Thirty-eight years ago, I left one of the best jobs a newspaperman could have to become an appointee in a Congressional office in Washington, DC.
When I left The Telegraph daily newspaper in Alton, IL, in 1981, I was a columnist who also shot photos and covered pretty much whatever I wanted for the paper on the Illinois side of the metropolitan area of St. Louis. I accepted an offer to become press secretary and legislative assistant to Rep. Paul Findley (R-Ill.)
I told myself that the gig would be a sabbatical from journalism for more than two or three years to learn how the government worked from the inside.
Instead, it became a lesson on how the environment in Washington seduces someone to become a political operative. After Findley’s appointment, I took a position as a “special communications” operative for Rep. Manuel Lujan of New Mexico, then later became chief of staff to Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana while also working as a field representative for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
I wrote the daily “Voice for Victory” report for president Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign in 1984, consulted on campaigns in Texas and New Mexico, taught classes at the American Campaign Academy, which trained staff members for GOP campaigns.
Lujan brought me back to Capitol Hill to serve as his Special Assistant to the Ranking Member of the House Committee from Science & Technology for two years before the National Association of Realtors recruited me to serve as Vice President for Political Programs. From that post, I ran what was then the largest political action committee (PAC) in the nation.
Such jobs have me traveling the world to attend the Paris Air Show, meet with the Russians in Vienna when they released their report on the nuclear plant meltdown at Chernobyl and investigate the tragedy of the Space Shuttle Columbia.
My wife and I vacationed at exotic places, visited Rome, Isreal, England, the Far East and every continent on the globe. We attended presidential dinners, dance alongside George H.W. and Barbara Bush at his inaugural ball at Union Station. She worked with Al Pacino and others on a Lincoln Center celebration of Lee Stausberg.
My planned two or three years inside the political system of Washington turned into a dozen before I walked away from that life, joined Alcoholics Anonymous and returned to the world of journalism. I worked for Republicans for most of those years but never joined any political party. I was, and still, am, a political agnostic.
I saw the Republican takeover of Congress and the hardcore partisanship of Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House and what I saw sickened me and made me regret ever working for such people. I did it for the money, not political beliefs, but I also left as an alcoholic who could no longer drink enough to down out my hypocrisy.
I watched, from the inside, as the Republican Party abandoned its claimed values and sank into the toxic embrace of Donald John Trump — a vile, despicable, corrupt con man who milks the U.S. Treasury for his personal gain and sells out this country to our enemies while defiling out allies and the Constitution.
As a newspaperman, I now work daily to report on — and expose — the traitorous actions of both Trump and the Republican Party that sits idly by and assists him in destroying what is left of America.
Trump and treasonous Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell should be in jail, not in the halls of power in Washington.
They are the true enemies of America and should be treated as such.
I know. For too long, I was part of this villainous gang that robbed, pillaged and worked to destroy America.
I woke up. Will they?
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