Doug Bailey's Irrepressible Love of Politics
Doug Bailey, the most exuberant public citizen I've known, died unexpectedly this morning, at 79.
In our last conversation several weeks ago, he had the same vibrant enthusiasm for his latest project as he did in 1976, when he was the top consultant to President Gerald Ford's election campaign and almost achieved a miraculous come-from-behind victory for his candidate.
If you ran into him and asked how he was, he invariably answered, "I am Greaaaat." And it was invariably true.
In 1987, he started the Hotline, an compilation of political news and analysis from around the U.S. that became an online must-read. That was before anyone in politics -- save for Al Gore -- knew about the Internet. In recent years, he focused on increasing voter participation and sought to create a new independent party that would pick its nominee online.
Many of his ideas didn't work out. That didn't faze Doug. He moved on to the next project.
He was a Republican, dating to the era of Nelson Rockefeller. First and foremost, he was caring citizen. He grew disenchanted with the process, never with the importance of politics.
For more than half a century, he elevated the business of politics. For those of us who wrote about politics, he was a teacher and a source of great insight. And almost every moment with him was fun.
(Albert R. Hunt is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)