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domingo, octubre 21, 2012

George McGovern, RIP

The New York Times brings the sad news:

George McGovern, the United States senator who won the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 1972 as an opponent of the war in Vietnam and a champion of liberal causes, and who was then trounced by President Richard M. Nixon in the general election, died early Sunday in Sioux Falls, S.D. He was 90. Multimedia

His death was announced in a statement by the family. He had been moved to hospice care in recent days after being treated for several health problems in the last year. He had a home in Mitchell, S.D., where he had spent his formative years.

“We are blessed to know that our father lived a long, successful and productive life advocating for the hungry, being a progressive voice for millions and fighting for peace,” the family statement said.

To the liberal Democratic faithful, Mr. McGovern remained a standard-bearer well into his old age, writing and lecturing even as his name was routinely invoked by conservatives as synonymous with what they considered the failures of liberal politics.

He never retreated from those ideals, however, insisting on a strong, “progressive” federal government to protect the vulnerable and expand economic opportunity while asserting that history would prove him correct in his opposing not only what he called “the tragically mistaken American war in Vietnam” but also the American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Two wonderful analyses: The Atlantic and Slate.

I remember voting for McGovern. In the line at the polls that day I saw only two votes for him; the rest in the long line seemed to be voting for Nixon. No matter. Sometimes history proves that the person who lost the election was right on policy. So it was with McGovern. He was right on Vietnam. He was right on Iraq. He was right on dozens of issues between those two. His obituaries in the Traditional Medial will focus on how badly he lost the 1972 election. They will focus again on he horse race. What they won't mention is how many thousands of lives could have been saved if McGovern's policies had been enacted.

He will be missed.

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