3 observations (based on Times article):
1. For some reason, at this moment I'm struck by the ? that it takes to act one way in front of others. I mean, if you're an donkey-headed idiot, that's one thing, but maybe there's something to be learned there anyway.
He was also well known for holding up votes on treaties and appointments to win a point. His willingness to block the business of the Senate or the will of presidents earned him the sobriquet "Senator No" — a label he relished.
2. Are you fucking kidding me? "...the importance of direct mail" = technological change? No. No, seriously, I don't care. The answer is no.
For one thing, Mr. [David] Keene said, Mr. Helms was alert to technological change, especially the importance of direct mail, and readily signed fund-raising letters that helped conservative organizations get started.
3. Here's the intro to the article:
Jesse Helms, 86, Dies; Unyielding Conservative Icon
Jesse Helms, the former North Carolina senator with the courtly manner and mossy drawl who turned his hard-edged conservatism against civil rights, gay rights, foreign aid and modern art, died early Friday. He was 86.My initial reaction is, what the fuck? These are bad, stupid, or both (things against which to turn "his hard-edged conservatism"). The neutral treating of the whole thing grates. Ralla. Tu rallas, Senor Helms. Ha, how do you like them apples.
Second thought, the guy probably has some family, he obviously impressed enough people to get elected and re-elected many times. He died. People are sad. Let it be. (which of course isn't the same as writing a 3 page article in the NYT).
Final thought, what's wrong with the neutral tone? The reader can find in it what they want. They upfront state, in very nice terms, "Racist asshole dies". If you're into racist assholes, then you'll like this article. Maybe they don't rail against him because (a) it's supposed to be patently obvious that he is (was) a racist asshole, and (b) what's the point? he's dead and: see (a).
Anyhow. Not to steal Bitch PhD's thunder, but as it turns out, Jesse Helms was a racist asshole.
Update: Screw NYT. Wikipedia has some interesting little extra fact(oid)s: the items he so proudly held up were Democratic. NYT paints him as too maverick-ish. (Ok, so that one was probably a little obvious..) Also, turns out when you are an asshole (and racist to boot, which probably, shall we say, colors your bills) no one wants you to pass a bill in Congress. So, he didn't. Mostly he just caused trouble for others.