The Winter of George McGovern
October 19, 2012 10:42 AM   Subscribe

A family spokesperson confirms the 90-year-old McGovern is no longer responsive and is "at the end stages of his life." He has been in hospice care in South Dakota since Monday, suffering from a combination of age-related medical conditions that have worsened in recent months. McGovern is best known for running against Richard Nixon in 1972 on a platform of withdrawing U.S. troops from Vietnam, reducing defense spending, and providing amnesty to those who evaded the draft. Although he ultimately lost his election bid by a landslide, McGovern shattered the consensus in Capitol Hill around the Vietnam War as one of the first senators to speak out against the war. As a decorated World War II pilot who flew B-24 bombers over Nazi Germany, McGovern did not fit the stereotype of antiwar leaders in the 1960s and 1970s. He is also known for transforming how the Democratic Party chooses its presidential nominee and for his efforts to end world hunger.
posted by eviemath (82 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I heard the Democracy Now piece this morning; it may provide a partial answer to a question from another recent thread.
posted by eviemath at 10:43 AM on October 19, 2012

The "Greatest Generation" has absorbed enough accolades, but I always admired politicians of this era who, like McGovern, steadfastly avoided exploiting their war service. It was as if they had actual respect for the dead. I never even knew that McGovern flew combat missions until about 1990.
posted by thelonius at 10:44 AM on October 19, 2012 [15 favorites]

I saw him in person once at Bill Buckley's memorial Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC (boy was that a strange collection of people... Henry Kissinger and Christopher Hitchens in the same room.)
posted by Jahaza at 10:46 AM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I wish we had had McGovern to kick around anymore.
posted by Aquaman at 10:50 AM on October 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

A good man.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:50 AM on October 19, 2012

His daughter Teresa died in 1994, about a mile from my house, freezing to death in a snow bank while intoxicated. The McGovern family helped establish/name a rehab facility after her, one of the few that deals with comorbid addiction and mental illness in a comprehensive way. He wrote a book about her, and about his family, in 1996. They have been quite publicly active in recovery causes, especially around here. Even within the past few years or so, I've seen him in commercials for the Teresa McGovern Center -- always referred to by its full name.

That sort of visibility -- quiet but persistent -- means a lot.
posted by Madamina at 10:58 AM on October 19, 2012 [17 favorites]

During the last month of my 11th grade American History class in Washington D.C., my history teacher became awesome. This would have been in 1992.

Previously we'd been largely sticking to the (terrible) textbook and prepping for the A.P. exam, and it wasn't a memorable class. After the A.P. test, we did a month on Vietnam -- and as part of that, the teacher brought in folks to the class to speak. They were all pretty terrific, and included a pilot who had been shot down early in the war and spent a long time in a prison camp, and Julian Bond (who walked in to the class and dropped a giant sheaf of documents onto the desk with a thud as an opener--and told us it was his recently obtained FBI file). Bond would normally have been the highlight, but then we got McGovern.

(I think someone had written "Vote McGovern in 1992" on the board. We were a pretty liberal class.)

I honestly don't remember anything he actually said to us, it was 20 years ago. But he was warm, and funny, and intelligent, and we all ate it up with a spoon. You've never seen a bunch of jaded teenagers get so starstruck. It was wonderful.
posted by feckless at 10:59 AM on October 19, 2012 [15 favorites]

McGovern's pretty much the only person who comes out of Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 as a decent human being. That in itself is a pretty good legacy.
posted by COBRA! at 11:00 AM on October 19, 2012 [27 favorites]


My mom worked on his campaign in MA.

posted by stagewhisper at 11:02 AM on October 19, 2012

posted by roll truck roll at 11:03 AM on October 19, 2012

Goodbye, you brave and honorable man. Go gently.
posted by bearwife at 11:03 AM on October 19, 2012 [10 favorites]

posted by Windopaene at 11:05 AM on October 19, 2012

Like buggy whips, Washington US fed, state and municipal government has virtually no use for well-meaning politicians like McGovern anymore.
Were he beginning rather than completing his political career today, he'd be all but unelectable.
posted by Fupped Duck at 11:05 AM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

My parents voted McGovern in CT, and I've always admired the man. (How they eventually became Reagan democrats is kinda unfathomable...)
posted by maxwelton at 11:11 AM on October 19, 2012

This may well be a first for Metafilter. Usually, I go to this site to discover who died recently. Now we are getting a quick look at a person while he is still a bit alive, though scarcely so.
posted by Postroad at 11:14 AM on October 19, 2012

Prebituary--great idea, fewer dots more comments.

