Friday, November 21, 2008

The spirit of Millicent and Lacey

The next item on the agenda is: Whither the Republican Party? (the first draft of that, homophonically, involved "wither").

Palinontology apart, there must be hope, in extremis, for a revival of the non-theocratic liberal wing. Doubtless, over its coming months and (let it be hoped) years in the political wilderness, the GOP will give us ample scope for thought, delight and commentary on just this ideological battle.

For the moment, it is nice to see Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury once again ahead of the curve. In a neat plot twist, he has managed to reintroduce the character of Lacey Davenport:

Despite Trudeau's disavowals, Lacey is generally supposed to owe something to the real-life Congresswoman Millicent Fenwick of the New Jersey Fifth District:
Elected to Congress from New Jersey in 1974 at age sixty-four, Fenwick became a media darling. Television commentator Walter Cronkite called her "the conscience of Congress." During her four terms in the House of Representatives, she emerged as arguably one of the most colorful politicians in American history. She was known for her opposition to corruption by both parties and special interest groups. She was one of the most liberal Republicans in the House.
This NJ Fifth is the northern end of the State, bordering New York, and swinging in an L-shape along the Pensylvania state-line. It is rural, confounding most of the prejudices acquired from the effluent zone towards Newark, but also embraces the commuter belt of Bergen County. It's some of that bosky greenery one sees, starboard-side, on the day-time western approach to Newark Liberty. The first representative for this district, back in 1799-1801, was Benjamin Franklin's nephew, Franklin Davenport (presumably, no relation).

The party of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, of Eisenhower and Nelson Rockefeller needs a new generation of Millicents and Laceys. To preserve a healthy democracy, it certainly deserves more intellect and breadth than its recent standard-bearers have offered. There is a roll of honour on wikipedia, those identified as RINOs. Sphere: Related Content

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