Jesse Helms 1921-2008
By Ben Domenech Posted in Jesse Helms | Republicans | RIP — Comments (65) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Jesse Helms, a warrior for the conservative cause, passed away this morning.
Jesse Helms was a controversial figure to the American left, but he was beloved by his colleagues and by many of his ideological foes. Madeleine Albright kissed and danced with him. Joe Biden loved him. Elizabeth Edwards said her husband was just like him. Helms considered Bono a personal friend.
Helms in person was very unlike the caricature the left painted of him. He was strongly opposed to the United Nations and what he saw as encroachment on American liberty, and yet was one of the first Republicans to endorse a strong worldwide foreign aid policy on AIDS relief. He never graduated from college, and never shook off his lower class upbringing, but through hard work and commitment earned the respect of his friends, his colleagues and even his enemies.
Ever a fighter against the encroachment of bureaucracy and ever-expanding big government, Helms was an old school conservative in that regard. Once, when facing the prospect of a government shutdown, he is supposed to have said to his colleagues: ""Every day these buildings are closed, the Republic grows stronger." And he certainly believed it.
He was a warrior and a patriot. The date of his death is fitting indeed.