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View Diary: "With George McGovern as President"(Dem Hist 101) (109 comments)

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  •  The McGovern Commission reforms... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    copymark, Unduna

    ...have helped open the party up, but as for what has taken place in the general elections, you make a very valid point.

    •  The mandarins have undone the reforms (8+ / 0-)

      The first blow against the McGovern rules was the election of "superdelegates," a sop to party mucky-mucks and elected officials who backed the wrong horse (Ed Muskie) and didn't win a delegate seat to the 1972 convention.

      Then came front-loading, which made the nomination turn on a handful of states that vote early. Those who live in states that vote late--and that's most states--have no real choice: the media and mandarins have declared the contest over. "Diversity" rules are a joke if there isn't a contest for the nomination.

      "Are we going to have American fighting men and women in Iraq for 2 months, 6 months, a year, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years?"--Sen. Robert Byrd, Oct. 8, 2002.

      by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Sun May 07, 2006 at 07:45:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And they used '72 as an excuse... (5+ / 0-)

        for the superdelegates, did they not?

        What a contrast to the Republicans.  Movement conservatives took over the party in '64 and got whipped.  So did the Republicans decide to go "Great Society lite?"  They persisted on the same course and it brought them, with the help of a weak Democratic Party, to where they are today.

        Oh, that the Democrats had stayed the course after '72.  It might be a different country.

        •  You're wrong on one point, goinsouth. (12+ / 0-)

          From your diary:

          If only Democrats had possessed similar commitment and belief in their ideals after 1972, things might be far different now in the party and in the country.

          From your comment above:

          Oh, that the Democrats had stayed the course after '72.  It might be a different country.

          No - the WORLD would be different.

          Outstanding, outstanding diary. One of the best I've ever read. Thank you.

          As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. - Justice William O. Douglas

          by occams hatchet on Sun May 07, 2006 at 08:35:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks. (8+ / 0-)

            And that global view would be truer to McGovern's legacy.  In the dairy I did yesterday about his (still ongoing) career, I noticed that his nomination acceptance speech included the following:

            I have no secret plan for peace. I have a public plan. And as one whose heart has ached for the past ten years over the agony of Vietnam, I will halt the senseless bombing of Indochina on Inaugural Day.

            There will be no more Asian children running ablaze from bombed-out schools. There will be no more talk of bombing the dikes or the cities of the North.

            God, would it be good to hear a Democrat talk loud and clear about what we've done to the Iraqis and pledge to stop it!  Of  course, we want to save the lives of our own troops, but what about the citizens of the country where we are waging war?

        •  'great society lite' (5+ / 0-)

          Actually, the Republicans did go to "Great Society lite" after their 64 loss.  Nixon's domestic policy furthered many Great Society programs, and he even considered a negative income tax which is a dream of many on the left.  Nixon's domestic policy was probably one of the furthest left of the last 60 years, even though I was against many of his proposals (eg, wage-price freeze, some poverty relief programs) since I thought they were poorly thought out (but thats a different topic).

          It wasnt until after Reagan's strong challenge to Ford in 1976 that the party took a hard right, and Clinton's partial acceptance of Reagan's policies that they found a way to go even further right.  Nixon's southern strategy along with the Democrats' non-response played no small part in the conservative rise.  I happen to believe that the Democrats should have responded by gaining new formerly Republican ground instead of continuing to pander to their old base, but thats also a topic for a different discussion.

          •  Moynihan's negative income tax... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...sure looks Left now.  He thought of it as withdrawing from some of the more "radical" aspects of the War on Poverty like the Community Action Program that he hated and had opposed in the Kennedy administration.  It was a lot safer to send people a check than encourage them to form community organizations that would take local control of some of the government efforts in their community.

            You've got a point.  I tend to think of it as Nixon dealing with a Democratic Congress and having to give in frequently to pursue the war.

            But those movement conservatives kept building and growing until they were ready, I agree, for a complete takeover in '80.

            The difference was maybe the big money that backed that effort.

          •  the irony of nixon is that history (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ed in Montana

            is not going to judge him as harshly as we, who were there, have done!

            he actually had some good policies - and he was a master at foreign policy - unlike bush, who despoils everything he touches!

            nixon and johnson, with the gift of time, will be seen very differently by those who come after us.

            bush, on the other hand, the stench will just get worse - if there is any future LEFT to examine him!

      •  and also (0+ / 0-)

        certain states have never had primaries...they have caucuses, which are a completely different, and rather undemocratic, animal.  

        •  Caucus state rules (0+ / 0-)

          were improved by the McGovern Commission.  In "Bright Shining Moment" (don't miss it), Gloria Steinem remembers what it was like before the reforms,

          We had to get acourt order to find out where an "open" caucus was being held.

          •  Not much better today (0+ / 0-)

            because of the byzantine formulas applied in apportioning delegates through a caucus system (e.g., "viability thresholds").  Through these maneuvers the actual vote result is distorted, if not completely obscured.  

            Further, participation is far lower in caucuses than in primary elections — by design. In an election you just go to the polls and vote.  For a caucus, you have to be present at the specified hours (usually about 3 hours in the evening, which is a hardship if you work the second shift).  

            All these tactics are designed to tamp down mass input into the nomination process, leaving the playing field easily manipulated by small, well-organized — and usually well-entrenched — interests.  

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