Ike Memorial: Dole is perfect to take charge to raise money privately for stalled project

Article Author: 
John Montgomery, The Hutchinson News Editorial Board
News Abstract: 
Even at 92 years old, Bob Dole still wants to get things done. And he knows how.

The former longtime senator from Kansas and World War II veteran is the perfect man for this job. He intends to raise the money privately to get the long-debated Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial built in Washington.

Dole has been getting things done in Washington for decades. At this stage in his life, he doesn’t need to be leading the charge on this. But it’s important to him, and he’s tired of waiting for it to get done. 

The memorial to the former president and World War II general from Abilene has been more than 15 years in the planning, and it’s now stalled in Congress because of controversy over the design. Some Eisenhower family members and other critics objected to the design, leaving politicians in Congress skittish about proceeding.

Dole told The Associated Press on Friday that he aims to raise $150 million in private donations, if necessary, to build the memorial.

“Personally, Eisenhower was my hero,” Dole said. “... So I decided that we just need to go out and raise the money privately and get the memorial built for this great American.

“To heck with ’em,” Dole said of the critics. “We’re going to go ahead and build it.” Eisenhower wouldn’t want taxpayers paying for his memorial anyway, Dole said.

“It’s been 70 years since the end of World War II, and some of us older guys would like to be there for the dedication,” he said.

Bravo.

Dole is the voice of common sense in this one. And he’s the consummate get-er-done guy in Washington.

Dole also is involved in the fundraising for the World War II Memorial in Washington. He’s often there to greet the veterans who make the pilgrimage.

“We can’t satisfy every critic. Every memorial that’s been built, I believe, has had criticism. The World War II Memorial was criticized by some. They didn’t like the design,” he said. “And we finally said OK, we’ll just go raise $170 million and build it. Now it’s the most visited memorial in D.C.”

Dole plans to gain the support of veterans groups and personally work the phones and write fundraising letters. He’ll be at the Kansas State Fair this week to promote the memorial. He’s of course got the gravitas and network to put together a strong coalition in support. He’s already got former NBC newsman Tom Brokaw and actor Tom Hanks on his team.

This project has gotten sidelined by haggling over the design, something that always is hard to get two people to agree on, let alone multiple parties and the general public. Dole recognizes this endeavor is about more than the design of another one of many memorials in D.C. It’s about honoring a great American hero and leader who deserves a place of honor in our nation’s capital.

It’s meaningful and true to Dole’s character for him to pick up the baton and get this project to the finish line.

News URL: 
http://www.hutchnews.com/opinion/editorials/ike-memorial/article_d0947eec-bdb3-5cf5-9922-dc714c888527.html
News Date: 
Tuesday, September 15, 2015