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“Stay the course”: right for Dems, wrong for GOP

Posted by Richard on November 15, 2006

It’s rather ironic, isn’t it? The Democrats succeeded in last Tuesday’s elections largely by appearing cleaner ethically and running moderate and conservative candidates. So Nancy Pelosi wants to celebrate the success of that strategy by dumping Steny Hoyer, who implemented it, and making an ethically challenged moonbat, John Murtha, the new majority leader. Even the Washington Post was struck by the stupidity of that:

Mr. Murtha’s candidacy is troubling for several reasons, beginning with his position on the war in Iraq. A former Marine, Mr. Murtha deserves credit for sounding an alarm about the deteriorating situation a year ago. But his descriptions of the stakes there have been consistently unrealistic, and his solutions irresponsible. …

Mr. Murtha would also be the wrong choice as majority leader after an election in which a large number of voters expressed unhappiness with Washington business as usual. Mr. Murtha has been a force against stronger ethics and lobbying rules. …

As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, he has been an avid participant in the orgy of earmarking, including numerous projects sought by a lobbying firm that employed his brother. During the Abscam congressional bribery investigation in 1980, Mr. Murtha was videotaped discussing a bribe with an undercover FBI agent. ("You know, we do business for a while, maybe I’ll be interested, maybe I won’t, you know," Mr. Murtha said.) He wasn’t indicted, but it’s fair to say the episode raised questions about his integrity.

Of course, there’s plenty of irony and stupidity on the other side of the aisle, too. The Republicans lost a bunch of seats due to their ethically challenged, unprincipled, inarticulate, and ineffective leadership. So, of course, they’re poised to stick with that leadership. Bob Novak thinks that’s remarkably stupid:

The depleted House Republican caucus, a minority in the next Congress, convenes at 8 a.m. in the Capitol Friday on the brink of committing an act of supreme irrationality. The House members blame their leadership for tasting the bitter dregs of defeat. Yet, the consensus so far is that, in secret ballot, they will re-elect some or all of those leaders.

In private conversation, Republican members of Congress blame Majority Leader John Boehner and Majority Whip Roy Blunt in no small part for their midterm election debacle. Yet, either Boehner, Blunt or both are expected to be returned to their leadership posts Friday. For good reason, the GOP often is called "the stupid party."

Last Wednesday, I expressed my support for Mike Pence as minority leader and John Shadegg as minority whip, noting that the Republicans made a mistake when they chose Blunt over Shadegg in January. The more I read about Pence and Shadegg, the more I hope they can pull off the upset.

Pence said after the election, "The era of big Republican government is over," and issued a vision statement to back that up:

While the scandals of the 109th Congress harmed our cause, the real scandal in Washington D.C. is runaway federal spending, and our voters said, “Enough is enough.”

After 1994, we were a Majority committed to a balanced federal budget, entitlement reform and advancing the principles of a limited federal government. In recent years, our Majority voted to expand the federal government’s role in education by nearly 100 percent, created the largest new entitlement in forty years, and pursued spending policies that created record deficits, national debt and rampant earmark spending.

This was not in the Contract with America. Our opponents will say that the American people rejected our Republican vision. I say the American people did not quit on the Contract with America-we did. And in so doing, we severed the bonds of trust between our government and our most dedicated supporters.

I heard Pence interviewed on the radio this morning, and I was impressed. It’s not just issues, ideology, and vision, either — personality, charisma, and articulateness are important, too, especially when you know the media will be against you. Dennis Hastert cost the Republicans votes every time he stepped in front of a camera and microphone. Pence is a former talk radio host, and it shows.

The more I read about Boehner and Blunt, on the other hand, the more certain I am that "staying the course" with the current leadership would be a monumental mistake. Boehner once handed out checks from the tobacco lobby on the floor of the House while it was in session. Blunt defended earmarks at the Heritage Foundation just last Thursday. Both supported No Child Left Behind, the Medicare drug entitlement, the abandonment of the Contract’s ethics and accountability rules, and boatloads of pork.

Staying with the Boehner – Blunt "business as usual" team could severely damage the GOP nationwide in 2008. And that, in turn, could have disastrous consequences for the 2010 redistricting. Do you Republicans really want to risk returning to minority status for another generation just so these pricks in Washington can protect their perks and pork?

Check out this video in support of Pence and Shadegg (2:21):

[BTW, if you’re on a low-speed connection and the video keeps stopping, that means it’s playing faster than you’re downloading it, so the buffer keeps emptying. Just go get a cup of coffee or a beer or something — give it a minute or two. Once most of it has been downloaded into your buffer (the line at the bottom is red most of the way across), drag the slider back to the beginning and start it playing again. In case it helps, here’s the direct YouTube link.]

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One Response to ““Stay the course”: right for Dems, wrong for GOP”

  1. […] of us call his party the Stupid Party, and it reminded me of why I wanted the Republicans to choose Pence over Boehner as minority leader back in […]

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