HONORING THE CLASS OF '94By Chuck BaldwinJuly 9, 2002NewsWithViews.com
The announcement by Oklahoma Representative, J. C. Watts, that he would not seek reelection is the latest departure from the House of Representatives by a member of the sublime freshman class of 1994. In our lifetimes, we will never know a finer group of freshmen congressmen. Never!
The election of newcomers such as Joe Scarborough, Helen Chenowith, and Steve Largent was doubtless the high water mark for congressional elections for the entire 20th Century. Such a phenomenon will probably never be repeated.
For one thing, the freshman class of '94 was not comprised of professional politicians. The vast majority of them never planned on making a career out of being a House member. They were driven by principle, not politics. One could even say they were crusaders. They each went to Capitol Hill with a plan: stop Bill Clinton, reduce the size and scope of the federal government, and promote the principles of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.
Scarborough and Company literally took Washington by storm! For the first time in a long time, elitist party wonks and opportunistic bureaucrats were forced to deal with men and women of courage, principle, and passion. For a few months there, we actually got a glimpse of what America was supposed to look like. The revolution did not live long, however.
Establishment leaders such as Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott railroaded the conservative revolution being led by the '94 House freshman class. By the end of 1995, the conservative agenda that had launched the greatest Republican congressional victory in over 70 years was scrapped. The party then quickly returned to its "everybody-get-along, don't-make-anybody-mad" ways of compromise and appeasement.
Since 1995, the Republican Party has more resembled a group of pathetic pussycats, and the results are predictable. The ideals of those dynamic and daring revolutionaries are forgotten. Even though they are outnumbered, Democrats control the entire political agenda. Most Republicans in Washington these days wouldn't know the Tenth Amendment (along with the rest of the Constitution and Bill of Rights) if it came up and bit their jackass.
Therefore, some eight years after the great freshman class of '94 took office, only a handful remains in Congress. Some of them capitulated. Most of them have gone home. They probably would not say it publicly, but they were tired of being sold out by their own party leaders, tired of being bullied by committee chairmen, tired of standing alone against a hostile media and thankless public. Who can blame them?
Personally, I will always revere the memory of those days when a small group of principled, patriotic champions picked up the Constitution and Declaration of Independence and marched into Washington, D.C., with the kind of grit and determination that would make Patrick Henry and Teddy Roosevelt proud! Despite their short tenure, they doubtless added several years of freedom to America's future. All of us owe all of them a great deal of thanks.
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Chuck Baldwin is Founder-Pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida. In 1985 the church was recognized by President Ronald Reagan for its unusual growth and influence.
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