Tonawanda News

Opinion

October 24, 2012

DUVALL: Recalling George McGovern's lesson

Tonawanda News — George McGovern, arguably the worst major party presidential candidate in modern American history, died Sunday after a brief illness, his family said. He was 90.

His 1972 trouncing at the hands of Richard Nixon was among the most lopsided in American history. He won one state, Massachusetts. Nixon won the other 49. In his New York Times obituary, McGovern would come to joke that, “all my life I wanted to run for president in the worst way — and I did.”

But it wasn’t his failure to effectively address the nation’s ills a decade before I was born that interested me about George McGovern. It was a college road trip I took to Lake Placid as an impressionable and hyperactive 19-year-old that, to this day, changed how I view the world around us.

I had made some college friends who were active in local politics and they’d managed to lure me away for a weekend in summer 2003 for a conference sponsored by the state Democratic Party. Several of the party’s presidential candidates were scheduled to speak including John Kerry and Howard Dean. 

McGovern was the event’s keynote speaker.

We sat through some stem-winders meant to rally the base and engender grassroots goodwill in the early stages of the race to unseat President George W. Bush.

Unsurprisingly for a room full of dyed-in-the-wool liberals, Dean, telegraphing his meteoric rise in the polls that would come later that fall, won over a lot of hearts and minds with his forceful critique of the increasingly unpopular Iraq war. His message resonated and I dedicated myself to helping him win the nomination. I still keep the “Dean for America” sticker I got that day on display as a reminder of what it used to be like as a heady, idealistic college student.

Text Only
Opinion
  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Canal Fest, here we come This column should be titled "Roads and Streets." First of all, Meadow Drive is finally open. Although it took very long to be completed, it's beautiful. Riding by the other day brought into focus how many people will use this to cut across town. One less thing for residents to complain about.

    July 12, 2014

  • ADAMCZYK: Homesick for someplace I've never been You stumble over things that make you wonder. I do, at least, and the latest is one of those advertising artifacts from yesteryear that encourage me to ponder what's changed and what never will.

    July 11, 2014

  • WALLACE: Playing politics as usual The immigration crisis is just the most recent example of how dysfunctional Washington, D.C. is right now.

    July 10, 2014