Saturday, December 10, 2005

Eugene McCarthy and Richard Pryor

Correction to an earlier posting: I neglected to remember that Vice President Humphrey was our nominee in 1968. Thanks to a reader for bringing that to my

This is lengthy.

As was reported earlier, former Senator and 1968 presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy died in his sleep at a Georgetown retirement residence today. He was 89 years old.
Eugene McCarthy challenged President Lyndon B. Johnson for the 1968 Democratic nomination during growing debate over the Vietnam War. The challenge led to Johnson's withdrawal from the race.

The former college professor, who ran for president five times in all, was in some ways an atypical politician, a man with a witty, erudite speaking style who wrote poetry in his spare time and was the author of several books.

"He was thoughtful and he was principled and he was compassionate and he had a good sense of humor," his son said.

When Eugene McCarthy ran for president in 1992, he explained his decision to leave the seclusion of his home in rural Woodville, Va., for the campaign trail by quoting Plutarch, the ancient Greek historian: "They are wrong who think that politics is like an ocean voyage or military campaign, something to be done with some particular end in view."

McCarthy got less than 1 percent of the vote in 1992 in New Hampshire, the state where he helped change history 24 years earlier.

Helped by his legion of idealistic young volunteers known as "clean-for-Gene kids," McCarthy got 42 percent of the vote in the state's 1968 Democratic primary. That showing embarrassed Johnson into withdrawing from the race and throwing his support to his vice president, Hubert H. Humphrey.

Sen. Robert Kennedy of New York also decided to seek the nomination, but was assassinated in June 1968. McCarthy and his followers went to the party convention in Chicago, where fellow Minnesotan Humphrey won the nomination amid bitter strife both on the convention floor and in the streets.

Humphrey went on to narrowly lose the general election to Richard Nixon. The racial, social and political tensions within the Democratic Party in 1968 have continued to affect presidential politics ever since.

"It was a tragic year for the Democratic Party and for responsible politics, in a way," McCarthy said in a 1988 interview.[...]

"I admired Gene enormously for his courage in challenging a war America never should have fought," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., said Saturday. "His life speaks volumes to us today, as we face a similar critical time for our country."

Former Sen. George McGovern, D-S.D., said McCarthy's presidential run in 1968 dramatically changed the antiwar movement.

"It was no longer a movement of concerned citizens, but became a national political movement," McGovern said Saturday. "He was an inspiration to me in all of my life in politics." McGovern won the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination, when McCarthy ran a second time.

Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., who ran for vice president in 2004, said McCarthy "was a remarkable American, a man who spoke his conscience, and he was a great leader for my party."

In recent years, McCarthy was critical of campaign finance reform, winning him an unlikely award from the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2000.[...]

McCarthy was born March 29, 1916, in Watkins, a central Minnesota town of about 750. He earned degrees from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., and the University of Minnesota.

He was a teacher, a civilian War Department employee and college economics and sociology instructor before turning to politics. He once spent a year in a monastery.

He was elected to the House in 1948. Ten years later he was elected to the Senate and re-elected in 1964. McCarthy left the Senate in 1970 and devoted much of his time to writing poetry, essays and books.

With a sardonic sense of humor, McCarthy needled whatever establishment was in power. In 1980 he endorsed Republican Ronald Reagan with the argument that anyone was better than incumbent Jimmy Carter, a Democrat.

On his 85th birthday in 2001, McCarthy told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis that President Bush was an amateur and said he could not even bear to watch his inauguration.[...]

The bad times, Eugene McCarthy said, began with America's increased involvement in the Vietnam War and the simultaneous failure of some of Johnson's Great Society social programs.

Instead of giving people a chance to earn a living, McCarthy said, the Great Society "became affirmative action and more welfare. It was an admission the New Deal had failed or fallen."

In recent years McCarthy had lived at Georgetown Retirement Residence, an assisted living center in Washington. He and his wife, Abigail, separated after the 1968 election. She died in 2001.

Survivors include daughters Ellen and Margaret and six grandchildren, Michael McCarthy said.

A private burial is planned for next week and a memorial service in Washington will be scheduled, Michael McCarthy said.
Also, as was noted, comedian Richard Pryor of Peoria, Illinois, died of a heart attack at 65 years old. He suffered from ill health in prior years.
Pryor's wife said he died of cardiac arrest at 7:58 a.m. PST after her efforts to resuscitate him failed and after he was taken to a hospital in the Los Angeles suburb of Encino. Pryor had been suffering from multiple sclerosis, a degenerative nervous system disease, for almost 20 years.

While he appeared in many successful movies, it was Pryor's stand-up comedy act, in which nothing was off-limits, that made him a controversial star. Racism was a major component of his routine and he even joked about a 1980 incident in which he nearly died after setting himself on fire while free-basing cocaine.

Pryor marked his 65th birthday on December 1.

"He's been so strong for so many years," Jennifer Pryor told CNN. "He's had this disease (multiple sclerosis) since 1986 ... He's had beyond nine lives. We used to joke he's going to outlive everybody.
May both Senator Eugene McCarthy and Richard Pryor rest in peace.

Senator Joseph Lieberman is sponsoring legislation to create an American Center for Cures. It sounds like an interesting idea. I will obviously have to look into the idea more.
Last year, DLC Chairman Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa sponsored a resolution putting the nation's governors on record favoring this idea: "The American Center for Cures will be the bridge between the promise of scientific opportunities and the reality of our nation's health needs." And DLC President Bruce Reed called it "a simple, bold, breakthrough idea."

And it's an idea that should command broad political support from anyone interested in saving human lives -- or in fulfilling the promise of American science, technology, and medicine.
Jeff Gordon replies to letters with regards to his article from the other day--mainly about Matt Morris.

Former Senator Tom Daschle has come out strong against the Bush policy on agriculture.

Valerie Plame has left her job as of Friday.

The San Jose Mercury News reports based on a Walt Jocketty quote that Matt Morris will not be back. I beg to differ. I never say never.
Jocketty said 14-game winner Matt Morris likely won't be back, either, because of heightened interest elsewhere that will elevate his price. Morris has been offered arbitration.

"After a discussion I had with his agent, I think it would be probably less than a 50 percent chance that would happen," Jocketty said.
KSDK reports that the Cardinals have not gone crazy quite yet during the off-season. The (subscription required) reports that St. Louis is not panicking after failing with A.J. Burnett.

The Globe and Mail reports that Ernie Whitt has asked Larry Walker to be an assistant coach for the Canadian team during the World Classic.

Why is it that conservative evangelicals are the staunchest supporters of Israel?
"Their support is very important," said Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League. "It's important because the White House is occupied by a person who wears his born-again credentials proudly. We should welcome their support and not take it for granted."

At the same time, Foxman criticized efforts by conservative Christians to "implement their worldview, to Christianize America."
We need more liberal support of Israel and Jews definitely need to step up and start being vocal on Israeli support.

Speaking of Jews, one Jewish Senator is not getting much respect from the left-of-center Democrats. I still support him even though I disagree on going to Iraq and the way the administration handled it. I've always believed that Saddam had to get out of power. I also think that we need to get out of Iraq by the end of 06 or 07 but we must make sure that there is stability in the country. The WaPo takes a look at Lieberman's remarks.
There have even been rumors that Lieberman is being considered as a replacement for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, if the embattled Pentagon boss retires. Lieberman dismisses the speculation as a "Washington fantasy." But he caused tongues to wag when he had breakfast with Rumsfeld at the Pentagon on Thursday.

Lieberman shrugs off the criticism by fellow Democrats and seems perfectly comfortable with the compliments he has received from Republicans about his views on Iraq. "They're not misquoting me," he said in an interview this week. "I've had this position for a long time -- that we need to finish the job."

But Lieberman, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, acknowledged that his words in support of the administration's war policy carry a different weight. "Somehow it gets more notice when it's coming from a member of the other party," he said.

Lieberman, 63, a former Connecticut attorney general, has long been admired within his party for his independence of thought and his civility, although he is more conservative than most Democrats on cultural issues and foreign policy. He played a leading role in helping pass the Persian Gulf War resolution in January 1991, after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, and he called for a "final victory" over Hussein.
Though I may disagree with rhetoric from time to time, I am firmly supporting the Senator for re-election. As to 2004, I waited til Vice President Gore made his decision and then I waited on Joe Lieberman to decide before I endorsed anyone.

Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on the offer to Matt Morris by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Exhibiting restraint within what they classify as a "crazy" market, the Cardinals have extended a two-year offer with a club option for 2008 to free agent pitcher Matt Morris, who has received three-year bids from the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers, according to sources familiar with negotiations.

The offer guarantees Morris about $13 million over two years and would grow to $20 million should the Cardinals assume the option. The deal, similar to the extension signed by Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter last April, isn't believed to be competitive with what the Giants and Rangers have offered.

Hopeful that Morris might give the club a so-called "home team discount" Thursday, general manager Walt Jocketty on Friday played down the possibility Morris would return to the only organization he has ever known.
I still have faith that we will resign Morris for a few years.

New Hampshire Congressional candidate Peter Sullivan released the following statement today on the DNC decision:
"Today's vote defies political sense. At a time when the Democratic Party is struggling to win the hearts of suburbanites and independents, it is ludicrous to undercut the influence of a state rich in these very swing voters.

For a half century, the New Hampshire Primary has provided independent-minded candidates of both parties with a chance for victory. New Hampshire has been willing to stand up to the Beltway crowd and make a decision based on ideas and ideals, not on arm-twisting. The American political dialogue has benefitted from New Hampshire's role in the process.

"From Eugene McCarthy to Jimmy Carter to Paul Tsongas, the Democratic Party has enjoyed a spirited debate thanks to the people of New Hampshire. In a process dominated by money and machine politics, this won't be possible. I hope that Chairman Dean and the membership of the Democratic National Committee will reconsider today's unfortunate decision."

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