George Norris

Republican Party History And Reputation Under Attack In Present Constitutional Crisis

The Republican Party was founded in 1854 in opposition to the expansion of slavery, and included many abolitionists within its midst.

The Republican Party became the Party of the Union, and under Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President, the Civil War was fought, and the Confederate States of America was defeated, and slavery was abolished.

The Republican Party then promoted citizenship and the right to vote for African Americans.

Then, the party lost its way and became the party of Big Business in the Gilded Age, and was engaged in widespread corruption.

But in the Progressive Era of the early 20th century, under President Theodore Roosevelt, and Congressional leaders such as Robert La Follette Sr. of Wisconsin and George Norris of Nebraska and many others, the party became one of reform oriented ideas.

Then, in the 1920s and through the years of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman, the party became one of opposition to progressive ideas, with a few exceptions of leaders in Congress and in the states.

With the coming of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the rise of the liberal wing of the modern GOP, under Nelson Rockefeller, William Scranton, and George Romney. and many US Senators, the battle was fought against a takeover of the party by the extreme right, headed by Senator Barry Goldwater, but despite his defeat for the Presidency in 1964, the coming of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan ushered in conservative ideas, and the GOP became captive to the myth of Reagan.

The party became captive to a foreign policy of intervention in the Middle East, and promotion of massive tax cuts to the wealthy, and destruction of the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson and the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, but were stopped in their quest by Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Now, however, the Republican Party has become more extremist under the most corrupt President in American history, much more than Richard Nixon.

Donald Trump is for the wealthy elite, and that is why the Republicans in Congress are overlooking the disaster occurring before our eyes daily.

The Republican Party history and reputation are under attack in the present constitutional crisis, while at the time of the Nixon constitutional crisis, many Republicans spoke up and led the struggle against the illegalities of the Watergate Scandal.

The future of the Republican Party is at stake, and this could be the time that we will look back on and realize that it led to the demise of the Republican Party as we know it!

The End Of An Era, And The Beginning Of A Dangerous Challenge To Our Nation, Its Past And Its Future!

I am writing this entry on the evening of January 19. In about 15 hours Donald Trump will be inaugurated President of the United States.

We are ending the Obama era, a great period of accomplishment, in about 15 hours, and it feels like a funeral scene.

The only good thing is that both Barack Obama and Joe Biden are alive and will fight along with all of us who are progressives, against the dangerous challenge to our nation, presented by Donald Trump and Fascism!

I will do my part in this struggle, and appreciate my readers and contributors who are there with me over the next few years.

We must be optimistic that the future will work out, although there will be harm to many, particularly those who are sick, weak, poor, gay, and of minority religious, racial, or ethnic heritage.

United we will triumph, and we have overcome the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War II, and the Richard Nixon Watergate Crisis, and Donald Trump will fail in his mission to destroy the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, and the Obama legacy!

I will not post tomorrow, a rare exception, and will not watch or listen to the inauguration, and instead go to the movies with my younger son, but I will, of course, learn what has happened, and comment on it starting on Saturday, January 21.

So, everyone, be confident, as the progressive battle, going on since Theodore Roosevelt, Robert La Follette Sr. and George Norris 116 years ago, will continue and prosper!

21 Significant Speakers Of The House In American History

With the election of Paul Ryan as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives this week, it makes one focus on  the 54 House Speakers in American history, and recognition of the fact that twenty one of them were quite significant figures in the American past.

Probably the most prominent of all was one of the earliest Speakers, Henry Clay of Kentucky, who became Speaker as a freshman in 1811, and served three different times as House Speaker, from 1811-1814, 1815-1820, and 1823-1825. a total of more than six and a half years, as Congress did not meet back then for many months in any years, but sixth longest serving.  Clay is considered the most famous Congressional figure in American history in both houses of Congress, and was an unsuccessful Presidential nominee three times, in 1824, 1832, and 1844.  He was a giant figure in American political history and American politics.

