Tip O' Neill on the Ropes

The failed strategy of an out-of-touch leader

Tip O'Neill is a good friend of mine. He garnered a reputation as one of the strongest Speakers in our history. But now, I regret to say, Tip is reeling on the ropes ... he's in a fog ... he's not part of what is happening, and has no idea of where to go.

—Wisconsin Democrat Les Aspin, in a letter last month to constituents

Great old politicians, like great old prizefighters, are usually too proud to quit. Somehow they just cannot let go, and neither can their loyalists.

In his long, charmed career, House Speaker Thomas Patrick...

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