Tom Lantos, RIP

Rick Moran
He was the only serving member of Congress who was a survivor of the Holocaust, an anti-Nazi freedom fighter at age 16 saved only by the kindness of Raul Wallenberg who hid him in a safehouse until after the war.

And he was something of an oddity these days; a Democrat who was a strong advocate of freedom abroad and a supporter of a staunch foreign policy.

Representative Tom Lantos was a liberal Democrat from the San Francisco area. But that never stopped him from standing up and proclaiming his support for what he thought was right. Congressman Lantos died yesterday at the age of 80.

This heartfelt tribute by Frontpage.com's Jacob Laskin shows how Lantos steadfast support for Israel and our friends around the world endeared him to conservatives as well:

Tom Lantos, who died yesterday at the age of 80 after losing a struggle with cancer, was indeed a Democrat. It is also the case, however, that he did not always march in lockstep with the party that has come to be defined by its irrational loathing of President Bush and its poll-tested calls for retreat from Iraq. When it came to his core convictions, Lantos was a partisan of no party. In the interest of a noble cause, he spoke bluntly and did not flinch from giving offense. Indeed, his 28-year career in politics provides ample testimony that, especially in foreign affairs, Lantos’ main concern was safeguarding human rights and advancing American interests -- party loyalty and diplomacy be damned.

To say that he could be a thorn in the side of his opponents is to understate the case. In 1990, when the Bush administration was at pains to portray Saddam Hussein as an ally, Lantos lashed out against the accomodationist policy. “At what point will this administration recognize that this is not a nice guy?” he demanded. An early supporter of the Iraq war, he had little use for the charges of his fellow Democrats that the United States was alienating the international community by proposing to topple the Iraqi tyrant. On the contrary, Lantos pronounced himself “disgusted by the blind intransigence and utter ingratitude” of France, Germany and Belgium when the NATO powers ostentatiously opposed the U.S.-led intervention. Earlier this fall, Lantos horrified Dutch lawmakers bemoaning the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay when he observed, accurately, that “Europe was not as outraged by Auschwitz as by Guantanamo Bay.” This was not, to put it mildly, how a Democrat was supposed to sound.
In the last couple of years, Lantos became disillusioned with the Iraq War, believing it incompetently managed and unwinnable. He gave General Petreaus a grilling at the Congressional hearings last September and came away unconvinced that the surge would be a success.

But no one ever questioned his sincerety nor his belief that what he was advocating was in the best interests of the United States. Lantos was a true "Liberal Lion" who roared out his unabashed support for America and her unique role in the world.

A remarkable story and a remarkable man.
He was the only serving member of Congress who was a survivor of the Holocaust, an anti-Nazi freedom fighter at age 16 saved only by the kindness of Raul Wallenberg who hid him in a safehouse until after the war.

And he was something of an oddity these days; a Democrat who was a strong advocate of freedom abroad and a supporter of a staunch foreign policy.

Representative Tom Lantos was a liberal Democrat from the San Francisco area. But that never stopped him from standing up and proclaiming his support for what he thought was right. Congressman Lantos died yesterday at the age of 80.

This heartfelt tribute by Frontpage.com's Jacob Laskin shows how Lantos steadfast support for Israel and our friends around the world endeared him to conservatives as well:

Tom Lantos, who died yesterday at the age of 80 after losing a struggle with cancer, was indeed a Democrat. It is also the case, however, that he did not always march in lockstep with the party that has come to be defined by its irrational loathing of President Bush and its poll-tested calls for retreat from Iraq. When it came to his core convictions, Lantos was a partisan of no party. In the interest of a noble cause, he spoke bluntly and did not flinch from giving offense. Indeed, his 28-year career in politics provides ample testimony that, especially in foreign affairs, Lantos’ main concern was safeguarding human rights and advancing American interests -- party loyalty and diplomacy be damned.

To say that he could be a thorn in the side of his opponents is to understate the case. In 1990, when the Bush administration was at pains to portray Saddam Hussein as an ally, Lantos lashed out against the accomodationist policy. “At what point will this administration recognize that this is not a nice guy?” he demanded. An early supporter of the Iraq war, he had little use for the charges of his fellow Democrats that the United States was alienating the international community by proposing to topple the Iraqi tyrant. On the contrary, Lantos pronounced himself “disgusted by the blind intransigence and utter ingratitude” of France, Germany and Belgium when the NATO powers ostentatiously opposed the U.S.-led intervention. Earlier this fall, Lantos horrified Dutch lawmakers bemoaning the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay when he observed, accurately, that “Europe was not as outraged by Auschwitz as by Guantanamo Bay.” This was not, to put it mildly, how a Democrat was supposed to sound.
In the last couple of years, Lantos became disillusioned with the Iraq War, believing it incompetently managed and unwinnable. He gave General Petreaus a grilling at the Congressional hearings last September and came away unconvinced that the surge would be a success.

But no one ever questioned his sincerety nor his belief that what he was advocating was in the best interests of the United States. Lantos was a true "Liberal Lion" who roared out his unabashed support for America and her unique role in the world.

A remarkable story and a remarkable man.