John Bell was Speaker in 1834-1835, and was also a Presidential candidate of the Constitutional Union party in the Presidential Election of 1860, trying to prevent the Civil War by running as an alternative to the three other candidates that year—Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, and John C. Breckinridge.  He won three states and 39 electoral votes, carrying Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee in the Electoral College.

James K. Polk became the only Speaker so far to become President of the United States, in the Presidential Election of 1844, after having served as House Speaker from 1835-1839.  He is considered the most successful one term President, deciding due to ill health to refuse to run f0r reelection in 1848, but gaining the whole American Southwest in war with Mexico, and arranging the peaceful acquisition of the Pacific Northwest by treaty with Great Britain.  His retirement from the Presidency was the shortest in American history, only 105 days.

Robert M. T. Hunter was the youngest Speaker of the House at the age of 30, serving from 1839-1841, and later as Confederate Secretary of State in 1861-1862 during the Civil War.

Howell Cobb served as Speaker from 1849-1851, being 34 when elected, and served as one of the founders of the Confederate States of America in 1861.

Schuyler Colfax served as Speaker from 1863-1869, and as Vice President in the first term of President Ulysses S. Grant from 1869-1873, being the first of two Speakers to serve in the Vice Presidency, the other being John Nance Garner under Franklin D. Roosevelt.

James G. Blaine served as Speaker from 1869-1875, 10th longest serving with a little over five years, and later was the Republican nominee for President in the Presidential Election of 1884.  He also served as Secretary of State under James A. Garfield, Chester Alan Arthur, and Benjamin Harrison, and was present at the site of the Garfield assassination in 1881.

Thomas B. Reed served as Speaker from 1889-1891 and 1895-1899, and was nicknamed “Czar Reed”, because he wielded great power in the Speakership, which added to the stature and influence of the Speakers after him.

Joseph Cannon served as House Speaker from 1903-1911, added the most power to the Speakership, more than Reed, but then saw a “revolution” of progressive Republicans led by George Norris of Nebraska, which stripped him and future Speakers of the absolute power that Reed and Cannon had waged, and was pushed out of the Speakership when the opposition Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections of 1910.  He was eighth longest serving Speaker, nearly six years, and had a House office building named after him despite his fall from power in 1910.

His successor, Champ Clark, served as House Speaker from 1911-1919, fifth longest serving at seven  years, and nearly won the 1912 Democratic Presidential nomination, but lost to Woodrow Wilson.

Nicholas Longworth served as Speaker from 1925-1931, punished progressive Republicans and restored much of the power of the Speaker under Joseph Cannon, and was married to Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter, Alice.  Later, a House office building would be named after him.

John Nance Garner served 15 months as House Speaker from 1931-1933, and then became Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and served two terms in that office. He became famous for his statement that the Vice Presidency was not worth  “a bucket of warm piss!”  He opposed much of the New Deal, and tried to win the nomination against his boss when FDR sought a third term in 1940.  On his 95th birthday, President John F. Kennedy wished him “Happy Birthday” just hours before his assassination on November 22, 1963. Garner died at age 98 in 1967, the longest lived Vice President or President, and just 15 days before his 99th birthday!

Sam Rayburn was the most prominent, and longest serving Speaker of the House in American history, serving a total of 17 years in three rounds as Speaker, from 1941=1947, 1949-1953, and from 1955 to near the end of 1961, when he died in office.  A House Office Building is named after him, and only he and Henry Clay served three separate terms as Speaker.  He was one of the most prominent members in the entire history of the House of Representatives, engendering great respect and admiration, and served under Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy.

John W. McCormack was the third longest serving House Speaker, a total of nine years from 1962-1971, and served as House Majority Leader all of the years that Sam Rayburn was Speaker.  He presided over the New Frontier and Great Society legislative package under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Carl Albert served as Speaker from 1971-1977, seventh longest serving in the office, and a heartbeat away when Spiro Agnew resigned as Vice President in 1973, until Gerald Ford was confirmed as Vice President under the 25th Amendment in 1973, and again when Ford became President in 1974 until Nelson Rockefeller was confirmed as Vice President at the end of that year.

