Tags: mccain

We Pass on McCain at Our Own Peril

Wednesday, 13 Feb 2008 09:33 AM

By Phil Brennan

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Cain killed Abel because he didn't approve of his being on good terms with God and ended up wandering in the wilderness. A lot of my fellow conservatives want to kill the candidacy of John McCain, thus electing a Democrat, and if they have their way, they'll have all of us wandering around in the political wilderness.

I doubt any of them have any idea of what that wilderness is like. I do. Unlike the majority of them, I've been there. And I have the scars to prove it.

Back in the 60s I worked for the GOP leadership on Capitol Hill. Republicans were so deep in the minority sometimes you needed a guide to locate one. And in those days, the status of the Republican minority was somewhat akin to the status of African Americans in the Deep South. Segregation was the rule and it was the Republicans who were segregated.

We were allowed to use the same men's rooms and drink out of the same water fountains as the majority membership, but only at their grudging assent. No African American today would put up with the humiliating treatment we endured under the Democratic majority. In their eyes, our presence there, as minimal was it was, represented an affront to their cherished belief that we had absolutely no right to intrude on what they saw as their divinely ordained turf.

They were the kings of the Hill, Republicans were the serfs, to be seen but never to be heard.

I am not overstating the case. Republicans got the short end of the stick on everything from minority staffing on the committees even to giving official status to the Republican Policy Committee where I was one of three staff members.

That meant that in order to compensate us for our labors, the staff director, a Ph.D., was put on the minority staff payroll as a clerk, our secretary was on the payroll of the GOP whip, and I was on the payrolls of 10 Republicans under the strange rules that governed House payrolls at the time. I never knew when a member had taken me off his payroll until payday.

For stationary and supplies we got care packages from individual members. Our offices consisted of three small rooms in the New House Office building basement, alongside the entrance to the barber shop, and it was shown on the Capitol architect's list of locations as a broom closet.

One member described my office as my having wall-to-wall feet. Behind my desk was a wall behind which was a ladies room. All day long I listened to toilets being flushed.

And this was the committee charged with developing Republican policy on the major issues before the Congress.

The attitude of the Democrat majority towards the minority was one of barely concealed contempt. For them, the mere presence of Republicans in their midst was a outrage created by the misinformed voters of the handful of congressional districts that were so badly out of step with the times that they chose Republicans to represent them.

The Democrats set upon a mission to correct their unforgivable error by seeing to it that their elected representative was barely able to express his constituent's will on the Hill. When it came to enacting legislation, the Republicans were considered off limits. You could either go along with the majority or go to hell.

All of this came about because the Democrat majority was so large they could do anything they wanted, and what they wanted was to deny Republicans a voice in deciding what was good for America. Democrats, in other words were anything but democratic. They were tyrants.

I don't deny that there were friendly relationships between individual Democrat and Republican members, but the atmosphere on the Hill between members as Democrats or Republicans was poisonous.

Peggy Noonan recently recalled that in these days everybody in Washington was drunk. She was largely correct. If so Republicans on the Hill were driven to drink. But Democrats drank too. A lot.

Speaker Sam Rayburn used to host a daily gathering in his office he called his "Board of Education." Harry Truman was often a guest, and the guests imbibed prodigious amounts of booze.

The Democrats were able to be tyrants then because of their huge numbers.

If conservative Republicans choose to play Cain and slay McCain by taking a walk in November, the disparity between the Democratic and Republican membership will be far greater than it is today. You'll need a private detective to locate a GOP congressman on Capitol Hill. And Democratic tyranny on the House side will be reborn, along with legislation that will outdo even Karl Marx's wildest dreams.

You can bet on it.

Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist and World War II Marine who writes for Newsmax.com. He is editor and publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://WWW.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist for National Review magazine in the 1960s.

He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska. He is also a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association For Intelligence Officers.

He can be reached at pvb@pvbr.com.

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