The Tiger in the Senate: The Biography of Wayne Morse

The Tiger in the Senate: The Biography of Wayne Morse

The Tiger in the Senate: The Biography of Wayne Morse

The Tiger in the Senate: The Biography of Wayne Morse

Excerpt

"I sometimes wonder if I'm going at this a little too hard," Wayne Morse reflectively told a reporter of the Detroit Free Press after bolting the Republican party. "But then I think of all the men and women who wish there were just one politician in Washington who would speak his mind and cast his vote honestly and freely with only his conscience to guide him. Maybe it's a bit brash to assume that I'm that man, but believe me, I'm trying to be."

If this subjective view of his own uniqueness tells us much about Wayne Morse, it also invites many of the questions which I, as Washington correspondent for Oregon newspapers during the past ten years, have been asked: Is Wayne Morse sincere? Did that horse kick in the head really change him? What makes him tick? Is he a figure of historic importance? Now that this Oregon senator has battled his way to positions of authority as chairman of the Senate subcommittees on Latin America and on education, these questions assume more importance. In this biography, designed neither to please its proud principal nor to delight his bitter detractors, I have tried to portray Wayne Morse as he is, and to capture something of the mood and smell of Washington's political jungle.

But a bit more than curiosity about these questions was involved. Walter Lippmann, speaking of the responsibility of the Washington correspondent, has said, "If the country is to be governed with the consent of the governed, then the governed must arrive at opinions about what their governors want them to consent to."

They must, indeed, arrive at opinions about those who govern. The manifest responsibility of a free press in the exercise of this critical democratic function grows heavier. For as the population increases, the number of citizens who never meet, much less converse . . .

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