Cal Thomas has been a fixture in the conservative landscape for years. A prolific writer and an activist, he was vice president of the Moral Majority from 1980 to 1985 and then wrote a book, Blinded by Might, explaining its failure to transform society through political action.
I will remember him for something other than his politics. George McGovern was a friend.
After his Senate re-election defeat in 1980, McGovern and I debated on college campuses and in other venues. These debates were always civil because McGovern was a gentleman. After one debate at Butler University in Indianapolis, a fellow conservative invited me to dinner.
“Thank you,” I said, “but George and I have dinner plans.”
“How can you eat with a man like that?” he said with an equal mix of surprise and disgust.
“Easy,” I said. “He’s a friend of mine.”
Here’s what I learned about McGovern that Thomas ignored (he must have known about it as well): McGovern was a fellow at The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). Wikipedia calls IPS a “progressive” “left-wing” think tank. Unfortunately, it is far more than that. According to Harvey Klehr, a professor at Emory University and author of Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today, the IPS “serves as an intellectual nerve center for radical movement, ranging from nuclear and anti-intervention issues to support for Marxist insurgencies.” The FBI called the IPS a “factory” that trains “extremists [to] incite violence in U.S. cities and whose educational research serves as a cover for intrigue [and] political agitation.” (my emphasis)
In simple terms, the IPS is a transmission belt for communist propaganda and violence, all in the name of research. And George McGovern knew it. After all, his relationship with IPS wasn’t distant or incidental. He was an IPS fellow.
Thomas would have served his readers better if he had reminded us of that about McGovern.