Thursday, October 19, 2006

Peretzing Bullshit

A good while back Marty Peretz, that colorful loony bird, squawked shrilly:

George McGovern, a morally imperious isolationist with fellow-traveling habits, never could shake the altogether accurate analogies with Henry Wallace. (Wallace was the slightly dopey vice president, dropped from the ticket by FDR in 1944, who ran for president on the Progressive Party ticket, a creation of Stalin’s agents in the U.S.) Mr. McGovern’s trouncing by Richard Nixon, a reprobate president if we ever had one, augured the recessional–if not quite the collapse–of such Democratic politics, which insisted our enemy in the Cold War was not the Soviets but us.

A bit of a much larger tissue of lies in the service of smearing Ned Lamont. Like the rest of his piece, this is bullshit. From Sidney Blumenthal's Our Long National Daydream:

[George McGovern] grew up in a strictly religious, and Republican, family. But by the time he arrived as a graduate student at Northwestern University, after a stint in World War II as a bomber pilot, he was a liberal, inspired by the "social gospel." His doctoral thesis was about violent miners' strikes in Colorado early in the century; his doctoral adviser was Arthur Link, Woodrow Wilson's biographer. In 1948, almost everyone in Northwestern's history department supported Henry Wallace of the Progressive Party for president. McGovern was a delegate to the Progressive Party convention, an association that was a significant cause of the AFL-CIO's refusal to endorse his 1972 candidacy. But McGovern didn't vote for Wallace after all. At the Progressive convention he experienced what his biographer Robert Sam Anson called a "great disillusionment" over the "fanaticism" of Wallace's entourage, some of whom were communists. Although McGovern continued to agree with many of Wallace's criticisms of cold war policy, the experience helped make him a staunch Democrat. In any case, his politics had its true source in South Dakota populism, with its unique mixture of self-reliance and cooperative banks.