The First Session of the 107th Congress… The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

By Peyton Knight, Associate Editor

Out with the old, in with the new.

On January 24th of next year, the first session of the 107th Congress will convene. When the dust settled over Election 2000, Republicans maintained their advantage over the Democrats in the House of Representatives by the count 220 seats to 211 seats (there are two Independent Representatives and two elections still undecided as of this writing). It also appears that Republicans will maintain a slim 51 to 49 majority in the Senate (as of this writing, incumbent Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA) is leading his rival by 5,168 votes—although he has not been officially declared the winner). Much can be determined by viewing the national results of the congressional elections.

Most obviously, die-hard Clinton apologists are now trying to discern what type of cleanser is best suited to remove those oh-so-tough egg stains from their faces. Their dire post-impeachment predictions of mass Republican carnage in November were proved dead wrong. Without a doubt Dick Gephardt, who once had visions of gaining a coveted role as Speaker, is now second-guessing he and his comrades’ Rose Garden pep-rally for their wounded Bubba. Moreover, both Tennessee (Gore’s home state) and Arkansas (Clinton’s home state) rejected Gore in an overwhelming show of disapproval for this corrupt administration.

Aside from drawing conclusions from the aggregate results of the election, it is also important to view particular changes in Congress, as certain individuals will likely play key roles in a number arenas. Some of these outcomes were good, some were bad, and some were downright ugly.

The Good

Former governor, George Allen, defeated ultraliberal incumbent, Chuck Robb, in Virginia’s Senate race. This should be considered a huge victory considering the Senate is not only losing a low-life, “big brother knows best” liberal, but is also gaining a strong champion of individual rights and small government. When he was governor of Virginia, Allen was famous for his maverick conservative style. He rejected Goals 2000 money because he recognized that it was nothing but a federal money trap that the Department of Education was laying for the states. While every other governor caved to this federal bribe, Allen stood strong, making sure that Virginia schools were free operate under local control. He has also consistently opposed the wasting of resources to combat the bogus global warming threat, and has fought against radical environmentalists on many fronts. In general, Allen strongly favors tax cuts, states’ rights, and a limited federal government. These stances run in the opposite direction of former Sen. Robb.

Virginia and all of America will benefit with George Allen in the Senate. However, Allen is one of a kind, and is not likely to find many true allies on Capitol Hill. Therefore, he will need the strong backing of grassroots patriots across the nation. George Allen is only as strong as our voices are loud.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) convincingly won his bid for reelection. Rep. Paul will continue to be a hero on issues concerning privacy, free trade, and U.S. sovereignty. As long as Mr. Paul is in Congress, we will always have a strong voice of reason on Capitol Hill. He will continue to garner support for the “American Sovereignty Restoration Act” (H.R. 1146), his vital bill calling for the withdrawal of the U.S. from the U.N.

In other good news, Rep. William Goodling (R-PA) retired and his vacancy was filled by fellow Republican, Todd Platts. Rep. Goodriddance was chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee, and worked tirelessly to ensure that liberal education agendas were implemented. He was the driving force behind the infamous “Employment, Training and Literacy Enhancement Act” which not only strengthened the Department of Education but also combined it with the Department of Labor. Back-to-basics education and allowing locally elected boards decide what’s best for their schools were always foreign concepts to Rep. Goodling. He much preferred that unaccountable, federal bureaucrats keep vigil—despite their constant failure. Goodbye, William. The teachers’ unions may miss you, but America’s children won’t.

The Bad

Just as we must rejoice in the defeat of our enemies, we must also mourn the loss of our allies.

Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage (R-ID) made good on her campaign promise of a self-imposed term limit. In losing her, property rights advocates have perhaps lost their best voice in the House. Rep. Chenoweth-Hage was one of the most vocal leaders in the fight against the biggest land grab in recent memory—the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA). She also fought side by side with Rep. Ron Paul to protect our national sovereignty from the United Nations.

Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO) lost his reelection bid to deceased democrat, Mel Carnahan. (When President Ronald Reagan was nearly assassinated in 1981, he quipped afterwards that being shot was great for his approval rating. Apparently dying is political gold.) Sen. Ashcroft was a staunch opponent of national I.D. card legislation and a privacy rights champion. He was also a leader in the battle against President Clinton’s infamous “Federalism” executive order—an order that would have destroyed the Tenth Amendment by allowing the federal government to trample states’ rights.

Only one of the House impeachment managers, so highly targeted by vengeful liberals, was defeated. Rep. James Rogan (R-CA) lost a tight battle to Democratic challenger Adam Schiff. He will be missed. When bombarded with questions during the campaign concerning his role in the impeachment hearings, Rep. Rogan stood tall and was unapologetic, fully knowing that he had done the right thing and upheld his constitutional duty. In the end, he lost only because the borders of his congressional district were redrawn to include highly liberal constituencies.

Rep. Marge Roukema (R-NJ) was reelected to represent New Jersey’s 5th congressional district. Having already served as a subcommittee chair on the House Banking Committee, Rep. Roukema is now openly seeking chairmanship of the Banking Committee. This is terrible news for financial privacy advocates. Rep. Roukema is well known for her love of strict federal oversight over private financial institutions. She is an enthusiastic advocate of the dreadful bill, H.R. 3886 (The International Counter-Money Laundering Act), which calls for citizens’ most private financial information to be monitored by the federal government. If Marge obtains chairmanship of this powerful committee, we will certainly have many tough battles ahead—if we are to defend this most vital enclave of our privacy.

The Ugly

Hillary Rodham Clinton defeated Rick Lazio to capture New York’s open Senate seat. This could only happen in New York—a state whose constituency places more value on celebrity status than the actual ability and sincerity of the individual. Larry Flynt would fare well in this state.

Unfortunately, we can forget about Hillary restricting her leftist ambitions to the borders of New York. Expect her to concentrate solely on legislation that is national in scope and socialist in concept. You see, future presidential candidates need to hog the national spotlight. Hillary is no different. It’s only a matter of time before she resuscitates her dead and bloated socialized health care scheme from ’94. Think she wouldn’t dare? Almost before the last balloon hit the ground at her victory party, Hillary was denouncing the Electoral College and placing herself above the genius of our Founding Fathers and the Constitution. “I believe strongly that in a democracy we should respect the will of the people, and to me that means it’s time to do away with the Electoral College and move to the popular election of our Presidents,” she pontificated. She hasn’t even rearranged the furniture in her new office—yet already she’s proposing a constitutional amendment that would destroy the delicate balance of power that our Founders envisioned! Furthermore, Hillary is apparently unaware that we do not reside in a “democracy”, rather a constitutional republic where the inherent rights of the individual are protected from the selfish desires of the masses. This is a very, very dangerous woman.

Thwarting the evil schemes of Hillary and company will rest on the shoulders of Republican leadership. Sadly, these shoulders appear narrow and weak considering Trent “can’t we all just get along” Lott is likely to be re-anointed Senate Majority Leader. But who knows…Hillary in the Senate could just be the political Viagra that Sen. Lott so badly needs.

The Coming Year

The first session of the 107th Congress shows all the signs of being one of the most divisive in recent memory. The Democrats will fight harder than ever to continue Clinton’s agenda. Senate Minority Leader, Tom Daschle (D-SD) has already demanded “shared power” in the Senate due to the Republicans’ slim majority. Clearly, the left is not going to take their minority status lying down. They will fight tooth-and-nail to form coalitions with liberal Republicans like Connie Morella of Maryland and Christopher Shays of Connecticut—in hopes of pulling the political tide further to the left. For reasons such as these, grassroots conservative patriots must fight harder than ever. For many years, Americans have watched their individual rights and liberty slowly erode under the stream of liberal attacks. Enough is enough. For the good of the country, conservatives in Congress must draw a line in the sand and stand ready to defend it.

Tom DeWeese
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Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.