07 August 2011

[OR_liff] Mark Odom Hatfield (b 1922, d 2011)

2644.It is noted in passing that one of the towering names in Oregon political history has at last fallen; Mark Hatfield, Oregon State Representative, State Senator, Secretary of State, Governor, and US Senator, has died in Bethesda Naval Hospital. This has very recently happened as of this writing.
Mark Hatfield was many amazing things. He was the last great Governor of Oregon before Tom McCall (who still hasn't had a Repubilcan of his calibre come to the fore). His name still holds the record for being the longest-serving US Senator from Oregon and, due to his seniority by the time of his retirement, the single most important Oregonian in national politics.

Most importantly to me, he represents a now-extinct beast - an Oregon Republican in the classic sense, one who didn't regard Democrats as an enemy to be defeated but rather a partner with whom to be worked with. Through Vic Atiyeh, the Oregon Republican was one who recognized that they might have a different idea of how to do things than an Oregon Democrat did, but, ultimately we had much more that bound us together as Oregonians than we had dividing us as opposing party members.

Such people would have been driven out of the party by the likes of the modern bunch.

The Oregon Republican party needs people like that today, but I doubt a latter-day Hatfield would find any purchase at today's Dorchester - a conference, ironically, Hatfield pioneered.
And, so it goes.

Correction: Hatfield didn't pioneer Dorchester … that was actually Bob Packwood. My mistake.

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