The South Rises Again in Congress

When asked before last week's budget vote whether the Democrats, who control the House, could hold together, Speaker Tip O'Neill replied sadly that in most other countries they would be splintered ideologically into five parties. If anything, he was understating the disorganization of the 97th Congress, which is riven into blocs representing regional, ethnic and economic as well as philosophical interests: there is a northeastern caucus, a black caucus, a steel caucus, even a mushroom caucus, dedicated to defending mushroom-growing constituents against foreign competition. In all this factionalism, one group of conservative Democrats has acquired so much clout that it...

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