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Warren Rudman: Blunt, Egotistical, Unflappable and Tenacious"

By       Message Kurt F. Stone     Permalink
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Toward the end of his second term, Rudman, as ranking Republican on the Select Committee on Ethics, co"'chaired hearings on the so"'called Keating Five. As noted above, the hearings dealt with five Senators [Republican McCain of Arizona and Democrats Cranston of California, Glenn of Ohio, DeConcini of Arizona, and Riegel of Michigan] charged with conflict of interest stemming from their dealings with failed savings and loan executive Charles Keating.

Standing in judgment over one's colleagues is one of the least desirable jobs in Washington -- one which Rudman looked upon with great reservations. Nonetheless, he urged that the panel not " rush to judgment." Senators McCain and Glenn were quickly cleared of all charges. DeConcini and Riegel received slaps on the wrist and then retired from the Senate. Cranston, who already had announced his retirement and was suffering from prostate cancer, was given the heaviest reprimand.

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Warren Rudman was also instrumental in helping to facilitate the confirmation of his old friend David Souter for a seat on the United States Supreme Court. Souter [1939-], "that quintessential, taciturn New Hampshire Yankee," was characterized by the press as an "oddball," a "hermit," and "dangerously out of touch with the lives of ordinary people." It was even hinted that Souter, a lifelong bachelor, was gay. Rudman personally escorted Souter from Senate office to Senate office, and then helped prepare his friend for the confirmation hearings. What at first looked like a feeding frenzy turned out to be a facile procedure; Souter was confirmed by a vote of 90 to 9.

Warren Rudman left the Senate after two terms. Desirous of returning to the practice of law where he could once again make a good living, Rudman had become disenchanted with the direction of the "new" Republican Party. "I could see the Republican Party gradually being taken over by "movement' conservatives and self"'commissioned Christian soldiers whose social agenda I found repugnant . . . . The spirit of civility and compromise was drying up."

As a lame duck Senator, Rudman was supposed to be a delegate to the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston. Reviewing the convention's agenda -- "Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan and all the rest" -- Rudman decided instead to go on a fact"'finding mission to Croatia. "I thought that with my views I might be safer in Zagreb than in Houston."

Upon leaving the Senate, Warren Rudman returned to the practice of law with the Washington office of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, and, in tandem with former Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas [1941-1997] and former Commerce Secretary Pete Peterson [1926- ], founded the Concord Coalition. The Coalition "works for a balanced budget by organizing informed citizens to bring grassroots pressure on political leaders." Rudman also served as Chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board [1997-2001], and sits on the boards of such corporations as Raytheon, Allied Waste Industries, and Boston Scientific. In both 2000 and 2008, Rudman has been one of presidential candidate John McCain's most prominent advisors.

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In the last few years of his life Rudman divided his time between Washington and Hollis, New Hampshire, a suburb of both Nashua and Boston. In February 2004, son Alan was found dead in his home in Bridgton, Maine. The younger Rudman, 47 at the time of his death, had played varsity football at Dartmouth College, from which he graduated in 1979. Four years later he received his juris doctor from Boston College. Daughter Laura [Robie] lives in Amherst, Massachusetts; her sister Debra [Gilmore] resides in Wayland, Massachusetts.

Summing up his political career, Rudman wrote, "I was a senator first, serving the country's interests as I saw it, and Jewish second. The irony was that most people outside Washington didn't know I was Jewish."

-2010, 2012, Kurt F. Stone

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Kurt Stone is a rabbi, writer, lecturer, political activist, professor, actor, and medical ethicist. A true "Hollywood brat" (born and raised in the film industry), Kurt was educated at the University of California, the Eagleton Institute of (more...)

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