Certainly all right thinking persons regret the death of anyone. And best wishes to anyone in the Helms family need to be extended at this sorrowful time for them. However as a lawmaker, Helms was one of the very worst of any legislator ever. No bigger tool for the tobacco industry probably ever lived. And it didn't take much effort to pull some racist reaction out of this guy. If any legislation was socially backward and regressive, then you could trust that Helms was behind it.
Helms shouldn't really be labeled as a conservative. There are a great many respectable conservatives. Helms was just a cheap bigot and a social regressive self-parody. Even fellow Republican Robert Dole called Helms "Senator No", because he was so difficult to deal with. Yet he was elected and re-elected to the Senate for many years for some unknown reason.
Helms was even responsible for adding obscenity offenses onto the list of federal racketeering offenses which was both draconian and made no legal sense at all. How someone like a Helms can equate some comic like George Carlin, who was once arrested on obscenity charges for doing his "Seven Dirty Words" routine, with organized crime figures who traffic in drugs, murder for hire or loan sharking makes no sense at all.
Under the draconian Helms bill, a person arrested for just two obscenity offenses can be charged under racketeering, which allows for a 20 year sentence as well as the government seizure of any property or proceeds connected with the supposed obscenity "crime". For example, if a record store sells just two copies of some controversial rap albums with explicit lyrics in some conservative community, then the record store owner can be sentenced to 20 years in prison as a racketeer, and his record store, home, car and any bank accounts can be seized by the government as proceeds of racketeer activity.
If the Helms notion was to control free speech out of intimidation and fear, then it has only been a partial success. But still for anyone actually charged for such a free speech crime, it is only a tragic life destroying event and a total abuse of the criminal justice system.
It has also been said that Helms once was caught whistling "Dixie' while in a Senate building elevator while he well knew that African American Senator Carol Moseley-Braun was in the car, which was an outrageous racist incident by a very ignorant man. Helms successfully fought off an African American senate challenger, Harvey Gantt, for a senate election with a clearly racist ad where it looked like Blacks were taking away White jobs. It was never below the dignity of Helms to stoop to the lowest possible standards. The man was simply a first class bastard. Helms was almost reason enough for many to become completely angry at all politics and throw away their voting card.
I'd like to be able to say at least one good thing about Helms at this time. But I just can't think of anything good to say about him. He was the absolute worst. The voters of North Carolina were complete fools to ever elect him to any public office. In most U.S. states a guy like this wouldn't be elected dog catcher. Helms was ever so lucky to live in a state where his very limited intellectual and reasoning skills were deemed good enough to help him get elected U.S. senator in the first place.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!