By Quin Hillyer at National Review Online;

Former House Republican leader Bob Michel, who died Friday two weeks shy of his 94th birthday, should be remembered as a brave veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, a patriotic public servant, a thoroughly decent man — and, yes, contrary to some public impressions today, a conservative hero. For young conservatives ignorant of Michel’s actual record, especially those who like to cite him as an example of weak, accommodationist non-leadership, it is that last assertion that may sound controversial. It shouldn’t be.
Civility isn’t weakness. Personal decency isn’t a character flaw. Respect for the institution of Congress is not a sign of unsound political philosophy. And long public service is no proof of being polluted by the “swamp.”

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Michel spent eight years as a congressional aide and 38 as a congressman, six of them as minority whip and 14 as minority leader. By any fair accounting, those last 20 years were ones of great achievements for conservatism and country — achievements for which Michel deserves a significant share of credit….

…..[much later in the column] In a Sunday morning e-mail to me, Gingrich said:

Bob Michel balanced two very different jobs. As minority leader (the longest in American history) he had to work with Democrats in a bipartisan way to help Presidents Reagan and Bush pass their agendas. As Republican leader he had to encourage the more aggressive and more partisan younger Republicans who were the hope of someday becoming a majority. He showed enormous discipline and balance in living out both roles effectively and with minimum conflict.

For anyone who saw Michel at even reasonably close range, it was impossible not to like him, and equally impossible not to admire him…..

The full column is here.

 

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