It's not impossible to see how voters, first in West Texas (1962), then in southern New Mexico (1968), might have decided to send Ed Foreman to Congress. He has a hypnotic stage presence and exudes a folksy charisma, complete with an endless supply of homespun anecdotes.
Also pretty easy to decipher is how he was unseated in both cases after just one term, and it's not that he was running as a Republican in traditionally Democratic districts. His charm is that of a snake-oil salesman; for many, perhaps most, his manic shtick would wear thin rather quickly.
In other words, the 80-year-old's subsequent career, as a happiness-obsessed motivational speaker from Dallas, is a perfect fit. You can book Foreman for one of his keynote lectures ("How to Have a Good Day Every Day!" is apparently a popular one, as is "Dream Big Dreams and Make Them Live!"). Or, for about three grand, you can travel to Kerrville for the three-day "Successful Life Course," aka "Happy Camp."
Foreman, it appears, is a big fan and associate of Kevin Trudeau, the miracle cure-peddling flim-flam man you might remember from such works as Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About, FTC v. Kevin Trudeau (1998) andFTC v. Kevin Trudeau et al (2003).
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So ardent is Foreman's belief in Trudeau that the former Congressman, along with a courtroom full of other supporters, showed up in Chicago for his sentencing on contempt of court charges related to his refusal to pay a $37 million fraud judgment against him.
Before U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman handed Trudeau a 10-year sentence, he had to deliver a small helping of justice to Foreman. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Foreman was "carried out by federal marshals" and criminally cited with a $175 ticket after trying repeatedly to address the judge.
The jury's still out, however, on why the pictures on Foreman's website all appear to be from the early '90s, or how his hair managed to turn from silver to chestnut in time for his 80th birthday party.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.