Bob Dole Dead At 98
Former Kansas Senator and 1996 Republican Presidential nominee Bob Dole is dead at the age of 98, after having announced in Feburary that he was about to begin treatment for Stage IV lung cancer.
Via New York Times:
He was national Republican chairman under President Richard M. Nixon in the early 1970s; the running mate to President Gerald R. Ford in 1976; chairman of the Senate Finance Committee during Ronald Reagan’s presidency in the 1980s; and presidential standard-bearer during Newt Gingrich’s “revolution” of the mid-1990s, when the Republicans captured the House for the first time in 40 years and upended the power dynamic on Capitol Hill.
More recently, Mr. Dole, almost alone among his party’s old guard, endorsed Donald J. Trump for president in 2016, after his preferred candidates had fallen by the wayside. On the eve of his 93rd birthday, he was the only previous Republican presidential nominee to appear at the party’s convention in Cleveland, where Mr. Trump was nominated.
Mr. Dole himself ran three times for the White House and finally won the nomination in 1996, only to lose to President Bill Clinton after a historically disastrous campaign. He had given up his secure post in the Senate to pursue the presidency, although, as he acknowledged, he was more suited to the Senate.
Bob Dole's death comes just a few months after the death of Norm MacDonald, who played Bob Dole on "Saturday Night Live" and remains probably most people's primary reference for what Bob Dole was even like.
Norm MacDonald as Bob Dole in Real World was legendary. \n\n\u201cNobody eats Bob Dole\u2019s peanut butter without asking!!\u201d pic.twitter.com/iPlSgYkpyj— McNeil (@McNeil) 1638723810
While Bob Dole mostly stayed out of the spotlight for many years following his retirement, Bob Dole did make an appearance in front of the Senate in 2012 in hopes of encouraging his fellow Republicans to support the passage of a U.N. treaty to end discrimination against disabled people. Bob Dole's fellow Republicans, naturally, pretty much told him he could fuck right off and did not support the passage of the bill, but Bob Dole tried. So that was nice.
It was not nice, of course, that he endorsed and fully supported Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. As noted, he was the only former living GOP presidential nominee to appear at the 2016 RNC convention when Trump officially seized control of the party with no going back.
While serving in the House of Representatives, Dole voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, so it’s unfortunate that he ended his political life on the Trump train. After all, during his 1996 RNC acceptance speech, Dole said:
If there is anyone who has mistakenly attached themselves to our party in the belief that we're not open to citizens of every race and religion, then let me remind you, tonight this hall belongs to the party of Lincoln and the exits, which are clearly marked, are for you to walk out of as I stand this ground without compromise.
Too bad he ultimately compromised. But on a more positive note, here is Dole on "Saturday Night Live” with the MacDonald, who also died this year.
This clip of Bob Dole and Norm Macdonald a week after Dole lost in 1996 is so great and it's beyond sad to lose both of them this year.pic.twitter.com/gUa2B9Dnfg— Josh Jordan (@Josh Jordan) 1638724558
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse