I mean the physical country as well as the people," he said in a 2011 interview. "And, it seemed to me they would probably be the last country in the world that wanted to start World War III. And so, when Henry Wallace, who had been secretary of Agriculture, and later vice president, when he started saying what I thought, I swung over to him. And there were probably some radicals in the party way out in left field, but it didn't include me. I was that ex-Republican who was looking for somebody who would lift the banner of peace."
On the Vietnam War:

Besides his work on hunger issues, McGovern will best be remembered for his opposition to the Vietnam War, and to other wars.

"I don't know anybody alive today that thinks the war in Vietnam was a good investment for the United States," he said in November, 2011. "It weakened us militarily. It weakened us economically. It weakened us politically, and it weakened us morally. I'm not a moralist in the sense of wanting to always claim that I represent the moral position, but I do think we were going against fundamental American principles of morality when we were carpet-bombing a primitive little country like Vietnam."
Below are links to a set of articles remembering McGovern.

Will Bunch, American patriot: George McGovern, 1922-2012 Attytood 10/21/2012

Bob Dole, George McGovern, the man who never gave up Washington Post 10/21/2012

Kristi Eaton and Walter Mears, George McGovern dies at age 90 AP/Salon 10/21/2012

Jonathan Ellis, George McGovern: South Dakota's 'national treasure' (with videos) Sioux Falls Business Journal 11/27/2011

Conor Friedersdorf, On War and Peace, George McGovern Will Die Vindicated The Atlantic Online 10/19/2012

Nick Gillespie, editor-in-chief of, a libertarian source along the Ron Paul/Ayn Rand lines, gets creative and redefines McGovern as a liberatarian in George McGovern, Libertarian Hero Bloomberg View 10/21/2012. Maybe he was trying to find something nice to say from an economic-"laissez faire" point of view. But it's a bad joke. McGovern never proposed letting banksters and energy barons run wild. He builds his straw man out of a piece McGovern wrote about his experience as a small businessperson and some pragmatic suggestions he made about business regulations as a result. And the only place he "scandalized liberals" with those thoughts is in Gillespie's imagination.

Todd Gitlin, A Real American Hero: Remembering George McGovern Foreign Policy 10/21/2012. Gitlin's article is a reminder of how much the field of acceptable debate about military and foreign policy has shrunk among the political and media elite since the early 1970s.

Raymond Haberski, Jr., "This Chamber Reeks of Blood" U.S. Intellectual History 10/21/2012. Haberski's piece is also a jarring reminder of the narrowness of our present-day political discussions about war and the military. One would have hoped that the fall of the Soviet Union would have widened the margins of such discussion. But that's not what happened.

Richard Meyer, George McGovern, liberal standard-bearer against Nixon in '72, dies Los Angeles Times 10/21/2012

John Nichols, George McGovern: Touchstone of Liberalism The Nation 10/21/2012

Rick Perlstein, The Myths of McGovern Democracy Journal 7/Winter 2008

Charlie Pierce, The Forgotten Legacy of George McGovern Esquire Politics Blog 10/16/2012

Katrina vanden Heuvel, George McGovern: American Patriot and Truth-Teller The Nation 10/22/2012

Joan Walsh, George McGovern: He deserved better Salon 10/21/2012

The CNN obituary notes, "In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to Feeding South Dakota."


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