Jim & George McGovern
Even nearing age 90, George McGovern still knows how to work a crowd--probably a tad easier when the throng is obviously enthralled, as were about 100 fans who packed the Amherst Bookstore late this afternoon to give an icon of the democratic party a rousing reception.
Accompanied by former aid and current Congressman Jim McGovern, who told the local crowd he hopes to represent them in Congress, the former U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate gave a homespun extemporaneous speech--more like a fireside chat--extolling the subject of the book he lived, "What It Means To Be A Democrat."
Even conservatives could appreciate his bedrock background: A B-25 pilot who survived 35 missions over Germany and then, like 8 million other WW2 veterans, took advantage of the GI Bill to get a PhD in history. Higher education was a good investment by the federal government McGovern pointed out, as the feds received back $2 for every one invested: better education led to higher paying jobs, thus greater taxes generated.
Knowing perhaps that he was in the belly of the anti-war beast he said firmly, "I make no apologies for fighting in that war. It was a war that had to be fought." But then stated, almost as an aside, "Although I can't say I have supported any since."
Washington, DC is not the embodiment of evil as portrayed by Republicans he said to loud applause. Retelling a story about a verbal joust with William F. Buckley, he closed with the humorous punchline that a conservative like Buckley could never carry the state of Massachusetts. And since that was the only state George McGovern carried in 1972, a fitting finale.
And proof once again, the dream shall never die.