bob doleBy Peter Galuszka

Memorial Day is typically a time for remembrance of the sacrifice of military veterans, cook-outs and the unofficial beginning of the summer season.

As always, the media is filled with photos, video and stories of crippled vets, salutes and the like, but one opinion piece stands out: that of Republican stalwart Bob Dole, the former senator from Kansas who  has always had a special kind of moral authority. Badly wounded in Italy during World War II, Dole can be taken seriously when he talks about things such as Memorial Day.

And speak out he has. In this morning’s Washington Post op-ed, he trashes the bogus groups that use the sacrifice of veterans to cheat the unsuspecting out of donations, supposedly in the name of veterans. Some pay perhaps one percent of their take to veterans who face any number of issues from recovering from wounds to finding a job.

But one group stands out. As Dole writes: “Earlier this month a trial date was set for the purported mastermind behind the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, a bogus charity with a nonexistent board of directors and a post office box for a headquarters that is reported to have bilked unsuspecting donors of more than $100 million.”

The man going on trial is John Donald Cody, a.k.a. “Bobby Thompson.” The mysterious individual is also known for getting Atty. Gen. and GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli in hot water.

Back in 2009-2010, Cuccinelli received $55,000 in campaign donations from “Bobby Thompson,” whose group was the target of a major investigation by The St. Petersburg Times newspaper. Cuccinelli held on to the money for months before finally agreeing to give it away, denouncing the vet group in the process.

Coming as it does after Cuccinelli has been implicated in the current Giftgate scandal for having accepted $13,000 in “gifts” from Star Scientific, the reminder of the veterans’ mess adds more of a foul odor to Cuccinelli’s candidacy. To be sure, others including GOP politicians Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and House Speaker William Howell, along with Democratic State Sen. Patsy Ticer, got funds from the Navy vets group. McDonnell has been badly snared in Giftgate, too.

But what’s curious is the indirect slap by Dole at Cuccinelli by bringing up the Navy vet mess. Dole got his opinion piece published the day after he said the Republican Party is in such disarray that “it should be closed for repairs.”

I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but it would follow that the Virginia GOP’s slate would likely be anathema to Dole, a conservative moderate who can operate in a bipartisan way. Besides the ultra-divisive Cuccinelli, the GOP is running socially hard-right candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general. Neither man has a reputation for dealing with the state’s many problems other than uttering issues that drive wedges – such as comments that Planned Parenthood has been more fatal to African-Americans than the Ku Klux Klan and pitching a bill that would require women to report to the police if they suffer from miscarriages.

The trio assumes the moral high ground, but how can they when you have such venal stuff as Giftgate and VetGate taking bows on either side of the stage?

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17 responses to “Bob Dole’s Memorial Day Remembrance”

  1. larryg Avatar

    Dole was on Fox News Sunday… where he said “closed for repairs”

    Then he also said

    ” National Republicans have shifted so drastically in the past decade that the party’s most vaunted figure — former President Ronald Reagan — would no longer find a home in the GOP, former Sen. Bob Dole claimed Sunday.
    “Reagan couldn’t have made it,” Dole said, adding he too would also have faced challenges in today’s Republican Party.”

    and then RedState ( a typical voice of the right these days) said:

    ” Failed GOP presidential candidate, former Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) recently complained that he wouldn’t be able to make it in today’s Grand Old Republican Party. He is right. And thank your lucky stars for that”

    then they go on in typical “oblivious to realities” fashion:

    ” The new faces in the Republican Party are the answer for a party that was once labeled endangered.”

    then they went on to AGREE with Dole: ” Dole misses the point of change. The reason Reagan wouldn’t make it today if he was transplanted into the future is because he was a special man built for a special time. His rise was in response to the problems of the age.”

    they say this right after they said this:

    ” The Republicans that hail from Dole’s time offered conservative big government solutions to combat moderately liberal big government solutions. Americans want contrast not copy cats. It was Bob Dole’s neoconservative view of worldwide intervention, big spending and government growth that led to devastating losses in 2006 and 2008 that yielded a Congress that settled us with Obamacare. Seriously. The same class of Senators that Dole worked with in the 1990’s were the Senate leaders pushing through the Bush agenda in the 00’s of Medicare expansion, Department of Education expansion and military expansion.”

