Years after losing to RN in the 1972 presidential election, George McGovern started a small business.  In part because of taxes and government regulations, it went bust.  At the Houston Chronicle, Chris Ladd writes:

McGovern described the lessons he learned from his business venture in a 1993 article titled, “What I Know Now: Nibbled to Death.” Some of his advice:

“…legislators and government regulators must more carefully consider the economic and management burdens we have been imposing on U.S. business….”

“I’m for protecting the health and well-being of both workers and consumers. I’m for a clean environment and economic justice. But I’m convinced we can pursue those worthy goals and still cut down vastly on the incredible paperwork, the complicated tax forms, the number of minute regulations, and the seemingly endless reporting requirements that afflict American business. Many businesses, especially small independents such as the Stratford Inn, simply can’t pass such costs on to their customers and remain competitive or profitable.”

And what would he do differently in public life after learning what small businesspeople experience:

“I would ask whether specific legislation exacts a managerial price exceeding any overall benefit it might produce. What are the real economic and social gains of the legislation when compared with the costs and competitive handicaps it imposes on businesspeople?”

He has since spoken out against union causes, like the Employee Free Choice Act.

McGovern’s journey makes one wonder what sort of leader he might have become if he’d had more sensitivity to the needs of private business owners. Its a little late for Obama to try to acquire some of that experience for himself, but perhaps he could make a phone call to George McGovern.