Proud to have been able to say in the day, don't blame me, I'm from Massachusetts.
posted by found missing at 11:14 AM on October 19, 2012 [5 favorites]

That Harper's link outlining his 2002 firm opposition to going to war against Iraq was great. How many "liberals" were silent during the runup to that war for fear of being labeled disloyal?

His reasoning then is still valid now and should be reconsidered as we flirt with an attack of Iran.
posted by notmtwain at 11:15 AM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

McGovern shattered the consensus in Capitol Hill around the Vietnam War as one of the first senators to speak out against the war.

Interestingly enough though he was not one of the two that voted against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.*

*Side note: The two that did vote agains the resolution, Ernest Gruening (D-AK) and Wayne Morse (D-OR) were both defeated in their 1968 reelections by Mike "9/11 Conspiracy" Gravel and Bob "Packin' Wood" Packwood respectively!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:19 AM on October 19, 2012

posted by jquinby at 11:24 AM on October 19, 2012

posted by liza at 11:24 AM on October 19, 2012

I knew next to nothing about McGovern, until I started reading Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. I was born that year, so I figured 40 years out was as good a time as any to pick up a copy. I love HST, and I can only imagine what his 1972 self would be writing about today's presidential campaign.

That being said, RIP George McGovern. I really wish people would stop dying for a while and let me get caught up.
posted by PuppyCat at 11:27 AM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Prebituary--great idea, fewer dots more comments.

And if we're invoking HST, it could even be a barbituary.

posted by psoas at 11:30 AM on October 19, 2012 [10 favorites]

I wasn't even old enough to vote in '68 or '72 and I still understood he was a better choice for President than Nixon.
posted by tommasz at 11:40 AM on October 19, 2012

I've had this poster for years, rolled up in a tube. Best top of the ticket of my lifetime. Soon they'll be together again. I need to put that sucker up on the wall again.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:40 AM on October 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

And if we're invoking HST, it could even be a barbituary.

Could work for Nixon too!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:40 AM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Born and raised in South Dakota here. I find it hard to believe my insane Tea-publican uncle once campaigned for this man. I've only heard tales of him from various relatives and family friends that were alive during that era, mostly related to his anti-war stance. The "Case for Liberalism" essay linked above is great.

Peace to you in your passing, George.
posted by sararah at 11:52 AM on October 19, 2012

I voted for him in '72. I am still proud of that vote.
posted by Danf at 11:57 AM on October 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

Reading about him, he sounds like a genuine mensch. Not enough of those around these days, and we're poorer for it.
posted by arcticseal at 12:00 PM on October 19, 2012

Feckless, you were lucky as hell to have been allowed to talk about the Vietnam era in high school. I was your contemporary and even had a lovely hippie teacher whose Quaker Friends dorm in college had a FBI agent fall through their ceiling once while they were under surveillance (he brushed himself off, apologised, and walked out) -- and it STILL felt as if there was some sort of hustle to get past that era so as not to unearth any recently buried arguments. Anyone else get that feeling of brush-off from their school? We had to go out and do all our research about student movements and the Black Panthers and draft dodgers ourselves.
posted by gusandrews at 12:03 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

1972 was the first election I paid attention to as a kid. McGovern seemed a shoe in to me, but we all know how that ended. The following Watergate hearings and resignations of Spiro Agnew and Richard Nixon amd Jerry Ford's pardoning of Nixon made me cynical about government on a way I don't think I can ever shake.

It's a tribute to Senator McGovern that no one has had anything but kind words for him. He lived a good life.
posted by readery at 12:21 PM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

1972 was the first presidential election in which 18-year-olds could vote. I was 18, and I voted for McGovern. My mother and I both volunteered for the McGovern campaign - it was one of the very few things we agreed about.

I will always be proud of that vote. It's one of the best, and certainly the least conflicted, I've ever cast.
posted by caryatid at 12:23 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

His daughter Teresa died in 1994, about a mile from my house... He wrote a book about her, and about his family, in 1996.

posted by Madamina

That book is tremendously compassionate and insightful. He introduces the cycle of shame as a component of substance abuse. Teresa got high, did something shameful, then got higher to numb the shame, resulting in more shameful things. He doesn't blame himself, but he sees that there are societal shortcomings that we could overcome.