    This is the voice of the GOP today.. they tell us what American voters want like they actually know and don’t believe the results from the last 2 elections.

    they’re actually convinced the further they move to the right – the more votes they’ll get!

    it’s like the entire GOP has taken a Jim Jones type stupid pill.

  2. Breckinridge Avatar

    The fact that a faceless blogger-idiot can speak for “The Republican Party” — dismiss Dole and denigrate Reagan — and be cited as speaking for the party — is really the problem. We don’t have leaders, we have blogger-idiots in charge. Or radio talk show idiots (and Limbaugh is an idiot. Beck is a freaking moron.)

    But as disappointing as it is to see E.W. Jackson winning a major nomination, he is no farther off the mainstream than the blogger-idiots of the Left who are just as firmly in control of today’s Socialist-Democratic party, which bears absolutely no resemblance to its historical roots either. Could Chuck Robb be nominated by today’s Democratic party? Could Gerry Baliles? Would “Little Al” Smith or “Big Al” Diamonstein have a chance of holding a leadership post in the House Democratic Caucus? No way.

    The problem is systemic — it has taken both political parties to the extreme ends of the spectrum. With E. W. Jackson in the race it would make sense for the Democrats to move to the middle, claim the center, but their own set of ideological purists won’t tolerate it.

  3. Breckinridge Avatar

    One more note — there was a time when I would have despaired that America could produce such men as Bob Dole and Daniel Inouye ever again, but that fear has been disproved by the unfortunate need for a new generation of heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere. We can and we do produce such men and women still. I’m not sure we deserve them, but we have them.

  4. larryg Avatar

    re: ” But as disappointing as it is to see E.W. Jackson winning a major nomination, he is no farther off the mainstream than the blogger-idiots of the Left who are just as firmly in control of today’s Socialist-Democratic party, which bears absolutely no resemblance to its historical roots either.”

    geeze.. Breckinridge – it’s the SAME Dem party that supports Social Security, Medicare, the environment, the same things they always have, they have not changed much at all since Roosevelt in terms of what they support.

    show me how they have shifted left of that… I don’t see it. Don’t cite ObamaCare – the Dems have always been in favor of universal health insurance – from way back … it’s not a new thing.

    “Could Chuck Robb be nominated by today’s Democratic party? Could Gerry Baliles? Would “Little Al” Smith or “Big Al” Diamonstein have a chance of holding a leadership post in the House Democratic Caucus? No way.”

    you’re kidding right? Did you miss Tim Kaine and Barack Obama’s recent elections?

    but seriously – tell me what policies that are far left of what the party of Franklin D Roosevelt supported?

    there are left loonies – YES but they do not control the DEM party like the right loonies DO control the GOP. E.J. Jackson is proof of this.

    “The problem is systemic — it has taken both political parties to the extreme ends of the spectrum. With E. W. Jackson in the race it would make sense for the Democrats to move to the middle, claim the center, but their own set of ideological purists won’t tolerate it.”

    Jesus H. Keeeerist … when virtually all the moderates of the GOP have been run off from Congress AND the ones that remain consider Bob Dole and Reagan to be RINOs … do you really think this is an extreme left problem?

    I’m talking about elected GOP from the last 20 years who no longer are in Congress – not because left wing loonies beat them but because their own party wanted them out for being too liberal – this was after they had been elected multiple times over the last 10-20 years.

    The GOP has clearly shifted right. Bob Dole says it – and the GOP pretty much agrees!

    they actually think that if they shift further right – that they’ll get more votes, more Hispanics, more Blacks, more women, gays/lesbians, etc.

    The GOP has not only shifted right – they live in political LA LA land.

    Virginia is going to be a test.

