A Hen-Fried McGovern, Newt’s Good Concepts and the Senate Zoo: A Dole One-Liner Sampler

A Chicken-Fried McGovern, Newt’s Good Ideas and the Senate Zoo: A Dole One-Liner Sampler

2021-12-06 05:34:10

At a vice-presidential debate in opposition to Walter Mondale in 1976, Senator Bob Dole flung one of many acerbic one-liners he was identified for.

“If we added up the killed and wounded in Democrat wars on this century,” he stated, “it could be about 1.6 million Individuals, sufficient to fill the town of Detroit.”

It didn’t go over nicely. Beneath hearth even from some fellow Republicans, Mr. Dole denied utilizing the phrase “Democrat wars,” then did injury management. His level, a spokesman stated, had been that it was as unfair responsible Democrats for these wars because it was responsible President Gerald Ford — who was on the high of the ticket Mr. Dole was working on — for Watergate.

Credit score…The New York Occasions Archives

The one factor that stood out concerning the episode was that Mr. Dole appeared to acknowledge he had taken his attribute sarcasm too far.

However he by no means stopped utilizing it — in opposition to Democrats, Republicans and sometimes himself. After his demise on Sunday at age 98, here’s a sampling of his sharp tongue, together with his jabs at supply-side economics and his venomous letter to a former White Home official.

In his first marketing campaign for the presidency, in 1980, Mr. Dole joined the pile-on in opposition to President Jimmy Carter.

“I as soon as known as Carter a chicken-fried McGovern,” Mr. Dole stated, referring to the previous Democratic nominee George McGovern. “And I take that again as a result of I’ve come to respect McGovern.”

Very like Mr. McGovern’s 1972 common election marketing campaign, Mr. Dole’s 1980 main marketing campaign crashed and burned. He gained simply 607 votes in New Hampshire.

If 1980 was a nasty yr for him, it was an awesome yr for his occasion: Ronald Reagan gained the presidency and Republicans retook the Senate. However Mr. Dole was lower than proud of the actual Republicans who had completed so, a few of whom he felt had risen on an anti-Democratic wave relatively than on their very own deserves.

“If we had identified we have been going to win management of the Senate,” he stated, “we’d have run higher candidates.”

In 1982, as members of the Senate Finance Committee labored late on a invoice to remove billions in tax breaks, Mr. Dole declared that lobbyists and attorneys “could also be carrying Guccis tonight, however they’ll be barefoot by morning.”

Because the Democratic main elections bought underway in 1984, Mr. Dole commented on the failing presidential marketing campaign of Senator Ernest F. Hollings with a jab whose relevance to his personal marketing campaign was absolutely not misplaced on him.

“The early marketing campaign has proven that Fritz Hollings has one of the best humorousness,” he stated. “And with 1 % of the vote, he’ll want it.”

4 years later, Mr. Dole once more ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination. Accused of missing “imaginative and prescient,” he stated: “We considered having a vision-of-the-month membership only for the media. They’d say, ‘That’s the unsuitable imaginative and prescient,’ and I’d say, ‘That’s all proper, I bought one other one.’”

Mr. Dole reached the apex of his profession after Republicans seized management of Congress in 1994, making him the Senate majority chief. The victory was led by Consultant Newt Gingrich, who would turn out to be speaker of the Home. However Mr. Dole was not a fan.

“You hear Gingrich’s workers has these 5 file cupboards, 4 massive ones and one little tiny one,” he instructed The New York Occasions Journal in 1995. “No. 1 is ‘Newt’s Concepts.’ No. 2, ‘Newt’s Concepts.’ No. 3, No. 4, ‘Newt’s Concepts.’ The infant is ‘Newt’s Good Concepts.’”

Later that yr, throughout a authorities shutdown, Mr. Dole and Mr. Gingrich introduced that they supported paying federal employees who have been furloughed due to the shutdown.

Wasn’t it absurd, a reporter requested, to pay employees to remain residence relatively than simply have them work?

Mr. Dole — whose residence state, Kansas, benefited from federal funds to farmers to go away some land fallow for environmental causes — replied, “It’s like a farm program.”

In response to The Tampa Bay Occasions, Senator John McCain of Arizona favored to inform a narrative a couple of dinner Senate Republicans had with President Invoice Clinton. Somebody requested Mr. Clinton if he had learn a homicide thriller written by a Republican senator, and the president stated sure, noting, “It’s a Democratic senator who will get murdered.”

