Posts Tagged ‘Lee Hamilton’
September 17th, 2010 at 1:45 pm
David Ignatius Misses the Point

See if you can spot the missing detail in Washington Post columnist David Ignatius’s profile of former congressman Lee Hamilton (D-IN).

Lee Hamilton remembers that when he came to Washington 45 years ago as a freshman Democrat from Indiana, he made a dumb parliamentary error that would have scuttled the bill he was advocating. The House Republican leader at the time, Gerald Ford, sent over one of his colleagues to help Hamilton fix the mistake.

The story sounds almost unbelievable in today’s bitterly partisan climate, and Hamilton smiles and shakes his head as he tells it. Was there really a time like that, when party interests were subordinate to making the country work? And how could the America of 2010, a nation with an increasingly dysfunctional political system, ever get back to that Arcadia?

If you’re wondering which bill Hamilton gaffed, you’re on the right track.  Ignatius conveniently glosses over the fact that a freshman in Congress is more likely than any other member to get a pass – or in Hamilton’s case, an assist – when he botches procedure.  Why?  Because a freshman member of Congress won’t be within a 100 miles of steering important legislation.

Hamilton’s vignette shouldn’t be the jumping off point that it is for reeling Democrats like Ignatius to pine for the days when people got the benefit of the doubt, so long as they’re trying to “make the country work.”  If that’s really Ignatius’s position, then I look forward to his next profile of any of the U.S. Senate Tea Party candidates who are trying to “make the country work” by getting the federal budget balanced and reducing taxes.