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Thinking of Lloyd Bentsen May 23, 2006

Posted by jojoe in Politico.

Pulled up the paper today and saw that Lloyd Bentsen had passed. Made me sad to see it. He was a true public servant, and we need more like Lloyd in office today. I interned in his office one summer, and watched him in action as Chair of the Finance Committee. What a quiet, powerful leader. He led with an authority that came from an earned respect.

My only "meeting" with him was a lunch that he hosted for all the interns. I remember walking from the Hart building over to the Capitol. I had just been in a Finance Committee meeting and asked him about an exchange that had happened in the open meeting between him and another senator. He made a quick, quiet comment saying something to the effect of "I'll have to have a talk with that junior senator." Very quiet and powerful. Not blustery, but matter of fact.

It strikes me that this is how Lloyd operated. Old school. Reach concensus in the back rooms and avoid messy grandstanding. He seemed to govern like this. Not as an elitist, but in a businesslike way that had government do the business of governing. That's the kind of public servant that I think he was.

Back when I was an intern, I remember that Congress had a rule that there could be no new spending unless the bill's author found money elsewhere. As Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Lloyd presided over this deficit fighting regime very effectively. He was good at the business of governing. As the Treasury Secretary and an influential cabinet member under Clinton, I am sure that Lloyd championed this emphasis on fighting the deficit with Clinton and had a role in the deficit reduction policy that led this country to the great surplus that Bozo Bush has so thoughtlessly frittered away in the name of partisan ideology.

Lloyd was true public servant and I am remembering him today. I wish we had more people that were concerned with the business of governing and reached across the aisle to get things done. Instead, it seems like too many are concerned with grandstanding and appeasing extreme elements of their parties rather than getting down to the business of governing for the people.



1. pete - May 24, 2006

Well said.

2. Petie - May 24, 2006

I saw that he passed and suspected you might write something. I’m glad you did and honored his work so eloquently.

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