Broder-Wan Senses A Great Disturbance In The Force

August 2nd, 2007at 11:13pm Posted by Eli

…As if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.

It is rare that a retirement announcement by a single back-bench member of the minority party in the House of Representatives sends shock waves through the whole chamber. But that was the reaction last week when Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois put out word that this would be his final term.

…[H]e embodies the characteristics that make the House work as an institution. He takes care of his constituent duties, he carries more than his share of the legislative workload, and — most important — he cultivates the kind of personal relationships that build trust across partisan and ideological lines.

In this era of polarized politics, fewer and fewer members of the House fit that description. So when LaHood, who is only 61, announced that he is leaving after seven terms, it signaled trouble for the House — if not for his Republican Party.


This is a man so thoroughly schooled in the rules of procedure, and so trusted by both Republicans and Democrats, that he was the natural choice to preside over the House during the explosive days when it was debating the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

That seems a rather strange endorsement of his bipartisan civility… On the other hand, I’m pretty sure Broder thought Clinton’s impeachment was a good thing…

[A]fter 30 years on one House payroll or another, LaHood said, “The tone is very negative and disheartening. The decibel level is the highest I’ve heard in politics.”

Soon after he became a member, LaHood served as a Republican sponsor of a bipartisan family retreat — a weekend get-together for House members and their families. The idea, he said, was that “if you befriend somebody, you’re far less likely to quarrel.”

Two years ago, when he and a Democratic friend tried to revive the idea, they found so few people willing to participate that they abandoned it. “That was my biggest disappointment,” he said.

LaHood has kept his own friendships across the partisan divide, with Illinois Democrats such as Rahm Emanuel, Dick Durbin and Barack Obama– and with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. “But people at home are so disenchanted with Congress because all they see is us yapping at each other.”


To [LaHood’s mentor], the harsh, personal rhetoric of ideological warfare had no place in his office, no place in the House and no place in American politics.”

It is a shame when the House no longer holds on to a member such as Ray LaHood, who understands and lives that lesson.

I blame the liberal bloggers for poisoning the tone in Washington with all their whining about “Oh, we should respect the Constitution,” and “Boo hoo, we should get out of Iraq just because our troops are getting killed and maimed for no good reason.” If you can’t say anything nice…

Entry Filed under: Media,Wankers

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