FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

McGovern’s Legacy

by KARL GROSSMAN

George McGovern, who died yesterday, was prescient about America. When he ran for president 40 years ago, he well-understood what the federal government of the United States had become, among other national dysfunctions.

It’s a shame he wasn’t given an opportunity to, as president, change things.

In June 1972, I conducted a half-hour interview with then Senator McGovern as he campaigned for president on Long Island, New York, where I was a reporter for the Long Island Press.

“This administration,” he said of the Richard Nixon’s presidency, “is dominated by big business and big oil and big utilities.  It’s really a big business operation. They give them anything they want: tax concessions, wage-price controls that have no restraints on big business.”

The Nixon administration had just quashed a Department of Justice anti-trust action against International Telephone & Telegraph, ITT, emerging then under its CEO Harold Geneen as the model of a modern monopoly extending its reach by gobbling up companies. The Nixon administration “let ITT buy their way out of” this anti-trust action, McGovern charged.  ITT provided Nixon with major campaign contributions.

As to the situation if Nixon were re-elected president, “I really have a grim view of another four years of this kind of trickery and manipulation and credibility problems and secret deals and power politics and special interest politics. Letting the ITTs of the country run the government instead of the other way around,” said McGovern. “I really believe this present administration is dominated by the greediest interests in the country.”

The Vietnam War was still raging, and McGovern said: “The Vietnam War has virtually destroyed the unity of the nation, destroyed the unity of the Democratic Party. But I think a new coalition of peace and change priorities here at home is now forming around my candidacy. I believe I now stand in the mainstream of the American people.”

As to the difference if he became president instead of Nixon, “First of all there wouldn’t be any war.  Secondly, I’d remove wage and price controls.  I don’t think that it would be necessary to keep them if the war was over. Thirdly, there’d be a very substantial shift of resources away from war spending to building up the country, in terms of better facilities of all kinds: housing, transportation, health care, education and so forth.”

At the time, the oil industry was pushing to drill in Atlantic offshore waters—as it is again—and McGovern took a stand against it declaring that “the technology is not sufficiently advanced to protect us against oil spills.” He described offshore drilling in the Atlantic as “a threat to the beaches, the fishing interests, to the purity of the water.”  Of nuclear power, he said “we have to delay further nuclear plant construction” because of the thermal impacts of nuclear plants on water bodies. He said “to operate those nuclear plants you have that hot water being dumped into nearby streams. That eventually destroys the stream, or the lake, or whatever it is into which the spill-off occurs.” As to sources of energy, he emphasized “solar power and other cleaner sources of energy.”

As to how the nation could adjust to a termination of the Vietnam War, McGovern said: “After World War II we dismantled a military machine that was consuming 40 percent of our gross national product. We did it without any recession. People went into other jobs because the priorities were set in such a way that there was employment. I can think of various things: the building of public transit facilities, construction of environmental protection devices…any number of things that are needed where that talent and labor can be utilized.”

Of the then infamous and huge generation gap, he said: “My candidacy could bridge the gap because there’s certain interests that young people and older people share in common…Everybody would welcome a return to trust and confidence in a president.”

He stressed his consistency on issues. “I’ve not gone back on my word. I’ve consistently followed through. I’ve not switched around. I’ve stuck to my principles.”

And, indeed, he was a man of principle.

Sadly, McGovern lost the 1972 election to the unprincipled Nixon.

Forty years later, we have suffered through much that could have been avoided if George McGovern had become president back then.

Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College of New York, is the author of the book, The Wrong Stuff: The Space’s Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet. Grossman is an associate of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion.

 

 

 

 

 

Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College of New York, is the author of the book, The Wrong Stuff: The Space’s Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet. Grossman is an associate of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion.

More articles by:
May 25, 2016
Eric Draitser
Obama in Hiroshima: A Case Study in Hypocrisy
Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work?
Dan Arel
The Socialist Revolution Beyond Sanders and the Democratic Party
Marc Estrin
Cocky-Doody Politics and World Affairs
Sam Husseini
Layers of Islamophobia: Do Liberals Care That Hillary Returned “Muslim Money”?
Susan Babbitt
Invisible in Life, Invisible in Death: How Information Becomes Useless
Mel Gurtov
Hillary’s Cowgirl Diplomacy?
Kathy Kelly
Hammering for Peace
Dick Reavis
The Impeachment of Donald Trump
Wahid Azal
Behind the Politics of a Current Brouhaha in Iran: an Ex-President Ayatollah’s Daughter and the Baha’is
Jesse Jackson
Obama Must Recommit to Eliminating Nuclear Arms
Colin Todhunter
From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Living in the Shadow of Global Agribusiness
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey as Terror: the Role of Ankara in the Brexit Referendum
Dave Lindorff
72-Year-Old Fringe Left Candidate Wins Presidency in Austrian Run-Off Election
May 24, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
The Financial Invasion of Greece
Jonathan Cook
Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army
Ted Rall
Why I Am #NeverHillary
Mari Jo Buhle – Paul Buhle
Television Meets History
Robert Hunziker
Troika Heat-Seeking Missile Destroys Greece
Judy Gumbo
May Day Road Trip: 1968 – 2016
Colin Todhunter
Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink
Jeremy Brecher
This is What Insurgency Looks Like
Jonathan Latham
Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA
Binoy Kampmark
Suing Russia: Litigating over MH17
Dave Lindorff
Europe, the US and the Politics of Pissing and Being Pissed
Matt Peppe
Cashing In at the Race Track While Facing Charges of “Abusive” Lending Practices
Gilbert Mercier
If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent
Peter Bohmer
A Year Later! The Struggle for Justice Continues!
Dave Welsh
Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
Uri Avnery
Israeli Weimar: It Can Happen Here
John Stauber
Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning
James Bovard
Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents
Desiree Hellegers
“Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street
Lawrence Davidson
The Unraveling of Zionism?
Patrick Cockburn
Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks
Robert Koehler
Rethinking Criminal Justice
Lawrence Wittner
The Return of Democratic Socialism
Ha-Joon Chang
What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters
John V. Walsh
Only Donald Trump Raises Five “Fundamental and Urgent” Foreign Policy Questions: Stephen F. Cohen Bemoans MSM’s Dismissal of Trump’s Queries
Andrew Stewart
The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve
Nyla Ali Khan
The Vulnerable Repositories of Honor in Kashmir
Weekend Edition
May 20, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Hillary Clinton and Political Violence
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail