Curious George

Posted: Friday, August 17, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Aside from being from South Dakota, what does former senator, George McGovern have in common with Pat O’Brien, Cheryl Ladd, Catherine Bach, Mary Hart, Tom Brokaw and Captain 11?
Give up?
Well, hold onto your hats folks, McGovern is soon to be immortalized as a bobblehead.
On Wednesday evening at the Sioux Falls Canaries baseball game, McGovern bobblehead figures will be handed out to the first 1 thousand people who pass through the gates. 
I guess the honoree is actually going to be there in person so if you miss out on getting one of the dolls you can bring along your home movie camera and ask the one-time Democratic nominee for President of the United States to pose with you and nod his head back and forth..uffdah.I understand it’s meant to be flattering..and a tribute to South Dakotans who’ve made good but it just seems out of character for this esteemed statesman, McGovern, who was the first person I ever voted for in a general election.
Those who know me are now saying to yourselves, “wait a minute, conservative Lund is a closet liberal and once supported the head-dove in a flock of left wingers?”
Well, I guess I did.
Like a lot of people back then, I didn’t think so much about left or right, liberal or conservative. I just admired McGovern’s intellect, the fact that he was a World War II hero, and how he applied a common sense approach to complicated issues. I was proud that he was a fellow South Dakotan and had a lot of respect among his political peers in Washington.
 
I think a lot of the real George McGovern got lost in his 1972 presidential campaign. He listened to advice he maybe shouldn’t have like dumping Thomas Eagleton from the ticket when he said he wouldn’t. It made him look indecisive.
Embracing the endorsements of Hollywood liberals like Shirley MacLaine, Dennis Weaver and Warren Beatty distracted from his wholesome Midwestern image.
Plus to appreciate George McGovern, you have to hear him speak at length on issues which very few people did on the night he accepted the presidential nomination. Because of a lot of confusion among the delegates, his speech didn’t start until 2 AM..not exactly prime time.
Some people, me included, will always have a problem with McGovern’s idealistic view of the world which doesn’t always seem terribly realistic.
But, I’ve interviewed him a lot of times over the years and he always makes a lot of sense when you hear him out.
In a recent interview with “The American Conservative” McGovern was asked about his view on the current administration and the war in Iraq.
He said he likes conservatives..citing Bob Dole and Barry Goldwater. (in another interview he admitted voting for Gerald Ford in 1974)
“But I don’t like these neoconservatives worth a damn. They have this view that we are so much more powerful than any other country in the world that we need to run the world..none of this business of coexistence.”
It’s stuff like that that makes McGovern a much-in-demand speaker. Plus he is constantly on the go traveling all over the globe trying to raise awareness and money for programs to fight world hunger..something he’s been doing since the old “Food for Peace” days in the Kennedy administration.
 
At age 85, George McGovern has aged gracefully but it’s been a rough go since January after his beloved wife, Eleanor, died after nearly 64 years of marriage.
She did live to see last year’s dedication of the George and Eleanor McGovern Library and Center for Leadership at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell.
 That, to me, seems the more appropriate way to honor this American statesman than a bobblehead doll.
But hey, maybe I’m just jealous.

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