Friday, March 28, 2008

Personal Aside: Obama Starting to Resemble McGovern in `72. Here’s Why.

McGovern Was a Synthetic Lefty Who Really Didn’t Believe It.

Increasingly, Barack Obama’s campaign is starting to resemble the George McGovern campaign of 1972 which was the most disastrous one in modern U. S. politics.

McGovern’s race was a contrived total left-wing excursion, serenaded by the liberal media and fanned to a fair-thee-well by all the usual left-wing suspects. But it was not pre-ordained from the outset that McGovern would lose…especially on the national security issue. . Indeed, to start out with, McGovern had far more going for him than Obama. The real McGovern story is solid TV documentary fare. A high school gym teacher once called him a coward because he trembled before vaulting a gymnastic horse and never really leapt over it. Disgusted with himself because he really and truly felt he was a coward in failing to jump over the horse and terribly afraid of heights, he gritted his teeth and signed up for a civilian pilot training program. You can imagine how dizzy and woozy he felt as he was learning to fly. When he soloed, he felt cold sweat rolling down his back. But when he walked away after that solo, having won his certificate he was never afraid of heights again.

When World War II came he volunteered for what was then the U.S. Army Air Forces. He served as a B-24 Liberator bomber pilot with the 15th Air Force and flew 35 missions over enemy territory from bases in North Africa and Italy, piloting the craft through rains of artillery fire. When his plane was hit, he skillfully maneuvered it to a successful crash landing on a tiny Mediterranean island and saved his crew, winning the Distinguished Flying Cross and the eternal admiration of his crew.

I knew George McGovern because I had a lot to do with him in his chairmanship of the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs and Quaker worked closely with him on some major proposals adopted by the committee. I was the lobbyist for Quaker at that time and worked with him trying to trim down his idea of a “Guaranteed Minimum Diet” for Americans similar to a guaranteed annual wage. I helped kill the idea which was truly visionary but I got to know him pretty well.

With his military background, McGovern could have had great credibility challenging the Vietnam war. Gene McCarthy who opposed the war had no military service whatsoever; thus his appreciation of the military was severely limited. Hubert Humphrey who supported the war likewise had no military experience so his defense of the war was not very convincing. Only McGovern could make the case that some wars are necessary and others are not. But McGovern flunked the test. Why? Because he was hearkening back to Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 race and thought Bobby was where the country was. Not so. Bobby was a charismatic character who would have shown the world how he could switch back to the old Bobby who was Joe McCarthy’s second-tier aide.

McGovern allowed himself to be misinformed by the Bobby-aping left…and the media…to the point of espousing their favored causes. None other than his former running-mate, Missouri Senator Tom Eagleton who was dumped by McGovern coined the phrase…used by Bob Novak but never credited to Eagleton at his wish so long as he lived…that became affixed to McGovern like pinning the tail on the donkey: Acid…Abortion…and Amnesty.

In 1972 the so-called 3 A’s spelled defeat since they alienated the middle class. By acid, Eagleton meant that McGovern was secretly supportive of a relaxed drug culture. He wasn’t. His daughter later died of an overdose but he was passive about it since so many of his followers were on hashish and stuff like that as were Bobby’s. Although he ran a year prior to “Roe v. Wade” when certain states were passing legislation to legalize abortion—a highly controversial issue which alienated Catholics—Eagleton perceived that the McGovern forces were highly sympathetic to the practice. McGovern never really felt secure on abortion rights but figured what the hell Bobby’s people were.

Insofar as amnesty was concerned, McGovern was least responsive on that issue of them all as a decorated military hero. But Bobby—well you know the tune. Rather than take firm positions against these issues, McGovern sailed along allowing the left to pin him decisively as a man close to its own heart. McGovern never used his legitimate military background and honors as ballast. He never made a move to move to the center. He viewed the wildly favorable liberal-left news coverage of his positions as representative of Middle America. He once told me a Chinaman could beat Nixon. That’s where he was wrong. Running with that superimposed Bobby supposed lefty baggage against Richard Nixon he was a sitting duck, carrying only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

Suppose McGovern had moderated his stand a bit. Suppose he had not supported an immediate pull-out from Vietnam. His opposition to the war was known: why didn’t he give himself some wiggle room and adopt a moderate plan to Vietnamese the war? His military credentials were superbly justificatory; his liberal credentials were the highest. He didn’t. He matched the 3 A’s with wild plans that excited the most liberal of the news media: a $1,000 per person grant from the federal government which pleased the National Welfare Rights lobby. A massive counter-budget slashing the role of the military. A stupendous re-ordering of priorities that instituted a huge domestic government in place of defense. A not so covert support of tax hikes to play for it. All these things won for George McGovern the title: He Stands Tall in Georgetown. Indeed he did. And then…pffffft!

