Tuesday, October 16, 2012

George McGovern

The end is near, apparently, for George McGovern:

Longtime former U.S. Sen. George McGovern, the Democratic presidential candidate who lost to President Richard Nixon in a historic landslide, has moved into hospice care near his home in South Dakota, his family said Monday.

"He's coming to the end of his life," his daughter, Ann McGovern, told The Associated Press. She declined to elaborate but noted that her 90-year-old father has suffered several health problems in the last year.

McGovern was probably the most forthright left-liberal candidate ever to run for president. He got his butt kicked for a lot of reasons, but I've always found him an admirable figure, because he was (a) absolutely true to his beliefs and (b) capable of learning. He wrote this article in 1993, some 20 years after his run for the presidency, in which he discussed the burdens a small businessman must face:

The second lesson I learned by owning the Stratford Inn is that legislators and government regulators must more carefully consider the economic and management burdens we have been imposing on U.S. business. As an innkeeper, I wanted excellent safeguards against a fire. But I was startled to be told that our two-story structure, which had large sliding doors opening from every guest room to all-concrete decks, required us to meet fire regulations more appropriate to the Waldorf-Astoria. A costly automatic sprinkler system and new exit doors were items that helped sink the Stratford Inn -- items I was convinced added little to the safety of our guests and employees. And a critical promotional campaign never got off the ground, partly because my manager was forced to concentrate for days at a time on needlessly complicated tax forms for both the IRS and the state of Connecticut.

I'm for protecting the health and well-being of both workers and consumers. I'm for a clean environment and economic justice. But I'm convinced we can pursue those worthy goals and still cut down vastly on the incredible paperwork, the complicated tax forms, the number of minute regulations, and the seemingly endless reporting requirements that afflict American business. Many businesses, especially small independents such as the Stratford Inn, simply can't pass such costs on to their customers and remain competitive or profitable.

I'm not expert enough after only two and a half years as a business owner to know the solutions to all those concerns. I do know that if I were back in the U.S. Senate or in the White House, I would ask a lot of questions before I voted for any more burdens on the thousands of struggling businesses across the nation.

This was a startling and welcome admission at the time and one we seem to have forgotten. As we ponder the life and work of Sen. McGovern, it's well worth remembering.

1 comment:

Chuckwagon Boy said...

I too have respect for McGovern as he does seem an admirable fellow. I actually met him and have a picture with him. My dad and I along with another father and son were camping in South Dakota and on the last night of vacation decided to stay in a hotel (I don't remember why though - maybe the dads needed a break. :)) and when we went swimming, Mr. McGovern was in the whirlpool.

My friend and I did not realize who he was, but the dads sure did as they were staunch Republicans and had voted for Nixon. So they walked over nicely and asked if us kids could have a picture taken with him. He was nice and said sure, so there all three of us stood in our swimming suits back in the 70's for one of those Kodak moments.