Former Sen. George McGovern (D-SD) died this morning. You are supposed to speak kindly of the departed, and McGovern did have an admirable record in World War II. However, during his 18 years in the Senate he represented the worst of the radical left, and always advocated unilateral disarmament.
He does deserve credit for admitting some of his mistakes. His Stratford Inn in Connecticut went bankrupt in 1991 primarily because of excessive government regulations.
McGovern said he understood why people did not like him, and wished he had run a business before he began legislating on things that affected them. He wrote: “After two and a half years with the loss of all my earnings from nearly a decade of post-Senate lecture tours, I gave up on the Stratford Inn. But not before learning some painful and valuable lessons.
“I learned first of all that over the past 20 years America has become the most litigious society in the world. Today Americans sue one another at the drop of a hat — almost on the spur of the moment.”
He said we need to “cut down vastly on the incredible paperwork, the complicated tax forms, the number of minute regulations, and the seemingly endless reporting requirements that afflict American business. Many businesses, especially small independents such as the Stratford Inn, simply can’t pass such costs on to their customers and remain competitive or profitable.
“If I were back in the U.S. Senate or in the White House, I would ask a lot of questions before I voted for any more burdens on the thousands of struggling businesses across the nation.”
Three years ago McGovern again broke with the left when he came out in opposition to the union card check legislation.
FLASHBACK – Laredo, Texas in 1961: The city is unique for having the distinction of flying seven flags. They include the Six Flags of Texas plus the flag of the brief Republic of the Rio Grande (Laredo was its capital). In 1836, when Texas revolted, there were less than 2,000 citizens in Laredo.
The army of Mexican General Santa Ana marched through Laredo, the “gateway to Mexico,” on their way to the Alamo. Today the population is over 250,000.
From 1965 to 1967, NBC aired a western television series called Laredo, which was a spinoff of The Virginian. The song “The Streets of Laredo” has been recorded by Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Roy Rogers.
April 22nd 1865: The funeral procession for President Abraham Lincoln at Sixth and Chestnut streets in Philadelphia. The catafalque is followed by a crowd of mourners congesting the street and sidewalk. Soldiers are seen holding back the crowd. A recruitment poster advertising enlistment salaries for “Maj. Gen. Hancock’s Army Corps,” adorns a storefront.
Secretary of War Edwin Stanton was at Lincoln’s deathbed in the Petersen house at 7:22 am on April 15th when the doctor said “He is gone.” A minister said a prayer and Stanton was the first to reply, “Now he belongs to the ages,” and lamented “There lies the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen.”
Today is the 25th anniversary of the stock market crash of 1987. The Dow fell 23% in one session and lost over $500 billion. It remains the largest one-day percentage-point drop ever.
Markets in nearly every country around the world plunged in a similar fashion. Many economists predicted we were heading for a second great depression. The losses continued through that week, and by the end of the month most markets had suffered huge falls.
It began in Hong Kong which dropped 41% by the end of the month. The Federal Reserve immediately intervened to prevent an even greater crisis. Short-term interest rates were instantly lowered and the markets recovered fairly quickly.
There was even a post-crash bull market driven by companies that bought back their stocks which they considered undervalued after the market meltdown.
There could be another crash, but it will not have the same driver as 1987. The derivatives which contributed to Black Monday no longer exist.
The prophets of doom were wrong in 1987 and the long-term turnaround was remarkable. A decade after Black Monday, Bill Clinton finally agreed to sign legislation passed by the GOP Congress to significantly cut capital gains rates. Along with the Reagan recovery, it ranks as the greatest economic expansion in American history.
The funeral of former Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), 82, was yesterday, and for 29 years he was one of the vanishing breed of liberal Republicans. Specter left the GOP after the stimulus vote when his own poll indicated he would lose a Republican primary. He should have known better when he cut a deal with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
Reid promised to maintain Specter’s seniority but it never happened. Specter was put on the bottom of all four of his committees when he became a Democrat.
When Specter switched, there were many articles indicating this signaled the end for Pennsylvania Republicans. Fortunately they were wrong. In 2010, the GOP recaptured Specter’s seat, the Governorship and five Congressional Districts.
This September 1980 photo was from a very unusual campaign. It was one of the few times a Democrat ran to the right of the Republican. Specter’s opponent was former Pittsburgh Mayor Pete Flaherty, who had switched from Republican to Democrat, while Specter had switched from Democrat to Republican.
Flaherty had been elected Mayor after criticizing the Democrats unbalanced budget. He attacked labor unions, opposed busing, balanced the budget and was to the right of Specter on social issues. Flaherty cut the city’s payroll from over 7,000 to less than 5,000, and repeatedly cut property and wage taxes.
We know Specter’s vote was needed to ensure the first GOP Senate majority since 1954, but we do wish there more fiscally conservative Democrats like Flaherty.
This cartoon is from 2007 but the point is still valid. Clement Vallandigham (D-OH) was a Member of Congress (1858-1862) and the leader of the pro-South “Copperhead Democrats.” He was the 1864 Ohio Democratic gubernatorial nominee even though he was living in exile in the South.
Vallandigham said the United States under Abraham Lincoln was “the worst despotism on earth,” and he sought the intervention of a foreign power to help the Confederacy. He urged young men not to enlist in the Union Army and attacked “King Lincoln” for waging a war to liberate blacks.
In Illinois the Democratic majority in the state legislature urged Lincoln to withdraw the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves. Indiana’s Democratic majority in the legislature had the same opinion, and they came close to taking over the state militia so it could withdraw from the Civil War.
They presented a serious challenge to the first GOP president, and Lincoln referred to them as “the fire in the rear.” Vallandigham was convicted of treason but was pardoned by Lincoln. He died at age 50 after accidentally shooting himself.
On this date in 1969, a car driven by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) plunged off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island near Martha’s Vineyard. Kennedy’s 28 year old passenger Mary Jo Kopechne died by drowning.
The Senator waited 10 hours before reporting the accident, but was never able to give a convincing explanation of his strange behavior. His license was suspended for six months. At the time of the incident, Kennedy was the nation’s most prominent potential Democratic presidential candidate.
If it had not happened, he may have still passed on a 1972 campaign against President Richard Nixon. He was only 40 that year. 1976 would have been a more realistic time for him, and it was an excellent year for Democrats.
When he did try to deny Jimmy Carter’s 1980 renomination, the Chappaquiddick incident haunted him and helped destroyed his chances. Writing in his book “True Compass,” which was published a week after his death, Kennedy described his actions as “inexcusable” and said that at the time he was afraid, overwhelmed “and made terrible decisions.”
Kennedy said he had to live with the guilt of his actions for four decades but that Miss Kopechne’s family had to endure far worse. “Atonement is a process that never ends,” he wrote.
The news media was relatively easy on Kennedy in 1969, and he was not forced to answer many difficult questions. That would not be allowed today. Kennedy’s popularity obviously declined, but even after Chappaquiddick, he still had a 58% approval rating in 1969, and was easily reelected in 1970