A long time ago I met the famous, larger-than-life, Senator Bob Dole. That was the second time, technically. The prior meeting he was a sudden no show. Instead he sent me to a staffer who shared a small space with a bird. Seriously, I was directed into a room with a lonely bird in a cage, and I’m sure Bob thought that was hilarious. I vaguely remember them quipping “it was a gift from a visitor, now what are you here for?”
I was tempted to give him a bird of my own, but instead just rescheduled.
For every smooth take I’ve read recently on what an amazingly kind man Bob Dole was, I wonder if these people ever experienced the angry man burning hot magma known to explode from him.
When I finally met with him he had assigned seats around a rectangular table based on status, judged by how much you could do for him. Women weren’t given time, as he’d call on men to answer his very directed questions. Only the first third of the table was invited to speak.
And in what seemed like true Bob Dole fashion he started and practically ended the meeting on the same anti-populist, reductionist, clarion note: what can you do for him. The juicy bone he threw out to the table that rings in my ears even to this day was: “why would I help people that won’t let me invest in them to get a piece of the action”?
That was real. My meetings with Senator Dole seemed like he didn’t want to be there unless he could extract something. Thus I actually preferred his chirping bird, which might explain my decision to leave politics.
Here are other stories some have shared about Dole, to further help set context for the late Senator’s constant cruel and acerbic witticisms:
Murder of politicians, ho ho ho.
When asked if he had read a murder mystery written by a Republican Senator, President Clinton said yes and noted “It’s a Democratic senator who gets murdered.” Dole then quipped “Yeah, it has a happy ending.”
Calling politicians dumb, hah hah.
You hear Gingrich’s staff has these five file cabinets, four big ones and one little tiny one. No. 1 is ‘Newt’s Ideas.’ No. 2, ‘Newt’s Ideas.’ No. 3, No. 4, ‘Newt’s Ideas.’ The little one is ‘Newt’s Good Ideas.’
And athletes? Brain damaged, lol.
There was a certain football player who forgot his helmet and then started talking supply-side theory.
Economists? Murder them hardy har har.
A bus filled with supply-siders goes over the cliff, killing all aboard. That’s the good news. The bad news is that there were three unoccupied seats.
To be fair, Dole was right about supply-side advocates being a serious threat. They totally wrecked his state of Kansas.
Unfortunately, despite his sharpest attacks, he failed to stop a “pitbull without lipstick” platform of the GOP from unleashing soul-crushing inequality.
Self-loathing after such failure was perhaps his best humor.
I was supposed to go for the jugular. And I did — my own.
Casting a wide net over those letting down the country, Dole called his peers out along with himself, hehe.
If you’re hanging around with nothing to do and the zoo is closed, come over to the Senate. You’ll get the same kind of feeling and you won’t have to pay.
His little bird in a cage, angrily chirping, was indeed by his definition… “free”.