It's 1994. The GOP promised to dismantle social programs, cut taxes and balance the budget. Newt Gingrich massaged the message, and the "Me Generation" bought it hook, line and sinker. This was the new GOP, and they had made a "Contract with America."
It was a promise built upon "family values" lies...
Instead, the GOP Class of 1994 that were ushered into power with a promised 'family values' core that would be the driving principle behind their legislative actions turned out to be rife with family value hypocrites who sold America a bill of goods:
The sex scandals that have tarnished Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) and Gov. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) don't appear to have much in common. Yet there is one thread that binds them together: Both Ensign and Sanford were members of the famed Republican House class of 1994, as well as its latest casualties.
As it turns out, the pressures and demands of political life have inflicted devastating damage not only on the Ensign and Sanford families, but on the families of many of the 71 other freshmen who formed the vanguard of the Republican Revolution.
In the 14 years since that star-crossed class arrived in Washington espousing an agenda that placed family values at its core, no less than a dozen of its members have been caught up in affairs, sex scandals or in messy separations and divorces from their spouses that, in more than a few instances, led to their political downfalls.
This isn't something that took years to develop -- the GOP hypocrites who were voted into office failed from the outset.
The problems started almost as soon as they took office, and by the end of their first year in Congress, the marriages of at least four Republican freshmen had collapsed.
One of the first to see his marriage unravel was Rep. Jim Bunn (R-Ore.) who, not long after taking office in 1995, divorced his wife, married one of his political aides, and later elevated her to chief of staff. Bunn lost his 1996 reelection bid.
Rep. Enid Greene, who became the first female member of Congress from Utah in 1994, spent most of her single term in the House dealing with a scandal of her husband's making. Joe Waldholtz, who married Greene in 1993, embezzled millions of dollars that he used to help finance her campaign. Once authorities finally caught up with Waldholtz, Greene filed for divorce and took custody of the couple's daughter. She did not run for reelection in 1996.
Former Rep. Jon Christensen (R-Neb.) was another high-profile casualty -- he divorced his wife during his first term after she admitted to marital infidelity.
All of this came despite an acknowledgment at the start of the 104th Congress that the grueling pace of work in Washington could tear families apart. Then-newly installed House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who later got divorced for a second time in 2000, even warned as much.
And Gingrich pledged to do something about it, setting up a bipartisan task force, the Family Quality of Life Advisory Committee, to rethink the congressional work-life balance.
"We have established the principle that we are going to set schedules we stick to so families can count on time to be together, built around school schedules so that families can get to know each other, and not just by seeing us on C-SPAN," Gingrich said in a speech at the opening of the 104th Congress on Jan. 4, 1995.
Gingrich, recognizing the hypocrisy that early, still failed to turn the tide. Today, most Republicans refuse to acknowledge or address the hypocrisy, using the time-honored techniques honed by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to deny the existence of the 800 pound gorilla parked on the living room coffee table...
... and the hypocrisy of that -- of the GOP "family values' party that today refuses to even acknowledge the problems posed by their hypocrisy, is the bottom line left behind with the Republican "Contract with America."
It wasn't a contract "with America" -- it was a contract "on America" -- and America lost dearly.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!