Thomas “Tip” O’Neill was the second longest serving House Speaker, a total of ten years from 1977-1987, serving under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.  He served the longest consecutive years as Speaker, and was an unabashed liberal, but negotiated a Social Security compromise agreement with Ronald Reagan in 1983, which became the mark of bipartisanship.

Thomas Foley served six years as Speaker from 1989-1995, and became the first Speaker since 1862 to be defeated for his House seat in 1994, retiring him from the House of Representatives, but he served as Ambassador to Japan for President Bill Clinton from 1997-2001.  He was ninth longest serving Speaker.

Newt Gingrich served as Speaker for four years from 1995-1999, having been the leader of the “Republican Revolution”, where the GOP took back control of the House of Representatives after 40 years in “the wilderness”.  Highly controversial and combative, Gingrich led the fight against President Bill Clinton, and moved for his impeachment in 1998, but then was forced out by an internal rebellion in his own party at the end of 1998.  He sought the Presidency in 2012, but fell short of the nomination, and remains an outspoken active commentator on politics.

Dennis Hastert became the longest serving Republican Speaker in American history, serving eight years from 1999-2007, fourth longest serving, seen as non controversial after Gingrich, and being Speaker under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.  He became involved in a sex and financial scandal dating back to before he was in Congress, and faces prison time as this article is being written, having pleaded guilty.

Nancy Pelosi became the first woman Speaker, serving four years from 2007-2011, and remains Minority Leader today, and her two Congresses under George W. Bush and Barack Obama accomplished more legislation, particularly under Obama, than any Congress since the 1960s.

John Boehner served almost five years as Speaker from 2011 until this past week, facing highly contentious opponents in his own party, the Tea Party Movement, now known as the Freedom or Liberty Caucus, a group of about 40 Republicans, who made his life miserable, and finally, he resigned, and has handed over authority to Paul Ryan, who was Vice Presidential running mate of Mitt Romney in the Presidential Election of 2012, and had been Chair of the House Budget Committee and House Ways and Means Committee, before becoming Speaker this week.

 

Theodore Roosevelt And Gifford Pinchot Turning Over In Their Graves At Republican Party War On National Parks And Other Environmental Concerns!

The Republican Party a century ago had leaders who cared about the environment, and promoted conservation as a basic national policy.

Governor and later Senator Robert LaFollette, Sr. of Wisconsin; Senator George Norris of Nebraska; US Forestry Service Director and later Governor of Pennsylvania Gifford Pinchot; and President Theodore Roosevelt, all of them progressive Republicans in domestic affairs, made the promotion of national and state parks and monuments a priority. They set a standard for Democrats who followed their lead, including Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and now Barack Obama, who just announced three new national park designations in California, Nevada, and Texas. Obama has added 260 million acres and 19 national monuments in office, making him one of the great leaders on that endeavor. We should also mention Republican President Richard Nixon, who despite many faults and shortcomings, did enough to be rated number two among Presidents on the environment, by a conservation group.

Additionally, we were fortunate to have such outstanding Secretaries of the Interior as Harold Ickes under FDR; Stewart Udall under JFK and LBJ; Walter Hickel under Nixon; Cecil Andrus under Carter; and Bruce Babbitt under Clinton to emphasize the importance of the environment in all of its manifestations.

But the Republican Party of present times is anti conservation, anti environment, fights the concept of global warming and climate change, and has allowed itself to come under the influences of wealthy energy interests that would love to mine uranium in the Grand Canyon; destroy native American and paleontological sites; and conduct fracking for natural gas, despite the vast dangers to health and safety, including water pollution and greatly increased earthquake activity, as in Oklahoma, for instance. The Koch Brothers have had a particularly deleterious effect on the issue of the environment. And Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma is the worst possible enemy of the environmental movement in Congress, and is head, by seniority, of the Senate committee that deals with the subject.