He gave a whole generation the concept of "change from within."
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:23 PM on October 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

I find it hard to believe my insane Tea-publican uncle once campaigned for this man.

Many on the right became rather fond of the fellow after he left public office.

It started when, post-senate, he opened a B&B in Stratford CT B&B which went bust. He wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal blaming government regulation. Then too he decried governmental interfering with private decisions, however ill-advised. Then too, he suggested that you should be able to buy health insurance across state lines and perhaps take the hit for your own economic missteps.

He and WFBuckley were actually good friends, which explains his present at that man's funeral. A different age....
posted by BWA at 12:30 PM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I might have to buy myself one of these T-shirts within the next week or so.
posted by Currer Belfry at 12:43 PM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Fresh out of college I campaigned and I cast my first presidential vote for him...
posted by jim in austin at 12:43 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

He was the candidate of "acid, amnesty and abortion." I was fifteen in 1972; my brother (two years older) and I ran the McGovern campaign headquarters in the tiny North Florida town of Ft. Walton Beach. The fact that two kids who couldn't even vote were the only campaign volunteers McGovern could count on in that town should have signaled to us that it was a lost cause, but I still get sick remember watching the election returns and seeing state after state go for Nixon.
posted by layceepee at 12:43 PM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I grew up in a conservative household, and I remember my parents ridiculing McGovern as a dangerous communist.

They were wrong, so wrong. George, I hope your journey is sublime and serene.
posted by incandissonance at 12:44 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I never even knew that McGovern flew combat missions until about 1990.

Thirty-five combat missions. If you know anything about the mortality rate of Allied bomber crews in the European theater, that is a staggeringly high number of missions to have survived. Not that there weren't some close calls:

On McGovern's December 15 mission over Linz, his second as pilot, a piece of shrapnel from flak came through the windshield and missed killing him by only a few inches. The following day on a mission to Brüx he nearly collided with another bomber during close-formation flying in complete cloud cover. The day after that he was recommended for a medal after surviving a blown wheel on the always-dangerous B-24 take-off, completing a mission over Germany, and then landing without further damage to the plane. On a December 20 mission against the Škoda Works at Pilsen, McGovern's plane had one engine out and another in flames after being hit by flak. Unable to return to Italy, McGovern was able to land his plane on a British airfield on Vis, a small island off the Yugoslav coast controlled by Josip Broz Tito's Partisans. The short field, normally used by small fighter planes, killed many of the bomber crews who tried to make emergency landings there, but McGovern successfully landed, saving his crew and earning him the Distinguished Flying Cross.

April 25 saw McGovern's 35th mission, to fulfill the Fifteenth Air Force requirement for a combat tour, against heavily defended Linz. The sky turned black and red with flak – McGovern later said "Hell can't be any worse than that" – and the Dakota Queen was hit multiple times, resulting in 110 holes in its fuselage and wings and an inoperative hydraulic system. McGovern's waist gunner was injured and his flight engineer so terrified that he would be hospitalized with battle fatigue, but McGovern managed to bring back the plane safely with the assistance of an improvised landing technique.
posted by Rangeboy at 1:04 PM on October 19, 2012 [12 favorites]

I also was 18 at the time and voted for McGovern. It was nauseating when Nixon won. It was already too late to derail the military-industrial complex by then, but in my youthful optimism I didn't realize it. Subsequently, I wore my "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for McGovern" button for years.
My votes for George McGovern and for Jimmy Carter are the only 2 presidential votes in my entire life that, in hindsight, I feel unabashedly proud of. The only comparable public figure today, other than Jimmy Carter of course, is Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. And he is back in private life now.
posted by Galadhwen at 1:09 PM on October 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

The Vietnam War Memorial would be a lot longer but for the sacrifice of leaders like McGovern, Ellsworth and the Berrigans (etc.etc.). And had he won, there'd very likely have been no Pinochet in Chile to disappear tens of thousands.

It almost goes without saying that we're suffering severely for the lack of leaders of that calibre.
posted by Twang at 1:10 PM on October 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

He came to speak at NC State back in the late '70s, and I was in the audience.

