Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 8, 2008 / 5 Tamuz 5768

How Jesse Helms Made a Difference

By John H. Fund


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If Ronald Reagan was the sunny and optimistic face of modern conservatism, the uncompromisingly defiant exemplar of it was Jesse Helms, who died July 4th at age 86.


While Reagan has undergone a revisionist makeover by many historians who now recognize his accomplishments, Helms is still the conservative liberals most love to hate. But while they still disdain his views, many liberal groups are now using their own forms of the rhetorical and campaign techniques that Helms honed to perfection.


Jesse Helms was an influential television commentator in North Carolina when he decided to leave the Democratic Party, winning a U.S. Senate seat as a Republican in 1972. He went on to win four more terms, with a reputation as the Senate's most principled warrior on behalf of social conservatism, anti-Communism, limits on union power, and an assertive foreign policy that rejected State Department caution. Like Reagan, many of his views appear to have been validated. Others, such as his blind spot on racial issues and mean-spirited comments against gays were troublesome, but even the stubborn Helms made moves to modify his image in those areas late in life.


Two events early in his Senate career showcased Helms's unflinching nature and his political skills. In 1975, he engineered a visit to the U.S. by Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn over the objections of the State Department, which forbade its own employees from attending a major Solzhenitsyn speech in Washington. State also blocked a proposed visit to the White House, leading Helms to accuse President Gerald Ford of "cowering timidly for fear of offending Communists."


That incident helped spur Reagan to challenge Ford for the GOP nomination the next year. Reagan lost the first five primaries, and he entered the North Carolina contest broke and under pressure to pull out. But Helms and his chief strategist Tom Ellis refused to give up. They employed Helms's huge, direct-mail list to build a grass-roots army of volunteers and raise money to air 30-minute speeches by Reagan across the state.


Emphasizing the Panama Canal "giveaway" and smaller government, Reagan won an upset victory and was able to battle Ford all the way to the GOP convention. He showed such strength at the convention that Ford invited him to deliver off-the-cuff remarks to the delegates. Reagan was so inspiring that some of Ford's own delegates exclaimed, "We just nominated the wrong candidate." Reagan later acknowledged how Helms's intervention rescued his political career.


But that level of success eluded Helms in a Senate where he was almost always outvoted. Rather than seek compromise, he staked out firm positions that attracted publicity for his causes. He was often able to block appointments he considered too liberal and was the first to highlight United Nations corruption, an issue on which he was clearly ahead of his time.


He also stumbled. His anticommunist fervor led him to back authoritarian regimes in Chile and Argentina far more than he should have. His 1983 opposition to a Martin Luther King holiday — he railed against King's associations with communists — was myopic and a throwback to a discredited past.


The issue of race will always cast a shadow on Helms's legacy. He could never understand why he was viewed by many as a bigot, having run one of the most integrated TV stations in the South and often hiring blacks on his staff. His criticisms of affirmative action and forced busing were on the mark. But as conservative scholar John Hood notes, "he failed to marry every criticism of government overreaching with calls for the South's social and moral transformation and clear denunciations of racist business owners."


Indeed, the mainstream media rarely put Helms's career in context the way they did, for example, with Sam Ervin, a Democrat who served with Helms in the Senate from North Carolina before retiring in 1975. Ervin was the leading legal strategist against Civil Rights legislation, and he largely crafted the Southern Manifesto against Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court case that ruled school segregation unconstitutional. But Ervin was the man who chaired the Watergate hearings that helped bring down Richard Nixon, and his views on civil rights were almost never mentioned. Both Helms and Ervin were courtly, principled conservatives. Only one became a cartoon media villain.


Contrary to his reputation, Helms did change his mind. For his first decade in office he opposed aid to Israel and in 1982, after that nation invaded Lebanon, called for "shutting down" relations. But after learning more about Israel's security fears during a visit there in 1985, and receiving assurances that officials there could support some military sales to moderate Arab nations, he became Israel's stalwart ally. "It was a complete switch," recalls Morris Amitay, former executive director of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby.


Helms also softened on both AIDS and Africa. He developed an unlikely friendship with the rock star Bono, who convinced Helms to back AIDS funding and alleviate poverty in Africa by channeling more foreign aid through private sources.


But that kind of détente was rare. Most liberals delighted in baiting Helms and he reciprocated: He crowed about how disappointed CBS anchor Dan Rather looked in announcing his upset victory on election night in 1990. But liberals did pay attention to Helms, and gradually adopted some of his methods.


It was Helms who first sent his own foreign policy advisers overseas to second-guess the executive branch's foreign policy. Many liberals have no qualms in doing the same today. One liberal consultant told me he learned from Helms's ability to distill complicated ideas to a level that connected with ordinary people. His mastery of new media techniques and technology convinced many liberals they had to invest in the Internet and build up the passions of their base.


Jesse Helms was a major influence on American conservatism, but his career provides a blueprint for anyone who represents an embattled minority viewpoint. You can, with persistence and unflinching determination, change the political odds in your favor.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor John H. Fund is author, most recently, of "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

Comment on this column by clicking here.

ARCHIVES

© 2006, John H. Fund

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles