McGovern: It Was Personal

A campaign blog.
May 7 2008 3:29 PM

McGovern: It Was Personal

George McGovern isn’t a superdelegate, but his switch to Obamais still important, because it creates a model for other flip-flopping Clinton loyalists toimitate. Notice his rationale to MSNBC, where he professed "great affection"for the Clintons:

"They were battling for me 36 years ago when I won thepresidential nomination and that’s why I supported Hillary in considerable partthis time."

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The implication here is that McGovern endorsed Clinton largely forpersonal reasons. He never thought she’d make a better president than Obama. Hejust owed her. But now that her chances are below zero, he’s shiftingallegiance to the guy who’s going to win, and who he really likes just as muchas Clinton.

That’s actually pretty similar to whathe said back in October, when he first endorsed Hillary: "We are veryfortunate that we have a marvelous collection of candidates, any one of whom Iwould be happy to support for the highest office," he said, but added that "wehave an old rule of currency in the United States: Ladies first." Thatdidn’t make much sense at the time, but it makes backing out now a lot easier.

This rationale—I supported Hillary because we’re friends,but Obama will make a smashing president—is something we’re likely to hear morein the coming days. It lets supers switch sides without undermining their newfoundcommitment to Obama.

Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.

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