I don't remember anything about the speech, after all it was more than three decades ago, but I'm glad I had the opportunity.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:30 PM on October 19, 2012

I grew up in South Dakota. My own father was in hospice in Sioux Falls up until a week ago last Wednesday evening, when he passed away peacefully in his own bed, less than 24 hours after he was told he probably couldn't get up again. This was after being told 7 years ago that he probably wouldn't last the year and of being on oxygen 24/7 up until he took his last breath.

George McGovern and my father couldn't have been farther apart politically. But they both had that Midwestern integrity and stubborness that wouldn't let them dodge the hard questions nor take the easy way out. My political sympathies are with George, but I can't help but believe that growing up in the Midwest encouraged both people to be strong, principled, and tough.

I worked for George's campaign, heard him speak, and shook his hand. I was bitterly disappointed he wasn't elected and that he lost so ignominiously. Him, like my father, I will miss sorely.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:04 PM on October 19, 2012 [7 favorites]

gusandrews - Anyone else get that feeling of brush-off from their school? We had to go out and do all our research about student movements and the Black Panthers and draft dodgers ourselves.

Kent State was the event that, when I learned about it somewhere and saw that it wasn't covered in our textbooks (this was early in highschool in the 90s), made me really start questioning the things I was being told.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:23 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

It was nauseating when Nixon won.

I so remember that feeling. It has been a sad refrain in my life. McGovern was my first vote, too. George McGovern is such a fundamentally good human being - the type of man we should lionize, we should aspire to have our leaders be. His loss was our loss.

I discovered a particular Yeats poem around that time that I found a bit of a soothing balm for my sadness. Leave it to Yeats to find such dignity in the face of terrible public defeat. I often wondered how McGovern (or Carter) brooked defeat by liars with such dignity and withstood such ongoing withering caricature. That's courage.

I've had to console myself with this poem in many elections since. I've posted it on mefi before, but I offer it in tribute to this great man -- although his fine and noble life has hardly "come to nothing."

To a Friend whose Work has come to Nothing

NOW all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honour bred, with one
Who, were it proved he lies,
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbours' eyes?
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.

W.B. Yeats
posted by madamjujujive at 2:29 PM on October 19, 2012 [17 favorites]

I am so sorry for your recent loss, Mental Wimp. You gave both your Dad and George McGovern a fine tribute with your comments.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:32 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sorry for your loss, Mental Wimp. Half of my heritage is mid-western, and there's a beautiful stoicism some of the people there display.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:36 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I remember McGovern as well. He is a man who will be remembered with respect.
True about the Midwest stoicism. Mom had that going for her.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 2:40 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by JoeXIII007 at 2:46 PM on October 19, 2012

Though I was just shy of 4 years old during the '72 election, I have vivid memories of it, particularly my sister (age 7) and I running around the neighborhood chanting "McGovern, McGovern, He's Our Man / Nixon Belongs in the Garbage Can!" and my then-ultra-liberal parents nearly weeping with anger and frustration the morning after the election.

He was an incredibly decent man with rock-solid principles. Even if politics was full of men like George McGovern, he'd be missed; the fact that it isn't makes his loss all the more significant.

Go peacefully, sir.
posted by scody at 2:59 PM on October 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by Renoroc at 3:44 PM on October 19, 2012

I just remembered this segment of "This I Believe" about growing up on the prairie and the values it instills. The writer is Kathryn Timpany, the pastor at my parents' church and the minister who conducted the funeral and eulogized my father. I think the essay captures beautifully the essence of Midwestern mores.

And thanks for the condolences.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:11 PM on October 19, 2012

George McGovern Was a Winner
What if those smart aggressive print reporters had treated the campaign less like an all-expenses-paid tour of America, and had instead followed Woodward and Bernstein’s leads? What if the illegal break-in, burglary, and wiretapping “plumbers' squad” had come to light before the November election? What if the link between the Watergate break-in and the Nixon White House had been made clear—along with the dirty money, cover-up payments, and the rest lurking beneath the surface? You never know. But when it did come out, Nixon fled the White House in disgrace. Wouldn’t he have fled the campaign if the dirty illegal acts he ordered had been revealed? Would America really have then elected a small-time crook like Spiro Agnew, soon to be convicted of bribe-taking, president? It might have all happened before that night in Sioux City if the media had not been wallowing in its newfound power and prestige on the campaign planes and buses. [...]

