Thursday, March 13, 2008

Howard Metzenbaum 1917-2008

Former Senator Howard Metzenbaum (D-OH) has died.

During 18 years on Capitol Hill, from 1977 to 1995, Mr. Metzenbaum came to be known for his abilities to block legislation and get publicity for himself.

He was a cantankerous firebrand who did not need a microphone to hold a full auditorium spellbound while dropping rhetorical bombs on big oil companies, the insurance industry, savings and loans, and the National Rifle Association, to name just a few favorite targets.

Unabashedly liberal, Mr. Metzenbaum, a former labor lawyer and union lobbyist, considered himself a champion of workers and was a driving force behind the law requiring a 60-day notice for plant closings.

Mr. Metzenbaum won re-election in 1988 from Ohio voters who chose Republicans for governor and president: George V. Voinovich and George Bush.

After his third term, he started a new career, heading the Consumer Federation of America.

He was proud to be a liberal and wore it as a badge of honor. They don’t make them like that any more.