Monday, October 22, 2012

OCTOBER 22, 2012

    One of the lines George McGovern always used in speeches when he was the Democratic candidate for president in 1972 was, "Come home, America!"  He was protesting the war in Vietnam.  If you'd covered that war, if you'd seen all those dead young faces, you knew what he meant.  He knew; he'd been a bomber pilot in World War II.
     The campaign failed, of course.  His was one of the great landslide losses ever--McGovern carried just one state--Massachusetts, not his native South Dakota.  The winner, Richard Nixon, as president, withdrew the American troops from Vietnam.

     Big defeat for McGovern and the Democrats?  Yes, but it also helped change the party toward anti-poverty and civil rights programs along with opposing the war.  An influence?  Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton worked on the campaign.  So did Gary Hart and a host of others who continue in politics today.

     Food was a major issue for him.  He thought up the idea of Food for Peace and was, under President Kennedy, its first director.  He spent twelve years in the Senate and mostly worked in good causes.  


     His wife Eleanor, asked about the sometimes silly nicknames--prairie populist,  McGoo and the like--just laughed.

     Why not?



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