The failure to see the importance of preserving our natural treasures is mind boggling, and those groups involved in promoting the environment know they have a massive challenge to keep what was given to us, and until the 20th century, was being gutted by rapacious capitalists in the oil, coal, natural gas, uranium, and lumber industries who only saw, and still see, only the almighty profit motive, including lack of concern for danger to wildlife!

The Politics Of Genuine Personality: Few And Far Between!

To find a politician past or present who was a genuine personality, a REAL person, who gave or gives a damn about the American people, not his or her own agenda, has always been difficult, and the list of national leaders who fit this description, are, indeed, few and far between!

There is so much cynicism about politics, and the thought that there are no decent political leaders, who truly care about the welfare of their constituents and the betterment of the nation is common, BUT there are politicians who, through their actions and words, have proved how genuine they really are!

A selected list of such political leaders follows:

Senator Robert LaFollette Sr. of Wisconsin (1906-1925) (R) (Progressive)

Senator George Norris of Nebraska (1913-1933) (R)

Senator Robert Wagner, Sr. of New York (1927-1949) (D)

Senator Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota (1949-1964, 1971-1978) also Vice President (1965-1969) (D)

Senator George McGovern of South Dakota (1963-1981) (D)

Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota (1991-2002) (D)

Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin (1993-2011) (D)

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont (2007- ) (Socialiat)

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (2013- ) (D)

Senator Joe Biden (1973-2009) also Vice President (2009- ) (D)

The Dangers Of The Supreme Court Run Amuck In Favor Of Wealthy And Corporations!

The Supreme Court is totally out of control, with its new decision on having no limits on campaign spending by wealthy donors, added on to the Citizens United Case of 2010, and the limitation of voting rights in a 2013 decision.

Chief Justice John Roberts has solidified a five member GOP majority to destroy all attempts to prevent corporate and wealthy people from controlling the political system, an effort pursued from the time of Theodore Roosevelt a century ago through Senator John McCain and Senator Russ Feingold in the 1990s and early 2000s.

That is all for naught now, and shows the dangers of a runaway, reckless, right wing radical Court!

This is what made Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Barack Obama criticize Court power, along with progressive reformers including Senator Robert La Follette of Wisconsin, Senator George Norris of Nebraska, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont!

This is the result of 13 Supreme Court nominees since 1960 by Republican Presidents, to only 8 by Democrats, and with two of those Democratic appointments (Arthur Goldberg by John F. Kennedy and Abe Fortas by Lyndon B. Johnson), only lasting three and four years respectively.

Of course, Republican appointments of Harry Blackmun by Richard Nixon; John Paul Stevens by Gerald Ford; Sandra Day O’Connor by Ronald Reagan; and David Souter by George H. W. Bush, turned out to be major surprises in their rulings, but we also ended up with some of the most reactionary and right wing radical appointments in all of American history with the appointments of William Rehnquist by Richard Nixon and the elevation of Rehnquist to Chief Justice by Ronald Reagan; Lewis Powell by Richard Nixon; Antonin Scalia by Ronald Reagan; Clarence Thomas by George H. W. Bush; and Samuel Alito by George W. Bush. The appointments of Chief Justice Warren Burger by Richard Nixon; Anthony Kennedy by Ronald Reagan; and Chief Justice John Roberts by George W. Bush, have been more of a mixed bag, sometimes good, and sometimes horrible in its effect on constitutional law!

Meanwhile, John F. Kennedy selected a mostly conservative Justice Byron White; Lyndon B Johnson selected Thurgood Marshall; Bill Clinton selected Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer; and Barack Obama selected Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, but sadly, their influence in the last four of the five names listed, has been mostly in being the opposition, sometimes vehement in nature!

