Sunday, October 21, 2012

George McGovern - tribute from a conservative

I was alive, thinking and aware during the Nixon era and I'm very much affected by the passing of one of the last true Liberal Democrats, especially those Tricky Dick campaigned against.  There will be many eulogies made to Senator McGovern and much of what you read will be slanted toward freezing his political views in time.  But unlike {apparently} Jimmy Carter, he did adapt them based on further information.

He said himself that he was an idealist with little stomach for implementing details.  I don't think many would argue with that.  Many of his ideas are ones that I can easily support, the most  striking being that we should never have been in Viet Nam in the first place.
- We got snookered into it be our so-called 'Ally', the French, who in typical fashion made a mess of their former colony, withdrew and asked us to stanch the bleeding. Which LBJ did, with the aid of the execrable Robert McNamara,  in a manner setting us up to win battles and lose the war.
It will be lost to the simple minded that he and Barry Goldwater were in partial agreement on that.  If you are in a war go for the win, otherwise get the hell out. See Powell Doctrine.
At that time, Nixon was more akin to the Democrat grass roots of the day than he was.  And it was critical that once in, we had to find a way to get out with some honor, the 'Progressive' thinkers {many of whom sympathized with the rioters at the 68 Dem convention} .. like Cronkite and Kerry to the contrary.
There's an old saying that people get the government they deserve, and in a lesser way the US gets the government it needs.
So we necessarily got a pushy, manipulative self-serving politician, Richard Nixon.  Who reversed a course that would otherwise have led to disastrous confrontations with China. And who was instrumental in cementing the last of LBJ's Great -as in 'Great White Father'- Society into place. shh.. dont tell that to your 'liberal' friends.  It's important that Nixon be identified only with the GOP so progressives dont have to strain their synopses.

Once those were accomplished, God.. or the fates, you decide.. discarded Nixon. Leaving Hubert Humphrey and McGovern untarnished and able to comment on our society without prejudice of having been in the decision loop.
Here's the article by a fellow conservative/libertarian that triggered my recollections:
it's worth noting that later in life, after he acquired the leasehold on a Connecticut inn, McGovern came to understand the underside of the regulatory state. "In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business," he wrote in 1992. "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." In more recent years, citing the same experience, he campaigned against new labor regulations.

Here's another -more 'dogma'- that also makes some good points:

For a time, he also advocated a $1,000 tax grant to every American to replace complex welfare and income support programs, saying the needy could spend it and the wealthy would pay it back in taxes. It came with no numbers, no estimate of the cost, although McGovern claimed, against arithmetic and logic, that it would balance out at zero. He dropped that idea, but the Republicans never did.
Of course!  It assumes that everyone should have to think of their own welfare instead of having their support doled out -by government ribbon clerks- to them as if they were retarded children. 

So.. I'll take McGovern's compassion over our President's any day.