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Mark Hatfield, RIP

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Mark Hatfield has died at the age of 89.

Remember when the Republican Party wasn’t completely crazy? I know, it seems like a mythical past to me too, one replete with unicorns and minotaurs. But it was a real time. I even remember it. It was populated by people like Mark Hatfield, a man with whom I disagreed on many things, but who made up his own mind on issues and would reject party orthodoxy when he thought it was wrong.

Hatfield was Oregon politics when I was younger and even though I was a liberal from the first time I thought about politics, he was someone everybody respected. He’s most famous for his opposition to the Vietnam War, but he also pushed for the light rail system that has transformed Portland, was a friend to higher education, and opposed the Gulf War . Hatfield came out strongly against Richard Nixon during Watergate, even though he was on the short list for Nixon’s VP in 1968.

A remarkable career and probably the most prominent politician to ever come out of Oregon.

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