Richard Baker: Things have been worse in the U.S. Senate

tags: U.S. Senate




MICHIGAN CITY — Richard A. Baker, who served as U.S. Senate historian for 34 years, gave those attending the Sinai Forum lecture series Sunday night an inside view of how the nation’s “upper house” operates, and the national and world forces that changed its direction over the decades.

Speaking at Elston Middle School, Baker gave the audience some perspective on how the U.S. Senate has evolved, through recollections of some its most strong personalities and leaders. He described his job as historian as the “collector and keeper of the Senate’s memories,” and acknowledged that those memories have reflected well, and sometimes not so well, on our country’s image.

Leading into his presentation, Baker began his recollections by asking the audience to think about the characteristics of an outstanding senator. He started out with a detailed explanation of the 1955 effort by then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson who, in the wake of the McCarthy censure, attempted to repair the Senate’s reputation for forming a committee (which included Sen. John F. Kennedy) to select the five most outstanding senators, whose portraits would hang at the entrance to the Senate chambers to remind those entering of what was required of them....



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