By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
However, Wiggins says, even though many local Republicans do oppose impeachment, just as many are convinced that Rogan is sincere in his fervor. "I don’t think he’s putting it on. I think he believes in his heart that he’s doing the right thing, what his conscience says he has to do," says Wiggins. "I just don’t know anyone who agrees with [Rogan’s] conscience."
Wiggins is adamant about one concern shared by many: the dedication of so much time and effort to something that, if not for Rogan, is for many in the U.S. Congress a purely partisan battle. "If Congress put this kind of work, time and money into any issue you name," says Wiggins, "we would see some real problems solved."
Democrat Adam Schiff is the state senator whose district overlaps Rogan’s, and it was Schiff who lost to Rogan when they both chased the Assembly seat left vacant when Pat Nolan went to prison. (It was the first time either had run for office.) "I’ve been getting a lot of calls to step in," Schiff says. "After what Rogan has done with the office, I’m being asked to run for Congress."
Schiff considers the impeachment proceedings in the context of his own experience as a former assistant U.S. attorney who never lost a case in six years, including some that grabbed headlines: "It’s hard to imagine a flimsier case for . . . perjury rising to the level of an impeachable offense. A horrible precedent has been set."
Until now, Rogan’s political future seemed bright. He once talked openly about yearning to serve as California’s attorney general, and many took that to be a not-so-subtle hint that he had his eye on the Governor’s Office. When Rogan began, in his first year on the Hill, winning committee seats that some members of Congress wait a lifetime to see, a gubernatorial race began looking to many like small potatoes, a step on the road to even higher office.
Last month, The People’s Will, a group dedicated to raising money to oust Rogan and his ilk in the 2000 elections, was born in the 27th District. "We cannot vote against Ken Starr [or] Linda Tripp," the appeal read. "But we can remove those who support them and their witch-hunting tactics." The organizers are a screenwriter and a director who live in Burbank, and a recent story about their efforts in the Glendale News-Press resulted in calls to the paper from readers asking how they could help.
Rogan, who did not return phone calls requesting an interview for this story, has repeatedly acknowledged that with his role in the impeachment, he may be "slitting [his] own throat politically." Then why is he doing it? Is it, as Rogan maintains and his supporters believe, because it’s the right thing to do and therefore he has no choice? Or is it, as many partisan Democrats have charged, because he’s a minion of the extreme right, who are determined to oust — or at least humiliate — a president they despise?
"I don’t think it comes from being a true believer or an ambitious politician," says Wildman. "I think it’s about making a place for himself in the history books."
"He is making history," echoes Gordon. "He wants his cross-examination of Sidney Blumenthal before the Senate to be studied years from now. He wants to be the prosecutor who brought down a president."
Forget partisanship. Forget zealotry. Remember the memorabilia.
Rogan is a man who has made the study of political history a mission since boyhood, amassing artifacts that represent the richest textures of our government and its most representative figures, from the Founding Fathers to the footnotes. With his role in the impeachment of President Clinton, Congressman Jim Rogan has not only given history a reason to remember him — he’s become an item in his own collection.