As a matter of fact, we knew Bob Dole!


We met him on one occasion: On March 19, 1999, Annie Groer and Ann Gerhart announced the passing of a pet schnauzer in the Washington Post.

At the time, Groer and Gerhart wrote the Post's Reliable Source column. The name of the schnauzer in question was Leader. For fifteen years, he had belonged to Bob and Elizabeth Dole:

GROER AND GERHART (3/19/99): It looks like Leader Dole won't be going on a book tour. His memoirs will be posthumous.

But the schnauzer that Elizabeth Dole rescued from the D.C. Humane Society as a gift for hubby Bob 15 years ago did manage to finish "Follow the Leader: A Dog's Eye View of Washington, D.C." before departing this Earth earlier this month. He was 17; that's 119 in dog years.

In the best tradition of political animals (who among us can forget "Millie's Book" by George and Bar Bush's springer spaniel, or "Dear Socks, Dear Buddy" by Hillary R. Clinton), proceeds from Leader's yet-unpublished book will go to charity. The heaviest literary lifting was done by Mary Vincent, Leader's nanny and the Doles' next-door neighbor at the Watergate.

We wondered whether the Doles might soon replace him, or at least share a few kind words about Leader, who, after all, had his own high profile. He was Mr. September 1998 in the Ralston Purina calendar and the 1995 chairdog of the Bark Ball. Leader also sired eight pups with Chelsea Marie, the schnauzer owned by Sen. Strom Thurmond, reports The Post's Janelle Erlichman.

The report continued from there. Groer and Gerhart didn't hear back from Dole and Dole. But Mary Vincent, Leader's biographer, told the pair that Leader "lived well right up until the end."

When Vincent's book appeared, the Doles held a small book party to celebrate the occasion. In a manner we don't recall—we'll guess The Hotline was involved—we contracted to offer humorous remarks upon the occasion.

It was at that party that we met Bob Dole, who, by that time in his life, should have been called "Bob Droll."

By that time, everyone knew that Dole had a droll sense of humor. It's one of the reasons why, by the end of his lengthy career, he was well liked by Washington journalists.

After the book event that day, the Doles stood around chatting with guests and onlookers. Our own guest—someone a bit more reflexively partisan, at that time, than we were or are today—was astonished to discover the fact that she liked Bob Dole. 

A lot!

On that day, it was very easy to see why everyone liked Bob Dole.  Early in his lengthy career, he'd been considered an excessively partisan "hatchet man." That reputation had long since disappeared.

We don't recall exactly when that book event occurred. That said, Dole's sense of humor played an unfortunate role in the 2000 campaign, which was underway by that time.

During the 1996 campaign, Vice President Gore had gotten tangled up in the "Buddhist temple" incident. Dole had come up with a very good joke about one aspect of the affair.

On the down side, his joke was based on a premise which was factually false. Beyond that, Gore had nothing to do with the fairly modest "money laundering" which apparently occurred in connection with the event.

Candidate Gore had done nothing wrong. Dole's joke had been based on a false premise.

That said, the joke was actually funny—most jokes aren't—and, starting in March 1999, the press corps was waging a war against Candidate Gore. For those reasons, the joke was repeated, again and again, all through Campaign 2000.

Dole had come up with a funny, droll joke. The children took over from there.


  1. Bob Dole was a piece of shit Republican. The corporate-owned mainstream media (AKA the media) can shine the turd all they want, but it won't change that fact.

  2. "Candidate Gore had done nothing wrong."

    How so, dear Bob? You know, denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

  3. Bob Dole is burning in hell, if there is one.

  4. "Beyond that, Gore had nothing to do with the fairly modest "money laundering" which apparently occurred in connection with the event."

    1. How do we know what Gore knew about the money laundering?

    2. Why shouldn't the press repeat a good joke?

    3. Suppressing a joke just because it embarrasses Gore would be biased and partisan and the press isn't supposed to be either.

    4. Somerby overworks his own joke about the similarity in sound between the word droll and Dole's name. It is not particularly clever the first time and gets worse with repetition.

    5. Somerby's tendency to name-drop is tiresome.

    6. This all happened back in the days when politics was not a blood sport, when you could oppose someone politically without hating them on a personal level. Those days are gone.

    7. Being a war hero doesn't make Dole less of a Republican.

    1. “ This all happened back in the days when politics was not a blood sport, when you could oppose someone politically without hating them on a personal level. Those days are gone.”

      That’s not true.

    2. "That's not true."

      Look how Liz Cheney is being treated by other Republicans, then tell me that again.

    3. Cheney isn’t someone’s neighbor. She a politician representing a party. You can contrast her stance with Susan Collins.

    4. Why don't you go talk to Ruby Freeman, Cecelia? Would you say she is someone's neighbor? Oh, never mind, you won't be able to find her since she had to change her identity and move because the leader of your fucking party put a target on her back.

    5. That’s terrible, Anonymouse 8:35pm, but are you really suggesting that this a pattern with poll workers?

      You had the DoJ exonerated police officer who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, excoriated to the point of CNN news personalities holding up their hands and saying “Stop. Don’t shoot” on air.

      Most people don’t act like this. Stop pretending otherwise.

