July 15, 2010

(Millicent Fenwick - when quirky meant quirky and not mental)

I doubt very many people remember who Millicent Fenwick was. Aside from various references to the Doonesbury character Lacey Davenport, Fenwick is all but forgotten. She had the dubious distinction of being a Liberal Republican (an extinct species of politician) and an ardent pipe smoker.

In this 1987 interview done by Judy Muller of CBS News for the Radio series Newsmark, Fenwick talks about her time in Congress and the Senate, her defeat in the recent election by Frank Launtenburg and the state of politics.

Millicent Fenwick: “I think this whole business of the cost of campaigns has gotten absolutely out of hand. We are really getting to a position where people are forced either to have enormous private fortunes, which the Supreme Court has said they can spend to any extent that they wish, or get paid.”

“What do we want to say about Congress? Are they going to be full of rich people and people who’ve been paid? Where are the people with families and moderate incomes? How are they going to be able to manage it?

Shortly after the interview Fenwick was diagnosed with Altzheimer's and died in 1993. It is impossible to imagine someone like her on Capitol Hill today and it begs the question of just far wrong its all gone.

Maybe not so quirky, but we could do with some semblance of rigorous honesty, no?
Just asking.

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