As Congress was fighting the debt ceiling in 2013, Dick Wadhams, Colorado’s political historian, passed on a New York Times story he knew I would enjoy: a 1983 feature on U.S. Sen. Bill Armstrong and his brand of conservatism.
“In one sense the Senator is a missionary, preaching the gospel of fiscal rectitude to the heathens on Capitol Hill. But, in another sense, he is a pragmatist who knows how to count votes and when to accept a deal,” the newspaper wrote.
“I’m relatively inflexible on principles,” the Colorado senator told the Times, “but I’m flexible on the details.”
I reprinted the articled in the Denver Post’s award-winning political blog, The Spot, and it’s worth rereading. Armstrong died Tuesday at the age of 79.
“Have I changed in my inner self?” he said in the 1983 Times article.
“The answer is yes. Some. I’m very comfortable now with people whose political views are very different from my own, and that was hard for me 10 years ago. Until you’ve had some of the rough edges knocked off, it’s awfully easy to be brash, and feel like you’ve got all the answers. But as you gain more experience, you realize nobody has all the answers, and that fosters a degree of intellectual humility.”