What caused the failure was this: At no time did McGovern ever try to moderate his stands into a centrist position. It was all Far Left to please the news media.

Obama is a Lefty Who Truly Believes It.

Obama starts off with a biography that is far less distinguished than George McGovern’s. Raised the son of an atheistic mother and an absentee father, his education…financed largely by his wealthy white grandparents…was decidedly middle class. There was no military experience. There was some incidental recreational drug-taking and some quite considerable feeling sorry for himself as recounted in his two autobiographies…that of a black trying to make it in a white society. The only thing we can say about Obama’s youth is that he has an uncommon facility for story-telling that is not always accurate even concerning his own autobiography. He went to Harvard at a time when affirmative action was high and became president of the Law Review.

Any corporate executive who hired Harvard people about that time knows that regrettably African Americans were prized and sometimes idealized by the ivy league schools which pushed them unmercifully at times up the ladder. Maybe Obama WAS the smartest guy in his class which would warrant Law Review; maybe he wasn’t. Who knows? Not even he, sadly. The curse of affirmative action is that it denigrates all minorities who matriculate during its regime. We hired an African American Harvard law grad at Quaker who was such a poor lawyer that we had to detail an intern to help write briefs. Language and spelling were poor. We had some who were okay. But more minorities from Harvard disappointed than majorities I am sorry to say. That unfortunately is the legacy of all affirmative action and poisons the well for all who received it. My guess is that Obama would have made Law Review without it: judging from the incisive way he handled my interviews on ABC radio. But who knows?

That being said, thanks to affirmative action is was not a great leap to get a berth in a major law firm. One helper there was Newton Minow who a legendary liberal Democratic cardinal in a blue-chip firm. Barack marries another middle-class kid who went to Whitney Young magnet school, failed for a time to get a Harvard scholarship on academic credentials in contrast to her brother who got one for athleticism but got a assistance anyhow and went there, since there are plenty of resources around to assist reasonably qualified African Americans who apply themselves. Michelle was unhappy at Harvard because she felt out of place with all those white people she felt belonged there and made her feel (she wrote) that she didn’t.

That bitterness soured her. Having been benefited by either formal affirmative action or what they suspected was informal, unseen but hidden affirmative action through condescending guilt-ridden white Americans in highly connected law firms and social occasions produces a kind of unresolved anger. Goddamn! White America wants so awfully much to help me but that’s fakery. White America always puts the black person in a box and pretends to be so-so compassionate. Affirmative action breeds insecurity and from insecurity comes anger. Anger at self, anger at white America, anger at the system. Even the sudden promotions she got at the University of Chicago Hospitals…ending at $300,000 per…was it due to her or her celebrity as the wife of Obama? She probably understands it’s the latter. And it sure was. It would make anybody angry.

That anger was like a fuse to be touched off by Jeremiah Wright. Here was a man who linked religion with the anger. If you believe Obama was drawn to Wright because of his simple Christian charity and turning the other cheek, you’ve got another think coming. What drew Obama to Wright was the very thing that caused Wright to stand out when unmasked—a fervent hater of whites, America and the system. He said things Barack and Michelle didn’t feel they could say…but they gloried in it.

George McGovern doubted the left but decided to ride with the current thinking he’d be the next Bobby. Not so Obama. There’s the difference. McGovern truly believed in 1972 that the mediacentric left embodied the country’s majority. He did not feel he had to make any distinctions and so he cruised with the left. His background…his small town South Dakota Methodism, his gallant military service…could have led him to make a sharp distinction with the left but he misjudged the temper of the times. In essence: he WOULD NOT make the distinction…although personally he did not share the views of the left… because he felt sure that the left, embodied by the activist media, was the majority as the New Bobby.

The difference is that unlike the McGovernites, Obama and his people ACTIVELY SHARE the views of the left. Unlike McGovern’s Senate record, their record in the Senate is almost 100% left. He is indeed the most liberal senator of all 100. There is no concession whatsoever that Barack Obama has made with the center or the left. None. He is for tax hikes. He is for drastic slash of the military. On social issues he is not only pro-abortion, unlike almost all his Democratic colleagues, he is pro-infanticide…for allowing babies born from botched abortions to die. He has not only stated this—declaring that his fear that the Born Alive bill would jeopardize abortion rights…the same position his lawyer wife had taken in a written statement…he is just as George McGovern was: a living embodiment of the left in every particular. If you think he is not, tell me where he differs in any important particular from the left’s credo. Any important difference—in foreign policy, domestic, social, whatever. Don’t give me this niggling haggling thing in health care anent Hillary. I mean meaningful things.

