Senator Thomas J. McIntyre
Portrait by Richard W. Whitney
(Presented to the State of New Hampshire, 1980)
Reproduced with the permission of the artist.
Born and died at Laconia (NH).
Thomas J. McIntyre attended Manlius (NH) Military Academy (1927-33) after the death of his mother when he was twelve years old (1927). He graduated from Dartmouth College (1937) and received his law degree from Boston University School of Law (1940). McIntyre was admitted to the New Hampshire Bar in 1940.
Following graduation from law school McIntyre worked in the Concord (NH) law office of former U.S. Senator Robert W. Upton (1940/41), but in 1941 he moved back to Laconia and opened his own law office. After a few months McIntyre was called up for military service, however. He participated in all of the major European military campaigns of World War Two, as a member of the Third Army.
At the end of the war Major McIntyre was made a Military Government Judge in the Lower Court ("Ahmsgericht") at Dusseldorf, Germany, but he returned to Laconia in 1946, and joined the law office of Harold E. Westcott.
In 1949 McIntyre was elected the (Democratic) mayor of Laconia (1949/51). He was asked to be a candidate for the governorship in 1950, but declined. He was active in county and state Democratic politics, however, and was a member of the Democratic Party State Committee in 1952.
In 1954 McIntyre ran as a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, but lost the general election. He was now an important force in Laconia politics, serving on the boards of First Laconia Corporation, Laconia Industrial Development Corporation, Laconia Savings Bank, McIntyre Properties and other organizations. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1962 and served three terms (1962/79). He subsequently served as counsel with Sullivan & Worcester, in both Boston and Washington, D.C.
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Children wherever we live will ask us about Tom McIntyre and why they should remember him.
We might tell them about his remarkable Senatorial achievements--laws he wrote, debates he won, causes he championed.
But, above all, we should be sure to tell our children about Tom McIntyre's most profound legacy--a legacy of enduring values about public life.
We should be sure to tell our children that Tom McIntyre pursued politics primarily as a matter of public service.
He believed one should run for office not for personal gain, not out of a compulsion for celebrity, not to bolster one's ego, but basically as a duty, a civic responsibility. Politics, properly understood, is therefore a calling, not a career.
Robert Frost told us how he, as a New Hampshire lad, loved to climb birch trees--up a `snow-white truck toward Heaven till the tree could bear no more . . .' Frost remembered, `This climb will be good both going and coming back.'
Washington is filled with driven ambitions who find only climbing good.
But anyone who knew Tom McIntyre well understood that he went to Washington, not to climb, but to serve. And his heart was always here in New Hampshire--here in Laconia. And he agreed with Frost, `One could do worse than being a swinger of birches.'
We should also tell our children that Tom McIntyre mastered the art of practical politics as a public responsibility.
He believed that if an office is worth standing for, then it is worth running for--to win. If a cause is worth believing in, then it is worth working for--to prevail. The deeper one's convictions about a cause, the greater one's obligation to be effective. There is no room in this tradition for political kibitzers, dilettantes, or summer candidates.
And Tom and Myrtle McIntyre's campaigns over the years still stand as models of the practical political art.
We should also tell our children that Tom McIntyre's legacy values integrity--insists on integrity.
To him, it meant telling the truth. It meant keeping one's word. It meant standing up for one's conviction even at personal cost. It meant respecting public office as a public trust with standards of ethics and appearance higher than even those set by law.
And let us celebrate today that throughout thirty years of rock'm-sock'm New Hampshire politics, Tom McIntyre's good name and the public's confidence in his integrity met these high standards.
We should also tell our children that Tom McIntyre valued the free competition of ideas.
For two hundred years Americans have understood that a diversity of interests and a competition of ideas are crucial to our liberty.
So Tom McIntyre spent his own earned political capital to try to build a two-party system. He recruited young talents all over New Hampshire and helped them into the fray. Many are here today to honor him.
He also defended the integrity of this political
competition. He opposed those who
Let's also tell our children that Tom McIntyre's legacy includes a politics of civility.
Civility--a fancy word--for Tom McIntyre's politics of good cheer and gentleness. His campaigns--for all their seriousness and sense of purpose--were fun. He campaigned with elan, with a twinkle, and with an Irish song.
