Conservative Stalwart Jesse Helms Dead At 86

The Republican party lost one of its most treasured figures this weekend. North Carolina Senator and noted civil rights foe Jesse Helms died Friday at the age of 86.

Since his early days in the Senate, which date back to 1973, Helms used his position and connections to reinforce the conservative movement. In fact, many attribute his passion as the impetus behind the rise of the right wing in America, particularly his championing of Ronald Reagan:

Helms’ decision to back Ronald Reagan’s upstart bid against President Gerald Ford in 1976 led the struggling California governor to an upset win in the North Carolina primary, setting the stage for his eventual White House win four years later.

“In one sense, the role that Jesse played in that one primary 32 years ago was key to electing a president — which was key to Reagan, which was key to America winning the Cold War,” said Carter Wrenn, a longtime political operative in the Helms machine.

Though beloved by Republicans, the left found Helms archaic politics repugnant. Of Helms’ many political sins were his fight against the Civil Rights Amendment, which he took as an affront to the “Southern” way of life, by which he meant state-sanctioned racism. Along the same lines, Helms also fought against establishing Martin Luther King Day, saying that our Congress couldn’t possibly idolize a man who had ties to socialist activists. Helms also used his seemingly bottomless loathing to fight against modern art and, of course, gay rights. Not only did he introduce and support anti-gay legislation, he consistently blamed the homos for AIDS, saying, “I’ve never heard once in this chamber anybody say to the homosexuals, ‘stop what you’re doing.’ If they would stop what they’re doing there would not be one additional case of AIDS in the United States.”

An ideologue through and through, Helms – who left the Senate in 2003, scoffed at party peers who “liberalized” their politics and adapted to changing times. Evangelical leader Billy Graham touched upon Helms’ conservative commitment in a brief public statement:

Jesse Helms, my friend and long-time senator from my home state of North Carolina, was a man of consistent conviction to conservative ideals and courage to faithfully serve God and country based on principle, not popularity or politics.

In the tradition of Presidents Jefferson, Adams and Monroe — who also passed on July 4th — it is fitting that such a patriot who fought for free markets and free people would die on Independence Day. As we celebrate the birth of our nation, I thank God for the blessings we enjoy, which Senator Helms worked so hard to preserve.

Ironically, Helms death counts as a strike against the national conservative movement, which, with the death of Jerry Falwell and now Helms, has yet to find a young champion to lead it into the 21st century. His legacy, however, lives on in North Carolina, where the GOP platform continues to rail against the homos, “Homosexual behavior is not normal and should not be taught as acceptable.” Helms would be proud, we’re sure.

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  • Jack E. Jett

    I so enjoyed tapping that
    tight dry butthole.

    He will be dissed.

  • An Other Greek

    mmmbuh-buh bubba!


  • mark

    As Reagan sat silent as hundreds of thousands of us died, and Helms spit on our graves…those of us who survived this pandemic long enough to see them both taking dirt naps…it’s a GREAT DAY!

  • mark

    I’m glad Helms lived long enough to see his entire Party of Hate and Hypocricy go down the toilet. Whether it was Falwell blaming 911 on fags and abortionists, Pat Robertson blaming New Orleans decadence for Katrina, Pro sanctity of Marriage David Diaper Vitter, and Larry Craig get caught is disgusting sex scandals, Mark Foley “protector” of children from online predators…proven to be an online predator of children, Ted Haggard the stawlwart champion against queers, is queer.

  • Tom

    Too bad he didn’t die sooner, like 86 years ago. It will be decades for this country to recover, politically and economically, from the harm caused by the racist and bigoted republican party. I wait for the day to see Bush’s rotting corpse.

  • marco channing

    I love how the GOP and the MSM are ignoring the fact that Helms, in addition to being a blatant homophobe, was also a lifelong racist. I guess they wan’t to hide that during the year when an African-American is the democratic nominee. Perhaps that’s what killed Helms. That and California’s gay marriage ruling.

    Some highlights of Helms’ racist past:

    *He was one of the few American conservatives to back the white apartheid regimes in Southern Africa.

    *When the Civil Rights Act passed through Congress in 1964, removing discrimination against blacks, he denounced it as “the single most dangerous piece of legislation ever introduced.”

