Friday, August 31, 2007

Congressman Jim Leach

One of the last honest Republicans no longer is an office holder.

This is the latest in my Friday series in which I try to find something positive about a Republican. It's hard work. And getting harder every day.

This week's selection, Jim Leach, no longer holds public office. But he represented the 2nd district of Iowa in the state's east central and southeast area for 30 years, from 1977 to 2007.

Here is an outline of his career:
  • Educated at Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University and the London School of Economics.
  • A foreign service officer with the Department of State; a member of the U.S. delegations to the Geneva Disarmament Conference and the United Nations General Assembly,
  • A business executive and director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board before winning a House seat in the 1976 elections.
  • He favored abortion rights and gay rights.
  • He supports strong environmental measures.
  • He was the only House Republican to vote against the 2003 tax cut.
  • Leach was among the six House Republicans who voted, on 10-Oct-02, against authorizing the invasion of Iraq. Leach had been one of the few Republicans in Congress reluctant to support continued expansion of the US military role in Iraq.
  • After his defeat for reelection in 2006, his name floated as a potential replacement to John Bolton as Ambassador to the United Nations, with wide support from both sides of aisle. (However, Bush gave the nod to NeoCon Zalmay Khalilzad.)
  • Jim Leach is currently a visiting professor at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School.
But the real reason I am hoisting his name up to the marquee in my pages is that I suspect that he was the GOP Congressman who refused to play by Tom DeLay's and Karl Rove's rules with push-polling and like dirty tricks. I suspect he's the Republican 2006 candidate who was punished by being denied Republican resources, and lost because of it. I can't find the source, but that is my recollection.

5 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Messenger said...

I hate to do this, but I think Mathew Iglesias does this better than you:

Veteran congressman Jim Leach went down to defeat in the massacre of 2006. I'm no apologist for "moderate Republicans" but it is worth saying that Leach was, in my estimation, fairly clearly the best House Republican. Nevertheless, one can only be thrilled with his defeat. That it happened just goes to show how fundamentally rotten the whole GOP scene had become. Leach was, in many ways, a person possessed of genuinely decent instincts and some fundamentally sound ideas about how the United States should conduct itself in the world.

Nevertheless, in practice he was useless. His presence in the congress did the world no good whatsoever. He'd be more valuable as a professional talking head or stashed away in some think tank somewhere. Whether his total inability to affect the direction of the country was due to a lack of personal courage and savvy, or simply a consequence of the structure of contemporary American conservative politics I couldn't really say. But useless is what he'd become, and a Democratic vote in the House will be useful. Chuck Hagel, who's very much the Jim Leach of the Senate, ought to take a good, hard look at this -- he, like Leach, has for years now been saying many good things and doing essentially no good at all. Unless he can find a way to actually impact the country, he'll deserve to land in the ash heap of history every bit as much as Leach did.

Sign of the Times

8/31/2007 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

Be nice to others, Messenger.

8/31/2007 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Pink Liberty said...

Interesting analysis of a moderate's downfall. Holding Chuck Hagel up as Leach's counterpart in the Senate seems ill conceived. It is my understanding that Hagel is rightwing in his social politics, and also financial interests in an electronic voting machine company. Not a progressive, by any stretch, and at worst a big part of the blanket of fraud that the GOP has weaved through this country--perhaps that's how he retains HIS seat.

8/31/2007 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Pink Liberty said...

Here's a link to the Hagel info:

common dreams

8/31/2007 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Kentucky Rain said...

I have to agree. As Republicans go he could have been a Democrat. I am sorry to see him go.odcwqn

9/03/2007 09:15:00 AM  

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