It doesn’t hurt, once in a while, to say something nice about someone, which is what I am doing now.
I’m sure many readers aren’t even aware that George LeMieux is one of Florida’s two U.S. Senators. The other guy--the one who sounds like Foghorn Leghorn at slow speed--is Bill Nelson.
The reason you don’t know George LeMieux is that, once in office, he kept his head down and worked hard. Not for his reelection, because he came to Washington with the understanding that he was only a bench-warmer. Nevertheless, he took his role seriously.
That’s right…when Mel Martinez resigned back in August of last year, it was up to Gov. Charlie Crist to appoint a replacement. Since his own eyes were on the prize, who better but his loyal lieutenant, Mr. LeMieux, who could be counted on not to catch Potomac Fever and try to stay on instead of vacating the space for Charlie?
But that was back when Charlie was a shoo-in. Charlie was also a right-of-center Republican then, so naturally his appointee was somewhat conservative.
Sen. LeMieux visited with our editorial board earlier this year, and while I didn’t agree with many of his political stands, he struck me as a thoughtful, reasonable man. More important, he was that rare conservative who appeared to have humility and heart.
He gave us proof of that just last week, when he and the also retiring George Voinovich of Ohio broke ranks with the Republican “Just Say No” caucus to help pass a bill that would give tax breaks to small businesses and grease the skids for bank loans.
The Republicans, of course, were for this bill until Barack Obama came out in favor of it. Then they opposed it. Unfortunately for them, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell couldn’t threaten LeMieux and Voinovich, because they each have one foot out the door.
So LeMieux voted for what he thought would be best for his country…not his party, not his own political ambitions.
What more could you ask for from a United States Senator?