Robert Dole, Republican Senator, 1923-2021

If anyone represents the politics of Washington in the second half of the 20th century—good, bad, and ugly—then it must be the former Republican Senator Robert Dole from Kansas, who has passed away at the age of 98.

He was the party’s presidential candidate in 1996. He was the vice president 20 years ago. He ran for nominations twice and failed four times for national office. In terms of salary, he is twice that of the majority leader of the Senate, has served as the minority leader for eight years, and is the chairman of the House Finance Committee. His hands are visible in countless legislation, especially for the poor and disabled. Without his efforts, the World War II Memorial on the National Mall would have been impossible to build.

There is no doubt that he also has the sharpest tongue in the capital, a mixture of acrimonious and truly interesting. In 1976, he attacked the “Democratic War” of the 20th century, depriving the opposition party of the two-letter suffix; today, Republicans only refer to it as he did at the time. Much later, when asked to comment on the lament of former spokesperson Newt Gingrich, he did not understand why it caused such “immediate disgust,” Dole quipped: “This saves time.”

Although he is known for his unscrupulous partisan struggles, as a hawk in the Vietnam War and his brutal opposition to the Clinton administration’s healthcare reforms, he often represents a now extinct species—the moderate Midwest Republican. He supported most of the civil rights legislation of the 1960s and established friendship on the political aisle, which was a necessary attribute for his preferred legislative negotiations to hit the nail on the head. This is proof that Joe Biden, a president who has served in the Senate for more than 30 years, visited his home the day after he announced that he had terminal cancer. There is almost no such spirit today.

Robert Joseph Dole was born on July 22, 1923 in Russell, Kansas. Although he lived in Washington most of the time, he lived until the house where he grew up was his main residence. His father ran a butter factory, but the family went through difficult times during the Great Depression. Before the war put him into service, he was a star basketball and football player at the University of Kansas. In 1945, as the second lieutenant of the army, he was seriously injured by German machine gun fire outside Bologna, and his right arm was almost useless ever since.

Dole recovered from shrapnel injuries while serving in Italy during World War II in April 1945 © U.S. Army/Associated Press

After completing his studies at the University of Arizona and the George Washington University School of Law, he entered the Kansas State Legislature in 1952 and served as the Russell County Attorney for eight years. This led to a seat in the House of Representatives in 1960 and a seat in the Senate eight years later.

After Vice President Nelson Rockefeller withdrew from consideration, Gerald Ford chose Dole as his running mate in the 1976 campaign. In this campaign, he and Jimmy Carter’s second-ranking figure, the amiable and experienced Walter Mundell, were disadvantaged. . The “democratic war” remarks in their debate aroused widespread criticism. Four years later, he ran for the nomination in his own right, but withdrew early due to poor results in the primary election.

In 1988, he ran harder, but a similar violent temper didn’t help. When asked on TV if he had anything to say about Vice President George HW Bush, who just won the New Hampshire primary election and Dole won third place, he roared: “Tell him not to lie to my record anymore. “Although he won some later Midwest primaries, he never had a chance.

In 1996, he began to lead the diversified Republican field, including Texas Senator Phil Gram to his right; the debater Pat Buchanan; and the magazine publisher Steve Forbes; on his left, Senator Arlen Spectre from Pennsylvania also grew up in Russell. Buchanan had a frustrating victory in the opening New Hampshire primary elections, but after a long and economically fragile campaign, Dole won and chose Congressman and former football star Jack Can Pu as his running partner. At the age of 73, he was the oldest person nominated as the first presidential candidate at the time.

But this has always been an uphill battle with the current President Bill Clinton, whose reputation has been rising with the support of strong economic growth, not to mention a candidate for populist billionaire Ross Perot. Qualified, even though his grades are less than half of his as early as four years ago. In desperation, Dole resigned from the Senate to focus on campaign activities, but Clinton successfully linked him to Gingrich, who shut down the federal government at the end of 1995, which was largely unpopular . The gap between them has not narrowed at any stage. Clinton won the national vote with a 49-40% advantage, and Perot won more than 8%.

Then there is the Republican presidential candidate, Dole waved as he boarded the election minibus after completing a speech in the northern town of Belmond, Iowa, on February 3, 1988 © Mike Sprague/AFP/Getty

After retiring, he has been busy as a TV commentator, writing books and once again working with his old Senate opponent George McGovern to solve the problem of child malnutrition. But his final act in the Senate at the end of 2012 was a tragic comment on the changing times. He was pushed up to show symbolic support for the United Nations Disability Convention, but the Senate voted against ratification on the grounds that it might violate US sovereignty.

Dole was married twice, first to Phyllis Holden (Phyllis Holden), he and her had a daughter, and divorced her in 1972 (she died in 2008). In 1975, he married Elizabeth “Liddy” Hanford, who was an important politician himself, and later served as Secretary of Transportation and Labor in the Reagan and Bush administrations respectively, and served as the Republican Party of North Carolina in 2003-08 senator. Like her husband, she briefly ran for the Republican nomination in 2000. They formed a typical Washington internal power couple, and she survived with his support.

Her foundation announced that Dole died in his sleep earlier on Sunday, stating that he had “faithfully served the United States of America for 79 years”.

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