---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2002 10:44:32 -0800
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: McGovern still pushing for peace
McGovern still pushing for peace
Former presidential candidate honored at Newton fundraiser
By Ryan Kearney / Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
In 1962, one decade before taking on incumbent Richard Nixon for the
Democrat George McGovern was vying for a seat in the U.S. Senate. At the
nuclear physicist Leo Szilard was desperate to warn America of the threat
In each other, they found a symbiotic means of achieving their goals.
Szilard founded the Council for a Livable World, which funds competitive
for the U.S. Senate who are dedicated to nuclear disarmament, and McGovern
the organization's first recipient. When the former South Dakota
representative ran out
of money just in time for a TV advertising blitz, the council came up with
In the end, the election was close enough to warrant a one-month recount.
"I finally won in a landslide - 597 votes," joked McGovern, 80, speaking
Sunday at a
fundraiser at the Newton Marriott in Auburndale. "It's no question about it
- the Council
for a Livable World won that election. No doubt in my mind at all."
The reception and dinner was sponsored by the political action committee
an offshoot of the council that instead funds candidates for the U.S. House of
Representatives. Former U.S. representative and Jesuit priest Robert Drinan
The event, attended by several hundred donors from Newton and other
also marked the 30th anniversary of McGovern's defeat at the hands of Nixon.
McGovern, who ran on an anti-Vietnam platform, won the Democratic
nomination in a
crowded field of 17 candidates.
"The question was, how do you break out of this pack?" he said. "Well it
began right here in Massachusetts when the Massachusetts PeacePAC endorsed me."
Several PeacePAC endorsements then followed.
"And those PeacePAC endorsements helped break me out of the pack and get us
on the way to winning the nomination," he said.
Against Nixon, McGovern carried only Massachusetts and the District of
Columbia in the presidential election, but the subsequent Watergate scandal
and Nixon's resignation prompted the popular bumper sticker, "Don't blame
me: I'm from Massachusetts."
Drinan, who chaired the McGovern delegation in 1972, said he feels "rather
weepy" to think what might have been had his candidate won.
"This country has never really returned to the vision of the McGovern
campaign," he said. "But we will never lose that vision....
We rekindle the McGovern dream tonight. We resolve again and promise to
each other that we will work more diligently and more sacrificially to
bring peace to the world."
But, unsurprisingly, last Sunday's speechmaking also regularly attacked
President George W. Bush's foreign policy. McGovern said that after the
Sept. 11 attacks, he initially sided with Bush to pursue Osama bin Laden
and the Al-Qaida organization in Afghanistan.
"But since those early efforts I have become increasingly concerned about
the drift of American policy, including especially the apparent decision to
go to war against Iraq," he said. "We all know that Saddam Hussein is a
miserable human being. But we also ought to know that he's done nothing
against the United States."
McGovern even likened the current situation with Iraq to the Cuban missile
crisis, which occurred amidst his 1962 campaign.
"We didn't seem to know why Cuba wanted nuclear weapons back in the early
sixties after the Bay of Pigs invasion," he said, referring to America's
failed attempt to overthrow Cuban President Fidel Castro. "I always
wondered if it was possible it was to head off another Bay of Pigs attack.
It's a little hard to believe they could think they could take on the
monster with a handful of intermediate-range missiles."
Cuba was building the weapons for deterrence, and the same goes for Iraq,
"Would [Saddam Hussein] be such a fool as to throw his obviously primitive
weapons - if he ever gets them - at the greatest nuclear power on earth?"
McGovern touched on other topics during his 35-minute speech, including his
and former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole's proposal to commit the United Nations "to
providing a good, nutritious, school lunch every day for the 300 million
elementary schoolchildren around the world who now get nothing to eat
during the school day."
"I would like to think it would do more to turn the tide of terrorism than
the course we're on today," he said.
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank was among several other speakers that evening. He
called McGovern "one of the heroes of our time" and stressed the need for
PeacePAC, which has recently been criticized by several Republican
candidates in races against PeacePAC-funded Democrats. PeacePAC and the
Council for a Livable World combined have raised $1.2 million for candidates
Frank also used the opportunity to launch into his two main reasons for
opposing a war against Iraq: the need for more domestic spending and the
lack of a moral basis.
"It's a frustrating time and we will keep up the fight," he said.
Ryan Kearney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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