George McGovern

News item: George McGovern died today at age 90.

One of the things I most respect Sen. McGovern for is his presidential primary campaign of 1984. Knowing full-well he would be the butt of a lot of cheap jokes, he ran to make sure the actual issues got some attention and to hold to the fire, the feet of his Democratic colleagues, a couple of whom were his very good friends. That is un-selfish service to one’s country.

I also fondly recall in 1977 or ’78, a story came over the wire about a debate on the Senate floor. Two conservative senators had proposed that a minimum amount of income be exempt from federal tax, the first few thousand dollars one had earned. This was the same idea candidate McGovern had proposed in 1972 – to much ridicule, only the amount had now been increased.

McGovern rose to ask a question, which ended something like: “Does the Senator not think this is quite a radical idea?” As the conservative senator defended his proposal, McGovern smiled while those in attendance who understood what had just happened,  laughed.

I remember showing the wire story to a DJ at the station I worked at who was a conservative Republican, active in local politics, and a good friend. He ‘got’ it. He handed it back to me, speechless. Which was quite unusual for him.

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