Children of the Revolution

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Revolutions, it is said, eat their young. But sometimes they eat their leaders, and that is the issue on the table today in a closed-door meeting of House Republicans as they decide whether to challenge Newt Gingrich's leadership. Disgruntled sophomore Representatives, many of whom owe their election to Gingrich, are calling for his head out of a growing feeling that he has led them down several politically disastrous blind alleys. An anonymous letter on Congressional stationary, circulated after last week's disaster relief bill debacle, called for a vote of confidence in the GOP's leadership: "How can we survive when we are led down the road of confrontation with President Clinton only to have our leadership capitulate after political damage is done?" The freshmen who survived the disaster of last year's government shutdown during budget negotiations believe that the problem is not in their ideas but in their leadership, and in particular Gingrich, who they see as too eager to compromise with the White House.