Thursday, February 14, 2008

George McGovern's Moving Speech, Appearance At Turner Hall, With Audio

Sen. George McGovern spoke in Milwaukee's Turner Hall Tuesday night: A story about his talk there, and link to the speech's audio and post-speech remarks are below, from

The event was the highlight of a day of family politcking in Milwaukee for Sen. McGovern on behalf of his grandson Sam McGovern-Rowen, my son.

Sen. McGovern gave his endorsement for Third District Alderman to Sam - - and also discussed national politics, and the wars in Iraq and Vietnam.
A long-time peace activist, and foe of the war in Vietnam, Sen. McGovern recently wrote a widely-read op-ed-piece for The Washington Post in which he called for the impeachment of Pres. George Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. also posted links to remarks following the speech by both Sen. McGovern and Sam McGobern-Rowen - - again that is provided below.



It is “imperative” for Democrats to win the White House and solidify control of Congress this fall in order for the United States to get out of Iraq, former Dem presidential nominee George McGovern said during a campaign appearance for his grandson, who’s running for the Milwaukee City Council.

“I think it’s absolutely imperative that the Democrats win this election, that we get the White House, that we get the House and the Senate by larger margins than we now have it, and then bring this tragic war to a conclusion,” McGovern said at yesterday evening’s rally at Turner Hall.

During his talk before the crowd of about 80, McGovern compared Iraq to the Vietnam War, saying the only real difference is that the current war is being fought in a desert instead of a jungle.

McGovern, who served as a U.S. senator from South Dakota, said the current war is in some ways worse, because leaders had the Vietnam War as a lesson.

McGovern nearly came to tears when discussing “the loss of 58,000 wonderful young Americans” in the Vietnam War and remarked that he cannot visit the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., and see the names and ages of those who died without similarly losing his composure.

“And yet here we are going down the same road again, 4,000 wonderful young Americans,” McGovern said.

McGovern spoke well of Sen. John McCain, but faulted him for supporting the Iraq War and said his plan for Iraq resembles the approach to the Vietnam War, in which the U.S. kept sending more and more troops in an effort to win.

“That’s the John McCain remedy; if you get into a bad war just keep sending in more troops and eventually you will kill more of them than they kill of us,” McGovern said. “It’s on of the reasons I don’t want him in the White House.”

McGovern said he had nothing personally against McCain. “I don’t have any personal malice towards John McCain. I served briefly with him in the Senate, and he’s a decent man who probably believes all this stuff he puts out,” he said to chuckles. “But there’s a limit to what even a great country like the United States can stand in the way of using its resources for destructive purposes.”

In a conversation with reporters later, McGovern described McCain as an “incurable hawk.” Also in his conversation with reporters, McGovern agreed that the primary this year has parallels with 1972.

“The transcendent issue in '72 was the war in Vietnam,” McGovern said. “This time it's the war in Iraq.” And although McGovern said some consider the economy the top issue, the nation’s economic difficulties are rooted in the war.

“The economy is in trouble partly because of all the wastage in Iraq,” McGovern said, adding that if the money for the war was spent on transportation, health care, education and the environment, “we wouldn’t have this sag in the economy that we're seeing today.”

McGovern has endorsed Hillary Clinton, but said he is happy with both Barack Obama and Clinton. “I'll have no problem endorsing and working for which ever one wins.” McGovern said. “But I did endorse Hillary, and I stay with that.”

McGovern, 85, stood through his entire 21-minute speech and stayed for nearly an hour after his talk to chat and sign autographs. McGovern, who became a history professor following his service in WWII as a bomber pilot, joked about how he managed to recently get the opportunity to write a book on President Abraham Lincoln for a series on American presidents.

“So here I am working on a book about the founder of the Republican Party,” McGovern said to laughs. “I wish to God we had Republicans like that now.”

McGovern’s grandson, Sam McGovern-Rowen, is seeking the 3rd Aldermanic District seat being vacated by Ald. Mike D’Amato. He is currently D’Amato’s legislative assistant.

Listen to McGovern’s presentation:

Listen to McGovern and McGovern-Rowen speak with reporters:


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was so wonderful to meet Senator McGovern after years of admiring his intelligence, humanity and humility. Unfortunately, we have few Democrats like him any more--people more interested in leading the country than in gaining power for themselves or their political party.