Jesse Helms (1929—2008), aka "Senator No," was the utterly batshit loony U.S. Senator from North Carolina for far too many years. Due to his stand on racial issues, he was often referred to as "the Senator from South Africa." Basically, he was racist, homophobic, pro-life, and ultra-conservative on every issue imaginable. Examples include an attempted filibuster of Martin Luther King Day, and crackpot opinions on the HIV crisis. He made Richard Nixon look liberal by comparison.
He is also the author, in many ways, of American post-Cold War unilateralism, often railing against the United Nations and anything else that undercut American "sovereignty." This put him directly at odds with the administration of Bill Clinton, and Helms was known to use scorched-earth parliamentary tactics to get his way, even holding up the nomination of a Republican governor who was to be ambassador to Mexico.
He opposed Roberta Achtenberg as assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, because she was a "damn lesbian." He later threatened to never let gay philanthropist James Hormel get a confirmation hearing on his ambassadorial nomination by President Clinton. Helms even ranted against the U.S. Postal Service for a postmark commemorating the Stonewall riots. “Bosh and nausea and a pox upon whoever in the postal service made this irrational decision,” Helms said — not while mixing a potion, but from the floor of the Senate in 1989.