This week I made the, to me, not very controversial assertion that Barack Obama is farther to the left than Gorge McGovern. In fact, I think Senator Obama is much farther to the left in 2008 than McGovern was in 1972. E-mails and phone calls disagreed, often in querulous tones: How dare I suggest the Dalibama was other than a unifying figure building bridges from the center in both directions? But when I spent most of a show soliciting the input of the audience, not one caller or correspondent could provide one field in which McGovern flanked Obama on the left. By contrast, Obama has quite a lot of distance to McGovern's left on many issues
True, both Obama and McGovern ran as anti-war candidates demanding immediate retreat from raging battles with determined foes regardless of the consequences.
McGovern advocated retreat from an enemy who had neither struck at the U.S. (al Qaeda in Iraq is a franchise of al Qaeda) nor which threatened to stage future direct attacks on America and its allies. Obama's retreatism is far more dangerous to the lives of Americans than McGovern's, though the policies of both would lead toi wholesale slaughter of regional populations.
McGovern never evidenced the naivete about the Soviets that Obama has displayed about the Iranian mullahs or their front man Ahmadinejad.
Though McGovern was charged with being the candidate of "acid, abortion and amnesty," his campaign was conducted prior to the decision in Roe v. Wade while Obama's is being run on a promise of more Justice Ginsburgs and the restoration of partial birth abortion as a lawful option for the termination of late term pregnancies. Obama's votes in the Illinois and U.S. Senate on abortion rights put him as far left as any Democrat can go.
I don't recall McGovern as having a position on gun control, but Obama's support for a ban on the possession, sale and manufacture of all handguns is as radical a position as any major political figure has ever held.
George McGovern did not support same sex marriage, but Obama has stated he accepts the decision of the California Supreme Court to impose same sex marriage on the Golden State.
Obama has promised massive new geysers of spending and a complete oevrhaul of the economy via climate change regulation and health care "reform." George McGovern supported a $1,000 grant for every American and a "negative income tax." McGovern was a free spender but within the agreed upon framework of robust capitalism. Obama's memoir of his years as a "community organizer" lay out his almost non-existant grasp of how capitalism works. Obama's stumping for a near doubling of the capital gains tax confirms his fecklessness on growth issues.
Then there are the friends of Obama: Ayers, Dohrn, Phleger and Wright. All far left, the first two unrepentant terrorists. George McGovern did not embrace the Weathermen or the Black Panthers in those years of upheaval.
(Obama's close friend, mentor, financier and next door neighbor is the newly convicted Tony Rezko. That's not an ideological issue, and this is an ideological assessment.)
Obama's assertion that rural voters are bitter and cling to guns and Gods because of their dsappointment with life would never have occurred to the senator from South Dakota, much less spoken to a gathering of San Francisco liberals.
It is true that the country has moved to the left on a number of social and cultural issues in the 36 years since George McGovern lost in a landslide to Richard Nixon.
But there is no mistaking which of the candidates from then and now is farther left on the ideological spectrum. The only difference is that the MSM and its allies in 1972 were willing to credit McGovern with his views while this year's crop of "analysts" are intent on keeping those views out of the public's view.