I couldn’t help but become fascinated with an interview on FoxNews with former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole that was aired this Memorial Day weekend. Senator Bob Dole previously served in World War II, where he was wounded. He also ran an unsuccessful campaign for president where he was beat by President Bill Clinton. Despite his failure to acquire the presidency he is still an icon for the Republican Party as an excellent and relentless leader.

In the interview with FoxNews, Dole answered a question about the current situation with the Republican Party. He was asked if his generation of Republican leaders could make it in today’s Republican Party and he responded, “I doubt it. Reagan couldn’t have made it. Certainly, Nixon couldn’t have made it, cause he had ideas. We might’ve made it, but I doubt it.”

It’s clear that the Republican Party Party/Democratic and Congress/Senate as a whole are having problems, both fundamentally and with the execution of actual legislation. It’s tough to hear from such a great leader from the same era as one of the most well-liked Conservative leaders, Ronald Reagan, that the Republican Party just isn’t the same, and that they’re headed in the wrong direction.

Dole said, “They ought to put a sign on the National Committee doors that says, ‘Closed for repairs,’ until New Year’s Day next year. And spend that time going over ideas and positive agendas.” Perhaps Dole is right in pointing out that we are headed in the wrong direction, and this constant bickering about ideas and such even within our own party is going to destroy us in the end. The progressive establishment of the Republican Party is emerging as something that we just can’t ward off.

Dole later on gave his remarks about the differences in the government that he served in and the government that makes up the United States today. He said, “It seems almost unreal that we can’t get together on a budget or legislation. We weren’t perfect [when I served] by a long shot, but at least we got our work done.” As we look at our legislators that are representing us in congress and in the senate we want them to be representing our best interest and to be able to do what they promised they would do when they were elected. Nonetheless, for the past few years our legislators haven’t been doing their best–they’ve been bickering, unable to compromise, and letting important issues and bills go unpassed or passed without throughly looking at all of the consequences that would be results from the passing bills. Like Dole said about when he served, he went to work and got his job done. It wasn’t always perfect, but they still accomplished things that would be for the betterment of the American people, whether it was a Democrat or a Republican initiative.

In Dole’s farewell speech in the senate chambers in July of 1996, he joked about working with people with different opinions. He said, “I always thought that differences were a healthy thing, and that’s why we’re so healthy. Because we have a lot of differences in this chamber. I’ve never seen a healthier group in my life.”  Maybe our current legislators should take Dole’s advice to heart: embrace their differences, but still work together to get their jobs done. This may be the only way for anything significantly helpful to affect the American people.


Lindsey Kolb | Missouri State University | @Lindsey_Kolb