The skewed perspective of a conservative Catholic employee-side employment lawyer living in the most exciting city in the Milky Way, Las Vegas, Nevada USA, who listens to a lot of really strange music and who, for some reason, lives and dies St. Louis Cardinal baseball

2/20/2005

Hagiography for the man who destroyed the Dems

The Washington Post magazine section has a hagiography of the man directly responsible for the death of liberalism as a viable political force, in general, and the modern Democratic party, in particular. George McGovern.

The triumph of the leftist McGovern wing of the Democrat party, over the traditional liberalism of the Hubert Humphrey, destroyed the moral underpinnings of American liberalism and the Democrat party. Hubert Humphrey was a doctrinaire liberal on the domestic front -- of course he was, he largely wrote the doctrine! -- but throughout his career he was militantly anti-communist. This led to a surprising friendship between Humphrey and Ronald Reagan, dating back to Reagan's Screen Actors Guild days. (If I recall correctly, Reagan never denied voting for his friend Humphrey over his rival Nixon in the 1968 presidential election.) The bipartisan fight against communism ended with the rise and triumph of the essential anti-American McGovernism.

The Post's hagiography ignores one particularly sordid chapter in the rise of McGovern, one that would have tarnished their saint's halo just a bit. McGovern headed the commission that re-wrote the rules for the Democrat presidential nominating process, taking power out of the hands of the power brokers and putting it squarely in the clutches of left-wing activists. Shockingly, McGovern then rode the wave generated by the enthusiasm of the anti-war left (who were at best agnostic in the fight against global communism) and defeated centrist Edmund Muskie, who would have sailed to easy victory in the party nomination fight under the old, pre-McGovern rules.

After McGovern '72, the Democrats have never since nominated a foreign policy hawk. With the rise of Howard Dean as party chair -- a direct lineal descendant of McGovern if there ever was one -- that doesn't look to change in the next few election cycles.

After the triumph of McGovernism, the Dems became dominated by people who believed in a perverted version of "American exceptionalism." As enunciated by President Reagan, "American exceptionalism" was the belief that the USA had a special and unique mission in the world, from leading the defeat of Nazism in WWII and to defeating its doppelganger-in-evil, communism, in a winnable Cold War. McGovernism too believed in American exceptionalism, only under their perversion, America was a rogue nation that needed to reined in by its "allies" and was more prone to do harm in the world. Hence, McGovern preaching "Come Home America." McGovern's dovishness was not borne of isolationism. Instead, it was the belief that America would be more likely to do bad outside its borders and, thus, like an unruly teenager, needed to be grounded to its own borders.

One of the most offensive lines that McGovern emitted was his comment distinguishing between his blind ignorance of the horrors of Soviet-style communism and his bitter, continual criticisms of right-wing U.S. allies in the fight against communism. McGovern got on his "moral" high horse and said that it was appropriate to hold the right-wing dictatorships to a higher, different standard because the USA allegedly had more influence over its anti-communist allies. As bad as the anti-communist right-wing dictatorships were in the 1970s/1980s, even with the "desaparecidos" in Argentina," or the clergy murdered in the guerrilla wars in Guatemala and El Salvador, the body count pales in comparison to Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. If McGovern has ever voiced a word of criticism of Fidel Castro, I never heard it. Under the McGovern, a regime was subject to criticism and reprisal only if it were an ally of the USA. Some incentive for being a friend.

This attitude continued even through the 2004 presidential election. Democrat candidate John Forbes Kerry, who served in Viet Nam, and who represents in the U.S. Senate the state responsible for 82 percent of McGovern's electoral vote total, frequently attacked the USA's allies in the Iraq War. Kerry's comments dripped with utter contempt for Poland, Bulgaria, ROK and other allies in the War on Terror. Coalition of the bribed, anyone? Countries that could be bought on eBay, anyone? Just like McGovern, identifying yourself as an ally of the USA is sufficient reason to hold a nation and its leadership in total disdain.

Speaking of presidential losers, I thought it was very unlikely that the Post would ever print such a gauzy-lenses portrait of a Republican presidential loser and then I realized that over the last 40 years, the last 10 presidential elections, only one Republican "insurgent" candidate has lost a presidential election: Bob Dole in 1996. More sitting Republican presidents have lost elections (Gerald Ford in 1976 and George Herbert Walker Bush in 1992) than insurgent candidates. There are simply far more losing Democrat insurgent candidates for the media to glorify.

And, for that, we Republicans have George McGovern to thank.
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