web analytics
December 27, 2014 / 5 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Robert Strauss, Democratic Kingmaker and Ambassador, Dies At 95

By:
Robert Strauss, former adviser to Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, dies at the age of 95.

Robert Strauss, former adviser to Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, dies at the age of 95.

Robert Strauss, the son of small-town Texas shopkeepers who became an adviser to presidents of both parties, died Wednesday at the age of 95.

He helped found in 1945 Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, the energy law firm that pioneered powerhouse lobbying after its 1971 move to Washington.

Strauss, whose parents ran a general store in a small town in Texas, forged his first important political ties at the University of Texas working on the congressional campaign of Lyndon Johnson and the student body campaign of John Connally, who later became governor.

Connally’s sponsorship decades later led to Strauss becoming chairman of the Democratic National Committee after the party’s presidential candidate, George McGovern, suffered a crushing defeat in 1972.

Strauss led the rebuilding of the party and started advocating on behalf of the little-known governor of Georgia as a possible candidate — a bet that paid off in 1976 with Jimmy Carter’s election as president.

Carter made Strauss a trade envoy and later named him a special ambassador so he could help negotiate the emerging Egypt-Israel peace agreement. Strauss was among Carter’s advisers who successfully counseled the president to resist bringing the Palestine Liberation Organization into the process until it recognized Israel.

Strauss also endeavored to smooth relations between the Jewish and black communities after Carter fired Andrew Young, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, for meeting with PLO officials.

Strauss, like so many top Jewish officials before and after him, was his administration’s unofficial liaison to the Jewish community — a role he did not appear to always relish, storming out of one particularly testy meeting with Jewish leaders over Carter’s peace process policies in 1980.

After Carter’s inauguration in 1977 and his naming Strauss as a trade envoy, JTA asked Strauss whether Carter would preserve Jackson-Vanik, the legislation linking human rights performance to trade status that was considered critical to liberalizing exits for Jews from the Soviet Union.

The Nixon and Ford administrations had fiercely resisted the legislation — Henry Kissinger, the Jewish secretary of state, was especially contemptuous of it — but Carter would go on to embrace it, one of the rare high points in his relationship with the Jewish community.

However, Strauss was noncommittal and felt it necessary to explain to JTA how being in government necessarily changed his perspective.

“I could have emotional and historical views and the prejudices from that,” he said. “Now, with my present responsibilities, I must be absolutely certain that I am looking at it [Jackson-Vanik] from the standpoint of the whole America. I will take a purely critical and analytical look and I will speak out when I have the authority.”

Strauss said he suffered little anti-Semitism growing up in Texas, saying that he only thought about being Jewish when his parents kept him home on Yom Kippur.

He joined the Baptist Young People’s Union to meet girls, he told the Dallas Morning News in a 1981 interview, and was elected its president.

“Of course, the preacher had to put a stop to that because I wasn’t a member of that church,” Strauss said.

Within weeks of Carter’s defeat in 1980, Strauss — who had chaired Carter’s campaign — began to meet routinely with President-elect Ronald Reagan and became an adviser to him.

Reagan awarded Strauss the Medal of Freedom in 1981, and his vice president and successor, President George H. W. Bush, named him ambassador to the collapsing Soviet Union in 1991, which led to Strauss becoming the first U.S. envoy to the post-Soviet Russia.

Once it became clear in the 1980s — with credible female and African-American runs for the president and vice president – that presidents no longer had to be white, Christian and male, pundits often would turn to Strauss and ask him to name the first likely Jewish president. He invariably would offer himself.

The self-promotion ostensibly was in jest — Strauss liked to remind people that his mother expected him to become the first Jewish governor of Texas — until it wasn’t. Jack Germond, the political columnist, once recalled trying to talk Strauss out of a presidential run in 1983.

“He was a Jew from Texas and a lawyer and businessman who had made a lot of money in ways that might have to be defended,” Germond said in a 2005 Washingtonian magazine article cited in Strauss’ Washington Post obituary. “Above all, he had a wise mouth that no candidacy could survive in this age of political correctness.”

