Shrewd move in choosing House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as running mate for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Now here's the next play: Invite George McGovern, the 1972 Democratic presidential candidate, to speak this month in Tampa at the Republican National Convention.
Yes, that old lefty McGovern. You know the expression, "A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged"? Well, McGovern has been mugged.
The most left-wing Democratic presidential candidate this side of Barack Obama, former Sen. McGovern, D-S.D., proposed giving every man, woman and child an annual $1,000 "demogrant." In his nomination acceptance speech, McGovern made the same case that Obama makes today -- capitalism and free markets let us down, and social justice require universal health coverage: "A program to put America back to work demands that work be properly rewarded. That means the end of a system of economic controls in which labor is depressed, but prices and corporate profit run sky-high. It means a system of national health insurance so that a worker can afford decent health care for himself and his family."
McGovern's left-wing bona fides are beyond questioning.
Sen. Bobby Kennedy, D-N.Y., himself a presidential candidate in 1968, called McGovern the "only decent man in the Senate." A decorated World War II bomber pilot, McGovern fiercely opposed the Vietnam War and pushed for a complete and immediate withdrawal of American troops. Name a tax hike, spending bill or new regulation, and very likely McGovern supported it. But after he left the Senate in 1981, something happened that profoundly changed several of his most deeply held views.
McGovern went into business for himself -- and went bust.
Following the recommendation of a friend with "a lifetime of hotel- and restaurant-management experience," McGovern bought a small hotel and restaurant, the Stratford Inn in Connecticut. He poured his savings into the place, investing his seven year's worth of post-Senate earnings from the lecture circuit.