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Sweet extra: Former Rep. Henry Hyde, conservative icon, dead. Presided over Clinton impeachment. UPDATED.

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NEW YORK---Former Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), an ardent abortion foe who as House Judiciary Committee chairman wielded the gavel during President Clinton's impeachment, died Thursday in Chicago.

Hyde, 83, an icon of the conservative movement, had been ill, undergoing triple bypass surgery earlier this year.

Earlier this month, President Bush awarded Hyde the Medal of Freedom, with his son, Bob, picking up the honor at the White House. "Henry Hyde spoke of controversial matters with intellectual honesty and without rancor. He proved that a man can have firm convictions and be a favorite of Democrats and Republicans alike," Bush said.

Hyde, who finished his House tenure as the chairman of the International Affairs Committee (since renamed) suffered complications after the surgery this past summer and “I believe his heart just gave out,” his stepdaughter Sue Schiesser said. Hyde died around 3 a.m. at Rush University Medical Center, she said.

Hyde, 83, had decided not to seek re-election last year after representing his suburban Chicago district for 32 years. He was first elected by 6th Congressional District voters in 1974.

Hyde gained national notice in 1976 when the staunch abortion foe championed a provision banning federal funding for most abortions, a piece of legislation that became known as the “Hyde Amendment” that was attached to appropriation bills in the succeeding decades.

As steadfast a conservative as Hyde was, he did not march lockstep with the movement. In 1994, when Newt Gingrich's so-called Republican Revolution swept the House, Hyde opposed the term-limit plank that was part of the GOP's “Contract with America” on the grounds that it denied voters the right to choose.

Hyde, when he was Judiciary Committee chairman, also bucked the conservative tide by backing legislation to require mandatory trigger locks on all guns, background checks for buyers of explosives and closing other gun sales loopholes.

It was in his role as Judiciary chairman during Clinton's impeachment in late 1998 and early 1999 that Hyde's white mane and portly profile became famous.

Hyde's committee voted to impeach Clinton, and then Hyde was one of the House managers who presented the case against the president during his impeachment trial in the Senate.

Under Republican House rules, committee chairmen were limited to six years. When Hyde could not keep his Judiciary chair any longer, his seniority — and a sense among House Republicans not to let down the man who led the impeachment — resulted in Hyde becoming the chairman of the International Relations Committee.

the following a trancript from President Bush at Medal of Freedom ceremony....

Bob Hyde is here on behalf of his Dad, the Honorable Henry J. Hyde, who was not able to be with us today. Congressman Hyde spent more than three decades as a towering figure on Capitol Hill. But he first made his name in Washington more than 60 years ago. He was on the Georgetown basketball team, and played in the NCAA Eastern championship game in 1943. After college and Navy service in World War II, he returned home to Illinois, and earned a law degree, and made his way into politics. This erudite, scholarly man has walked with kings and kept the common touch. He won 20 elections, and gave steady service to the people of Illinois for 40 years.


In the House, Congressman Hyde rose to the chairmanship of two committees, Judiciary and International Relations. And from the first day, he was a commanding presence, and he was a man of consequence. Colleagues were struck by his extraordinary intellect, his deep convictions, and eloquent voice. In committee and in the House chamber, the background noise would stop when Henry Hyde had the floor.


Hyde gained national notice in 1976, when the staunch abortion foe championed a provision banning federal funding for most abortions, a piece of legislation that became known as the Hyde Amendment'' that was attached to appropriation bills in the succeeding decades.

As steadfast a conservative as Hyde is, he does not march lockstep with the movement. In 1994, when Newt Gingrich's so-called Republican Revolution swept the House, Hyde opposed the term-limit plank that was part of the GOP's Contract with America'' on the grounds that it denied voters the right to choose.

Hyde, when he was Judiciary chairman, also bucked the conservative tide when he backed legislation to require mandatory trigger locks on all guns, background checks for buyers of explosives and closing other gun sales loopholes.

It was in his role as Judiciary Committee chairman during Clinton's impeachment in late 1998 and early 1999 that Hyde's white mane and portly profile became famous.

Hyde's committee voted to impeach Clinton, and then Hyde was one of the House managers who presented the case against the president during his impeachment trial in the Senate.

Under Republican House rules, committee chairmen were limited to six years. When Hyde could not keep his Judiciary chair any longer, his seniority -- and a sense among House Republicans not to let down the man who led the impeachment -- resulted in Hyde becoming the chairman of the International Relations Committee. Because of the term limits, Hyde must end what will be a six-year run in 2006. He's on no other committees and did not relish the prospect of returning, at the age of 82, to the rank-and-file after a dozen years on top.

from Bush...

He used his persuasive powers for noble causes. He stood for a strong and purposeful America -- confident in freedom's advance, and firm in freedom's defense. He stood for limited, accountable government, and the equality of every person before the law. He was a gallant champion of the weak and forgotten, and a fearless defender of life in all its seasons.


Henry Hyde spoke of controversial matters with intellectual honesty and without rancor. He proved that a man can have firm convictions and be a favorite of Democrats and Republicans alike.

Henry likes quoting the adage, "Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver but the other is gold." To so many on Capitol Hill, Henry Hyde's friendship is gold. They're quick to say it's not the same Congress without him -- but that we're a better country because he was there. And colleagues will always admire and look up to the gentleman from Illinois, Henry J. Hyde. And, Bob, please tell your Dad a lot of us in Washington love him.

##

14 Comments

What aboy Hyde's affair and his hypocrisy proescuting Clinton when he was an adulterer himself. hardly beloved, i'd say more a monstrous hypocrite

What about Hyde's affair and his hypocrisy proescuting Clinton when he was an adulterer himself. hardly beloved, i'd say more a monstrous hypocrite

Wasn't this the senator who after all the impeachment stuff was found to have been one of several Republicans with sexual indescretions of his own having fathered a child outside of his marriage?

TO STEAL A LINE FROM A CHORUS LINE......

AND I FELT NOTHING!!!!!

AT LEAST HE'LL GET AWAY FROM THOSE COLD CHICAGO WINTERS TO A MUCH WARMER PLACE!

I am reminded of the Mark Twain quote-"I've never wished any man dead but I have read many an obituary with glee!"

Sometimes you just have to get things off your chest and this is one of those times. Simply, I resented Hyde's role in the impeachment so much, I felt hatred for the guy. When it was later exposed that he was having an affair during that era, I was furious and I'm sure when I hear the telecasts honoring him tonight, I'll be growling and snarling just like in the 90s.
To label him as a leader is only accurate to the extent he led a mob, which was an embarrassment to our country. He was a petty man with a close relationship with hypocrisy. He posed as a leader, much to our detriment.

He was just another family values Republican, what a joke! They say exactly what their idiot supporters want to hear and go on their way being the hypocrits they are! You can never underestimate the hypocrisy that all Republicans share, the shame they have brought on this nation is unbelievable.

OPEN SEASON’S GREETINGS, MR. HYDE
(With Apologies to Lewis Carroll)
(cartoon)
I do not like thee Mr. Hyde,
O’er Impeachment hearings thou preside.
You played the House and let divide,
Hypocritical, political genocide.

Beneath your owlish looks belie,
A right-winged vulture, slick and sly.
Awaiting for his prey to die,
For crimes and misdemeanors high.

Through silver locks you preen with pride,
You yearn to see Bill Clinton fried.
Expand Kenneth Starr’s referral,
Inquisition needs a long deferral.

This Clinton turkey you’ve tarred and feathered
Tamed him, lamed him, tightly tethered.
We shared him for Thanksgiving dinner,
Your pound of flesh makes us all much thinner.

Right-wing conspiracy, says Hillary,
Her health agenda such did pillory.
Right wing, left wing, none too wise,
Lame ducks all drop from the skies.

Prove not his guilt or innocence.
Be careful of thy practice hence,
For We the People doth thou incense,
Cooked goose or gander, common sense!

Above it all, please Henry riseth!
Alas! Rodino’s shoes outsizeth.
You’ve reserved your place in history,
Who dun what to whom, a mystery.

“The Rule of Law” with finger pointed,
You wave just like a priest anointed.
Delve not into its spirit -- better,
Injustice hides behind the letter.

Distinguish lie from perjury,
Bill’s lips and fly need surgery.
Preserve our presidency’s future,
Throw not the book, but sew a suture.

Examine please materiality,
Cast off this state of siege mentality.
Bill may have broken codes so penal,
But his adversaries’ purpose venal.

Attorney, lawmaker, judge, & jury,
“Rules of Law” draw partisan fury.
A wall is built across the aisle,
The People’s will they all defile.

Throughout the Halls of Congress shout,
We’ve got the votes, we have the clout.
Hypocrisy is proudly touted,
Democracy is roundly routed.

Recall your “youthful indiscretion”,
That did occur with House in session.
Investigate with like obsession,
To Watergate trace this transgression.

Iran/Contra-band fund washing done,
When North went south from Washington.
High bar/low bar, it all depends,
Justify by means or ends.

With all parliamentary guile,
Let’s put Congress now on trial.
Investigators, pundits too,
That’ll be the day we rue!

Heed Henry’s call, end sexual prying,
Instead, Let’s find out who ALL is lying.
White lie, White House, White Water weary,
Below the Beltway blows -- hara kiri!

Merry Christmas Mr. Hyde,
Olde Scrooge thou did cast aside.
You toasted dear, sweet Monica,
Lit both candle’s ends this Hanukkah!


Do not be Tripped by Linda’s haggery,
Nor succumb to your own wind baggery.
Verdict: Congress gets the boot.
Taxpayers foot Fifty million suit,

Heed Ford and Dole, look for censure,
For lust this was a just dispenser.
Nixon, Clinton both “Tricky Dicks”,
It’s payback time, GOPs get their licks!

The Senate snuffed an ill-Housed coup,
Instead of dragons, yourselves you slew.
Resign yourself, you are no hero,
Newt, Livingston, Hyde - 3 to zero!

I do not like thee Mr. Hyde,
Your hunt turned into suicide.
Pride goeth just before a fall,
And nail thy Hyde upon the wall!


Your supposed to say nothing but good things about someone when they die.So old henry is dead and that's good.

Good riddance.

Hyde proved the adage, "There's no fool like an old fool." He once had a respectable reputation, but he destroyed it in the impeachment process. Hyde conducted the impeachment hearings to reach a pre-determined result in order to denigrate a Democratic president as payback for the Democrats' impeachment of Richard Nixon. Hyde did not preside as a chairman, but as a thug. He crushed every effort made to import rationality and fairness into the hearings.

Hyde also showed his own sexual hang-ups. He dismissed his own adultery-during which he seduced another man's wife, destroying that marriage-as a "youthful indiscretion." Simultaneously, he dug eagerly into the most salacious aspects of Clinton's affair, and gleefully publishied every detail to the world, unnecessarily humiliating Clinton's family members including his wife and daughter.

I hope the next Democratic president retires the "Presidential Medal of Freedom" because Bush has so tarnished it by awarding it to so many wicked liars. Giving the award to Hyde is sickening.

I loved how Hyde said that HIS adultery was a "youthful indiscretion."

He was 42 at the time.

I know the Repugs are immature idiots, but that's a bit much.

What more can I say thats not covered above, what a hypocrite, may he rest in Hell!

Henry Hyde's support of "the Mexico policy," barring *any* funds to family planning groups that in any way were connected to abortion condemned literally millions of people in the developing world to overpopulation, poverty, disease, and early death.

It was not his opposition to abortion per se that was the problem. Like most so-called pro-lifers, he opposed giving women access to contraception.

It never feels good to condemn a person on their death-- we all go the same road and we pray for mercy for our own failings. But it is difficult to feel any sorrow on hearing of Henry Hyde's passing. As the song goes, he was a man without love, a cold bitter wind passing by.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on November 29, 2007 8:38 AM.

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