The Lonely Centrist

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Eugene McCarthy, R.I.P.

Eugene McCarthy, a champion of freedom, died today at the age of 89.

McCarthy opposed the Vietnam War early, and his 1968 presidential candidacy on a peace platform knocked Lyndon Johnson out of the race, and hence the presidency.

He was a plaintiff in Buckley v. Valeo, challenging campaign finance regulations, and remained a perceptive and colorful critic of these regulations throughout his life. McCarthy is usually credited with being the first to note that, "the Founding Fathers pledged their 'lives, fortunes, and sacred honor' to the cause of liberty, not their 'Lives, sacred honor, and fortunes up to $1000 per annum.'" He was also a sharp critic of taxpayer funded campaigns, frequently pointing out that the founders, "did not go and ask King George for matching funds."

In recent years, he was critical of government excesses in the War on Terror, without joining the over-the-top Michael Moore crowd. And McCarthy was too much of a gentleman to be sucked in to the nasty rhetoric of such people. He always assumed the best motives in his opponents, and treated opposing arguments fairly and with respect.

He will be missed. R.I.P.

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