Posted by Bob Lord
For most of us who are obsessed with the crazy notion that our political activities really could make the world a better place, some person or campaign triggered that notion. For me, the person was George McGovern and the campaign was the 1972 Presidential race. So it's with great sadness to read here that he's fading fast.
It's been 40 years, but I remember traveling however I could from my High School to the McGovern office in Silver Spring, MD to stuff envelopes or do whatever else I could. A week or two before the election, the office was empty and only one staffer was there packing up the last few items. She explained that they had to pull out of Maryland. As a sixteen year old idealist, I had no idea how bad a sign that was -- a Democrat abandoning Maryland. A few weeks later, I cried as the results came in.
Nine years later, I was lucky enough to join a few other law school classmates for dinner with George before he spoke at our law school. Were it possible, I would have gone back in time after the dinner and worked harder on his campaign. I think we all would have.
Just five years ago, in the early stages of my Congressional campaign, I met one of his best friends by telephone while dialing for dollars. It had been a terrible day and this was my last call. The donor had been out when I'd called earlier. When I introduced myself and told her I was running agaisnt John Shadegg, she exclaimed "Shadegg, you're running against Shadegg? I HATE JOHN SHADEGG. You email me your address and I'll send you $1,000." After I stopped laughing, I wound up speaking to her for half an hour, and enjoyed every minute of it. I forget the details, but I remember she had great stories to tell about George McGovern, all from a personal perspective.
It really was a shame he lost to Nixon. He would have been one of the best. I have no doubt.