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A Gadfly in the House

Amid all the pulse takers and poll watchers in Congress, Rep. Henry Hyde, who died this morning, was more interested in being right than in being popular.

This article was originally published in the March 9, 1992 issue of Christianity Today.

The walls of U.S. Representative Henry Hyde's outer office sport all the trappings of democracy and reveal much about this 67-year-old veteran of conservative politics. Visiting constituents can look to their left in Room 2262 of the Rayburn Building just south of the Capitol and see a giant map of the Illinois Sixth Congressional District, which extends from Chicago's O'Hare Airport south and westward past Wheaton College. They can stare ahead at two gargantuan blowups of thank-you notes to Hyde from kindergarten classes to which he sent flags. They can look to the right and see a large photograph of the Capitol, with the words of Alexander Hamilton, "Here, Sir, the people govern."

It is not clear, however, whether Hamilton said those words proudly or sarcastically. (He was not overly fond of what "the people" tended to decide.) A look at Henry Hyde's inner office also suggests more ambivalence than ...

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