Wednesday, January 02, 2008

'Senator No' back on the air, in the news

Jesse Helms won’t be on the ballot this spring, but he’ll be in the news and on the air again.

The former U.S. Senator from Raleigh – who reinvented political fund-raising and wedge-issue politics in the 1970s and 80s and helped bring about the Reagan revolution – lives in a nursing home in Raleigh.

But he’ll be featured in an upcoming UNC-TV documentary airing Jan. 15. And he’ll be featured in a new biography by former UNC Greensboro historian Bill Link this spring.

The UNC-TV documentary, produced by filmmaker John Wilson, is entitled “Senator No: Jesse Helms.” A press release from the public television station quotes University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato as observing, “Whether you like him or dislike him, he was at the heart of the conservative movement that changed America from the 1970s to today.”

Sen. Helms was an increasingly influential member of the U.S. Senate for 30 years, winning his first election in 1972 and four subsequent reelections. He served in the Senate longer than any other N.C. senator and, I think, would have won another term if he had run again in 2002, though in recent years he has suffered from vascular dementia.

The documentary will air at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15 on UNC-TV. For more information on the program, click here.

On Feb. 5, Link’s biography of Helms will be published. It’s called “Righteous Warrior: Jesse Helms and the Rise of Modern Conservatism.” If it’s anywhere near as good as Link’s 1995 biography of former UNC President Bill Friday (“William Friday: Power, Purpose and American Higher Education”), it will be thorough, insightful, detailed and informative.
It will be published by St. Martin’s Press. At 656 pages, it will retail for $39.95.

Link, by the way, is Richard J. Milbauer Professor of History at the University of Florida.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Former Senator was born in Monroe, NC and has strong ties to the Union County area. Why would you say he was from Raleigh?

Katy said...

I guess he says he's "from" Raleigh b/c he's lived here so long. But you are correct. That is probably one of the first things the filmmaker will get wrong. Helms was there in the beginning, when traditional values were first threatened. There had never been any need for a conservative movement before the 1950s.

Helms cut his teeth in the Smith-Graham 1950 Senate Primary which pitted a conservative Dem (Willis Smith) against a Chapel Hill liberal (Frank Porter-Graham).

I hope the film makers don't do a cut up job on ole' Senator "No". He was right and he was wrong on many issues, but he was who he was and is a hero to me.

Since this is on PBS, I'm not holding my breath to see if this will be presented fairly or not!

Thanks,
Katy
http://www.katysconservativecorner.typepad.com

Jack Betts said...

Anonymous wonders why the blog says Helms was from Raleigh. Of course Sen. Helms was born and reared in Monroe, but he moved to the Raleigh area as a young man, worked in Raleigh, served on the Raleigh city council, became a Raleigh TV station commentator, bought a house in Raleigh, went to church in Raleigh, paid taxes in Raleigh, and ran for and won the U.S. Senate seat from his base in Raleigh. He remains a Raleigh resident.

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