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Defeated Republican Congressman Explains How We're All Screwed

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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You've maybe never heard of Wayne Gilchrest, but the guy's been kicking around Congress as a rank-and-file Republican from Maryland for almost two decades. He soon won't be, though, having been defeated in a primary earlier this year by a more conservative opponent. This is something of a bummer because Gilchrest always came off as one of the better guys on Capitol Hill, smart, unassuming, and in general a stark contrast to many of his elected colleagues. And while he was a decorated combat veteran, unlike other war-serving congressional fat-mouths (Jack Murtha, John McCain), Gilchrest seemed content to have people support him because of his work on wetlands preservation and not simply because he took a bullet in the chest while fighting in Vietnam.

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The upside to Gilchrest's impending exit from Congress is that he now feels much freer, apparently, to defy the important political rule against saying what you really think. Because what he thinks is interesting and insightful. And also totally depressing.

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