I knew George McGovern. Bernie Sanders is no George McGovern.

McGovern won two House races and three statewide Senate races in the conservative state of South Dakota, not liberal Vermont. He was a decorated World War II bomber pilot who flew 35 combat missions, often landing with his B-24 bomber badly shredded by anti-aircraft fire.

In the 1972 campaign, McGovern offered nothing like a Green New Deal, major overhaul of national health insurance, or any one of a number of sweeping increases in the size and reach of the national government. He did advocate something called a “demogrant,” anticipating Andrew Yang by half a century by proposing an annual grant of $1,000 to all American families, back when that was real money.

As the commentariat searches for Sanders’s predecessors, it is a reach to make McGovern a far-left icon. His economics and foreign policy were much closer to those of John F. Kennedy than to those of Hubert Humphrey.

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