Not so long ago, one or two people were actually elected to public office who put service to the people first. Non-existent now, but only rare in the latter part of the last century, they were the real leaders, contribution before re-election. Perhaps the Internet changed all that, making the option of voting for something good for the people – when many oppose – a prelude to defeat at the next election.
This is the story of Marjorie Margolies, a one-term PA Congresswoman (almost by choice) from the Philadelphia suburbs.
An attractive television journalist, first in Philly and then for nearly two decades on NBC, she gave up that career. Helped by Bill Clinton’s first run for the White House, Ms. Margolies upset an incumbent Republican for Congress in 1992.
To those who knew her then, the win was no surprise. Successful in the bruising arena of network TV news competition, she won no less than five Emmys and was named a CBS News Foundation Fellow at Columbia University. Later, she would chair the National Women’s Business Council.
Her first year in Congress proved more bruising than the competition for TV news.
Four years earlier George Bush One successfully transitioned from the Reagan era on the promise “Read my lips . . .” Unable to reconcile the broken promise, Bush One ended as a one-termer. To achieve his goal of fiscal stability, Clinton knew he would need at least one substantial tax increase to head off a steep recession and had carefully avoided making the same phony promise.
1993 was a tough year and the battle to deliver Clinton’s first budget was bloody. For the 1994 mid-terms, the Republicans under the brilliant Newt Gingrich developed their “Contract for America.” Promising the return of God in the classrooms, we could keep our assault weapons and gays couldn’t hold hands in the presence of others, while they plundered our financial and health insurance systems, sent good-paying jobs overseas and polluted the environment.
Enough voters believed them about God and queers. Clinton shared power with a Republican Congress for the next six years.
Margolies cast the deciding vote for Clinton’s unpopular fiscal 1993 budget, widely believed to be the reason she lost re-election in 1994.
Life was to deal Margolies one more bad hand.
She married former Iowa Congressman Ed Mezvinsky who moved to Pennsylvania. He ran and lost for PA Attorney General in 2000, was arrested and convicted for fraud in 2003. Even the one-term member of Congress, now 67, had to declare bankruptcy. Sentenced to six years, her husband was freed last year.
A brighter spot is the forthcoming marriage of son Marc Mezvinsky. He is engaged to Chelsea Clinton.