George McGovern, R.I.P.

I’ll freely admit that I voted for him in 1972, but I was staring straight at the draft at that time and wasn’t thinking straight. Upon his passing, I might take this chance to recommend “The Wild Blue” by Stephen Ambrose, which is an excellent account of the men who flew B-24′s in WWII. George McGovern was a B-24 pilot, and the book focuses on his unit. We may now mock his politics, but the man wa…

  1. Devereaux

    A man’s life can be a complex collection of actions. McGovern, no less than many of the young men of the time, did their patriotic duty in defending the nation from a serious evil.

    Unfortunately, that doesn’t excuse him for bad thinking or ideas, which his politics promoted. Same can be said about McCain. HIS time in the Hanoi Hilton is truly worthy of respect. But his time in the senate is not.

    A man’s soul will not be judged by us, the living. We likewise have no real reason to hate or even despise those who simply don’t understand what liberty is, or don’t want it. But we don’t have to laude them either. McGovern lived his life as a conglomeration of thinking, much muddled. I can only wish him well before the Lord. I can hardly praise him for his time here.

  2. RightinChicago

    My Dad will often say, “But what do I know, I voted for McGovern.” It was his last Dem vote by the way. I’ve always heard and read that McGovern was at least an honest liberal. I didn’t know he flew bombers. For that alone he deserves our respects. R.I.P.

  3. Illiniguy
    Devereaux: Unfortunately, that doesn’t excuse him for bad thinking or ideas, which his politics promoted… But we don’t have to laude them either. McGovern lived his life as a conglomeration of thinking, much muddled. I can only wish him well before the Lord. I can hardly praise him for his time here. · 21 minutes ago

    De mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est.

  4. Glenn the Iconoclast

    I did not especially care for The Wild Blue, although it’s a reasonably fair account of McGovern’s WW II service.

    I preferred The Kennedy War Heroes, with chapters on various people who served in the Kennedy administration, including Orville Freeman, Jimmy Doolittle, Pierre Salinger, and (iirc) George McGovern.  It’s necessarily brief and exclusive (Salinger’s chapter focuses more on his work as an investigative reporter after the war than his actual service, e.g.), but it’s a very readable overview, not entirely hagiographic.

  5. Ralph

    I was in Vietnam in 1972 and debated with friends over McGovern’s politics, I did not agree with his views.

    I did read “The Wild Blue” in 2010 and he’s was a vital member of the Greatest Generation. We all owe him a debt of gratitude.

    R.I.P.

  6. Misthiocracy

    I don’t think anybody should feel too much shame for voting against Nixon in 1972, because he really didn’t live up to the expectations he set in his 1968 campaign.  He ran in 1968 promising change and a platform of “Peace with Honor”. Hubert Humphrey was seen as an old-line establishment Democrat, and he took the hit for voters’ displeasure with LBJ.

    As such, IMHO, it was perfectly fair for voters in 1972 to think Nixon didn’t deserve re-election if they didn’t think he had kept his 1968 promises.  It’s just a shame one would have to vote for McGovern in order to register one’s displeasure with Nixon.  Seventy-two was arguably a classic “choosing the lesser evil” sort of election.

    Of course, who am I to say?  I wasn’t there.

  7. flownover

    Upon announcing to my grandfather that I intended to cast my vote for McGovern in the first presidential election I could vote, he volunteered some information that caused me to change my mind and cast my for Dr Benjamin Spock instead.

    It was a personal matter between us and boy was he effective.

    RIP 

  8. raycon and lindacon

    Might I remind all that the only encounter I, or most of you, have ever had with George McGovern was in the political ring of ideas.  There he was an opponent, and whatever accomplishments he and his political allies had were to our loss.

    Please, I join you in honoring a true hero and patriot, but his life only worked against all that I believe in.

    May he rest in peace, and may his allies on the left soon join him in our memories.

  9. Great Goldwater

    It is our ability to honor our opponent’s service and sincerity that distinguishes us from the Left.  RIP, Senator.

  10. Mr. Dart

    Men my age were in the draft lottery of February 1972.  I guess I’ll never forget what my number was (121) and that the following November I would vote for the first time.  I haven’t missed an election since.

    I recall being concerned about the draft on lottery day but not so much by November 1972.  After all, even if I had gotten lottery #1 I wouldn’t have been drafted– the last guys conscripted were born in 1952 and I was a 1953er.  Nixon’s push to end the draft and go to an  all-volunteer force is one of the few things I applaud him for to this day.

    Despite all of his good personal qualities, I believe George McGovern would have been a miserable one term President.  I’ve viewed the Nixon/ Ford/ Carter era as the nadir of late 20th Century America, but I’ve never believed it would have been a bit better had George McGovern won rather than losing in a landslide. 

    The Clinton’s worked on the McGovern campaign and their takeaway was that one needed to be mean and nasty to win– not nice like George.  A sad, undeserved legacy.

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