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Jesse Helms and his arms-trading staff

At a mellow Sunday evening dinner this last weekend, I raised a glass to the recently late Jesse Helms, shocking some of the other guests. For me, Sen. Helms' death was like a snap back to some old school reality, like being reminded of a solid, green-tinted Coke bottle in a world of diet and decaffeinated aluminum.

Jesse Helms never flip-flopped. He clearly didn't seem to care who liked him and who didn't. He wasn't always running for something else. Like Richard Nixon, he was who he was and the only thing odd at the time he ruled the right wing of the political spectrum in the US Senate was that he was never quite as old as he seemed.

He was the genuine article. As his Wikipedia bio correctly notes, he was "opposed to communism, tax increases, abortion, gay rights, affirmative action, food stamps, secularism and government-funded health care." So there. None of this moderate stuff John McCain and other Republicans used to tout. And, during the 1976 Republican presidential race, he helped make Ronald Reagan the future conservative god. Helms would never have had the horror of carrying the same handbag as another senator in the tabs' "Who Wore It Best?" fashion smack down.

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On the other hand,

Here are two other things he probably doesn't like:

1) small animals

2) black gospel music

To me, that's simply unacceptable and UnAmerican.  What do you think?