Saturday, 26 April 2008

Barack Obama and George McGovern

There is a fascinating interview with George McGovern reported on Huffington Post. Remember George McGovern? He who lost every state bar Massachusetts and DC in 1972 presidential election? The Watergate election?

Well, it turns out that he is backing Hillary. That is good news for Obama because a lot of commentators are trying to tar him with the ultra-liberal, weak on national security, McGovern brush. As he's backing her, it makes it more difficult for Hillary to do that and any restriction on her ability to hurl negative attacks is a good thing at this stage.

More interestingly, despite his support for Hillary he makes a number of points that are actually very favourable to Obama:

- McGovern believes that Obama has built a much wider coalition than he did in 1972 and so has a much greater chance of electoral success.
- He warns against divisions in the party that continue beyond the point where the nomination is settled. Such continuing attacks hurt him in 1972.
- Noting that Obama will probably be the eventual nominee, he demands a more civil political discourse between the candidates (hear, hear.)
- Michigan and Florida should NOT be seated according to McGovern. They knew the rules, they were flouted. Obama didn't campaign in Florida and didn't enter the Michigan primary. So the delegates should not be seated.
- He asserts that the super-delegates should strongly take the will of the pledged delegates into account.

So McGovern is a strong Hillary supporter (you may remember back in the Texan primary she talked of the addiction to chilli's that she developed while on the McGovern campaign there- Texan, Pennsylvanian, Arkansan, is there no end to this woman's origins?) but his argument is basically an argument for Obama. Let's hope his protege takes note.

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