He also taught us to think well of others until there is a reason not to. He tried his best not to use `mean words' in his campaigns.
So Tim McIntyre's politics was not a politics for fear which appealed to our darker sides. It was not a politics of anger which took pleasure in inflicting pain. It was not a politics of paranoia unable to distinguish between friends and foe. It was not a politics of vengeance which made all adversaries into enemies.
Think of his friendships with Norris Cotton and with Warren Rudman. Their mutual respect transcended political differences. Their friendships were models of civility that gentled debates and campaigns.
And we should also be sure to tell our children Tom McIntyre valued practicality.
Because Tom McIntyre was a practical man. He knew that the true test of public policy is whether it works in practice.
He loved to tell Washington how he, as Mayor of Laconia, rejected the fire department's request for a ladder truck several stories higher than the town's highest building.
Such pragmatism was for centuries America's central philosophic tradition. Only recently have theoreticians without practical experience begun to dominate policy making. This may have made Tom McIntyre's practicality rather unfashionable in some Washington seminars and drawing rooms.
But he was right. And we need to tell our children.
The great Irish poet, W.B. Yeats (and Tom McIntyre loved his Irish poets), summed it up:
In the mind alone.
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow bone.
Finally, above all, let's tell our children that the passionate center of Tom McIntyre's political legacy was his moral courage to defend the soul of our Republic--our freedom--abroad and here at home.
He, along with millions of others, did this in uniform.
And here in New Hampshire in the 1970s, his ringing defenses of the rule of law, the right of the other fellow to be heard, and the right of all Americans to be free of fear of intimidation were New Englander's love of liberty in full flower.
And to do this required grit. It required true grit, because others sat in silence.
Tom McIntyre's moral courage was all the more remarkable because he, unlike many politicians, found no joy in a fight, and because he, unlike the ideologies, lacked their bracing self-certainty.
These public values--service, effectiveness, integrity, the competition of ideas, civility, practicality and a passion for liberty--I invite you now to add your own favorite--were, of course, not invented by Tom McIntyre. He never wrote them out. He would be the first to tell us how he did not measure up to these standards. Nonetheless, they were the heart of his witness as a public person and the core of his beliefs as a private man.
And these are not partisan values. They are above party and above personal political persuasion. In this respect, we are all republicans; we are all democrats.
Henry Adams said, `No one can tell where a teacher's influence stops.' This legacy of Tom McIntyre is similarly enduring, because it is a set of values larger than his career, yet nurtured and enhanced by his efforts to realize them.
So when we go home today and our children ask us about Tom McIntyre, let's tell them about his legacy of values. Let's sing these lasting songs in a marrow bone to them, because these are values for our children.
They live for all the children of New Hampshire, and for their children -- and for their children -- and for their children.
T. McIntyre Dies; Served in Senate
Thomas J. McIntyre , 77, a New Hampshire Democrat who served in the Senate from November 1962 until January 1979, died of pneumonia Aug. 8 at a hospital in West Palm Beach, Fla. He had Alzheimer's disease.
He was elected to the Senate to fill the unexpired term of Sen. H. Styles Bridges (R), who had died in office. Sen. McIntyre won reelection in 1966 and 1972, then was defeated in a race for a third full term in 1978 by Republican Gordon J. Humphrey.
During his years in the Senate, Sen. McIntyre's committee assignments included Government Operations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; and the District of Columbia committees. But he probably was best known for his service on the Armed Services Committee, where he was chairman of the research and development subcommittee and was regarded as a thoughtful, middle-of-the-road senator and a swing vote on crucial issues.
His election to the Senate marked the first time in 30 years that a New Hampshire Democrat had won election to the upper house. He won election with 54 percent of the vote in 1966 and 57 percent in 1972. His defeat six years later by Humphrey, a former commercial airline pilot who was regarded as a political neophyte and right-wing activist, was considered a major upset.
