He represented Texas — which is more than can be said of most of those who say they do so now, either in Austin or in DC.
Although he was not a perfect politician, and although some of the things he worked hardest for ultimately didn’t go the way he hoped,
at least some of that has to be laid at the feet of the US Government that refused to follow through on opportunities Charlie’s work created.
Wilson, known as the “Liberal from Lufkin,” represented the 2nd District from 1972 to 1996. He became known as “Goodtime Charlie” because of his lifestyle, but was known locally for helping bring a Veterans Administration clinic to Lufkin and helping establish the Big Thicket National Preserve, KTRE reported.
“Charlie loved this nation and had deep respect and gratitude for the men and women who defended her; he was a force for Veterans his entire career. Throughout his life, this was evident in his thoughts, words, and deeds,” said Dr. Anthony Zollo, director of the VA outpatient clinic that bears Wilson’s name. “The VA is a richer organization because of Mr. Wilson. He will be deeply missed.”
Wilson, a Democrat, was considered a progressive but also a defense hawk. He had acknowledged some responsibility for Afghanistan becoming a safe haven for al-Qaida after the Soviets retreated and the U.S. withdrew its support.
“That caused an enormous amount of real bitterness in Afghanistan and it was probably the catalyst for Taliban movement,” Wilson said in a 2001 interview.
Charlie Wilson’s War is a Tom Hanks movie from a couple of years ago. It skims a bit over the Congressman’s role in opposing the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. But that a Texas Congressman with a rep for larger-than-life partying isn’t necessarily ALWAYS going to be the Tom DeLay model, here’s another picture of Charlie Wilson, in Afghanistan, in his prime.