I met Bob Dole once. I was working for WBNZ, a radio station in Frankfort, Michigan, in 1978 and he flew into the area to campaign for candidates in the mid-term elections. A small group of reporters gathered in a room at Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City and he went around the room handing out soundbites. His acerbic wit was on display, but there was none of the vitriol that has come to be the norm for campaigning today, and he entertained our questions genially. He was a classy guy, which is something that has nothing to do with upbringing, education, or family history. Yeah, he could be really cranky and mean-spirited, and I have a hard time understanding why he backed Trump, but one thing made him different than the former guy and a lot of the MAGA crowd: there was not an ounce of phoniness to him.
I was rather glad he did not win the election in 1996, and in a way I think he was, too. But he was a true patriot, something you don’t see much of anymore.