    Is the same state that voted for Obama and Tim Kaine (as well as Robb and Warner) going to vote this far right?

    clearly the turnout for Obama is not going to happen again. McAuliffe is going to be lucky to get just the white Obama vote – but who will the blacks in Va vote for?

    I say they’ll sit at home.

    and I say that if Cuccinelli and Jackson get elected, that Va

  5. larryg Avatar

    re: E.W. Jackson and the middle.

    Breckinridge – why do you think it’s up to the Dems to do something about E.W. Jackson?

    The GOP had the opportunity to put a solid moderate, even a right-leaning candidate who would likely have made any Dem challenger look like a liberal lefty.

    Why did the GOP actually choose the hard right guy instead of a candidate who would appeal to moderate, independent Virginian voters?

    My understanding is that even moderate GOP types are upset…

    all of this is because of the liberal left loonies?

    Oh Contraire!

  6. reed fawell III Avatar
    reed fawell III

    Bob Dole’s reputation for character in the US Senate was monumental.

  7. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Dear responders,
    Thanks for all your views but you seem to be avoiding the Cuccinelli issue. Any ideas?

  8. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    And one more thing. I had a vision. We all go to a country village sort of like the one in Woody Allen’s “Love and Death.”

    The banner over the muddy streets reads:
    “Welcome Blogger Idiots!”

  9. larryg Avatar

    Peter – Cucinelli is as much as symbol as a individual entity to me. It signifies the current state of the GOP in Virginia.

    but it does look like Cucinelli is actually greasier than McAuliffe … and it’s starting to look like Cucinelli may have some significant baggage that may actually turn off conservatives also.

    good. good!

  10. Breckinridge Avatar

    The voters will take care of Jackson. One way or the other. I never underestimate the electorate.

    Tim Kaine, a truly admirable human being, is the most liberal person sent to the United States Senate by Virginia. Is he out of line with the current national Democratic party? No. Would he have been nominated by the Virginia Democrats 40 years ago? No. Over the next few years will you see him cancel many of Mark Warner’s votes? I predict yes, although I was pleased he backed off shore energy exploration (and got pounded for it by the very people I am talking about.)

    Part of my point is that Virginia Democrats have moved to total alignment with their national counterparts, and the days when Virginia Democrats were different are long gone. But part of my point is that the national Democrats have moved hard left on a number of fronts and would be just as unforgiving of some of their forefathers as some in the GOP.

    Can you imagine Harry Byrd Jr. or Harry Truman hosting hospitality suites at the Equality Virginia dinner? Really? Can you imagine FDR supporting abortion on demand, morning after pills for pre-teens, or forcing a Catholic bishop to pay for birth control for his employees? Really?

    But it isn’t just social issues. The Jack Kennedy-LBJ tax bill cutting marginal income tax rate would be welcomed by today’s GOP, instantly rejected as welfare for the rich by today’s Democrats. The moonshot would be rejected and the money spent on food stamps.

    The EPA was created by Nixon, but the religion of the Global Warming Apocalypse is an altar built by Democrats and they won’t rest until we sacrifice all our economic promise to feed a priesthood of liars. (Shhhh. The Japanese are restarting reactors, and the Germans are starting to figure out they are cutting their own throats.)

    I agree with the point that the most liberal strains today were evident in the progressives of the 20th century, back to Wilson and Bryan (the famous Biblical creationist — could he be nominated today? Wouldn’t be hooted out of the party?) But the Democratic party was dominant because it made room and made accommodations with more moderate elements and business interests and religious traditionalists. The New Deal pales in comparison to the bureaucratic welfare state of today. I stand by my original statement that the middle way has made unwelcome in both parties by the unelected purveyors of ideological purity who control the blog sites and the media (FOX and MSNBC are the same, in my book.)

    One man’s opinion. Only slightly exaggerated for effect.

    1. larryg Avatar

      Breckinridge –

      show me the positions of the Dem party 20-30 years ago and show me what it is today and how they have moved left… lay down the evidence guy.

      The Dems have ALWAYS supported health care and the environment – including the ozone holes … there is nothing new to their positions – they were there under FDR and from Nixon’s EPA forward.

      tell me what has changed …

      now go look at the GOP and compare people like Dole and Reagan with the current party and what do you see?

