“I’m fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.” — George McGovern
THE LOSER WINS
Today may well be George McGovern’s last on Earth.
McGovern did a lot of things in his long public and political life, but the one thing he’ll be remembered for is getting whomped in 1972 by the only president in US history to resign in disgrace.
The senator from South Dakota lost to the unindicted co-conspirator by a margin of 60.7 percent to 37.5 percent.
Richard M. Nixon garnered 18 million more votes than McGovern that sad November day. The incumbent president carried 49 of the 50 states. McGovern couldn’t even carry his own state. He did beat Nixon in Massachusetts but, then as now, everybody knew that Massachusetts is not really, y’know, American.
Nixon’s two biggest promises to the American electorate the year he ran for his first term were to bring a divided nation together and end the War in Vietnam. He failed to accomplish either goal by the ’72 election.
Yet the thoughtful residents of this holy land were determined to let him keep his job.
But Nixon was a troubled man. A man who battled inner demons night and day. A man whose damaged psyche impelled him to lie, cheat, steal, slander, sabotage, and otherwise toy with the political process in a way the country had never seen, nor has it seen since.
Here’s the definitive Nixon: After triumphing in the third greatest landslide in American history, he sent a memo to his adviser, speechwriter, and pet rat, Pat Buchanan. It read:
The opposition line will be:
1. McGovern’s mistakes lost it and not his views and not RN’s strength.
2. The low vote proves no one liked either candidate.
3. RN let down his party.
We’re In Real Trouble Now, Pat — We Won Big
A man who’d lost so dramatically to such an undiagnosed paranoiac might be forgiven for feeling sorry for himself. McGovern and his wife Eleanor were devastated by the campaign and the loss. They mulled moving to England. He admitted to harboring feelings of bitterness and self-pity.
He bounced back emotionally, though, and started giving self deprecating speeches about the ’72 election. At one he said, “For many years, I wanted to run for the presidency in the worst possible way. And last year I sure did.”
McGovern even considered running for president again in 1976 but Democratic party big shots sat him down and told him not to waste his time or theirs. It wasn’t until the Reagan Revolution swept America in 1980 that McGovern was finally ousted from his Senate seat.
In his later years, McGovern worked tirelessly to battle world hunger. He even ran his own bookstore for a couple of years. When George W. Bush was beating the drums for war with Iraq, McGovern called for peace. After the war started, he called for a pullout. After five years of war, he called for Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to be impeached.
McGovern Being Awarded The Presidential Medal Of Freedom
Sadly, the loss to Nixon wasn’t the greatest tragedy of McGovern’s life. His daughter Terry was an alcoholic and homeless. She died of hypothermia after passing out in a snow bank in 1994. His son Steven also died of alcoholism just three months ago.
McGovern became a laughingstock in this nation that reveres winners. Yet he dedicated much of his life to helping tens of millions of people around the globe eat.
He is a loser?
The only events listings you need in Bloomington.
Thursday, October 18th, 2012
Brought to you by The Electron Pencil: Bloomington Arts, Culture, Politics, and Hot Air. Daily.
STUDIO TOUR ◗ Brown County, various locations — The Backroads of Brown County Studio Tour, free, self-guided tour of 16 local artists’ & craftspersons’ studios; 10am-5pm, through October
LECTURE ◗ IU Lilly Library — “The Destruction and Preservation of Medieval Documents: A Set of Catalan Examples,” Presented by Paul H. Freeman of Yale University; 4-6pm
LECTURE ◗ IU Poynter Center — “Balancing Ethics and Access: Over-the-Counter HIV Testing,” Presented by Beth Meyerson; 4pm
ART & LECTURE ◗ IU Woodburn Hall — E.M. Saniga talks about his works in the “Small Is Big” exhibit; 5pm
BENEFIT ◗ Upland Brewing Company — 5th Annual Local Grower’s Guild Harvest Dinner; 6pm
MUSIC ◗ Malibu Grill — Steve Johnson Trio; 6-9pm
MUSIC ◗ The Player’s Pub — Built for Comfort; 6:30pm
DEBATE ◗ IU Auditorium — Robert Gibbs & Karl Rove; 7pm
MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford Hall — Octubafest, Daniel Perantoni, director; 7pm
DISCUSSION ◗ IU Latino Cultural Center — “¿Queer y que?: Questions for Queer Latinidad,” Presented by Jeannette Johnson-Licón; 7pm
MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Shelf Life; 7-9pm
OPERA ◗ IU Musical Arts Center — “The Merry Widow“; 8pm
MUSIC ◗ Max’s Place — Tilford Sellers & The Wagon Burners; 8pm
MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford Hall — Clarinet Studio Recital; 8:30pm
MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts Center, Recital Hall — Artist Diploma Recital, Hyung You on piano; 8:30pm
MUSIC ◗ The Bluebird — Phunk Nasty; 9pm
MUSIC ◗ The Bishop — 3rd Eye Visionaries, L-ion, Louis Logic, Ceschi; 9:30pm
MUSIC ◗ Max’s Place — Adam Lee & Dead Horse Sound Company; 10pm
ART ◗ IU Art Museum — Exhibits:
- “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
- “Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; through December 31st
- “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers,” by Julia Margaret, Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan; through December 31st
- “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century;” through December 31st
- Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Pop-art by Joe Tilson; through December 31st
- “Threads of Love: Baby Carriers from China’s Minority Nationalities“; through December 23rd
- “Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st
- “Embracing Nature,” by Barry Gealt; through December 23rd
- “Pioneers & Exiles: German Expressionism,” through December 23rd
ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Center — Exhibits:
- “Ab-Fab — Extreme Quilting,” by Sandy Hill; October 5th through October 27th
- “Street View — Bloomington Scenes,” by Tom Rhea; October 5th through October 27th
- “From the Heartwoods,” by James Alexander Thom; October 5th through October 27th
- “The Spaces in Between,” by Ellen Starr Lyon; October 5th through October 27th
ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald Gallery — Exhibit:
- Buzz Spector: Off the Shelf; through November 16th
- Small Is Big; Through November 16th
ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery — Exhibits:
- “A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners;” through December 20th
- “Gender Expressions;” through December 20th
PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — Exhibit:
- “CUBAmistad” photos
ART ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — Exhibits:
- “¡Cuba Si! Posters from the Revolution: 1960s and 1970s”
- “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”
- “Thoughts, Things, and Theories… What Is Culture?”
- “Picturing Archaeology”
- “Personal Accents: Accessories from Around the World”
- “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”
- “The Day in Its Color: A Hoosier Photographer’s Journey through Mid-century America”
- “TOYing with Ideas”
- “Living Heritage: Performing Arts of Southeast Asia”
- “On a Wing and a Prayer”
BOOKS ◗ IU Lilly Library — Exhibit:
- “Outsiders and Others:Arkham House, Weird Fiction, and the Legacy of HP Lovecraft;” through November 1st
- “A World of Puzzles,” selections form the Slocum Puzzle Collection
PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Soup’s On — Exhibit:
- Celebration of Cuban Art & Culture: “CUBAmistad photos; through October
PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Monroe County History Center — Exhibit:
- “Bloomington: Then and Now,” presented by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th
ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History Center — Exhibits:
- Doctors & Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical Professions
- What Is Your Quilting Story?
- Garden Glamour: Floral Fashion Frenzy
- Bloomington Then & Now
- World War II Uniforms
- Limestone Industry in Monroe County