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

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  •  the real question that begs answering is (0+ / 0-)
    WHY was he hamstrung.

    i have touched on it in other posts here and don't have time right now to repost it... if you can't find the posts, flag this and i'll do it again.

    •  Disagree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      goinsouth

      Well, I suspect that, based on your many other posts on this thread, that your opinion as to why McGovern didn't have support from the party differs from mine as I stated it above.

      It wasn't just the Nixon campaign who painted McGovern as weak -- just like the current political climate, there were more than enough Democratic leaders in the Scoop Jackson wing to do that, too. Several Democratic politicians supported Nixon rather than back McGovern.

      If the mainstream Democratic party had fallen in behind McGovern once he'd gotten the nomination, there wouldn't have been any lack of experienced campaigners. McGovern was undercut in much the same manner that Gore was hobbled in 2000, by people who viewed him as laughable; people from his own party.

      Then, as now, it comes down to the war. An awful lot of people don't recognize the difference between being strong and looking strong. After nearly a decade of fighting in Vietnam, there were many Democrats who still believed in the "cause", didn't want to have 50,000 soldiers' deaths be in vain, didn't want to "lose" the war. Rather than reevaluate their positions and admit McGovern had been right since the mid-60s, they clung to them until even Nixon had to admit defeat. (A shout-out here to Sen. Mark Hatfield, an Oregon Republican who co-sponsored a 1970 bill with McGovern to get the troops out.)

      As I remember, it was Nixon who was so insecure his flunkies thought it would be a good idea to break into party offices, plant McGovern literature in Arthur Bremer's apartment, and every other dirty trick they could devise. But a lot of people thought his blustering bravado proved he was more "manly" than McGovern. Fool me once (well, not me, actually...)

      Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

      by darrelplant on Mon May 08, 2006 at 01:02:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  actually, we don't necessarily disagree on (0+ / 0-)

        this - the democratic party DID hobble mcgovern - the american democrats didn't vote for him - in record numbers.

        the question i asked, "why" - goes to the major underlying problems that were exacerbated by mcgovern's own naivety in dealing with his own party!

        the "going it alone" route doesn't work.  not building a coalition in your own party doesn't work.  not pulling together the rival factions doesn't work.
        mcgovern made all of the above mistakes - so the people in power didn't trust him, didn't campaign for him, didn't raise money for him, etc.

        i've said on these diaries numerous times that the only campaign EVER that i have seen that was more incompetently run than mcgovern's was al gore's! (kerry's a close second!)

        there was no organized effort to counter the republican spin and distortions.  reactions were not just a day late, but millions of dollars short!  that kerry still had a war chest after the election is beyond comprehension!  that gore stood silently and ignored the obvious popularity of the clinton presidency defies comprehension.

        strategical mistakes, such as ignoring the grass roots supporters of dean cost kerry.  ignoring the swift boat controversy or ANY controversy cost kerry.

        these errors, much like those made during the mcgovern campaign (slamming primary oponents in literature AFTER the primary victory, building an insular campaign group made up of kids instead of embracing the party for support) cost HIM the election.

        yes, mcgovern was anti war.  no, most dems didn't stand up against it - BUT, mcgovern WAS the democratic candidate - had he reached out to the party, he would have their support and fund-raising ability.  he didn't.  he made a fatal mistake in politics.

        you don't eat your own.

        joe lieberman is a perfect example of a politician about to go down!  how many democrats in congress do you see spending "quality" time with good ol' joe, these days?  how many dems are stumping for his reelection?  joe has lost the support of the party.  period!  they may not be overtly stating that - but notice that there is a whole heap of silence coming joe's way - and most likely a whole heap of prayer going in the direction of ned lamont!

        that mcgovern stood against the war makes him a wise before his time, noble man.  his honor and commitment to what was right for this country is not and never has been in question.

        my posts are why that man, that man with great forsight in viet nam, not only failed to get the nation behind him, but why he failed to get his own party.

        IF we don't learn from his mistake, then we can be very worried about the 2006 election AND the 2008 election!  we need to be able to clearly put fact on the table in a way that america understands the bottom line and then we need to be able to draw the voters in to support that position and the candidate who represents it!

        if we don't, like mcgovern, like gore, like kerry, the 2006/8 candidates will lose.

        •  How Do You Compromise With the Truth? (0+ / 0-)

          There's a big difference between Lieberman and McGovern, however.

          Lieberman's positions on most major issues aren't really all that different from the rest of the party leadership. His views on the war, warrantless wiretapping, and other national security issues don't exactly stand apart from Joe Biden's or Hillary Clinton's. He's slightly more willing to denigrate Democrats and slightly more inclined to support Bush than they are, but you'd have a hard time slipping a sheet of paper between their platforms. It's not because they disagree with Lieberman that they're treating him like poison, it's because he's perceived as weak that they stay away. Nobody's going to come out and say: "Hey, Joe's position is correct", because they're afraid it'll take them down, too.

          In McGovern's case the party leadership would have had to come to a realization that they'd been pursuing the wrong strategy for years in order to come to any kind of rapproachment with the candidate. They weren't willing to do that, they perceived his position as weak, so they took their ball and went home rather than play on the team. There's no way to compromise between saying the war has to be won and that the war shouldn't have been fought at all. Yeah, McGovern lost, but the fact that the Democratic leadership failed to realize the truth is -- in my opinion -- why they've been out of office for most of the past four decades.

          And they're not willing to do that now with Feingold, which is a shame, because I think that the truth in Iraq and Iran is going to disillusion a whole new set of potential Democratic voters by 2008.

          Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

          by darrelplant on Mon May 08, 2006 at 10:34:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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