      The GOP has shifted right and basically banned the members known as RINOs which were often the ones involved in compromise positions – people like Dole and Reagan – would be viewed like Olympia Snow and Richard Lugar.

      those guys are gone – and in their place are people much further to the right who will not compromise and now insist on 60 votes even to appoint a cabinet secretary.

      You may identify with the new right yourself but to continue to believe the GOP has not shifted right flies in the face of the clear, demonstrable reality.

      show me who in the Dems has shifted left on positions that were present when Nixon was POTUS.

      GW is not a DEM thing unless you want to believe that scientists around the world are aligned with Dems in a massive conspiracy – … this is the kind of views we get from the right these days – i.e. scientists -around the world are engaged in a massive conspiracy… Even corporate America believes in GW as well as DOD.

      1. Neil Haner Avatar
        Neil Haner


        (A) I don’t think Breck is denying the GOP’s move to the extreme right (nor do I think he’s saying he identifies with that hard right either… most of his posts aren’t of the hard right nature, anyways)

        (B) You’re right, there’s a lot of the Left’s platform that has been around for generations (SS, Medicare, Civil Rights). There are a few places, however, where they have moved further left over the last few decades. One is the federal capitalization of private industry, whether it be auto bailouts, bank bailouts, or massive loans to pet corporations like Tesla and Solyndra (please note I listed both a success and a failure). Another is the increasing stratification of tax rates… progressive taxation is nothing new, certainly, and elements of the Democratic party have always been strong advocates of it (hello Teddy Roosevelt), but now it’s as much a required position for a Dem to hold as NRA support is for a Republican. Can you imagine a Moderate Dem standing up against Obama’s progressive tax rates and still being allowed to hold any real position in his party’s caucus? I can’t… if they don’t subscribe to the party’s Socialist leanings, they’re as much a DINO(?) as a gun-control, evolutionist Republican is a RINO.

  11. Ghost of Ted Dalton Avatar
    Ghost of Ted Dalton


    I think the entire Star Scientific episode is rather haunting for anyone of either party who cares about public policy.

    A friend recently commented that 20 years ago, McDonnell and Cooch would be sweating bullets about holding onto their jobs rather than resigning.

    There’s always been a line for the public. “Scandals” relating to public policy choices or sex have always been eh. Lewinsky…most people saw that as a private affair. The invasion of Iraq based on faulty intelligence or Benghazi…both of those ultimately were policy choices and the public has refused to treat them as “scandals.”

    But until this episode, generally the rule has been that when you mix private gain and public policy/resources, that’s when people really get up in arms. Jim Wright, Blago, etc.

    The reality is that McDonnell used state resources (the First Lady, the Governor’s Mansion, Economic Development arms) to promote the private interests of a big donor who also gave him big gifts. The Cooch also at the very least “discussed” a tax suit and really just sat on it for a year….involving the same donor who also gave the Cooch nice gifts. Then both individuals conveniently forget to list such gifts on their disclosure statements.

    I agree that 20 years ago, both of these guys would have had to resign or would be under enormous public pressure. Nowadays? People are really calling this a “partisan” witch hunt. I’m not partisan at all. I voted for McDonnell. But I think he and Cooch should resign over this tawdry business.

    So….what is causing this? I’d love to hear others thoughts. Is it apathy? Is it hyperpartisanship in which neither party will admit a wrongdoing of its own? Is it a defanged media?

    1. Neil Haner Avatar
      Neil Haner


      I think there are two big reasons you aren’t seeing the calls to resign arise, either from the public, the media, or the state Democratic party.

      First is that the Democrats are still the minority in the House and a functional minority in the Senate. Impeachment, even as a threat, isn’t an option, and I surmise quite a few of them would rather take a “pick your battles” approach to their GOP counterparts. Come January, they’ll still have a minority in the House (who knows with the Senate), and engendering too much party-line bad blood at this point will kill any agendas they have over the next two years. Along those lines, I think they also realize the very real probability Cuccinelli is going to win (Jackson I doubt will win, but McAuliffe just isn’t the right candidate to seize on this opportunity), and so state Dem leaders don’t want to risk a new Governor entering office with an ax ready to grind.

