Rich Galen

Watching the House Floor activity on C-SPAN yesterday brought that all back to me. It was a reminder that, while many nations pretend to be open to upward mobility, America is not only open to it, we now almost require it.

Note the most recent election for president. Which candidate was on the defensive about his background: The product of a broken, mixed-race relationship? Or the product of privilege?

See what I mean?

In his opening remarks that day, Newt reached across the aisle to the Democrats when he said,

"The fact is that it was Franklin Delano Roosevelt who gave hope to a Nation that was in distress and could have slid into dictatorship. Every Republican has much to learn from studying what the Democrats did right."

He went on to urge Democrats, similarly, to learn from "what Ronald Reagan was trying to get done."

Turns out that running the House, the Senate or the Nation is a lot like raising your kids: You don't know if you've done it right until after you've finished doing it.

As Newt started to go back to making his notes he looked up at me and asked, "What are you doing here?"

"It's a meritocracy," I said.

And I wandered out.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at