Move Over, Sam Ervin

Young and restless politicians with one life to live, desperately searching for the guiding light to another world of national celebrity. A new soap opera? Not quite, but close. It is the televised Iran-contra hearings that will pre-empt the soaps this week.

Each of the 26 congressional inquisitors is well aware of the awesome power of television to make or break reputations. Back in the kinescope era, Freshman Senator Estes Kefauver starred in a dramatic series of organized- crime hearings; the next year he almost won the 1952 Democratic presidential nomination. The Senate Watergate hearings, of course, transformed Sam Ervin into...

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