Republicans have no sense of humor. Last week when the Washington Posts wrote a deeply moving piece about 90-year old former US Senate Leader Bob Dole's wistful return to his native Kansas, for a "gratitude tour" in which Dole met with long time constituents both reminiscing about the past and making shrewd observations about today's Republican party, I launch a faux Draft Dole 2016 movement as a tribute to this war hero, patriot and leader. Bob Dole is the last of the giants.

"He's tan, rested and 90" is our slogan. While quite obviously Bob Dole is not going to launch a presidential campaign at his advance age, but it is undeniable that he has more character, experience and credibility than any of those being currently named as potential 2016 candidates. Those who argue the GOP isn't winning because they are not "pure enough may not remember the Goldwater debacle. Reagan understood how to appeal to moderates and Democrats, lest he would never have been Governor or President.

Particularly irritating was caustic criticism of Dole by Texas Senator Ted Cruz who complained that Dole had not been sufficiently conservative to win the 1996 election for president. As Dole himself would comment, it was clear that the Texas Senator had never reviewed Dole's voting record. In fact Dole was a solid conservative while serving in the Senate at the same time he understood the need to reach out to moderates and Democrats in order to build the coalitions necessary to do the people's business.

I admit to a bias; Bob Dole gave me a job after Watergate and the destruction of the Nixon presidency. I served as a Staff Assistant traveling with the Senator in the Capitol area while also doing legislative research. Dole, who always harbored presidential ambitions ,never held it against me when I joined Reagan's campaign entourage in 1979 instead of backing my former boss from Kansas. "Roger Rock," Dole would call me good naturedly. By 1988 I had become a hard-line supply-sider and Jack Kemp supporter. Dole still treated me well and was cordial. I greatly prefered him to eventual nominee George H. W. Bush. In retrospect I think 1988 was Dole's year and point out that he won the Iowa caucases that year only to falter in New Hampshire when an ad on taxes featured an old position of Dole's rather than his current opposition to tax increases. As a old style Taft Republican economically Dole was willing to trade tax increases for spending cuts. Bush who would raise taxes after his future "read my lips "pledge would savage Dole on the issue If George H.W. Bush had never been President, George W. Bush would never have been President. Think how different today might be.

According the the Post, Dole's trip was a combination of his still sharp humor and some serious commentary about the obstacles America faces."I'm trying to cover all 105 counties," he told an audience at the Olathe, Kan., City Hall on Monday afternoon. "I don't know whether I'll make it or not. When you're 90, you don't order room service." The room cracked up........"I think President Obama certainly means well," he said, "but without being critical — because I'm not here for that purpose — I think he needs to get acquainted with more members of Congress. . . . You have to get acquainted obviously with your own party, but you've got to get acquainted with the other party. All the wisdom doesn't reside in one party."......."I do think our foreign policy is not very strong." Dole doesn't want to see American troops sent to Ukraine, but he said the United States should send weapons and tanks to the Ukrainians. He fears that Russian President Vladimir Putin now believes he can do whatever he wants. Obama, he said, talks about consequences for the Russians if they continue on this path. "We haven't seen the consequences," he added.

Jim Perry, formerly of the Wall Street Journal wrote a terrific piece on Dole's tour of his native Kansas.

"Make no mistake, though. Bob Dole, at 90 years of age, is one tough old bird. Dole, for many years a Kansas senator and the losing candidate for president in 1996, grew up in Russell; a small Kansas prairie town where I discovered on a reporting trip that, slightly to my amazement, they used recycled sewage to water the golf course. He was a tall, movie-star handsome young man, a star athlete at the local high school and a soda jerk at the local drug store.

He enlisted in the army in World War II and found himself a lieutenant and a platoon leader in the slightly elite 10th Mountain Division in Italy in April 1945. He and his platoon were pinned down by German gunfire near Castel d'Aiano not far from Bologna when shells tore into his right shoulder and right arm. Comrades shoved and rolled him to a foxhole and a medic gave him a huge shot of morphine and wrote the letter M on his forehead in his own blood to alert others they shouldn't give him any more.

His rehabilitation (seven or eight operations) and convalescence back in the United States must have seemed almost endless. Much of his time was spent at a military hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan, that is now named the Hart-Dole-Inouye Medical Center. Dole and two other future senators, Philip Hart and Daniel Inouye, were all treated there for war wounds. Dole's friends back In Russell dropped contributions in an old cardboard box at the drug store to help pay for his bills. Dole still has the box.

He never regained the use of his right arm, and his left arm is sometimes painful.

He wasn't sure when he got back from the war whether he was a Republican or a Democrat. He settled on Republican because he thought he'd do better with Republicans. He served in those early days as a state representative and as county attorney for Russell County (he'd recently earned his law degree). He was elected to the U.S. House for the first time in 1960 and the Senate for the first time in 1968.

He was always conservative, but he knew when to deal with Democrats. He and George McGovern, for example, worked together to help American farmers and to lower eligibility requirements for food stamps, even though McGovern was anathema to most of his GOP colleagues. Dole voted for the civil rights acts of 1964 and 1965.

He was Gerald Ford's running mate in 1976, and in a debate with Jimmy Carter's vice president, Walter Mondale, said that "if we added up all the killed and wounded in Democrat wars in this century, it would be about 1.6 million Americans -- enough to fill the city of Detroit. "That ugly remark was not well-received.

But there is a soft side to Bob Dole. He visited wounded soldiers and Purple Heart veterans wherever he could find them, and in one of these visits I could see tears come to his eyes as he talked quietly to one of them. He, more than anyone else, spearheaded the drive to build a World War 2 memorial on the mall."

Dole is, of course right about today's Republican Party. Politics is about addition, not subtraction. Republicans are outnumbered and can only win again by broadening their Party and their message. If the Party is narrow and doctrinaire in its views, libertarians like myself will continue to abandon the Party as it appeals only to old Protestant white males... and no one else.

Draft Dole- 2016 "You got somebody better".