What Would Mike Mansfield Do?

Joe_Biden_The_incredible_shrinking_candidate mikemansfield

We live in a toxic political environment today.  Ideology seems to trump reason.  Civility and understanding are now viewed as signs of weakness.

When Vice President Biden first came to the Senate, Mike Mansfield (D-MT), one of the greatest statesmen in our nation’s history, took him under his wing.  One day during a weekly one-on-one meeting it was clear to Mansfield that Biden was upset.  Biden related an issue Jesse Helms had taken.  After Mansfield informed Biden that his perception of the Helms stance was mistaken, he told him two things:

“Joe, every man and woman sent here is sent here because their state recognizes something decent about them. It’s easy to find the parts you don’t like. I think your job, Joe, is to find out that part that caused him to be sent here.”

and

“Joe, never question another man’s motive. Question his judgment but never his motive.”

Statesmanship is a rare commodity, and conspicuously in short supply today, which makes Mansfield’s advice particularly relevant today.

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41 Comments

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41 responses to “What Would Mike Mansfield Do?

  1. Mansfield’s quote might make for a nice sampler but frankly I don’t think it holds up d. I don’t think voters voted for Nixon because they saw something decent in him. Do you? And sorry I think it’s very valid to question the motives of a Tim Tancredo. You don’t?

  2. tonyb39

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/13/opinion/13wachtler.html?th&emc=th

    “You Have the Right to Remain Constitutional”

    “SINCE its adoption after a landmark 1966 Supreme Court decision, the Miranda warning has worked its way into not only everyday police procedure, but American culture as well — even if you’ve never been arrested, you probably know the words “anything you say can and will be used against you.”

    But as the Obama administration considers carving out an exception to the Miranda rules for terrorism suspects in the wake of the arrest of Faisal Shahzad, the Connecticut man accused of being the Times Square bomber, it’s important to note how little most people understand what Miranda does and doesn’t mean.”

  3. nannymm

    IMO, Tony, too may people are far to willing to give up their rights when they feel threatened. And far too many politicians pander to that fear by proposing legislation that chips away at our rights. Holder and Obama are dead wrong to suggest changing Miranda.
    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”-BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

  4. Lewis Black: “Glenn Beck Has Nazi Tourette’s” (VIDEO)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/13/lewis-black-glenn-beck-ha_n_574659.html

    I’m not a big Lewis Black fan but this was pretty damn funny.

  5. eProf2

    Greetings from the desert!

  6. dog's eye view

    I actually agree with Mansfield’s counsel. For public behavior. What one thinks in private is another matter. Good column, dnd.

    Nixon was a product of his times, and certainly not without redeeming qualities. His voters probably saw something of themselves in him.

    Yes, Hubert Humphrey was the far better choice.

    But imagine how much change, progress and tragedy the country went through, from 1963-68.

    Suspect Nixon represented, to many, a return to “normalcy” and law and order, and maybe even nostalgia for the “I like Ike” era.

    I don’t buy that Nixon was without any decency. Less than he needed, sure. It did him in.

    Sarah Palin gets my vote for the national politician with the least apparent decency.

    She and some of retrogrades from the old Confederate states (Paul Broun, etc.), although they might play out “decent” on the retail level.

  7. dog's eye view

    shorter comment:

    Civility is very important in a decent society.

  8. One can be civil and questions someone’s motives at the same time.

  9. TempeBev

    I think Mike Mansfield would laugh at this – along with everyone else. McCain’s TV ad about the border fence. It almost makes you want to vote for JD. McCain is history in November.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/13/mccains-danged-fence-ad-m_n_575068.html

  10. Bev when is the AZ primary?

  11. eProf2

    It ends on August 24th. Mas o menas as more and more people vote through the mail.

  12. dog's eye view

    On questioning motive:

    I don’t see how one can function without doing so, privately, while considering what drives another to the action or position they take. It can lead to formulating questions and reaching deeper understanding.

    Questioning is fine.

    Impugning is another. Impugning patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, and I wish we’d seen the last of it.

  13. dog's eye view

    eprof: thank you for answering my “open borders” question yesterday. You did not disappoint, in having a provocative view!

    Do I share it? Probably not. But thinking on the whole matter.

  14. Scoundrels is one of my favorite words, any wonder I’m a Lillian Hellman fan.

  15. dog's eye view

    AP: College for All? Experts say Not Necessarily

    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/05/13/us/AP-US-Too-Much-College.html?_r=1

    Left out of this story: the possibility of working on a traditional 4-year degree after technical school and beginning a solid career, over time.

