Where Have All The Charlie Wilson's Gone?

Just a matter of days ago, Charlie Wilson received a heart-transplant. Never hear of him? Here's a hint: he was a U.S. Congressman from Texas that served from 1973 to 1997. Still doesn't ring a bell? Allow me to explain.

Charlie Wilson was known in Congress as the "liberal from Lufkin." During his time in the House, he championed many liberal causes from Medicaid to minimum-wage, regulations on business, abortion rights and even the Equal Rights Amendment. Wilson also had a reputation as a partier. He loved the drink, he loved women and he loved Las Vegas, hence his nickname "Good Time Charlie."

Sounds like a Kennedy or a Clinton, doesn't he? Well, there was one important difference. Wilson was a hawk. Unlike many of his party brethren (especially today), he understood that the United States and freedom itself had enemies and that these enemies had to be dealt with. This belief came to a head one fateful day in Las Vegas when Goodtime Charlie was sitting in his hotel room in Las Vegas watching a "60 Minutes" report on Afghan rebels fighting the Soviets. A plan was hatched and Wilson, along with a rogue CIA agent, were able to covertly secure funding for the rebels that allowed them to beat back the Soviets. This story will soon be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks. (Interesting that this covert operation to beat communists is worthy of a heroic movie but not, say, Oliver North's story. You never know with Hollywood).

Speaking of Iran-Contra, Charlie Wilson has a key roll in the funding of the Contras as well. President Reagan faced a key vote on the issue in the House and called Wilson expressing his need for his support. Wilson was gravely ill at a military hospital in Germany, but he made the trip back and was brought onto the House floor in hospital pajamas and an IV drip to cast his vote. It was the stuff of legend. The legend also says that two liberal colleagues threatened to pull out his IV unless he voted no. He told the "pinkos" to buzz off, and voted yes.

My questions to the Democrat Party of 2007: where have all the Charlie Wilson's gone?

Sounds like a Paula Cole song, doesn't it?