    *He vigorously opposed busing of school students to desegregate schools and described the black civil rights leader Martin Luther King and his followers as “Communists and sex perverts”.

    *Helms always denied he was a racist, but he was never averse to playing the race card. One of his television advertisements for the 1990 election campaign showed a pair of white hands screwing up a rejection letter as a voice-over said “You needed that job and you were the best qualified. But they had to give it to a minority because of racial quotas. Is that really fair? Harvey Gantt [his black Democratic opponent] says it is.”

  • M Shane

    He murdered hundreds of thousands of gay people by blocking AIDS funding when it was most in need. Aside from saying he’s the very worst, there is nothing good to say in the least;one of the blackest marks in American history. A Racist, Homophob, right wing fuk,Mysogynist, the slimiest of everything. No tears for that dogbisket.

  • Mr C



  • Andy

    My mother told me to always speak good of the dead.
    Jesse Helms is dead.

  • Right

    Too bad he didn’t die during Gay Pride month like Reagan did. Or at least Black History month. He had to go and die on July 4th. Drama queen.

  • Charles

    Did anyone notice this, on CNN they somehow forgot to mention what a racist this bastard was, of course they mentioned how apposed to gay rights
    because that’s kind of okay…….
    The newscaster was an African American man and then the other reporter heralded the the fact that he was a hero to the republican party……gee that’s something to be proud of now isn’t it.

  • Mr C

    Hey Charles,

    NO it’s nothing to be proud of YUK!

    However, they report those stories as such because the producer of the segment tells them to do so. So don’t blame the journalists. There are a whole lot of folks who are involved in a 1 hour segment.

    Besides I think CNN is starting to become Faux News Jr.


  • kevwyn

    the fires of hell will burn ever brighter in the eternity to follow with that dried up old biggots ass providing kindling. good riddance to bad rubbish…drama queen prob died on july1st and made the nations day his own with a date change on the death certificate.. hmm?

  • michael

    The problem is that the asshole was such a piece of shit that there is no way that it evolved enough to not be forced to reincarnate. The best we can hope for is that he will return as some sort of insect, virus or bacteria, but what whatever he comes back as it will be something that is destructive to humanity, not constructive. The wheels of Karma, do they ever stop spinning?

  • michael

    Journalist may be told what they can report, but then they do not have to do that job. How does being told to not report the truth make them any less responsible? After all isn’t that what a journalist does, report the truth? What you are saying Mr. C is that journalists are just whores with absolutely no integrity. Everyone has an excuse for their behavior and a reason not to take responsibility for it, blame someone else.

  • RPCV

    Why is there so much hatred spewed by the commenters on this topic?? Helms was entitled to his views, just like you and I. And the people of North Carolina re-elected him to the Senate numerous times; evidently they thought he did a good job.

    The 1st Amendment applied to him as well as it does you. You have your right to spew venom after he dies; he spewed his venom while he lived. Therefore, the commenters are more “justified” than he was.

    Let the man’s soul rest in peace, and take your anger to a therapist, which apparently all 15 commenters before me deperately need.

    And, just think: How would you feel if, when you die, all the people who “hate” you for being gay line up to piss on your headstone? You may have people shitting on yours. Think about it. Just a few thoughts………

  • RPCV

    Correct that: “Therefore, the commenters are NO more “justified” than he was.” I regret the inexplicable typing error.

  • CitizenGeek

    Good riddance. It’s unfortunate that there is no hell for him to burn in.

  • michael

    As a ‘resident alien’ living in America, I really think your comments are not warranted – just because you have a right to ‘free expression’ doesn’t mean you get to abuse it and in doing be part of making legislation that leads to propagating hatred against thousands of Americans (blacks, gays, etc.). Somehow in America, you think all that matters is how fellow Americans view you – don’t forget the rest of the world in the equation. The idea that such a progressive country has people like Jesse Helms elected to office is highly disturbing, Let’s hope in the coming months a black man will be president and gay marriage legislation will be expanded (as it is most civilized countries). People shall be freer and the moral majority and people like Mr. Helms won’t be able to stop the dreaming for a better America and indeed a better world.

