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Reply #3: Frank Rich has a way with words. The way he breaks down the class of 94 is ...er... rich! [View All]

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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-19-09 08:17 PM
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3. Frank Rich has a way with words. The way he breaks down the class of 94 is ...er... rich!
The class of 94 gave us J.D. Hayworth and Bob Ney of the Jack Abramoff casino-lobbying scandals. Ney, a House committee chairman, did 17 months in jail. It gave us the sexual adventurers Mark Sanford, John Ensign and Mark Foley. (All these distinguished gentlemen voted for articles of impeachment, as did Gingrich, their randy role model.) The class of 94 also included a black Republican, J. C. Watts, who at least had the integrity to leave Congress in 2003 to become a bona fide lobbyist rather than go on a K Street lobbyists payroll while still in public office. He was a fleeting novelty; theres been no black Republican elected to either chamber of Congress since. Today the G.O.P.s token black is its party chairman, Michael Steele, who last week unveiled his latest strategy for recruiting minority voters. My plan is to say, Yall come! he explained, adding I got the fried chicken and potato salad!

Among Sotomayors questioners, both Coburn and Lindsey Graham are class of 94. They along with Jeff Sessions, a former Alabama attorney general best known for his unsuccessful prosecutions of civil rights activists set the Republicans tone last week. In one of his many cringe-inducing moments, Graham suggested to Sotomayor that she had a temperament problem and advised that maybe these hearings are a time for self-reflection. Thats the crux of the 94 spirit, even more than its constant, whiny refrain of white victimization: Hold others to a standard that you would not think of enforcing on yourself or your peers. Self-reflection may be mandatory for Sotomayor, but it certainly isnt for Graham.

In his 94 Congressional campaign in South Carolina, Graham made a big deal of promising to enact term limits. At the Clinton impeachment, he served as a manager of the prosecution. That was then, and this is now. Graham hasnt even term-limited himself an action he could have taken at any time unilaterally and his pronouncements on marital morality (unencumbered by any marital attachments of his own) are a study in relativism. On Meet the Press, he granted absolution to his 94 classmate Sanford, now his states governor, for abusing his office with his taxpayer-financed extramarital trade mission to Argentina. I think the people of South Carolina will give him a second chance, he said, as long as Jenny and Mark can get back together. Maybe Graham judges the Sanfords by a more empathetic standard than the Clintons because the Republican lieutenant governor who would replace Sanford is already fending off rumors that hes gay.

Graham has also given a pass to his 94 classmate Ensign, now a Nevada senator. Ensign not only committed adultery with an employee but sat by as his wealthy parents gave the mistress and her cuckolded husband nearly $100,000 to ease their pain. Ensigns lawyer deflected questions that this beneficence might be hush money by claiming it was part of the senior Ensigns pattern of generosity.

When asked about these unsavory matters, Graham said that an ethics investigation of Ensign isnt high among his priorities. This moral abdication still puts him on a higher plane than Coburn, who has been a murky broker in Ensigns sexcapades. The husband of Ensigns mistress told The Las Vegas Sun that Coburn urged Ensign to give him and his wife more than $1 million to pay off their mortgage and move them to a new life. Too bad no one thought of that one for the Contract With America.
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