Uber-Conservative Jesse Helms Dead at 86
He opposed civil rights, gay rights, abortion and foreign aid – By Jeffrey Jolson for Hollywood Today
HOLLYWOOD, CA (RUSHPRNEWS) 7/6/08 – Uber-conservative Jesse Helms, the former North Carolina senator whose Southern drawl became synonymous with neo-racism died early Friday at 86. He opposed civil rights, gay rights, foreign aid and modern art.
Helms’s former chief of staff, James Broughton, said the senator died at the Mayview Convalescent Center in Raleigh, where he had lived for several years. Helms had been in “a period of declining health,” Broughton said.
Helms ended his 52-year political career when he retired from the Senate in 2002. Helms became a beacon for the right wing of American politics, a lightning rod for the left and, often, a mighty pain for presidents whatever their political leaning.
Even pal Ronald Reagan described him as a “thorn in my side.”
“I didn’t come to Washington to be a yes man for any president, Democrat or Republican,” he said in an interview in 1989. “I didn’t come to Washington to get along and win any popularity contests.”
He will be remembered for two bills in the Senate: the 1996 measure that tightened trade sanctions against the government of Fidel Castro in Cuba and the 1973 amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, prevented American money from going to international family planning organizations that, in his words, “provide or promote” abortion. He also introduced amendments to reduce or eliminate funds for foreign aid, welfare programs and the arts.