Thursday, December 6, 2012

Warren Rudman, R.I.P.

Our country lost a tremendous fiscal warrior on the nineteenth
of November, a man who served two terms in the United States
Senate with distinction and was a founding co-chairman of The
Concord Coalition, a fiscal responsibility advocacy group which
your faithful Peasant supports; former U.S. Senator Warren 
Rudman died at 82. Rudman was a member of the Senate from
1981 until 1993, having had no experience in elective politics.

The retired Republican senator was praised by many government
officials from both the Democrat and Republican parties over the
years he represented New Hampshire in the Senate for his
honesty, integrity, courage, and hard work in standing up for the
country's best interests. Vice President Joe Biden praised Rudman
for his respect for the American people and his faith in their judge-
ment stating "He was forthright, he was frugal and he was fair."
Biden's praise for a member of the GOP is something more rare 
than snow in July, so this praise commands attention.

Peter G. Peterson, a former U.S. Commerce Secretary and a fellow
co-founder of the Concord Coalition, remembered Rudman thus:
"He knew the facts of our budget reality and spoke of them with
a clarity and a passion. But what struck me was how much he
really cared. He wasn't just saying the words; he meant them." 
With the late Sen. Paul Tsongas (D-MA), these three men 
co-founded Concord twenty years ago.

Rudman was also masterful on other issues of importance to the
nation; in 2001, eight years after his retirement from the Senate,
he co-authored a report on national security with another former
U.S. Senator, Democrat Gary Hart, which forewarned that a
major terrorist attack on the United States within 25 years of
the report's issuance was likely. At the time of its release, no
one seemed to take the report's findings seriously, but as things
turned out we didn't have to wait 25 years for the worst to
happen --- it came that very year on September 11. Rudman
himself had military experience; he was a Marine Corps
officer. This experience helped him to land a seat on the
Defense Appropriations subcommittee. While making sure
that our military people got the equipment and other items
they needed, Rudman drew the line on wasteful spending in
making sure that the Defense budget would reflect his
standards of fiscal responsibility and accountability.

In the 1980s Rudman helped craft the Gramm-Rudman-
Hollings Act, which was designed to end federal deficits
by 1991 and mandated automatic spending cuts if annual
deficit targets were not met. A bold plan, to be sure.
However, Congress kept rolling back the timetable
every year, and in 1991 the budget that was supposed to be
balanced carried the second-highest deficit in U.S. history.
Instances such as this caused this dedicated, principled,
tough and gritty ex-marine to exit the Senate after twelve
years, announcing the next year that he would not seek
another term. A moderate on the whole, Rudman was not
at all squishy on any issues, especially fiscal issues;
contrast that to the "moderate" Republican senators of
the present, i.e. Sen. Olympia Snowe, the soon-to-retire
senator from Maine. If they are not squishy, then they are
foursquare on the left like Snowe had been. Rudman was
a moderate GOP sort whom conservatives could respect,
admire, and confidently work with. Whenever you hear
or read the laments from lamestream media pundits about
the dwindling ranks of GOP moderates, you can agree with
these apologists for liberals-in-true-moderates'-clothing
on a TRUE moderate: U.S. Senator Warren Rudman.
May he repose in the most perfect peace.


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