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Oh yes it is!

The mid term elections are starting to shape up to be interesting.  Old Rodders, as us Oligarch watchers are minded to call him, the Republican New Jersey Representative and Chairman of the Appropriations Committee has decided that its just too much nowadays, what with having to nod and smile at Trump every day, and that he will leave.

Rodney has been a favourite Oligarch with this blog and I’ve featured him a few times over the years.

Steven Hess author of “America’s Political Dynasties” places the Frelinghuysens as the 7th most enduring political family in American history.

This would place his family between the Adamses and the Bushes in terms of family or oligarchical control over the years.  There have been six Senators in this family.  Rodney’s father, Peter Frelinghuysen Jr, served as the U.S. Representative from New Jersey;s 5th congressional district from 1953 to 1975, representing much of the same area Rodney does today.  Rodney is the great-great-grandson of Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen, who was a U.S. Senator for New Jersey and later US Secretary of State in the administration of President Chester Arthur. His great-great-great-uncle, was the adoptive father of Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen.  This Theodore Frelinghuysen was a U.S. Senator for New Jersey, who then served as president of both New York University and rutgers College, and was the unsucessful vice presidential running mate of Henry Clay on the Whig ticket in the presidential racway back in 1844.   Frelinghuysen’s great-great-great-great-grandfather another Frederick Frelinghuysen was one of the framers of the first Constitution of New Jersey, and also a U.S. Senator for New Jersey, as well as serving as a soldier in the American Revolutionary War.

Aside from the Frelinghuysen name, he is  is also a great-great-great-grandson of Peter Ballantine founder of Ballantine Brewery in Newark.  And if you are looking for more old money on his mother’s side, he is a great-great-grandson of William Proctor, co-founder of Proctor & Gamble.

Rodney is old, old money and is reckoned to be the 9th most wealthy man in the house with an estimated personal value of $20 to $65 million.

The family have never been spectacular, never ones for the front page, or the gossip column, never jet set types.  The old oligarch families know how to last the long race.  Rodney has been in the House now for twelve terms, the first being way back in 1994.  Rodney is never noted for being flash or ostentatious, rather he makes a thing of sporting a varied selection of old suits and a collection of truly antiquated and battered ties.  They get by though, these old families, through the age old political practise nowadays called “earmarking”. A very American term this, which sounds so much nicer than “pork barrel politics”, it is simply the practise of diverting as much federal cash as possible into your constituencies.

Frelinghuysen is hardly alone in bailing out this year.  There is a fair old rush for the exits. He is the 2nd New Jersey representative to announce his leaving after Frank LaBiondo and fully the 40th! House Republican to retire, resign or seek some other post.  This compares with only 14 Democrats.

Indeed, Frelinghuysen is the 8th Committee Chairman to announce he will be taking up fishing this year.

What chance now that the Democrats will flip the House?

Copyright David Macadam 2018