He was the victim of a crook and liar covering up an illegal war killing our own people and countless innocent Asian peasants. He was the misfortune of competing against a man who had no regard for the Constitution he had sworn to defend.... I think George McGovern deserves to be remembered as a winner.
posted by scody at 4:32 PM on October 19, 2012 [5 favorites]

My McGovern button wasn't popular among my junior high school classmates back in 1972. Having seen many of their recent Facebook posts, I guess it still wouldn't be very popular but I'd be happy to wear it again.
posted by maurice at 5:11 PM on October 19, 2012

Our family's Volvo station wagon sported a "Don't Blame Me; I'm from Massachusetts " bumper sticker until we sold the car. My parents couldn't bear to remove it because they so loathed Nixon. Before the election, my father lamented that there wouldn't be enough time to link the break-in at Democratic Party HQ to Nixon before the election and predicted it would be his downfall.
posted by carmicha at 5:52 PM on October 19, 2012

McGovern was also the victim of George Meany of the AFL-CIO getting buddy-buddy with Nixon, not because Meany truly believed that Nixon would advance the interests of the working-class, but because Meany thought anti-Vietnam War protestors were a bunch of hippie faggots. That was the beginning of many self-inflicted wounds for the labor movement continuing that has led to the 99% getting screwed ever since. The hard feelings between the labor movement and McGovern eventually led to McGovern opposing the Employee Free Choice Act in 2008 (a.k.a. "card check").

It's a tragedy all around and, if McGovern had won in 1972, we might be a whole lot better off today.
posted by jonp72 at 6:03 PM on October 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I never even knew that McGovern flew combat missions until about 1990.

Steven Ambrose wrote a book about B-24 missions over Germany which had a big focus on McGovern.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 7:59 PM on October 19, 2012

In the months leading up to the 1972 Presidential election, I was in Scandinavia, and the news was full of bombed dikes and Watergate. At the same time, I was faced with the information that Nixon was looking forward to a landslide. I couldn't believe it. I suppose the proof that that bastard was up in it to his eyeballs wasn't quite in, but couldn't Americans put two and two together? Again, I was abroad, so I have to suppose the Media Machine in the U.S. must have been spinning that issue like mad.

Like others on this thread, after working as a teen for McCarthy, I got to cast my first vote after they said youngsters could participate, and that one Presidential vote is the only one I am proud of. The others were either choosing the least evil of the two or throwing my vote away on a 3rd party candidate because Colorado was going Republican anyway (now that has changed somewhat...). George McGovern. Sigh.
posted by kozad at 9:28 AM on October 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

"Don't change Dicks in the middle of a screw - vote for Nixon in '72!"
posted by squalor at 10:09 PM on October 20, 2012

POLITICO Breaking News------------------------------------------------
-The Associated Press says former U.S. Sen. George McGovern, the Democrat who lost to President Richard Nixon in 1972 in a historic landslide, has died this morning at the age of 90.For more information...
posted by chavenet at 4:39 AM on October 21, 2012

Interesting fact from twitter:
The NYT's McGovern obit ( …) was written by David Rosenbaum, who died in 2006

The actual NYTimes obit here
posted by readery at 6:08 AM on October 21, 2012

“I always thought of myself as a good old South Dakota boy who grew up here on the prairie,” he said in an interview for this obituary in 2005."

Yeah, there's an awkward interview request.
posted by Beardman at 6:22 AM on October 21, 2012

The McGovern/Nixon race was my first introduction to American politics. I was 7 years old and my father believed even then that Nixon had no business being president. He told me he was going to vote for McGovern even though he knew he couldn't win. A good, honest man voting for a good, honest man. If I have lived my principles, it's because of the examples my father and George McGovern set for me. RIP Senator McGovern. RIP dad.
posted by headnsouth at 7:00 AM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Great story about McGovern's experience as a B-24 pilot during the the milk run over Wiener Neustadt.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:17 AM on October 21, 2012

Ah, McGovern, the hapless candidate whose very nomination was orchestrated by the combined action of Republican ratfucking and the suicidal progressivism of the Democratic Party's base before "super delegates" were added to the math to help keep them in check.

