The Life and Passing of Don Rumsfeld
This week, America lost a patriot … and I lost a friend. Don Rumsfeld arguably has the most impressive political resume of any political figure who was not a President of the United States. He was also a personal friend at many levels.
I first met Don Rumsfeld when he was sent to Congress by the people of the 10th Congressional District of Illinois – a diverse District that included the poorest minority communities in Evanston to the then wealthiest community in America – Kenilworth.
I worked for Rumsfeld when he headed the Office of Equal Opportunity in the Nixon administration.
After serving as a Navy aviator and as a member of Congress he became White House Chief of Staff for President Ford, who later appointed Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense. George W. Bush appointed him to that post again. In those two assignments, Rumsfeld has the distinction of being the youngest and second oldest person ever appointed to the office.
Don Rumsfeld oversaw one of the most successful military operations of modern times – the one-month war that toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Despite the quick success in bringing down the Hussein regime, civil conflicts continued for several years. What Rumsfeld won, America’s State Department and later Presidents lost. This resulted in the rise of ISIS and the loss in Syria and Afghanistan.
In between Government assignments, Don Rumsfeld was a successful corporate leader and a philanthropist.
Over the course of more than 50 years, I came to know Rumsfeld well – in many capacities. I worked with him when he was the chief fundraiser for one of my clients – The American School of Music. He was an active member of several civic organizations in which I was involved as clients or as a board member. He was a contributor to several of my causes – political and charitable.
Don’s wife was even a customer of an antique shop I once owned in southwest Michigan – where the Rumsfeld’s had a vacation home. Yes, I did operate an antique shop for several years. But that is another story.
I would not be exaggerating to say that Don Rumsfeld has one of the sharpest minds I have every known. Every visit with him was both educational and enjoyable. Few could explain situations with such clarity and conviction – and with such personal charm.
Despite the unfair criticism hurled at him from the left, Rumsfeld rarely got angry. He never retaliated to hate with hate.
Don Rumsfeld was a witty guy. When asked about term limits on members of Congress, he called it “a bad Idea that’s time has come.” When a French student berated America for war crimes in World War II, Rumsfeld inquired, “Do you speak German?” When the young man replied, “No,” Rumsfeld retorted, “You’re welcome.”
I do believe that it was his effectiveness that drew the ire of the left. They never really knew Rumsfeld. They only knew they hated him. It became a soul-shattering hatred that knew no bounds of honesty and decency.
That hatred was in full view on MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show.” We first must understand that Maddow is among the most vicious and dishonest left-wing propagandists on television. Her talent is to create and broadcast the most mendacious narratives imaginable to sell her radical theology.
Maddow opened her show with a bizarre interpretation of Don Rumsfeld having purchased the Covey House where fellow Republican patriot Frederick Douglass was tortured in his slave days – intimating Rumsfeld was defiling the Douglass memory. The house was never the Rumsfeld’s residence but was purchased to preserve it as an important part of both Douglass’ and America’s history.
If condescending smugness and arrogance converted into dollars, Maddow would be among the wealthiest people in America. And with a net worth of $30 million, her corrupt commentaries are getting her there.
As bad as Maddow is on a regular basis, her program following the death of Don Rumsfeld was a new low in decency and honesty. Maddow used most of her hour to trash Rumsfeld as evil incarnate. She interviewed Ron Suskind — who wrote three books critical of Rumsfeld – to pile on.
It was without doubt the most one-sided, dishonest and vicious obituaries I have ever encountered. Maddow could not have been more hateful if she was reporting on the life of Adolph Hitler. But Rumsfeld was far from the malignant and maniacal character described by Maddow.
What made the entire show even more repulsive was the fact that it was obviously a pre-planned hit job.
The array of out-of-context video clips and quotes – including the 18-minute segment on the Covey House — suggested there was an extensively pre-planned research effort to smear Rumsfeld when he died – which was anticipated for months.
Maddow’s mission was not to reflect on Rumsfeld’s life, but rather to assassinate his character posthumously. Why? Solely because he was not of her political ilk. In the world of the left, anything which does not comport with their narratives must not be allowed to survive – including a good man’s reputation.
Don Rumsfeld spent a lifetime in service to his country. He was a patriot when patriotism became unfashionable. He was a wonderful human being.
If there is a heaven, I feel sure Don is there today. And he has NO chance of ever running into Maddow any time in the future.
So, there ‘tis.