Long Forgotten, But Worth Remembering
Regular readers here know that I have a soft spot for the institution of the United States Senate. I find the history fascinating, the great debates echo down through our history and, since the earliest days of the Republic, the Senate has been populated with some of our great political leaders as well as some of the biggest scoundrels.
The modern Senate has its problems to say the least, including too much blind partisanship and what many scholars see as a growing lack of collegiality.
Still, the history of the Senate, masterfully displayed at the U.S. Senate website, helps us understand what the Senate means to our system and to the great concept of “separation of powers.” The fact that the institution works hard to attend to its own history, including a dedicated staff of historians, is a wonderful testament to the value of remembering and reflecting upon our past.
As my own little tribute to the long, colorful and important history of the “world’s great deliberative body,” I’m launching a new series of thirteen posts on some of the great and near-great United States Senators. Think of them as long forgotten politicians who deserve to be remembered. I’ll roll out this Baker’s Dozen once a week, sort of like a new fall TV series! I’ll start the series on Friday.
My criteria for inclusion is pretty simple: all of the thirteen are westerners, all are deceased and all were interesting, if not exactly great, members of the Senate.
First up, Sen. Bronson Cutting of New Mexico. Cutting, a Republican who served in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, was the publisher of the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper, a World War I veteran and a committed advocate of free speech. He also carried on a long and spirited correspondence with the poet Ezra Pound. Cutting easily passes the “interesting” test.
In following weeks, I’ll provide short profiles of Senators worth remembering from Montana, Idaho, Nevada, California, Wyoming, Washington, Colorado and Arizona.
I’ll leave it to you to decide how well my Baker’s Dozen compare to the current crop populating the most exclusive political club in the world, but any comparisons to the current members is, well, purely intentional!