Had Obama any interest in drawing a distinction from the abject Left, he could have done so with Jeremiah Wright. He could but he would not. The distinction would have been painful but politically salutary. He could have said that like most men, regrettably, he attended church and thought of other things while the sermons were being delivered. Yes he knew that Wright was propagating hatred and anti-patriotism but he was more interested in the social aspects of church—the soup kitchens Wright ran, the nutrition clinic, the day care services. He could say that the time is long overdue to make a distinction. And he could ably describe the distinction. He need not lose his black identification: he could separate from Wright and affiliate with the broad overall view of Christianity. He need not choose another church. He wouldn’t have to split with them. He could just restate his religion as in support of overall Christianity. And he could draw on a great model: Abraham Lincoln who went to no church but was a generic Christian.

But he didn’t do it because he WOULDN’T DO IT. He stood with Wright as a friend and said stunningly that to disavow Wright would be to disavow the entire black community. That was probably the most politically stupid thing he said in his entire life but if he had he would have been untrue to himself because he is WITH WRIGHT. In saying this, he decided to stand with the narrow, bigoted, anti-white, anti-American minority of militancy. Make no mistake this is not only on religion. The determination that he would take off the American flag lapel pin was that of a leftist ideologue—something McGovern never was. The determination not to place his hand on his heart with the playing of the National Anthem was that of a leftist ideologue something McGovern was not. . Michelle’s statement that for the first time she was proud of America…when her husband won primary elections…is pure 100% Jeremiah Wright.

Ergo: the man who maintains that he is the one to unify America is a bare-faced glaring, grimacing fraud. The man to unify America is John McCain who has crossed the aisle hundreds of times to the discomfiture of his own party! Further the man who maintains he is of moderate mien and disposition is a bare-faced, glaring, grimacing fraud. There is no meaningful moderation whatsoever that has been displayed in Barack Obama: nothing.

The distinction is this. George McGovern of 1972 was essentially a man of moderate disposition who listened to the song of the liberal left media and miscalculated, decided they could make him look like the next Bobby and with their push, enable him to win. He lost because of that miscalculation. He later lost his Senate seat because of that legacy. But Obama does not take his leftist stands as a stratagem. He is the Man of the Left incarnate. The liberal media rightly celebrates him as a man of some honesty. He is honest all right. An honest to God leftist- secularist who has little patriotism because he can’t honest-to-God quantify what the country has done for him-- but who has doubted his own worth for many years for one reason. Affirmative action has denied him a precious right: the right to say that he earned it on his own. That frustration has led him to embrace the Left and to affiliate with a preacher who blames whitey for it. Actually, ironically he is right to blame whitey for some of it. Whitey…the liberal whitey…the LBJ brand of liberal domestic whitey has done him in. And as one who played a major part in affirmative action by applying it to government contracts, I had a somewhat major role in doing so. So this is self-condemnatory as well..

Mea maxima culpa.


  1. I just can't resist. I must congratulate you on your ability to see inside the thoughts and know the true beliefs of others. Such a rare gift.

    After deftly insinuating that both Obamas were products of affirmative action, (after all, they are black, y'know) you then state what is in their hearts and minds. (She went to Princeton, he to Columbia. More affirmative action?)

    Let me tell you about affirmative action: when George Bush, as a son of George H.W. Bush, was allowed into Yale and Harvard. Not because he had the mentality, but because of family.

  2. Yes, Elizabeth, but the same can be said of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (a "C" student, possessed of "a second rate intellect" according to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.) and let's not bother to mention the academic records and transgressions of the various Kennedy family members. Summarizing Ted Kennedy's academic misconduct could take an hour alone.

    By the way, George W. Bush was enrolled at Yale under a commonplace admissions policy which favors the children of alumni members. Despite your slamming him, it has been demonstrated that he had higher grades than John Kerry while at Yale and he completed a graduate degree program at Harvard. In comparison, Albert Gore, Jr., flunked out of divinity school and law school.

    Both Barack and Michelle Obama racked up some big dollars playing the affirmative action game for all it is worth. It pays to know Tony.

  3. I believe anyone who thoroughly checks the record will find that George W. did get admitted to Yale as the son of an alum. This is such a common practise, I can't see why it would be mentioned, or called afirmative action. To my knowledge G.H.W. Bush did not attend Harvard, but I may be mistaken.

    While at Yale, George W. produced an academic record far greater than either Bill or Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and a host of other great liberal minds.

    One doesn't get into the Harvard Graduate program on anything but merit.

