Home / Congress / “The Worst Vote of My Career” — Congressman Larry McDonald (John Birch Society)
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“The Worst Vote of My Career” — Congressman Larry McDonald (John Birch Society)

Written by Gary North on September 5, 2012

In December, 1976, I was a staff member for Congressman Ron Paul. In November, he had lost his campaign for re-election by fewer than 300 votes out of over 180,000. My days as a Congressional staffer were numbered — thankfully.

The Democrats in that month elected Tip O’Neill the Speaker of the House. O’Neill was unopposed. A battle raged over who would be second in command: House Majority Leader.

There were four candidates. The front-runner was Phil Burton of San Francisco, probably the most far left Congressman in the House, with the possible exception of his brother, John, who is still a major Democrat player. Then there was Richard Bolling, a Constitutional law expert with a lot of enemies. Jim Wright of Ft. Worth was third. In fourth place was John McFall, who was plagued by a scandal.

The rules were clear: the bottom man was eliminated in each round of voting. First, McFall was eliminated; then Bolling, but just barely. It came down to Burton vs. Wright. Wright won, 148 to 147.

Wright was perceived as a moderate, but his success in pushing liberal legislation, first as Majority Leader and later as Speaker of the House, was the stuff of legend. He went along to get along, to cite another Texas Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn. He knew how to work the legislative system. He was to the House what Lyndon Johnson had been to the Senate.

When one vote determines the outcome of an election, anyone who voted can claim to be the deciding factor. One such claimant was Congressman Larry McDonald. He was the most conservative Democrat in the House in 1976. Arguably, he was the most conservative House Democrat in the twentieth century. He was a member of the John Birch Society, and had he not disappeared, along with the never-located Korean Airlines Flight 007, in 1983, he would have become the head of the JBS.

At the initial meeting of the Council for National Policy in early 1981, he and I discussed old times and new times. He made an observation that has stuck with me ever since.

The worst vote of my career was my vote for Jim Wright for Majority Leader in 1976. I thought Burton was a Communist. But if he had won, House Democrats would not have gone along with him on a lot of disastrous bills that Jim Wright pushed through.

McDonald had made a choice. He looked at the voting record of two politicians and decided that one of them was the lesser of two evils. In terms of their voting records, this assessment was correct, but in terms of their respective abilities to get bills passed and signed into law by the newly elected President, Jimmy Carter, it was incorrect. McDonald recognized this too late.

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9 thoughts on ““The Worst Vote of My Career” — Congressman Larry McDonald (John Birch Society)

  1. Couldn't agree more. Said the same thing about Gore a few months ago and I hated him.

  2. PatriotDiva says:

    I bet Larry McDonald's demise on that Korean airliner was no accident either!

  3. How many of us have done the same thing? Chosen what we THOUGHT was the lesser of the 2 evils, & it ended up being the wrong choice. Or not voting at all because neither choice suited us. Last election, ('08) over 3 million evangelicals didn't vote at all, because they didn't like McCain or Obama either. However, IF they had done their Christian & American duty, & voted for McCain, we wouldn't be in the position we are in now. And, the same choice has been presented again. I don't like Romney, but WILL vote for him, because the future under Obama is very frightening. I have 8 grandchildren & worry about their future. All any of us can do now, is, to vote for the candidate that is, at least, safer than Obama. I still resent the Republican party for forcing us to have no better choice than what we have. After this election, I will no longer list myself as a Republican, but will be an 'other'. I'm an evangelical Christian conservative patriotic tea partying American!

  4. Messianic Theocrat says:

    @ssh49tn – If you seriously think we are a lot worse off now with Obama that we would have been with McCain, please think again. The differences are marginal at best. We might not have Pelosicare in its current form, but probably something very similar.
    As Gary has said repeatedly, this is CFR Team A vs. CFR Team B, and has been since 1964. Don't try pointing to Reagan as an exception – he caved in and swallowed GHWB as his running mate, despite despising him, then made Bush's "right hand man" Baker his Chief of Staff.

  5. I do believe you are correct. I read a stunning book on that incident, whicih exhaustively researched every availble bit, and it seems pretty conclusive it was a plot to get rid of him. Far too many coincidences, and a pretty clear MO. There were also a number orf strong reasons certain factions could desire to be shut of such a man as Mc Donald. He was "dangerous" to certain "causes". Oh, and the media spin on the whole incident is remarkable, particularly considering the time.

  6. your words: IF they had done their Christian & American duty, & voted for McCain, we wouldn't be in the position we are in now. Just who do you think YOU are, defining MY "christian duty"? Mc Cain is a rat, just like the current kinyun and Romney. We said lasat time, given the two hold-yer-nose "choices" well, do it this time, and we'll have better options next time". Did that happen? Seriously? NO IT DID NOT. Romney is Obama lite, with a nice smile. Same values, much the same vision. CFR teams A and B. Same sponsor, same goals. The "theory" didn't work last time, what assurance do you have it will this time? There WAS a good candidate, a christian, pro life, anti-world government, fiscal conservative, small government, reduce taxation AND spending, balanced budget, constitutioinal rights, pro second ammendment, anti-Obamatax, candidate…. but he was railroaded off to the sidelines by the ruling party elites, and their media hacks, he being "unelectable". Sorry, but every squawk and whinge I hear about "what's wrong with this country" and "the government", this man addressed.. solidly, lucidly, practically, and has a mulit-decade track record of voting to back up his claims for "what I will do". "Unelectable"? ONLY because the ruling elite has made it so. WE THE PEOPLE were shut out of that process, and will be on into the future UNLESS we rise up and either take over the GOP from the local precinct level upward, or form an entirely new and viable party. Status quo doesn't cut it, and voting for Obamney OR Robama merely supports the status quo.

  7. It was by the grace of God, Jesse Helms wasn't on KAL 007, as he had planned to be.

  8. I couldn’t agree more. Voting should be required as it is in Brazil. Mitt was not my first choice but he is infinately more qualified, competent and well-intended than the demon in the Whitehouse now.

  9. Rabelrouser says:

    If the people would come to the realization on who is really running the circus that is know as Washington, they would cast their vote for neither. But alas, political tribalism has become the rule of the day; and it became the rule by the average citizen not wanting to come to terms with who is in control of the nation. ( I'll give you a clue, they control all the finances worldwide).
    An individual who bucks the system in place soon finds his/her self villified and rediculed to an alarming degree by those in cahoots (or owned) by the power structure; thereby convincing the electorate to believe what they are told. And they, the electorate dont take the time to look any deeper into the "reported account", they just "assume" that they are being told the truth.
    This is where the nations problem originates from, an electorate that literally refuses to search for truth, that accepts the mind control "versions" of the story; who can not be convinced of a truth because their mind has already been made up for them.