Jewish World Review Nov. 5, 1999 /24 Mar-Cheshvan, 5760
Spooky Guy Haunts the Capital
HALLOWEEN'S OVER, but there are spooks aplenty here in the nation's capital. Gather
'round for a frightful tale of how one former Republican revolutionary came back
from the dead to haunt the halls of power as an immortal K Street vampire.
His name is Bill Paxon. Cable-TV junkies may stumble onto his smug yuppie mug
now and then. He's the former New York congressman who helped Newt Gingrich
rise to power, plotted a failed coup against him, abruptly resigned his seat last
year, and then, disappeared into the Buffalo sunset.
If only we were so lucky. Paxon resurrected himself, and now his name, face, and
money-grubbing prowess are inescapable inside the Beltway. Why didn't he return
to the productive life of a private citizen? Because he never had one. Since
graduating from college 21 years ago, Paxon has had one occupation, and one
preoccupation only: government.
After resigning his congressional seat and swearing off any future runs for public
office, he did what know-nothing ex-politicians do around here: He sold out his
ideological principles for a few pieces of silver.
The 45-year-old former bag man for the GOP is now a "senior adviser" at Akin,
Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld - one of the most powerful lawyer-lobbyist firms in
town. The company's primary access peddler is Bob Strauss, former Democratic
National Committee chairman. Paxon also works - if one can call it that -
alongside chief Clinton enabler Vernon ("I was pleased to be helpful to Ms. Monica
Lewinsky, whose drive, ambition and personality were impressive") Jordan.
At Gump & Co., Paxon reportedly makes upwards of $750,000 a year to hobnob
with his old pals on Capitol Hill. He has no law degree, no private-sector expertise
and no intellectual capital whatsoever to call his own. Paxon does, however, have
a big, fat Rolodex and that coveted insider commodity: access. His life is
dedicated not to dismantling the wheels of government, but to greasing them.
Paxon's wife and former GOP congresswoman, Susan Molinari (a Katie Couric
Lite of The Right) has also transformed herself into a leeching lobbyist. So much
for the Republican revolution.
The D.C. press corps has dubbed Paxon the "comeback kid" and the "shadow
speaker." Earlier this summer, he scored a fawning, 3,000-word profile in Capital
Style, a glossy, political gossip magazine. And this month, he made the cover of
The New Republic, D.C.'s weekly hotbed of plagiarism, fantasy writers and Al Gore
It is hard to say which is more pathetic - the gushing from reporters, or from
Paxon's former colleagues. "He's got the perfect situation," Rep. Jennifer Dunn of
Washington state told The New Republic. "He's sittin' in the catbird's seat,"
chimed Illinois Rep. Ray LaHood.
What is it that these elected representatives envy so much about Paxon? They
undoubtedly covet the freedom Paxon now enjoys to kowtow to fat cats without
having to explain it to the people who put him in Washington in the first place. "I
feel more involved in politics today than when I was in Congress," Paxon bragged.
"I don't need to attend to all the constituent service: the parades, the county
dinners, the endless events." Oh, what a drag to have to leave the Beltway and
actually shake hands and dine with regular constituents. Heaven forfend!
During the pseudo-populist Paxon years, the Republican Congress championed
corporate welfare (such as the preservation of federal price-supports for tobacco
farmers) and allowed unprecedented access to check-toting lobbyists.
Government grew, spending grew and the gap between Republican rhetoric and
reality grew. When the ride got rough, Paxon cut and ran to the welcoming
embrace of wheel-er-dealer Democrats without shame or regrets. "I feel good. I'm
not out of the loop," Paxon said of his new life.
Paxon's sellout underscores the sad failure of the GOP revolution to change the
Beltway culture. It's still who you know, not what you believe, that matters most to
JWR contributor Michelle Malkin can be reached by clicking here.
11/02/99: Mourning the loss of the last Liberty Tree
10/27/99: AOL goes AWOL on parents
10/22/99: The persecution of Harry Potter
10/20/99: Don't doctor the law
10/14/99: The trouble with kids today
10/12/99: Pro-animal, pro-abortion, anti-speech?
10/07/99: Beltway press corps needs more skunks
09/30/99: ESPN overlooks athlete of faith, grace, and guts
09/27/99: Personal freedom going up in smoke
09/15/99: Farewell, "Miss" America
09/10/99: Will George W. work for a color-blind America?
09/03/99: Feminization of gun debate drowns out sober analysis
08/27/99: America is abundant land of equal-opportunity insult
08/10/99: Protect the next generation from diversity do-goodism
08/04/99: Sweepstakes vs. state lottery: double standards on gambling
07/21/99: "True-life tales from the Thin Red Line"
(or "Honor those who sacrificed their lives for peace")
07/21/99: Reading, 'Riting, and Raunchiness?
07/14/99: Journalists' group-think is not unity
06/30/99: July Fourth programming for the Springer generation
06/25/99: Speechless in Seattle
06/15/99: Making a biblical argument against federal death taxes
©1999, Creators Syndicate