McGovern was also sunk, of course, by some very, very bad luck: he first chose as his running mate an asshole of a Democratic Senator named Thomas Eagleton, who, unbeknownst to McGovern, was the source of the simplistic "Acid, Abortion, and Amnesty" slur that dogged his late primary and general election campaign. Subsequent to the announcement, of course, it was revealed that Eagleton got hooked up to jumper cables on a regular basis for his depression, and (after stating publically that he stood behind his running mate "one thousand percent", because, seriously, what else could he do?) McGovern was forced to ask for Eagleton's withdrawal from the ticket.

The silliest thing about the whole fucking general election campaign, as kozad already noted, is that both the Watergate burglary and Nixon's response (which would implicate him in its cover-up) had already happened by autumn of 1972. John Mitchell, former Attorney-General and Nixon's campaign manager, was already facing direct questions about his knowledge and/or involvement. Unfortunately, the full extent of Nixon's involvement would not be revealed or reported until the summer of 1974, when Nixon was forced to resign or face certain impeachment and conviction.
posted by The Confessor at 7:37 AM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

From the NYTimes obit that readery linked:
“But we probably didn’t work enough on cultivating that image,” he added, referring to his campaign organization. “We were more interested in ending the war in Vietnam and getting people out of poverty and being fair to women and minorities and saving the environment.

“It was an issue-oriented campaign, and we should have paid more attention to image.”
posted by eviemath at 8:00 AM on October 21, 2012

posted by Mental Wimp at 8:04 AM on October 21, 2012

Washington Post, 2005 - What Might Have Been
In which George McGovern, the senior member of a rare and burdened tribe, reveals just how long it takes to get over losing the presidency
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:07 AM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was too young to vote for him, but old enough to campaign for him.

Thanks, George, you did a lot of good. We need more politicians with your ideals and ethics.
posted by theora55 at 9:19 AM on October 21, 2012

posted by klausness at 9:26 AM on October 21, 2012

It's all downhill from here folks.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:43 AM on October 21, 2012

posted by PROD_TPSL at 1:29 PM on October 21, 2012

On the last page of the NYTimes obit:

What he called “the big tragedy of my life” occurred in 1994. His daughter Teresa J. McGovern, who had suffered from alcoholism and mental illness, froze to death, acutely intoxicated, in a parking lot snowbank in Madison, Wis., at the age of 45.

His eyes welled up as he talked about it 11 years later. “That just about killed me,” he said. “I had always had a very demanding schedule. I didn’t do everything I could as a father.”

. . .

Eleanor McGovern died in 2007 at 85. A son, Steven, who had also struggled with alcoholism, died in July at 60.

A youtube search (George Mcgovern Iraq) did not return what I was looking for but I did find this 2008 interview Amy Goodman George McGovern and Jim Hightower. I hope I may sound that lucid if and when I hit 86.
posted by bukvich at 3:45 PM on October 21, 2012

Joan Walsh: George McGovern: He deserved better
More than 30 years before Karl Rove and friends Swift-boated Vietnam War hero John Kerry, Republicans managed to turn a decorated World War II combat veteran, a devout Christian and a son of the Depression-era Plains heartland into the elite, effete counterculture candidate of “amnesty, abortion and acid.” But when Republicans destroyed the 1972 presidential candidacy of George McGovern, who died early this morning at the age of 90, they had more than a little help from Democrats.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:16 PM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

On policy versus image [not directly related to George McGovern].
posted by eviemath at 5:49 PM on October 21, 2012

Hunter S. Thompson - passage of unedited notes by Hunter in Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72
frewuently in the last two weeks, senator mcgovern had spoken of a young p black man who xxxxxx predicted that the election was going to break his heart because he was going to g find out that the american people were not as high minded as he thought they were/typically, mr. mcgovern challenged this view, x saying that he believed in the goodness and decency of the people and that they would respond to their own consciences.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:38 AM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm from South Dakota, and my friend Roxy grew up in Mitchell and had this to say on Facebook:
When I was working at the movie theatre in Mitchell, a small old man approached the ticket counter one night when I was working. He was by himself, moved slowly, but looked fairly content. Simply an old man fine with attending the movies by himself.

The movie he was seeing that night?


That man was George McGovern.
She went on to post that her boss, the owner of the movie theater, later attended the funeral of McGovern's wife. They offered their condolences and he thanked them. And then he went on to discuss how much he liked the Kill Bill movies.

RIP, Mr. McGovern. Thank you for being so South Dakotan. Kind and wise and humble. That's how we do.
posted by lauranesson at 12:19 PM on October 26, 2012 [5 favorites]

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