Sen. Mark Hatfield: How politics once was

by Tom Roberts

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Mark Hatfield, former U.S. Senator and once governor of Oregon, died Sunday at age 89. Hatfield, a Republican, was an exemplar of the kind of political courage and thoughtful statesmanship that is so sorely lacking today.

He was, in his own description, a "rebel Republican" who would vote across party lines. He served in the Senate from 1967-1997. Of particular interest today would be his vote against a balanced budget amendment, which failed by a single vote in the Senate.

Striking, too, in this anniversary month of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, are his thoughts on preparations for war. From a piece posted on Huffington Post:

One of the first American servicemen to enter Hiroshima following the atomic bombing, he once said one of his major accomplishments was helping usher through Congress a ban on U.S. nuclear weapons testing in 1987.

"Every president other than Eisenhower has been seduced by the military concept that that is our sole measurement of our national security and the more bombs we build, the more secure we are," Hatfield said a decade later.

"That's just not true. We are vulnerable in our national security today and we are vulnerable in many ways we are not addressing – the needs of education, the needs of housing, the needs of nutrition, the needs of health, the needs of infrastructure."

Read the entire article here.

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