Former Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, who served in the House of Representatives from 1961-1969, the US Senate from 1969-1996, and was the Vice Presidential running mate of Gerald Ford in 1976, and the Presidential nominee of his party in 1996, turned 90 years of age today.
Bob Dole also served as Republican National Chairman during the Watergate era, and was often criticized as too partisan for Richard Nixon, too loyal to the man as a freshman Senator. He also could give as good as he got in partisan wrangles throughout his service in the Senate, which included terms as Senate Majority Leader and Senate Minority Leader, and gave Bill Clinton plenty of headaches in his first Presidential term, before running against him for President in 1996.
There were times when Dole’s aggressiveness, outspokenness, and sharp tongue annoyed this author, but yet, there has always been a sense of respect and admiration for his willingness to defend his viewpoints and beliefs without any retreat!
Dole always came across as one, who despite his strong views, could work across the aisle when required, and is shocked at the growing influence of the Tea Party Movement, which has denounced him as a turncoat, a traditional conservative, who they have no problem in criticizing and condemning.
So his own party in the Senate has seen too many who show lack of respect and appreciation of the role he played in the Senate and his party for over 30 years.
Here is a man who could work on nutrition matters with fellow Democratic Senator George McGovern, the 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee, who was vastly different in views, but the two men worked together on a common cause which no Republican today would dare even consider or care about, because that would show concern for the poor among us!
Bob Dole gave up part of his body in World War II, having no use of one arm for the rest of his life, and was not only a war hero, but also has been a hero to all those who believe in decency, compassion, principle, and patriotism!
He and Gerald Ford become the second Presidential campaign team to have reached the age of 90, following George McGovern and Sargent Shriver, who did so earlier. So the losing side in 1972 and 1976 prove that longevity of life is becoming another trend that is very much to be applauded, whether among the political class or in society!
So Happy 90th Birthday, Bob Dole, and many more alongside your wife, former Senator Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina!