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Dole’s comments often included more wit than bite

Dec. 9, 2021

Sen. Robert Dole’s recent passing reminded me of the perennial boxing contender who finally gets his title shot well past his prime or the legendary actor who receives a Lifetime Achievement Award instead of the elusive Oscar. Most of us would, or should, be proud of such a legacy.

Dole’s “Democrat wars” quip during his vice-presidential debate against Walter Mondale didn’t convince me that he was as mean as his (or his debate coach’s) choice of words. Often, his biting wit was used to poke fun at himself. In later years, I detected more wit than bite in his public comments.

I wish Sens. Dole and John McCain could have vied for the presidency a few years before they did. The Bob Dole-Jack Kemp ticket in 1996 never caught on, and it’s hard to imagine a truly hands-on pre-2008 version of McCain agreeing to a Sarah Palin-type running mate.

When America loses a McCain, Gen. Colin Powell or Robert Dole level figure, our national focus seems to drift more toward division than unity.

Their passing reminds us that someone else has to reset our arrow upward.

That leaves us.

Jim Newton

Itasca, Ill.