Rostenkowski Isn't Just On Andrew's Mind
Andrew's post this morning about Dan Rostenkowski's being attacked by his own constituents after telling them that they would have to pay for their own catastrophic health care coverage isn't just a long-forgotten event from a bygone era. To this day, it's something that members of Congress cite chapter and verse when discussing the budget. Like a story passed down from generation to generation, this includes current representatives and senators, the vast majority of who weren't in office when the event occurred.
I can't tell you the number of times the Rostenkowski incident has been mentioned by members of Congress at meetings I've attended. Usually it's mentioned as a throw away line ("I don't want my constituents chasing me down the street"). But it's also often been the start of a statment ("Dan Rostenkowski found out the hard way what happens when..."). I've heard the story used by Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, and representatives and senators.
It seems to be a story that elected officials feel most personally. Staff invariably do not raise it first.
Historically, my guess is that it will assume a place right up there with the Whiskey Rebellion that occurred in Pennsylvania in the late 1770s. The picture below shows the incident where a federal tax collector was tarred and feathered, the Revolutionary War equivalent of attacking the limo of the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.