  • Shirokuma66

    I grew up in NC and he was my senator for over 20 years. He made my life miserable (along with his hell flat mate Jerry Falwell) and I am so happy that asshole is dead. I wished he’d died long ago with something painful and long-lived, but alas, only the good die young. Agree with other comments here. He is being washed in the glow of angelic light by the media failing to mention all the harm he did. He didn’t just “not like” gays and lesbians, he despised us! He dogged us at every turn while in power. I regret that his hatred for me left me hating him and not forgiving his sorry ass.

  • Rock

    Helms was a redneck piece of trash.

    We still have those assholes James Dobson and Pat Robertson to deal with. Hopefully they will be dead soon.

  • Paul Raposo

    “And the people of North Carolina re-elected him to the Senate numerous times; evidently they thought he did a good job.”

    Clearly those voters supported hsi anti-gay and racists opinions.

    “The 1st Amendment applied to him as well as it does you.”

    And we are exercising our 1st Amendment rights, yet you wish to silence us. Bizarre.

    “Let the man’s soul rest in peace…”

    That’s up to his god to decide.

    “…and take your anger to a therapist, which apparently all 15 commenters before me deperately need.”

    RPCV, crazy people ALWAYS beleive those around them are insane, while they themselves are sane. It’s apparent whom here needs therapy.

    “How would you feel if, when you die, all the people who ‘hate’ you for being gay line up to piss on your headstone?”

    Happens every day, Jeff.

  • blake

    RCPV is a racist and a Republican. Get it? He embraces all the worst elements of Helms. Nothing that R2D2 says shocks me. He’s just the same old racist robot, spewing the hate like any other GOP automaton. If only he weren’t gay then he could be a real Republican, fully embraceable like his hero Jesse Helms, who hated gays.

    R2D2 says that Helms had a right to his opinions but doesn’t believe that others have a right to express their dislike of Helms and his evil policies.

    Does this not sound like the familiar refrain of Republicans? Free speech for Republicans! The rest of you should not use “hate speech,” blah, blah, blah.

    Helms is dead. Let God judge him for the evil deeds he committed. But somehow, I think Helms will need an ice cube or two to cool himself down.

    Finally, the fact that he was elected says nothing other than the fact that the people who elected him shared his bigoted views. Screw ’em all.

  • Jack Jett


    Honey, you know we went through this shit when that asshole Reagan died. He had a funeral that lasted two weeks. The press made a saint out of him and someone came on this board upset at our comments.

    Helms turned his back on my friends who died of AIDS. Instead of helping us find a cure, he just placed blame. You can defend him all you want in your attempt to be the Queerty Ann Coulter. However, Helms, like Falwell and Reagan will always be murderers in my mind along with old man daddy Bush.

    For you to come down on people ventiing their anger is your desparate cry for attention. So now you got it.

    If you ever lost a friend to AIDS during the 80’s your verbiage shows a total lack of respect for THEM. Why are you concerned about respect for

    Jesse Helms was a walking talking colostomy bag.
    A fucked up low life scum sucking non entity.
    A urine soaked turd. His family deserves no sympathy…or they would have stopped this idiot in his tracks.

    So now, just like Jerry Falwell, he can suck Jeffrey Dahmer’s dick in hell.

    Get it? Got it? Good!

  • todd

    Why should a racist homophobe be celebrated? He’s a relic of a shameful time in our history.

  • michael

    Hey everyone, if you see a piece of shit in a public toilet that won’t flush what do you do? Most would shut the lid and walk away. So it is the same with RCPV. Just shut the toilet lid and walk away, eventually he will make his way back to the sewers from which he
    came and where Mr. Helms now “rests in peace”. So just hold your nose and ignore him because it is beneath all of us to even acknowledge his existence.

  • ColeWake


    Helms was a pretty shitty person and deserves to be remembered as such. Death does not wash away the sins or pain inflicted by the dead. Helms might have been a nice old man to those who hung out with him and his family but what matters is how he used the power he acquired. Helms purposefully and willfully used that power to harm those he perceived to be different. He celebrated the death of our brothers by AIDS and did whatever he could to increase the number of casualties.

    The harm the Jesse Helms inflicted upon this Nation and our world will take decades to heal. His legacy of ignorance, hate, and selfishness will live one. His death is regrettable in only that it came so late. I have no guilt saying that. This man did more than just disagree with me on some issues. He worked his ass off to make my life (and that of millions of others) a living hell.

    BTW, feel free to piss on my grave when I am dead. I won’t care. I ‘ll be dead.