President Obama in a statement lauded Strauss’ appeal across the spectrum.

“Bob was one of the greatest leaders the Democratic Party ever had, yet presidents of both parties relied on his advice, his instincts, and his passion for public service — not to mention his well-honed sense of humor,” he said.

Strauss’ wife, Helen, died in 2006. Strauss is survived by two sons, a daughter and seven grandchildren.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Robert Strauss, Democratic Kingmaker and Ambassador, Dies At 95”

  1. Hope Faith says:

    RIP sincere condolences to friends and family

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A clip from"How to Stab a Jew," the latest hit on Arab social media.
‘How to Stab a Jew’ Going Viral on Palestinian Authority Social Media [video]
Latest News Stories

A large hole was cut in the security fence.

Carjacking on 55

A man got out of the car of the passenger’s side of the car and tried to get into the Jewish woman’s vehicle…

Hamas with Guided Missile

Hamas shows off how it’s rebuilding (in) Gaza.

Israeli ZIM containers at Syrian port.

Where is the Boycott Movement when we need them?

Naughty or nice, Terrorist Santa slides down your chimney to blow up your family.

An IDF helicopter evacuated a six-month-old baby to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem Saturday morning after the child suffered an apparent heart attack while on the way to Jordan for medical care. Israeli border officials saw the baby collapse and called paramedics, who in turn sent an urgent call for a military helicopter. Magen David medics […]

Firemen were surprised to see what caused the fire.

The South Carolina senator is another Republican thinking about running to succeed Obama

Arab terrorists have released a “How to kill a Jew” video, and its going viral.

North Korea and Obama are engaged in escalating threats and both are sniping at Sony.

The condition of Ayala Shapira has slightly improved, but her life still is in danger.

Bullet holes in an identifiably Jewish-owned building Friday morning makes this the third such attack on Jews in Paris this week.

Defense Minister Yaalon told Ruth Shapira that the terrorists were caught last night by IDF forces.

The early warning Code Red siren sounded shortly before noon Friday in the area of Netiv Asara and Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, sending residents to bomb shelters. The “rocket” apparently was rifle fire from Gaza. Residents also have reported they have heard sounds of tunnels being built underground.

Gov. Mike Pence celebrated Christmas in Israel and staked his credentials for a possible run at the presidency.

More Articles from JTA

Argentina’s president Christina Fernandez has accepted an official Jewish godson for the first time in the country’s history to help counter legend of death to a seventh son. She described in seven tweets her meeting with her new godson, Yair Tawil, a member of a Chabad-Lubavitch family. He was adopted as a godson under a […]

Dylan Siegel (left) and Jonah Pournazarian with the “Chocolate Bar” book.

A fundraising campaign started quietly by two first graders two years ago to help find a cure for a rare genetic disease just passed the $1 million mark.

Hebrew University will give its students the day off on Christmas for the first time ever. There will be no classes on Thursday, Dec. 25, a new vacation day on the university calendar. The students also had off on Sunday for Hanukkah. The university also has declared a vacation day for and placed on its […]

Just imagine the uproar if it was exposed that the Mossad told agents how to get past US security?

Oscar-winner “Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport” has been selected for permanent preservation in the Library of Congress by the National Film Registry. The film, released in 2000, documents the rescue of some 10,000 predominantly Jewish children from Nazi-dominated Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia in the months leading up to World War II. […]

“It was crucial to my survival knowing that I was not forgotten.“

Jeb Bush announced his intention to “actively” explore the presidency in a Christmas and Hanukkah greeting message. “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!” the former Florida governor Bush said in a Facebook message posted Tuesday. He described conversations he had with his family over Thanksgiving. “As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the […]

Swastikas were found spray-painted on a Tufts University building for the third time in nearly two years. The latest swastikas were found Saturday morning on the back wall of the Lewis Hall dormitory on the Somerville, Mass., campus, Boston.com reported. In June, swastikas were found on the university’s Granoff Family Hillel Center. In April 2013, […]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/robert-strauss-democratic-kingmaker-and-ambassador-dies-at-95/2014/03/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: