Right On: Capitol Hill Republicans
The Young, Conservative Cigar Caucus of Capitol Hill Is Celebrating Its Newfound Power with Plenty of Cigars
From the Print Edition:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Summer 96
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Cooper interrupts, "You can say Kennedy in this room." Lampkin explodes in laughter and amends his remarks. "A friend of mine from college, he was a Kennedy, he broke out a box of maduros after we won a campaign together," Lampkin says, noting that his "default" cigar is the Ashton robusto.
Roff expresses "shock" that Lampkin was once the political ally of a Kennedy. But it is in jest, because things right now are just fine for this bunch of young Republicans. They are enjoying being taken seriously for the first time in four decades. "Before," says Lehman, meaning when the Democrats ruled the roost, "reporters weren't interested in what you had to say. Now they just act as if the legitimate government has been displaced." He grins.
"A lot more people became interested when we won the majority in both houses," chimes in Roff. "We became an 'overnight success,' " he says with a laugh.
Staying in power always depends on success in the next election, but what has happened to Washington since the Republicans took control of Congress is notable. Government is getting smaller; even President Clinton says so. Cigar sales at local shops are up. Even the House restaurant now stocks premium brands. And on some Friday afternoons, if you just happen to be sightseeing in the Capitol rotunda, you can take a deep breath and follow the aroma to one of the premier smoke-filled rooms in modern American politics.
Alejandro Benes is a journalist in Washington, D.C.
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