Sunday, December 5, 2021

Bob Dole Dies At 98

Former Kansas Republican Senator and GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole has died at 98, maybe the last Republican who I didn't think was a complete garbage fire.

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, who will be remembered for the tenacity that defined his career and his work on behalf of fellow military veterans, died Sunday morning. He was 98.

"It is with heavy hearts we announce that Senator Robert Joseph Dole died early this morning in his sleep," the Elizabeth Dole Foundation said in a statement Sunday.

In his memoir, "One Soldier's Story," Dole wrote that his experiences in World War II defined his life.

"Adversity can be a harsh teacher," he wrote. "But its lessons often define our lives. As much as we may wish that we could go back and relive them, do things differently, make better, wiser decisions, we can't change history. War is like that. You can rewrite it, attempt to infuse it with your own personal opinions, twist or spin it to make it more palatable, but eventually the truth will come out."

As an Army officer in World War II, he was wounded and there were doubts he'd survive. His right arm was permanently disabled, but he adapted.

"If unable to reach voters with my right hand, I could always reach out with my left," he wrote in "The Doles: Unlimited Partners," a book he co-authored with his wife, Elizabeth, and Richard Norton Smith.

He went on to graduate from college, and, while still in law school, won a seat in the Kansas state legislature. He won a seat in Congress in 1960 and went on to serve in the House until he was elected to the Senate in 1968.

Dole ran three times for president. He lost in primaries in 1980 to Ronald Reagan and in 1988 to George H.W. Bush. He won the Republican party nomination in 1996, but lost the general election to Bill Clinton.

"Those pivotal moments remain indelibly impressed in your heart and mind," he wrote in "One Soldier's Story." "For me, the defining period in my life was not running for the highest office in the land. It started years earlier, in a foreign country, where hardly anyone knew my name."
Don't get me wrong, Dole was still a primary agent of the rise of the GOP we've been with all my life, but at least he killed some fascists and took crippling artillery injuries for America. He understood what America meant, and he understood the sacrifice, the pain, and the cost of that definition of our country, and more importantly who paid that cost.

But he was also one of the voices who remained largely silent and passive when the GOP fully metastasized into the party of Trump.

"Both sides use it," the former Senate majority leader noted of the parliamentary rule, then praised "the guy from West Virginia" who is defending it. That would be Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. Dole decided on the spot that he'd like to meet Manchin – to invite him over for a chat, no big agenda, across party lines. Like the old days.

"I keep fairly busy," Dole said during a 45-minute interview in his apartment in the Watergate complex, and he has more things he wants to do. He hopes to regain enough strength to make "one more trip home," to Kansas, to visit the Veterans Affairs medical center in Topeka and meet with students at the University of Kansas' Dole Institute of Politics in Lawrence.

When he blows out the candles on his birthday cake – at a celebration hosted by his wife, former North Carolina senator Elizabeth Dole, and joined by a dozen or so friends – he'll make a wish for "pretty good health" for a while longer.
And he endorsed Trump, his final bad decision in a decades-long year career of them.
Dole is gone now, and so is the party he helped to create along with Reagan, Poppy Bush, and John McCain. The last of the Republicans, the party now replaced by open white supremacist fascist assholes.

The joke was is that they always were, just that Dole was smart enough to hide it.

[UPDATE] Joe Biden is a better man than I am, ordering flags at half-staff for Dole this week.

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