Compromise and collegiality were hallmarks, but got him pushed aside by his caucus in the 1990s
Illinois Rep. Robert H. Michel, pictured at a news conference on Aug. 2, 1989, served as House Republican leader for nearly 14 years. (Laura Patterson/CQ Roll Call Archive Photo)
Robert H. Michel, who as the House minority leader from 1981 until his 1994 retirement became the longest-serving congressional Republican leader who never experienced majority power, died Friday. He was 93 and had lived on Capitol Hill much of the time since stepping down after 19 terms representing central Illinois.
Michel epitomized the congressional Old School in nearly every way, which worked to his advantage for almost all of his four decades in office. He prized collegiality, collaboration, civility and courtesy as essential political virtues. He evidenced a steady reverence for the institutional prerogatives, customs and limitations of what he fondly termed “the people’s House.”