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Al Cederberg, R.I.P.

The "what if" or "if only" game is very common in political discussions. Just last week, conservatives were saying "if only" Rep. Al Cederberg (R.-Mich.), ranking Republican on the all-powerful House Appropriations Committee chairman, had survived the re-election campaign that finished his congressional career in 1978, he would have been a key crafter of the Reagan budgets that cut domestic spending and revitalized national defense. Before Reagan helped make tight-fisted fiscal conservatism popular, Cederberg was one of its leading proponents in Congress. His many admirers were saddened to hear the news last week that he had died at age 88 after a long illness.

A native of Bay City, Mich., Elford A. Cederberg studied at Bay City College and was part of the Normandy landing while in the U.S. Army in World War II. Following his discharge, he went to work as manager of the Nelson Manufacturing Co. In 1949, Cederberg was elected mayor of his hometown, and in 1952, he succeeded veteran Republican Rep. (1912-14, 1920-52) Roy O. Woodruff.

Cederberg’s signature issues were opposition to domestic spending and support for national defense. He voted against all of Lyndon B. Johnson’s "Great Society" programs and played a key pro-defense role on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which was fairly evenly divided between hawks and doves. Cederberg survived the Johnson landslide of 1964 and, even after unfavorable redistricting in 1971, got through the so-called "Watergate Year" of 1974. But four years later, the new Democratic-leaning lines of his district and the fact that the congressman had sold his home in Bay City and stayed in a hotel while at home caught up with him. Democratic State Sen. Donald Albosta unseated Cederberg in a major upset.

Cederberg’s loss was big news in Human Events, which pointed out in a front-page story (Nov. 16, 1978) that, under the seniority system of the time, his departure meant that liberal Republican Rep. (1958-91) Sylvio Conte (Mass.) would become ranking GOP member of Appropriations. "Because of Cederberg," we noted, "the subcommittee [on defense] voted favorably on such issues as the B-1 bomber and the nuclear carrier. If Conte had been the ranking Republican on Appropriations, both issues would probably have been buried in this subcommittee."

Cederberg remained in the Northern Virginia area for several years after his defeat and then retired to Orlando, Fla.

Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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