    I could swear I saw a flurry of comments just the other day from Madam Alexander. The last one said something to the effect that "I am sorry I ever wrote you--"

    She must heal fast!

  4. Madam Alexander-

    You said you never said what you said. Are you related to Hillary or Obama, or both? (Your words to follow-)

    Black churches etc.
    Be careful. Your racism is beginning to show.

    I said once before: You do not understand their world. It isn't your world, and you need to accept that.

    If you knew more of how they have been shaped and why their thinking is not your thinking, then I think you would write differently.

    There is a wide gap that I think you are not interested in spanning. What you want is for everyone to see the world as you do. It's not going to happen.

    Posted By: elizabeth alexander
    at 3/23/2008 4:29:35 PM

  5. The 72 election was much different Tom. The reigning generation then was the WWII Generation and the Korean War Generation. Both of these generations were much more stable, self reliant, and were not dependent on the government for everything. The young baby boom generation was in the process of messing up their lives with drugs, liberated sex, hard rock, and liberal ideology, but they were NOT in control. Now things are different, the baby boom generation is in control and have produced two flops as presidents, Bill Clinton and George Bush who represented the ingrained failures of the baby boom generation who never grew up. Just look at the stats on the baby boom generation and their kids: rampant divorce approaching 70%, personal debt levels at unheard of heights, still clinging to the partying of the past while embracing the false fears of Global Warming. This generations business leaders have a "do unto others then split" attitude. They are a pathetic lot looking for someone to be a permissive "daddy" to them. Along comes OBAMA, a cocaine using intellect who speaks in the platitudes that warms their shallow soul much in the way Bill Clinton once warmed them. Both Hillary and McCain are not really appealing because they are too authoritarian. They are to be rebelled against just like Bill Clinton rebelled against Hillary by doin' it with Monica.

    The WWII and Korean War Generations have faded away leaving a rancid lot, their children who are just ripe for a glib con artist like OBAMA after all who could doubt the words of OPRAH. You see OPRAH is no Lee Philips if you know what I mean. Maybe this generation needs an OBAMA to lead them and the country over the cliff.

  6. elizabeth alexanderMarch 29, 2008 at 4:57 AM

    Mr. Roeser: Until now, I have been needling you a bit, but this time I am deadly serious. I am frightened. Today, I received another forwarded e-mail, saying that Obama is the AntiChrist. This is not the first. I also received an ugly e-mail about Michelle O.

    I believe there are people out there who will not allow Obama to be elected or maybe even nominated.

    If he should share the fate of the Kennedys and MLK, this country will be in great trouble. I wish he would withdraw for his own safety, and let Hillary C. have it. I am afraid.

    I don't have an answer. Just anxieties.

  7. I appreciate your extensive comparison between former Senator McGovern and Senator Obama. As Ms. Franklin noted in her comments, the generational gap is now quite in evidence. I was thirty-one when McGovern got trounced and it was a far different America then. I will pass on this post to others, particularly younger adults, who like so many often have very short memories in this age of sound bites and you-tubes.

    Just a note to the always entertaining and delightful Ms. Alexander: I do hope, Madam, that you exercise due caution in your purchases of those substances that you seem to inhale--as sometimes, they lace it with oregano, but at others it can be quite noxious.

  8. ho3o1@highstream.netMarch 30, 2008 at 10:08 PM

    Just where are those big donors? Hey big donors where are you? McCain is having problem raising money for his campaign. Why? We are all told by people like Tom Roeser that we must form in a tidy line behind McCain. We are told we must do this for the sake of the PARTY. After all, all of you readers of this blog for the most part are loyal Republicans like me, right? So come on now, pony up, get out that checkbook, come on now, for Tom's sake, donate!!!

    But something is wrong, horribly wrong. The big donors are NOT putting money into the McCain campaign no matter what pundits like Tom say. Why? Could it be that they are unhappy with his support of McCain/Feingold? Did he do that to spite Bush too? Actions do have consequences, you know.

    Personally, I have to admit it that I am very unmotivated to write a check or do anything for McCain. Huckabee was my guy, he motivated me. McCain leaves me cold. Maybe McCain needs to recruit the guy you raised money for Ron Paul or should I shut up and not say that. Come on Fred Barnes tell us how to have a pre-emptive war on raising funds for McCain? Or better yet, Tom, being a nouveau party loyalist McCain supporter, pray tell McCain how to motivate contributors. That should be easy given your long resume of political involvement. For a look onto McCain's money woes read the click on the following link and read the article. Is McCain our Humpty Dumpty candidate? Has he "fallen" off the conservative wall so many times that donors had decided to let the him lay there? I wonder!