Bill Clinton, others eulogize Ed Campbell

Long-time Iowa Democratic Party stalwart Ed Campbell died last week.  His funeral was held today in Des Moines.  Here’s the Radio Iowa story, with links at the bottom to each of the eulogies which were delivered, including the last one which came from former President Bill Clinton.

Here’s a partial text of Clinton’s remarks:  “It was a fortunate day for me, and later for Hillary, when we met Edward Campbell, just as it was for all of you.  He loved politics.

“…There’s something else we ought to say.  I know that God decides in his own good time when all of us are going home…Ed Campbell never quit when the going got tough, otherwise this service could have occurred decades ago…and I think it’s worth remembering at a time when sometimes people in politics seem to feel sorry for themselves that he suited up every single day of his life and he played the game, just the way you’re supposed to.

“…I know that Hillary and I were very fortunate to have his support through our campaigns and all the ups and downs in between…He really was a political genius and he had a gift that is too often underappreciated in politics today…Almost the whole time I was in politics we debated two things:  what are you going to do and how much money are you going to spend on it?

“…He was a genius at figuring out how to do things and he thought it was a noble thing because it had a higher purpose.  It was rooted in other people’s lives.  I think it’s well to remember when we’re going through tough times that this is the longest-lasting free government in human history because we had a few people with the kind of gifts Ed Campbell had and who realized there was nothing bad about politics…It was an honorable way to live life and we were fortunate to be able to do it.  I like that.

“…I like the fact that he had a good time doing it.  I am so sick and tired of people acting like public service is a burden, politics is this terrible load you carry around.  Do you realize that most people who ever lived had absolutely no choice over what they did for a living?  In the whole history of the world, most people just had to get up and trudge along and do whatever was before them just to put food on the table and take care of their children. 

“Ed Campbell never felt sorry for himself that he had to ‘do’ politics and he knew you couldn’t win all the time.  I had to go all the way to Washington before I realized politics was a dreary power struggle that we were supposed to be miserable about.  Maybe guys like us are passing from the scene, but I hope not.  I hope all the young people whose lives he touched in this church and far beyond these four walls will remember what joy it gave him.

“…Life is fleeting and if you get the gift of being able to choose what you do and if you’re as good at it as he was, it should be fun…If heaven is a place for imperfect but profoundly good people, he is right at home now.”

Again, click here and go to the very bottom for a 10-minute-long mp3 of Clinton’s remarks.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.