In just the past couple of days, two Political Giants, one a Democrat and a woman, the other a man and a Republican, have passed from the scene, and their deaths remind us of the fact that there have been quality politicians in both parties, but the number who are such is rapidly declining!
Former Louisiana Congresswoman Lindy Boggs, the widow of former Congressman Hale Boggs, and the mother of ABC journalist Cokie Roberts, died at the age of 97. One of the greatest women ever to serve in Congress, she won her husband’s seat after he was tragically killed in a small plane over Alaska, with his body never being found, in 1972. Lindy Boggs served almost 18 years in her Louisiana House district, winning the last few times as the only white Representative in Congress to represent a majority black district. She served as the Chairwoman of the 1976 Democratic National Convention which nominated Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale. She was outspoken on the subject of civil rights, and was the first woman to serve in Congress from her state. Boggs also served as Ambassador to the Vatican, the Holy See, in the second term of Bill Clinton’s Presidency from 1997-2001.
And her daughter, Cokie Roberts, became a well known, outstanding journalist on ABC for a few decades, adding much to the profession of television journalism!
Lindy Boggs was truly an elegant lady, and a woman who stands out as one of the best ever to serve in the halls of Congress!
Just today, news came of the death of former Republican Governor of Pennsylvania, William Scranton at age 96, who became very prominent as a one term Governor from 1963-1967, after serving one term in the House of Representatives. A progressive or liberal Republican, and proud of that appellation, Scranton ran a last ditch Presidential campaign against fellow Republican, Senator Barry Goldwater, attempting to stop his nomination for President in 1964.
Scranton came from a wealthy family which had founded Scranton, Pennsylvania, and was an inheritor of a fortune made in iron, coal, and railroads. He brought about education reform, including the community college system in his state. He also served as UN Ambassador in 1976, the last year of the Gerald Ford Presidency, and also headed a committee to investigate the Kent State University and Jackson State College tragedies which occurred after the US invasion of Cambodia in 1970 under President Richard Nixon during the Vietnam War! He also was asked by Nixon to be his Secretary of State, but declined, and was considered to be Gerald Ford’s Vice Presidential running mate in 1976, but passed by for Senator Bob Dole of Kansas!
The loss of two principled, decent politicians, such as Lindy Boggs and William Scranton, is a loss to American politics, and we can only hope for more people entering politics with the kind of stature and dignity that these two individuals personified!