    Or pursuing coursework for a certification or the pleasure of expanding ones’ critical thinking skills?

    College should not just be a credential. Look what it got us with W.

  16. eProf2

    dog, you’re welcome. “Look what it got us with W.” George W even bragged about “see what a C student can achieve?” And, now we have Sarah Palin, the second C student to make it to the national political limelight. John McCain, who got into the Naval Academy because of his father and grandfather (talk about affirmative action), graduated near the bottom of his class and was probably passed because of who he was not what he knew.

  17. dog's eye view

    I saw that “you’re one of us” McCain ad.

    Gadzooks. Where to start?

    Building that border fence is obscenely wasteful.

    There are better and more effective ways to deter illegal migration and drug smuggling.

    If you actually wanted to get serious about it, and not just do something for a photo op.

  18. dog's eye view

    Mr. McCain trashed a few more planes than most pilots are allotted before flying a desk or moving into another seat on the plane.

    Which is not to detract from his wartime heroism or courage while a captive.

    But he and W got a lot of second and third chances a purely meritocratic system might not provide.

  19. Well I tried again this morning to get my free report from the agency with all the bogus information on my report.

    I called the agency I did yesterday and believe it or not the same lady called me back. I told her I was not able to get the view the free report to print it out and then call them to dispute the info on it.

    She restated that she had already informed them that I was disputing the info and they should be starting a review of it sometime this morning.

    She also said that it would take anywhere from two weeks to a month to correct my report.

    Meanwhile I’m in limbo as to if the lender will give me a mortgage loan or not. I would be in great shape if I had another $30 thousand dollars then I would not need a loan and could just purchase it outright.

    I had my agent put in a bid $500 dollars over the one that was already submitted and the bidding ends or closes on the 16th of this month.

    If I win the bid than I will need to put up at least a grand and get a home inspection. If its really bad from what I saw on the visual inspection done by HUD then I can walk away without losing my money.

    If its not and I can not secure a loan then I will lose my good faith deposit. I hope things work out as I really want to get away from my landlord. In fact I would not really mind paying the two or three months rent here on a month to month lease while I’m making the house liveable because I would know that she and her husband would then have two empty units.

    And once out she will realize that she got the last dime out of me she will ever get. She had a good tenant and drove me out with there constant rent increase’s and the outrageous wanting to charge me $30 dollars a month for having a second vehicle. Just pure greed is what I see from them and they tapped the golden goose one to many times.

    Well let me leave you all now and check out other sites I read. I’ll keep you all informed as events move forward.

    Take care and …

    God Bless.

  20. If its really bad from what I saw on the visual inspection done by HUD then I can walk away without losing my money.

    Should read:

    If its really bad [far worse then] what I saw on the visual inspection done by HUD then I can walk away without losing my money.

    God Bless.

  21. Oil spill worse then first thought. 70,000 barrels a day or about 2 million gallons a day are leaking from the deep water well.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/13/wheres-the-oil-your-gover_n_575647.html

    Well I guess Florida should just suck it up and accept the fact that we are screwed big time.

    Goodbye shorelines and livelihoods.

    God Bless.

  22. dog's eye view

    AP: oy vey. Good luck to you on the credit reporting issue, and I hope you have a happier living situation pronto. Keep us posted on how it goes.

  23. top of the morning peeps

  24. Lisa Murkowski BLOCKS Bill To Raise Oil Spill Liability Cap (VIDEO)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/13/lisa-murkowski-blocks-bil_n_575918.html

    How surprising!

  25. dog's eye view

    Atlantis set for 2:20 p launch; its last mission. (Although it will be fitted as rescue shuttle for last shuttle to space station missions.)

  26. tonyb39

    Dog,
    Just watched the shuttle launch,looked nice from here.Beautiful hot clear day.The rumble and the boom get your attention every time…

  27. TempeBev

    Sounds like another “day as usual” in Congress. The repugs trying to cover their a.. and the dems trying to do something.

    The reps from the sunken platform just can’t take responsibility for anything that affects people other than their own pockets.

  28. yeah doots I’ve seen a few of the tea baggers spouting that 17th amend. crap.

  29. ub

    You guys have been quite lively lately, I hope that just means you are all passionate about your beliefs. I have nothing to add…..just saying hi, and play nicely. 🙂
    Once I get a chance to breathe, I hope to be back more often…I like reading all of your opinions, the links are great. With all of your comments this place has thrived, I am afraid to ask….but how long has the BC been alive?

  30. ub

    I hate it when religion is mix with anything non-religious.

  31. good day peeps,
    Hey a UB siting!

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