Thursday, May 08, 2008

South Dakota Spoilsport

Et tu, George McGovern? After Tuesday's balloting, the 1972 Democratic presidential candidate announced his support for Barack Obama and expressed hope for an "early decision" on the nomination.

But as a former senator from South Dakota, why would he want to deny his state's chance for a place in the sun, or at least on cable TV, for its June 3rd primary?

South Dakota gets so little attention, as I learned when I was stationed there during World War II in Rapid City, a sleepy place in the Black Hills, not far from Deadwood, where Wild Bill Hickock was shot in the back holding aces and eights. His death hand was framed in the local saloon where I played poker with ranchers and Native Americans, who were still called Indians in those days.

On the trip from the air base, our bus would pass Mt. Rushmore with huge sculptures of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln watching over a scrubby landscape.

Only old movies commemorate those places these days, with Gary Cooper playing Wild Bill in "The Plainsman" and Cary Grant scrambling over those big faces in Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest."

Why would McGovern want to deny Hillary and Bill and Barack a chance to reenact those classic American scenes and help the tourist trade this summer?

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