The Dole-ful Countenance

When you research and assemble a long account of any subject, as I did with my two-volume Age of Reagan project, you make unexpected discoveries along the way.  Two in particular stand out: first, that the CIA is mostly a bunch a blundering boobs (more on this some other time perhaps), and second, that Bob Dole is a total heel.  That’s why I long ago came refer to him as “Blob Dough.”

Dole is back in the news over the last couple of days for having gone Full Ornstein on us, as Kerry Picket recounts at Breitbart:

Former Senate Majority Leader and 1996 GOP Presidential nominee Bob Dole excoriated the Republican Party on Fox News Sunday, saying the Party lacked new ideas and engaged in too much obstructionist activity in the upper chamber.

“They ought to put a sign on the National Committee doors that says ‘Closed for repairs,’ until New Year’s Day next year and spend that time going over ideas and positive agendas,” he said.

Additionally, Dole remarked that not only was he doubtful he could “make it” in today’s Republican Party, but he believes Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon could not make it either in the current GOP, saying, “Reagan couldn’t have made it. Certainly, Nixon couldn’t have made it, because he had ideas. We might’ve made it, but I doubt it.

And whoa: Olympia Snowe says “Dole is right,” so I guess that settles it.

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, since Dole once explained that he only became a Republican because there were more of them in Kansas when he decided to enter politics.  What a man of thought and conviction.  By the way, Dole is not the only modern senator to hail from Russell, Kansas.  The other: Arlen Specter.  Did they ever test the water there?

As senator Dole turned out to be a perfect example of a DC Republican suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome.  Having fully assimilated the premises of Washington, there was seldom a budget cut he supported, or a proposed tax increase he didn’t like.  And of course, a clear sign of Dole’s establishment leanings came from the “strange new respect” the media rewarded him with whenever he broke with Reagan, as I survey in Age of Reagan II:

The same media editorialists who expressed incredulity at Reagan’s resistance to tax hikes showered Dole with accolades.  The Boston Globe praised “Pitchfork Bob Dole, the latter day populist from Kansas” for lifting the “fairness issue” from Democrats.  Kevin Phillips, engaged in his own crabwalk to the left at that time, said Dole’s leadership on the tax hike “moves him right up in the 1984 presidential sweepstakes.”  Time magazine ran photos of Dole striking statesmanlike poses to along with the prose praise: “Dole has mellowed and matured . . .  shunning rigid ideology.”  The New Republic editorialized, “Who would have thought that Senator Bob Dole would emerge as the loophole-closing hero of 1982”? The Baltimore Sun declared 1982 to be “the year of Bob Dole,” and Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen group hailed Dole for being “the architect of the best tax reform bill in history.” Roland Evans and Robert Novak attacked Dole as the “new McGovern,” and as if on cue, George McGovern himself joined the chorus, uttering the words conservatives dread to hear about one of their own: “Bob Dole has grown.” As The American Spectator’s Tom Bethell had become weary of pointing out, “grown in office” is a Beltway euphemism for “moved to the left.”  Conservatives have a phrase for this: it is the “strange new respect” phenomenon.  The Ripon Society, the last bastion of dwindling Republican liberalism, certified Dole’s new status by naming him its Man of the Year.

Maybe I’m starting to understand why he became a Viagra pitchman.  Or perhaps he’s just hard of hearing; he thought doctors were promising a cure for his “electile dysfunction.”   To quote Dole: “Where’s the outrage in America?”



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