Rebel in the Ranks

Why is a key Bush ally attacking his Social Security plan, and what does it mean for the rest of the G.O.P.?

Bill Thomas, 63, has unhorsed more than a few people in his 27 years in Congress. In 1995, Florida Democrat Sam Gibbons, a normally affable septuagenarian, got so angry at Thomas after a contentious Medicare debate that he lunged for the younger man in a Capitol Hill hallway. A year and a half ago, Thomas outraged a group of House Democrats when he tried to get the police to evict them after they walked out of a hearing and occupied an adjacent room. And then there was the irate Capitol Hill staff member who beat up on Thomas' Mercedes SL 500,...

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