“Yeah,” Mr. Dole stated. “It has a cheerful ending.”

In 1996, Mr. Dole ran for president as soon as extra.

When one in all his rivals for the Republican nomination, Pat Buchanan, accused him of distorting Mr. Buchanan’s report, The Orlando Sentinel reported, “Dole mumbled that he was solely reporting what he had learn in Buchanan’s syndicated columns, and he simply all the time assumed they have been correct.”

Mr. Dole gained the nomination. (He then misplaced to Mr. Clinton, 159 electoral votes to 379.) His working mate was Jack Kemp, a former soccer participant who had spent 18 years within the Home of Representatives, and whom Mr. Dole had beforehand mocked.

“There was a sure soccer participant who forgot his helmet after which began speaking supply-side principle,” Mr. Dole stated in an undated comment recounted by The Tampa Bay Occasions.

It was not the primary time Mr. Dole had expressed disdain for supply-side economics, the Reaganite gospel that slicing taxes and reducing rules would strengthen the financial system sufficient to recoup misplaced tax income.

“A bus full of supply-siders goes over the cliff, killing all aboard,” he as soon as stated. “That’s the excellent news. The unhealthy information is that there have been three unoccupied seats.”

Not that he supported elevating taxes.

“I bear in mind someday on the ground, I stated, ‘Now, gents, let me tax your reminiscences,’” he stated in one in all his presidential debates with Mr. Clinton, name-checking Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts. “And Kennedy jumped up and stated, ‘Why haven’t we considered that earlier than?’”

As a result of he had given up his Senate seat to run for president, Mr. Dole had no job to return to after he misplaced.

In a startling transfer, he agreed to star in a business for Viagra when it was launched in 1998. He knew that speaking about erectile dysfunction was “just a little embarrassing,” he stated within the advert, “however it’s so essential to tens of millions of males and their companions.”

Mr. Dole embraced the affiliation, together with on “The Tonight Present With Jay Leno” in 2002. After Mr. Leno talked about analysis exhibiting that Viagra may trigger blindness in uncommon instances, Mr. Dole emerged to roars of laughter from the viewers.

“That’s quite a lot of garbage, Jay,” he stated. “I hate to see this misinformation being unfold. I do know just a little about Viagra, Bob Dole is aware of just a little about Viagra, and my imaginative and prescient is ideal. It’s 20/20.

“And,” he stated, pointing to Mr. Leno’s band chief, “you must know higher, Jay Leno.”

Mr. Dole was a repeat visitor on late-night exhibits. He fired off a number of one-liners in an look on the “Late Present” with David Letterman in 1998, together with musing on the size of his Senate profession: 35 and a half years.

In fact, he added, “Senator Thurmond’s been there — nicely, let’s see, he got here in with Chester Arthur.”

When Mr. Letterman requested if he nonetheless visited the Senate, Mr. Dole replied, “I don’t go up fairly often, as a result of I can’t vote anymore and the remainder of them vote unsuitable.”

Mr. Dole was not above criticizing the establishment he spent 35 years in. “When you’re hanging round with nothing to do and the zoo is closed, come over to the Senate,” he as soon as stated, in response to former Senator Ben Nelson’s memoir. “You’ll get the identical sort of feeling and also you gained’t must pay.”

Like many members of the previous guard of Republicans, Mr. Dole grew to become more and more crucial of the occasion’s route — however nonetheless endorsed Donald J. Trump for president in 2016.

The Republican Nationwide Committee ought to put up an indication “that claims ‘closed for repairs’ till New Yr’s Day subsequent yr and spend that point going over concepts and optimistic agendas,” he instructed Fox Information in 2013. Discussing who may very well be elected in at this time’s occasion, he added: “Reagan wouldn’t have made it. Actually Nixon couldn’t have made it, as a result of he had concepts.”

There was some irony to the criticism, as a result of Mr. Dole had excoriated a former White Home press secretary who wrote a crucial e book concerning the George W. Bush administration.

“There are depressing creatures such as you in each administration who don’t have the heart to talk up or stop if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues,” he wrote in a blistering 2008 letter to the previous official, Scott McClellan, including: “When the cash begins rolling in you need to donate it to a worthy trigger, one thing like, ‘Biting the Hand That Fed Me.’”

However Mr. Dole was nothing if not self-aware.

“I used to be presupposed to go for the jugular,” he as soon as stated, reflecting on his “Democrat wars” remark in 1976. “And I did — my very own.”

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