Jesse Helms dies

Jesse Helms, the Republican US senator for North Carolina has died. Now this may seem an unsual story for BUCF to comment on as he was not a particularly well known politician to us Brit’s, however through friends of the family who live in Georgia USA, I have had the pleasure to meet Mr Helms and I knew him to be a deeply conservative and deeply patriotic man. He was a passionate defender of the rights of the individual, a true conservative and a staunch opponent to what he termed the ‘freight train of liberalism’ that threatended to ‘mow us down’. Whilst I do not agree with everything he stood for I acknowledge the true grit and conviction of this great man.

If it were not for the actions of Jesse Helms the world may never have been graced with Ronald Reagan as President and the world today could have been a very different, much worse, place. As Nancy Reagan herself acknowledged many years ago, had Helms not put his considerable political weight and organization behind Reagan so that he was able to win North Carolina in the battle for the 1976 Republican nomination, there may have never been a Reagan presidency in 1980. For that alone we owe him an enormous debt. He was a man who said what he meant and meant what he said. For a true US patriot I am proud, as I know he would be, that he met his end on July 4th. Independence day. A true testiment to a truly great man. My favourite quote of his is as follows:

“Compromise?! hell! … If freedom is right and tyranny is wrong, why should those who believe in freedom treat it as if it were a roll of bologna to be bartered a slice at a time?”

Never a truer word spoken. Rest in peace Mr Helms.


5 thoughts on “Jesse Helms dies

  1. Of course he did. I hope you don’t think I meant the actual presidential election, I am talking abut Reagan’s nomination battle in 1976. Helms supported Reagan in 1976 in a presidential primary challenge to the sitting President (Ford). Reagan’s candidacy was near collapse when it came time for the North Carolina primary. Helms was in charge of the effort, and Reagan won a startling upset that resurrected his challenge. The rest as they say is history.

    Had Reagan lost North Carolina, despite his public pronouncements, his revolutionary challenge to Ford, along with his political career, would have ended unceremoniously. He would have made a gracious exit speech, cut a deal with the Ford forces to eliminate his campaign debt, made a minor speech at the Kansas City Convention later that year, and returned to his ranch in Santa Barbara. He would probably have only reemerged to make speeches and cut radio commercials to supplement his income. Reagan would have faded into political oblivion. His close second place and strong challenge that really began with North Carolina and Jess meant Reagan was never going to fade in to insignificance.

  2. I fail to see that? In 1976 he was regarded as weak and unlikely to win the nomination (which he didnt) but his strong and unexpected second place showing meant he was able to come back in 1980 and win the nomination and the presidency…. and then go on to win th presidency again in 1984. Even reagan, the man who would know, acknowledged the role Helms played in his political career. We can only speculate. Helms and Reagan actually knew.

  3. Reagen was hardly going to say “oh Helms, what a prat” on the event of his death. His ’76 bid helped in some ways but challenging an incumbent president got him a lot of enemies.

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