Back in the early 1990s, when our son was 4 years old and accustomed to seeing his dad on a certain Washington-based public television talk show, he'd annoy us by skipping through the house singing, "Bye-bye! Bye-bye...!"
John McLaughlin, creator-host of "The McLaughlin Group," was delighted to hear that news. "Watch out, Clarence," he said in his professorial bellow. "I'm subverting a new generation."
"Father John," as some of us regulars on his news-panel sometimes called him backstage, has uttered his last "bye-bye." The former Roman Catholic priest, who became an aide to President Richard Nixon and later pioneered a pugilistic style of political punditry, died on Tuesday (Aug. 18) at his home in Washington. He was 89.
I was fortunate enough to be part of the "Group" for 28 of its 34 years on the air. McLaughlin invited me to join the panel, he told me later, on the recommendation of another visionary broadcaster, William McCarter, the Chicago public TV and radio chief who brought the show to PBS in 1982. McCarter died in 2011.