″Issue One″, will no longer be heard on PBS television, as John McLaughlin, host of ″The McLaughlin Group″ died yesterday at the age of 89. McLaughlin missed this past weekend′s episode, the first time he did after hosting the political talk show for 34 years. The former Jesuit priest and speech writer for Richard Nixon set the standard for political pundit panels on TV.

I watched this past weekend′s show and while John was absent from the set, he did phone in his ″issues″ to be discussed. You can tell from his voice that he was very sick. I was tempted to write an article on Monday, which I was going to entitle, ″McLaughlin Death Watch″, but decided not to. Anybody who has watched his show in the last couple of years would have noticed that he was going downhill, fast.

″The McLaughlin Group″ was required viewing for any political junkie during its heyday. Especially when the end-of-the-year specials would air. McLaughlin and his panel of pundits would get all dressed up in formal wear, even Pat Buchanan! But, aside from Buchanan, the rest of the regular panelists were a bunch of Status Quo flunkies, bought and paid for by The Establishment. Only ′Pitch-Fork-Pat′ stood out as the lone rebel.

John McLaughlin certainly ′jumped-the-shark′ at least a decade ago. If not two decades! Still, he did start a trend in political talk shows. One with no ′guests′ to be questioned and grilled. Just reporters and writers who gave their opinions on subjects. He was a lonely man. John McLaughlin outlived two wives and his favorite pet Basset Hound, Oliver. Now dead at the age of 89, John McLaughlin may not be missed but still appreciated for his ground-breaking TV program, ″The McLaughlin Group″. Hopefully, this may mean that Eleanor Clift is next to go. That will be a happy day!

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