Former Senate Republican Leader Bob Dole passed away this morning at the age of 98. He lost the use of his right arm in WWII, then began his electoral career in 1951 in the Kansas House. He went on to become Russell County Attorney and US Representative before joining the Senate in 1969. He was Chair of the RNC 1971-1973, which means he held that post when the Watergate was bugged, though I don’t believe the RNC itself was implicated in that or the ensuing coverup. He was Gerald Ford’s running mate in 1976 and tried for the top slot in 1980 and 1988 before the third time being a charm for the nomination in 1996 when he was ultimately defeated by Bill Clinton. He resigned from the Senate in 1996 to focus on his candidacy having served as Leader in both minority and majority capacities since 1985. In retirement he appeared in a couple of ad campaigns and promoted our joining the UN convention on disabilities. While definitely conservative he belonged to an era that valued cooperation and comity. I think of him as one of the “great almosts”, by which I mean those who never became President, but tried at least a couple of times and did hold other highly influential posts in the federal government.
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