Charlie Pierce has a great tribute to George McGovern, Happy Birthday, George McGovern Esquire Politics Blog 07/19/2012:
The man whom Bobby Kennedy called "the most decent man in the Senate" turns 90 today.Tags: george+mcgovern
The worst thing that ever happened to the Democratic party in this country is that, when McGovern lost so big to history's yard waste in 1972, the rest of the party was complicit in turning him — and the politics he represented — into a punchline for the next 20 years. He was the template. He was the first war-hero Democrat — you don't fly 35 missions in a B-24 and come away with a DFC without a big clanging pair of brass ones, kids — who was accused of being a wimp by a flock of chickenhawks. (Ronald Reagan? Who kept the bar at the Brown Derby safe from Nazi occupation? Please to be giving me a break.) He was the first liberal Democrat against whom other opportunistic Democrats bragged about running. He was turned into a synonym for something he was not. He was the vehicle through which Democrats taught other Democrats to be terrified of all their best instincts and all their best policies. Through it all, he remained exactly what Bobby Kennedy said he was, and more.