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Dale Bumpers


"[Lying about sex while under oath was] not a breach of the public
trust, not a crime against society," Senator Dale Bumpers said during Bill Clinton's impeachment process. "There is a very big difference in perjury about a marital infidelity in a divorce case and perjury about whether I bought the murder weapon or whether I concealed the murder weapon or not. And to charge somebody with the first and punish them as though it were the second stands justice, our sense of justice, on its head. There's a total lack of proportionality, a total lack of balance, in this thing. The charge and the punishment are totally out of sync."

These words have been called some
of the best legal arguments ever heard in the Senate. Even though the Democrats had a strong Senate majority, some were wavering due to political pressure. Bumpers's words worked.

Dale Bumpers was born in Charleston, Arkansas, on August 12,
1925, to William Rufus Bumpers and Lattie Jones. He grew up with politics in the home; before he was ten, his father was serving in the Arkansas House of Representatives.

When he ran a gubernatorial race in 1970, it was against famous names like Faubus and Rockefeller.
His popularity, much of it due to his down-home wit, allowed him to think bigger. In 1974, he beat Senator Fulbright in a primary and overwhelmed a Republican named Jones.

One measure of his character was his
total confidence. While running for the Senate, he spent more time campaigning for Bill Clinton's race for the House than for himself. He won. Clinton lost that one.

His four terms as a Senator were modest, as he himself admitted later. He battled against increasing military budgets and the International Space Station—he once said that Ronald Reagan "didn't want to spend money on anything that didn't explode"—but he felt his biggest legacy to be his
votes against right-wing constitutional amendments.

He married Betty Flanagan in 1949. At the time of his death on January 3, 2016, he was survived by his wife and three alliteratively named children (Brett, Bill, and Brooke).


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