The race foreshadowed the upset defeats of incumbent Senate Democrats two years later and that party's loss of the Senate. Humphrey raised large sums of money, campaigned extensively on television and attacked Sen. McIntyre for his support of treaties transferring control of the Panama Canal to Panama. Humphrey also attacked Democrats in general, and `liberals' in particular. This seemed to hurt Sen. McIntyre despite the fact that he was regarded by many as one of the more conservative northern Democrats.
Sen. McIntyre , who had homes in Tequesta, Fla., and his native Laconia, N.H., was a 1937 graduate of Dartmouth College and a 1940 graduate of Boston University law school. He practiced law in Laconia before entering the Army during World War II.
During the war, he served in Europe in Gen. George S. Patton's 3rd Army and attained the rank of major. His decorations included the Combat Infantryman's Badge and the Bronze Star.
After the war, he returned to Laconia, where he practiced law and worked in real estate. He was mayor of Laconia from 1949 to 1951 and city solicitor in 1953. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1954, losing a race with Republican Chester E. Merrow by less than 400 votes.
Survivors include his wife of 51 years, the former Myrtle Ann Clement, of Laconia and Tequesta; a daughter, Martha G. McIntyre of Gilford, N.H.; and a grandson.
Mr. RUDMAN. Mr. President, when Senator Tom McIntyre died in August, I lost a dear friend.
And New Hampshire, the U.S. Senate, and our country lost a good and faithful public servant.
We in New Hampshire remember Tom McIntyre with respect and pride--as a native son. Our Government flourishes best when our officials bring to the people's work a deeply rooted sense of place. Tom McIntyre, throughout his 16th years in the Senate, never lost his love for his home State, its people, its physical beauty, and its character.
We learned from Tip O'Neill that all politics is local. Tom McIntyre knew that all policy is local as well, because its effects are experienced by Americans at home where they live and work and play. So for Tom McIntyre a policy proposal's most demanding reality test was how it would work in practice at home.
Tom McIntyre also never lost touch with the values we prize in New England. He always saw himself as a moderate and was proud of it. And indeed, he was one of a distinguished tradition of moderate Senators of both parties whom New England proudly sent to Washington. Tom McIntyre--like George Aiken, Ed Muskie, Charles Tobey, Ralph Flanders, Margaret Chase Smith, and Ed Brooke--brought to the Senate a New Englander's hard work, independence, practicality, common sense, deliberate judgment, and disdain for pomposity.
And when ideological extremes tore at the heart of our country in the 1970's, Tom McIntyre, like these other quiet New Englanders in similar times of stress, defended the most basic American principles of tolerance, due process, and the right to be free of fear. In doing so he helped restore the conscience, civility, and soul of the New England town meeting to a troubled America when we needed it most.
We in the Senate also remember Tom McIntyre with respect and pride--as a self-made legislator.
Tom McIntyre was not a professional politician. He had had no legislative experience when he was elected to the Senate in 1962. He was not a policy expert. He had not been schooled in the policy schools and institutes that have cropped up in recent decades.
He did bring to his Senate work his firsthand experience. Before we had a name for environmental policy, he had led a successful effort to stop the pollution of the beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee near his hometown of Laconia.
Before we had a name for the communications revolution, Tom McIntyre and his wife, Myrtle, had pioneered in bringing cable television to the mountain locked Laconia, even as television itself was in its infancy.
Before we had a budget crisis, let alone a name for it, Tom McIntyre balanced budgets as the mayor of Laconia with classic New England frugality and common sense. One of his favorite stories was about the time he opposed a request from the city fire department for a new firetruck with ladders higher than the highest buildings in Laconia.
And before we had a name for Soviet studies and arms control policy, Tom McIntyre had learned from his own personal experience about dealing with the Soviets. As a young artillery officer he and his unit had linked up with Soviet soldiers in Czechoslovakia at the end of the war. During the impromptu celebration of this historic moment, Major McIntyre noticed Soviet soldiers were smilingly about to heist his jeep. When they didn't respond to his requests to back off, he drew his 45, slammed it on the fender, and said in a clear loud voice: `Dammit, I said, `Back Off.' They did, and the celebration of their joint victory over nazism resumed.
So Tom McIntyre brought to the Senate what he had learned from these and other direct experiences with real problems. He also brought to the Senate his own good judgment, common sense, and nonideological practicality.
