With the air of a man who is sure of his own strength, Mississippi's wily old demagogue John E. Rankin rolled his stupendous veterans' pork barrel onto the floor of the House, and defied the quaking Congressmen to throw it out. What old John wanted was $90 monthly at 65 for every veteran, whether he needed it or not. The cost would add up to something like $125 billion over the next 50 years. But determined John Rankin had posed his colleagues an agonizing choice between conscience and constituents.

Hanging nervously in the...

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