    6. Yes, they are resigning across the country because of fear of Republican harassment. Also public officials. Republicans act like this more and more, encouraged by Republican leaders and politicians. CNN news personalities holding their hands up and saying "don't shoot" on air, is far from receiving death threats and having people stalk you at your residence because Republicans put your address on the internet.

    7. Anonymouse 10:59pm, CNN personalities going on the air and outright saying that a police officer shot aa young man while he begged for his life is far more damaging than your claim that everyday joes are regularly battling it out in their private lives.

      Everyday joes have to fight national and local newspapers that publish the names and addresses of local people with gun permits.

      I’m sorry to disappoint you, but most individuals aren’t threatening their political contrarians on the street.

      If you want to find the people who do try provoke civil war, look no further than our political and oligarchical overlords and certainly look to the media.

    8. What's "terrible", Cecelia? Explain? Is it terrible that the leader of your demented party put a target on her back? Is it terrible that the monster incited an attempted coup, aided and abetted by Fox NOOZ, RW hate radio, right wing white supremacist websites, the entire trump team? Or is it terrible that millions of our fellow citizens and neighbors voted for that fucking monster and will do it again in a heartbeat?

    9. IAnonymous 6:40am “her back”? Hillary Clinton put a four year long onus on Trump that Mueller with the blessing of all the gods under the sun couldn’t justify.

      That there’s a lot of people who may again do Trump “in a heart beat” is a matter for which you can thank Hillary, Perkins Coie, Fusion GPS, Jim Comey, and John Brennen.

      Take a bow, anonymouse 6:40am. You owe it all to you.

    10. Really weak, Cecelia. The party of personal responsibility has spoken. What's your poor victim got planned for an encore, Cecelia? I hear something about 4000 shock troops being prepared.

    11. We can all hope it’s not anything similar to this.

    12. What was so "terrible" about what was done to Ruby, Cecelia? Your word. For extra credit, tell us who caused it to happen.

    13. Everyone already knows each and every Republican voter is a bigot.
      The media is trying to sell advertising by pretending that's a controversial take.

    14. Cecelia,
      The people who vote for Trump don't care about any of those names. The care about bigotry and white grievance.
      That's all it's ever been about.

  5. One of the Proud Boys attempted to claim self-defense but a jury found him guilty of assault:

  6. Epistemology -- the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion.

    Odd that Somerby, a Harvard philosophy major who frequently discusses Aristotle, Plato, Russell, Godel and don't forget Wittgenstein, has never mentioned this word in his ramblings. Epistemology is at the heart of the dispute between conservatives and liberals, our tribe and theirs. The big lie and true believers versus evidence-supported opinions justified by facts.

    How is it that philosophy-addict Somerby has never tried to provide any guidelines about how to tell fact from fiction, lies and propaganda? How is it that the extent of his advice is to watch Fox News? Did he really spend four years at our nation's top university, studying philosophy, only to leave us with no way to tell information from disinformation?

    I think Somerby is a fraud. I think he has no desire to teach anyone here how to tell fact from fiction, but only wishes to recruit Trump supporters, exonerate the guilty, confuse liberals and obscure truth about things like covid statistics, race relations, and education best practices. In short, he is here as a propagandist, not a truthseeker.

    If he were not here spreading disinformation, his approach to discussing the informational divide would be markedly different than it is.

  7. You just read a Somerby blog complaint about the media taking up the side of Republican Bob Dole against Democrat Al Gore and you’re defining “ Epistemology”.

    We all know you guys write this crap in advance and therefore invariably argue in contrast to what is actually written in TDH blogs. Can’t you go back and tailor it a mite before you hit “publish”?

    1. No, Somerby complained that Dole made a joke that was unfair to Gore and the media repeated it. That doesn't mean that Dole and Gore were at odds -- just that the joke was funny enough for the media to embrace. Gore is stuffy and wouldn't know how to roll with such a joke, laugh along with people to defuse it.

      I don't know what you're talking about otherwise. None of us know what Somerby is going to post before he posts it.

      And you don't seem to understand that definition of epistemology at all.

    2. When you are out of your depth Cecelia, it is best to keep your mouth shut.

    3. Anonymouse 10:56pm, only an anonymouse could chide Somerby for never using the word that means “the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion” and then simultaneously chide him for not appreciating what you call an “unfair” joke/meme made by a Republican against a Democrat and widely disseminated by the media.

      That you write this nonsense in advance of the blog you post it under is obvious. That you’re not worth the money your handlers pay you is more than obvious.

    4. It is pathetic that standing around while Bob Dole makes a joke at a book party makes Somerby think he knew Bob Dole.

      And no one here is writing their comments ahead of Somerby's essays. That is paranoid nonsense. And accusing any of us of having handlers is just another conservative smear tactic to avoid dealing with the content of the many complaints against Somerby.

      But you are illustrating how conservatives function, what they do in place of having thoughts and ideas.

    5. Anonymouse 9:54am, you are so clueless that you have no idea how much credibility that obvious observation lends to you.


  8. What about his last joke: that when he's gone, he, like other dead, will still be able to vote in Chicago?

    It ain't bad, dear Bob, nicht wahr?

  9. Bob Dole's net worth was estimated at around $50 million.

    1. The median (half are above and half are below this) net worth for someone over 75 is $254,800 , the average is $977,600.