The effect on the future of American democracy is massive, with this right wing Court majority, and the only hope is the eventual retirement of Scalia and Kennedy, and hopefully, continuation of a Democratic Senate and President for the rest of the decade, so that the Court changes direction in the future!

Senator Ted Cruz Praises The Late Senator Jesse Helms, Adding To The Image Of Cruz As The Most Dangerous And Divisive US Senator Today!

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a freshman, is like a bull in a China shop, still in his first year, but laying waste to his party establishment, and making enemies along the way, and thoroughly enjoying the attention he is getting, and unconcerned about the enemies which are piling up in the process!

Cruz, who looks eerily like the infamous Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, and is the same age as McCarthy was when he became noticed (42), has already gained infamy by claiming that Harvard Law School professors were Communists, and advocating the Tea Party Movement desire to destroy ObamaCare, and go to war against everything Barack Obama stands for!

Now, Cruz has hit a new low, praising former Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina as a model for the Republican Party.

Helms, who died in 2008 at the age of 86, served thirty years in the US Senate, from 1973-2003, and “took no prisoners”, using racist tactics in his election campaigns, opposing a Martin Luther King national holiday, and being rude and nasty toward the first African American woman Senator, Carol Mosley Braun of Illinois, among other horrible actions!

Helms was a full scale segregationist in the age of civil rights, non apologetic for upholding the Confederate heritage, and never reformed in any form, unlike Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Governor George Wallace of Alabama, who both mellowed and reformed somewhat in their later careers.

Helms would go down as one of the most negative characters ever to serve in the US Senate, and yet, now, Ted Cruz has said that we should have 100 Jesse Helmses in the US Senate, and it would be a far better body!

What is going on in the mind of this man, Ted Cruz? Why is he declaring war on common decency and humanity, insulting both Democrats and fellow Republicans on a daily basis?

Well, Cruz wants to be President, and he will stop at nothing to achieve his goal, no matter how many victims he leaves in his wake!

Many Republicans are afraid, literally, of him and his tactics and personality, reminding too many of Senator McCarthy, which again, Cruz has an uncanny resemblance to, in facial features and aggressive personality!

McCarthy was eventually, and rightfully, censored by the US Senate, including most of his own colleagues, and it may come to a time where an action like that will be required to tone down this threat to order and stability in the Senate, and the nation at large!

While we are on this idea of needing “100” of a particular person, this author has better suggestions, although the concept of “100” is actually ridiculous!

But if we are to do so, how about 100 Bernie Sanders; 100 Elizabeth Warren; or going back to past Senators, how about 100 Robert La Follette, Sr; 100 George Norris; 100 Hubert Humphrey; 100 Ted Kennedy; 100 George McGovern; 100 Paul Wellstone; 100 Joe Biden?

159th Anniversary Of Founding Of Republican Party: Not A Celebration!

The Republican Party, which gave us Abraham Lincoln, Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner, William Seward in the years of the 1850s and 1860s; which gave us Theodore Roosevelt, Robert La Follette, Sr, George Norris, William Borah, Hiram Johnson in the 1900s-1940s; which gave us Dwight D. Eisenhower, Nelson Rockefeller, William Scranton, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr,, George Romney in the 1950s-1960s; and which gave us Mark Hatfield, Charles Mathias, Charles Percy, Howard Baker, Bob Dole, Gerald Ford in the 1970s–1990s, reached its 159th birthday today.

The Republican Party began as an anti slavery expansion party, with elements of abolitionism also present when the party began on this day in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1854.

It became the party of civil rights legislation, three civil rights constitutional amendments, progressive legislation, and supportive of much bipartisan legislation with Democrats in the New Deal and Great Society eras.

Of course, they had their evil elements, including McCarthyism, nativism, and tying themselves to organized religious influences that wished to take America backward, but until the past few years, they always had redeeming values in many ways, and would often denounce the extremists in their midst.

