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"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"

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Tuesday, 2 December 2003

Topic: Election Notes
"A good fellow has passed away."

When I was living west of Rochester, New York in the seventies, Conable was my congressman, and he is one of the Republicans I gladly voted for over the years. Yes, I do vote for Republicans now and then. Of course, the bit about refusing to answer Nixon's letters and refusing to go to Nixon's funeral are classics. (See below.) And he really ticked off the first President Bush by being disloyal, or treasonous or whatever, when he decided to do his job at the World Bank, and not to what Bush wanted. Oh well. A good fellow. Would that there were now, still, people like this in the political world.

Barber Conable, 81; GOP Stalwart in Congress, Head of World Bank
Associated Press via the Los Angeles Times, Tuesday, December 02, 2003

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Barber B. Conable Jr., a Republican congressman for 20 years who was his party's standard bearer on taxes, trade and Social Security, has died. He was 81.


... Representing a largely rural section of western New York from 1965 to 1985, Conable rose to be the senior Republican on the powerful tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee while the GOP was the minority party.

From 1986 to 1991, he was president of the World Bank, the agency that lends billions of dollars to developing nations.

Among the high points of his years in Congress were forcing through the revenue-sharing law in 1972 and the Trade Reform Act of 1974, which cleared the way for U.S. negotiations on lowering tariff barriers.

There were also bitter disappointments, none greater than the betrayal he felt during Watergate after years of loyally backing President Nixon's policies. He later refused to answer Nixon's letters or attend his funeral.

... His friendship with George H.W. Bush, dating to their service together in Congress in the 1960s, turned sour after Bush ascended to the presidency in 1989.

Conable announced in early 1991 that he would not seek a second five-year term on the World Bank.

"He [Bush] thought I should be supporting an American agenda; I thought I was there to help the poor people," Conable said in an interview with Associated Press in 1998. "So I got the reputation of not being a team player, and that was the one thing George wouldn't stand for."

... It was no surprise when both parties judged him the "most respected" member of the House his final two years in office. "There never has been a better congressman," columnist George Will wrote.

Posted by Alan at 08:47 PST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Tuesday, 9 December 2003 13:39 PST home

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