Madison (AP) – Services were held in the State Capitol snack room today for a Wisconsin political giant, former U.S. Senator Bertrand von Frankenhoffer. Von Frankenhoffer, who represented Wisconsin in the Senate between 1946 and 1962, was remembered by colleagues as being cowardly, closed minded, and fully beholden to special interests.
\”Yeah, he was a real bastard,\” said former colleague Ashton Wellington of New Hampshire. Wellington recalled a time when an amendment was debated on the floor of the Senate that would have provided funding for afterschool programs for African-American children. \”He was yelling in opposition and got really red in the face,\” recalled Wellington. \”Then he crumpled up the amendment, set it on fire, threw it on the floor, and urinated on it,\” said Wellington.
Von Frankenhoffer\’s funeral service comes, ironically, near the same time as political giants William Proxmire and Gaylord Nelson, two towering figures of integrity in Wisconsin\’s history. Proxmire and Nelson are remembered for their honesty, dedication, and intelligence, none of which were possessed by von Frankenhoffer.
In 1960, von Frankenhoffer gained national attention when he ran for President on the newly formed \”Whiteys-4-ever\” ticket. He garnered 1.2% of the total vote, which was only slightly higher than Ed Garvey received when he ran for Governor of Wisconsin in 1998. Later in life, von Frankenhoffer retracted his racist views, and proved it by purchasing a Hootie and the Blowfish CD.
Former colleague Edwin Rumplemeyer fondly recalls von Frankenhoffer\’s colorful views on religion. \”It was really funny – he refused to hire a Jewish staffer one time because, as he liked to say, \’the Jews killed Hitler.\’ Ah, those were the days,\” said Rumplemeyer. He recalled von Frankenhoffer\’s principled stance against invading France during World War II.
In 1996, when he was relegated to a wheelchair, von Frankenhoffer wheeled himself outside and spray painted \”down with cripples\” on his own garage door, as he heard there was a new disabled person in his neighborhood.
Von Frankenhoffer\’s personal life came under attack nearly thirty years ago when it was discovered he had fathered a child with one of his servants. The York Blog has been able to unearth a modern day photo of his estranged daughter: