My Conversation with George McGovern
TMV’s Note: This ran yesterday afternoon and seemingly got buried quickly due to a slew of other posts. We’re reposting it today. This site always applauds ORIGINAL REPORTING done on weblogs, of all political persuasions. Blogging can be more than extended op-ed pieces.
On Saturday morning, I had the real honor of speaking with the 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee, Sen. George McGovern (D-SD). McGovern, who is now putting the finishing touches on his new library at Dakota Wesleyan University, was a hero during World War II before becoming a professor at the University in 1950. McGovern was elected to the House in 1956, serving two terms before narrowly losing a Senate race in 1960. After serving as President Kennedy’s director of the Food for Peace Program, McGovern was subsequently elected to the United States Senate in 1962, where he served three terms.
Jonathan Singer: Youâ€™re speaking from South Dakota. Thereâ€™s been a lot of talk following the 2000 and especially 2004 election of â€œredâ€? states and â€œblueâ€? states, and people usually think of South Dakota as a â€œredâ€? state. But two of its three Congressional members are Democrats, and previously all three were. North Dakota is represented by all three Democrats. What do you make of this talk of â€œredâ€? states and â€œblueâ€? states? Does it even exist, really?
George McGovern: I have trouble remembering from one day to the next what â€œblueâ€? and â€œredâ€? mean. They used to call us Democrats â€œredsâ€? because they thought we were too liberal, too pink. Iâ€™m glad the Republicans have assumed that label now.
But in any event, I think itâ€™s a kind of superficial way to look at politics. People, more and more, tend to vote on something in addition to partisan considerations. During my years in politics here in South Dakota, I was constantly stopped by people in the street who would say, â€œIâ€™m a Republican, but Iâ€™m for you George.â€? And this state kept me in office for almost a quarter of a century. So I donâ€™t think of it as either â€œredâ€? or â€œblue.â€? And I think thatâ€™s true with most states.
The interview is available in full here from my blog, Basie!.