December 17, 2012

"What a liar" — famously muttered into an open mike.

It's the one thing I've always remembered about Daniel K. Inouye.

Dead now, at age 88.

Inouye was a World War II hero and Medal of Honor winner who lost an arm to a German hand grenade during a battle in Italy. He became the first Japanese-American to serve in Congress, when he was elected to the House in 1959, the year Hawaii became a state. He won election to the Senate three years later and served there longer than anyone in American history except Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who died in 2010 after 51 years in the Senate....

In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson urged Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who had won the Democratic nomination for president, to select Inouye as his running mate. Johnson told Humphrey that Inouye's World War II injuries would silence Humphrey's critics on the Vietnam War.

"He answers Vietnam with that empty sleeve. He answers your problems with (Republican presidential candidate Richard) Nixon with that empty sleeve," Johnson said.

But Inouye was not interested.

21 comments:

pm317 said...

Was he saying that about Obama?

Lem said...

I remember him from Iran Contra.

edutcher said...

A brave man in WWII, but DC turned him into a Democrat hack.

Larry J said...

I had issues with him from back in 1991. I was a program manager in the Air Force and we were directed to cut all our programs by 10%. Since it was 6 months into the fiscal year when we got the word, we had to cut them by 20% for the remainder of the year. Two of my programs were in Hawaii. Senator In-No-Way used political clout to protect a program that was going way over budget, so my other programs had to take deeper cuts (including one of them on Hawaii). I've despised him ever since. His actions protected pork and caused deeper cuts in programs of real value.

dreams said...

From the Watergate investigation I think, maybe a later hearing, Watergate was when I first became aware of him. I didn't like his politics but he was a decorated WWII hero who also lost his arm in the war.

pm317 said...

dreams, you're right. I heard that on the radio. But if I answered my own question, where is the punch line?

Gahrie said...

He was a decorated WW II vet..Which just goes to show you that no one is an unmitigated bastard......

tim maguire said...

His empty sleeve may have silenced his critics, but it was a busy empty sleeve--there was much to criticize.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Ahoy said...

I've never been to Washington except Dulles and that doesn't count.

Late last night I was using Google Earth to explore Washington DC streets. They look like a geodesic dome from above so I'd pick a long one and ran up and down it. For a few of them. Then all over over the place. All over Georgetown. It's like park hill dotted with embassies and the zoo, how apt, with Georgetown on the other side. It's like you're in the Google truck almost sometimes stuck behind the same car for a few blocks. It struck me as a colossally boring town. Every place I stopped to look was something arcane hooked up with government. Except the Masonic temple. Egregious Egyptian revival statues. You can see everyones' photo who pinned one. So I check each one, pin, pin, pin, pin, pin, and I'm all, will one of you dummkopfs please take a decent picture of this regrettable Egyptian revival statue? pin, pin, pin, finally one of them is decent and I resume sailing along the streets.

Due to the geodesic dome nature of the streets I was faced with a number of 'Y' decisions, I always chose left then wondered what would happen if I chose right, so I'd look, and it was inevitably more of the same, a lot like Denver capitol hill spread out flatly in all directions with very little of interest. I know there's a lot of interesting stuff in there, I just didn't see any from Google Earth truck, and the whole time I was thinking, eeech, glad I'm not here.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Nice tribute by Drew M. over at Ace's-- including the amazing but gruesome story of just how Inouye won his Medal of Honor. (Tangent to all the gun threads: he was one of the few people ever to pry a weapon from his own cold, dead hand.)

Chip S. said...

Was "What a liar!" said in criticism or admiration?

Having been said in the US Senate, it's not clear from context.

Petunia said...

The story of how he won the Medal of Honor is nothing short of incredible. Whatever his later politics were.

Lem said...

Rush used to call him... eh-no-way.

Adoringly I'm sure.

Cedarford said...

Paul Zrimsek said...
Nice tribute by Drew M. over at Ace's-- including the amazing but gruesome story of just how Inouye won his Medal of Honor
==================
He didn't win his MOH for actions in WWII . His actions, while heroic, along with other 442nd reservists that performed comparably to white reservist units, were enough to get him the DSC.
He actually won his MOH 55 years later, because he was 2nd to Harry Byrd as Senior Democrat on Senate Appropriations and his hectoring lead to Bill Clinton showing up with a wheelbarrow of medals of honor for 20 44nd reservists - making them the "most decorated" 55 years after the fact thanks to Inouye's pursestrings and PC.

It was so bad that the military clamped down so no President could arbitrarily pull a similar stunt to Clinton's in the future and they also tightened eligibility and evidence requirements for MOH criterion.
Which is thought to have made it harder than it should have been for Bush to award MOHs in Iraq and Afghanistan unless the soldier actually died doing heroism beyond all measure including 90% of past MOHs awareded to the living or dead...or flopped on a grenade.

Portia said...

Hey, I thought he was still in the Senate....oh oh, he was!

Hey, he's a dem, don't they usually keep active in politics even though dead. Tradition, you know.

Seriously I remember him from the Watergate commission hearings. He did not say much, but he seemed a likeable enough person.

wyo sis said...

Politics seems to have a universally corrupting influence.
It's really sad. The constitution was designed to prevent it, but it happened anyway.

Mutaman said...

Note to the genius commentators here: You don't "win " the Medal of Honor, you are "awarded " it.

Alan said...

Did he vote to fund the FDR memorial?

KenK said...

The whole WWII generation is about all gone now.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

An admirable war record aside, NOBODY should serve more than two terms at any level of government (city, county, state, national).

I vote Chip as winner of the thread.
Chip S. said...
Was "What a liar!" said in criticism or admiration?
Having been said in the US Senate, it's not clear from context.