Jesse Helms: 1921-2008
Jesse Helms died today at the age of 86. Reportedly the second most important conservative after Ronald Reagan (according to Pat Buchanan), Helms legacy in US Politics will last a long time. Jesse's most controversial and long-lasting contribution to politics was the handiwork of John McCain's chief strategist, Charlie Black: the infamous White Hands ad.
Unlike other well-known conservative race-baiters, Lee Atwater and George Wallace, who asked forgiveness for their actions before death, Helms never found it in his heart to regret the nastiness he engendered. May God have mercy on his soul.
Oops: wrong year of birth in original post.
And just for a bit of perspective from that link from Jesse's own neck of the woods, they quote David Broder, the dean of Washington bi-partisanism on his thoughts:
David Broder, a widely respected political columnist for The Washington Post, called Helms "the last prominent unabashed white racist politician in this country."
"What is unique about Helms – and from my viewpoint, unforgivable – is his willingness to pick at the scab of the great wound of American history, the legacy of slavery and segregation, and to inflame racial resentment against African Americans," Broder wrote shortly after Helms announced that he wouldn't seek re-election in 2002.
Yup, Helms is the "great patriot" and "kind, decent, and humble man" that Bush praised today for his service.