Thirty-six years ago, I sat alone in Ron Paul’s office in Washington. It was New Year’s Eve. I had volunteered to stay late to hold down the fort. No one else had joined me. The new Congress would begin the following Monday. Ron Paul would not be part of it. He had lost by 268 votes out of 180,000 the previous November.
It was graveyard duty for a graveyard office. There would be a few phone calls, but none of them would be important. Everyone on the staff knew that. But someone had to answer them. I decided to be the sacrificial lamb.
I sat in the front office. Normally, I was in the back-up office down the hall and around several corners. Dr. John Robbins and I did the writing. He did the legislative analysis. I wrote the weekly newsletters and did economic research. I occasionally wrote a position paper: a minority report. I mean really minority: a minority of one sometimes. There was a third staffer, Edith Schlesinger. She dealt with constituents’ problems. She had been on the previous Congressman’s staff. He had resigned in April to take a bureaucratic post. Ron Paul won the interim election.
I did not have a job lined up on January 3. I might have gotten a job with newly elected Congressman Dan Quayle. His old buddy M. Stanton Evans had recommended me. Evans and I were old friends. Quayle had told his newly appointed Administrative Assistant to interview me. I had gone in for the interview. I had handed him a copy of my book, An Introduction to Christian Economics.
Quayle never called me. Odd. Quayle later asked Evans why I had not come in for an interview. It was clear that the AA had seen me as a threat — correctly — and had told Quayle that I had not come in.
From the day Quayle arrived in Washington, he was not in charge. Few Congressmen ever are. Their AA’s run the show by screening who gets through to see their employers. I wrote about this in a career bridge-burning article: “Confessions of a Washington Reject.”
I do not know what happened to that ideological gray sludge AA. Quayle later hired neoconservative Bill Kristol to run his Senate office. I had known Kristol since 1969. I don’t think I would have survived. I am not a neoconservative.
I got out of Washington while the getting was good. My career path changed. My newsletter took off in 1978, after four years of bumping along. I still write Remnant Review every month for subscribers of GaryNorth’s Specific Answers. But I have never looked back, career-wise. Leaving Washington was my deliverance.
I did not guess that Ron Paul in 1978 would defeat the man who defeated him in 1976. I did not guess that he would run for the Republican Party’s nomination for President in 2008 and again in 2011-12. Who could have foreseen this? Not Ron Paul, surely.
That afternoon, a newly elected Congressman came by with some of his staffers. He had been assigned the office. It was not a fancy office when compared to other offices. The Congressman with the lowest seniority was Ron Paul, so the office was a “starter” office. The new Congressman was James Leach. He was from Iowa. He was a Republican. He served for the next 30 years.
He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2008, he broke ranks and supported Obama. He spoke at the Democrats’ National Convention. President Obama appointed him Chairman of the National Endowment of the Humanities, a position which he still holds.
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