  • michael

    There are many viruses that have been out to destroy we gays. But we still stand. Helms was nothing but a virus, not a man, not a human, but a virus, the embodiment of a viscous, nasty disease that infected all he he touched. But despite this viruses best efforts, we gays still stand. There other viruses for us to deal with,
    Dobson, RCPV, and we will be here long after these parasites are gone.

  • Len

    I’m glad he died, and I hope it hurt.

    RCPV, are you really so effing stupid as to see no difference between a) private citzens’ comments and those of public figures and b) the rights of victims to speak out and the “rights” of victimizers to spew their hatred in the first place?

    Yes, I guess you are.

  • RPCV

    Now, isn’t this nice not having any comments from Fredo777 today? Perhaps he took my advice from an earlier posting.

    And, Blake, Jack Jett, Michael, ColeWake and Len, when referring to my comments, please type my acronym correctly – RPCV. Or, are all of you dyslexic, in addition to being riddled with inner hate for those who do not subscribe to your flawed way of thinking???

  • ColeWake


    You did a great job of addressing the issues.


  • RPCV

    ColeWake: What more needs to be said/written? Your, and the other writers, feelings about a person (be he dead or alive) are overflowing with hatred. Anyone who who has the amount of hatred that you’re spewing is, in my view, in dire need of therapy to address long-standing and engrained issues. Had you simply stated, “Oh, gosh, he died. Oh well, I never agreed with him anyway…,” that would have been fine. But, your writing indicates inner rage which can only cause you harm. I encourage you to deal with your pent-up anger and rage. Perhaps a support group is in the offing…………

  • ColeWake


    So…you ride our asses over our ‘hate’ of old man Jesse but give him a free ride on his hate of millions of GLBTs and people of color just because he is dead?

    Jesse Helms is beyond “I never agreed with him”. That’s more like our relationship. Jesse Helms ACTIVELY and GLEEFULLY sought to keep racist traditions alive and condemn gay men and women to death by government inaction.

    I reserve the level of contempt I have for Jesse Helms for a very specific group of people. It takes a whole lot to make me celebrate your passing and Jesse long passed that threshold.

    There might be echos of hate in my feelings for the dead Mr. Helms but that hate is aimed at a specific person in response to his active hate against broad swaths of the population.

    VSPR, I assume your gay, or something close, and if you are Jesse Helms HATED you. He found you vile and disgusting and deserving of a long and painful death. He wanted nothing more than to make your life a living hell. He wanted that for you, me, and everyone else on this blog. But he went beyond just wanting, he put his plans into action.

    Jesse Helm’s isn’t the conservative friend of my sister who I always fight with (I would probably cry to hear of his death). Jesse is/was a very ill-willed, mis-guided asshole who’s parting leaves the world a better place.

  • mark

    “Hey everyone, if you see a piece of shit in a public toilet that won’t flush what do you do? Most would shut the lid and walk away. So it is the same with RCPV. Just shut the toilet lid and walk away, eventually he will make his way back to the sewers from which he
    came and where Mr. Helms now “rests in peace”. So just hold your nose and ignore him because it is beneath all of us to even acknowledge his existence.”


    I may jiggle the toilet handle a few times when the stench gets too strong

  • RPCV

    Hatred never set people free; it only further bound them in their inner prison. Hard work and civil disobedience/discourse did……..

  • blake

    Reading words from R2D2 speaking against hate when he enthusiastically spews racist hate speech would be hilarious if it weren’t pathetic, inane, despicable, and all to expected of Queerty’s least favorite racist robot.

    The is Republican hate machine’s favorite line: You liberals should shut up and not say mean things about us. Whine, whine, bitch, bitch, moan, moan! But, you damned liberals had better not say anything to condemn our right to free speech free of your political correct censorship!

    Wind ’em, and look at the GOP robots go insane!

    Did anyone notice how R2D2 had nothing to say about Fred Barnes call for McCain to inject homophobia into the presidential race? Shocking! R2D2 not criticizing a white, male Republican gay basher. Who would have thunk it?


    Beep, beep, whirr! Free speech! No hate speech! No special rights for gays! Free speech for talk about Intelligent Design! No talk about gays in public schools! Free speech for gun control! Shut up about safe sex and birth control! Free speech to discuss family values! Get fired for being GLBT!