But he had to learn how to be a legislator. And he had to learn the old fashioned way--through hard work as a Senator.
When he was put on the Senate Banking Committee, he confessed his anxieties about his lack of training in economics or finance to Senator Paul Douglas who, of course, had been a distinguished economist at the University of Chicago. Douglas reassured him, saying: `Don't worry about it Tom. You will have the advantage of not having your mind cluttered up with a lot academic prejudices.'
We in the Senate know how Tom developed into one of the Senate's most thoughtful and creative legislators in the field of banking. He chaired the key Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and helped bring into being familiar innovations that we now take for granted--NOW accounts and automatic cash machines.
As he did this work, the McIntyre and his subcommittee became the target of the powerful and willfully competing sectors of the banking industry. Each thought it could dominate and tilt Tom's work to its advantage. But he resisted them all and stood his ground as the people's own independent Senator as he did this extraordinarily consequential work.
His growth as a legislator on the Senate Armed Services Committee was even more impressive. At first he asked to serve there primarily to protect the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. And he helped preserve that national asset against the shortsightedness of Robert McNamara and Adm. Hyman Rickover.
Otherwise he had little opportunity to shape policy on the Armed Services Committee during his first years. The committee was run firmly from the top of Chairman Richard Russell and one or two other senior Senators.
Tom later recounted his frustrations. He said that 1 day when Senator Russell was quietly consulting at the top of the table with Senator Smith and Senator Stennis on a matter, Tom raised his hand at the bottom of the committee table and asked the chairman: `Would you mind speaking a bit louder please, so Harry Byrd and I could hear what you are deciding up there.' This passed for audacity from a junior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee in the 1960's.
But in 1969, Chairman John Stennis asked Tom McIntyre to undertake what proved to be his most consequential senatorial work when he asked Tom to chair a new Subcommittee on Military Research and Development. He protested that he `didn't have a Ph.D. from MIT,' but he rolled up his sleeves and set out to learn how to do this work.
For 10 years Tom McIntyre pioneered congressional oversight of this most critical work in the Department of Defense--the seedbed of our military technological advantage in the crucial stages of the cold war and today. His judgments could not have been more consequential to our country's security. Troubled programs like the Patriot had to be made to work. Revolutionary technologies like cruise missiles had to be protected against hostile service interests. And Tom knew that if we invested in the wrong developments, we could make our country less secure by underfunding the necessary programs and by fueling the arms race.
Tom did this work quietly, usually in executive sessions. He annually built consensus among his subcommittee colleagues who rarely agreed on little else--Barry Goldwater and John Culver, Robert Taft, and Harold Hughes, for example. Over 10 years his subcommittee reportedly unanimously 20,000 or so individual recommendations and divided only on a handful.
And Tom so earned the respect of his colleagues on the full Armed Services Committee that they endorsed his recommendations in all but a dozen times or so over a decade. And during this decade the full Senate accepted Tom McIntyre's on these thousands of judgments on all but five or so times. When he left the Senate he was the Congress' most respected and authoritative member regarding military technology.
For all these contributions, we in the Senate remember Tom McIntyre with special respect. We remember he developed a quiet authority, so that when Tom McIntyre spoke on the issues for which he was responsible, the Senate listened and was led.
Our country should also remember Tom McIntyre with respect and gratitude--as an American whose straightforward and unassuming service to our Republic mattered.
Our Government was designed to be directed by citizens, not professionals. And Tom McIntyre's work in the Senate demonstrates yet again that this is both proper and possible. He served in World War Two as a citizen-soldier. And he served in the Senate as a citizen-Senator. He did both jobs with a simple patriotism.
We have won the cold war. The old nuclear danger has eased. And Tom McIntyre is an unsung hero of both of these accomplishments which have made Americans safer tonight.
Finally, Mr. President, let me say that I personally remember Tom McIntyre not only with respect, but also with affection and gratitude--as a friend.
Tom was a role model for many of us in New Hampshire who
entered public life in the 1960's. We did not have to be
of his party or to share his views to learn from and value
his easy good will, his forthrightness, his political
courage, and his integrity.
Page last updated on June 9, 2003 at 9:30 a.m.