December 6-7, 2021 -- We interrupt the eulogies for Bob Dole for some important facts

publication date: Dec 5, 2021
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December 6-7, 2021 -- We interrupt the eulogies for Bob Dole for some important facts

We interrupt the eulogies for former Senator Bob Dole to bring the readers a few important facts. Normally, when some old politician dies, it is wise to follow the Latin dictum: De mortuis nihil nisi bonum ("Of the dead, [say] nothing but good"). However, in Bob Dole's case, we must make a few exceptions.

First, when Bob Dole was Gerald Ford's vice presidential running mate in the 1976 campaign, he was Ford's principal hatchet man. As the nation continued to heal after the Watergate scandal, Ford selected Dole, a shifty-eyed, five o'clock shadowed Richard Nixon clone, as his veep nominee to replace Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, who decided not to run for re-election. On September 16, 1976, while Dole and Rockefeller were on a campaign swing through Binghampton, New York, Rockefeller and Dole were met by some middle finger "saluting" hecklers. It appeared as if the target was the acerbic Dole, but it was Rockefeller, not Dole, who returned the finger. [right, Dole can be seen in the background]. Dole said he would have joined Rockefeller in giving the protesters the finger, but said his right arm, injured in combat in Italy during World War II, prevented him from doing so. Dole never said why he did not merely use his left hand.

Second, while a number of Republican Party stalwarts refused to endorse Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020, Trump was able to rely on good old Bob Dole to come through for the fascist-oriented Vietnam War draft dodger. Sure, Bob Dole was injured during the war. And Dole was largely responsible for the construction of the World War II Memorial on the Washington Mall. Why, then, did Dole twice endorse someone who had said Nazis were "fine people," who reportedly maintained Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and a book of Hitler's speeches in his otherwise sparse personal library, who called American war dead buried in France "losers" and "suckers," who denigrated the most recent Republican presidents --including both Bushes, and who turned Dole's party into a virtual cult of personality?

Dole, who was elected to the U.S. House in 1960, more than any other Republican leader in 2016 and 2020, was in the best position to see Trump, not as a neo-Nazi, but as a continuation of the old Nazi Party of Hitler. The American Nazi movement began in the early 1930s with the Friends of New Germany and, subsequently, the Fritz Kuhn-led German-American Bund (of which first generation German-American Fred Trump, Sr. was most certainly a member in good standing after he, like other northern members of the Ku Klux Klan, flocked to join the American branch of Hitler's Nazi Party in the early 1930s), the prewar American First Committee (that is where Trump got one of his current slogans), the postwar American Nazi Party of George Lincoln Rockwell, followed by the far-right populist movements of Willis Carto, John Schmitz, and ultimately, Donald Trump, who transformed Dole's GOP into an anti-constitutional fascist movement. To call Trump and his supporters neo-Nazis is a misnomer. The unbroken chain of the American Nazi movement continued, with the notable gap of America's wartime years, with the baton passed from Kuhn and Fred Trump, Sr. to Rockwell and, ultimately,  to Trump. It is difficult to believe that Dole, a three-time candidate for president, including as the 1996 Republican presidential nominee, did not see Trump through the lens of his pre-war, wartime, and postwar experiences.

It is probably true that in his final few years Dole was probably not even aware on what planet he was living on, but for President Biden to wax nostalgic about his "old friend" from the Senate defies logic when one considers that Dole endorsed Trump in 2020. In fact, Dole was in a minority of establishment Republicans who endorsed Trump twice. While Dole endorsed Trump, several of his former Senate GOP colleagues said they would vote for Biden. They included David Durenberger of Minnesota, Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire, Larry Pressler of South Dakota, William Cohen of Maine, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, and John Warner of Virginia.
Among the Republican governor class, among those who endorsed Biden in 2020 were former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, former Governor Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey, former Governor Arne Carlson of Minnesota, former Governor Jim Edgar of Illinois, former Governor John Kasich of Ohio, former Governor of Montana and Republican National Committee chairman Marc Racicot, former Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan, former Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld, and incumbent Governor Phil Scott of Vermont. Former Republican National Committee chairman and former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland Michael Steele also endorsed Biden.

