I get Townhall’s list of conservative columns in my e-mail on a regular basis, and, while I ordinarily delete it, today I decided to take a look at what columns are out there. I saw that Larry Elder’s column was entitled, Recruit George McGovern to Speak — at the REPUBLICAN Convention! George McGovern was the liberal Democrat who ran against Richard Nixon for the Presidency in 1972. I decided to read Elder’s piece because I have enjoyed reading about George McGovern’s more conservative side. See my posts here and here.
According to Elder, McGovern became critical of government regulations on businesses after his own business endeavor failed. McGovern reflected: “I wish I had known more firsthand about the concerns and problems of American businesspeople while I was a U.S. senator and later a presidential nominee. That knowledge would have made me a better legislator and a more worthy aspirant to the White House… I learned by owning the Stratford Inn is that legislators and government regulators must more carefully consider the economic and management burdens we have been imposing on U.S. businesses. … Many businesses, especially small independents such as the Stratford Inn, simply can’t pass such costs on to their customers and remain competitive or profitable.” McGovern also became open to people being allowed to buy health insurance across state lines, an idea that a number of conservatives have touted.
Elder refers to an article that McGovern wrote entitled “Freedom Means Responsibility”. It’s in this article that McGovern talks about the purchase of health insurance across state lines, but McGovern also defends subprime mortgages and short-term, high-fee emergency loans.
The thing is, I don’t think that George McGovern is now a conservative. As you can read in some of the summaries of his 2011 book, What It Means to be a Democrat, McGovern defends government programs and even supports Medicare for all—-a national health insurance system. But McGovern is willing to learn from the other side rather than allowing ideology to close his mind, and, whether or not one chooses to agree with McGovern’s ideas, I think that is a model for all of us.