Tuesday, May 23, 2006

R.I.P., Lloyd Bentsen

Best-known for a quip: "I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

All of which is true. It's also true that Jack Kennedy was no Jack Kennedy.

Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, describing the Kennedy brothers taking over Washington, said, "It's rather like watching the Borgia brothers take over a respectable North Italian city."

But I love a myth as well as the next American, and America needs her hearth gods and Lars and Penates, so let it pass, let it pass.

Bentsen himself might have made a better Kennedy. According to the NYT obit:

Throughout his career, Bentsen was helped by the fact that he looked and comported himself like Hollywood's version of a successful politician. He was tall and thin with handsome features, a deep, soothing voice, elegant clothes and such legendary self-control that those who served with him in Congress and the Clinton Cabinet cannot recall a single instance in which he let his emotions get the better of him.

... After earning a law degree from the University of Texas, young Lloyd Bentsen enlisted in the Army as a private in 1942 and became a commissioned officer in the Army Air Forces. Before being sent to Europe in 1943, he married Beryl Ann Longino, known as B.A., a fashion model who had been a college classmate.
During World War II, Bentsen, a B-24 pilot, was shot down twice and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and other decorations.

Good man gone.