One of the many iterations of the McLaughlin Group cast, as depicted in this Al Hirschfeld lithograph. Occupying the center is John McLaughlin with (clockwise) Eleanor Clift, Morton Kondracke, Fred Barnes, Jack Germond, and Clarence Page in his periphery (image courtesy of Margo Feiden Galleries Ltd., New York).
I wasn't completely surprised when I heard about the passing of political commentator John McLaughlin back on August 16th. News of his failing health, to include him missing the episode that was taped just four days prior--his first absence in the 34-year run of The McLaughlin Group television show, had come through my many social media feeds and helped softened the blow of hearing that he had succumbed to prostate cancer at the age of 89. I have not been a loyal viewer of late but a recent "peek-in" showed him looking rather gaunt and purposely placed in his host chair to perhaps provide as much comfort to him as possible. His voice sounded weaker but his mind--via the topics he personally chose--appeared to remain faithful to him right up to the very end. This recent imagery, however, does not do justice to the grandiose giant who changed how American political discourse was presented to the masses via the medium of television.