Helms Preobit

Hendrick Hertzberg wrote the obituary Jesse Helms deserves back in September of 2001 when his retirement was announced. There we learn the odd fact that the always-interesting (and this is no exception!) Walter Russell Mead described Helms as "one of a handful of Southern statesmen who ensured the triumph of the civil rights revolution" because even though he was a racist and a segregationist he, unlike the 'Redemption' leaders of the 1960s and 70s, avoided "being directly and openly involved in the murder of black political leaders."

So there you have it: Jesse Helms, not a murderer, just a steadfast political supporter of murderers abroad.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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