THESE REPUBLICAN FRESHMEN were different from any that had come before them. Not only were they different from the Democrats; they were different from the senior members of their own party. For one thing, Hilleary and his classmates were considerably younger. Almost 60 percent of them had not yet turned 45. They were a new generation. The first Republican president of their adult lives was Ronald Reagan. Reagan was a God to them, a religion. He represented a shining example of what the Republican Party should stand for. Most of them would say without hesitation that he was one of the finest presidents in history.
Never mind that they had arrived in Washington specifically to fix the mess that Ronald Reagan had begun, with his tax cuts, military spending on steroids, and unchecked government growth. It was under Ronald Reagan that the federal deficit first hit $200 billion. But never mind that. It was what Reagan represented, not what he really was, that they loved--that clean-cut, gung-ho, America-first, pro-business, shining-city-on-a-hill thing he had going. They loved it because that was who they were, too. They did seem much angrier than Reagan ever was, though. And louder.
Many of the freshmen had small business backgrounds, had started their own companies--insurance and accounting firms, construction and real estate businesses, restaurants, a winery. A lot of them made more money before they were elected than the $133,600 they would receive as members of the House. They didn't look at getting elected to Congress as a career or a promotion; they had good lives back home. They saw it as a mission.
Half of them had never before held elected office of any kind--nothing, not even a seat on the school board. They were not big believers that government was the an
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Publication information: Book title: The Freshmen:What Happened to the Republican Revolution?. Contributors: Linda Killian - Author. Publisher: Westview Press. Place of publication: Boulder, CO. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 13.
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