George McGovern Revealed To Historian He Had A Secret Child

An academic with a forthcoming biography of 1972 Democratic presidential candidate and former senator George McGovern has confirmed that the South Dakotan fathered a child before he was married.

He said McGovern, as an 18-year-old freshman at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D., lost his virginity to the girlfriend of a friend during a trip to Lake Mitchell in December of 1940 or January of 1941, and immediately got her pregnant.

George McGovern Able To Articulate Theology And Satirical Humor

Hat Tip To Doug

One truly warm-hearted read from Jim Wallis concerning George McGovern.

Wheaton invited both Nixon and McGovern to come. Actually, the Wheaton Student Council, which issued the invitations to both candidates, accidentally switched the letters, sending Nixon’s by mistake to McGovern. The accidental switch told McGovern that the student council had to invite his Democratic opponent, “but all of us here at Wheaton are for you Mr. President!”

Now more than four decades later, there still are some things I recall with crystal clarity from that leaders meeting and the Wheaton speaking event.

One was a question McGovern got from an aggressive professor of Christian apologetics who asked the senator how somebody who attended the liberal Garrett Theological Seminary could have an adequate view of the fallen state of human nature. McGovern surprised the evangelical leaders by giving a theologically knowledgeable and biblically balanced exegesis of the apostle Paul’s view of the human condition and then ended with a joke that broke up the house:

“So because I don’t fully subscribe to the theology of complete human depravity, and because Richard Nixon practices it, you’re going to vote for him?”

Both McGovern’s articulate theology and satirical humor impressed the group.

George McGovern Dies At Age 90, Progressive Voice For Millions While Working For Peace

This Sunday morning the news broke that we all knew was coming in regards to George McGovern.  The former United States Senator and Democratic presidential nominee died at the age of 90.

Late last week I wrote about the last lecture given by McGovern in Madison, and the impact his words had on the audience.

This morning the major papers in the nation offer their obituaries.

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.       

A slender, soft-spoken minister’s son newly elected to Congress — his father was a Republican — Mr. McGovern went to Washington as a 34-year-old former college history teacher and decorated bomber pilot in World War II. He thought of himself as a son of the prairie as well, with a fittingly flat, somewhat nasal voice and a brand of politics traceable to the Midwestern progressivism of the late 19th century.

Recalling George McGovern Lecture At UW-Madison: An Honorable, Decent, Soft-Spoken American With A Big Heart

I write this post in honor of George McGovern, who is now in hospice, and as the family announced, at the end of his life.  He remains a most remarkable man and one of those politicians that history will recall with kindness.  The thoughts and prayers of a very grateful nation go to the former senator and his family in these hours.

When I attended a lecture by George McGovern during a stop at UW-Madison in 2005 I was struck by the calm and reasoned nature of someone I had long respected and admired.

I looked over my notes from that night and wish to share some memories.

When asked about the role of character when selecting a leader of the nation his words were softly spoken, but struck to the heart of the matter.

The 1972 Democratic nominee for president started out by saying that we need more civility and respect in government.  He stopped his answer, and then stated matter of factly that it is not good enough to say whether someone is a Republican or a Democrat, but instead “needs to tell me what he honestly believes regardless of if I agree or not.”

The person seeking office must have ” a solid moral underpinning” with old-fashioned ethics he reminded those listening.  It was a lesson McGovern lived as a politician, and as a man.

I posed the question as to what happened to President Nixon in this regard, and McGovern told the audience that the president had forgotten his constitutional oath, and his moral principles were lost.

When I asked him to define Richard Nixon, there was no doubt McGovern was fair with his words.  He mentioned China, détente, and environmental legislation and paid tribute to the works of the man who defeated him at the ballot box.  There was no rancor in his tone, no hidden pain from a bitter defeat.

But McGovern was honest.

Richard Nixon ran on fear, he had “no use for hope, charity, faith.”  But he added that Nixon was bright, and “intelligent”.

It was at this time McGovern delighted the crowd with one of the big applause lines of the night in response to my question.

“I wished he (RN) was in the White House today as opposed to what we have.” Then he added with a slight pause for the best effect and added, ” I can say that safely since Nixon is on the other side of the great divide.”

There was sincerity of an aging politician on display that night who could look back and reflect with a large group of people.

“I shed some tears on Election Night,” he stated to the packed auditorium.

Over the years there was correspondence between the two aging politicians.

In 1984 McGovern stated he wrote to Nixon, and when RN penned a book would always send a copy to the senator.

The most meaningful line from that evening was when McGovern stated “there has never been a day that I have been ashamed to stand up for what is right.”

That is when I could tell that the younger college age crowd was paying attention.  The strength of one’s convictions seems (sadly) less a standard today in politics, but McGovern was saying that ideals matter, as does consistency.

There are many politicians of all stripes, but few as honorable or decent as the soft-spoken, and big-hearted man who remained a proud liberal.

George McGovern remains one of the best this nation ever had.

One of my memories that I will always carry with me was the chance to meet George McGovern, and thank him for his service to our nation.

Words From George McGovern That We Need To Recall This Election

These words from George McGovern should still guide us.  He spoke them in 1972, and they still resonate for those who seek to lead our nation today.

“The great presidents, in my judgment, weren’t men with the killer instinct. The three biggest presidential monuments in the capital are dedicated to Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. These were very tough-minded men, but it wasn’t the killer instinct that guided them.

“I think these were men with a rare degree of prudence, wisdom and compassion – qualities that are much needed now. Some cynics feel that decency in a politician is a handicap.

“But I think a sense of decency – not prudishness nor sanctimonious self-righteousness but old fashioned concern and love for others – will be essential in the next Presidents. That’s the kind of President I want to be.”

George McGovern Near End Of Life “No Longer Responsive”

We all know what this is like, and our prayers are with George and his family.  Go gently into the night.

The family of ex-U.S. Sen. George McGovern says the 90-year-old is “no longer responsive” in hospice care.

His daughter Ann McGovern told The Associated Press that her father is “nearing the end” and appears restful and peaceful. She says it’s a blessing that she and other family members are able to be with him.

George McGovern, In Hospice, “He’s Coming To The End Of His Life”

This is really sad news.

One of the nicest men in politics during my lifetime is in Hospice, and nearing the end of his life.

Your blogger with 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.

George McGovern, who became a leader of the Democrats’ liberal wing during his three decades in Congress, lost his 1972 challenge to Nixon, who later resigned amid the Watergate scandal. McGovern has turned his focus in recent years to world hunger.

It was after a lecture tour last October that he was treated for exhaustion. Two months later, he fell and hit his head just before a scheduled interview with C-SPAN for a program focusing on failed presidential candidates who’ve had a lasting impact on American politics.

McGovern also spent several days in a Florida hospital in April for tests to determine why he occasionally passed out and had difficulty speaking.

Happy Birthday To George McGovern

Your blogger and the 1972 Democratic presidential nominee.

I have always deeply admired George McGovern.  Not just for his views and reflections on politics and policy but due to the fact from all accounts he is just a decent person.

In a world that is filled with too many self-centered politicians we can be proud of the gentle-toned man from South Dakota who called us to think of higher ideals for this nation.

Happy Birthday, George McGovern.