      The second reason you aren’t seeing the outcry is because the election is in less than 6 months. Both Cuccinelli and McDonnell are short-timers for their respective offices, so even if impeachment were an option, the timeline to accomplish it isn’t there, and any attack on them, even if successful, in the end accomplishes next to nothing in the short term… For McDonnel, the Dem’s should keep it in their back pocket for his inevitable Senate run in 2016. For Cuccinelli, it’s a better tactic for the Dem’s to keep this scandal on the fringe of the public’s consciousness for another few months, then use it as a hammer in September/October. If he still wins, it’s not as if the statute of limitations will have run out, especially if further misdeeds are uncovered in further digging.

    2. larryg Avatar

      I do not think people are more sanguine about this. Just look at how the same Virginians judge the IRS and Justice Dept issues at hand.

      I honestly think people expect this kind of behavior from GOP folks who have a reputation of being “business friendly” . It’s just that they’re much smarter and slicker when it comes to donations that what they were with Star Scientific.

      Think about what would happen to Warner and Kaine if they were accused of something similar. There would be total unrage if they had done this when they were Gov but with McDonnell and Cucinelli – there is clearly a “boys will be boys” aura to it.

  12. DJRippert Avatar

    How can anybody talk about impeachment when the misdeeds are mostly legal?

    McDonnell’s claim that the $15,000 was a gift to his daughter is slimy. slippery and unethical. But it is legal under Virginia law. It doesn’t have to be reported.

    Cuccinelli’s selective amnesia about the many gifts he took from Star Scientific is against the rules. Is it contrary to Virginia criminal code? If you fail to report income on your personal taxes – what happens? At best you get fined, at worst you go to jail. What is the penalty when Virginia politicians ignore the reporting requirements? Apparently there is no penalty.

    The $55,000 in donations from the U.S. Navy Veterans Association was perfectly legal under Virginia law. It could have been $555,000 or $5.5M. There is no limit.

    The tax breaks for Orion Air coupled with a job at Orion Air for one of the patrons of the tax break legislation is completely legal. The FBI investigation into the matter consisted of looking through the involved politicians’ official e-mails for signs of a quid pro quo. Not personal e-mail, not written correspondence – only the official e-mails. Why should the FBI waste time fully investigating something when the state government doesn’t care?

    The governance system in Virginia is broken.

    Off-year elections reduce voter turnout and favor party politics.

    Virginia has the fifth worst case of gerrymandering.

    Virginia has the most onerous process to get on the ballot. This reduces the likelihood of independents challenging party hacks.

    The single term governor is not an effective check on the power of the General Assembly. No other state prohibits its governor from running for a second consecutive term.

    Virginia’s legislators directly elect Virginia’s judges. There is no merit board and practicing lawyers in the legislature are allowed to vote for the judges before whom they will try cases. Only one other state allows this (South Carolina, I believe).

    There is no ethics commission for the state government. Bob McDonnell promised to institute one but didn’t – probably good since he might have been the first politician investigated by that board.

    If Virginia were an outlier in only one or two areas you might chalk it up to coincidence. However, when it is area after area after area – you have to see the bastardized governance process as an intentional effort to deceive and profit from political office.

    Our state received a grade of F for potential corruption. It should have probably gotten a G or a Z.

  13. larryg Avatar

    I cannot argue with DJ’s narrative. I had sanguinely assumed that Virginia was middle of the road on this stuff – but the more I see the more I realize just how corrupt Virginia really is on these issues.

    We have a culture of it because, in part, there are no laws.. – even the disclosure laws are weak and ineffective, a joke.

    I still think that if Virginians had the right to initiate referenda – we could take care of these jerks – and don’t get me wrong – I do not care if they have a “D” or an “R” or an “I” next to their names – we need to burn their butts.

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