Tuesday, December 13, 2005

"the senator"

My friend Tim sent me the following email yesterday and, just like he felt sharing, so do I:

Hey, I read your piece on the blog about Sen. McCarthy, I'm sure yours was an extremely common experience. Broder has a great piece today about the Senator, and basically the reason not more people know about him was because he wasn't so comfortable making his career about him. He really, no sh*t, believed that being a legislator was about legislating. Shocking really.

I knew Sen. McCarthy somewhat, my mom worked for him on the '68 race and they stayed in touch. In his later years he lived in the same retirement home as a close family friend (also a friend of his) and I used to see him on visits. Once I had lunch with him and the other friend and after casually mentioning I had started reading "Master of the Senate" (okay I was desperately trying to get them talking about their experiences), I got an amazing 45-minute lecture on Lyndon Johnson's record in the Senate and the various shenanigans he got up to. I was, of course, terrified to be chatting with a figure of his stature (even in his 80's everyone still called him "The Senator"), but he seemed pretty used to young punks being naturally intimidated by him and was consistently kind and very open to answering questions and talking about his life. He was really an amazing guy. I work with his daughter somewhat these days, she works for the Dem. Staff of the House Admin. Committee, I wrote her this morning to say how sorry I was. I don't know where I am going with this, but I liked what you wrote and felt like sharing.

Thanks for sharing, Tim.

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