    Whirr! Beep! Beep! R2D2, get boy, now spin around and stand in the corner like a good gay Republican robot.

  • BobP

    First, RPCV is really an ultra conservative woman, who masquerades as a Gay man. This “thing” is clearly NOT a gay man. She couldn’t get her head any further up Helms dead ass if she tried. I say we all ignore every comment she makes from this point forward, since every letter she types is only meant to provoke us.
    Second, I am thrilled to think that Gay marriage and a Black man running for president sucked the last bit of life out of him. Really. Thrilling.

  • An Other Greek

    “inexplicable error” is a Freudian cliche…

    Even his inadvertent poetry is of the banal!


  • RPCV

    Blake, honey, read the Barnes post. You’re not keeping up, sweetie!!

    BTW, minorities don’t bother me, as long as they don’t commit crimes, play by the rules, are self sufficient, and lead honest, worthwhile lives. Problem is, most don’t – start by reading crime statistics……….

  • marcus

    Hey Rcyimopd whatever the fuck your name is. You keep making accusations that everyone hates, as if that is always a bad thing.
    I hate, I hate G.W, Bush, I hate the old fat fuck that just died, I hate
    ugly houses, I hate racists, I hate bigots and fascists and bad teeth
    and guess what? I hate you too! Every bone in your sub human, piece of shit body and I have absolutely no shame whatsoever telling you so or feeling so. So quit trying to put people on the defensive because they hate, because your right, I think just about everyone on this thread hates you.

  • RPCV

    Marcus, there you go again!! Spewing more hate. Why is there such an incredible amount of hate in the gay community? Do gays collectively need therapy?? And gays expect society’s recognition and acceptance, when the gays themselves can’t deal with their inner rage and project a positive, objective image? As I’ve written in numerous previous posts, the gay community, as a whole, needs to turn a new page, start a new chapter in the book of humanity, and MATURE. I really think therapy would be a good thing for the vast majority of gay people. Our collective feelings of mistreatment, subjugation, second-class status, in the past has tainted us to this day……… Shame. I think we mean well, as gays, but we just don’t have our shit together yet.

  • James


    You’re an asshole, plain and simple.

    Shame,the only shit you’ll ever have together is with that turd who lies like old dog shit some where in North Carolina, not with any of us.

  • Walsingham

    I can smell his soul burning from here.

  • Smokey Martini


    The gay community is so full of hatred precisely because they have already tried DECADES to gain acceptance and equal rights in more pacific ways (look up the Homophile movement in the 1950 and 1960s, and and the gay rights movement of the 1970s and you’ll see what I mean).

    All that came out of these simple, yet, sensible attempts to change the public mentality was a Conservative backlash in the 1980s, which resulted in hateful, discriminatory, and oftentimes death-willed speeches and law enactments brought about by Republican figures such as Jesse Helms.

    What did this backlash do? Well, it certainly brought about the childish “I’m not listening!” retoric of the Republicans to the forefront, as they attempted to silence not only the legitimate claims for gay and lesbians rights, but also the rights of African-Americans and women (among others).

    So, of course, gays and lesbians (and African-Americans, and feminists) are angry. When people don’t listen to you, you start yelling in hopes that something will funnel through the opposition’s covered ears.

    Needless to say, there are still plenty of battles to be won when it comes to gaining equal rights and equal respect, regardless of — or rather, in full recognition of — these sexual and racial differences.

    And guess who are the ones stopping this from happening by denying the (now frustrated) activists and supporting citizens of their rights?

  • michael

    The gay community does not have a monopoly on hatred. If the Gay community is so full of hatred then it is a natural reaction to the hatred it has received for eons. You act RCMP as if you are some sort of “thing” (I just cannot come to see you as a person) that is free from hatred and knows so much about therapy. You actually show how little you know. My guess is that you live in a trailer park somewhere in some red state and the closest thing to a therapist you have ever come to is Dr. Phil. You reek of the odor of white trash and somehow I think you actually believe that people find you intelligent and informed. It must be sad to spend all your days in that trailer, sitting in your recliner, collecting your disability payments you receive from that accident you had while working at Wal Mart and desperately searching for man boy love photos on the web. You definitely challenge the words of the constitution that all men are created equal, they obviously did not know you were on your way.

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