by Max Brantley
Dale Bumpers was a governor of profound historical importance, the most eloquent defender of our constitution in the Senate, a man who put his considerable gifts of wisdom, wit, and passion to work for the common good.
For more than 40 years Hillary and I cherished his friendship. I am grateful that his advice made me a better governor and President, and that we laughed at each other’s jokes even when we’d heard them before. And I’m grateful that he welcomed Hillary to Arkansas and supported her in Washington.
As governor, he gave us the revenue system that made modernization possible, especially in education. As Senator he had the courage to vote against both the tax cuts and spending increases that exploded our national debt, increased inequality, and slowed growth. He championed efforts to protect the environment throughout his career. And first, last, and always he defended the constitution—its rights, responsibilities, and rules. Thanks to Dale Bumpers and David Pryor I never felt far from home.
I loved him. I loved learning from him and laughing with him. I will miss him very much. Our hearts go out to Betty, Brent, Bill, and Brooke, and all the Bumpers clan.