It should also be recalled that in the 2016 election, former President George H. W. Bush cast his vote for Hillary Clinton, while calling Trump a "blowhard." Former President George W. Bush said he left his presidential selection blank in 2016. John McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, said he would not endorse either Trump or Hillary Clinton in 2016. 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said he would not vote for Trump in 2020. George W. Bush said he wrote in the name of Condoleezza Rice for president in the 2020 election. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush refused to endorse Trump in either 2016 and 2020. 2016 former GOP governors who endorsed Clinton included Linwood Holton of Virginia, William Milliken of Michigan, and Jane Swift of Massachusetts. In other words, the old-line GOP standard bearers bolted en masse from Trump, with the glaring exception of Bob Dole.

So why was Dole the odd-person out in endorsing Trump in 2016 and 2020? Senility? Or was it the old vindictive hatchet man for Jerry Ford showing his true colors? Maybe it was old Bob Dole's way of flipping America the bird just as he watched Rocky do it to hecklers in 1976?

And Biden's condolence message on Dole's death was hardly befitting someone who thought Biden was so ill-suited for the presidency, he voted for and openly endorsed Trump, who shares the fascist ideology of those who left Dole paralyzed by a German shell, leaving his arm mangled in the war. Biden wrote, "Bob was a man to be admired by Americans. He had an unerring sense of integrity and honor." Dole lost any integrity and honor when he endorsed Trump. Just hours before Dole's death, some 500 Nazi marchers of the Patriot Front, an outgrowth of Trump's "fine people" who marched in the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, strolled on the Washington Mall near Dole's beloved World War II Memorial. The Patriot Front supports the Nazi and fascist ideology of the wartime Axis Powers.

After announcing Dole's death, the corporate media began stepping all over itself in its effusive praise for Nixon-Lite. Some networks began referring to Dole as "Senator Bob" and his wife, former North Carolina Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole as "Senator Elizabeth." This editor has covered DC for over 30 years and I never, not once, ever heard Dole and his wife referred to as "Senator Bob" and "Senator Elizabeth." I do recall that I was at the National Press Club one night when Bob Dole's first Viagra commercial ran on television. A sheepish-looking Dole steps around a couch, sits down on it, and sheepishly turns his head to the camera to admit that it was very embarrassing to talk about "ED." A few bar patrons asked what is "ED." I replied that he must have been talking about "Elizabeth Dole."

Bob Dole was wounded by Nazi troops near Portomaggiore, Italy on April 14, 1945. His U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division was in the process of breaking through German defenses -- the Gothic Line -- in the Apennines near Bologna and Moderna. [left] As Dole lay wounded on the battlefield, the body of President Franklin D. Roosevelt -- someone whose name should not even be uttered with that of the treasonous and Nazi-loving Donald Trump -- was lying in state in the East Room of the White House after his flag-draped coffin was transported by caisson from Union Station. A U.S. House member proposed January 30, FDR's birthday, as a national holiday to be known as "Roosevelt Day." Perhaps being in the same month as Trump's attempted January 6th attempted coup d'etat, Roosevelt Day sounds like the perfect day to remember America's and the world's victory over fascism. By April 1945, the Allies were rolling up Axis forces on all major fronts in Europe and the Pacific theaters. The Soviet Red Army was thirty miles east of Berlin, as Hitler moved imaginary armies around on a battle map in his bunker under the Chancellery. General George Patton's Third Army was less than 17 miles from the border of Czechoslovakia. The French First Army captured Strasbourg. In the Pacific, Tokyo, including parts of the Imperial Palace, was in flames, thanks to the B-29 Superfortress bombers of the U.S. Twelfth Air Force. The U.S. Marines were within 12 miles of capturing the northern tip of Okinawa from Japanese forces. Seeing the writing on the wall, Fred Trump, Sr. began covering his Nazi activities by cozying up to New York charities collecting funds for the Jews of the British Mandate of Palestine and their proposed Jewish homeland of Israel.

Did Dole and his combatant comrades of the British 8th Army, anti-fascist Italian Partisans -- including Communists, and U.S. Fifth Army -- including the segregated
African-American 92nd Infantry Division and the Japanese-American 442nd Infantry Regiment -- as well as the Brazilian Expeditionary Force "Smoking Cobras" comrades, risk their lives to enable fascists named Trump and Jair Bolsonaro to one day embrace in the spirit of resurrecting the spirit of the fascist and racist Axis? Had Dole completely forgotten about what he was fighting against in northern Italy?

Bob Dole, the wounded World War II veteran deserves the respect and honor bestowed on all the veterans of the war against fascism. As for the latter-day political Dole, the one who cried like a baby at Nixon's funeral and the one who twice endorsed a would-be American Hitler, I, for one, will save the tears.
De mortuis nihil nisi bonum only applies to those who deserve it.

-30-

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