Said Thursday that one reason he won't run...

GEORGE MCGOVERN

May 25, 1991|By THEO LIPPMAN JR.

GEORGE MCGOVERN said Thursday that one reason he won't run for president is "the risk of ridicule."

I've been ridiculing him for some months now. Hmmm. Maybe I'm onto something. Hey, Paul Tsongas, Jesse Jackson, Mario Cuomo, John D. Rockefeller IV, Tom Harkin, nyah, nyah, nyah, you stink, you're silly, you're ridiculous!

Maybe that will get those liberal losers out of the way so that the only Democrats who have a chance to be elected president in the near future can go to the head of the party.

I've been told I'm beginning to sound like a bugler who knows only one tune. Right, it's "Reveille," and if Democrats don't wake up and give the presidential nominating process back to moderates, Southerners and Westerners, there is not going to be a Democratic Party, at least not at the presidential level.

In the last six presidential elections, only one of which a Democrat won, the party averaged 42.9 percent of the popular vote and lost the electoral vote by 2,501 to 578.

McGovern and other members of the liberal wing keep saying that they would rather lose elections than lose their "soul." I've heard that so much lately, I wonder if the next nominee might not be James Brown.

"The Godfather of Soul" would probably do about as well as McGovern would have done, or Jesse Jackson could do. I'm serious. McGovern got only 37.53 percent of the vote in 1972. There is a foundation Democratic vote of about 30-35 percent. We (!) will vote for any Democrat.

As the old Southern saying goes, such Democrats would vote for a yellow dog -- a cur -- before they would vote for a Republican. Actually, that old saying has gone. Many traditional Democrats in the South now consistently vote Republican in presidential elections. In fact, there are growing numbers of "yellow dog Republicans" in Dixie now.

Cuomo has been changing his tune lately, with New York state and city going down the fiscal drain. He has been talking and acting like a conservative Democrat. But he didn't get to be governor in the first place without running as a real liberal. You can bet every statement he ever made in the past 15 years that conflicts with his born-again conservatism is on the computers at the Republican National Committee, just waiting to be shoved back in his mouth in 1992 if he is the nominee.

And the South and West will not vote for a liberal. Nor an ex-liberal. They wouldn't trust him.

A friend of mine whose political judgment I respect says my geographic determinism is all wet. He says if the Democrats nominate a good candidate, they'll win. His idea of a good candidate is Jack Kennedy.

If JFK came back to life and ran in 1992 and carried every state he carried in 1960, he'd win all right, but barely. The states he carried in 1960 have lost a net of 30 electoral votes since then. It takes 269 electoral votes to win. JFK got 303 then. He would get only 273 now.

Well, back to bugle practice. I'm learning "Taps."

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