The last time I had the privilege of meeting the late Sen. Mike Mansfield (D-MT) (1903-2001) was when I introduced him at an event about four years before he died. In addition to his 16 years as the U.S. Senate Majority Leader, after he retied from the Senate he also served 11 years as U.S. Ambassador to Japan under both Presidents Carter and Reagan. He was a completely decent gentleman who was very widely respected in both parties. In his role as Democratic Leader of the Senate from 1961 to 1977, he was everything that the current majority leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is not.
The contrast between Mansfield and Reid could not be more sharp. Sen. Mansfield showed his respect for colleagues in both parties at all times whereas Sen. Reid barely lets any day go by without some sharp partisan attack on anyone who differs with his opinions or those of the Obama Administration. Mansfield was courteous and polite where Reid is pointlessly rude and vulgar. Mansfield worked with his Republican counterpart and my late boss Sen. Everett M. Dirksen (R-IL) in an authentic bipartisan manner whereas Reid damages the institution of the Senate every day with his hyper partisan rule or ruin policies. Sen. Mansfield understood the importance of letting the other party offer amendments on the floor whereas Reid routinely rejects even debate on any amendments he does not like.
Mansfield was a mature and wise leader but Reid is a childish and partisan scoundrel who is an embarrassment to his colleagues. The most tragic result of the Harry Reid mean and clown-like behavior is that he so greatly has undermined the prestige of the Senate and set a new low in standards for what once upon a time was a great deliberative body.