House Party for the Right
Wagner, David, Insight on the News
The 1996 election results did not discourage conservatives. The presidential defeat, though not welcome, was at any rate no surprise; besides, younger conservatives are just as glad to have Bob Dole off the scene. Washington seers say its a generational thing: Older conservatives are more likely to cut the "prairie pragmatist" some slack.
But what really has excited conservatives is Congress. Though the GOP suffered a net loss of six-to-nine seats (some still are in the nail-biter category as of this writing), the overwhelming feeling among conservatives is that of having dodged a bullet. Labor unions admit to having invested at least $35 million in their effort to defeat GOP freshmen and return control of Congress to the Democrats, and they failed. There are differing views on what caused the Republicans to retain control of the House) Some say it was Doles final 96-hour campaign blitz) others believe it was the emergence of the Indonesian campaign-contributions scandal. But there is a widespread sense that the nation came very close to seeing a renewed Democratic majority in the House and Dick Gephardt as the new speaker.
Instead, the unions wounded the GOP majority without killing it. That's like wounding a tiger and chasing it into the bush. Chances are, when the new House takes up campaign-finance reform next year, big-labor leaders looking up from the witness table will find some very angry tigers peering down at them.
Furthermore, even in the House, numerous strongly conservative freshmen representatives survived, including Arizona's Matt Salmon, John Shadegg and (after a close call) J.D. Hayworth, Idaho's Helen Chenoweth, Indiana's John Hostettler, David McIntosh and Mark Souder, Mississippi's Roger Wicker; Nebraska's Jon Christensen; New York's Mike Forbes; Ohio's Steve Chabot; Oklahoma's Steve Largent and J.C. Watts, Florida's Joe Scarborough and Dave Weldon; Georgia's Bob Bart and Charlie Norwood; Tennessee's Zach Wamp and Van Hilleary; leary; and Washington's Rick White, Doc Hastings and George Nethercutt.
Also reelected, of course, was the congressman from the Atlanta airport - Newt Gingrich.
Jon D. Fox, the conservative Republican …
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Publication information: Article title: House Party for the Right. Contributors: Wagner, David - Author. Magazine title: Insight on the News. Volume: 12. Issue: 46 Publication date: December 9, 1996. Page number: 8+. © 1999 News World Communications, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1996 Gale Group.
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