But now the Republican Party has become a party dominated by Tea Party radicals, who promote racism, misogyny, nativism, concern only to promote the welfare of the wealthy, and willingness to engage in foreign wars that have cost us dearly in treasure and loss of life and limb!

The Republican Party is no longer, in any way, reflective of its past, and in fact, insults its honorable, respectable history, sullying the names of its heroes and champions over a century and a half!

This is a tragedy of massive proportions, and the name “Republican” should be co-opted by the true moderates who are sitting by, watching the destruction going on, and holding their heads in their hands, ashamed that the name has been so damaged by reckless, anarchistic haters of the federal government! The party which fought the Civil War to uphold the Union is now more like the secessionist Democrats of that era!

Barack Obama Continues Tradition Of Progressive Republicans And Liberal Democrats

President Barack Obama demonstrated in yesterday’s Second Inaugural Address that he is following the best traditions of the progressive and liberal champions of the 20th and early 21st century!

Not only is he pursuing the vision of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, but also of many others, including:

Senator Robert La Follette, Sr. of Wisconsin, progressive Republican
Senator George Norris of Nebraska, progressive Republican
Senator Robert La Follette, Jr. of Wisconsin, progressive Republican
Senator Jacob Javits of New York, progressive Republican
Senator Clifford Case of New Jersey, progressive Republican
Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, progressive Republican
Senator Charles Mathias of Maryland, progressive Republican
Senator Charles Percy of Illinois, progressive Republican
Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon, progressive Republican
Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, progressive Republican, Independent, liberal Democrat
Senator Robert F. Wagner, Sr. of New York, liberal Democrat
Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois, liberal Democrat
Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, liberal Democrat
Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, liberal Democrat
Senator Walter Mondale of Minnesota, liberal Democrat
Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, liberal Democrat
Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, liberal Democrat
Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, liberal Democrat
Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, liberal Democrat
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Independent Socialist, allied with Democratic Party

And this list of ten progressive Republicans and ten liberal Democrats are not a complete list, but they are among those who have stood the test of time on their progressive and liberal values!

And realize that La Follette, Sr., Humphrey, McGovern, and Mondale all ran for President, and that Humphrey, Mondale and Biden all have served as Vice President of the United States.

George McGovern: The Most Decent Politician Of Our Lifetime, Dies At Age 90

Former South Dakota Senator George McGovern, the Democratic Presidential nominee in 1972 against Richard Nixon, has passed away at age 90 this morning, and his death brings back memories of the Great Society and the Vietnam War.

McGovern, a great supporter of Lyndon B. Johnson’s reforms, and the quintessential liberal Democrat in the nation, was a strong anti war advocate who used that issue in his 1972 Presidential campaign, against the most unethical and crooked President in history, and was smashed by a 49 state defeat by Richard Nixon.

Despite that massive defeat, McGovern kept his dignity, his decency, and his principles, and his 18 years in the Senate were among the most heroic and exceptional we have seen in that body which includes too many opportunists.

McGovern was an inspiration to the author when he was a young man, and he was, without question, the most decent politician of my lifetime, a man of peace and tolerance, and yet a man who had fought combat missions in World War II. and knew the horrors of war.

This author once wrote a post suggesting a “Progressive Mount Rushmore”, more in jest than expecting it to happen, with McGovern joining fellow Democrat Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, and Republican Senators Robert La Follette, Sr of Wisconsin and George Norris of Nebraska, on that hallowed concept of a monument to great progressives and liberals who have impacted our nation and our lives.

It is hard not to be a bit emotional, hearing of McGovern’s death, but we know he was a man who, to the end of his life, affected the nation in a positive manner.

And we know that three future Democratic Presidents were impacted by McGovern’s idealism and principles–two directly (Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton)—and Barack Obama more in a learning manner about a man who ran for President when our President was just starting to think about public affairs at age 11.

George McGovern will be part of the broad story of American history, and when people read about and learn about him, a smile will appear, as he was the epitome of what a decent politician is all about, and makes the word politician have new meaning.