Former Senator Malcolm Wallop died on Wednesday, September 14, after a debilitating illness that had confined him to his home near Big Horn, Wyoming, for several years. He is survived by his wife, Isabel, and four children and their families.
Malcolm was a hero of mine long before I knew him, and so it was a great privilege to work for him after he retired from the Senate in 1995 and to become his friend. After I worked for Malcolm and got to know him, I admired him even more. I loved working for him, as I expect all of his Senate staffers did. He was unfailingly polite and considerate, intellectually engaging, and entirely positive. Malcolm had a healthy sense of his own worth, but entirely lacked the swollen head that afflicts many Senators.
When Malcolm defeated a Democratic incumbent in 1976 (not a good year for Republicans), he came to Washington as an uncompromising Cold Warrior, but as somewhat moderate on many domestic issues. While many conservatives tend to drift toward the center after a few years in Washington (which is variously described as growing in office or selling out), he was so appalled by how Washington works that he rapidly became a hardcore conservative across the board. He joined an extraordinary group of mostly Western conservatives in the Senate, a group which included Bill Armstrong, Steve Symms, Paul Laxalt, Phil Gramm, and Jesse Helms.