George McGovern, the former bomber pilot who flew 35 missions over Europe during World War II, going on to become a two-term US Congressman and three-term US Senator from South Dakota, as well as the Democratic candidate who was devastated by President Richard M. Nixon in the 1972 national elections, passed away over the weekend. He was 90.
- KC's View:
- Based on a lot of the reading I've done as well as personal impressions, it is my sense that McGovern was widely respected on both sides of the aisle for his lifelong commitment to public service, as well as a gentlemanly demeanor that might be out of place in today's politics. And it is worth noting that if Robert F. Kennedy had not been assassinated, it is at least possible that McGovern - hardly a perfect presidential candidate - would never have faced off against Nixon, never would have chosen Thomas Eagleton as a vice presidential candidate, and might not have become the anti-war face of the Democratic party.
But he did. And while he was crushed in the 1972 election by Nixon, who had to resign two years later in the wake of the Watergate scandal, McGovern seemed to remain remarkably without bitterness.
We talk a lot about relevant public policy here on MNB, and politics almost always enters into it ... and we do our best to keep the conversation civil. I never talk about my specific choices in the voting booth, except to say that they probably would surprise some MNB readers. But since it has been 40 years, I think it is safe to reveal one specific: I voted for George McGovern in 1972, the first time I ever voted. And I've always been proud of that vote.