Remembering Larry McDonald

The New American is remembering Rep. Larry McDonald, who was killed on this day in 1983 when Soviet fighter planes shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007:

Larry McDonald was born on April 1, 1935 in Atlanta, Georgia. At the age of 17, he was admitted to Emory University School of Medicine and in 1957 was graduated with his M.D. He then joined the U.S. Navy, serving on active duty for four years as a Navy physician and flight surgeon. For the duration of his life, McDonald remained in the Naval Reserve and was eventually promoted to the rank of Captain.
In 1974, after a tough primary battle in the Democratic Party, McDonald was elected to Congress, slipping by his Republican challenger Quincy Collins, by a margin of 549 votes out of the more than 95,000 votes cast.

On April 29, 1975, newly elected Representative McDonald addressed the floor of the House for the first time. He criticized the gradualist “no-win war” strategy in the Vietnam War, strongly emphasizing the Communist “bloodbath” that was to come to the people of South Vietnam.

By the end of his first term in the House he earned the respect and admiration of his colleagues in Congress; “Mr. Conservative” Senator Barry Goldwater said that Larry McDonald had “contributed more to the Congress than … any other freshman who has ever come here.” Goldwater’s remark wasn’t the only conservative approval McDonald garnered — he was universally respected by consitutionalists inside and outside of government.

During his tenure in office, Congressman McDonald always scored a solid 100 percent in “The Conservative Index,” then published in The Review Of The News (the predecessor to The New American). McDonald also scored a 100 percent rating from Americans for Conservative Action and 100 percent “rating from the National Conservative Political Action Committee’s (NCPAC) “Conservative Index.”

Larry McDonald was known for his staunch constitutional conservative principles and fervent anti-Communism. He was an advocate of a constitutionally limited government, school prayer, sound money (i.e. Austrian economics), the reinstallation of the House Internal Security Committee, and America’s mutual defense alliances with the anti-Communist governments of Taiwan and South Korea.


  1. Tiberius says:

    HBO did a good movie on the Airline shoot-down back in 1989. It is called
    “Tailspin: Behind the Korean Airliner Tragedy”

  2. Eureka says:

    Larry is also mentioned to this day in political science classes and papers because while he was a democrat, he voted with his party less than 4% of the time

  3. polisavvy says:

    I remember that day as if it were only yesterday. A very sad time and a very turbulent time as well. What a hideous loss of innocent lives?

  4. B Balz says:

    They say, “Time heals all wounds,” though I never really cared much for the man myself, to wit:

    “A conservative Democrat, he was active in numerous civic organizations and maintained a conservative voting record in Congress. He was known for his staunch opposition to communism and believed in long standing covert efforts by powerful U.S. groups to bring about a socialist world government. He was the second president of the John Birch Society.”

    “In a 1983 edition of Crossfire, Congressman Larry McDonald (D-Georgia), then its newly appointed president, characterized the society as belonging to the Old Right rather than the New Right (he defined New Right as “Viguerie and post-Viguerie”)…”

    “The second head of the John Birch Society was Congressman Larry McDonald from Georgia, who was killed on September 1, 1983, when the Soviets shot down KAL 007. The only congressman killed by the Soviets during the Cold War, he was on the way to the 30th year commemoration of the U.S.-S. Korea Mutual Defense Treaty in Seoul.”

  5. Red Phillips says:

    Larry McDonald was the last truly conservative Democrat. There are supposed conservative Democrats today, but they are really moderates.

    “In a 1983 edition of Crossfire, Congressman Larry McDonald (D-Georgia), then its newly appointed president, characterized the society as belonging to the Old Right rather than the New Right (he defined New Right as “Viguerie and post-Viguerie”)…”

    There is much truth in this, although the Old Right was non-interventionist and the JBS, at the time, wasn’t. (To be fair, at the height of the Cold War few were.) And Vig has been trending back our way of late.

    The “New Right” was a term coined to describe a new and emerging coalition, essentially the Reagan coalition, and wasn’t really intended to be a juxtaposition to the Old Right. The Old Right is probably better juxtaposed to the post-war “modern conservative movement” which still had some Old Right elements (Kirk) but much more.

  6. McDonald was a demagogue, a president of the John Birch Society, a fan of Joe McCarthy, anti-homosexual, anti-Civil Rights, and a believer in kook theories such as a the trilateral commission. In the pre-Mad Hatter days he was considered a nutball. Today, he’d be a mainline player in the modern Republican Party.

  7. iLarynx says:

    Why leave out all the McCarthyite, homophobe, and paranoid John Bircher facts? Those are all big plusses for Republicans today. Doubly so for Georgia Republicans.

Comments are closed.