President Bush doesn't care about domestic policy and Vice President Dan Quayle is totally unqualified to be president - so believes former U.S. Sen. George McGovern, who was the Democratic Party's 1972 presidential candidate.
McGovern, 68, spoke at the Salt Lake International Airport on arriving in Utah to address Snow College students. The former senator, who later spoke at the college on the topic of "The New World Order," is thinking about running for president again in 1992. He'll make his announcement, run or no run, at the National Press Club on May 23.McGovern is writing a book on the new world order - the world after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.
Besides his full 1972 campaign, McGovern also ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984, getting out of the race after a disappointing showing in the party's Massachusetts primary.
"Bush is bored with domestic policy. He's told his friends that," McGovern said. "Quayle is unqualified in every respect to be president. It was reckless of Bush to give him the second most powerful office in the country."
McGovern, who got only 39 percent of the Utah vote when then-President Richard Nixon swept him away in 1972, says as it stands today nobody can beat Bush in 1992. "He's too popular. No Democrat could beat him, not George McGovern, not (New York Gov. Mario) Cuomo, not Mickey Mouse. It will be a very difficult race (for the Democratic presidential nominee) and I think it will take some breaks to win."
Facing $500 billion deficits at the federal level, McGovern says it's unrealistic and impossible to retire the debt in four years, as some Republicans argue. "But if we can cut away at it, $40 million or $50 million a year, we can do it."
The key to his domestic policy is cutting the $300 billion U.S. military budget. "We could cut it in half to $150 billion and still be the world's largest military spender. Take the other $150 billion and rebuild our roads, bridges and waterworks. Spend part of it on education, the environment, health care and other domestic programs."
He says two-thirds of military spending goes to protect Japan and Western Europe. "We're never going to war with Russia. Who is threatening Japan and Western Europe today? We can pull out of those areas and let those wealthy nations defend themselves."
McGovern said a vote for him isn't a vote for a tax increase to balance the budget. "If we raise taxes on everyone now, we'll go from a recession into a depression. I would raise the top income tax bracket from 28 percent to 35 percent and increase taxes on top, profitable corporations. I'd consider a tax on imported oil, as well. But I think we should cut taxes on middle-income Americans, who have taken it in the neck during the Reagan-Bush years, and the best way to do that is to reduce Social Security withholding."