O CONGRESS by Donald & Trevor Armbrister Riegle


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A Republican congressman representing Detroit's industrial Flint district, Riegle is young, liberal, anti-war, and a supporter of Paul McCloskey's abortive dump-Nixon campaign. This 12-month diary, edited by Armbrister, conveys Riegle's awareness of ""the hypocrisies that older congressmen accept as operating principles""; but, well-meaning as he is, a strain of unconscious hypocrisy is perceptible in his own liberal platitudes. He deplores the predicament of the unemployed and hard-pressed workers in his district yet supports Nixon's wage freeze. He promotes a new brand of peoplereaching politics but never explains its content beyond the usual rhetoric about the poor and forsaken. There are some brisk glimpses of congressmen in action, but no one will be shocked to learn that peeping up at female thighs in the gallery is a favorite congressional pastime, and there are no Abzugian inside stories, much less solid muckraking. Riegle's account of his divorce and a new love affair which leads to marriage seems partly an expression of guilt and partly a bid for the guy-ishuman sympathy. After a tour of the gym, cafeteria, and a few celebrities, the reader senses Congress only as a backdrop: the subject is Riegle and he is a not very illuminating experience.

Pub Date: June 23rd, 1972
Publisher: Doubleday